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9/11 Reflections


As we approach the ten-year anniversary of 9/11, it can be hard to believe a decade has passed as our memories can be as vivid as yesterday. For those of us who call the Tri-State area home, we have a unique and deeply personal story to tell. In an effort to capture our story for generations to come, THIRTEEN is seeking your most compelling memories of September 11, 2001 and the weeks and months that followed.


On July 11, 2001, WNET celebrated the installation of its first digital transmitter on Tower One of the World Trade Center with a party at Windows on the World. Two months later, on September 11th, Rod Coppola, a beloved engineer tasked with maintaining the transmitter, was among the nearly 3,000 people killed when the towers collapsed. Our nation, our city, and WNET were changed forever.

Shortly after the attacks, we resumed broadcasting from a back-up tower in New Jersey and began airing New York Voices, Bill Moyers specials, children’s shows about 9/11, and other programs designed to help viewers understand and cope. Pledge phones became lifelines as we donated office space to the Red Cross, the Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management, WNYC, and other organizations temporarily displaced.

Memories of this devastating event still resonate ten years later as THIRTEEN commemorates the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with programs honoring the heroes, victims, and enduring spirit of New Yorkers.

Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall is the setting for Great Performances: A Concert for New York (Sun 11th, 9:30 p.m on THIRTEEN; 10 p.m. on WLIW21). Led by Music Director Alan Gilbert, the New York Philharmonic performs Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection with soprano Dorothea Röschmann and mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung. The free concert will also be projected live onto a large screen at Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center (Sat 10th, 7:30 p.m.).

Other highlights include NOVA: Engineering Ground Zero (Wed 7th, 9 p.m. on THIRTEEN; Thu 8th, 8 p.m. on WLIW21), which follows the construction of the Freedom Tower and World Trade Center Memorial; The Second Day (Sat 10th, 2 p.m. on THIRTEEN; Sat 10th, 8:30 p.m. on WLIW21), a film by 14-year-old Brook Peters, who was in kindergarten in 2001; and Metal of Honor (Wed 7th, 10 p.m. on THIRTEEN; Thu 8th, 9 p.m. on WLIW21), a portrait of iron workers who helped in the rescue and recovery efforts.

  • Joyce Ocone

    I will never forget that day as I was en route to my job on Wall Street — I had just said good-bye to my son who was headed for his job in Tower 5 and as I was headed toward the Liberty Street exit all hell broke loose. People were running and screaming to get out into the street. The first thought that came into my head was that it was a crazed gunman and I was kind of frozen in time. Some woman screamed at me to get out into the street and I still took the time to take the escalator rather than to climb the stairs. When I got out into the street I asked a man what was happening and he told me to turn around and take a look. I saw one of the towers with smoke coming out from it top floors —- ironically it reminded me of a birthday cake with blown out candles ( still didn’t know what had happened) but I then assumed there was a fire and I started to try to go back into the complex because now I had to find my son but no one was allowed back in — the hordes of people kept running out. I made my way to Broadway and was hearing that a plane hit the buiolding. Then there were shouts of a terrorist attack. At that point in time I did not own a cell phone. I made my way to my office on Wall Street and by the time i got there the second plane had hit and it was confirmed to be a terrorist attack. I started calling my son’s cell phone (that particular day as I was to find out later he didn’t have it with him) and I was becoming frantic. I agonized over my son for 45 minutes until one of the security guards at my building called my desk phone to tell me thast my son had found his way to my building and was on his way up to my floor. All our emplloyees gathered on what was called our “banking platform” and we were all afraid together not knowing what would come next. We had to evacuate Manhattan. A group of us walked along the West Side HIghway every so often looking back at he once mighty towers that were imploding. A co-worker said “nothing will ever be the same.” We finally got to a point where ferries were waiting to tke us over to the New Jersey side. I took off work for a week after that because I couldn’t face going into the City. When i reeturned I smelled the smouldering towers for many months and was constantly brought back to that day. Whenever I hear a siren of any kind now I immediately flash back to 9/11. I will never forget that day and I thank God that my son and I escaped any physical injuries but I have PTSD to this day from it. Sometimes I can’t imagine that I actually experienced being there that day. I guess it’s wishful thinking that it never happened. The above is a very brief synopsis of my story and I am grateful for being able to actually write it. A few days after that I got a cell phone beause I never again want to be cut off from the world like thast. Thank you Channel 13 for giving me this opportunity to write about this. God bless all those who perished that day and their families and friends for having the strength to go on

  • Gail Pedescleaux-Muckle

    September 11th started as any other day. My husband, Kirk, left the house at 5:00 a.m. to go to his job at 6 World Trade Center. He worked as a Planner Estimator for GSA (General Services Administration) a Federal agency with various office locations in New York City, 6 World Trade Center one of them. I left the house at 6:30 a.m. to take my stepson Chris to school. I returned home to start the project I brought home from work. I had planned to work at home for the day. The phone rang (I do not remember the time). It was my husband who said the following in an extremely calm but strained voice: “ Don’t panic. There has been an explosion at the World Trade Center. Turn on the T.V. I don’t know when I will see you. I love you”. He hung up immediately after saying these few sentences. The only words I managed to say were Hello and What????

    I turned on the T.V. and in horror saw the second plane hit the second tower. I screamed and fell to the floor. I had lost all feeling on the right side of my body. Due to the emotional and unknown factors of the situation and stress it triggered a Multiple Sclerosis relapse. The phone rang again. I dragged myself to the phone. It was my husband’s sister, Renee inquiring about her brother. We talked about 30 minutes. We tried to console each other. The phone rang again. It was one of my stepson’s teachers at the Middle School he attended. She asked me to come to the school to pick up my stepson. She knew how close the three of us had grown through the years. She knew he would want to wait vigil with me for the hopeful return of my husband, his father. I explained to her about the MS relapse. She understood the problems I had regaining feeling on the right side of my body. Therefore she stayed on the phone talking to me with soothing, comforting words that helped me to regain some feeling on my right side. I left the house in a fog. I arrived at the school to pick up my stepson. I exhibited a forced expression of optimism and hope for my stepson, Chris.

    We drove in silence listening to the news on the radio. Chris asked me again, did you talk to Dad? I reassured him I had spoken to his Dad. When we arrived home, we saw my husband’s car. He opened the door and my stepson and I rushed into his arms in a group hug so forceful, my husband’s glasses almost were broken.

    My husband, Kirk’s story:

    Kirk sat in the Cafeteria at 6 World Trade Center having breakfast. He heard an explosion overhead. He had always possessed an intuitive sense about things in general therefore he sensed something was very, very wrong. He shouted to the staff and the other people in the Cafeteria to leave the building. He made sure everyone had left the Cafeteria. He then took the stairs to the 3rd floor to his office to look for his co-workers. He found no one but the Administrative Assistant. She was walking around the office in shock. She was so afraid she could no longer think. He grabbed her arm and dragged her out of the office and down the stairs, the imprint of her nails embedded in his arm. They proceeded along the glass-enclosed walkway (bridge) to 7 World Trade Center. Kirk looked up as he heard a loud thud. He saw the bodies of the people that jumped crashing onto the glass ceiling. He told the Administrative Assistant not to look as he covered her eyes. This vision consumed his dreams every night for many months. Kirk and the Administrative Assistant joined other people at 7 World Trade Center. As they looked out the windows, they saw the towers in flames. They are told to evacuate. Only one revolving door was working, but miraculously everyone walked through in an orderly fashion.

    The Administrative Assistant was better now. She followed the crowds of people walking towards the Brooklyn Bridge. Kirk ran to the Federal Building to call me. He had been my caregiver for about 4 years; therefore he knew that the stress of the horrific situation would cause a Multiple Sclerosis relapse. After the brief phone call to me, he ran back down to the World Trade Center to try to go up to his office to get his wallet and brief case. Kirk only had his car keys in his jeans pocket. The Security Guard did not allow him to return to his office. He did not think it was a good idea. Of course later, when the towers collapsed, 6 World Trade was destroyed. My husband later learned that this Security Guard died. He left the World Trade Center and decided to run to Christopher Street to get the PATH. He joined many people jumping the turnstiles to get on the PATH. This turn out to be the last PATH allowed to leave. As the PATH traveled to Newark Penn Station, the engineer received the signal to stop due to water that flooded the tracks. He refused to stop. After many gut wrenching minutes and prayers, the PATH arrived safely in Newark. Kirk ran the several blocks to the parking lot to his car. He drove at a high rate of speed down the Garden State Parkway to his wife and son who he knew must be distraught with fear and worry.

    My husband suffered with migraines and nightmares for two years. It was difficult for him to talk about his experience and read about it in the newspapers. I remember when we read about the heroic efforts of the Day Care staff that evacuated the children from the Day Care Center located at the World Trade Center. We both were moved to tears after reading the thought provoking article. Their beautiful faces waving to him everyday before this horrific tragedy were forever etched in his memories. He was moved to tears that all survived due to the quick thinking and caring staff. Kirk was not easily moved to tears.

    My husband was also an architect and designer. Therefore, as a team we submitted a design for the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition. (I have included a copy of the poem I created to accompany our design). This was the last design he completed before his death. On September 23, 2003 he was severely burned. He later died from his injury on September 29, 2003 two years after 9/11. In January 2004 Kirk received a certificate from the LMDC in recognition for his participation and contribution in honoring those who lost their lives on February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001. I had this certificate framed to honor Kirk’s memory and love for New York.

    Thank you Channel 13 for this opportunity. I will never forget.

  • Melinda Hunt

    I dropped my daughters off for school and head back to Brooklyn going through the Battery Tunnel for the last time in what would be six months until it re-opened.

    Earlier that year, I had received a NYSCA grant for a documentary about Hart Island, New York’s public cemetery. I was working with families in search of their missing relatives buried there.

    This film work eventually lead me to submit a FOIL request for 60,000 recent public burial records. Among those records was a man, Sidney Grimes, who was injured by a falling debris on 9/11. He suffered from PTSD and eventually died at Bellevue and was buried on Hart Island in 2005.

    This year, I painted a sketch of Sidney from a photo given to me by his daughter. This is my small memorial to 9/11 victims.

  • Ita Aber

    If your system was working properly I would submit more. This seems to be the only place to write.

    Our apt. in Riverdale was on the Hudson River and we saw the Twin Towers from our terrace. As we
    watched the second one come down I kept thinking about the fabulous art collection that the Port Authority had in the building and stored below the subway that I had seen only a few weeks before, when working with their curator. We lost a man who lived in our bldg. who was married with one small child and his wife was pregnant with their second child. We lit candles all over our lobby and brought food and comfort to the wonderful young widow. I remember driving around with my husband and wondering what any of us were going to do besides buying some food and supplies for ourselves and then later sharing with the widow.

  • Nancy Conroy

    Weive in Connecticut. My son and a friend had an appointment with a man whose office was in the Trade Center. It was for a job. My son went to New York and phoned the man and the man said that he had to be somewhere else and to cancel the appointment. This was two hours before the tragedy. My son and his friend decided to leave the city and come back here to Connecticut. God must have been saving my son and his friend, etc. What a releif to know that my son wasn’t a victim of that horrible tragedy. Every September 11th, we pray and thank God that my son was spared.

  • Eleanor Gilpatrick

    This painting and my descriptioin tells my story.


  • Rich Gato-Detective (Ret.)

    I was sitting home on that fateful day watching the events unfold on tv. As the towers fell, my first response was “What can I do-I can’t just sit here”. Having retired in 1994 from the Fort Lee Police Dept, I was and will always be “a cop”. I contacted my Chief of Police who knew I was a former tactical officer and he told me, “They can probably use you there”. I grabbed by tactical bag and a few other survival items and head north from my home in Toms River. I remember taking a last look out over the water from my home which was so serene and wondered what carnage awaited me. As I headed up the Parkway, my Chief called and said that they were going to set up a triage at Giants Stadium, so I head in that direction now on the New Jersey Turnpike. Just prior to reaching the Stadium, I was told that they were not setting up a triage and that I could respond to Liberty State Park where they were planning to “set up a morgue”. Upon my arrival, I met a US Marshall who told me that this plan too had changed. I was advised to head over to Exchange Place in Jersey City where I boarded a Dept. of Corrections boat to head across the river. The Captain asked me to stay on board when we arrived to help unload some supplies. I turned to see dozens of cartons containing “body bags”. I knew at that point-this wasn’t going to be pretty. As we approached the New York side of the river, I noticed the Marina (I believe it was called Cove Marina). All of the boats were covered in dust and it presented an eerie feeling. For some reason-”The movie Planet of the Apes” comes to mind. We quickly unloaded our cargo and head up to the site. I stood there aghast at what I saw and immediately knew there would be few survivors. I remember seeing two fireman sitting on the curb holding their heads and asked if I could be of any assistance. They told me that their brother, also a fireman had been in one of the towers when it collapsed. I continued on the “the Pile” where it was difficult o comprehend what was happening. It was easy to become disoriented as well. Many of us felt so helpless and we tried to figure out where to begin this monumental task of search and rescue. It soon became apparent that this would quickly become a Recovery action rather then a Search and Rescue. I joined other First Responders as we formed a bucket brigade which was interupted several times as a rescuer “thought” they had someone cry out. A shout would go up and everyone would stop and listen only to resume digging shortly thereafter. Many of us were digging with our hands wearing the paper masks that were distributed, only to find out much later that they were worthless. I remember trying to get some rest on a cot at the American Express building. I don’t recall any food the first day although food and water and every kind of conceivable item quickly poured in as people and companies quickly responded to this “cry for help”. One of the memories I can vividly recall was a young pretty woman volunteer who was climbing towards me “on the pile” carrying a plastic milk crate and not wearing any protective gear. She asked if I would like some water and a sandwich. It was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that tasted like filet mignon at that point. I remember opening that sandwich to discover that I had gotten a sandwich with the end of the bread. I hated the end of the bread, but there were no complaints that day-it just seemed so ironic at the time. By the way-that woman was a volunteer for the Salvation Army-I love those guys. In my early days as a patrolman and volunteer fireman, they were at every major event to assist us. Days later, I was hit in the face with a sorting bucket that someone had thrown. I had to be assisted to a triage unit where my eyes were flushed out to try and get the dust out. I had severe pain in my left eye and eventually had the Coast Guard evactuate me to the Jersey side of the river. I remember crossing the river in a rather small, orange Zodiac boat with several other people on board and looking back and seeing the smoke illumionated by the artificial light-another eerie feeling. Eventually I went to Hackensack Hospital where I had surgery for a detached retina, subsequently I had additional surgeries at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia. Unfortunately due to the scar tissue, I was never able to regain my sight in that eye. Although it is still difficult to talk about my time at Ground Zero, and the loss of my vision in my eye-I’m still glad to have helped on that fateful day. Remember PTSD-Not all wounds are visable

  • Roger Algase, Esq.

    Of course, none of us who were living in Manhattan ten years ago (as I still am) will ever forget the horror of that day. I first found out by receiving a phone call just after 8:45 am from my sister in Indiana, which I assumed was a prank on her part (since we have always liked to play jokes on each other) until I turned on the TV and looked out my window toward the already smoking roof of the WTC towers. Fortunately I did not personally have any family or friends who were affected, but that does not lessen the horror, pain and grief of the thousands who died and the many thousands of other friends and family members whom they left behind.

    I was working then, and I still do now, in the field of immigration law. Even though, according to CNN estimates at the time (as far as I can recall) at least some 500 of the nearly 3,000 WTC victims were not American citizens, and came from dozens of countries all over the world, including some Muslim countries, it took about zero time for American politicians and TV anchors to start ranting about the “3,000 Americans” killed in the 9/11 attacks, as if not a single foreign citizen had been affected in one of the most international cities anywhere on this planet.

    It took about the same amount of time for these same demagogic politicians and media figures to start blaming all immigrants, no matter where they were from, or what kind of legal visas they had (as most, but certainly not all of them, did) for the 9/11 attacks. In addition, there were many calls for making all the immigration laws tougher, especially against Hispanics, who were only involved in the attacks as victims.

    Thousands of men who were citizens of Muslim countries (including many who were not Muslims at all, but Christians – I met some of these personally) were told that they would have to report to immigration offices and at least 10,000 were deported on immigration technicalities. I am not aware that even a single one of those deported was charged with any terror related activity or connection. Many reforms in the immigration laws which would have made the system fairer both for immigrants and Americans were in the pipeline at the time. Ten years later, few if any of these reforms have gone through.

    However, time moves on. Immigrants are not hated today as “terrorists” as much as they are hated for being “job stealers” in a time of severe economic difficulty. Let us hope that in all the media hype about a ten-year old event which, fortunately, is a lot less likely to happen now that it was then, we will not be distracted from focusing on America’s much more pressing and urgent economic problems.

    Of course, we must be vigilant. The Obama administration, we can be absolutely sure, is giving a much higher priority to preventing terror attacks than the Bush administration did immediately prior to 9/11/2001. Which of the two presidents actually killed Bin Laden, removing this scourge from the face of the earth?

    But, unless there is a plot somewhere that has eluded detection by the most sophisticated worldwide security apparatus in human history, and let us hope there is not, America’s main danger today comes from inside – from the Tea Party and the other powerful right wing business and financial interests that want to eliminate America’s middle class in order to enrich the super-wealthy few at the very top and reduce the rest of our nation to poverty.

    America’s danger also comes from the right wing extremist fanatics who are preaching hate against Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern and black immigrants, and their American citizen children who have broken no law and done harm to nobody. As we remember the awful events of ten years ago, let us not let ourselves be distracted by media sensationalism about an event that is already part of America’s past history from our even more pressing problems today.

  • Janine Darling

    It was the most exquisite morning. The air was dazzling, the sky the deepest azure blue. No clouds. A day the heart sings. I took my young boys to kindergarten, thinking all is right with the world.

    When I returned home, my husband said “do you know what happened?” I said “What?” “A small plane hit one of the Trade Towers in NY. Can you imagine?”. He thought it was an accident. But I knew for certain that something was terribly wrong. Then we both watched as the second plane hit the second tower. Life as we knew it ended in that moment.

    The confetti of papers that rained down, the tragic origami of lives lost, friends and strangers both, are forever with me now.

    It was the kind of day, September 11, 2001, that one could stand at 5th Avenue and 42nd Street, look downtown, and see the towers as if they were only a few blocks away. It was that beautiful.

    There isn’t a day since those terrible clouds of toxic dust rose in the sky as the towers fell one by one, that I don’t look South on that corner, and remember in my minds eye, those magnificent reminders of free enterprise, mathematical wonder and most of all, freedom.

    How I long for the days before then.

  • Christine Rizzo

    It was a gorgeous fall day and as usual, the E train was running a little late to my midtown office. I was in such a rush when I got off the train because I didn’t want to be late for work. The walk was only 2 blocks and I noticed that a lot of people were looking downtown. I didn’t give it much thought. I got settled into my cubicle, turned on my computer and said good morning to a few co-workers. A few minutes later my friend Fran asked me if my Dad went to work that day. I thought it was kinda weird that she asked me that, but I said yes, he did. Then she told me what happened. It was the scariest day of my life. My father worked on the 96th floor of Tower 2.

    Then the phone calls began, or at least were attempted. There was no cell service and no one had heard from my father. It was hours and hours before he called my mom to tell him that he was ok. Then I finally heard from him a few hours later. Thank goodness – he made it out on time.

    My Dad usually took the subway downtown from Penn and since it was such a beautiful day, he decided to take the bus instead. Thank goodness. The bus was much slower and it took longer to get downtown. That bus saved his life. When he got to tower 2, he got on the elevator up to 78. In the time it took him to get to 78, the plane had hit the building. When the elevator doors opened, people on the 78th floor rushed into the elevator – my Dad could not get out. Then went back down to the lobby and my Dad said it looked like a war zone. He spent the rest of the morning looking for co-workers, dodging debris, getting blasted through a window and just trying to survive.

    I reunited with him later that day in midtown and I was never happier to see him. He lost many co-workers. We spent the next month attending funerals and memorial services. My Dad shutdown and never spoke about what happened that day even though we craved for information. What he saw that day was too painful for him to speak about. His office relocated to Rockefeller Center and life went on.

    This 10th anniversary is very bittersweet for me. My father survived, not just one, but 2 attacks on the World Trade Center. He won’t be attending any memorials this year. He passed away on December 22, 2010 from bladder cancer. Instead, he’s up in heaven reunited with all of his buddies. Rest in Peace Daddy.

  • Annette Bergins

    I was on my way to my painting class and stopped at the vet to get flea treatments for our dog. The vet tech said a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I thought it was a small plane and didn’t react. When I arrived at my class, the TV was on. That was the first inkling that something really bad was happening.
    No one knew what to do, so we sat and painted and watched the TV screen. The morning went and the towers fell and we still painted. I gave away the finished piece, I didn’t want to own it.

