#2184 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I started a new job on September 11, 2001, I don’t remember much of the day, no training occurred. I ran back and forth in the office between the television in Spanish for images and the radio in English for information. I think I was in shock because I only remember the day in snippets.

I recently was at the Wall Street stop of the subway downtown near the WTC and suddenly remembered the awful smell that lingered in the air for months – burning rubber, metal, plastic & --- That smell was the worst reminder – even if you couldn’t see that anything had changed, if they wiped down the buildings and cleaned the dust, that smell remained.

I went to the site in October of 2001, and I had to cover my mouth the entire time – you don’t know what it smelled like down there from the television footage, that was the one sensory aspect you could not get.

Anna | 23 | New York

#2160 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
the day started off very strangely. i live in staten island and take the ferry into the city everyday. when leaving the ferry at around 8am, i looked down at the grating and my husband and i both saw a dead pigeon, face down, wings spread, facing the city. a chill went up my neck but i walked on. you get used to seeing strange things in the city and thinking nothing of them.

i went to work as usual. i work at 38th st & 3rd ave, in manhattan, 5 miles north of wtc. we turned on the tv as usual. my co-worker said that a plane had struck one of the towers and i immediately thought of the story of a plane hitting the empire state building. i thought nothing of it other than it was an odd way to start the day. until my mother-in-law called about 5 minutes after the first plane struck to see if my husband and i were ok. then i knew it was real. i called all the family to let them know we were ok. and kept working.

i went downstairs to go to kinkos. in the elevator down, one of the building service men said the top of one tower was collapsing. by the time i was done with kinkos both towers were down. i could look down 3rd avenue and see the billowing black clouds. and see hordes of people making their way uptown, away from the smoke and chaos. i got back to the office to about 15 emails and 6 or 7 voicemails of people continuing to inquire as to our safety, as the news just kept getting worse and worse.

i left work as my office is in the middle of the triangle formed by the empire state building, the chrysler building, and the u.n., and if anything else was going to be hit it was going to be one of those three. i walked 20 blocks uptown to meet my husband who had walked 20 blocks downtown from the met, also a possible target. we walked over to st vincents to meet our housemates whose pre-mature baby was being released, born only 5 days earlier. it was tricky walking from 58th & madison to 14th & 8th without getting close to any major tourist sites and thus possible targets. after managing to avoid times square, grand central station and any other place we could think of, the walk past the post office at 34th was the longest.

we got to st vincents to see 8th ave blocked to everyone but emergency vehicles traveling up from wtc. we bought turkey sandwiches and water from a deli, found our housemates with sleeping infant in tow, and drove north towards the george washington bridge, the only open outlet from manhattan. we saw a huge line of people along the westside highway, ready to give blood and volunteer in any way. traffic was slow but moving. the cel phone stayed on as we continued to make contact with family members in texas to let them know we were safe, and tried to track down our own friends somewhere in the city.

we drove til our hunger pulled us over. cracker barrel, mt arlington, nj. this was the first time i'd had a chance to stop and see coverage of what had happened, and what we had left behind. we ate the most comforting food we could find, and a lot of it. with all the walking and stress i hadn't realized how hungry i was until the food came. we stayed at a nearby hotel that night, our young housemate's first night away from the hospital, because all bridges and tunnels back home were shut down. we finally got home late on wednesday to really get a sense of what had happened. and to be thankful that we weren't more directly affected.

amy | 26 | New York

#2133 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002

I was on my way to work in New York City, by 34th street when the first tower was hit. When I walked into the office my co-workers were listening to news coverage on the radio, and I had no idea what was going on. All I knew was that this wasn't a normal working day. A co-worker told me what had just happened. I walked over to my desk and turned my computer onto the news. I was in total shock. I ran outside to the deli where a huge screen was showing all of this horror. I couldn't believe when I saw the second tower being hit. I stood there for a few minutes with some people from work. When I went back upstairs to my desk, I got an email from our HR department stating that if employees did not feel safe in the city, then it was okay for us to go home, however, there was no way out of NY. No buses, trains or taxi's running. I knew I had to walk home. I called my husband, who was off from work and home that day. He told me the best way to get home. I grabbed two of my co-workers and decided to walk the bridge onto Queens and walk, walk, walk. Since I had high heels on that day, I stopped by a shoe store and bought a pair of flat shoes, preparing me for a long walk home. I walked endlessly through the bridge and once I arrived at Queens I was able to contact my husband where he picked me up about a mile and a half after the bridge. When I got home I hugged my 7 and a half month old son and 8 yr old daughter, and together watched the coverage on the news. I will never forget this day.

