Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11...My Story

Almost everyone around the world, especially those of us living in New York City, has their own story about 9/11. So here's a question I've been hearing answered all day - What were you doing on 9/11? In tribute to this tragic anniversary, here's my story...

I was working at a company in 5 Penn Plaza and was commuting there by bus that morning. The bus had just got on the highway when we noticed that there was a fire coming from what appeared to me to be 2-3 floors. The tower must have just been hit because the fire and smoke still looked small. Everyone on the bus was concerned and cell phone calls from passengers to co-workers and friends in the WTC were not being answered.

By the time we came out the tunnel, the second tower had been hit. I got off the bus and like everyone else around me, was looking up and pointing in shock. I remember gazing around and felt like I was frozen in time and like I was in a movie. I recalled a similar scene in the movie King Kong and thought, "this cannot be happening". I felt sick to my stomach and got goosebumps. I don't usually walk around with a camera so to this day, I don't know why it was in my purse. Here is one of my first pictures.

I think I was in denial because I remained calm and walked the rest of the way to work and even got some breakfast. I naively assumed that the sprinklers inside the buildings and the fire department would eventually put out the fires. Who knew that the worst was going to happen?!!!

When I got to my job, there were people looking out the windows facing the buildings, there were people crowded around radios, and then there were people (like me) at their desks trying to wrap up urgent work. I was still in disbelief. The importance and seriousness of what was happening didn't hit me until I spoke to my husband on the phone. He was practically in tears and was begging me to come home. But by that time, all public transportation had been shut down.

There was nothing left to do but look out the window with my co-workers and see the horrific display before us.

Words can barely explain what it's like to witness two tall, two strong, two indestructible, two symbolic buildings collapse like they're made of toy blocks. I'll never forget the way the smoke so quickly flowed into the streets hitting the surrounding buildings; like ocean water running between your toes on the beach. I looked at these pictures today for the first time in a couple of years. But it all feels like it was just yesterday.


I thought I'd share a short clip of my daughter singing Empire State of Mind by Alicia Keys. It was her favorite song to sing when she was just 18 months old. I hope it puts a smile on your face on this depressing day.

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