  • Roger Algase, Esq.

    It is not as if I am without any personal memories of 9/11. Only a week or two before the attack, my wife, who is from Asia and had never been to the WTC, stopped by a cafe on the main floor for a snack. My older daughter, who was living just across the river in New Jersey at the time, used to pass through the PATH station underneath the Twin Towers every morning at just about 8:45 am, the time of the attack, on her way to work in Manhattan. Fortunately, she had left her job only a month or two before the attack, so she was not there.

    However, only a few days before the attack, she had left off some vacation film at a photo store on the lower level of the WTC to be developed. (Yes, many people still used film in those days, which may show more than anything else how much time has passed.) The photo store was obliterated in the 9/11 attack.

    But, several weeks later, one of the cleanup workers found the envelope with the film, untouched, lying on top of the rubble and mailed it to my daughter. She sent the film off to be developed and her pictures came out perfectly, without a scratch.

  • Ellen Goldin

    I was on the phone in my kitchen in Williamsburg, (I live in one of the old warehouse buildings and have a soon-to-be-lost-behind-the-new-Domino-complex view of absolutely everything) chatting with a friend from Tampa when I noticed a plane flying southward down the length of the city, so low I commented on it, saying “I don’t think they are allowed to do that’, then I turned to pour some coffee, and I heard a low rumble and my building shook. I looked up and there was a black spot on the north tower. I reached for my binoculars and saw it was, in fact, a hole, and flames were beginning to show from within. It hadn’t started smoking yet, and I hadn’t made the connection between the plane, rumble, and hole, and said – ‘there’s a fire in the World Trade Center”.”No there’s not ‘ she said, ‘I just saw it on the Today Show’ ” Yeah, I replied, ‘keep watching’.

    I called my father and he said he heard it was an airplane, and then I realized I had seen it on its way. I didn’t know what to do, and just walked around my place and then found my camera and took a few pictures. Another friend called from the Bronx, she had her TV on, and as we spoke, I saw a second plane come around the bottom of Manhattan and go straight into the south tower, we just screamed into the phone at each other together. I couldn’t stop shaking. I had some weird body-memory, and it was almost a year before I could stand in that spot in my studio without bursting into tears.

    I turned on the TV, and had the odd experience of looking out the window and looking at the TV at the same things at the same time. When the first building collapsed, and the second, all I could think of was how many were dying, and what was happening on the smoke clogged streets, as I watched lower Manhattan disappear in huge clouds that swept out over the water. People began to fill the Williamsburg Bridge, all walking in the same direction, away from the city. They looked exhausted.

    Some friends gathered at my place to watch. I called my neighbor – he had been there on Liberty St for a meeting, and arrived just after the 1st plane struck. He watched, trying to figure out what he should do, and then the 2nd plane struck right above him, and he says he watched the glass fly out, and it was beautifully catching the light, he was mesmerized, and then realized he was below – ran down the street and laid down next to a garbage truck, rolled underneath for protection, and then all hell broke loose. When it quieted he came out into a world of carnage and debris. When the 1st tower fell, he said it was a stampede of terrified people. He ran in a circuitous route around blocks, gauging his ability to outrun the cloud. He made it.

    The rest of the day we looked out the window, we looked at the one channel left on TV; most channels were lost when the south tower fell, as it was the location broadcast anntenas. We saw government officials we had never heard of, with pinched faces and thin lips, warning us of anthrax that might be on the planes – they scared us. All public transportation was stopped. We couldn’t go anywhere. The only vehicles on the road and going over the bridge were emergency vehicles, and huge black SUVs with black tinted windows. They scared us, too.

    When the wind shifted I got the bad air. I couldn’t believe it a week later when the EPA said it was safe. You could not smell it and think it could possibly be safe. It smelled toxic. I couldn’t believe that people were urged to go back to work when the air smelled so toxic, and everyone was traumatized. When we breathed in the air, we breathed in the vaporized dead. We carry them within us.

    Within days my neighborhood housed National Guard in a tent, along with a tank. A tank! In the mini-park on Roebling Street! The Guard checked underneath cars with a big mirror that resembles and over-sized dental tool, and sometimes they helped us by holding back traffic so we could cross the street. Those first weeks following the attacks were so tender and raw, the missing looking at us, as we looked for them.

    Religious people in red T shirts came to pray and sell books, and tourists came to take pictures, hawkers sold souvenirs, and we were taken to war. Not in my name. I cannot wish destruction on another after what we went through here. Frightened mothers sheltered children in New York, in Kabul, in Baghdad…in every corner of our battered globe. Cynical war-mongers on TV hissed ‘glass them over’. As if they are any less human than we.

    The next year, there was a demonstration in Manhattan against the coming Iraq War. I have been to many demonstrations here, but I have never seen so many people united against the war – streets were full from the 30′s to the 80′s, from York Avenue to Lexington. There were well over a million people in my city alone, and more throughout the world, and our views did not make one bit of difference, we might as well not even exist as far as the powers that be are concerned.

    The rest of the country stopped its popular activity of New York bashing while we were bleeding, but that goodwill didn’t last long.

    A year after the attacks, on 9/11/02, I ran into some neighbors on the corner and we agreed that we felt like we went to bed on 9/10/01 in the Unites States of America, but we awoke in the following months feeling like we were living in Nazi Germany.

  • Sheila Hickey

    On 9/11, I was taking a bus from Rutherford to my job near the Stock Exchange. As the bus was about to enter the Lincoln Tunnel, we could see a plane had hit one tower of the World Trade Center and it was on fire. Someone with a radio told us another plane had hit the other tower. I knew it was terrorists, but I didn’t realize how devastating it would be so I took the subway to continue to work.

    When I got out of the subway at my stop, people started screaming. Smoke was pouring out of the tunnel toward us. My first thought was poison gas so I ran up the stairs to the exit. People on the stairs were screaming “Don’t go out!” I looked out and the street was totally black. I could only see through the four foot section of street directly in front of me. I ran across the street to the lobby of the Charles Schwab building. My own building was only three blocks away but I couldn’t possibly reach it.
    I found out the planes that I had thought were Piper Cubs were really passenger jets full of people. I found that horrifying, and I wondered when the American planes would arrive to protect us. I also learned a plane had hit the Pentagon. I started to worry about a friend who worked in the Pentagon but realized I wouldn’t be able to find out anything about her for hours.

    A woman panicked and started screaming “There are two more planes coming! I know it!” I felt myself “catching” her panic as I remembered we were just two blocks from the Stock Exchange. In the old black and white movies someone would always slap a panicking woman & now I could see why. I moved away from her and someone else quieted her.

    The air in the lobby was acrid. A stranger gave me his t-shirt to use as a mask so I ripped it up to share with others. The security guards started handing people dust masks which worked much better. One wall of the lobby had a two-story floor-to-ceiling glass window. Suddenly a wall of debris started flying at the window and people started screaming. The second tower had just collapsed, but fortunately the debris was just harmless dust.

    The security guards suggested we move up to the 11th floor where the air was better. I went with a stranger named Nelson. We were on a deserted floor of a company with an Arabic name. We searched shamelessly for anything we could use like water or a flashlight. I heard other people climbing the stairs in the stairwell and asked them what was happening. They had tried to leave but the security guards wouldn’t let them. They invited us to join them on the 15th floor. “No one should be alone” they said. I talked Nelson into joining them. On the 15th floor, I was able to call Anton my husband at work a few blocks away to tell him I where I was (in case the building collapsed- anything was possible now) but urged him not to come get me and to go home as soon as he could. I also called my elderly father in Maine & told him Anton & I were fine but might not be home for awhile.

    The security guards then told us we had to leave. I didn’t have a chance to call Anton again. We emerged onto a totally changed Wall Street area. It didn’t smell, look, or sound the same. The air was acrid and everything was covered with a layer of fine sand colored dust. There was no traffic sound, just people hurrying away holding masks in front of their faces. I was somewhat in shock & afraid to be alone so instead of going to the building where I worked, I went with Nelson who assured me it would be easy to get to NJ from Brooklyn. We joined the masses of people walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. It looked a little like the Marathon, except everyone was dressed in work clothes, holding masks to their faces, and tensely watching the sky for planes.

    We stopped at Nelson’s aunt’s apartment. A friend of hers worked in the public schools and told us they wouldn’t let any schoolchildren go home until they were sure their parents were alive. Nelson’s wife met us in Brooklyn and gave me a big hug. She drove us to their house. All of the bridges were closed but Nelson’s daughter figured out that I could take a subway back to 42nd St. and get a ferry from there to NJ. She walked me to the subway.

    On the subway I met two other women who were also trying to get to NJ. We formed an unlikely alliance: myself, a middle-aged Irish-American woman; Elaine, a pretty young Hispanic girl who had picked the wrong day to wear 6 inch heels; and Sheryl, a young black woman in her thirties with two young children who had been interviewing for a job as a prison guard. We got a cross-town bus together but it moved so slowly we got off and walked to the river. Like true New Yorkers we then cut into a bus line going to a boat to NJ. They were using every sort of boat to ferry people across to NJ. Our boat was a lunchtime party boat and we could see costumes from luncheon musical shows hanging in a second floor closet. Others arrived on ferries, tour boats and even coast guard cutters. We sat on the deck during the crossing to distract Sheryl who worried about getting seasick. We discussed why being in the riot police was a good job and were almost cheerful when we reached Weehawken. Then we saw another building crumble and we started worrying about the people in WTC. We had to wait in long lines to get a bus to the Hoboken train station. Once again the buses were a hodgepodge of regular transit and charter party buses.

    When I reached Hoboken I realized I hadn’t eaten, but everything was closed. There were water bottles stacked everywhere. I waited on my train seated behind three guys who were joking on their cell phones about how Jim didn’t have to go to work tomorrow since he no longer had a building. A shivering, wet girl got on. I hadn’t seen it, but a crew was spraying water on anyone who was less than ten blocks from the WTC to disinfect them. When I finally got home, I couldn’t hug my husband or my girlfriend because I had to shower first to disinfect. It was 8 PM & there were still cars parked in Rutherford’s parking lot. We hoped their owners were alive to claim them.

    If I thought about how 9/11 changed me, I’d have to say it striped away my sense of security. I know now that very bad things can happen. I know there are evil people who want me dead. And I know the American planes I was waiting for won’t necessarily arrive in time or at all. The chances are good that we will be on our own. With any luck we will survive. While I am no longer as intensely alert as I was in the months after 9/11, I am probably more cautious than your average person.

    I was also very touched by how bravely people reacted from the firemen digging in the toxic mess to the bystanders cheering those going to Ground Zero. We never need to question the heroism of our citizens or the kindness of strangers in a crisis.

  • Aaron

    (more biased bullshit)

  • K. Luke

    Jackie came and told me that two planes had flown into the twin towers. My first response: how could one plane accidentally hit the building much less two in the same day?
    I was on the top floor of a 5 story building in the Bronx. My windows were above head level but I could climb on a chair and see the buildings burning. We, my students and I, stood on chairs and watch the towers spew black smoke into the air. From there the day proceeded around the bells signaling for the class to begin and end marking numbing periods of 45 minutes. The classes became smaller and smaller as parents came and took their teens home. In my last class, we went into another classroom and watched the news reports from lower Manhattan.
    I had taken the train that day so I had to wait for Marise to give me a ride home as all MTA services had been suspended. 9/11 shadowed our days and the smells from ground zero permeated the air around us. Everyone morning on my commute, I could see the remains of the towers burning.
    On one of the days when we went back to work, I became fearful for those who had jumped from the towers. In so many religions it is a grave sin to commit suicide and yet it would be such an atrocity for someone to survive the attack, jump out the window in fear and desperation and then end up in hell. Before beginning my day, I went to Rodica in tears for those who jumped. She told me that they didn’t jump, that the force of the fires had blown out the windows and that that’s why so many bodies fell. And so, we go on.

  • Sheila Hickey

    just removing my e-mail address

  • Anne Johnson

    We were visiting friends in Yonkers, when Jon Henery yelled, “Turn on the T.V.!!! The North tower has been hit!” We turned it on just in time to see the second tower being hit. We left earlier than planned, expecting the bridge to be closed (it wasn’t) for an 8 hour trip North. We listened to the radio all the way and heard the sickening news. The next week we got a phone call while on board ACCL’s “The Grande Mariner” in Alexander Bay, NY with shocking news: a family friend, Tim Haviland had lost his life on the North Tower. ! On Oct.1 our ship docked at Quebec City and we attended mass at the Anglican Cathedral as a memorial service was going on; Webber’s “Pie Jesu” let go the flood-gates of our tears.

  • Richard Parisi

    I was present when the first plane hit… I was working for Deutsche Bank. When we evacuated, we waited by Century 21, thinking it was an accident and we’d be heading back to work. When the people started jumping from Windows, I decided to leave and head home. As I was crossing the park on Liberty, the second plane hit. I ended up at the SI Ferry and took that to SI. Why I lived while many of my friends, acquaintances, and colleagues did not, I don’t know. And 10 years seems like just yesterday.

  • Anthony Merante

    Before retiring, I worked for Metro North Railroad at its Harmon shop facility in Croton-on-Hudson. On the morning of the attacks on the Towers, my friends and I were having coffee on a bench at the back of the shop which looks out toward the Hudson River. Between 8 am and 8:20. without knowing, and not able to say then, or now, we MAY very well have seen the first of those planes, which turned down the Hudson from Albany on its way to the city. We don’t know, but talked about it many times, wondering if one of us had noticed the planes but just never thought about it. A few minutes later, one of the guys inside, working in the ‘clean room’ called us to check out their t.v. to see the first hit on the Towers. As with many people, before seeing the images, we just assumed it had been a small plane, until we saw the damage, then the second hit.

  • Raouf Zaidan

    I was teaching in my studio in Cairo, Egypt, when the mother of my next two students, two New York girls, part of the expatriat community, who were taking piano with me, called me and sounded very upset and said “I can’t bring you Mary and Nicky, they are bombing NY”, I thought I misunderstood her and told her to please stay safe and she told me to “turn on the TV”. Like so many people in the world I saw the attack of the second Tower as it happened, and then the collapse of both buildings. SInce 9 / 11 I have thought many times that it was a horror and also a blessing that we could be witnessing this horrific time of pain and catastrophe just as it happened. There was no way to be comforted by knowing that this had happened yesterday or even a few hours ago. We were thrust right into catastrophe as the victims were facing the horror and pain all around them. Afterwards we could also share in the redemptive side of seeing what the the firefighters sacrificed doing their job, and how the people of NY came together to support and help one another, how all of America became part of the grieving and support system. It was during those weeks that I began to make up my mind that I would come back to the USA and be part of the curing and healing of this beloved country. We now live in Newport, NJ, across from the rising Freedom Tower. I take pictures of the progress of the building and feel hope and happiness coming back to New York.

    9 / 11 was the event that really drove home that we are a global unit of human beings, closely connected, deeply relevant to each other, needing the love and sympathy and understand of all. The sacrifice of NY, the great city of the world, means to me that we have to be vigilant, positive, connected and, above all, loving, if we are to hope for peace and happiness. I hope that this is a lesson for all humanity and for all time.

  • Eugenia Perrotta

    It is a day I will never forget. I was in my office on Water Street when a co worker called and said he had heard that a plane hit the WTC. I ran to the window along with other staff and we could see smoke. Our office faced the South tower. I then went back to my desk since phone were ringing off the hook and my niece called to see if I was OK. I told her yes and then we were asked to assemble in a board room and were instrcuted to remain calm and to remain in the office and now the second plane had hit. I then tried calling my niece back but the phones were dead. Then I remember going to the window again and seeing objects flying around. I kept going from desk to window in horror; not knowing what to do. A short time later I once again was at the window with a co-worker who then says to me that Towere Two is collapsing and I remember saying It can’t be. To my horror I see the dark dust and ak imploding and I guess I turned white in shock. We were once again called together and told to leave our buiding by stairway and walk east. I wanted to go to find ny nephew at the NYSE but knew then was not a good idea so one of my staff walked with me while I walked toward Whithall to get to the SI Ferry. Iremember seeing an ambulance with the windsheilds going trying to clear the windows of the fine ash so they could see to drive. I coverd my face and met a woman from Brooklyn and we both walke to the ferry and then we heard planes and people were screaming to us to get in the building. It was the fighter jets that were circling the area. We both got on the crowded and very quiet ferry and everyon had on life jackets. We sat and could not see anything but smoke and ask and the ferry left the dock. Midway across the water the day changed to a beautiful sunny day whcih we had forgotten amidst the smoke and ask. I walked to the SI train and wanted the Brooklyn woman to come home with me since the bridges were closed but she said her husband was coming for her. I got to my stop and could not find my car. In all of the onfusion, I forgot that I had not left my car at the train station that day. I walked home took off my ash covered suit and my brother who was home in his apartment saw me and wanted to make me tea. He said that I looked like a ghost. I was just in shock for what I had jsut seen. Ithen put on the TV and could not move. It was the worst day that I have ever experienced in my life and I will never forget it and all of the people lost and the forst responders since I had to go to work back downtown to a desolate downtown NYC for months and years to follow. I pray for those lost and for their families and for all that worked tirlessly to find remains at that once beautiful site. The NYC skyline from the ferry would never be the same. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

  • Frances Newsom-Lang

    Two Moms on Laundry Day

    I was at home on 9/11, doing laundry. My kids were at school and it was the start of an ordinary, normal day. Suddenly, my mother appeared at the laundry room, out of breath. “A plane has hit the World Trade Center!”, she said. We raced back upstairs to the 15th floor and stared in disbelief at the images on television. Looking out my bedroom window, we saw the twin towers in the distance burning like smoke stacks! That’s when the tv images became real for us.

    Panic set in. My kids were both in Manhattan! I will never forget the power of that urge to get to my kids. It was visceral. The only other time I’d felt something remotely similar was when I gave birth to my daughter, and demanded to see her so I could count her fingers and toes. At that moment, I needed to touch my children to make sure they were alright.

    I called a dear friend, also a mother with two kids in Manhattan, and we set out to get them. We drove from Riverdale to the Broadway Bridge, and had to abandon the car when we learned that all bridges had been closed. We walked over the Broadway Bridge and found one of the last running subways that took us closer to the kids’ schools. At Central Park West, we walked to three schools – two on the west-side and one on the east to collect our kids. I found both of mine, safely huddled with their wonderful teachers in the school’s church.

    I counted their fingers and toes when I saw them. I swear I must have touched them everywhere. I needed to make sure they were alright. The relief in their eyes at seeing their mom was probably the most wonderful feeling I’ve ever had. Their mom was there and everything was going to be okay.

    The six of us then took the subway back north, walked over the Broadway Bridge and finally got home about five hours later. I remember seeing a Stealth bomber flying over Central Park when we walked through it. The sky was empty, but the bomber flew. Cut off from the media for so long, we had no idea of the scope of what had happened. Seeing the bomber told us that this event was monumental.

    Safe at home with my kids in tow, I sat at my window watching the World Trade Center in the distance. I saw the smoke billowing over Brooklyn, watched every broadcast, answered emails from European friends, and eventually shut down. It was too overwhelming to process.

    I don’t remember if I ever collected that laundry. It all had started out as a normal, beautiful fall day.

  • Leigh Warre

    I went into the office at the school where I worked to pick up my mail, when I heard banging and yelling in the principal’s room next door. I made a remark about it being too early in the school year for anyone to get that upset, when the secretary said that a plane had flown into one of the Twin Towers and that the principal’s son was supposed to report for work there that day. It was hard to believe, so I went up to the teacher’s lounge to see if there was news on the t.v. and sure enough, there was footage of the first plane flying into one of the Towers. Teachers who were in the room were desperate to get home, to find a way to connect with their families, and many didn’t have cell phones.

    We brought the students down from the top floor, as they had a view of the Twin Towers from across the river, and some had witnessed the first plane flying into the buildings. Luckily they were older students, but it was very tough to know what to say, as we ourselves didn’t know what was going on. Many students were worried, of course, and some were enraged that we didn’t know more than they did about what was happening. Naturally we tried to reassure them, as best we could, that we were safe and that their families were being notified to come pick them up. Still, it was a harrowing day, as everyone was upset.

    A few students were not picked up until later that evening, and a few teachers stayed at the school to wait until their families came for them. We still really didn’t know what had happened, as most of us had been teaching nonetheless that day, as if nothing had happened. The administration had told us to act as if it were a regular schoolday, so classes went on as usual, except that the older children especially were upset and aware that something terrible had happened. Luckily for our school community, all children were picked up, and nobody lost a relative at the World Trade Center.

