Where were you when the planes hit?

by coolhandluke 56 Replies latest jw experiences

  • ronin1

    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.


  • ronin1

    I wrote this poem shortly after 9-11 having lived in NY at that time and worked downtown the day the attacks occurred:

    " The Pair"

    By: Cheryl D. Scott

    They were splendid!
    They greeted and received all whom they beheld.
    They were adept with the bustle of life.
    They were oblivious to differences.
    We needed them.
    We boldly asked of them.
    We used them.
    We took them for granted.
    We were not aware.
    We now notice.
    We now see!
    We miss them but will not forget.
    They were majestic!
    They were the Twins!
    The Twin Towers At The World Trade Center.


  • Chameleon

    I was walking from my second period class to my third period class, and this girl I know came up to me and said "Have you heard?"

    It was a surreal day.

  • Watkins

    I noticed the recurrence of the word 'surreal' in all your posts - the perfect word for the events and our feelings on 9/11. I enjoyed reading all your different experiences - especially those who were so close(wow, Ronin1!) - and those who were so far away - even in Australia!

    I was watching GMA with Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson. They had an instant live feed from their camera crew on the scene as the first tower began to smoke and burn after the impact of the first plane. Their chat of the presumed 'accident' turned to gasps and then silence as we watched the second plane strike. I was glued to the set, but my legs wanted to run - somewhere - I felt like running around screaming "HELP THEM!!!" - but I was immobilized. They talked of other hijacked planes... the Pentagon attacked... Air Force planes deployed. Always the professional reporters, they now stumbled over their words and their voices cracked with confused emotions, desperation, fear - whoa. Stuff was hittin' the fan and splatterin' faster 'n you could duck. I was numbed and shocked by images of people leaping to their deaths rather than waiting for the flames... I gaped in utter horror as those towers collapsed on top of themselves - it looked like the ground opened-up and swallowed them whole! I'll always remember how sick and helpless I felt, thinking that I'd just watched 25,000 people die. Disbelief and sorrow. (I didn't know what a swift evacuation the rescuers had accomplished in so few minutes - they were truly miracle-workers!)

    Although I'd been fading for about a year from the wts, yeah, there were some fleeting thoughts about the beginnings of the big A. I called my dd and dh at work, and also thanked God my Mom wasn't alive to see this day... Still, somehow I felt physically safe - living out here in the mid-American countryside so far from any cities or probable 'targets' - but I knew life for Americans was going to change. The first effect on us was price-gouging at gas stations. The jerks.

    When dh got home from work we hugged a lot tighter and longer... and we watched with the rest of the world for weeks without tiring of it at all, as the twisted burnt metal was trucked out continuously. We waited hopefully for good news of people found alive, but unfortunately there weren't many stories like that. I was upset when they got back to regular programming on tv - how could they act like it was 'business as usual' when it seemed to me that things would never be 'normal' again - ever?

    It makes you wonder about those, who for some unforeseen reason, were late to work or decided to play hooky or called in sick - one guy took his kid to school and thus was late enough to be spared while his co-workers died - one guy was sent out for donuts and everyone in his office died but him - how they must feel like they cheated death. Or maybe they feel guilty to have been spared - and surely they wonder. Remember that priest - Father Mike I think was his name, who died while helping someone on the street - a falling brick hit him in the head and killed him outright. There were heart-wrenching last calls from those knowingly doomed, captured on voice mail or answering machines to their loved ones. It rips my heart afresh every time they're recounted. There sure are a lot of questions ending in "why?".

    I didn't realise how much potential fear had to change life for the whole world... And I hadn't even begun to realise what historians have always known I suppose - what a perfect conduit religion is for fear-mongering. I hate what fear can do and has done. I hate what fear wants - which is to replace love. We can't let that happen, people, no matter what... NO FEAR!

    "There is no fear in love. Perfect love throws fear outside."

    "Imagine there's no religion. It's easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky. Imagine all the people living life in peace." Cool - I've always wanted to visit the R&R Hall of Fame.


  • cathyk

    I was born and raised in Queens, NY, and lived there until I got married, so it was personal.

    I was home in Raleigh, NC with two of my three kids. The boys were watching "Dragontales" or something like it on PBS. I turned on the radio to listen to a program, when I heard a news report about the President being informed of something and looking grim. I thought, "That can't be good," ran downstairs, and switched the station to news. At that point the towers were in flames.