Maddie | 30 | New York

#2130 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I commute to work 1.5 hours to Trenton NJ (centrall New Jersey) from Manhattan NYC... my wife and I both live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Our apartment faces south, and although we are safely miles away from the WTC, we had to close our windows to keep out the smoke which smelled of jet fuel.

From our window - months later - we could also clearly see the the "tribute to light" in the distance as well.

* * *

On 911 I was at work buying breakfast when I heard from a cafeteria worker that "a plane had hit the WTC"... I responded that it was "probably a small plane"... she was adamant that it was a passenger jetliner.

I went upstairs and co-workers turned on the radio... we heard that a second plane had hit and that it was a terrorist act... I called my wife, at home who was just rising for a later shift at work (she is a physician).

I told her there was a terrorist attack on the WTC... she couldn't believe it... after confirmed that we were both ok, we both tried to call our families to let them know.

I then heard that a pland had hit the Pentagon, and I couldn't hep but thinking not only "what's next?" but that "this is WAR"

My wifes very worried family called from Europe.. by then broadcasting horrible pictures of the WTC... as my wife spoke to her sister overseas in Prague.

I then heard a coworker say to me "the towers are collapsing"... all I could say was "oh my god... oh my god... my god"

My wife was speaking to her sister and turned to the TV to notice she could onyl see one tower ... she cried out to her "where is the other one... I can't see it... is it behind the smoke??... then - with her sister still ont eh phone - she watched in disbelief as the remaining tower collapsed.

With the phone lines being overloaded, we could not reach each other the rest of the day.

A bomb scare forced an evacuation of our building, but all trains and busses to NYC were stopped... I was stranded in Trenton.

A friend and co-worker offered to let me stay with his family until service was restored... at his home - with his daughter innocently playing in the background and vying for our attention -we watched the towers fall for the first time.

Later that day, my wife was able to call me on my cell phone... she is doctor as had rushed to the hospital to see if she could help.

I asked her what she saw... she said it was "very quiet" and after a too long pause continued with "I guess there were not many survivors".

That evening, after finally getting a train home to NYC, as my wife and I watched those horrible events unfold, we held each other in tears at the thought of the thousands who senslessy were so brutally murdered.

My wife also both remembered that only the day before, she had flown back from visiting her family in Europe for three weeks. After I picked her up at the airport we both thought Sept 11 would just be a "normal" Tuesday.

We know life will never be so "normal" gain... but we resolve to never let the terrorists win... by continuing to live our lives as before, albeit more alert and mindfull of our surroundings.

Like innocent children, we learned that day that there really IS evil in the world, but this is STILL our beloved country, our home, and that we need to show that we can learn to live in this dangerous world as so many before us have.

We vow not to let terrorists take away our lives.

JS and RKS
Upper West Side of Manattan, NYC

JS | 37 | New York

#2116 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
My name is Tamara Towndrow and I live in Norwich, NY. On 9/11 I was getting ready to go to my class on the Binghamton University. The phone rang my sister called and told me a plane had hit the "towers"! At first I was at a lost and then turned my tv on. My husband hurt me gasping for air and ran into the room! All I could say is no this didn't happen and then all of a sudden the second tower was hit. I still had the phone in my hand and I realized that my sister was crying just has hard as I was. I was shocked. After I calmed down enough I went and picked up all three of my sons from their schools and brought them home. My husband and I began to try to explain what had happened. It was the mmost devasting thing to happen to our family. I am orginally from down near New York City and could remember the many occasions when I went into the "city" for different things. And I am having a very hard time dealing with the New York City's skyline without the "towers." It always brings tears to my eyes. And because of the tragic event in American history, I view the world a little bit different now. Oh I always told my children I love them and give them hugs and kisses but now I make sure I have plenty of free time for all those special occasions.
Tamara | 37 | New York

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