    The neighborhood was ghostly. Not a soul was out, nobody walking, and nobody driving, and getting home that evening was very strange. I remember wondering if it was safe to walk home, and luckily, I lived close enough to work to be able to do that. Still, it was unsettling to walk through the streets. I really didn’t have a good idea of what had happened until I was home and able to turn on the news and talk to friends and relatives from out of town.

  • Stephaniev Rosenblatt

    Was on a flight back from London when the pilot announced that we could not lend anywhere in the US -but did not say why. (My thoughts:someone had killed the President}.
    We landed in Halifax where we spent the next 5 nights on stretchers in a school auditorium. We were extreme;y well taken care of, both by The Red Cross as well as private citizens.

  • Bob Pollock

    I had done my morning work-out at the Westside Y and had gone for breakfast before heading to the Real Estate Board for some property researches. I am a real estate broker.
    Leaving the restaurant a block north of the ABC building, I was headed south for the subway but saw a group of people intently watching a large screen at the front of ABC’s front entrance. I asked what was going-on and was told that a plane had just flown into the World Trade Center. Of couse it was quite unbelievable, as the sky was as clear as could be. My mind went numb as I continued on to the Real Estate Board, where, with all others, I watched news coverage for the next few hours. Of course we saw the 2nd plane crash into the 2nd tower and then knew, without doubt, that it was WAR!!
    Later, as I walked back to my car to return to my home, I was crossing Central Park and thinking about the future. My thought was that the USA would finally be forced to “LISTEN”.
    I’m a Social Studies graduate from an Ivy League University, returning as a “resumed student” at the age of 43. I returned, not to get a better job, but to better understand a confusing world. I learned that the USA, with 4% of the world’s population, consumed 40% of the world’s non-replenishable natural resources. I learned a lot more but mostly importantly, I learned to “think critically”: not “criticizing”, but “critiquing”. On Graduation day, as I was in the shower preparing for a day in which my family and friends would ask about what had I learned during the past four years, I had an epiphany: I realized that I had learned to ask better questions.
    Before returning to school, I didn’t understand the world, nor did I know what questions to ask in order to learn, but now I knew. You ask and then you listen.
    9/11 happened because the USA never asked and never listened because it never cared about others, only itself.
    So now, perhaps we’re being forced to ask the right questions and come up with some right answers.

  • Gerald ODriscoll

    At around 9 a.m. on 9/11/01 I emerged from the subway at 53rd St/3rd Ave, to walk down 3rd Ave to my language school on 45th St. It was a beautiful morning, with not a cloud in the brilliant blue sky, until, that is, I noticed this dark , black thundercloud, beyond the southern end of Third Avenue. It defied all meteorological probability, and left me totally bewildered. When I reached the school, I found it in a state of total confusion. There was a tv screen in each classroom, and every student was huddled in front of them, watching the endless replays of the first ‘plane flying into the north tower. Most of the students were from Japan or Korea. Most of them were terrified, and most of them were discussing how soon they could fly home. It was not until later that they learned of the closure of the airports.
    Needless to say, there was no teaching in the school that morning. But, as we learned of the cessation of all public transportation in Manhattan, and the closure of all bridges, we felt trapped in our classrooms, and spent our time consoling and reassuring each other, as best we could. Around noon we learned that the East River bridges were re-opened to pedestrian traffic, and I walked north to the 59th St. bridge, to return to Queens.
    Now came the moment that is forever burned on my memory. The bridge was engulfed by a huge phalanx of people, all walking east, AND ALL OF THEM DEAD SILENT. We all gazed south at the thick plume of black smoke, drifting across the river to Brooklyn, where it would drop charred office papers, and human ashes. NOBODY SAID A WORD.

  • steffi

    I took the F train in Brooklyn at Ditmas ave station which is elevated and you could see the twins towers from there. That morning I saw what looked like a cloud around the 80th floor. I thought it looked funny but thought nothing about it. When I got to the Wall street staation on the no.2 line, a man said a plane when into one of the towers, and I asked if it was a small plane and he said it was a big plane. When I came out from the station from the Morgan building, all the people were out of their offices and the paper were flying everywhere. I went to my office building which is at 32 Old Slip and was waituing on line to maake a call home when a women came running and said the building is coming down. We all looked at each other and said what building, and she she said the tower is falling. We started to run and that cloud came over us. It wasn’t as dark as if you were closer, but it blocked out Brooklyn and you hardly see the water we were walking next to. After a while, we started to walk home. The police wouldn’t lets us on the Brooklyn Bridge because there was too many people there already. We had to walk across the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn. The Tech college were so nice to all the people who were cominng across the bridge. They gave us food and juice water, coffee and let us use the phone and the bathroom and told us to stay as long as we wanted. After a while the trains started running again, so I was able to get back home. I just want to say there is a firehouse at 32 Old Slip and they helped us.That day, they lost alot of men. I am not sure how many. I think about 10. It could be more. God bless them now and forever

  • Laura

    Why is there not more coverage about police and fire radios still not being interoperative?
    Meanwhile, deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones. By some quirk of fate, everyone I knew who might have been in the building was either on vacation, late for work, or had appointments elsewhere.

    I was glad when WNET figured out NOT to keep broadcasting traumatizing images and finally switched to kid-friendly programs during the aftermath.

  • Marsha Clark-Lind

    From my window we could see the towers. The noise drew us to look out, I thought a manhole cover had blown. While my husband and I watched the first tower burn we saw the second burst into flames. Then came the first collapse. The tower just went down. There was such a sense of unreality. The sky the most beautiful clear blue I’ve ever seen. Facing south, we never saw the planes initiative action, just the results.

    There were many people standing in the intersection of Bleecker and La Guardia Place. We went downstairs to be with them. During tragedy, even in a city like New York where people can be so isolated, there was a need to come together. A delivery truck had it’s door open and the radio on, We gathered close and stood, listening. Then the second tower went down. Flames, black smoke backlit by the beautiful clear blue sky. The ash cloud rose as the building went down.

    La Guardia Place becomes West Broadway further down. The towers were about a mile from where we’d gathered. After a bit people began to come through. Refugees, the like of which I’d only seen in documentaries. And as in many of those documentaries the people were washed of all color. These people were covered in ash, a thick, sticky coating. They walked alone. One foot in front of another, over and over. They didn’t speak, they just kept going, one foot in front of the other. There was one statuesque black woman. She normally would have had a majestic and commanding presence. Her shoulders were bowed, her head, face, entire body covered with the sticky grey green ash. I couldn’t take my eyes from her. Even now I can’t begin to describe the expression on her face. Then, I couldn’t begin to imagine what she’d seen. One foot in front of another.

    The “refugees,” the tall woman in particular, at the same time heightened the sense of the unreal and began the breakthrough into the reality of the moment. It was like a hologram. Watching a newsreel from one angle, move your head and the same scene became starkly immediate and personal.

    The sense of shared community continued through the days that The Village was cut off from vehicular traffic. We really were a village. We told the weather by which direction the ghastly plume of smoke was blowing that day. The sky, except for the the noxious plastic smells that we couldn’t get away from continued to be jewel like. One day the air was particularly bad as I walked through Washing Square Park. A woman, a total stranger, seeing me walking with both hands over my nose and mouth gave me a mask.

    A couple of weeks later, again in Washington Square Park, I heard a sound coming from the sky, looked up and for the first time since 9/11 a plane was flying over Manhattan. The outline of a plane had become something out of nightmares. I had to fight the instinct to drop to the ground and cover my head. Manhattan was no longer a no fly zone.

  • Doris Presutti

    I had just arrived for my first rehab session after by-pass surgery. I greeted everyone with a positive, hearty smile. The response was disbelief. They asked if I had heard about the towers. It was then that I glanced up at the TV only to see the second plane hit the tower. My daughter and her husband live in Manhattan and my son is with Fox News. I could hear from no one for about three hours since the cell phones did not work. Thank God my children were all okay. We lost a father and son who were very close to our family. I was quite young when Pearl Harbor happened but I could now understand how my parents felt knowing their 17 year old son was at Pearl Harbor that day. He also survived. It took three days before they knew that he was alive.

  • Robert M Goldberg

    After watching TV coverage of 911, I realized that the official stories were false, that an impartial, high order investigation was needed to determine what, why, and how things had happened. (To date, no such public effort has taken place.)

    Even before doing some calculations that confirmed my intuition or checking a Handbook of Chemistry and Physics to see that jet fuel could not melt or sufficiently weaken the WTC buildings’ structure, I went to a University library and reread a book recommended to me by a high school teacher in the ’50s, President Roosevelt and the Coming of WWII. In the weeks that follwed I attended several memorial and recollection meetings. At C W Post College, First Responders from L I described their experiences. During question/comment I voiced my concerns about the false official stories that dishonored those who died. After some fool called out denouncing me, a faculty member a former NYPD Homocide Detective, said that he had friends who died alongside him in Vietnam based upon the government’s lies. Only truth will save us, he said, and thanked me for speaking out.
    Over the years I have joined with many other knowlegeable people to debunk the official stories and consider the effects of 911 on draconian governmental policies and the injury to our Republic and national life that are based upon false stories.
    Truth is sacred because it can lead to progress or drag us down as its abscence has done to people throughout history. Wake up. Rememberance of lies does not honor the dead, idolatry is not homage to any God.

  • Helen Sanders

    The day before…it happened… through a down-pouring rain, that just ‘drenched’ the city and my shoes, I somehow felt compelled to make library material returns from Far Rockaway Queens to Midtown Manhattan. I just ‘had to’ return those materials ‘that day’ (September 10, 2001). And it was an ‘eerie’ night for me. Somehow, my soul just ‘knew’ something was wrong. My first thought was of my married daughter. I thought she and her husband were in some kind of ‘trouble.’ So I called her. Round midnight, she returned my call, telling me they were okay, and had just returned from Chicago. i told her that something just made me call and prayed with her. Hanging up the phone, I said, “Lord, take this bitter cup from me.” I just knew something in my soul. Later that morning, I got up in my Crown Heights, Brooklyn apartment, doing something I would ‘never’ do, because I lived in a shared space…playing Donnie McClurkin’s “We fall down, but we get up…we fall down, but we get up…’cause a saint is just a sinner who fell down…and got right up….” And I sang, in tears with McClurkin…over and over that and other songs on his album… Music so loud, my neighbors had to think…I had gone crazy… When it happened…I was in my classroom…with my 7th grade students, the first announcement was of a small plane hitting one of the towers… the rest…is history… Never will forget the chain of events in my life…leading to that day. It was if my soul ‘knew’…

  • Bianca Russo

    I worked at 60 Wall Street on Sept. 11, 2001 and my office faced west and had a lovely view of the twin towers. I often saw lightning strike the antenna of 1 WTC during thunder storms. I was sitting at my desk that morning, checking e-mail and finishing my coffee before heading to a meeting across the street which was meant to start at 9 AM. I felt the explosion as our building shook. At first I thought someone had dropped something very heavy in the office above mine, but then I turned slighly and saw the giant fireball that came out of 1 WTC. Because my office was southwest of the tower, I did not see the plane, which came in from the north. I screemed and saw all the fire, smoke and debris spewing from the gapping hole in the building. I immediately called my husband (who worked from our home) and told him that the WTC was blowing up again (I had remembered the first attacks in 1993). I tuned my radio to WINS and soon heard the preliminary reports that a small plane had flown into the tower. I innocently thought it was a horrible accident. I counted the floors of the building to see if the many friends I had working in the building were affected and thought they were not. I debated whether to go to my meeting and (stupidly) decided to go, figuring that when I returned there would be more information.

    I stepped out on the Pine Street entrance and regretted going out – the air was filled with the debris spewing from the building. I crossed Pine Street to 1 Chase Plaza and went to the lower level to the meeting location. The meeting never really happened, as we were constantly interrupted by announcements that the building was safe and not being evacuated. Those of us in the meeting had no idea that the second plane had struck. A few minutes before 10, the meeting broke up and as we left we saw the TV screens in the reception area showing the smoking ruins of the Pentagon and we all new this was no accident. I remember thinking we were under attack. I quickly left to return to my office to get my handbag and head home. On Pine Street, I saw many people running and I was almost caught in a stampede. When I looked west to see what they were running from, I saw a giant ball of grey dust heading towards us. I ran across Pine Street into 60 Wall Street and everyone was being evacuated to our lower levels. The entire building was engulfed in grey dust.

    Rumors started flying that the Stock Exchange had been hit. Someone said the top of the towers had collapsed, which we thought was ridiculous. I found a phone and called my husband, who filled me in on what was happening and that some planes were still unaccounted for. We saw on TV that the towers had collapsed. People were panicking and crying. Some decided to evacuate but our building security warned us to stay until we got the all clear.

    Close to noon, we were told that the entire area was being evacuated. I had not been allowed up to my 38th floor office to get my handbag and I pleaded with our security people to let me go up and get my handbag. I had nothing with me other than the pad of paper and pen I had taken to that meeting 3 hours before and told them they could not make me evacuate without money, house keys and my cell phone. I was escorted up in the freight elevator by a security guard and when we entered my office, both of us were struck by the sight of an empty sky filled with grey dust where the towers once stood. Tears welled up in my eyes and in the eyes of the burly security guard. I grabbed my handbag and briefcase, turned off my computer and we returned to our lobby.

    In our lobby, cafeteria workers handed us botted water and wet dish towels to shield our faces from the dust. We stepped out into what looked like nuclear winter and headed north. Some of my co-workers crossed the Brooklyn Bridge. I walked with one of my colleagues towards midtown, where we had another office building at 270 Park Avenue. There she was hoping to get a working phone to contact her husband in NJ and figure out how to get home. I live in Hell’s Kitchen and would then walk home. I’ll never forget that walk, as thousands of people walked north. Restaurants in Chinatown opened their doors and offered us cups of water. People helps others who were injured. Ladies took off their stilettos and walked barefoot. Police were everywhere, answering questions and handing out surgical masks.

    After dropping my friend off on Park Avenue I headed west and when I got to Rockefeller Plaza. It was almost empty, with only 2 tourists standing in front of the Today Show studios watching the horrow on the TV screens and the news ticker. I had never seen Rockefeller plaza deserted. Suddenly the enormity of what had happened that day hit me and I started to cry. I composed myself and headed home.

    Once home, I put my dust covered shoes (luckily I was wearing flats that day), now-dried dish cloth and surgical mask into a shoe box in the bottom of my closet. They are still there.

  • Irina

    My husband and I lived in Russia during World War II, with scars from the war being still painful. Watching on 9/11 the plane cutting a Twin Tower on TV screen, we looked out of our windows and saw the Tower in flames. The horrible scene automatically triggered in our minds our war impressions of the Nazi military planes bombarding peaceful cities: the first blow will be followed with more and more. Since we live a block away of the Hudson River, we “knew” our area might be the next target of the attack. Therefore, we immediately started walking downstairs from 15th floor we live on. Only on the street, watching both Towers sliding down, we were able to switch our minds from the painful past to the painful present.

  • Dolores Heinze

    Life for me after 9/11 did change forever. Every year, on that date, as I watch the memorial services onTV, one thought never leaves my mind. How could this have happened in the most powerful country in the world? How is it possible that we were bombed by our own planes in broad daylight?
    And, since it did happen, what could happen in the future? I believe Governor Kean was right in his comments after the 9/11 Report was issued………”They know more about us than we know about them”.

  • Michael Hepler-Smith, M.D.

    I had been up late overnight dealing with a medical emergency. A pediatrician of twenty years back then, I had become accustomed to that odd proclivity of emergencies to schedule themselves deep in the wee hours. I have a clever, if banal, sally which I have learned to toss across the table at restaurants without spilling the wine whenever a friend offers the fond suggestion that I must get very little sleep at night: “Oh!” I chirp. “Pediatrics is an insomniac’s dream.”
    My dreams were interrupted on this night by a concerned mother of a five week old infant. She told me that her baby had a fever and was very fussy. I sent this baby to Children’s Hospital with meningitis and watched the sun come up as I spoke over the phone with the resident, the nurse and the lab technician.
    In the morning I threw on some work clothes and hurried to the baby’s bedside. The mother was away from the room, probably looking for coffee and a snack. The second dose of antibiotics was infusing through an iv line in the baby’s arm. The baby was awake and alert, afebrile and looked, for all the world, like a healthy five week old. The preliminary labs confirmed meningitis.
    “You had a close call, child,” I whispered over the crib rail as I lifted it back into position, and I thought to myself what the last six hours had meant in the balance for this little human life. We had saved it – mother, phone company, myself, paramedics, residents, nurses – none of us heroes, but we did save a life today.
    I looked around the room, wondering how many lives might have been rescued in this hospital in the past twenty-four hours, the past week, the past year. That was when I noticed a small crowd, nurses, parents, doctors and others gathered under a wall-mounted television. On the screen, pale dense smoke was billowing out of one of the World Trade Center “twin towers” in New York City. I remembered our dinner at Windows on the World restaurant, three years before, the stiff breeze over the roof lookout, the pictures we had taken from the highest point in Manhattan.
    Then my jaw dropped as an enormous jet slammed full throttle into the other tower.
    Lives saved, lives lost, the dread of random illness, the terror of calculated malevolence – I tried to make sense of these thing that day and each day for the next ten years. I am comforted mostly by the knowledge that in our world those who plan to harm are far outnumbered by those who wish to save.

  • Roger Algase, Esq.

    Congratulations to Raouf Zaidan for his beautiful comment. If all of us on earth had the same feeling, no one would have to worry about another 9/11, an Afghanistan, an Iraq, or any of the many other conflicts caused by narrowness, intolerance, lack of humanity, religious obsession and lust for wealth and power.

    Even though we are a powerful country, America cannot control everything that goes on world wide. But we can combat hatred, intolerance, exploitation and inequality here at home. This means taking a close look at the agendas of most, if not all, of the presidential candidates now being put forward, or likely to be put forward between now and next year, by one of our two major political parties.

  • Cary Appenzeller

    I mostly remember my anger at my government’s sheer incompetence.

  • Clare Juddson Kagel

    I was in the rehab unit of Mt. Sinai Hospital, following a knee replacement. I was scheduled to be there for another week. While I did not have a TV, one of my roommates did, so that we received the news as soon as it was aired. Morning therapy sessions were cancelled while the staff held a conference. Around 10:30, the floor social worker came in to announce that we were all to be sent out to make space in the hospital for the expected victims of the attack. The most frail would go to nursing homes. Those of us closer to recovery were to be sent home. The hospital had ordered buses, ambulettes and car services. I phoned one of my friends to hurry over with a large suitcase to pack my accumulation of 10 days up. She lived on W.113 Street just off Amsterdam, and was forced to walk all the way to the hospital with the suitcase because she could find no transportation.

    When she arrived I shared my lunch with her while we awaited developments. The social worker would come in occasionally to say that they were still waiting for the transportation. We sat there hour after hour listening to radio and watching TV news. When supper came, I shared again with my waiting friend.

    At 6:30 the social worker came in and announced that noone was leaving — they had not been able to get the transportation. By that time I was very eager to get home and told her that I had already decathected from my bed and would not stay. She said there was no way for me to travel. I tried calling my own regular car service numbers and was told that none of their drivers were responding. I then called one of my neighbors who had a large car and asked if she could come for us. She was just feeding her two younger boys supper (the oldest was marooned in Brooklyn as a student at St. Anne’s). She said she would come as soon as the boys were fed, and she did. While we waited for her at the Madison Avenue exit from the hospital, we found out why the car service drivers were not responding. They were cruising up the avenue, obviously looking to make a good income that night.

    We lived on Riverside Drive, and in addition to the odors of burning World Trade Center that permeated the air, the sound of sirens whined throughout the night as ambulances passed our way carrying those few survivors to the famous burn unit at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. I gathered that Mt. Sinai had been optomistic in expecting survivors. The sound and the smell has stayed with me all of these years.

    And yet, it was difficult for me to comprehend the extent of what had happened. I was discussing that fact a couple of weeks later with the young mother who had brought me home that night. She had had the same feeling, and having learned that nuns from St. Hilda’s school (our neighbor and her younger sons’ school) were going down on a regular schedule to volunteer at St. Paul’s Chapel to service the volunteers who were digging, so she joined them for several nights. As soon as I could walk again and handle the subway steps, I did that too.

    Since then, being aware of all of the health problems experienced by our local volunteers as a result of breathing in all of those poisonous fumes, I have worried about the many volunteers who had come from abroad to assist in the digging. We met many there at St. Pauls — from Europe, Canada and as far as Australia. I wonder if anyone has information on those people.

