#784 | Friday, February 22nd 2002
On September 11, 2001 I was at work. I had just got back from a walk that I took on my break. I was already in an unusual emotional state. When I got back I heard from the overhead speaker of the crashes at the World Trade Center. The shear magnitude of the lose of life moved me to tears.
Michael Bryant | 49 | South Carolina

#563 | Saturday, December 22nd 2001
I was, like many others, at work but fortunate enough to have a tv on in the lobby. I watched the early coverage with some trepidation as the news people speculated as to what had happened to the WTC. When the second plane hit, it was as if someone had punched me in the stomach. I knew from that point on that America would be changed forever. The freedoms that I and my contemporaries had enjoyed would no longer exist. I felt an extreme sorrow for both of my children since they would not grow up in the same world that I did. The carefree innocence of my childhood would not be theirs. Security concerns and fears of other terrorist attacks would be on their minds.
Never in my lifetime did I imagine those beautiful twin towers coming down...I had watched them being built as a child having lived just minutes away in downtown Manhattan...my heart goes out to all who lost family and friends in this incredible tragedy. God bless the NYPD,NYFD,and all the Port Authority personnel for saving as many as they did.

John Castiglione | 49 | New Jersey

#326 | Saturday, December 8th 2001
I was on a Train from London - Kings Lynn (Norfolk)and was totally oblivious
what was happening untill i reached my destination turning on tv and sky news.
That days paper is now sealed forever to be opened whenever sometime in the future for anyone that cares to read
"Lets not forget"
K M-R

Kieron Moore-Robinson | 49 | United Kingdom

#289 | Monday, November 26th 2001
I was sitting at a Chili's restaurant at the airport in Charlotte, NC, eating huevos rancheros, drinking coffee, reading the USA Today and waiting to get on the 9:50 US Airways flight to LaGuardia Airport. I was going home to the Big Apple.
My cell phone rang and it was my good friend and business associate Bob from Atlanta. My son Willie was staying at his house and he said to me, "I just turned on the TV and a plane hit the World Trade Center."
I figured like most people, a small plane, maybe a stunt gone bad, when he exclaimed, "Ohmigod! Another plane hit the other tower!" and I knew it was terrorism.
I was stunned and immediately mad.
I hung up, rushed over to the bar where a young man was getting ready for another normal Tuesday and I barked orders to turn the channel from ESPN to CNN ... "Why?" he asked and I said, "We've been attacked by terrorists."

Eight years earlier I had been sitting at my computer downtown Manhattan when my wife called from Louisville, Kentucky where she was performing in a play. "Is everyone okay? Is Daniele okay?" Dani is our daughter. Back in '93 she was 7 years old and went to PS 234, at Chambers and Greenwich, three blocks north of the WTC.
In one moment I knew we had not taken that terrorist act seriously enough. My anger and my sadness combined. I felt personally responsible for not having the insight and the courage and the will to have stopped this threat back then.

Quickly word of the new attacks spread through the airport and quickly would-be passengers assembled in restaurants and lounges in front of TV's everywhere.

I called my daughter Daniele, now a junior in high school at the Lab School on 17th Street. I got her voice mail and left a message. My phone rang. It was my son Luke who lives on 18th Street and works at oxygen media around the corner.
He knew I was coming to New York and he was relieved to hear I was still on the ground.
My next call went to my sister who runs an ad agency near Penn Station. She was in tears and mine were rolling down my cheeks as we spoke. Two of our brothers are among New York's Bravest and she assured me that one of them was off in Pennsylvania playing golf. The other, a lieutenant was working in Brooklyn (not a good sign I knew because last time - in '93 - he was working Brooklyn and managed to make it all the way to the 85th floor of one of the Towers.)
My phone rang and it was my precious daughter and my voice cracked as we spoke and she shared how scared she was and how one of her frineds who lived in Battery Park had not made it to school that day. I told her that I had spoken to Luke and he promised he would come by and we hung up.
Next I called my Mom in Florida. She and my Dad, a retired NYC Deputy Chief, moved there back in the late 70's. She had just returned from Mass and my Dad had taken the car in for service. She had not heard the news and I told her, but it didn't register fully. I knew it would sink in once she watched the TV and we signed off.
Everybody but brother Tom the lieutenant was accounted for. I was worried.
I went to a restaurant and ordered an Irish cofffee, breaking my own "No alcohol before noon" rule. I had two and then went back to the bar at Chili's because my cell phone didn't work in the other restaurant.
I got to plug it in because by this time the Chili's bartender and I were old buddies.
I received 43 phone calls between 9 am and 11:30. I watched in fascinated dread and spoke briefly with friends and business associates who all knew I was heading for New York. At 12:15 the bartender announced that he got the word to stop alcohol sales - the management fearing that stranded travelers would get unruly.
I decided to get out of the airport and called Mollie, my girlfriend and business associate.
I headed back to her house after stocking up on some supplies and I hooked into the DSL line at her home to continue touching base and getting updates.
I spent most of the day in front of the computer or the TV. It wasn't until four pm that I got through to my brother Tommy's house and his son Tim told me that his Dad was safe. I prayed a prayer of gratitude.
That night our company, Prepaid Legal Services, had a business presentation scheduled in Charlotte and my business associate Corey Muhammed called me and asked if I thought we should keep the event scheduled. I thought we should. It would give everyone a chance to get with each other.
That night in the lobby of the hotel while the sales presentation was going on I read a caption across the bottom of the TV that said over 75 police officers and over 250 firemen were missing presumed dead. I lost it. The stark reality of the situation came crashing down and I slipped out of the hotel into the night to hide my tears and to be alone.
After a few minutes I called my son Willie who was in Atlanta and instructed him to get a good night's rest and get up early and come and pick me up in Charlotte so we could get home to New York.
Home.
The story went on from there. I couldn't sleep that night and didn't get another solid night's sleep for over three weeks.
I spent the next three weeks in NYC. New York was amazing. I was never so proud to be a New Yorker and to be an American. The people responded with a depth of spirit, a love and a generosity that speaks volumes.
I am fortunate to be part of a great nation and part of a great family. I will never again take our freedoms for granted or fail to appreciate the wonders of this creation.
God Bless America and all Freedom loving Citizens of the World.
Let us continue to remember the families who lost their loved ones and let us help them in every way possible.

Mike Melia | 49 | New York

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