Where were you on September 11, 2001?
I won’t bother to ask if you remember, because I’m sure you will never forget.
At the time of the 9/11 attacks on America, I was at school. I attended John Jay College in Manhattan. That morning, my friends and I were actually planning to miss our first two period classes to go to Strawberry’s and walk around the WTC Mall. We had Bio lecture…but our teacher saw us outside the door planning to leave so that wasn’t going to happen. Less then an hour into class one of our classmates shouted that he got a phone call from someone saying a plane crashed into the World Trade Center. My heart started racing, because my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) worked in the World Trade Center, Tower 2 (49th floor) as an Accountant for Seabury & Smith. I couldn’t believe it. Everyone around the classroom started crying, worrying about the people on the plane, in the building and walking outside the accident. I realized then many of us had something in common, we had loved ones working in the towers. At the time, we thought a plane simply lost power, gas or something. We had no idea a little while later a second plane would do the same and it would be an actual attack. That’s when things got really crazy.
After the second plane hit, we were all told to leave the building. Outside the school door, we could see some people running into the hospital across the street and other people running all over the place, not knowing where to go. Me and my friends ran to the train station, only to find ourselves being turned away and told no public transportation is available. No more trains leaving the area. Everything was chaotic and you could see the confused look of people’s face. I felt confused too. With no trains running, we had no idea how we were going to get home, no idea what location would actually be safe for us to stop, we all even worried if the bridge full of thousands of stranded people would be the next target. I worried about the people who didn’t have other options. That’s when we saw everyone walking towards the bridge so we figured we have no choice but to follow. This was after the towers collapsed. I didn’t feel any of the rumbling when the towers came down, but others near me say they felt something. All I could think of was my boyfriend. The only people I noticed who had phones that worked well over there, were people with Nextels. I didn’t have a phone at that time. There was no one I could ask to lend me a phone, because everyone was glued to their own trying to reach out to family and friends too.
As we approached the Queensboro bridge, we ran into one of our Professors who drove us over it. That’s when we noticed all the people covered in dust and cars covered in dust and some buses packed to capacity. People were crying hysterically, some were left with a blank stare, lost and wondering what the hell just happened? I was numb. We noticed something else too. People were offering rides to strangers, helping and some cars were so full people were also sitting on trunks.
When we reached Queens Blvd. it was jam packed, way more than the usual. I finally got to use a phone and I called my mom to pick us up. On a normal day, that would be a 1/2 hour drive, but on 9/11 we patiently waited about 2 hours. That sick day of heartache and evil also showed how giving and helpful people could be. So many people asked us if we were OK and if we needed rides, but my mom was on her way. When she arrived, she mentioned speaking to Oliver, I was so relieved. By the time I got home and called him, so I could hear his voice for myself, he told me he was already on his way to my house. No one was supposed to be on the roads, just emergency vehicles. It was like NY was on a strict curfew, but he made it to me in time. He was okay, but the next day we found out a lot of people weren’t.
I am so blessed that my husband and my Uncle made it home safe, but my heart will always ache when I face the reality of what took place. 10 years later and I still cry thinking about this tragedy and how it affects everyone. People seem to think it only hurts those who lost someone immediate. I see how my husband reacts thinking about his coworkers who passed away, I have friends who have lost loved ones and we’re losing people all the time in war or sicknesses caused by it. I pray for the survivors, the families, those we lost on September 11 and as a result of the wicked events. I honor the heroes in and out of uniform.