    I got online and emailed a few people, then one of them wrote back, saying how he'd seen the smoke as he drove across one of the bridges on his way to work. He then said, "I can't believe they're gone." WTF??? What did he mean, "gone"?

    Ran back downstairs, turned the channel again, and saw the replays of the towers falling. Fell to my knees and wept ... I know so many people who work in lower Manhattan, my brother included. I started making phone calls ...

    While I didn't lose anyone close to me, my brother knew a bunch of cops and firefighters who didn't make it. One of my cousin's friends used to work at Windows on the World, the restaurant at the top of one of the towers. She was gone. My aunt's brother-in-law lost his brother, a firefighter. There were funerals in Brooklyn and Queens for weeks afterward, since that's where most of the police and firefighters lived.

    My dad was a retired Port Authority police sergeant. He lost some people in that attack, too. He and Mom were on a cruise when it happened ... Creepy, because they were on a cruise when the towers were bombed in 1993 (?). We began to joke that we weren't going to let them on a ship again!

    We also had ties to the Pentagon crash ... When we lived in Virginia, my husband used to work as a civilian for the Dept. of Defense, and the area where the plane hit was the section he used to go to for meetings all the time. He knew one or two of the people who died in that attack.

    Cathy Koenig


  • kitten whiskers
    kitten whiskers

    This is always a hard topic to relive.

    My husband was working out of town across the state in Michigan and we were staying with our best friends. I was 8 months pregnant (my friend was 2 months pregnant) and we both had 2 year olds. I was watching the kids while she and my husband were at their jobs, her husband had just come home. I was cleaning in the children's bedroom and her husband said, "my mom just called and told me to turn on t.v. Come see this." We stood in the living room in shock watching the first tower burn. Then we saw the second plane hit. My friend said "There's going to be a war." We were all jws at the time, and I remember thinking how matter of factly he stated it. I went back to the children's room, pulled my daughter to my lap and just hugged her and cried. So thankful and terrified at the same time. I called my husband. He was working at an automotive plant. My fear was maybe they would try to take out all the plants to cause immobility. I was worried for him. We were close to a military base as well. I was afraid they might be targeted too. I thought of the scripture, "Woe to the pregnant woman in that day..." I wondered what the world would be like for my baby. What would be happening while I was giving birth? How much would our world change? I thought how ironic that the number for emergency is 911 and this happened on 9/11!

    We skipped meeting. Our friends went. They also ran right out to purchase gas. We had no idea what tomorrow would bring and if it would be available. I was glued to the news for days. I also called my mother-in-law across state. She was a reg. pio. and elders wife. She didn't seem concerned. I remember feeling an urgent need to contact everyone, tell them we were okay. I thought they would be more concerned.

    I heard stories of how Bethel opened the doors and let people come in off the street and how the brothers and sisters here thought it was so wonderful of them to do that. I thought how weird it was to think that was special. It was just normal compassion. Well, maybe not normal. They probably tried to comfort them with literature!!! They big thing was how many jw's died. I think the count I heard was between 13-15. I will never forget that day. I know why my grandpa would get upset about Pearl Harbor now. As a child I didn't understand how such an attack could make you feel.

  • puck

    my gf and i were in alexandria, va at the time, and she took the metro to grad school. she was at the stop under the pentagon when it got hit. her dad called and asked if we were all right -- i hadn't heard about the pentagon attack yet, so i told him we were fine -- he knew we weren't in nyc. he said to turn on the tv (i'd just gotten home from dropping her off at the metro), and i saw the reports about the wtc and the pentagon. somehow she managed to get through to me on the phones, and i had to drive into dc to pick her up. i took rt. 5 (right past the pentagon) to go get her, but it was all blocked off. it took me three hours to get to her school (15 miles from our house), and i had to go through virginia and maryland to do it.

    my gf said that when they stopped at the pentagon stop, all these people came running onto the train, screaming that there was a bomb. nobody knew exactly what was happening yet.

    the huge black cloud hanging over the pentagon was so odd -- all these buildings and cityscape, and a giant black cloud hanging over everything. so scary. and it was super eerie the next few days with no planes flying over, especially as we were near bwi, dulles, and ronald reagan airports. it felt like the whole world had just stopped.

