View Full Version : My memories of Sept 11th

Cam'ron Giles
Sep 11th, 2002, 10:41 PM
I know that this is not exactly tennis related but I felt better putting it here. If anyone has a problem with this I will move or delete it. Please forgive any errors or bad spelling.

I worked at the time about two block away from the trade center. I took the World trade center path train the five minutes to Jersey City late on the 10th because my boss wanted me to finish some work. I said screw it around 8:00pm and decided I would get to work early on the 11th to finish it. The next morning I got up early and took the train from Grove Street in Jersey City to the World Trade Center. I got to the World Trade Center around 8:20am. I stopped at the Sam Goody in the World Trade to buy a DVD and walked the two block to my office at 52 Broadway. Around 8:50, my boss hurried over to my cubicle to tell me that something was happening at the Trade Center. From our window on the 16th floor, we have a clear view of the towers. I at first thought it was some kind of ticker tape parade because of all the paper falling out the building but I quickly saw the gaping hole and the smoke. At this time I found out that it was a plane that it the building in an unfortunate accident. My phone rang and I went to answer it. It was my mother. I assured her that I was fine and as I was about to hang up my entire building shook. BABOOM. It sounded like a huge explosion. Someone still standing in the window screamed that another plane just hit the other building and at the same time my mother let out a scream. I realized that we had big problems. I returned to the window. At the window was my friend and co-worker Ray. Ray’s younger brother was a bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 105th floor. Ray looked calm as he told us that he had spoken to Thomas his brother about ten minutes before and that his brother was trying to find some way out. I was amazed at how calm Ray was. I think partly for Ray’s sake, everyone was saying that the buildings won’t come down. My boss however was pretty blunt and said he was sure they would. Before my mother hung up with me, she told me to head home and made me promise that I would not be nosey and get closer to the building. I did make my way downstairs. Lower Broadway looked like something out of a disaster movie. Ambulances, fire trucks, disaster recovery vehicles…paper just raining from the sky. I picked up a piece of paper with burnt edges and saw a signature. Remember wondering who that person was. The sidewalk was packed with people. Some trying to make it home and others was just trying to figure out what the heck was going on. Despite my mothers warning I decided to go one block up to the corner of Wall Street and Broadway to see better. My thought was to duck into my gym (Equinox at Wall street) to watch it all on TV. I got to the corner of Wall and B’way and just stood with the crowed looking up at the majestic twin towers. And then the unthinkable happened…As I stared up at the building, the ground started to rumble. The top of the building looked like it was about to tip towards us. The most awful rumbling sound filled the lower Manhatten. I froze. It felt to me like what you would imagine the world coming to an end would be like. Remember, I had no idea if bombs were going off, other buildings were falling on top of each other. It was utter chaos. I cant describe the terror. I remember just screaming OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, loudly…I turned on New Street and from every cross street dust and debris was coming at us…I was actually right behind the building that I worked in but I knew that the back door is sometimes closed so I ran by. By this time, the dust and debris had pretty much caught up with us and several of us fleeing for our lives ducked behind a column on New Street. At some point I ended up in a shoe store. I just remember the sheer terror and the crying in the store as the manager tried to find something for us to wash our faces off with. He found some mask and gave them out. Everyone was in shock. I just wanted to make it back to my building. I still have no idea at what point the second building came down. I made my way around beaver street to Broadway and walk the one block towards my building. As I was making my way towards my building, I saw the funniest thing. Amidst the chaos (soldiers all over the place, army vehicles, dust, debris, near darkness, tears, fear) this woman, covered from head to toe was bent over in corner trying to light a cigarrett.

I mad it back to my building and was to told by one of the guards that everyone left in the building was on the second floor emergency bunker. The entire second floor was filled with employees and even tourist that ran in from the street. There is a store in the lobby of the building that sells snacks and the owner invited us down to take whatever we want and pay from them later. Everyone was just trying to make everyone else feel comfortable. I am not sure at what time the second building fell. I just remember looking outside and the entire area was even darker. We all agreed that the second building must have fell. By this time I was able to get a phone call through to a friend who was staying at my apartment. I told her that if my mother called just assure her that I am fine. My friend was in tears because she knew just how close I work to the twin towers. The biggest fear for all of us on the second floor was the domino effect that was possible. We had no way of knowing if other buildings were badly damaged and might come down and knock our building down. We all decided that we would organize into groups and each group would go in one direction. My group headed out the building down wall street to the sea port. It was just an unbelievable sight. It did not look like my city. I cant put it into words what I saw and the reaction of the people that we ran into. All the while I was thinking that other building could fall. I just wanted off of Manhattan. We saw so many people that were hit by debris. One older lady had a horrible head wound. We all begged her to stop an ambulance but she refused. She just kept crying and saying I just want to go home, I just want to go home, will someone please take me to Brooklyn”. I still think about her. I made my way to the sea port and unto a ferry. The ferry went around the southern tip of Manhattan and pass the site of the World Trade. This gave us all for the first time a clear view of the site itself. You could hear a pin drop. No one on the packed ferry said a word. Normally there is no smoking on the ferry but I took my pack out and as I lit up, everyone around me wanted one. It was the least that I could do.