  • Roz Dimon

    I lived near and worked with others (The Wall Street Journal Online, Deloitte., American Express, Lehman Brothers) in creative communications at The World Trade Center/World Financial Center for over ten years and lost many things that defined me as a consequence of 9/11 – my job, my home, the gallery that represented my work – but NOT my life. For that I am deeply grateful — and for the ensuing contemplation that drove me to think on a deeper level about what it means to be an artist and what my role should be. 

    PALE MALE: A Pilgrimage, the work I share with you here, is a direct outcome of that experience and is as new as the post 9/11 digital world in which we now find ourselves: a web painting about a dark place filled with light where art meets spirit meets digit. (TOUCH) — a story that reaches out from the wall (much like a contemporary icon) and attempts to say, not so much “see me,” as I “see you.” http://palemale-a-pilgrimage.com

    This work and that of other artists may also be seen at The Artists Registry of The 9/11 Memorial Museum online.

  • Matthew Katz

    I was awakened by a phone call from my wife who had seen the television transmissions while at work. She told me to turn on the TV and I did. I don’t know if it was my drowsy state or just the surrealism of what I was watching, but it took some time, at least until the second plane hit, for the horror to register. At that point, I quickly dressed and went outside. I live on Roosevelt Island, and our West Promenade on the East River afforded a direct view of the smoking buildings. Even more than the visual impression of the disaster, I will never forget the smell of smoke that lingered for a week.

    As president of our residents association, I went to work trying to arrange for a blood drive, either on-Island or elsewhere, to take donors from our population of about 12,000 people. I learned that blood centers were swamped all over the City and that, given how few of the victims survived or required blood, that most the donations that day would be discarded six weeks later when their shelf-life expired. I was advised to consider a drive post-New Year’s, when the City’s stored are traditionally low, and that is what we did. Ten years later, our annual blood drive on Roosevelt Island Day, under the auspices of the New York Blood Center, has become a tradition.

    This Sunday, September 11, Roosevelt Island will remember our five neighbors lost that day as well as the fallen members of the FDNY Special Ops command, located here. In a candlelight ceremony at dusk, we will gather at our memorial plaque and tree to commemorate our loss through the spoken word and song. You are welcome to join us.

  • Philip Monteleoni

    I Witness 9/11

    The morning of September 11, 2001, was bright and clear in New York City. It was a Tuesday, and at 9AM I would normally already be at my office near Union Square, except that this morning I had stopped to vote in primary elections. Consequently I emerged from the Union Square subway station a bit later than normal.

    I remember walking up the stairs from the subway station and seeing above me at street level a cluster of people stopped and all staring in the same direction. Perhaps they’re watching people shooting a movie in Union Square, as often happen, I thought. As I reached street level, I then saw what they were looking at – two miles away, but clearly visible in this limpid blue-sky day, the World Trade Center towers were shining in the morning light. But there was an ugly, jagged hole high up on the face of the closer of the two buildings – the north face of the north tower. Unbelievably, a plane had smashed into the skyscraper – the tallest building in the city, and hard to miss on such a clear day. I joined the people who had, like me, been stopped in their tracks on their way to work, and tried to make sense of the scene.

    The scar was black, and dark smoke was twisting upwards out of it. It was a horizontal scar, tilted somewhat lower at the left than at the right, and larger in the middle. It seemed to be affecting more than one floor. There was not much conversation among us. Clearly a plane had done it, and most of us must have remembered that sometime in the 1940′s a US Army bomber had accidentally crashed into the Empire State Building, killing its crew but otherwise creating very little damage. From our distance we could not be sure of the size of the plane that hit the WTC, but we assumed a private plane had met its death through the pilot’s inexperience or incapacitation. I remained standing there for several minutes, thinking about the eventual cleanup and repair of the facade, which would surely erase any trace of the accident in a matter of weeks.

    I needed to start my day, however, so I turned from the scene and made my way two blocks north to 19th Street and my office, where I booted up my computer. First, I checked emails, then I looked for a news website, because I could not get the airplane out of my mind. Unable to really focus on work, I decided to leave the office and walk back to my Union Square vantage point. At this point the crowd had grown somewhat, but still not a mass of people.

    The towers were bright and loomed large, even from two miles away. We were all focused on the gash on the north tower, when suddenly a gigantic ball of flame burst from the middle of the south tower, billowing out from one corner of the facade facing us. Holy Shit! Many of us gasped. This was no accident, but an attack! It looked like a Hollywood special effect, but it was right in front of us, in New York City, on a Tuesday in September, on a real building with hundreds of people in it. From our Union Square vantage point we had not seen the sinister apparition of the second plane curving in from the south, which many saw from further downtown, but we knew it must have been a plane. That’s when the conversations and questions started up among my fellow strangers. The term ‘Al Qaeda’ was not yet in use, but many of us guessed Osama Bin Laden was behind this. The fire that had been so huge at the start had subsided, but clearly this was a catastrophic killing event, where before we had naively just assumed an accident in the north tower with perhaps only a few casualties among the early bird workers. This was horror, right in front of us – although we were at a safe remove. But we felt were being mugged nonetheless. Our town was being savaged and we were helpless spectators.

    With a feeling of sadness, fear, anger and impotence, I stared at the scene of the two burning gashes on the once-proud World Trade Center for almost half an hour before turning north for the short walk back to my office. Again, a vision of the inevitable rescue of people and repair of the structures comforted me. In the office, clearly no one was working, but all were trading their impressions of shock and alarm. A blurry TV set was tuned to the news, but I could not watch it. Why not go back out and face the real scene a third time?

    Now the people in Union Square, with a view to the World Trade Center unobstructed by buildings, had grown to crowd size. I regained my vantage point and looked helplessly at the tragedy. Clearly many, many people were in trouble in the towers. Anyone on the impact floors had to be dead or injured. Anyone on the floors above would be facing intolerable heat and toxic smoke. We hoped the rescuers could minimize the casualties, quench the fires and restore safe conditions – although catastrophically altered.

    No one expected what happened next. I was looking at the south tower, when, from the corner of the north facade at the site of the earlier ball of flame, I could see what looked like aluminum chaff, small metal strips flying off the building, and the upper part of the tower beginning to lean slightly as that corner started to collapse. Then the building top righted itself and began to come down, slowly at first, and then faster, as a crushing mallet pulverizing everything below it, generating a cloud of grey dust that obliterated the final act of the scene. Now the gasps of the crowd became loud sobs, and several cried. We all looked at each other in blank grief. The tower was gone, and all that was left was a smudgy, smoky cloud hiding nothing. Within it and beneath it must be thousands of victims, all annihilated. How naive for me to have thought about facade repair earlier that morning!

    Well, I thought, it’s over. The north tower is definitely not going to follow the same fate, because its scar is much higher, has less of the tower above it, is centered on the facade instead of on the corner of the floor, has less smoke and no visible fire. I could go back to the office and share and unload what I had seen with my colleagues. They were still in the lunchroom glued to the TV set with fuzzy reception. I had been outside with a clear view, watching in real time unpolluted by TV announcers and pundits, instant replays or commercials, and could not understand why my friends had not chosen to do the same. Nonetheless, now I was inside and following the story on TV. I told the others I had seen the actual south tower collapse, and reassured them that the north tower would not follow suit. As if to rebut me, a few moments later, on the little screen, we all saw the top of the north tower start its inexorable descent!

    The rest of the day I was numb. My son had called to check if I was all right, my wife let me know she was on duty at an uptown hospital which was on alert to receive the masses of wounded – who never came – and the city had shut down, as had all air traffic across the nation.

    We learned later that the husband of my wife’s colleague had perished in the north tower. He was a wonderful husband, father of one girl, with another on the way. He had gone to work unusually early that day, and he and his secretary were cleaning out his office since it was his last day of work! After the impact of the first plane, which was several floors below him, the two of them became trapped in his office because the door was wedged shut. He had the presence of mind not only to call his family – leaving several messages at home for his pregnant wife who had already left for work – but also to call television news stations to alert them and update them. This was before the second plane hit and before the tenor of the attack became clear. His voice was relayed and broadcast, while he reassured the listeners that he was safe and expecting firemen any minute.

    Unfortunately the real events of that day, as they then unfolded, were something that neither he nor any of us could have anticipated or had been prepared to comprehend.

  • Flora Hogman

    On the morning of 9/11 I was rushing to vote in the primary. I was very surprised to see a line of people looking towards the twin towers. I saw flames.. I thought they were shooting a film!
    It was only when I came back home that I found out about the horrible truth.
    amazingly, or perhaps not so amazingly when I explain why I became totally numb, incapable of reacting or incorporating what was happening. Myself a psychologist I soon was asked to come downtown and help. I just couldnt face it.
    At the end of WWII I was hidden as a child in the country side in southern eastern France close by to the biggest German ammunition center in the area. Just before the allies arrived the Germans blew up the whole compound. Bombs were whistling over our heads as we ran for underground cover. It appears that the only reason we were not all killed is that czek prisoners cut the thread to the dynamite.
    Anyway I believe 9/11 brought me straight back to that terrifying moment (among many others) and I just had to be numb. I felt terrible about it, paralyzed to do anything about it) but then i decided that was my chance to explain my sense of shame in the context of my hisotry which I usually avoided to talk about, and perhaps alsosubsequently help others in other circumstances where they cannot deal with a situation and everyone else feels they should be.
    What I did was to cook a storm for all the doctors. I managed to compel myself to go down there a few weeks later, to face the whole tragedy. That was the best I could do. Later when I individually met people I happened to know who had lost someone on 9/11 I could cry with them and mourn. That was different.
    Flora Hogman

  • deb


    my heart and soul goes out to all those who have suffered in this great tragedy…my friend is hosting a play in brooklyn, called pieces of paper, about the 911 first responders if any one is interested, it will be showing all this week…

  • Claire Quigley

    I found out what had happened in the elevator on my way up to my office @ NY Presbyterian where I am a Nurse-Practitioner. It took several more minutes to learn it was an attack and not an accident. I called my husband to pick up our children, who had already been dropped off at school in the East Village. I felt I would need to stay at work, since hospitals would be inundated. I called my mother and brother on Staten Island and remember my brother saying how busy I would be, helping survivors.
    As my colleagues and I sat in our office it slowly and sadly dawned on us how quiet it was, how no ambulances were arriving, and how many had probably died.

  • Raquel

    I was working in a school in Brooklyn. I left my office and went down the hall. As I passed a big window I saw a sight that my brain took a second to understand. I was looking at one of the towers engolfed in big clouds of black smoke. My body felt paralized. I did not want to believe what I was seeing. And then people starte coming around and watching in horror. I felt in my gut that it was a terrorist attack and knew that our world will never be the same. But I am a social worker and I had an assignment to go do a home visit for a child who needed special services an whose mother was very ill and could not come to the school to sign permission for the child to be tested. A fellow worker and I went to the child’s home and when we got there we saw all the horror in a big screen TV. We did get permission and the child eventually received the services. On Sunday 9/16 I started working with the families of the firefighters who died. For years I worked as a counselor with the families and some individual firefighters whose level of pain and courage to heal, so they could bear witness, was admirable. Their courage touched me in such a profound way that it help me keep my faith in the human spirit. We will honor the heroes of 9/11 and rightfully so but we must also honor their families who have had to deal with their pain since then.

  • Monteverde

    I waited for hours to receive a phone call from my father. He had worked with the World Trade Center before it was even constructed.. over 33 years. I knew he would be evacuating co-workers before thinking about his own safety. I just returned from a plane flight that morning and decided not to go into work and turned on the T.V. before I went to sleep. The World Trade Center was on fire and my concerns for my father started to worry me. My father had a very important role in the 1st World Trade Tower. As I watched the news and saw planes colliding into the Towers, I was devastated at the fact it was a terrorist attack. I was concerned for everyone’s safety but I had a personal stake because of my father. He barely survived the bombing in 1993 and made the news and newspapers during that event, so again I was worried. After Tower 2 collapsed my emotions were a wreck! After Tower One collapsed I became numb. I knew my father went down with the building because of his dedication to the Port Authority and his concern for the safety of others!!! I received a plethora of phone calls from concerned friends, who knew my father was an employee of the World Trade Center. The plane actually crashed into the area were my father’s office was located. He usually reports to work by 6 am. I knew this day would be no different. I remember as a child walking on the beams before the towers were constructed. The World Trade Center was a major part of my life. I visited there frequently, sometimes just to pay my father a visit. All morning my phone rang and to no avail it was not my father on the other end. I was also thinking of the many family friends that worked at the Trade Center. My family had developed relationships with my fathers co-workers family so no matter what, I was going to be devastated by a loss of family friends of over twenty years and of course the possibilities of losing my father. As his only son I could only reflect on what it would be like not having my father in my life, as he always played an instrumental role in my life. I thought about my children and my two sisters having to deal with the loss of my father. I expected him to go down with the Trade Center because he would risk his life for others before his.

    At exactly 12 noon, the phone rang, by this time I was getting annoyed because it was everyone but my father calling me. I didn’t have ‘call-waiting’ so I had to keep my line clear. I understood everyone’s concern for me and my father but I just wanted to hear his voice confirming that he was alive. When I picked up the phone, in tears, I said hello and by God’s will, it was my father. He called me by my childhood nickname that he gave me from birth, and tears of joy poured from my eye ducts. He had decided to grab a cup of coffee and vote in his district before going to work that day. He saw the disaster from the Brooklyn Bridge. Although he saw what had transpired, he wanted to continue to go to the Trade Center but Police Authorities would not allow him, regardless of his title and credentials. Thank goodness.
    I finally saw my father long hours later because of the alert. When he opened the front door to his house, I gave him the biggest hug possible. He was distraught! He was weary! He was ‘umbrella’d’ with a somber feeling, yet happy to hold his son in his arms. He worried on how many lives he was responsible for at the World Trade Center, for he was responsible for the hiring of many minorities through a program he initiated and had implemented. Again, his concern was for his friends and their families. Days after being taunted and hunted down by the media (T.V., Newspapers and radio) he nominated himself to call families whose love ones were determined a casualty of the horrific event! Always thinking of others before himself, I assisted him anyway possible.

    You often read in history books of such events, but never in my wildest dreams would I think I would have a personal stake in this global Historic event. Every year I make a special call to my father on 9-11 to let him know how grateful I am of his presence in my life. Our relationship has strengthened ten fold as father-son and best friends. Although he has returned to the site once, he refuses to go in that area of Manhattan. Unsure if he wants to visit the memorial, I am blessed he survived another World trade Disaster and mourn for those whose life’s were lost. My father was very popular amongst the World trade Employees and the lost of hundreds, possibly thousands of friends, co-workers and acquaintances I’m sure, still lingers in his memories and on September 11th, I keep my father company because I know how painful the memories must be for him. Now that he is retired from the Port Authority, people will forever question him about 9-11. Although he shows strength, I know he must harbor his deepest feelings of sadness on this particular day.

    They say the wing of the Hijacked plane went through his office. My father is a living Angel because God spared his life TWICE relating to World Trade Center disasters!

    My deepest feelings go out to all of those that lost loved ones!

  • Jane Herschlag


    8:46 Herb calls—
    A plane crashed
    into the World Trade Center.

    I turn on tv—
    flames, smoke, a black hole
    through the heart of New York City.

    9:02 a second plane—
    two craters, smoke surges,
    flames lash the sky.

    I click off the set.
    Fear won’t scorch me.
    I don’t want to linger
    more truncated than I am.
    Eyes ahead, I march to the bank notary,
    wanting to ask each person I pass—
    Do you know?

    Inside, murmurs. Someone proclaims—
    It’s the fault of the liberals.

    Three blocks to Voice Stream—
    my new, expensive phone, a weak signal
    since day one. The manager unlocks the glass door,
    explains, We are closing due to today’s events.
    Other stores closing, closed.

    Fifteen minutes
    have drooped our shoulders,
    tear-streaked faces, hushed voices.
    Communal sorrow—echoes of Kennedy, King.
    A pyre of thousands.

    I open my front door, run to the phone.
    Herb—A coworker, not there for two years,
    today was on the roof of tower 1
    repairing their aerial.
    Flames, smoke, helicopters couldn’t rescue
    those reaching skyward.

    I click on the set.
    Only channel 25—stuttering
    Replays forward/reverse—
    planes, smoke,
    flames, people fleeing,
    Osama bin Laden,
    Afghanistan. War. War? War!

    Watching, nailed to the couch,
    waiting to hear from family, friends.
    My son, home, sick,
    his wife called from their office—
    Like an earth quake;
    all building occupants ran to the cellar.
    Management won’t let us out.

    I wish the attackers instant death.

    Next day I hunt in my closets.
    Wooden flagpole in my hand, where is
    our folded red, white, and blue,
    shelved since Vietnam?

    I need to drape it from our 2nd floor window
    this country, Ellis Island, my family,
    when others slammed their doors.

    I search between bulky sweaters,
    a faded shirt, tax records.
    Oh, washed last summer,
    the red bled into the yellowed white.
    I tossed out our 48 stars.

    I buy a rhinestone pin—
    our flag made of stardust,
    tape a paper flag to my front door,
    my car window, on top of a gift box.
    Stripes and stars in every size:
    on entrance and lobby doors, on men’s lapels,
    in shop windows, next to Korean, Chinese, Arabic alphabets.

    The red and white bars—steel beams,
    the stars—rivets,
    our World Trade Center.

    For seven years I curated the poetry & prose readings at the West Side Y
    and we had a reading dedicated to the victims. Joan Murray, the featured reader
    read from the book she edited, Poems To Live By In Uncertain Times.
    If you wish to have more info I would be glad to forward it to you.
    Jane Herschlag

  • Rose

    I am a high school teacher in Brooklyn. On that clear day myself and my students watched from the 4th floor classroom as the smoke came out of the Towers. One of my students said: “I need to go home, my house is on fire”. From where we watched it did look like all of Brooklyn between us and the Twin Towers was burning. As I was trying o explain that the fire was in Manhattan to the first student, another student pointed to the window in the direction of the Twin Towers and shouted”Look! it’s gone!” We all got silent and tried to comprehend what had just happened. The first of the Towers had fallen. I watched and realized that what I had known for 50 as the NY skyline had been changed forever. Students Kept making comments, I couldn’t answer them. We all got silent and just gathered together and stood and watched. As I look back I realized that all of those seemingly hard core gang banger students really clung to me for answers. For the first time in my educators career, I had nothing to tell them. I hope that I will never have that feeling of utter helplessness again. Out of all the students who have passed through my classes since, I can still rememer the silent attentive faces of the 30 students that stood with me the day our lives changed forever.

  • Beverly Braxton

    Ten years ago, my 3rd and 4th grade class designed, developed and built a memorial on our school grounds in response to the events of 9/11. Our story was born of my frustration and their fears, my anger at their excitement because our country was going to war and their anxiety about another terrorist attack. On the Peace Wall Memorial webpage, you can read how my students transformed their anger, sorrow and confusion into a beautiful monument to peace. (www.peacewallmemorial.org)

  • Kathy Harrington

    I am an RN, and that day, I was scheduled to work 3-11. My unit was a children’s psychiatric unit at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. My brother in Michigan had called me early that morning, “Turn on the TV!” We sat in awe for hours on the phone and just watched together, totally numb. I knew that the hospital was preparing gurneys for the disaster victims. He pleaded with me to stay home that day. Of course, I could not do that. When I got to work, I had to park on the top level of the parking garage. It was there that I witnessed, in real life, the horrendous plumes of smoke that could be seen from across the river. On my way to my unit, empty gurneys lined the halls. Few victims, if any, had made it to Newark, mainly because there were so few survivors. Many of my co-workers had loved ones in the towers. The morning shift was mandated to stay until 8 pm. that day. Children drew pictures of planes hitting buildings. It was a real effort to treat these already emotionally challenged kids, ages 4-17.
    I later spent a week as a camp nurse for children who lost their family members to the tragedy.
    I think it was my way of giving, in order to heal from the trauma of that horrible day.

  • Carolyn Weddell

    I remember walking up Third Avenue on the Upper East Side with my then four-year-old daughter. I had gone into work briefly then headed home, picking up my daughter from daycare on the way. Hundreds of people were walking with us. At one point someone looked up and pointed out a fighter jet. Not yet knowing all the details of the attack, I thought, “Hope they’re ours” and wondered whether other mothers, then and past, had thought this as well. As we got to 72nd Street, a tired office worker behind me said quietly to her walking companion, “I needed a day off – but I didn’t want anyone to die to get me one.” I briefly thought of saying, “How do you think we got Memorial Day?” But I thought better of it. We had a friend and some cousins stay with us that evening. The one cousin worked with the food service at Marsh McLennan in midtown, described how he could see the buildings burning and collapsing even from so far uptown, and how everyone was worried about the Marsh colleagues in the Towers. It wasn’t until Wednesday night that the wind shifted. My daughter had gone with her father out to Jersey, and my open 12th floor windows on 79th Street let in a warm breeze that smelled of diesel and burnt meat. I thought, “Am I breathing in someone’s remains?”

