It is amazing that it has been 13 years. It still feels like yesterday. We all remember 9/11/01. I have a permanent daily reminder – a tattoo of two hands clasping with numbers 9-11-01 above.
We all of have stories of where we were on that fateful day. For me I was on the 25th floor of One World Financial Center which was and is diagonally south of the towers. When the first plane hit it sounded like a dumpster was dropped from a garbage truck – kind of metal and tin meets asphalt. I looked out the window and saw papers flying by. Coworkers were saying a small plane had struck one of the towers. A look of fear was on their faces.
I immediately took the elevator down to the lobby and went outside to get a better view, I called my wife who was working for the same firm but on the 5th floor. Told her what happened. She remained in the building.
As I was looking up bodies started falling. It was horrible to see. As I looked away a dark shadow came across the sky with a loud roar. The second plane had it the other tower. People started running south screaming “another plane,” “we’re under attack!” Some were thinking that it was a missile.
I continued to head south to South End Ave – our firm’s rally point for contingency was there. I was having a difficult time finding my wife after the second plane communication lines were jammed. After about 20 minutes of walking back and forth frantically asking coworkers we found each other back at the rally point.
Some time had passed without getting any clear direction on what to do. There was no plan for this. We weren’t exactly sure where to go. We were slowly watching the twin towers burn. A police officer came by to our group and told us to move north never thinking that the towers would come down.
We moved north at a leisurely pace, my wife was trying to contact our family on the cell phone to no avail. Right at the south cove marina and the winter garden she finally got through. We let them know we were fine and walking north. Her dad told us that their were other planes unaccounted for. At that moment the first tower began to fall. I screamed out “Oh, fuck! Run!” That was the last words her dad heard for quite some time.
We ran. People were getting trampled. Some were jumping in the Hudson, others jumping into ferry and fire boats. At that moment self-preservation took over and I forgot about everything and everyone and ran. We turned the corner just in time. We made it safely passed the plumes of smoke, debris, and dust. Others did not.
We were ushered through a construction gate by a man in a security jacket and finally back onto West St and headed north while fighter jets flew over head – people ducking thinking the jets would crash into other buildings. We continued walking north for about 30 to 45 minutes stopping along the way to catch our breath, and try to soak in all of what happened.
When the second tower fell we were far enough away that no smoke or debris could reach us. Our walking ended when we reached the NYC Sanitation garage on West St. near West 14 St. They offered use of their bathroom and we watched the TV they had. Our first opportunity to hear and see about the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania. We sat there glued to the TV for a couple of hours making sure it was safe to venture out and making plans on how to get back home.
We eventually made it back to Staten Island around 5 pm to watch CNN non-stop for several days.