#1524 | Wednesday, August 7th 2002
Our 9/11 flight was schedualed to depart from Akron/Canton airport in Ohio headed for Dallas and I was running late as usual as my husband called me to the T.V.
We all gathered around and watched in horror as the first plane hit.
The weird thing about 9/11 for me was that I am a very religious person with a great fear of flying and when I set out on our vacation on the 7th I forgot my rosary in which I NEVER travel without. I got a severe pain in my stomach and told my husband something bad was going to happen. To my amazement it did. A few weeks prior to our vacation my husband and I were talking one evening and we were asking each other "what if" questions and I asked him if it were possible to be invaded by air. He replied with a grin and said no way... As a writer, I always dig for the worst case senerio and when the events of 9/11 happened - I was in awe.
To top it all off, my husband who knows about my fear of flying joked with me on the plane as two arab looking men scanned the isles of the plane. He said, uh-oh we have terrorist aboard... Now to this day, I sit here and wonder if the two men I saw that day on the plane were involved...
They were not sitting together, however as a watcher I pay close attention and they were making eye contact. They scanned the isles for no reason, as they never went to the bathroom.
I will always wonder, however at the same time I will always thank the lord above that my family - my husband and our two children were not aboard a plane that day. My heart goes out to all who have suffered and my prayers are eternal.
God Bless and always keep the hope and faith alive!

Michelle E. Sheetz | 26 | Texas

#1518 | Saturday, August 3rd 2002
I have wanted to write down my experiences that day for some time time. Forgive its length.

I was on a Metro North commuter railroad train speeding towards Manhattan. I had not stepped foot on the island of Manhattan in like six years, and my stay was brief.

I was visiting some family and friends in the New York City area, and had flown in a few days earlier. I decided to take the train that Tuesday morning down from Brewster, NY, where I was staying at a cousin's house, into Manhattan. I went with another cousin, who was going to return to her home in New Jersey after we visited a museum or two. At five that evening, I was supposed to meet two college friends at their workplace, the publisher, Scholastic.

As I prepared to leave for the day, I removed from my bag the small radio that I often carry to listen to the news of the day or political programs because I figured that I would just talk to my cousin on the way down, and listen to my portable CD player on the way back up to Brewster that night. I figured that the train would provide lousy radio reception. Also, I may be the only onetime resident of Los Angeles not to have ever owned a cellular phone.

We decided not to catch one of the early trains that day simply because it was unnecessary, slightly more expensive, and probably crowded with normal weekday commuters. I believe that our train left Brewster at about 8:30 am.

The first sign of a problem was a warning at the White Plains station of possible delays due to an "incident" in lower Manhattan that had limited train service. A few folks got off. We figured that it was a water main break or something, and that the people getting off were just itching for a reason to have a day away from the office. But I had a lot of plans, and wasn't about to end my day prematurely.

Later on, we noticed the person seated in front of us finish a cell call, and then whisper in the ear of the person next to him. Odd. This wasn't a child at third-grade recess. This was a businessman in his forties wearing a suit. We overheard the word crash. There must have been a train collision in lower Manhattan. That must be the incident, I told my cousin. Terrible, but we would still get to Grand Central Station. We could always take city buses to our destinations.

As time passed, more and more people were on their cell phones with worried looks on their faces. We finally asked (demanded) to know what had happened from the gentleman in front of us. He said that he didn't want to spread rumors, but that he had been told that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center.

They must be Cessnas or something, I thought. But two? Two accidental crashes didn't sound right. Next stop, 125th Street in Harlem, the last stop before Grand Central. As we pulled in to the open-air station, we were told that southbound train service would stop. Someone said that they could see smoke from downtown. I doubted her word, and stepped out of the train onto the platform.

She was right. Large, billowing smoke was clearly visible although we were several miles away. Although I did not look at my watch, it must have been between 9:40 am and 9:50 am, when Tower 2 collapsed. I say this because one of many police officers on the platform said that the Pentagon had just been hit as well.

The Pentagon, the DOD, Arlington? My commuter van parked there when I worked in DC for several months the previous Fall. The Pentagon and the Towers hit within minutes of each other? And they weren't Cessnas. It was mind-boggling. I was a news junkie without CNN, Fox News Channel, and Drudge to give me updates. I turned to my cousin on that train platform and stated the obvious, "We're at war."

