#1866 | Monday, September 9th 2002
8:50 am

Late for work. Sipping my coffee while dressing. News report comes on TV. In awe of what I see on TV. It has to be an accident. A small aircraft probably. Cell phone wonít stop ringing. Weíve lost how many trunks ?!? Iím on my way in. Gotta get to work and see if I can reroute telephone traffic. On the highway listening to the radio. Itís a small aircraft, it has to be. Maybe the pilot had a heart attack and yeah.. thatís the answer. Gez this traffic, come on.

9:00 am

Ok, on the BQE. Finally, Iíll be at tunnel in a couple of minutes. News Report on radio. Second plane ?? Ohh, my god. It cant be.? Not in NY. Itís impossible. There has to be an explanation. I donít believe it..

I can see them. Wow, all the smoke. Look at all the smoke. Damn cell phone. Iíll be there soon, yeah I heard, let me go. Call wife at workÖ Damn. Canít get through. Try again, and again, and again, and again. Iíll call her once Iím at work. Sheís gotta be ok. Sheís near midtown. To far from the towers. Damn it. I canít reach her. Iíll pick her up once Iím in the city. Once I get to work Iíll call her and tell her Iíll pick her up. Damn traffic. Címon move.

9:40 am

At tunnel. WHAT!! THERE REROUTING TRAFFIC FROM TUNNEL!! I GOTTA GET THROUGH!!

OFFICER!! OFFICER!! Hereís my Verizon ID. I have to do some emergency 911 repairs at my central office.

Sorry Sir, only emergency traffic.

Yes I know. I have to get to my switch. I have to make repairs. Try and reroute traffic. So customers can reach 911. Hereís my ID.

Ok, let him through.

VROOOOOOMMM.. Whatís that guy doing on the motorcycle. Oh my god, he just forced his way through the barricades into the second tunnel. OK . Itís ok. Itís ok. Iíll be at the office in a couple of minutes.

The officer is pointing me to the first tunnel. Iím in the tunnel. Itís so quiet. No traffic. Sirens. There coming closer to me from ahead. 2 police trucks in other lane pass me by. What are they saying on the radio. I see light. Iím coming to the exit.

9:50 AM

Look at all the police cars and fire trucks. Ok, I can get on the West Side highway. Iíll be at the office soon. Liberty street a little less than quarter block away.. Damn, they have it blocked. West side highway is blocked right by the towers. How am I gonna get through. Iíll park on a side street and walk through. Let me make a U turn. All the police and firefighters. All emergency vehicles. Iíve never seen so many. Look at the police officer on the corner. On the corner of liberty. Heís looking up.

RUN!!!

OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! GET IN THE CAR QUICK.. GET IN!!
GO!! GO!! GO!! GO!!

Iím on a side street.. What street am I on?? ITíS A DEAD END. STUPID! STUPID!

SCREAMING, YELLING ALL AROUND.. DARKNESS IS COMING. LOOK. LOOK!!! THE TOWERS ARE FALLING. THERE GONNA FALL ON US!!!

Iíll love you honey.. I love you with all my heart. If you can hear me baby. I love you.

Smoke and dust cover my car. I cant see anything. Itís to dark. I canít see anything. Iím going to die.

Light.. I can see some light through the dust and smoke.. Iím going to live. Thank you Father, Thank You. Still canít see very well. Dust like a heavy fog. Iíll just stay here. In the car. Is everyone ok?? Dust is getting thinner. I can see better now. They have left the car and Iím alone now. Iíll just stay here in the car for a minute. Just for a little while then Iíll go.

Cant make a call. Canít reach my wife. The dust is still to thick. Iíll stay here for a little while longer, until I can see better. Itís safe here. I feel safe.

10:30 AM

Screaming getting louder. I CAN HEAR THE SCREAMING LOUDER NOW.

RUN!! RUN!! THE SECOND ONE IS FALLING!! GO!! GO!!

Iíll stay right here. Itís safe here. God is watching over me and itís safe here.

HERE COMES THE BLACKNESS!! Iím safe here. Itís ok. And Iím ok. OH GOD!! THE BLACK CLOUD!! I canít hear anything anymore.. Everything is silent. Iím safe in here. Iíll be ok if I stay in here. I CANíT SEE ANYTHING. ITĒS SO DARK OUTSIDE. I CANíT SEE.

THE DARKNESS IS FADING. I CAN SEE THROUGH THE DUST. I CAN SEE LIGHT ! The dust is fading . I can see. I can see people. I can see police officers and firefighters. Itís ok. The dust is fading and I can see. Itís safe to leave the car. Itís safe to go outside. Damn itÖ Canít reach my wife. Iíll call work. R---, call my wife for me. Keep trying her until you get though. Let her know Iím ok. Let her know Iíll be home soon.

BUZZZ.. Hey Ralph. I got in touch with your wife. I told her your ok.

I stayed there until 5:00pm that day to help emergency personnel. I am lucky to be alive. God Bless those who werenít as lucky that day and the people who loved them.