Two weeks later I found out the Ray lost his brother Thomas Dowd. I interviewed for a job the summer before at Mercer Consulting (a division of Marsh and Mclenan)and was almost hired but did not take it because of the money. I found out that the woman that interviewd me (Maureen Olson) died. So many others.

Sep 11th, 2002, 10:48 PM
I don't have words for this :sad:

Sep 11th, 2002, 10:51 PM
Thanks for sharing this with us, Free.

Frau Antje
Sep 11th, 2002, 10:52 PM
OMG, your story is so sad :sad:

Sep 11th, 2002, 10:56 PM
Its so sad:sad:

I'm glad you were ok.

Helen Lawson
Sep 11th, 2002, 11:23 PM
I was nowhere near NYC at the time, thank God. I was talking to a friend of mine in person about something silly from the previous weekend in an office. Another woman I know walked in on us, crying, and said the Pentagon was on fire. I cannot believe my reaction in retrospect, I just rolled my eyes at the other woman and said someone probably threw a lit cigarette in a trash can and that it was nothing. The crying woman tends to overreact to things and she does listen to Rush Limbaugh, so it seemed like a rational response from me at the time. She left and I continued to gossip with my friend. About 20 minutes later I walked by a TV to investigate the "fire" story, and saw what was going on. Even then I sort of shrugged it off like I'm sure everyone would get out and the tower fires would be put out. A little later, someone I was doing business with called me and remarked the towers were gone. It kind of hit me then. My first reaction seems a little heartless, but at least I am being honest. Who could have known something like that could happen at the time?

Sep 12th, 2002, 01:15 AM
it was such a sad day,that words cant even sum it up.

the cat
Sep 12th, 2002, 01:54 AM
Free, thanks for opening up about your traumatic and heartwrenching 9-11 experience! I hope your long term health is unaffected by 9-11. But I've heard alot about the World Trade Center cough.

I'm sorry you saw so much, Free. I was luckier. I didn't see as much horror as you did. But I felt it. I had a meeting near Penn Station that morning. And all I could think of was getting on the Long Island Railroad as soon as possible. But Penn Station was shut down by 10:30am, and I felt trapped. And I felt kind of like a sitting Duck, too. Because Penn Station would have been another target for the Terrorists. And by that time, I knew both Towers had collapsed and the Pentagon had been hit. So there I am near Penn Station and not knowing what to do. Finally, thousands of us walked up to the 59th Street Bridge and accross the bridge out into Queens, New York. And Queens never looked so good to me! :bounce:

And I must say how proud I am at how friendly and helpful New Yorkers were that day. :D People pulled together in the time of crisis.

But I did rock the boat when we were walking accross the 59th Street Bridge. I said to no one in particular "I wonder if the bridge could be bombed". I got alot of dirty looks! :eek: And for safety purposes, I quickly moved from the outside of the bridge to a couple of rows closer inside. But what I said was quickly forgotten. But 9-11 will live in my memory forver. And yours, too, I'm sure.

And watching alot of media coverage on 9-11 today has left me with mixed feelings. Love for the families of the deceast! :kiss: And loathing for those who did this! :mad:

Sep 12th, 2002, 02:18 AM
thank you for sharing it

Crazy Canuck
Sep 12th, 2002, 07:06 AM
Thank you everyone who shares their stories in here.

Free of course, for starting it.

Sep 12th, 2002, 07:15 AM
What disgusts me time and again is that they slammed a 2 year old child into the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 400mph in the middle of a giant mass of jet fuel.

Sep 12th, 2002, 08:11 AM
oh FT that's horrible. I'm so sorry you had to go through that.

Sep 12th, 2002, 08:13 AM
A very difficult read, Free...it must be a horrific memory to carry. I can't even begin to imagine. Despite, or perhaps due to, the extensive coverage of the whole event...it often seems surreal to me. I know that word's been overused, but I think that's because it so perfectly describes the sense of unreality that many of us have felt as we watched it unfold.

9/11/01...I slept through it. Still seems unbelievable to me, that I was laying in bed dreaming while this horror took place. I'd been up very late the night before, and was sleeping in. My husband came home at about 11 am and woke me up.

The look on his face was so tremendously sad that it frightened me to the core, and in my drowsy state, I couldn't make sense of his words: "The World Trade Center is gone".