I made a futile attempt at communication by standing fourth in line at a payphone. It actually was working. But then it went dead. An announcement came over a speaker that a northbound train making all stops was on the next platform. We descended the stairs. I saw another payphone next to a bodega a few yards away, but it was dead too. We went up the stairs, hand in hand, to a standing-room only train heading North.

Some folks' cell phones worked, others' didn't. For some reason, I never asked to borrow one. I finally got to sit down after more and more passengers had disembarked; I think that it was at Chappaqua station. The man sitting next to me told me that he worked in Tower 2, but had not made it into the building. A woman on a cell phone announced that both towers had collapsed.

I truly did not believe her. The Twin Towers couldn't just fall down. I've seen them many times up close; I went up to the observation deck as a young boy. Even a commercial jet is not going to bring down such a structure. Of course, my degrees are in Classics and Law, not Architecture or Engineering. The woman was not fanning the fire of anxiety by exaggerating; she was reporting exactly what had happened.

After a long ride, we got off the train at Brewster. I found a payphone that worked, and my cousin was coming to pick us up in her minivan with her two daughters in tow, the oldest of whom had started kindergarten the day before.

A well-dressed man in his fifties asked us if we knew of a local cab company that he could take to his car. He apparently had missed his stop, the previous one, a couple of miles away and was innocently angling for a ride to his car so that he could drive home to nearby Connecticut. I told him that I wasn't familiar with local cab companies, and that I couldn't promise him a ride because we were being picked up in a possibly full vehicle owned by someone else. I suspected that my cousin would offer him a ride when she got there, and she did.

9/11 altruism, or perhaps just altruism. The man was a professor at NYU. I forget the subject, maybe economics. After we brought my little cousin to her noon bus for afternoon kindergarten, we dropped the man off at his car. During the ride, I listened to Don Imus and Charles McCord give updates on the events of the day on the radio. Gone was the lighthearted banter I often catch on MSNBC's simulcast of Imus' program.

When we got back to the house, I phoned my Mom in Arizona at her job to tell her that I was fine. She had been well aware that Tuesday was Manhattan Day and was quite upset. I phoned my Grandmother in Virginia, as well as a smattering of other friends and relatives.

I spoke with my college friends at Scholastic, a married couple, as well. They had seen the second plane hit from their office building. Obviously, our plans were off. I stayed in the relatively peaceful confines of Brewster for several more days, and caught a flight out of the White Plains Airport (instead of JFK or Laguardia)the day after flight service resumed.

As the United Express flight to Dulles with 4 passengers passed by Manhattan, we could see the smoke still billowing from what was by then known as Ground Zero. From the day on the platform through hours of watching cable news coverage, and now to a flight many days later, it billowed.

I know that one person from my class of a 100 or so at a Jesuit prep school died in the Towers. I later learned from press accounts that none of my fellow DC commuters were harmed. My cousin in Brewster knew the wife and children of a missing NYC firefighter through her work at a preschool. I never met them, but I often remember being told that his wife was asked to provide samples of his hair from a comb or brush during this period. Of course, he was never found alive.

Well, that is enough. Thank you for reading this.