  • Joanie Fritz Zosike

    A few days before 9/11 a car went up in flames a few doors down from where I lived on Stanton St. on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. This resulted in a chemical smell, that of burning rubber and metal parts, I smell I perversely like, just as I perversely like the smell of skunk. At 8:40-ish on that fateful Tuesday morning of September 11, I was as usual at my computer trying to get through my email before I went off to work. And I smelled that same chemical smell. “Great,” I thought, “another car burning.” Then the announcement came over the radio that the World Trade Center had been hit by a small craft. Good grief, I thought. I turned the TV on to NY1 and they were conjecturing all over the place. The unedited version of the video clip came on with someone on site shouting “Holy sh*t” as they witnessed the second jet making impact. No one knew what was happening yet. My husband was in his native Nigeria and I was alone so I phoned my brother who lives a few blocks north of me and said, “Bobby, the World Trade Center is under attack.” We made a plan to take a few essential things from home and meet at a nearby coffee shop to deal with this unknown thing together. It is said that moments like this are in slow motion but for me, everything sped up. Trying to contact family to let them know we were okay, trying to reach elderly friends to know if they were needed anything. Bobby and I learned from our friend Sallie that our mutual friend Steve was inconsolable. He feared that his son, who worked on the 103rd floor of Tower 1, was dead. He was certain from the first moment that Paul didn’t make it. As we later found out, alas, his father’s intuition proved correct. I made a one-two-three go bag for myself–passport, medications, water, the few dollars I had lying around the house and a change of underwear. I didn’t take my camera. It seemed somehow inappropriate to be snapping pictures. Nor did I bring my journal. I couldn’t put into words what I was feeling. Heading on 2nd Avenue to the diner where I was to meet my brother, I could hear the wail of sirens and see a stream of vehicles—fire trucks, police cars, MTA buses, school vehicles, what seemed like millions of conveyances pressed into service, every single one of them heading downtown in the direction of, as it came to be known, “Ground Zero.” People covered in white dust and black soot were walking uptown on 2nd Avenue, totally freaked out by what they witnessed, yet elated to be among the survivors. They talked excitedly into cell phones and walkie-talkies, tried to make calls from pay phones to worried loved ones. Communication was pretty shoddy, coming on and off. There was little or no Internet. TV stations and radio were functioning, at least those who weren’t cut off by the effects of the jet planes-cum-bombs. The familiar rubbery chemical smell was pervasive. “We’re breathing in the bodies of the dead,” I thought to myself. It wasn’t a morbid thought. It was a true one. Such overwhelming sorrow, such fear about what might happen next. I kept turning around to see the towers with the two plumes of black smoke and sparkly clouds covering the Manhattan skyline. The day was ironically bright and sunshiny. Suddenly, like a stack of cards, one of the towers went down. I stood transfixed, tears running down my face. Then the second tower collapsed as well. All that life, erased. Later in the day we went with our friend Sallie to the Armory on 26th Street and Lexington, the headquarters for people trying to get information about missing loved ones. We went on our friend Steve’s behalf. He was too overwhelmed to leave his house. There was little we could find out. In the next days Sallie brought Paul’s toothbrush to the Armory to provide a DNA sample. In the Armory itself, grief counselors were stationed all over the place. So many people volunteering, such kindness. Police officers showing the ultimate in compassion. Nothing but help and succor. Nobody yet crying for vengeance. The first responders, the angels and the sisters of mercy. Only later would come the horrible judgments and war fever, the Patriot Act, the erosion of civil liberties, the xenophobic spiral downward. But for this shimmering, shivering, rarified moment, New Yorkers were as one. We’d heard the horrifying news the beautiful flaming birds swan diving from the towers before they collapsed, the plane being downed in Pennsylvania, Bush being ineffective and stupid, tactical errors such as no jets being scrambled, the heroism of the first responders, the hospitals standing by eerily empty of survivors. People kept saying, “This is surreal.” But it wasn’t surreal. It was far beyond what the surrealists, in their artistic reaction to the clanging 20th century, could ever have envisioned. And then the panacea phrase was born: “Back to normal.” How strange that nothing has ever gotten back to normal. We have been irrevocably shaped and reshaped by the events of that day, and its leviathan consequences. Perhaps on September 11, 2011, we can begin to heal and transform what happened and move on. As wars rage in Iran and Afghanistan and assisted regime changes are effected as a matter of presidential discretion, I’m not holding my breath. Om shanty. Pun intended.

  • Alice Twombly

    As was the case with other disasters– the assassination of John Kennedy, the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr, the killing of Rober F Kennedy, the Challenger Disaster, the terrorist attack on the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City–I was in my high school English class teaching when we first got word of the bombing of the World Trade Center. Before the Principal made a general announcement, all of the students who had parents known to be working at the WTC had been called out of the classrooms to advise them of what happened. We listened to the Principal’s voice and by this time the second tower had been hit. We were incredulous and the students began talking but the period was ending.. My Teaneck, NJ,high school seniors had been complaining before this that their lives had been dull and uneventful– they had lived through the end of the 90′s and the beginning of the 2000′s and there hadn’t been real life changing events like the Civil Rights Mov’t or the assassinations, etc. Nothing exciting happened to their generation as had happened to their parents’, they complained.
    Little did they know how they would be transformed by these events. Eleven children in our town lost family members that day. My brother worked across from 6 World Trade Center when it was bombed in 1993 and his office had been moved to Battery Park City and I wondered if he were safe or able to get home.
    Others expressed similar fears as we gathered around the tvs turned on all over the school and watched the Towers crumble. The rest of the day had an eerie silence as we tried to keep the students together– it was only the 4th day of school. I had remembered that on August 29th when I flew back from the Galapagos Islands I had noted the Towers welcoming me home as I flew into Newark Airport. Then on Sept 9th, I had driven over the Brooklyn Bridge from a birthday party and noted the clear sky and the moon shining on the East River as the Towers illuminated the lower end of Manhattan. The Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building were echoes down the isle of Manhattan as I drove home and remarked at their tranquil beauty. I was happy to live where I lived. I was thinking about all of these as I went through my day.
    After school a friend had to drive me to the Toyota dealer where my car had been serviced that day, in Fort Lee, not far from the George Washington Bridge As we approached the Toyota place, a woman was running down Route 9W carrying an enormous American flag, like an Olympic runner.. After picking up my car, I drove to the entrance to Route 4 West where droves of people were walking home from Manhattan down the middle of of the highway carrying their briefcases It was now about 4:30 and there was a billow of smoke over Manhattan. Finding that way home impassable because of the walking workers, , I turned back and headed towards Englewood where phalanxes of similarly dressed men and women were walking their ways home from work, wearied by the days events. I will never forget these images.
    Weeks later, I had to fly from the Newark Airport, the same airport where I had arrived so happily 6 weeks before. There were no Towers to see( although I involuntarily looked for them) , just the smoke over the Hudson. The war in Afghanistan had just started, Bush had announced increased security screening in all airports. Newark Airport was almost totally empty that morning except for armed soldiers carrying their AK-47′s( like all of the police I had seen in Ecuador) and patrolling the empty lobbies while the few passengers heading to their planes stopped en route and gathered at every tv monitor– all tuned to CNN.

  • Karen Mulvey

    Yes, it was a beautiful sparkling day. As I was driving to my job in Jersey City, a commentator on the radio said a plane had struck the World Trade Center. He said to his peer that it was probably a private plane gone astray, and this is what I believed.
    Driving east on Columbus Ave. in Jersey City, I saw a very large black cloud straight ahead. Shortly after, the commentator reported we had been attacked.
    I recall feeling shocked, and very somber at the same time.(Those feelings are still very present when I recall 9/11.) There was disbelief at the office, and the routine staff meeting was to begin shortly. I recall standing silently looking out a window with a peer. We could see the smoke in the sky.
    My heart goes out, as do my prayers, to all those feeling such a loss from this violent tragedy.

  • Sylvia Steinbrock

    My husband and I were on 23rd St. walking to the VA where he had an appointment. Suddenly everyone was looking up to see smoke in the sky and we did too. We didn’t know what was burning, but when we entered the VA they told us that all appointments were cancelled so the doctors could go to the hospitals to wait for people hurt in the downing of the World Trade Center. It was only then that we found out that terrorists were responsible for it. We went home and watched TV for the rest of the day.

  • Marcia Slatkin

    UPSIDE DOWN, 9-11 and after, is a full length play to be produced and directed by Tony White in NYC during the months of September and October, 2011. I wrote it based on the reactions of people I knew, although there is a bit of me in each character, as often happens when writing drama.
    How did we make sense of the 9-11 attacks? Watch five young New Yorkers and the aged Mrs. Fu, guardian of the unclaimed laundry of the 9-11 dead, take stage and struggle with love, political activism, women’s issues, and reconciliation. How does each decide to live after the world turns “UPSIDE DOWN”? Intense, fast-paced, unresolved, provocative theater. http://www.marciaslatkiin.com

  • DB

    The morning of Sept 11, 2001 I exited the Hearld Square N station and saw the most fabulous blue sky over the city. I thought to myself, “this is the loveliest sky I have ever seen in New York City.” I enjoyed the sky on the walk to work. I worked the 7 – 3 shift monitoring security operations at WNET. My console had a direct link to the 110th floor of the World Trade Center North Tower where my colleague, Rod Coppola worked as Transmission Engineer. When Rod would reset equipment at his end I would often get an alarm from the World Trade Center indicating our connection had been terminated and also needed to be reset. I would call Rod on the phone and tell him he needed to reset our connection. Often he would reply with a funny line and we would have our laugh of the day. Rod was a quick witted, fun loving, gentle soul. I was sitting in the security room at WNET when I received an alarm from the Trade Center indicating our transmission lines were not working. At 8:46 am I received an alarm from the World Trade Center. I looked at the computer monitor, pushed back from the console and said out loud to no one in the room, “O my God, something big has just happened!” I called Rod. No answer. I tried for 30 minutes to reach Rod before finding out a plane had struck the North Tower where Rod was located on the 110th floor. It was later I realized the alarm came from the plane severing our communication lines to World Trade Center. Reality gripped me when I turned on the TV in my supervisor’s office and saw the burning buildings. I was devastated. I worked 26 hours that day before being relieved the next morning. I had nightmares for a very long time after 911, mostly of Rod and the other engineers screaming for me to help them escape the thick, black wall of toxic air that filled their work area. I would awaken nightly sobbing trying to help these men escape the fate reality dealt them. I will never forget Gerard Rod Coppola, his laughter and his kind heart. I will never forget those who were doing their job that day and died on that hallowed ground. May they all be at Peace one day.

  • Diana Boernstein

    I was getting dressed to go out when I heard an airplane sound, extremely loud and close. I rushed to the back window and there was a huge passenger plane, flying far too low, and seeming about to crash. I live in a 5th floor loft in the mid-Village, with a clear view of the twin towers in plain sight from our front windows just blocks away. There was an audible crash, followed almost immediately an enormous spurt of flames from the upper floors of the World Trade Center. One of my house-mates, Joy, who had left for her work at the Metropolitan Museum, came panting up the stairs saying “We are under attack”. I thought it was a terrible accident. Together we watched in disbelief as the flames belched, surged and billowed. Transfixed with horror, we went down to the street below, which was rapidly filling with people holding hands over their mouths or foreheads, staring unblinking at the scene of terror unfolding before us. There was a distant plane sound, and a second plane appeared heading straight for the towers. I assumed – ridiculously – that it was rescue plane come to explore the damage. It crashed into the second tower with an immense burst of flame. “We’re under attack”, said Joy. She went to work. I stared incredulously, frozen with fear, and saw the pancake collapse of first one tower, then the second, with a fast-moving cloud of ash particles and bits of paper. People started appearing on foot from the disaster scene, gray with dust. Many ambulances started a chorus of sirens. I walked to St. Vincent’s Hospital, where the ambulances seemed to be heading. Hundreds – maybe thousands – of visibly distressed people poured into the area around St. Vincent’s. I asked a hospital staff-member what I could do to help, hoping to mop up blood or comfort the injured. “Can you keep all these volunteers away?” he said. “The ambulances need to get through as quickly as possible.” I spent the immediate aftermath of 9/11 trying, futilely, to keep the front of St. Vincent’s clear of would-be helpers.

  • Jim Mendelson

    Like every person living or working in Manhattan that day, I was stunned and felt like I was living in a nightmare. I was working from my home office, looking out over mid-town Lexington Avenue. The noise from the traffic was subdued after the attack. By about 12 noon, I noticed the eerie complete lack of any traffic noise. I peered out of my fourth floor window, and instead of hearing car horns, racing engines and people talking I witnessed the strangest sight of my life. Masses of people were silently walking up, the wrong way on Lexington Avenue. All day long, people in groups of two, 10, 20 or more were walking I guess 5 or 6 miles to get to midtown where I lived, with perhaps another 5 to 10 more miles to get home. Most people were dressed in business attire, buy all were covered in a white coating of dust and soot. Since no trains or buses were running,most of these people were probably out of town commuters with 6 to 10 more hours left to reach the suburbs after crossing the bridges. It was like a parade of the new homeless, the walking dead, they were expressionless, silent and walked in a slow, but intent manner. Like soldiers returning from a battle, they had witnessed horror and they were reliving memories of attack as they were also reliving memories of the lost and of loved ones. It was the day Lexington Avenue flowed the wrong way. It would be weeks, months and years before anything in NYC didn’t seem to run the wrong way. Even the 10th year memorial events and media coverage seems unlike any other memorial, it is a reminder when NYC and our lives ran the wrong way, backwards, upside down and inside out. None of us will ever be the same, and we may never understand why.

  • Joanne Hoffman Beechko

    10 years later and the memory and pain resurface as if it were yesterday, and I lost no one directly attached to my immediate family and friends….
    I work out in Suffolk county as a pharmacist, and was already working that unforgetable morning. A customer came in and told us the Twin Towers had been hit by a plane. News was turned on, stories started flying, people were gripped with fear that the entire nation was under attack, and I did not know if my brother who worked on Wall Street was in those buildings or not. Hours passed as I worked through the panic and fear, trying to keep it together and continue to help my patients as we all listened to the news,
    cried and stood in awe and disbelief as we heard of The Towers coming down. It was not until early afternoon that I heard that my brother was okay, that he was among the thousands walking uptown,
    covered in devastating soot, unable to speak of what he saw to this day…..
    We lost 2 firechiefs, a physician, family of children in my kids’ school and all became victims of others inhumane ways of dealing with differences and miscomprehensions as so many have in history past.
    For months, customers came in telling their stories, some of whom were in the buildings and managed to escape. Memories rebound every year as we get closer to September 11th.

    We have all been scarred by 9/11, some much much more than others. We strive to promote understanding and open, clear communication in our small universe, to heal and advance forward,
    but the tears will continue and we’ll never forget.

  • Gordon Huie

    It has been a very difficult ten anniversaries. Each year, the wound is again opened as I recollect vividly the horrors of that day of calamity. I survived Tower Two, was able to help surgically at the nearest hospital to ground zero that morning, learned of my sister’s presence and subsequent death in Tower One that evening. I can still hear the exploding roar of the majestic tower; I can still smell and taste the acrid smoke. Can one shed anymore tears? When I think I have given all I could give, God allows me to cry again. The pain will always be there; my tears will no doubt stream down in my solitude. I find comfort in knowing that God’s justice and wrath will be swift and that I will no doubt see my sister Susan again when I depart this mortal coil.

  • Ellen Schecter

    I Still Remember
    by Ellen Schecter
    [I was invited to read these thoughts at a Ceremony of Remembrance on the first anniversary of September 11 at Symphony Space, sponsored by the West Side JCC. I retain the copyright.]
    9/11/01. 7:20 a.m. 340 Riverside Drive.
    Brilliant blue morning. My husband and I stumble, yawning, into our elevator, already rumpled, and meet — the beautiful couple from 8D: He, impeccable and masculine in charcoal pinstripes, crisp button-down and tie. She, impeccable and delicate in brown pinstripes and crisp white blouse, open at the neck. His and Her colognes. Burnished leather briefcases.
    Yet how vulnerable: her perfect pedicure, twenty scarlet American Beauty rose petals peeking out beneath perfectly-pleated trousers; gleaming ginger hair sleekly brushed from a white pinstripe part.
    We greet each other and the unsullied day.
    The elevator opens.
    They stride away in perfect unison, chatting softly, deliberately bumping shoulders, out into the crystalline morning.
    * * *
    9/11/01. 9:13 a.m. Upper East Side.
    We hail a taxi after a medical consultation. The driver turns all the way around, desperate to share his burden: Two planes; two towers; two crashes. He must tell us twice, his voice trembling.
    Just like the Kennedys’ assassinations, or King’s, or the Columbia Space shuttle, click! a freeze-frame forever in time.
    We three huddle around the car radio—our hearth.
    * * *
    9/11/01. Noon. Outside St. Luke’s Hospital. Upper West Side.
    Sickening replays of blooming orange fire and billowing gray smoke push me and my neighbors into action. Sidewalks teem with restless but orderly crowds nearly frantic to give blood or volunteer.
    My city. My neighbors. The bad brings out the good. In droves.
    * * *
    9/15/01. 2 p.m. Congregation B’Nai Jeshurun:
    Today, all day, all week, for weeks to come, people pack lunches and dinners; sort pyramids of work gloves, boots, warm clothes, eye drops; each day another need; each day, another cornucopia. And this is only one small squadron practicing love, not war.
    * * *
    9/12/01. 8 p.m. Lobby of 340 Riverside Drive.
    Two little girls wait for the elevator. They join hands and spin in a circle. I shudder as they chant, over and over, falling each time:
    Ring-around a rosie, pocketful of posie,
    Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.
    I ask Arturo, our doorman, the question everyone is asking everyone—friend, neighbor, stranger—the question that dreads answers: “Is everyone okay, Arturo?”
    He shuts his eyes and shakes his head, unable to say: No.
    The woman with rose-petal toes—she still isn’t home. Her husband is keeping their door unlocked. Just in case she lost her keys.
    Ashes, ashes, we all fall . . .
    Arturo and I clasp eyes in silence.
    * * *
    9/17/01/. Rosh Hashanah, Midnight. Lexington Avenue:
    A hand-lettered sign on Ahmed Muhammed’s yellow cab dashboard: VOLUNTEER TAXI FOR FAMILIES OF VICTIMS.
    “How does this work?” I ask. He refuses to look at me but answers, “I wait at hospitals, take people anywhere they must go—for free. I just returned from Queens, but there’s no one at hospital now.”
    “How can you afford this?”
    “I can’t. But I want people to know—all Muslims are not bad.”
    “You’re a good man,” I whisper.
    Our eyes meet, and he smiles.
    * * *
    I collect stories the way other people collect jewels. I spend each day trying to use the same old 26 letters to say something new. And this is one story after 9/11: New York isn’t gaudy lights or concrete canyons; it’s people. Gotham isn’t a megacity, but a gaggle of polyglot villages where neighbors share our green grocer, our newsstand, and our grief. This is never clearer than in blackouts of the ordinary.
    I believe we always yearn for connection—to meet each other’s eyes on subways and sidewalks. And when we’re humbled by terror; when tears wash away make-up and masks; when anthrax anxiety scours away armor, we’re left stunningly open to one another.
    My eyes met yours on 9/11 and every day since. Eyes that once cut away still say, “I see you. We’re here. Together.”
    People asked, “Where was God when those airplanes hit?”
    I answer, God was in my neighbors, reaching out to help.
    # # #
    A biographical note: Ellen Schecter is widely published in print and on the web. She has written award-winning children’s books and television—many of her series for children and families were broadcast on PBS/Thirteen. Her memoir, Fierce Joy, is being published by Greenpoint Press next March, 2012.