In minutes, I was in front of the the television. Watching the unreality of it. The awful reality of it. Weeping. For days to follow, weeping.

We had just been there the previous May, showing our visiting Dutch friends the city. We always stayed at the Marriot on West, a couple blocks down. That was our home base in the city...the WTC subway station...The kiosk inside where we picked up tickets to shows for half price.... We'd gone up to the "Top of the World" so they could see the view...

Of course, my slight familiarity was nothing compared to those of you that live and work there, but it was my personal link to that place. The people who worked in the restaurant. People we'd spoken to, interacted with. I don't know any of their names. That really bothers me.

Funny thing, during that time, I also kept thinking of the Amish Market. Such a great little place, where we picked up coffee and a bite on the way to the subway. The people there, the friendly atmosphere. So close to the towers. Only a block away.

I'm sorry, I'm rambling. All the memorial stuff and then reading this...brings it all to the surface again.

We will all carry our scars, I guess, in varying degrees. Thanks for sharing your story, Free. Let the healing continue.

Sep 12th, 2002, 08:23 AM
rambling is ok, EC:-). I was watching all the ceremonies yesterday, and all these documantaries about what happened that day. I must have heard the story a million times, and every time it was just as sad because someone else was telling it. the most upsetting programs were the ones about individual victims. it made it so clear that while the number of casualties is almost too high to grasp, there are people behind that number, who desrve to be individually remembered. even more so because they could never be given proper burial (sp).

Sep 12th, 2002, 01:20 PM
Thank you for sharing your horrific experience with us. Words are just not enough.

I was ill at home in the UK and watching TV. I turned to another channel expecting to be watching a certain programme and of course the disaster in New York was on. I just could not comprehend. What people have been through is just horrendous.

My thoughts, prayers and good wishes go out to anyone involved in this darstardly deed.


Sep 12th, 2002, 01:29 PM
Thanks for sharing your experience, Freethinker.

Yesterday I got my heating bill for my old apartment and it's very high. It's clear I've been heating my neighbour's flat as well since his bill is as low as can possibly be. I was very angry, ready to check what I could do when the 9/11 documentary made by those two French brothers was shown on TV.

After seeing that documentary, I just went ahead and paid my heating bill without whining about it. Those horrific experiences simply put other more earthly matters into perspective.

I've been looking at the pictures of the people who died in the attacks. I found Thomas Dowd among them.

[hugs] to everyone who may need them.

Sep 12th, 2002, 02:14 PM
Pfff, what a sad experience. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Sep 12th, 2002, 02:30 PM
It was shocking. Just shocking. When you live as a
expat in a foreign country; you tend to become more
aware of everything back home. It felt like a part of
everything I believed in, and grew up knowing as
an American vanished. It was weird because here
in SIngapore people were sympathetic only because well..
they felt they should be. I don't think they really understood
what it stood for. Believe me living in Singapore has made
me see things in a different light. All the things I've taken
for granted back in the USA- the freedom to view any TV
show that I want. The freedom to go on the web without
worrying about my Internet provider spying on me. Not
having some say their with "the Ministry of Environment" and
need to search the apartment for mosquito's (TRUE STORY).
Not having to fill out forms saying that I'm not HIV positive, to
request for a renewl of an employment papers. All the civil
rights that I've taken for granted, and now as an expat in
Singapore do not have.

Last winter when it was revealed that a terrorist cell was
operating in Singapore connected to Osama and Co. boy did
the general public change it's tune. They've become alert,
aware, and very concerned about radical terrorists. Prior to
the arrest of the SouthEast Asian terrorist cells, alot of
Singaporean were saying that "we" American were asking
for it by being economic super power bullies etc... That's
not really the point. Why kill 1000's of innocent people in the
USA for the economic imbalance in the Middle East. Why
hasn't Iraq or Iran help change the economic imbalance in
their area instead of using anti-American sentiment as
easy scapegoats?

I live among liberal Muslims in Singapore. The Muslims in Singapore
are middle class, educated, and just want to get on with their lives.
We've got modern Muslims here in Singapore. Islam isn't the problem;
it's the economic inequality that must be solved.

Sep 12th, 2002, 02:37 PM
I had just sepent a free lesson in school on the internet when i was walking back to our common room and someone said a plane had crashed into the world trade center.I thought my god that sounds like a horrible accident.Then later on i found out the truth it was a horrible day and a year on i still find it hard to believe it has happened even thought i have been to ground zero in march!

Sam L
Sep 12th, 2002, 03:33 PM
Thanks for sharing this, very sad :sad: Hope this will be the last time something like this ever happens again.

Also let's not forget the silent heroes. Often we only think about the human tolls in these situations...




Where will we be without them. Please love all creatures.