Russ | 26 | Arizona

#1487 | Thursday, July 18th 2002
I worked in WTC 3 , better known as marriott world trade center. My office was between the first and second floor. I was an audio visual technician. I started working at the world trade center in February of 2001. On September 11th I arrived at work at 7 am to find that the valet department didn't have my suit dry cleaned and ready for me so i called my manager from the basement and told him the situation and he said to clock in and come upstairs. not having the proper attire to work on the floor i worked in and around the office cleaning and organizing supplies. we spoke about and hour about the weekend that just passed, we were becoming good friends since we had the same taste in music and shared a strong work ethic. his name was Abdu Malahi he was 37 from Yemen, had two sons and a wife. as i was walking through the office creating small talk with my other manager Laura, she had mentioned to me that the hotel for the first time in a long time was at 100% occupancy, then the initial crash, sounded like a refrigerator fell from the sky and hit the other side of the ceiling. We all stood up and looked at one another completely stunned. About 2 seconds of silence, then the same sound continued for about as long as it took me to leave the building (approx. 1 minute). Before leaving the office, I thought of my friend Ish on the 3rd floor, so I turned back and grabbed a walkie-talkie and called for him. My voice was so frantic that my manager Laura told me to calm down and not to panic. As we headed down the stairs, Abdu noticed he was barefoot and had left his shoes underneath his desk, so he turned back to get them. Laura and I continued down the stairs and headed into the lobby where over a thousand people were clearing out of the ballroom. It was panic and chaos running through the hall and people were falling on each other. Laura noticed there were people tripping over an easel that had fallen to the floor so she bent down to pick it up but was unable to do so due to the amount of people running in fear. Since she was having trouble, I spread my arms to block off people from running into her. The sign which was on the easel was under my feet, and there was coffee spilled on it. I knew it was a hazard, so I tried to pick it up but was also bombarded and a man behind me did the same as I did before and stopped people from running into me. We threw these items to the side and continued to run to the nearest exit, which was a handicapped ramp next to the large revolving door entrance. When I got about 20 feet from the door, I noticed no one was leaving the building. They were all standing by the door as if scared to leave. So I said in my loud deep announcer's voice, "PLEASE EXIT THE BUILDING!" And people began to run out and south. I then realized that north was where I needed to go, because that's where I live. As I stood immediately outside the doorway, I noticed there were no moving cars in the road, but there were a few cars that looked abandoned in the middle of the road, some crashed into walls and other cars. The next thing I noticed was clicking sounds, like things were falling. As I looked up I saw smoke billowing from WTC1, North Tower. I put another call into the walkie-talkie to Ish to say "They blew up the WTC, it's on fire." He asks where I am and I tell him I'm in the front of the building. Abdu interrupts out transmission and urges us not to use this radio frequency during an emergency. As I start running across the street, I noticed a man placing linen over a man in the middle of the street. I see the man who placed the linen run away leaving the other man on the ground alone. So I go to the man on the ground and as I get closer I begin to see that the man's body is completely burned. All of his body hair was burned off and it seemed as if his eyelids were also burned off. He was scrunched up in the fetal position with his head a few inched above the ground. Amazingly he was alive and I told him it was going to be okay. He replied with an "okay". As debris was continuously falling around us, About 20 feet away I saw the back of an office chair. I went to pick it up to use as a cushion for under his head. When I picked it up, it was still hot and singed from what seemed to have been the initial explosion. I run it back to the man on the ground, I slide it under his head but it doesn't reach. There's still about a half inch from his head to the cushion. I tell him again, "everything is going to be allright." He answers, "Allright." I tell him "There's a pillow under your head, if you want to put your head down." He then says, " I can't move my head." I then call Ish on the walkie-talkie again asking him to come to me. he asks me where I am and I tell him I'm outside with a man and I think he fell from the building. The faint sound of fire engines blaring in the distance begin to close in. As the first fire truck makes a U-turn on West Street, I wave him down and direct them to the man on the ground. I then proceed to run across the street and I go into 1 World Fianacial Center ran inside and asked the store employees for the nearest telephone. While everyone around me was running around, there were those few that just stopped and stared at the burning building. I proceeded down the hall and saw that there was a line for the 3 payphones, so I kept running and saw a women locking up her shop. I asked her with tears in my eyes and gasping for breath, "Can I please use your phone." She unlocked the door and said make as many calls as you need and she went to another phone to make her calls. I called my sister Tess who worked in Midtown Manhattan and told her that there was a fire in one of the Twin Towers or an explosion, I still couldn't tell. She asked me if I was okay, I said yes, but I'm going home. She asked me repeatedly what had happened, but I myself did not know. She asked if everyone else was okay, I told her "people are dead." I then called my girlfriend Wendy in Queens who also did not know what has just happened. I told her that I was okay and not to be scared, I would go directly to her house as soon as possible. My 3rd call was to my uncle Luis' girlfriend Gemma in Astoria and when she heard my frantic voice rambling on about burning building's, she began to cry and urged