  • Bill McCallion

    I awoke to the news on the clock radio from my south facing apt on E.20th St which had a view of the WTC antennae. From my window I could see people on the roofs watching the unfolding horrow, which I chose not to do as I was aware how traumatizing it might be. My brother Mike, I thought, was certaily safe as the Mercantile Exchange where he worked was some buildings away from the WTC; but then the towers collapsed and I realized that he might be trapped. Panicked I tried to ring his number, but our phones were down. As I looked out my window, I saw the unreal vision of dust covered people streaming up Avenue C. My worry deepened. My call finally got through to Mike’s home number. His son Liam didn’t even ask who it was, he just said “He didn’t go into work today.” I was ebullent at the happy news. Mike had another reality to face. He had dozens of clients, some of who were friends, perish in the WTC and later attended some 30 memorial services. I have always known that I love my brother but the thought of loosing him made my feelings that much keener.
    It then occurred to me that things might get tricky here on E. 20th Street. I had no emergency supplies and rushed down to the D’Agostions to get some canned food/water. It was packed. I got some things and on the way back to my apartment began to ask some of the dust covered victims if there was anything I could do. I led on fellow to a bench asking if he needed to use my cell phone or if there was anything I could do. He said “yeah, I need a six-pack” which of course I promptly got. He then just wanted to be alone.
    Later that day I had ferafully ventrued out to see if there was a place I could get a sandwich and was amazed to see many of the older folks from my complex, which included in their numbers survivors of the holocoust, sitting on the benches. They seemed defiant to me, determined to show no fear in the face of the current horror. I was very moved by this. Later I decided to venture a bit further afar on the crosstown bus to be with friends and try to find out any news. At one stop a well-dressed young woman jumped on to the bus. obviously out of breath and not wearning any shoes. “I live in mid-town and heard that the Empire State Buidling was hit and I just ran out of my apartment as fast as I could.” We assured her that that had not happened and she felt somewhat comforted if not wholly convinced. When I did reach my friends, I discovered the news, which seemd so unreal, that a larger than life memeber of our community, Father Michael Judge had perished trying to minister to people at the site. It was like him to be there but his stature, in my mind, seemed to make him immune. Of course, no one was, from the humblest bus-boy to a much beloved leader. To this day, if I get beyond a casual conversation with a tourist, they will inevitably ask about 9/11 and I always tear-up. I believe I always will.

  • Carol

    I live in New Haven, Connecticut and work in a neighboring town. I was in NH at an early morning meeting when another person who was on her cell phone trying to contact her neice who worked at the Pentagon, saying that the Pentagon had been bombed. When I arrived at work around 10 a.m. my staff where watching t.v. and were crying. They said that the World Trade Center had been bombed. They witnessed the bombing and collapse of the second tower. Needless to say, we were all in stunned disbelief. I went into my office and took out a penny and read the words, “In God We Trust”, and prayed for the people in the towers and for our country. I thought the President Kennedy’s asssasination was horrific; the events of 9/11 eclipsed Kennedy’s death.

  • Salvatore Gerard

    I worked in Midtown at the GM building on 59th and 5th, as I was sitting at my desk at about 8:45 or so – may co-worker Jared came in and said ” A plane hit the World Trade Center”. At first I thought it was a small plane that had malfunctioned, as it was a beutiful clear day. When I saw pictures of The North Tower on the news, ( CBS’s Early Show was in our building ), I gasped – that was a BIG hole !
    After the second plane hit – we evacuated the building – all subways were stopped, so the only way out of Manhattan was to walk out. We walked down 3rd avenue all the way towards Downtown – it took hours, and we didn’t know the situation Downtown at the WTC; I only realised The Towers fell when I crossed the Manhattan Bridge, about two hours later…I looked over my shoulder to look for them, and all I saw was a pinkish haze….it was a mass exodus too, thousands of people everywhere.But everyone was orderly, and the local resturaunts let peolple use their bathrooms. The City really seemed to come together that day.
    A few days later, I went into work through Downtown Manhattan and saw the skeletal remains of the South Tower still standing – Oh My God, I gasped – they were indeed gone ! I think it really hit home when I saw the wreckage in person – it looked like a war zone !
    As a child I remember when The Towers were being built – we had the views from The Gowanus Expressway, and as an 8 year old I would say to myself – when are those buildings going to be finished ? – as it took years to complete.
    Yet within 2 hours – both Towers were gone.

  • Barara L Claypool

    My younger daughter is an attorney working for the SEC. At the tie of 9/11 she was branch manager of an office at 7 World Trade. I was driving a school bus and came off the early run to see the TV in the driver’s room showing the twin tower saga. For most of that day I thought my daughter had died. I found out in the afternoon she had survived. Her train was delayed and late to the World Trade stop. She got off the train to see the plane fly into the tower, and took shelter in a recessed doorway. She then ran towards the towers to try to help her staff at 7 World Trade, but was stopped by a policeman. She kept trying to explain and proceed to help when the first tower came down; she ran ahead of the debris cloud. It turned out all seven of her staff members were delayed going to work (from different areas) and NONE of them were in the office at the time. All were OK. I am thankful for the policeman who stopped her and stood fast against the considerable argumentative force of a lawyer. He saved her life.

  • Barara L Claypool

    The City of New York had many heroes that day. The innate nobility of the common people rose up triumphantly.

  • Su Hilty

    I was in Paris, just finishing up a trade show and at the boarding gate, when an announcement was made that all flights to the US had been cancelled. We had to reclaim our luggage and go back through customs, not fully knowing what had transpired. American Airlines was really helpful in trying to rebook us, helped us with hotels that night and gave us a vouchure to get back into the city. We didn’t know the extent of the attack until we got into our hotel room and became CNN junkies. I spent the first few days with a gal I met at the airport who needed help – never having been to Paris, nor speaking much French and then I connected with a longtime friend from my early working days, who lives in Paris and I became her stranded American. It was because of her generosity and of the Parisians that embraced us throughout my stay & ordeal that helped us through and which will be in my memory forever. When I finally got home 8 days later, not having the WTC as my directional beacon, night light nor weather barometer was devastating. No longer do I have that view from my apartment in the village and I look forward to when we can have another NYC icon once again.

  • Doris Goran Newman

    A few days after September eleventh, 2011, tbe pictures began to appear. They were like actors’ headshots, with smiling faces and penetrating eyes, but beneath the photographs, below the printed names, there were more words. Sometimes “Have you seen this person?” or “If you have any information, please phone this number.” or just “MISSING.” Occasionally, there was another line, “Worked at Cantor Fitzgerald” or “Windows On The World.”
    At Journal Square Plaza in Jersey City, on the street level above the PATH trains, the picture-posters were taped to every storefront glass window. I had to pass them on my way to the trains, going to New York.
    Every time I walked past the pictures, I read the names: MaryJune, Jonathan, Michael, Kitty, Shirley, Kanisha, Jean Paul, Pedro, Kim, Sarah, Clarence, Jeffery, Ari, Alice, Claudette, Dr. James,
    Martin, Beverly and Sis, Bernard, and more.
    At first the posters looked new and clean, showing each personality, confident or vulnerable, thoughtful or curious, or full of joie de vivre. I saw thick eyebrows, or curly hair, or a cleft chin,. or round cheeks, or a straight nose and a high forehead. But they were exposed to the weather, and after a few days of rain they began to get soggy, and some were stained beyond recognition.
    Whenever I walked by, their condition deteriorated. Sections started to fall, and it became impossible to read the names.
    All this time, the image of two burning towers was seared in my brain. The people in the pictures must have been inside those buildings, maybe jumped from one of those burning buildings to escape the fire. I hoped that some of them had been rescued, but that was hard to believe.
    When the pictures were distorted by wind and rain, I wished that someone would tear them down, because the was no longer hope for the missing to be found. They were surely gone forever.
    Eventually, nothing was left but transparent tape that had held the picture-posters.
    Now, ten years have passed. This week, in September, 2011, television channels are showing images of The Twin Towers burning, with dark clouds of smoke billowing out to the sky. I feel shock and disbelief all over agaain.
    I think of the pictures of MaryJune, Jonathan, Michael, Kitty, Shirley, Kanisha, Jean Paul, Pedro, Sarah, Clarence, Jeffery, Ari, Alice, Claudette, Dr. James, Martin, Beverly and Sis, Bernard, and more. They remain like ghosts in the storefront glass. They never completely leave me, but life goes on.

  • George Davis

    I was working as Mate on the Port Jefferson Ferry and we were making our first crossing to Bridgeport, CT. I was on the bridge and as we neared the Bridgeport ship channel, when one of the seamen called up that a plane had hit one of the WTC towers. I first thought a light plane had had an accident, but as we looked out the port side windows, we could see black smoke coming from one of the towers. At our distance of thirty-some nautical miles, only the tops of the towers and the Empire State building were visible, and then only on a clear day. But viewing with binoculars, we could see that a real disaster was underway. As I made my way down to the main cabin, which has TV, I saw that most passengers were on their cell phones. After offloading and picking up a normal passenger load, we left Bridgeport and headed out to the Sound. Now, the second tower was also smoking, like two candles, and it was clear we had suffered a terrorist attack. I thought of several acquaintances who worked there, and hoped they were safe (one was out on the plaza and walked away, two perished). I also realized that we were now at war. When we reached Port Jefferson an hour later, the dock was overflowing with vehicles, and we heard that there was now no other way off Long Island. We packed the decks tight and there were no complaints. Same situation at the Bridgeport dock, and again no complaints. This was the start of unprecedented traffic for our vessels, with long waiting lines, as ferries were to be the only way on and off the Island for several days. There were also tight security measures in place on the dock. A couple of days later in Port Jefferson, on another clear morning, I caught an unfamiliar and awful odor in the air, and imagined it to be from the remains of the WTC . This was confirmed when, a week later, I made my way down to the Coast Guard Station for my Captain’s exam, which was originally scheduled for Sep. 12.

  • Faija Ahmed

    Unfortunately, I was only 1 years old when this disaster occurred, so I am probably not the one you should consult with, if you want to know more about this. But my mom’s friend’s husband was badly affected by 9/11. He lost his hearing and his brain was a bit damaged by the explosion and smoke. He’s more different now but we still care for him. Also, my mom’s friend was in the building at the time and she was one of the survivors. She works there and her heart was this close to stopping when the buildings fell apart. She dashed outside, thinking about her sons and husband, and made it out. Barely alive. But alive. This event was one of the worst America has ever experienced and I will surely be celebrating its anniversary.

  • M. David Levin

    It was early in the morning. My neighbors in Southbridge Towers, George and Olga Fried, wanted to use an ATM in the concourse of the Word Trade Center before going for a bagel and coffee. George has the ATM receipt framed. The time was 10 minutes before the first plane went in. We were standing on line across the street, in Pick-a-Bagel, when with a big sucking sound the plate glass window buckled in towards us, then snapped out. It never broke. We stood outside looking up at the hole in the WTC. Smoke poured out.
    Already long lines formed at the few coin phones in the area. I borrowed a stranger’s cell phone and called WCBS Newsradio. I’d been a writer, producer and reporter there until retiring in 1995. I believe I was the first ground based reporter on the scene. After going on air, I walked around the block for another vantage point. The second plane went in over my head. The crowd in the World Financial Center’s North Cove Marina was hushed. The men murmured to each other that it was like a movie. Many of the women were crying. After I counted eight bodies falling, I went to a nearby laundry and used its phone to report on the air what I saw. The first building collapse caught me at Exchange Place and Broadway. It took only seconds for the ash to block out all light. I broke into a restaurant to wet a handkerchief as a protective mask. When I arrived home, only four blocks from the WTC, I was covered totally in ash.

  • Tadd

    I woke up that morning first plane had hit and my phone was ringing off the hook. I had just moved to NYC two weeks earlier and was still looking for work. (Anyone looking for work at the time can attest to how the NY Times jobs section shrunk to nothing). After the first tower collapsed, little bits of ash fell from the sky like snow over South Slope in Brooklyn. I went outside to tell the immigrant men who were working on my building to go home. They ignored me and kept working, breathing in the poisonous dust. Inadvertently, I had locked myself out when I left to speak to the workmen. It was a double-panic that I felt and almost fell a story climbing in a side window that was left ajar. My knee was bleeding. I was terrified and glued to the TV as the second tower fell.

    I managed to get in touch with my roommate, an old friend, who was working in midtown. She ended up walking to her boyfriend’s house where I went and gathered with a group of acquaintances. We watched tower 7 fall from the roof and diamonds of office paper fell from the sky. I still have one of the print outs from Cantor Fitzgerald that I chased down the block. We should not have been outside breathing in the smoke and fumes.

    The next day I went out looking for work. I had little savings and no job. I went into a restaurant on Sept 12th and the manager thought I was insane. However, she said I could come back later in the week and eventually hired me. If she hadn’t hired me, I probably would have left NYC.

    After 10 years, it is still a vivid memory. The smell of burning metal (and flesh). Pictures of body parts on the roof of a hotel. My sad and scary introduction to the Big Apple. I did not lose anyone close to me, although, I did experience loss. I did not leave. I stood with many fellow NY’ers in protesting the war that was justified by an unrelated act of terror. On 9/11, we should mourn along with the WTC victims, the tens of thousands of Iraqis killed in the war and the thousands of US soldiers.

  • Charles V Gruner`

    Due to previous commitments, I would have been at the Twin Towers the morning of 9/11/2001. Fortunately for me, but not for my son. he went into our local hospital the previous night. Consequently, I was at that hospital on the morning of 9/11. We watched the events unfold on the TV in his room. I often told him that he saved my life. It was the beginning of many visits to the hospital that eventually culminated in a diagnosis of cancer of the bowel and liver. He lost his battle in 2010. Ironic that his eventual death would prevent a death.

  • elaine smith

    I can remember so clearly that day because I was at work (private school) and received a call from a friend in Virginia. She stated, “turn on the television, a plane just hit one of the world trade buildings.” I jump up and ran into the teachers’ lounge room and much to my sursprise I witness this terrible event. It just did not seem real. One of the students came into my office and ask me what happen. I told him and he began crying out loud saying “My mother works in that building.” He ran out of the office and alarmed some of the other students whose parents also worked at that building and they all began to cry. But the one incident that puzzel me was a student in preschool who would not allow his mother to leave his classroom. His mother told him that she had to meet with the fire marshalls because they had a 8:00am meeting. He began screaming and pulled on her clothes for a space of 40 minutes which caused her to be late for the meeting. We finally were able to comfort her son so she could make her meeting at the WTC. As it turn out, she returned back to Harlem by foot covered with ashes all over her. She stated to administration with tears “I missed the meeting at the World Trade Center and the Fire Marshall’s and Officers who I had a meeting with had all been killed.” We all cried and embraced her and prayed for weeks for those whom family members were killed. Yet, I believe it was her son that saved her life. After that incident the following day, she brought him to class. He quickly kissed her and wave goodbye and flashed her a smile and ran to his classroom to his classmates. P.S. The 11 other students whose parent/s worked at the WTC decided to stayed home that day. That is a day I will always remember.

  • Diana Tafro

    My husband used to work in the World Trade Center, Tower 2. Luckily, his company moved across the street to the World Financial Center before 911. He was at work on the morning of 911. I was ill that day & stayed home from work. I woke up to watch the news on television and saw the first airplane crash into the World Trade Center. Then the second. Then the Pentagon. Then those brave people who crashed their plane in a field rather than allow the lunatics to inflict more damage. We attended memorial services in several towns to help share the sorrow of the mourners. My husband was one of the last people to leave the World Financial Center, despite numerous calls from me begging him to leave before it was too late. He stayed to make sure everyone was evacuated from his floor before he would consider leaving. He is a brave man and I salute him.

  • Deborah

    9/11/01 was primary day in NYC, and I voted before I walked on to work as a 6th grade teacher at PS 8 in Brooklyn Heights while also thinking about the possibility that I might have breast cancer, and will need another biopsy.  My third floor class room over looked the New York  skyline, and shorty before 9 am we saw that a world trade tower was on fire. As Chapter Leader of the UFT, I had been trained to leave my radio tuned to WNYC in case of an emergency. I turned the radio on and heard, “A commercial airliner has just crashed into the World Trade Center.” I shut off the radio, phoned my husband who was working in his art studio two blocks away and told him what I heard, then I phoned the school secretary to tell her and asked her to tell the principal. Then I told the students what I had heard on the radio. They asked me what a commercial airliner was, and I answered them; I also said that we had just seen a lot of people die, and we must be quiet for a moment to let their souls go to wherever souls go when people die. I also told them that we would never forget this day. The tower was blazing and smoking. I also thought that if my friend’s husband went to work at Windows on the World, he wouldn’t survive. (He didn’t survive.) Some children cried, some crossed themselves and prayed, others put their heads down. The principal came upstairs and asked us to go to the basement. We saw a second plane fly into the other tower. I saw black objects flying out of the tower, but they looked liked ants, and I processed them as ants. Two years later, I learned what they were. Denial sometimes enables me to cope.
    All the classes K-6 sat in rows in the basement. I had my small portable radio on, and held it up to my ear, and updated the principal as I heard the news. I sang and played finger plays and rhythm games with the assembly of students as their parents and caregivers came to pick them up. At one point, the principal asked me to go upstairs to help shut all the windows as smoke and ash were blowing over the river to the Heights. While in my classroom, I saw the closest tower collapse and heard a terrible roar. I called my husband to tell him what I saw. I also asked for an update on our daughters who attended middle and high school in Manhattan. Back in the basement, more children had left, and lunch was going to be served to the remaining children. The principal had called for a social worker from the Department of Education to come to the school to talk to the four teachers who witnessed the event. I remember describing what I saw, while needing to remain composed for my charges, and at one point, I screamed. Later I was able to go back into the lunch room to monitor the kids. I smiled a lot, and told them everything would be okay. I stayed at the school until 5 pm when my last student was picked up. 

    Then I went to my husband’s studio, found out that our daughters were okay, and would be spending the night with different friends in Manhattan because the MTA was shut down, and we went to a local diner for lunch at 5:30 pm after checking at our synagogue to see what time services would be held. We found out that we were meeting at a local church, and hoped our rabbi, who was the Jewish Chaplin of the Fire Department, was okay. After we tried to eat, we went home to get scarves to cover our noses, and made our way through the thich smoke to the church on the corner of our block. Many congregants and parishioners were there. We saw our rabbi walk in, his fire hat and coat were totally covered in ash. One of our daughters stayed with a friend whose father was a writer for New York Magazine who, after he heard that I saw the terrorist attack, asked her to ask me if I could be interviewed. I agreed. 

    Back at work in the classroom, near the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge, every time fire engines, or ambulances wailed, one of my students turned up the volume of the radio which was now tuned to WQXR  to drown out the sirens. Our family attended memorials for those who perished, and I was diagnosed with breast cancer which was treated. Ten years later, something in my other breast looks “suspicious” and the biopsy will be 9/13/11. 


    I was studying French that day around 9:00 AM. And I heard a loud boom! and looked out the window and saw fire in the WTC. I turned on tv and realized that it was terrorism- my friend M arcia called and I
    told her the same thing.
    We went out to West Broadway and Grand St.
    and saw hundreds of people running uptown-looking terrified.
    I felt quite helpless-I thought I should buy something – maybe systems would be closed-
    I went to the Gourmet Garage nearby- I got some water and I’m not sure what else-
    In the checkout line were a little girl with red hair and a Superman t-shirt on. Her dad had rescues her
    from very near the disaster-
    She must be about 12 now.

    The burnt wind went across Manhattan all day to the east- I could only think- those are burned bodies on this cloudless day.

  • Linda Millard

    My two boys, five and six years old watched on television as the planes attacked the towers. My six year old started to cry and said, “Mommy, all those people are dead.” My heart broke for the families that lost their loved ones and for the future of a nation that my son would have to grow-up in. Pure evil had manifested on our American soil.

  • Gordon Gilbert Jr


    And when the towers fell, were you among
    those overtaken by the clouds of dust,
    of fiberglass, asbestos, shattered glass,
    office memoranda, family photos,
    concrete (pulverized) and even ash
    of human bone? Please tell me, was that you,
    choking, stumbling, with your eyes half-closed
    from tears that ran in streaks down ashy cheeks,
    unable to wash out the gritty dust
    that stung your eyes, invaded all your being,
    and made you gasp with every breath? You know
    you are among the blessed, for you have taken
    through every pore, and deep within your lungs,
    and coursing through your veins and all your tissues,
    the holy sacrament of innocence
    incinerated, crushed, obliterated,
    but now a part of you, the lost three thousand.

    I was in Brooklyn when the towers fell,
    but witness only to the first to fall.
    One moment black smoke suddenly turned gray
    and with a shower of glittering glass confetti,
    crumbling, collapsing, it was gone!
    Then rising up, the white cloud of debris,
    pushed by a strong west wind across the water,
    obscured from sight what was to happen next.
    You could not see as far as the East River,
    let alone the skyline of Manhattan.
    While waiting for the smoke and dust to clear,
    I called my brother who lives overseas
    to say I am all right, and then to ask
    what they are saying there in Italy
    about all this, and that was when I heard
    him say the second tower fell as well.
    And I said no, I’m sure you are mistaken!
    There’s so much smoke and dust, it’s hard to tell.
    It was not damaged quite so badly. No,
    I think that I can still see that it’s standing
    Through the clouds of dust and smoke, you’re wrong!
    I’m looking at it “live”, he said, it’s gone.

