Here is my story on that day:
The day began like any other work day. I had worked downtown Manhattan at Pine Street and Maiden Lane for three (3) years. I usually travel on the Long Island Railroad to Atlantic Avenue/Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn and then travel on the No. 2 or No. 3 NYC Transit subway lines uptown to Wall Street. The day began like any other work day.
Because I am accustomed to arriving at work early, I would sometimes walk the two (2) blocks to Broadway (near what is now referred as ground zero) to do my errands. But on this day, I decided not to walk to Broadway. Instead I continued on down to Maiden Lane and was entering my building when I notice many persons just standing in the middle of Maiden Lane looking up towards the sky. A co-worker of mine quickly pulled me to the street and said to look up at the World Trade Center Towers. To my surprise and dismay, one of the towers were burning-downward-it was surreal. This tower was burning downward in slow-motion. I could not believe it-but we thought that it was a aircraft accident. Watching this burning tower we realized that people were dying in the tower. (Our company, AIG lost two (2) underwriters who were in the Towers meeting with other insurance brokers).
I ran inside my building to my department on the third floor-all radios were attuned to what was happening not only in downtown Manhattan but across the country. We came to realize this was not just one act or accident.
Not long after that the second Tower erupted and went down. Our building was covered in darkness with black smoke outside and there was panic inside. People were running to get out-down the stairwells- in the elevators (bad choice), etc. Soon the elevators were shut down and only one (1) was working.
We looked outside to see people running down Maiden Lane from the World Trade Center sites towards Water Street and the Brooklyn Bridge covered in dust and debris screaming.
By the time many of us got out of our building it was 1:00 P.M. in the afternoon. We put AIG caps on our heads and cut-up AIG shirts, watered them down and tied them around our faces to protect us from the dust outside. We then walked down Water Street until we hit the Brooklyn Bridge-walked across the Brooklyn Bridge until we reached Brooklyn. As we walked across Brooklyn Bridge in haste we could see thousands of people walking across the Manhattan Bridge-in haste. When we reached Brooklyn the atmosphere was one of confusion, fear and soberness. Along the routes of Water Street and the Brooklyn Bridge on into Brooklyn people were giving out wet towels and water. No one could really absorbed what had happened that morning. We just wanted to get out of the area and make it home safely. I finally reached home in Jamaica, Queens, NY about 4:00 P.M.
Employees in our company (AIG) did not return to work until approximate 1 to 2 weeks later. When we did return the feeling was eerie and we felt unsafe. We felt like targets. It wasnt a good feeling. We worked in slow-motion mode. All we could think of was the many lost lives and how no one was safe anymore.
Over a year later, it is still was not the same. Many persons were extremely nervous whenever they heard sirens. Fire drills were taken more seriously. No matter how much new or refined security measures were instituted in our buildings since September 11, 2001 (AIG had at least five (5) buildings either owned or being used by its employees within a five (5) block radius), persons still at that time had no confidence and do not feel safe.
September 11, 2001 was certainly an Event. To say it changed our lives is an understatement.