me to be careful and to call back when I arrive safely home. Since the woman owner of the store was still on the phone, I called my brother David in Miami, who 10 minutes earlier turned off his radio which was tuned into Howard Stern in order to complete some paperwork. He pleaded with me to put as much distance as possible between me and the World Trade Center. He repeatedly told me to go home. I told him I would go home right now and call him back. I then thanked the woman and left the store. I returned to the front of the building where rescue EMT's were unloading supplies and disbursing them amongst rescuers. One EMT pointed to a man who was helping another man and asked me, "Run this bag to that man." At the same time I over heard that a small plane had hit the building. Before this happened and after I spoke with my brother David, All that was on my mind was to go home. But when I was asked to help, It made me think about the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. When I first heard about that, I went to the site and volunteered for 3 days. But all I could help with at first was spreading salt on the ground for the anticipated snow fall. In the days that followed, I took food from the then Vista Hotel's kitchen and distributed it to the fire fighter's and police who were guarding the area in and around the disaster. I thought I could do more this time. I decided to go back. I had to run through falling debris to get back into the Marriott. Half way across the street at the U-turn on West Street, running in the same direction was an EMT with lots of badges. Seemed like he was of a high rank. I asked him "is there a coordinator or someone who can tell me what to do, I want to help."
He replied, "We shouldn't be here right now man." As he said that, we heard the roar of an approaching airplane. We looked up and watched the airplane as it crashed into the building. Our jaws dropped. We saw the plane enter the right side of the building and a ball of fire emerged from the left side of the building. We both started to run away from the building. He dropped his emergency medical supply bag and ran away from the WTC, I passed the bag and paused. I wasn't sure whether I should continue running or stop and pick up the bag in case someone needed it. I turned and picked it up and continued running away. I ran to the garage ramp of One World Financial Center. When I reached the inside of the garage I stopped and turned. With the emergency supply bag on my shoulder, I attempted to call Ish through the walkie-talkie again. I asked him where he was. He told me the Winter Garden. I didn't know where that was. Abdu called out on the radio's and told us again to stay off the walkie-talkie's. I started thinking my friend is more important to me then emergency protocol. Ish then asked me where I was. Quite frantically I said "Where the hell can I meet you? I'm across the street from the Marriott- A 727 just rammed into the building. I'm leaving, I suggest you do the same." A heavy set African-American camera man knelt down and began to film me as I yelped into the walkie-talkie. He then turned the camera towards the burning building. I passed off the bag to another EMT and headed into the basement looking for a route to the rear of the building , I asked someone how to get upstairs and he pointed to the elevator , but i wasn't about to get on an elevator. I was now running around the basement looking for stairwells or any water fountain, my mouth has never been dryier as i was yelling into the walkie and running around at top speed. I decided the only way to get upstairs was to go back outside up the ramp and then over the lawn and into the building. i was asking around for a water fountain or a bathroom , people directed me to the other side of the lobby so i ran to it and it was closed so i went to a back door of a restaraunt and knocked and waited a minute then i ran away to find water elsewhere then a man opened the door and saw that no one was there so he went back in , fortunatally the door was slow to close and i ran up to it a went in and looked around for water he told me to get out of here were closed and with my hoarse voice i said i need water , he said no we are closed and i pleaded with him to just gimme some water, so he did and i was on my way, i ran out of the rear of the building and noticed that the police were not letting anyone go anywhere towards the WTC they were directing everyone towards the water and i noticed everyone running south. This didn't make sense to me because that would leave no place to run, but only to swim. Since I lived in Queens, which was on the other side of the WTC, I would need to go back through the area in which the police was directing people away from. Knowing they wouldn't let any civiIians through, I ran with the walkie-talkie to my mouth yelling into it but wasn't transmitting so i could seem to be one of hundreds of rescue people that were there also not in any uniform but most had badges hanging around thier necks. I ran up West Street for two blocks and stopped running and began to walk as I grew tired. I found myself surrounded by other people also walking north. Many words were exchanged with the other people running away. Ideas and opinions like this is no accident and this has to be terrorists and they are trying to knock down the building's. One man theorized that the point was to knock the buildings down as it was first planned in 1993. I turned and walked east and came to a major intersection where people were standing around staring at the burning Twin Towers. I heard children crying as well adults. I heard loud yelling, things like "oh my God"! "holy shit"! did you see that"? "I can't look," "there's another one!" So I turned to see what they were staring at and saw a slow continious flow of bodies dropping, jumping and falling from out of the Twin Towers. I thought to myself, what if there were a third plane, if the second plane had made it through the building it would have landed where we stood. I got onto high ground, a park bench I think, and yelled into the crowd from behind, " if there's a third plane, we're all a fucking target! Get the hell out of here"!