    I was in Brooklyn when the towers fell,
    but earlier that morning, slow to rise
    (I let myself sleep late, it was my birthday),
    I lingered over a second cup of coffee,
    my radio tuned to “Imus in the Morning”.
    Later, while I voted in the Village,
    the first plane must have been just turning south,
    and while I rode the subway bound for Brooklyn,
    it must have been approaching from the north,
    its passengers and crew seeing Manhattan,
    perhaps at the last minute, understanding,
    then extinguished in one horrifying moment,
    while below, I transferred to the Brooklyn train
    at Chambers Street, not very far away,
    but at that time completely unaware.
    About the time that I arrived in Brooklyn,
    perhaps while I was walking from the station,
    observing how the sky was free of clouds,
    a cool and pleasant morning in September,
    in the building high above me
    where I some days worked, consulting,
    on the side that faced the river,
    looking westward toward Manhattan,
    my co-workers watched the tower burning.
    Then they saw, not fully comprehending,
    The second plane approaching from the south.
    As if in some nightmare that offers no escape,
    they watched in disbelief, some screamed in horror,
    as if protesting NO! could some way change,
    somehow undo, prevent what they were seeing.
    Just as I reached the front doors of the building,
    a friend came rushing out — Do not go up!
    WE ARE UNDER ATTACK!, he said, Two planes
    have hit the World Trade Center! It’s not safe
    to be in a high place! And suddenly
    behind him came a rush of others fleeing.
    Outside, around me, dozens tried their cell phones,
    useless now, because all lines were busy.
    A terrorist attack, that much seemed certain.
    Beyond that, no one knew what else was happening.
    I saw no point in standing there, so I
    suggested going to an Irish bar
    not far away, O’Keefe’s; it would be open.
    There we could stay to watch the television,
    and slake this desperate thirst for information.
    And so it was I saw the towers burning,
    and replayed, the first of far too many times,
    again and again I saw the second plane
    first strike, then crash into, then smash straight through,
    and then that terrible great burst of flame,
    and victims falling, jumping, such a sight
    as I hope I will never see again.
    Then came the news about the Pentagon.
    Soon after, there were pictures of the same,
    and first word of another hijacked plane,
    but at that time, its fate was undetermined.
    Restless, and unable to remain,
    I made my way back to my place of work,
    convinced that there was no threat to that building.
    And high above, I saw firsthand the smoke,
    and while the towers burned, I thought of how
    all those held hostage in the planes had died,
    and also those unfortunates who were
    where the planes struck, and those trapped in the flames,
    and also for their families and friends,
    I felt the deepest sadness for their loss,
    but ‘til the very last I thought those towers
    mutilated only, would still stand,
    and never thought that one day I would be
    bearing witness as I sit here writing
    in another country far from home,
    the saddest tale that I shall ever tell:
    I was in Brooklyn when the towers fell.

  • Roz Palmer

    The New York Restaurant School used to be at 75 Varick Street, corner of Canal St. On the morning of 9/11 classes had started at 7 am and I came up from the subway right after the 1st plane attacked. My associates and I continued staring mesmerized and saw the 2nd plane hit. We ran up to the school to alert everyone, who had no idea what was happening. Needless to say, the building was evacuated and for the next week no one was permitted below 14th St; except us. Our graduate, Anna Maria Santorelli, was Mayor Rudy Giulliani’s executive chef and we prevailed upon them to allow us to go back to the school and use all the food we had in our freezers. Over the next week, we prepared over 20,000 meals for the courageous men and women down at ground zero. We lost a pastry student who was doing her externship at Windows on the World. I’ll never forget the memorial service at St. John the Devine cathedral that the food industry held in honor of those food service workers and their families. I don’t come up the same subway staircase anymore but we’re still downtown and everyday here is a constant reminder.

  • Jeffrey Alexander

    I was on my way to work as a pharmacist for the Rite Aid Pharmacy in Washington Twp in Bergen County.
    I was listening to Imus in the morning. It was a magnificent Tuesday morning. Imus just then at approximately 8:45 said he got a call from Warner Wolfe who lived in Battery Park that a small plane probably a Cessna crashed into the tower of the World Trade Center.
    That began the devastation and the legacy of 9/11.
    I still have not gotten over it.
    Jeff Alexander

  • Ellen Perlow Phillips

    It was my fourth day as a new teacher in Brooklyn. I had a class full of fourth graders settling down for the morning when one of my colleagues came in with a student and told me I had to go out in the hall and look out the window. Not knowing what she was talking about, I left her in charge of my room and walked into the hallway to the sound of gasps and cries. There was a crowd of teachers gathered at the window. You could clearly see the Twin Towers from the third floor window in the hallway and one of the towers was on fire. I think I was numb. I went back into my room, and after my colleague left, I shut the door with the intention of keeping the children in my room from knowing what was going on. I had no idea which of my students might have family or friends in the towers. I know I was doing a mental inventory of where my family members were that Tuesday morning. I knew my younger son was at school on Long Island, but I wasn’t sure if his older brother had gone into Manhattan. Cell phones were useless. I was so relieved when my husband called through the school switchboard and they passed his call to my room to hear that both of my kids were safe and with him.

    Once I knew that my family was safe, I focused on the kids in my room, who knew that something was up because the principal kept making bizarre announcements over the PA system. I only knew that the second tower had come down when I went to lunch and saw it on the news in the teacher’s lounge. I did hear the screaming in the hallways when it fell, but would not open my classroom door.

    It was a surreal experience. Driving back to Long Island I felt as if I were being chased by that huge toxic cloud which seemed to be drifting east. All I wanted to do was get home, see and hold my family and make sure everyone was safe. It was the single most horrifying day in my life.

  • Richard Borders

    Memories Almost There
    My memory of Sept 11 started well before. I was living in Keyport, NJ a 1 square mile town on the bay. My kids and I would walk down to and old concrete dump site on the water. Acres of swamp land, a place in town where the kids in town rode bikes, go carts, and climbed. At the front a park with a baseball field, basketball court, tennis – skateboards area. It had a series of giant old buildings; it had been the location for the building and testing of the first seaplanes. From the old concrete road slabs lying as a wall from the water, you could see the twin towers, directly in front the closest point across the bay.
    On Sept 10 early evening I spoke to my friend Brian who lived in Staten Island, in NY. I was going to meet him to give him a video of his band I had taped. We planned to meet in the morning at the world trade center. I also made plans to have breakfast with another friend. Rod Cappola and I met at a radio station on the jersey shore, he was a master broadcasting technician. He helped out this small rock station. I was producing shows, videos and promoting concerts with the station. We both had big families and kids the same age. The most fun we had surfing together. He loved riding waves too. I planned to meet him too, that next morning Sept 11. He worked at channel thirteen the NYC PBS Station. He was the chief engineer.
    I always enjoyed going to the top of the World Trade Center to the transmitter studio and on the roof where the transmitters were located. As an equipment and tech nut, it was a wild mixture of dials, knobs, lights, and miles of wire. That room housed all the best techs from all but one of the major New York City Broadcast Television Stations. The roof had these huge Eiffel tower like transmitters and the view of the city and the small area on across the water on the bay in Keyport was amazing.
    I woke up at 7 AM and was getting ready to take the train into the city a 50 minute ride. I got a call around eight from Brian who said he was running late would miss the ferry. So we agreed to meet around 11:30 for lunch at the trade center. I called Rod and told him it would be lunch instead of breakfast.
    I sat down and was watching TV and a short time after they reported that a plane has crashed into the World Trade center. I watched as the story unfolded, watching the footage of the second plane as well. After listening for a few more minutes I grabbed my son’s police scanner and my video camera and jumped on the bike to ride to the bay.
    As I rode across the dirt trail to that dirt mountain I saw a horrifying site. The roaring ring of the flames were glowing, huge amounts of smoke were bellowing from the towers surrounding the city and the water. I through the zoom of the camera lens saw closer the desperation of the scene small colored images coming out of the building.
    As the towers collapsed, there was a single fisherman in a little boat sitting with his pole in the water and his back to the reality behind him. I could not believe would I was seeing the towers crashing down in a cataclysmic wave of fire and smoke. I could see the soul’s spirits lifting from the sky out of the firestorm. Another man was looking at a fish.
    My friend Rod and all the other engineers were stranded on the roof. I like to think he surfed it like a wave. My hearts and prayers go out always to his family, two other friends and thousands of others, I lost as well.
    Two days later I went to the site. I had a friend who was a fire chief in NJ and he was there what turned out to be every day or many weeks. I got a bit closer to see what happened two days later, and the scene was chilling.
    Unbelievable Devastation!
    I left there and went to Radio City Music Hall to work on the Benefit Concert a Tribute to John Lennon. More memorable than the concert was the difference in every single person in New York City. A city so many times I walked through, disregarding the massive walls of people I was passing by. That day as I day each person looked at each person they passed with a special look and inner understanding of who we are as people and how much help and love we need to share. A smile actually was the best we could all do.
    I went Penn station to catch the last train after the concert and inside Penn Station, The people had made their own memorial, poems, picture of policemen, firemen, EMT’s, other pictures of people asking if the have been seen, pictures and drawings. I stared at this one pencil drawn piece of white copy paper. It was a drawing of the image of the towers I had seen from the bay. The Fire the smoke and the rising of the souls out of the fiery furnace and over the top of it all with arms outstretched, A Figure of Christ worthy of times greatest artists. I did not take the train and walked all night around the city.
    The spirit and soul of the city of New York City changed and has become and still is a city of cooperation. As I hope we all can remember and learn from.
    Such is the memory I share.
    Richard Borders

  • Diana Boernstein

    (I was interrupted after writing half a comment. I didn’t realise it had been printed here.)
    The initial horror spilled over for days. My friend Joy made sandwiches and stood beside the West Side Highway handing them to exhausted firefighters. People drifted about aimlessly, unable to go to work, in shock. Groups held little ceremonies in Washington Square, singing and reaching out to hold hands. I walked towards the World Trade center site with thousands of other stunned people, but we were kept several blocks away by officials. The sound of ambulances and emergency vehicles seldom stopped. It was difficult to sleep at night: the sight of the huge buildings collapsing in moments, with clouds of particles and dust and smoke, recurred and recurred in the mind’s eye, and still does, ten years later.
    People wandered about holding photographs of lost relatives or friends, sometimes crying. It became easy to talk to strangers, to compare stories. Little shrines began to appear in front of buildings or firehouses. People placed flowers and hugged each other. The whole City became immeasurably precious.

  • Marianne Judson

    My husband has been a NYC firefighhter for the last twenty years, we had 3 children under 7 on September 11th, 2001. At the time of the attacks, we were bringing our 3 year old son to his first day of nursery school. We found out at the school that New York City was under a probable terroist attack and the Twin Towers were struck by planes and in flames. There was a recall of all NYC firefighters and my husband left to report to his firehouse. When we hugged and kissed good-bye, the first thought in my mind was “this could be the last time I see my husband alive”and that “this is what couples experienced during World War 2 when husbands, fathers, brotohers, sons left for the war”". It was a frightening thought and I remember thinking not to appear fearful in front of my young children so that they would n’t worry about their Daddy.

  • Jim Catalano

    Like many people have stated, the morning was beautiful. My drive to work at Hunter Mountain was peaceful. The air was crisp, the sky a deep blue transitioning to a light hue as you looked towards the horizon. The Catskills were alive. Once arriving to the ski area, I met with friends and co-workers. Figured out my days plan, gathered my tools and materials and started work on the new marketing office at the time. Time passed slowly, but I was accomplishing alot of work. It was a weird pace. So, I was told of a plane accident in NYC (as it was described to me). As a life long resident of New York State, I initially thought, wow, a plane hit a building in NYC! In my youth I always wondered about this. As an adult, I couldn’t believe it. So I climbed down off of the scaffold I was working on and made my way up to the main lodge. I noticed a number of folks standing in the area of the main bar watching reports on both TVs. “What’s going on?” I asked, “we’er being attacked!” someone said. “What!” I exclaimed. Stunned I got on my cell and called my sister who was teaching in the city at the time. I called early on so I was lucky to have reached her. She was safe. Then it was a call to my mom. They live in northern NJ, but were doing some business in the city. They too were safe. I went back to watching the reports with my co-workers. Time, I/we had now concept of time, just shock.

    Over the next couple winters our hosting of the FDNY/East Coast Firefighters Race and the East Coast Police Winter Games, took on a different vibe. Some faces were missing, some changed. We (Hunter Events staff) worked hard to provide a quality event for the men and women attending. We wanted it to be a day that they could try to relax, even if it meant for a couple minutes.

    We still host these events, I still think about the day, I still see some of the faces. I will never forget.

  • Joanne Theodorou

    I was in my Bronx classroom, a colleague came running in screaming put on the radio, quick! ,,,,and in moments all the teachers were in the hallway…”what, happened, my God, what happened??!!” We were ordered by our Principal to carry on like nothing extraordinary was happening, i.e. tvs and radios ordered off, he did not want the children upset…. all day long, parents were coming in to pick up their children…. the teachers were trying to quietly pass on any info to colleagues ….no announcements were made on the PA system. We carried on and collapsed at 3 PM after the last student left….the longest day….
    I live in Manhattan…subways not running yet into Manhattan, massive traffic jam into the borough…walking from 125th Street (at least I made it that far by subway) to 78th Street about 4PM…all stores closed, gated, bolted, a ghost town…excepting strange men neatly and strategically lining the streets, standing unarmed but obviously on guard in front of all these endless closed stores, up and down the avenue, wearing strange brownish uniforms … campaign hats, with an emblem of small circles… I had never seen this before… what branch of the service was this? CIVIL DEFENSE CORP….I found this out later…. I had never seen this action of calling up this branch ever taken before…now I know….was war declared? We had to do our jobs, maintain the status quo, keep the children calm, did I miss such an announcement trying to figure out how to travel home to Manhattan?
    Another day that will live in infamy….
    God Bless the families and loved ones of the innocent victims of 9/11….all they did was show up for work…..RIP…with thoughts, prayers, care and concern.

  • Caroline Knoell

    September 8, 2011
    What do I remember about 911? Driving to Sam’s warehouse and hearing on the radio about a plane going into the tower. Then, when I entered the store, I found it unusual that EVERYONE, including the employees were around the TV’s, that was broadcasting the news. Later, when I spoke to a friend that worked in the towers, he told me that he was about to get off the train and heard an announcement;, he decided to get off at the next stop and because of this, he missed being killed as the towers fell.
    I have been listening and reading to the news about how 911 has affected everyone and I STILL have questions and concerns that I feel need to be addressed. One of my concerns was that when I was married, there would always be discussions about the Middle East – not uncommon. However, for a lot of what was discussed, I never heard or read about before; except the day after, when the event appeared in the New York Times. Very rarely would they answer my questions.
    I know I am not explaining everything, but I did go to the FBI, they took the information, said they would get back to me, but never did. I tried to pursue the issue but after a while I gave up, still concerned about things like meeting a guy at a singles group and him telling me that he designed planes for the military. Related?
    Now, after all this time, I meet a guy in my apartment complex that tells my ex – father in law has ties to the Alkeda, among other things, but that I would be safe . Related? Important? Insignificant? How can I verify this? So, after much thought, when I returned to college, I asked a professor, retired from the NYPD if he could check this out. His response? Be careful. Or about a guy, when I worked at the election poles one year, who gave me his card – retired US Marsha, which is one of the few proofs that I am not making this up. At this point all I want to do is to try to find some info out and see it if would help those that went through this. But, who would even listen to me? Off to classes. Thanks!

    Caroline F. Knoell

  • Patricia Castellano

    I remember the beautiful weather on that fateful day. I am an R.N. who works the overnight shift. On that morning I had just lay dow to go to sleep. One of my sons had recently graduated from the”Probie” school of The New York City Fire Department. He was on duty at his firehouse in the Bronx. He called me, said “I’m fine, I’m heading to NYC right now, don’ worry”. I had no idea what he was talking about. He told me to turn on the T.V. and then he had to hang up. I could not believe what I was seeing on the T.V. The horror of what was happening was almost too much to bear. The next hours were frightening Not knowing what was happening to the country or my son is a memory I will never forget. I did not know he was safe until the next day. He came home for a quick visit. He was covered
    in black soot from head to toe. As he walked up the stairs all I could see were his blue eyes staring at me from a haunted face. He gave me a hug, said he was alright and left again. I did not see him again for many days Before 9/11 my son was a very happy, optimistic young man. The events of that day, and the sad days afterward deeply effected him. To this day he does not talk about that terrible time. I am very proud of him and all the first responders who sacrificed much on that fateful day. Both of my sons are NYC firemen. While I am very proud of them and glad that they are doing what they love, I worry about them every day. I pray that we will never have to experience another “9/11″


  • Eve Hershkowitz

    On September 11, 2001, I was working for Indian Point, the nuclear power plant in northern Westchester. I was the building administrator for the engineering center, which was off-site a few miles away. As we realized that the United States was under attack by terrorists, after the 2 planes hit the World Trade Center, and another hit the Pentagon, we wondered if they also might target a nuclear power plant only 45 miles north of midtown Manhattan! Our building was also home to a Social Security Administration office, and they had been told to shut down for the day, making it a little strange for us to be alone in the building. I felt a little guilty feeling grateful, that working outside New York City, it would be a lot easier for me to get home to New Jersey, since all the bridges & tunnels south of us were shut down.

    Life at Indian Point was very different those months after 9/11. While we were always used to high security, this took things to another level. They installed a “slalom course” of concrete Jersey barriers along the entrance road, so vehicles had to slow down to be inspected for entry. There were National Guardsman with full battle gear at the front gate, as well as our regular security people. They checked the trunks of all vehicles, and under them with what looked like a huge dental mirror. Entering the security building, you had to turn on cell phones & boot up laptop computers before going thru the security process, because there was a fear that they could be used to detonate explosives, when turned on. Life really changed for all of us.

  • Siobhan (Joan) Dolan

    There are so many images of “that day” and the days that followed now permanently etched in my memory as they are for many others who have shared. On September 11th, the unimaginable rolled along in quick succession from innocence – “what an outrageous accident” – to hard core reality with the hit of the second plane, followed by the shock of seeing the first tower fall, as word began filtering in about the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa. Each piece was like the segment of a nightmare becoming true. I was taking this in at St. Vincent’s Hospital in the Village, where I worked as an RN and was waiting for my assignment in response to the disaster. I was sent to a make shift sub-acute emergency room to help with the overflow that was expected to deluge the main emergency area. Not many came to the temporary site, and innocence “where are they? Are the streets impassable for the ambulances?” eroded yet again to the reality that so many had died.
    Being 25 or so blocks north of the towers, I tried to grasp the enormity of the WTC event on a human scale for those downtown. That perception was sharply boosted by a firefighter in my midst whose facial expression alone informed me he had just known hell, it defied words, and thousands of other New Yorkers would likely also have experienced horror on a similar scale. I never knew his name, but his palpable grief influenced me to do more for the New York community, and I did. The hospital’s enormous response included the offering of holistic stress management, particularly ear acupuncture, to ease stress for anyone who showed up. I’ve often wished that the firefighter who’d known hell, also knew he inspired me to start a clinic(s) that ran more than 6 years, providing 40.000 treatments to ease the stress of affected thousands of people, including other firefighters and their families. On this 10th anniversary, I remember him and how he, unknowingly, helped me to help others. I hope he is okay.
    And now, the hospital that gave so much during New York’s darkest hour is no longer here. As a nurse, I shudder to think about this absence in the event of any disaster, large or small, on the lower west side.

  • Jennifer Kirby

    This 9/11 will be the 20th anniversary of my first date with destiny and the 10th anniversary of my second. Both destinies are tied to a single image: a dozen yellow roses.

    On 9/10/2001, the florist arrives at my desk with a perfect bouquet. The yellow was a crisp complement to the austere gray linearity of the offices at Helen Keller International, my employer at the time. We were based at 90 West Street, the Cass Gilbert Gothic masterpiece that was the template for the fabled Woolworth Building. 90 West was separated from the towers by a comparatively humble parking lot with a little jewel in its crown—a one room Greek Orthodox church.

    I sometimes imagine those yellow flowers shriveling in the heat of fires that gored 90 West, destroying our offices; fires that started when the engine from the second plane hit the roof and continued when the towers fell.

    Every year on this day, 9/11, the anniversary of that tragedy, I remember the yellow roses and love of the man who sent them to me. That man is my husband, and 9/11 is also the anniversary of our first date.

