#1161 | Sunday, April 7th 2002
Well, we found ourselves in NYC on 9/10 looking forward to 4 days of great fun and sightseeing! We had flown to Conn. , from our home in Albuquerque, NM to delebrate our grandaughters 10th bday in Mass.. After 3 days there, we headed to NYC. Our son had made us reservations at the Waldorf Astoria (never would we have stayed at such a special place, but he made up the difference in price) telling us he really wanted us to have a special vacation, not knowing when we'd get back to NYC! Little did he know , how special and profound it would be! We checked into the hotel and what a grand place it is! WE were able to get the Guggenheim museum in and a nice dinner that Mon.. We would get up early on Tues. am to head uptown to the studios where the Regis Philbin show is done. So we found ourselves at that location trying to get into the show without tickets! Well, while we were waiting in line, the TVs were on in the lobby and we saw the first plane hit the first tower! We were in disbelief along with all the other people there, including some of the station employees, thinking it had been a terrible accident! WE stayed put, thinking we might still get into the Regis show and my God, another plane hit the other tower! At this, every one exclaimed "it must be a terrorist attack"! People were dumbfounded, in a state of shock! We hailed a taxi and headed down to Rockefeller CTR., thinking we could get into the outside audience of the Today Show but by then it was almost deserted! This was only 10 am! WE could see the smoke billowing from the towers but were amazed that we didn't hear any explosion! Being in a state of shock still, we actually went into a restaurant in Rockefeller CTR. to have breakfast, which in afterthought, seems so crazy! Half way through our meal our waiter, very pleasant and from S. America, told us that the restaurant was closing down. He was not happy about this, because it meant no pay for the day. He shared with us that he shared an apartment with 3 other men and was saving money to return to S. America. As we left the restaurant into the lobby we saw Stone Phillips talking to other people and tried to hear what he was saying, but it seemed they didn't know much more than anyone at that moment. We headed back up to the WAldorf Astoria and found out from our cabbie (a man of about 35) that he and his wife and 3 children lived in an apartment and had to make about $10,000 a mo. to live in the city! WE were astounded!

WE were surrounded by all this chaos , but at the same time calm, and in the hotel we felt so protected, as though this horrible thing hadn't happened and was a dream! The hotel set up incredible security right away. WE got ahold of our son, who had stayed in the city, but at a different hotel and he was safe, later that day he joined us. Thank God we had not gone down to the Twin T. as tourists do! That evening we went to dinner at a lovely Italian Rest. close to the WAldorf and it seemed so bazaar , all these people visiting, having a good time, eating great food while the horrors of the site were going on! We walked down to time square and it was almost deserted!! It was frightening and seemed like a movie of the "end of the world". WE had never seen the city like this! Streets were all but abandoned! WE were hopeful that we could still get to enjoy some plays and museums on Wed. or Thurs. , but our hopes were dashed! I didn't even get to visit with my 2 cousins who live in the city who we had planned to visit with. They were so distraught by the attack they were in no mood to visit. They are still affected by this horror and still miss the spirit of the city , as it was! Driving out of the city on Wed. was so strange, it was deserted except for the police who were at different intersections. My son had hoped to get one of the wonderful NYC hot dogs from a vendor on the way out and sadly there were none to be seen or had! It's strange how even such a small, seemingly insignificant thing as not getting a hot dog can astound a person! We left the city , returning to Mass., with no problems. WE returned to Albuquerque that next week, 6 days after the attack. There were slight delays but the most noticeable thing were peoples moods and frame of mind. We were very quiet and subdued. I wondered if I would panic when on the airplane, but I didn't and I had faith that we would arrive home safely. The pilot flew over the TT area as we left Conn. and we could see the smoke and how sad we all felt! Our 2 grandchildren in Mass. made red, white & blue ribbons and passed them out to the neighbors in their area and I still proudly wear mine. Even though Albuquerque is 2000 miles away from NYC our people were so concerned and sad and in shock, as the people all over were. So, my sons' words were pretty profetic when he said "he really wanted us to have a special and memorable vacation in NYC". And he shared it with us. He has been back to ground 0 for business reasons and was appalled by the site! I'm glad I found this chance to share our story, hope it can help in some way. Thank You, Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith | 60 | New Mexico

#494 | Tuesday, December 18th 2001
Word reached me that we were under attack from a phone call from my sister asking if I had the television on. She said that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and that we were under attack in America.

My first reaction was utter disbelief. I turned on the television and found my worst fears had come true.

Later, I watched the second plane crash into the second tower and could not believe my eyes. I turned, after several minutes of stunned silence, to my husband and asked him;"My God, you don't think there are any people left in that building, do you?". It then stuck me that there were people in the planes and the sense of horror washed over me.

We kept the television on and when the towers collapsed the grief I felt was just overwhelming. I could not bring myself out of it for months and still, some three months later, struggle everyday with the thought of man's inhumanity to man.

Several days later I attended a candle light service in the small Maine city I live near and was again overcome with grief beyond description. When I heard them begin to sing the hymn, Amazing Grace, tears flowed freely from me and the others gathered there.

I now feel that we will never again be safe in America. We can hunt down and bring Osama to trial but we will never rid ourselves of another Osama just waiting to take up the crusade against our wonderful country.

I can't do anything to help but my husband works for FEMA and has been at Liberty State Park, helping the victims of the attack since Sept.22, 2001 and thus far has missed Thanksgiving, our son's birthday, our anniversary, my birthday and will not be home for Christmas but I feel that is a small sacrifice to make to help those who are in such agony over their terrible losses.

Hunting down and killing Osama bin Laden will not change anything, or killing the Taliban in Afghanstan, but only a complete rethinking of our countries policies to that part of the world and offering as much aid as is needed to others in need, is what will change others perception of what is the greatest country on earth.

Roberta M. Kelly | 60 | United States

#401 | Sunday, December 9th 2001
The phone rang at 6:30 a.m. It was my daughter calling from Minneapolis. Her message just said, "Mom, I know you are still sleeping but you won't believe what's happening!". She had been watching Good Morning America when the planes hit. I got out of bed, picked up the phone and turned on the T.V. 'Oh, my God" was all I could keep repeating.

With the American political systems terroristic foreign policy, I had always expected this would happen some day. But it was still shocking when it did.
To the citizens of New York, I grieve with you and for you. To the U.S. Plutaric politicians, I hope you really take a long hard look at your own involvment in backing terroists regimes before more citizens are hurt. I fear for America. God Bless and keep you all.

Phylis | 60 | Canada

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