Ralph Q | 30 | New York

#1842 | Monday, September 9th 2002
On September 11, 2001, I was working in a highrise building in Pittsburgh. It was only on the 11th floor, but that was high enough for me. Someone had the radio on that broadcasted from New York City when the first plane hit. I wasn't near a television and didn't want to be. I was confused. Why was this happening? Who would do this? WHY would they do this? Then I heard about the second plane hitting the other building. I started feeling like I just wanted to run into a bathroom and cry, I was so frightened. Next, I heard about the plane hitting the Pentagon. I've been near it once and the size of it truly amazed me. That someone would fly a plane into that building, let alone the World Trace Center buildings, blew my mind. I heard about planes being highjacked. I heard about one flying near Pittsburgh. I looked out my window. Where was it? Was it close? Would it come near downtown? The USX Steel building is the tallest in Pittsburgh, 64 stories. If it hit there, my building, next block over from it, would be affected. I wanted to leave work. I wanted to go home, go home to my mother, want my brother to leave his job, ( he works at the county courthouse, which was right accross from where I worked) and just go home. He couldn't leave until the building was secure, but at least he knew I was OK and I knew he was.

I saw the pictures of what happened, what the end devistation was and was horrified. I was proud that President Bush, who I didn't vote for, was smart enough to send troops to Afghanistan to deal with the Taliban. I was in the Air Force during the Gulf War, as was my brother, and we both wished we could have gone over there ourselves.

I know that that day changed the way I thought about life. How I lived it, who I wanted in it, who I didn't. I had never learned to drive a car because of fear of getting behind the wheel. That day taught me that life is too short to live in fear of ANYTHING. Two weeks afterward, I started taking lessons and 10 days before Christmas, I got my lisence at the age of 30.

We cannot let terrorists dictate how we live our lives. We cannot let fear of anything stop us from doing what we've always done before. If we do, then they win. We also can't look at everyone who is different from us and just assume that if they are from a Middle East country that they are automatically terrorists. There were Muslims who lost their lives as well on that day WHO WEREN'T TERRORISTS. Hopefully people will remember this the next time they see somone Arabic and automatically want to hate them because of what SOME PEOPLE did to us.

We are a strong nation. We have survived many wars in our country. We have pulled together to get ourselves back on our feet. We will get through this as well. God will not let us down, nor will He let us forget that we are ALL THE SAME, REGARDLESS OF RELIGION. I think it's time that we all looked at life a little differently because of this situation and learn from it.

Melissa Kondrich | 30 | Pennsylvania

#1840 | Monday, September 9th 2002
I was in class, when this happened. I remember getting into my van to go and grab something to eat and run home for a bit before my next class. The radio kept saying something about the pentagon. I didn't understand because the announcer was not forthcoming with any information. All I understood was that there was a fire. My thoughts turned to getting home and hopefully finding out what was going on.

Then I reached home and saw the unthinkable right there on my television.

I had made it home just 2 minutes before the first tower fell. I just remembered feeling lost. Should I go and get my children from school and daycare? Should I go back to class? Oh My God, what about my husband? Does he even know?

Then it happened again...Soon before I left to go back to class, the second tower fell.

I did continue my day. And as it went on, I saw more and more anger and sorrow among my classmates and even my instructors. Classes turned into full-blown discussions of what was happening to our nation. I remember seeing crowds around offices and classroom televisions, struggling to hear the latest news.

When I went to get my two smallest children from daycare, is when I think it finally hit home. I walked into my daycare providerís home. It was quiet, as usual, because it was naptime. When I approached my providerís living room, there she was just sobbing. It was then it hit. We just stood there, sobbing togetherónot saying a word.

Now that the anniversary grows closer and the TV replays those horrible images and the radio play those beautiful songs in remembrance, I will stop and thank God, again, for giving me my family, my friends, and my life. I will give my boys an extra hug and tell them for the ten-millionth time I love them. I will kiss and hold my husband a little longer before he goes to work. But most importantly I will go on, because if I let it get to me, they will winóand this American is not about to let them.


Christie | 30 | North Dakota

#1817 | Monday, September 9th 2002
I remember Spetember 11th like it was yesterday. I had just dropped off my son at school and was on my way home with my younger son. I turned on the tv and saw the first plane in the tower. My curiousity turned into horror when I realized that MY country was under attack. I cried and wanted to pretend it didnt happen. I appreciate my country and my family more so today then I did a year ago. Life is precious enjoy it while you can.
Heather Starks | 30 | Illinois

#1654 | Wednesday, September 4th 2002
I was at work when we heard about it. We normally have the radio on but that morning I did not turn it on for some reason. A person from the ajoining business came over to tell us I just remember that when I turned on the radio the guys that I usually listen to every morning we still on the air and it was 1 hour after they were normally over. I just have to say that theydid such a great job of walking us through it that morning. We felt so much shock and disbelief that even though it has been a year almost it is still so hard to comprehend how some one can have that much hate. My heart still goes out to thoose who lost a loved one that day and my prayers are still with them always.
s lohr | 30 | Canada

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