  • Rafael Ocasio

    It all began as a wonderfully sun-drenched morning. It was also Primary Day in the City. I was running late to work because I wanted to fullfill my right as a free citizen to vote. As I waited on the Number 7 Line platform in Jackson Heights, Queens, I could see in the distance a funnel of dark smoke rising upwards and bending ever so slightly southerly. I did not give it much thought except to think it might be a warehouse or an apartment building fire somewhere in Long Island City. The No. 7 was delayed and I decided to hop off at Woodside and take the Long Island Railroad to Penn Station. As I sat down I looked out of the window. I could see smoke was coming from the other side of the river. Arriving at Penn Station I waited for the No.1 Line towards Times Square. An announcement informed us that service was being suspended below 14th Street due to “police and fire department” activity. Nothing else was added to that all too familiar tune in the New York City subway.

    When I arrived at work I was informed that a plane I crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. It was a little while until we were informed that it was a commercial airliner. And then the second plane hit. We were all glued to one PC watching CNN. We learned that another plane had struck the Pentagon building. My God! America was under attack! Working at the New York Public Library, informed by supervisors that we were to leave the building immediately at 11;00AM. But where to to go? All subway lines were shut down. New York City was in lockdown. As I proceeded to leave the building at the 42nd Street exit, the guards at that door slammed it shut before we all could leave. A rumor circulated that there was a bomb threat at Grand Central Terminal. People were running westbound on 42nd Street and wanting to enter the Library for safety.

    Once that rumor was dispelled, I left the Library and walked up Madison Avenue in what seemed like an escape from the terror island that was Manhattan. At the same time people would look up if we heard what sounded like an aircraft. The sound and possibility of another airplane falling from the sky was our worst fear. Along with a multitude of others, I proceeded to what I now call my freedom bridge, the Queensboro. Not to be disrespectful, but we all looked like extras in a remake of The Ten Commandments. Except our exodus was from the bondage of fear and terror. And as I walked across that bridge, I looked over my right shoulder. I could no longer see the Twin Towers. I walked 5 miles to get home on that tragic day. 5 miles was but a mere step away from home for me. Sadly, many who perished never got that one step to the safety homw and loved ones. They will ALL live in our hearts FOREVER!

  • Stephaniev Rosenblatt

    Thank you for including my experience. After having survived Hitler by leaving Germany at 17-actually against my father,s Will, and finding myself Foster parents in England 4 weeks before the war broke out,then being interned on the Isle of Man because of my age and not having family with me, I returned to ondon at the time of the V l and V 2s dropping all over London I opted to become an air raid warden rather than going to a shelter. ENOUGH already0–even though there is more.9/11 was the culmination -even though miraculously I escaped it. My heart goes out to all those who lost their Dear Ones and those that have been physically and/or mentally damaged

  • Sheilah Hill

    Answering: How did 9/ll affect you?


    I live in Riverdale in the Bronx, less than one hour by subway from the World Trade Center. The morning of 9/ll I went to vote. I half heard some ladies talking something about, “Isn’t it terrible? The World Trade Center. . .” But my mind wasn’t focused on this conversation. I was thinking of my new grandson, Jonathan, born just three days earlier on the eighth.

    As soon as I got home, I called my daughter in Tallahassee, Florida, to see how they were doing.

    “Mom!” she exclaimed, “We’ve been trying to call you but couldn’t get through! The World Trade Center. . . .”

    It was she who told me. I flipped on the TV as she spoke. However, only one channel was broadcasting because of what had been done to the towers. Finding that one, I, like most Americans, watched all day.

    In my first reactions, I wondered, what other things were going to be blown up. Should I get out of New York City? And if so, what should I take with me? But where would be a safe place to go?

    However, as days passed and I heard of military plans, increasing security at the airports, etc., I instinctively knew that security did not rely in these measures. Physically, no matter how much money was spent, there was no way that one could foreknow where to put policemen, scanners, and the military for certain safety. There could only be one antidote for fear—Security is in the Secret Place. Victory is only possible through weapons of the Spirit—love, joy peace, prayer, praise, faith, food, clothing, shelter, etc. If ever there was opportunity to learn this, it was now.

    “911,” people said, “The emergency number.” However, God has a 911 number—Psalm 91:1: “She that dwelleth in the Secret Place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” This Psalm became an anchor for me: “Thou shalt not be afraid of the terror. . .He shall give His angels charge over thee. . .” I determined to be motivated by love and develop my inner listening powers.

  • teri

    9/11 is like high school, sometimes it seems like it was a long time ago & other times it feels like yesterday. I do know that my life has been on a downward spiral since that horrific day ten years ago. I was on my way to my “dream” job. I had only been working downtown for several weeks but that was a significant week because I had meetings and my first fundraising dinner that week. I was going in later because I wanted to get some croissants from Au Bon Pain. When the #1 train pulled into Chambers Street, we were held there & I started to worry that I would be too late to stop for my croissants. Finally they announced that a plane had hit the WTC & we would have to get off at Wall St. I thought how can a plane miss such tall buildings, but I was still more concerned about my croissants. I got out at Wall St & immediately smelled smoke. As I walked out on the street I saw lots of people looking up. I just rushed thru the crowd to get to my office on Broad St. A piece of paper that was on fire fell in front of me. Finally I walked to Water St and looked up to see a gaping hole in one of the Towers. I did pause & thought no one in that area could survive that inferno. I was listening to CBS FM because I liked to play along with a morning trivia contest. As I got closer to my street they announced that another plane had hit the WTC & we were under attack. I looked up to see one of my co-workers walking away from our building. The blood had drained from her face & she looked like she was in shock. I decided to get out of the area & went down in the R train station at Whitehall. I stopped to call my family because all the phones were in use on the street. I found a working phone to reassure my grandmother that I was ok. I got on the R train & after a delay we started to pull out. Then the train stopped & we were told to move towards the back & get off. As I reached the street the sky was black & I worried that it was going to rain & then I heard the radio say the Twin Towers were no more. I couldn’t believe it so I started to run in the direction of the WTC when a man in some uniform pulled me into the lobby of a building on State Street. It was the first time I noticed all the people were covered in dust. There were a bank of phones but some weren’t taking money so I used my calling card to call my family. By then I heard that the Pentagon had been hit. I was disseminating any information I got from my walkman. I called & my uncle said the US was being attacked & I had to stay put. As a native New Yorker it takes a lot to rattle me but that day I thought would be our last & it shook me to my core. Eventually we left that building & I tried to get a room in Chinatown but they were booked with a waiting list so I made my way to midtown. It felt like a tale of two cities. People were pouring out of their offices but they were completely unscathed, removed from the devastation downtown. The streets of lower Manhattan looked like a war zone. I got to the 59th St bridge and crossed. I was tired but didnt want to stop. If it was my last day I wanted to be with family. I saw women with strollers, elderly people & everyone was helping. A pickup truck crossed & let many people climb on. When I reached Queens they said the subway was running, but some people were afraid there would be bombs on the train. I decided to take the chance because I was very tired. I made it from Bowling Green to Jackson Heights in under 2 hours. It was pure adrenaline. I got home, shell shocked, washed off the dust & stayed up for the next 36 hours watching every news program. Two days after the attack I could smell the smoke in Queens. It was the worse day I’ve ever lived through. We must never forget.

  • teri

    I will only add in the weeks and months that followed. I felt anger & rage. A friend who had served 3 tours in Vietnam said he wished he was younger because he was ready to enlist again. My office was closed for a week & I was glad because I had no desire to return downtown. The day my office re-opened my boss called to ask why i wasn’t there. She was home because of the jewish holidays & angry that I was absent. I told her I didn’t know the office had re-opened & since my computer had crashed 2 days before the attack I didn’t have any internet access. After she chewed me out, I thought its not worth it and I went to Kinko’s to type & email a letter of resignation. I found that I developed a cough & had to carry cough drops everywhere. I decided to make every day count since you never know when it’s your last. I had a particularly good christmas and my grandmother said the terorrists didn’t strike here. I began 2002 with a new attitude but within 2 months I lost my grandmother & father. The loss combined with the residual feelings about 9/11 threw me into a tail spin from which I have not yet recovered. I tried to find a grief counselor & ended up using money from the 9/11 health fund to seek counseling at Riverside Church. I was glad to speak to someone but the damage is lasting. I wonder everyday what if that awful day never happened. How different all our lives would be.

  • Patricia Olin Bryson

    On 9/11/01 I picked up my breakfast on the corner of 47th & 3rd from a coffee cart run by a Middle Eastern man who had spoken Persian in my presence to a friend at an earlier date. The coffee cart
    had been my go-to stop for 7 years and we, the proprietor and I had joked about the length of time.
    When I commented that my birthday was the following day, the proprietor said “Today is your birthday”
    in a sad tone. I went to my job across the street and watched the 2nd plane hit the towers on TV after
    being informed by a friend of the 1st attack. I knew in my being that the coffee cart man knew about
    the attack. He had also been in Germany before 9/1 “to visit his girlfriend”. He disappeared again
    until the following year at a different site and then never again. When I questioned his replacement as to his whereabouts, I was told he had gone back to SCHOOL. I felt personally betrayed by someone I had considered a friend and have often wondered if he had been investigated.

  • Kevin F. Glynn

    I was on the X27 bus from Brooklyn in the Battery Tunnel when a woman on a cell phone said a plane hit the Twin Towers. I told her that had to be wrong as it was a beautiful day, maybe it was a helicopter. The driver told us to get off the bus outside the tunnel on West St., just before 9:00 AM. I called my boss and said something terrible had happened and said a prayer. I turned to walk away and heard a woman scream. The second plane flew overhead and I turned and yelled NO! but could not hear myself. My heart broke as I saw the plane hit the South Tower. I ran and tried to take the Lex Subway but an undercover officer told me not to. I made a call to my Mom, telling her I loved her and to let my Girlfriend know I would meet her later on. I called again and heard that the Pentagon was hit. I remember seeing the plumes of smoke, heart breaking. I ran towards the Brooklyn Bridge and heard the explosion and saw smoke. I thought it was the Bridge. I waited for a ferry on Pier 11 and an elderly woman was crying so I held her as she cried. We got on a ferry, a young girl said the building collapsed as we rode in smoke. When the air cleared people clapped and I said “No, there it is.” I only saw one Tower. I realized the Tower fell and my heart kept breaking. Getting off the ferry in Jersey City I saw two young girls all cut up without shoes and as I turned they were gone. I walked along the water, turned to my right and saw the other Tower fall. I was in disbelief. I got to a restaurant where they opened up their phones to everyone. My Girlfriend was able to get in touch with me and I met Her in Summit, running to a bus then took a train. I took a detox shower in the parking lot and drove to my Brother-in-Law’s house. The Red Cross told me I was in shock. Driving back to Brooklyn was such an empty feeling. Months of F15 planes flying over Brooklyn, driving through the Battery Tunnel, passing by The Pile every morning. I prayed, cried, cursed. My heart goes out to my Cousin as she lost her husband. I also lost a childhood friend of mine and husband of an old friend. The only female Police Office killed lived around the block. I sat on my stoop the next day and spoke with my Cousin. She wanted to do something positive and had certainly done so. Nightmares were common for months, seeing all the dump trucks passing us in the tunnel, so angry, so heartbroken. We saw those buildings going up as kids. Project Liberty helped in the last six months of its program, I’m eternally grateful. My Brother, a Police Officer and an old friend, a Fire Fighter worked on The Pile in the aftermath. Thinking about September 11th breaks my heart to this day. PLEASE NEVER FORGET ALL THOSE LOST.

  • Amonda Cooper

    I remembered, I had the day off from work and, I was laying in bed deciding what to do with my day off. Suddenly, my father came into my room, telling me that a plane has crash into the World Trade Center. When I turned on the television, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe my eyes on what was going on. Immediately, I grabbed my video camera and began to record the tragedy from my balcony window because at my old apartment, I see the Twin Towers. In the meantime, my father was trying to reach my mother on her job at Jersey City Main Post Office but, he couldn’t get her. But eventually, she called him and told him picked her. Therefore, I went with him. I wanted to get a closer view of the event on camera.
    When we arrived on Grand Street, the police had the area closed off because the smoke from the Twin Towers had filled up the streets. I remembered the smoking being so thick that it was hard to see what was in it. But, we met my mother in the shopping plaza at the corner of Path Mart. Once she got in the car, my parents went to get my little sisters from school.
    During that time, I wanted to help out. I was willing to donate blood and volunteer but, my work schedule got in the way. Therefore, the best thing that I did was to offer my prayers for the victims and their families. Still, to this day, I still offer my prayers to the victims and their family. May God bless and keep you always….

  • jenny burrill

    The first few days,
    and weeks
    after September eleventh, two thousand and one,
    as thou i was floating,
    my steps became gentle,
    so tender
    and careful,
    as I walked
    down the sidewalks
    of my Brooklyn neighborhood.

    As if
    my soul,
    inside me
    could not bear
    the impact of stepping.

    Now ten years later,
    I wonder if also
    the earth
    was wounded
    in need of gentle vibration
    and healing.

  • Nicole Trione

    I was 12 years old when it happened. It was one of those days when people were going to work and school. I felt bad when it happend.

  • teresa gejer

    Palabras sin sentido en un mundo de silencio , desdicha y ahogo .
    Un mundo basado en los escombros de los muertos perdidos ,
    de las almas atrapadas bajo un cielo lugubre de llanto y tristeza , de apatia y ceniza.
    Un vuelo de pajaro , una tristeza contenida , un sufrimiento pasivo , el aire intoxicado, mis siniestros pensamientos , la brisa de aire que camina entre los escombros de llanto y pesar, un color purpura y un cielo celeste, un andar sin camino , un camino sin huellas ni pisadas ni las sombras de seres pasaron , un llamnado de ausencia alerta, un grito de soledad que despierta de una larga ausencia, un pesar interminable, inacabable , un llamado de ayuda, un cementerio sin muertos, un llanto reprimido un cielo sin estrellas, una vela sin fuego.
    Otro dia de silencio , sin voces ni sonidos, un hueco en el aire y toda la falta de destino, un alma tambaleante que va de aqui para alla pero sin decidir , no tiene a donde ir y en la trampa se queda sin esperanza de conseguir un momento de tranquilidad . Bajo cadenas y candado mi alma estrellada contra la ventana sin poder salir ni entrar sin poder respirar.
    Con dolor que asfixia, con una pena hirviente en un fuego sin llama , un dolor prolongado y silencioso , un llanto absente en una realidad horrorosa,sin futuro y esperanza, sino un prolongado dolor que se extiende en el infinito, un dolor profundo lleno de horror y suspiros ,un dolor desgarrante en una carne putrefactada por la lentitud de su final extravagante, lleno de calor, color, sonido incesante de llanto y quejido que lamenta el destino sin esperanza.
    Todo el grupo de gemidos sollozos, tristeza, dolor insoportable que toca todas las celulas del cuerpo , aquellas vivas y aquellas que ya no sienten.
    La desesperacion del grito en un vacio, en una ausencia de esperanza en un lugar que no hay mas que dolor y una muerte inminente.
    Una muerte despiadante e incesante , una muerte sin final, que lastima lo mas profundo de todo y de todos que lo rodean y tambien a aquellos que se encuentran ausentes e incapaces de proveer .
    ayuda , o un adios calmo y sin reproches , un adios humilde a aquellos que han sido determinados a morir una muerte inhumana .
    Los llantos y gemidos de dolor se estremecen en las calles vacias y deshabitadas donde solo un polvo blanco parece cubrir toda la superficie existente.
    Un polvo blanco que se siente negro y pesado y que se nos pega como una peste . Un polvo que nos hace acordar que cayo un silencio forzado ,un silencio agobiante e interminable. Un silencio provocado, como un parto sin contracciones .
    Apenas puedo escuchar ya que miro por la ventana y veo dos torres altas que se estan incendiando y aunque ya no las veo, mi memoria las tiene presente y ahora puedo escuchar todas las voces y gemidos atrapados entre las llamas y sin poder ir a ningun lado mas que a un infierno inevitable.
    Las gentes y almas evaporadas en un hastio de cenizas y restos de un pasado prometedor y lleno de futuro ,
    la luz es penetrante en un paisaje lleno de tristeza y soledad .
    Cada vez que escucho una ambulancia , aparece el temor a una desgracia proxima. Una desgracia de la cual no me puedo recuperar.
    Una desgracia que puede volver a ocurrir en todo instante, una desgracia que me hace sentir la fragilidad y vulnerabilidad del tejido humano.
    Un dolor agobiante lleno de llanto insesante.
    Un dolor estruendoso como una pesadilla intermitente que aparece y desaparece sin dejar huella alguna.
    Un calor asfixiante que desaparece en el horizonte , sin ningun rastro mas que una nube negra que llena de humo todo lo que la rodea. Una nube pesada como una pesadilla de la cual no me puedo despertar . Una pesadilla llena de imagenes que ambulan sin rumbo ni sentido en un vacio infinito, un hueco en el aire, donde no se escuchan mas que llantos y suspiros .
    Un dolor tan insoportable que carece de motivo y sentido, de la vida destruida.
    Un pesar prfundo llena mi alma, una inmobilidad de los sentidos que piden descanso de un sufrimiento interminable. Una pena taciturna que solloza, una pena que recuerda el atardecer de una civilizacion opulenta pero sin fuerza de superar el dolor percibido y con un sentido de ausencia de cosas queridas. Una pena de reproches a un pasado de abuso y superuso .
    Una pena sosiegada y espantada por el aire contaminado en aquel dia soleado e inesperado.
    Una pena oscura y preocupada por el amanecer de la peoxima manana .
    Una pena horrorizada por el triste panorama de una nacion estirpada de su iniciada jornada en una nueva manana, transformada en una compleja gama de sabor a garrapinada formada de restos de carne humana .
    Una pena que enciende la llama de alarma de una trsite jornada, apaciguada por la pesada y encumbrada hermana de una muerte cercana .
    Una pena traumada por el horrible venir de futuro deshecho en las calles desiertas de una ciudad alarmante por su ritmo incesasntee de sorpresa asfixiante .
    Una pena producida por la ausencia de sentidos y motivos surgidos de deseos inactivos .
    Una pena insaciable de amor ausente estirpado de una realidad alarmante y constante en un paseo desesperante .
    teresa gejer

  • Armand

    I am an ophthalmologist. After waiting at the hospital all day for survivors…
    We all felt so helpless and useless sitting around.

    The next day I went to the city to see how I could help. I brought all the supplies I could carry and was driven through the Lincoln tunnel. It was strange being the only car in the tunnel. Emerging on the other side and heading south looked like a war zone. We were able to pass checkpoints and made it to Stuyvesant. I met some residents and we cared for the rescuers and volunteers who had eye problems.

    For a long time afterwards posters and photographs of lost people were posted at the New York Waterway. The Ferries were the only way out for so many that day with the bridges and tunnels closed. For years afterwards I felt claustrophobic in the tunnel and would use the ferry anytime I could.

  • Carol Seischab

    The silence. The silence of people walking north through the streets and Central Park, covered with ash, finding a way out of the city. The silence of people waiting in a line that circled the perimeter of the Citigroup tower ready to give blood for persons taken to hospitals, not realizing that you were either alive and on your feet or dead beneath the rubble. The silence of the acrid smoke rising in the air and filling our lungs. The silence.

  • allison

    i was a police officer, i am retired now. it was the worst day of my life and continues to be. the death, the destruction, the devastation. i have seen people after they had jumped from 15 stories, but 101 stories, that image never leaves your mind. i thought it would be easier to recover remains in the days to come, after the fact, so to speak, but it was not. it was the worst thing a person a person could see, it never goes away

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  • Loretta

    I don’t think I realized then how my family’s life would be changed forever, my youngest brother, Kevin Michael Delano Sr., went down to ground zero right after coming home from being at the hospital all night with his one and only son & child. He knew as a firefighter that he would be needed down there, so he went home got his gear and off he went. He lost too many close brothers that day, this is what firefighters all over the country refer to each other as for they knew when duty calls they depend upon each other as families do. Well because as many,many responders did, he was breathing in all that toxic air unaware of it’s deadly consequences. When he was diagnosed with cancer we all were so devastated, he went through hell when the Drs. Decided to test all of us, there are 10 of us, 7 girls,3 boys, I meant to say now there are only 9 of us, and our sister Patty Fogarty was as close a match as they can get. Because of her generous spirit we and Kevin’s wife, Roe & son Kevin Jr., we’re able to have Kev with us for another blessed 7 months. Now I know that to some that seems like a small amount of time but to us it was and will always be a blessing because he was able to hold my first grandchild and see Pattys son get married. So if you are in a argument with some family member just think how empty your life would be without that person because my entire family, immediate & extended will forever be empty without our hero now & forever. I love you Kev and miss you as much today as when you went to be with Mommy & Daddy but I don’t cry as much as I did. Well that’s my story, I know that many more stories need to be told, so thank you for letting me share mine. The sister of a FDNY firefighter!