My 9/11 Experience

ground-zeroThere are thousands of 9/11 experiences being told today. Here is my humble experience. And I know I’ll never forget.

I was working for a large mortgage company on Long Island as a web creative director.

I had just come from the gym where I watched the banter of Katie Couric and Matt Lauer on the Today show. It was a picture perfect blue sky day. When I walk in the building I see groups of people crowded around computers and I ask what’s going on. A plane had flown into the trade center a coworker says. The internet connection is so slow. Nobody is able to view anything on their computers. We find a TV and gather around it. And see the second plane hit the next tower. The office is full of screaming and crying now. One woman I work with, a tough skinned loan officer falls to the floor face down and starts kicking her legs and pounding her arms on the floor. Flailing and screaming. Some of the male coworkers hold her down and console her. Her 21 year old daughter is a receptionist in Tower 1. She cannot get a hold of her.

The company President calls a meeting and tells everyone if they need to go home then that is what they should do. Some lady starts yelling Jesus Save Us over and over. You cannot predict how people you work with will react in a crisis.

bin-of-aircraft-partsI go and sit in a small office with my boss and a few coworkers. We’re just kind of struck in disbelief. The VP of IT walks in and says Mike (the President) says we should take down the website. I look at him puzzled and say okay, I don’t really know what else to say. I mean it’s his website. The IT guy says I don’t think we should do that. I agree and we don’t take the site down.

I worked with a young Asian programmer who had given his 2-week notice just the previous Friday to work in the world trade center for a financial company. He was so excited. And was giving off the attitude like pffft I’m leaving you people behind for a much better opportunity. I was actually envious. He ended up not leaving after all. I mean that could have been him there.

I’ve called my husband who is an electrician at a customer’s house. And I tell him to turn on the TV. He said Henry our accountant works there for Marsh McLennan.  He can’t get a hold of Henry. Later Henry calls and says he is okay. Henry was also there for the 1993 attack. He was one of the first people out of the building as soon as the plane hit. He made his coworkers get up and leave and told them he’d buy them coffee. As Henry was coming down the many stairs in the building the plane hit their building. They heard the elevator cable snap and the elevator plunge by the stairwell with people screaming in it all the way down to their death. He was traumatized by this for a long, long time.


Another friend is a NY police detective. Kathy watched the 2nd plane hit and helped many escape the ash. These pictures are from Kathy. She gave me a cd of them 12 years ago.

For weeks you could smell debris and death in New York. In a way it was a one day act of war, the effects of which have lasted more than a decade.

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