Hidden Stillness
Sep 12th, 2002, 03:35 PM
I posted this at Jana Novotna's Yahoo club:

As this day approached, I just wanted to get it over with and have it be gone, quickly. The whole day, one year ago, was just full of so much confusing horror, that I didn't think there was anything worth thinking back to. This anniversary day itself was weird and unpleasant, but there were lessons to be learned.
The whole day last year was so confusing, awful, it wasn't even clear what was happening, why, and where. There was even an early report that they had crashed a plane over Denver. There were all these people who went to the WTC site with pictures of people who had been in the buildings and were unaccounted for, bizarrely calling them "Missing," when they could only have been dead all along. Cheers went up in some parts of the world, as many felt a grievance had finally been redressed against the U.S. Then of course, there was Bush, running away + hiding (in Omaha!) most of the day, until the polls showed Americans were furious about this, and were meanwhile themselves, like, helping! There was a beautiful response from Canada--sending firefighters and other rescue workers, lining up to donate blood, accepting hundreds of diverted planes when U.S. airspace shut down, showing support generally, etc.--and other nations. The friendly Canadian-U.S. border, formerly lax and easy, has become slow and tight-security; unheard of before. Americans became afraid to fly, still are to large extent (wish it would stay that way--I hate that sound! Take the train!).
There have been many beautiful, and wrenching, remembrances today: the one in Shanksville, Penn., where passengers and crew sabotaged the mission, which by now they knew about, and brought the plane down onto a peaceful field, and where the Governor read a message from local schoolchildren: "If God brought you to it, God will get you through it." The WTC ceremony, where they read the names of the dead, and paused to toll a bell at the exact time of every event, for example stopping at 10:29AM, to mark the Observance of the North Tower Falling, then starting the reading again. This took about 2 and a half hours, to read the just under 3,000 names (remember the early reports a year ago, when they thought it was going to be 20,000+). Mozart's "Requiem" was performed at locations around the world at 8:46AM local time, when the first plane hit. Among many beautiful ceremonies around the world, one at London's St. Paul's Cathedral had a haunting moment: 3,000 rose petals, representing the Trade Center victims, were dropped from the ceiling and drifting, fell in an area just behind the priest, while everyone there was silent.
Media coverage was rather crappy and disappointing as usual--overly visual, killing meaning, "personalized," simpleminded. For the most part, media commentators didn't SHUT UP during these ceremonies; only C-SPAN totally silent during. There are lessons to be learned and things to be faced, and I think many Americans have become a little less arrogant and a little more self-aware as a nation in the world, and that we must be a leader among equals, and not always a capitalist bully, but you would never know that from media coverage. We will not make any progress until the a-hole Bush is gone--but of course, we never elected Bush!
The true meaning of this story is long-term, long-range, and historical, and all events placed there to be elevated and understood. Not only the larger, impersonal story, but even each particular person, will not be understood at their greatest until you set their story amongst the neverending, grand pageant of history, and of eternity beyond.
Hi, Jana!

Doris Loeffel
Sep 12th, 2002, 03:59 PM
Thanks all for sharing your experiences.

I myself heard the news from my mom who called me in the office. knowing that I might be interrested as I just been to NY on my holidays in august. What can I say to express my feelings then. Usually I don't pay that much attention to news programs but that day I spent the whole evening behind the TV and whatched the same unbeliveble pic over and over again. Having a hard time to believe what I saw. Still up to today I shake my head in disbelieve.

Sep 12th, 2002, 04:00 PM
Thanks for sharing, FreeThinker.

Sep 12th, 2002, 07:18 PM
Thanks for sharing FreeThinker... My company lost 8 employees that day including Todd Beamer. Todd was the one on the last plane that went down in PA. He was the one on the phone w/ the operator.
Very sad day at work yesterday.

Sep 13th, 2002, 03:00 AM
I loved to go to the top of the World Trade Center even though I was scared to death of it. The New York skyline, seen from the GW bridge is so emtpy now, nothing on the very tip of the island where there once were two great buildings

Sep 13th, 2002, 04:05 AM
Frightening experience, Freethinker82. Thanks for sharing. I was in New York State at the time for a conference, albeit far from New York City. The atmosphere was so charged that the afternoon session was downright cancelled.

Cam'ron Giles
Sep 13th, 2002, 04:10 AM
Thanks everyone for you sentiments. It is a tragedy for all civilized people. I wish I could stop looking at the pictures on TV and on the internet. But when I think of the fact that I could have been in that building working for Marsh on the 96th floor, it is almost too much to think about. I thaught I was fine with by now but with the arrival of sept 11th 2002 it all just came back to me. I remember a few day after the tragedy I went into Manhattan to go to the gym and was so sad I stopped at a church to pray and just cried and cried. GOD BLESS US ALL...