Where Were You?
I doubt if most Americans will forget where they were and what they were doing when they heard of the attacks on 9/11. Our commenter T. Shaw was in New York City during the attacks on the Twin Towers. Here are his recollections that he wrote down three days later:
I need to confess that this thing has me nearly unmanned. Late last night, the TV news had a segment wherein the wives and children made emotional appeals for info on their husbands and fathers who are missing. I lost it, then. I have tears in my eyes as I “hunt and peck” this. That is not me.
Have been praying ever since the attack. Tried to give blood yesterday. They said come back, had too many donors to handle. We need to come together and work to keep the economy going and spark the recovery. This is no time for “gloom and doom.” There is a lot of work needing to be done, and we have to pull together and get at it.
I went to work, as usual on Tuesday, 9/11. Took the LIRR to Penn Sta. Rode the #2 IRT Train to Wall and William, arriving there 9:10AM. They wouldn’t let us out by the usual exit, Wall/William. Went out the next one back. A construction worker came into the subway, and said, turn around and go home.
I should have listened.
When I hit the street, there was already paper, debris and smoke everywhere – even though we were about ¼ mile away from the WTC. I went into my office in 20 Exchange Place and heard about the first airliner strike. Shortly after we heard the second. Most had CNN on-line live TV on in the offices.
An hour or so later, it became as dark as night as the smoke and debris from the collapses surrounded us. Heard a rumble and saw a flash.
About Noon, they told us the FDNY (God bless those magnificent heroes and have mercy on those gallant men who gave their lives: greater love hath no man than to give his life for his fellows.) had ordered the evacuation of the building. I stayed until 2PM, because I wanted to let the smoke clear, and our offices’ air quality was good. Luckily, my wife’s brother-in-law works at 120 Wall, and he had a car. Wet my handkerchief for a makeshift gas mask and walked over there. We were able to walk uptown along Water Street and get it out of the parking lot and drive out. We gave a couple of other “lost souls” a ride to Grand Central Station. Took about two hours to get home by local streets. Thank God, we were home in eastern Queens by 4PM.
We don’t know when they will let us back into lower Manhattan to get to the office. I had an appointment at a bank in Yonkers, today, that I made a point in making. The other agency guys cancelled. I just felt I needed to show the colors. Stayed a while to talk to the people there and told a little of what I saw. Traveled to and from pretty good except, I’m an idiot, I got lost. Am home now and my boss said he’d call if he needed me. I doubt we will be back in the office before next Monday, if then. Amazingly, we had electric and good phone throughout.
On September 11, 2001 I was in my law office. My secretary’s husband called and asked for her. She hadn’t arrived in yet. He then told me that he was calling to let her know that an airliner had flown into the Twin Towers in New York. Very little work was done in my office that day as we remain riveted to the radios and the computers to get every detail of a day when it seemed that the world had gone crazy. My chief recollection of that day and the ensuing weeks is a deep rage at the monsters in human form that carried out the horrors depicted in the video at the beginning of this post, and frustration that my response was limited to sending money to help the victims and praying. Those are my recollections. What are yours?