  • bluesbreaker59

    I was in college, just half way through my second year. I was on a break from classes and eating breakfast in the cafeteria with some professors and some class mates. Then we saw the breaking reports. Classes were cancelled, I called in for work, I called my wife (now ex), and told her to rush home because Armageddon was starting. I sat in front of the TV terrified, watching it all. I bought gas, I prayed, I called all my family, I was really worried about dying at Armageddon, because I had not been a very good l'il dub. I was also worried about "the draft" restarting, and concerned about getting sent to prison for not going. 9/11 will never be forgotten by me. Living in the midwest, it was like it almost wasn't "real", but there was a sickening feeling every place I went. My grandma, the ever loyal dub, was excited, saying this was the end, I know many local dubs speculated that it was starting. Most of the young men, were scared to death about the prospect of getting "drafted" or getting man-raped in prison.

  • TheSilence

    I work at a casino, and that year I was working overnight a lot so I usually slept until about noon. I woke up and it was one of those beautiful days. I keep the blinds in my room open (the sun doesn't bother me when I sleep) and I had the window open as well. The sky was the perfect shade of blue, the air smelled fresh and clean, there was a bird chirping in the tree outside my window, not a cloud in the sky, and the temperature was gorgeous. Just one of those perfect weather days. And so I woke up to this and thought how wonderful life was, took a few nice deep breaths of the fresh air, had a nice long luxurious stretch. I was relaxed, content, happy... it was just a glorious day. I remember clearly noticing, enjoying, thinking about these things.

    I don't usually have a TV in my room, but a few nights before someone had spent the night and we had moved the TV into my bedroom to watch a movie in bed. I hadn't bothered to move the TV back, yet, so I rolled over and turned the TV on to flip through channels for a bit before making myself get up. A barrage of thoughts and images, fears and nightmares, shock and despair, sadness and regret invaded my peaceful, contented enjoyment of the day. It marred my soul. I felt... distanced and alone. I lived by myself, and while I was content living alone... it was isolation that day. It kept flashing in my mind the fact that a week, to the day, before I had actually been standing at the top of the world trade center. I still have the tickets.

    I had to work at 3 that afternoon so for about an hour I just sat in bed flipping through channels trying to understand what had happened, what I had slept through. I left the TV on while I took a shower and got ready. I listened to news updates on the radio all the way to work.

    Our casino does a lot of local business and many of our players will book rooms in the hotel for a night out even though they live in town. We cancelled all rooms that were booked for local guests. We opened the hotel to those who were stranded here because their flights were cancelled. We opened up the ballroom for a place for people to stay when the hotel was full. It seems odd, but there were people playing at the casino that night. I think for most of them it was an escape, a way to cope, with the tragedy of the day. A lot of the people who were playing were from out of town and stuck here, just trying to pass the time and not think about it. I spent most of the night talking to a guy playing blackjack who was in town on business. He worked at the world trade center. He hadn't been able to get ahold of his family or anyone from work and just couldn't face sitting alone in a room.

    I sent home every person I could afford to let go early with the exception of a few who wanted to stay because they lived alone and wanted to be around people rather than sit at home alone. It was a somber night and we all just did the best we could to comfort each other and those around us. We got through it the best we could.


  • Tatiana

    Yesterday, I watched the History Channel all day long. They remembered the victims with documentaries, and I watched them all. Some made you angry as hell. (The 9/11 Commission Report) The shot of Bush sitting in that classroom. The way the hijackers walked so cavaliery through security, with no one giving their obviously forged passports a second thought. Some mad you cry. (The Day the Towers Fell)...will we ever know what really happened? I doubt it.

    The day it happened, I got up and turned on the computer. Got my boys up for school. Took a shower. I didn't have a job to go to at the time, because my company had just bankrupted and closed. After the boys left, (we lived one block away from school, so they walked), I sat down to come to JWD and see what was going on. My homepage was MSN, and I saw a picture of one tower burning. I thought it was a joke. I thought to myself.."Well, that's not funny."

    As soon as I found out it was real, I slammed a tape into my VCR, and watched the second plane hit. I started crying like a baby, and soon they were locking down the Sears Tower. I was scared as hell they would hit that next. I went and got my boys. I couldn't stop hugging them.

    I taped for the next entire week. I still have them. When I ran out of tapes, I taped over movies, whatever.

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