World Trade Center - Sept. 11th, 2001
(This Picture of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center was taken on August 29, 2001)
What follows is an excerpt of an e-mail that I sent to my pen-pal from England, Sarah C., about my experience of what happened on September 11th and eventually some additional thoughts and feelings that I had after rereading this e-mail:
Anyway, on that day, I had gotten into work somewhat early (about 8:50 AM for a 9-5 job) after voting in the democratic primary election for mayor earlier in the morning. The executive director of my agency called an emergency staff meeting and informed us that two planes had crashed into the Twin Towers. We weren't sure what was going on, as we did not have a television in the office. There were a number of stories floating around, was it two small planes, did two planes crash into each other over the WTC. It was definite that since it was two planes that it had to be intentional and not an accident. Anyway, the whole staff was in a state of shock and confusion as we turned on the radio to figure out what was going on. I was thinking about my mother who worked in Chinatown, which is about a half a mile from the WTC. I tried calling her at home but the office phones were not working nor was my cell phone.
I wasn't sure what else to do, so I went on my scheduled home visit at 10 AM. Along the way, I managed to get to a pay phone and get in touch with my mom who was at work and fine, but was going to try to head home (I later called and she made it back fine). I walked to my client's apartment all along seeing emergency vehicles flying downtown and seeing people on the streets somewhat confused and others getting angry. I made it to my client's apartment, was buzzed in, climbed up the stairs, and entered her apartment which was cracked open. My client was watching the news coverage on TV and I watched too. At the time, there was one tower still standing, and it took about a minute before my client turned around and realized that I was there. Throughout the hour I was there, we tried to discuss what was going on with her life but we kept turning to the TV to see what was going on. I saw a replay of the second plane crashing into the building. It was just horrible (and when they showed it again and again, I just couldn't turn away for whatever reason). When I saw the second tower collapse, I was like '"Oh my freaking God" and I started to tear up when I wanted to just ball all over.
I could not believe what had just happened. The first thing I thought was what was happening with all the rescue workers who were already there and the people in the building who might not have made it out in time. A wave of sadness and then shock filled through me. Then the other plane crashes happened in DC and Pennsylvania and I felt hysterical. There were all these other unconfirmed reports of car bombings and other things...and the panic felt like it was going to be the end of the world. My client and I then talked a bit more and then I left to go back to the office and saw a bunch of people just walking uptown (away from the WTC). When I got back, my co-workers and I just talked back and forth about what happened. I wasn't able to focus on anything else, so I canceled the rest of my home visits for the day after checking in with my clients and then just sat there listening to the radio and trying to call everyone that I knew who may have been down there to see if they were okay. A couple of my friends saw the second plane go in from various points across the NYC area.
So, the major thing that was on my mind as the minutes were going by was that I wanted to be home with my family. Now being that I lived in Brooklyn and there were subway difficulties all around, a bunch of us who lived outside of Manhattan decided to leave early to try to head home. We left at about 2:30 and I did not get home until about 4:30. It usually takes me about 45 minutes to an hour tops to get home, so I was not complaining given the circumstances. Anyway, I got home and started to feel like I needed to do something...tried to give blood, but they said they don't need any more for the day. I wanted to volunteer, help out or something, but at the same time I didn't want to leave home. I was just glued to TV watching the coverage, trying not to believe that this thing happened, but it did and I started to wonder what is going to happen next. It was very scary and emotionally draining.
For the first week after it happened, I managed to get into work everyday but I wasn't able to focus on my job. I called a vast number of my friends in and out of NYC and basically told the story above and it helped me to get it out. The following week, I was able to focus some more on work and started to go out at night. It's been hard here these past 6 weeks, but I'm finding that I am doing what I can to cope. Going to the gym to work out and being with my friends help immensely. I had been around the area a couple of times since the attack as well as Union Square (where at one point it was the furthest South you could go) to see the Missing signs and memorials and I still feel the sadness and tears come through (and in some ways it's good that I do, cause I would be worried if I was not).
While I am also angry with what has happened, I am even more pissed off about this war that the US is leading. I mean do more innocent lives have to die(even though the US has been saying that they are only hitting military targets and deny reports that they have been missing their targets....that is utter bullshit). And what does this prove? That we can bomb the heck out of a country. Yay us. War can only lead to worse things. I'm fearful of retaliation and when that will happen. I would definitely want to see the people responsible for this come to justice but I don't think this is the right way. I not sure what is the right way either...hence the conflict that is going on my mind. I know that I do find myself now more alert than I used to be, especially when a subway train is stuck between tunnels or I'm walking by one of NYC's many well-known buildings. But for now, life is moving along as best as it can.
This letter was written in October, approximately one month after the WTC attack.
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