I got out of there and continued to run north. As I ran, I turned and looked back and saw that those hundreds of people I just yelled at were all running behind me. On the sidewalk I saw a woman with her two children and their nanny. They were standing there, staring at the Towers. I remember thinking, It breaks my heart to see parents not put their children's best interests first. So i told her, "get your kids out of here." She said thank you and ran. As if she was in a trance and the only thing that could get her out of it was some words of common sense. I continued to run. As I was approaching the corner of an intersection, I see a taxi. So I wave him down and he signals me to come to him.
As I'm running across the street, another man is opening the back door of this taxi. He stands there holding it opened for his family who are crossing the street. I jump in under his arm. He pleas with me to get out. He needs to take his family out of here. I say, so bring them in. And I jump in the front seat. The cabbie asks me, "Are you all together"? I tell him, sure. The man in the back seat asks where I'm going. I tell him, "just tell the cab driver where you're going as long as it's not here." So we drive. Fortunately for me, he's going to the Williamsburg Bridge which is in my direction. We drop them off and continue over the bridge. Traffic was heavy. We pull over so I can use a phone to call my girlfriend to let her know I was okay after the second plane had hit & to call everyone and let them know I was still okay and that I was on my way. I hop back in the cab and we continue onto the bridge. The radio in the cab was tuned to 1010 WINS, news radio. English wasn't his first language, so I clarified what has happened. In the rear view mirror. I notice the building begin to collapse and turn around to watch it fall. I start to cry and he pats me on the back and tells me that he has a son in Seven World Trade Center. He wondered if he was okay. He begins to cry too. Here we are, two grown men, crying our eyes out in traffic. I ask him if he believes in God. He says yes. I tell him no matter what, God will take care of all of us. We continued across the bridge very slowly. When we reach the Brooklyn side, they cut off all traffic in and out of Manhattan. So we had just made it.
I arrive at my girlfriends house. I gave her the biggest hug ever and cried in her arms. We then sit on the couch and watch the news as I tried to contact as many loved ones as I could. That's when we saw the second building collapse on Television. I didn't know what to think. Trivial thoughts came to mind like, where will I work now and all my stuff I left in the office was now gone. I spent the next two weeks on the phone trying to find out what had happened to my boss Abdu. I heard many, many versions of what had happened to him. Some were that he had gotten out and was staying with a friend. Others were, he was in the hospital and that's why he wasn't heard from and he was okay. I followed every trail and every story and got to the originator of each version and found that each one was false. misinformation and miscommunication is the downfall of our society .My dear friend, Abdu, was missing.
I stopped trying to find out what had happened to him when I realized it was time to let go.
Soon after, Marriott held meetings. At these meetings, they shared as much information as they had. We were told that if they planned to build a new Hotel, we would have our jobs back, if we wanted them. In October, I got a call from the Director of the Audio Visual Department of the Marriot Marquis in Times Square. Me and three other associates from the Marriott World Trade Center were offered full-time positions starting immediately. I wasn't sure if I wanted to take the job for fear that I would be reminded of this tragedy daily. I also took graphic arts classes in an attempt to change my life. From September 11th to early January, I spent countless nights tossing and turning and having the weirdest nightmares one could ever imagine. It mostly involved falling airplanes crashing all around me. Everywhere I went I imagined airplanes crashing all around me and planned escape routes and thought of worst case scenarios. When driving, I notice license plates that begin with the letters ABU or ADU. Everyday at work, whether I'm coiling cables or tweaking an audio mixer, I 'm constantly reminded of Abdu. I heard from another manager Mahendra that he and Abdu ran up 21 stories and knocked on all the doors and amaizingly people were still sleeping and they woke them up and evacuated the building ,mahendra was on the south side of the building and abdu on the north, abdu gave Mahendra his cell phone and he used the walkie-talkie to communicate with each other. They got to the second floor Abdu tells Mahendra that he is with two guests and two firefighters and they are leaving, then the first tower collapses, crushing the marriott hotel, only part of the corner of the building survives, it consists of a sales office (3rd floor) and a large conference room called the Harvest room (2nd floor-plaza level)when the walls came down Abdu was in the part that was crushed but Mahendra was in harvest room and had debris all over so he and the people he was with got out on a giant pole or beam that had fallen and landed on the second floor reaching the street level so they climbed on it and crossed it to safety, and soon after the next tower came down as mahendra reached the hudson river. They saved about twelve people that day, my personal heroes. Iv'e seen a book that had everyone that died in it but didnt find Abdu, i guess they didnt do enough research for it. There were times when my friends and family arranged outings where we were all out together and while driving in the car, I'm in the back seat leaning my head against the windows, tears would begin to fall. I can't stop crying. The footage that the camera man had filmed of me yelling into the walkie-talkie was shown on Television a lot. Some friends have seen it on NBC, NY1. My brother called me one night and told me he just saw the footage on Entertainment tonight. if you want you could visit a link to a time line of events that day and i come out when the second plane hits and he says the time is 9:02 am, just go to www.msnbc.com/modules/wtc/video/standalone.asp
scroll down and look for the picture of the towers burning and click it.
My little sister told me there's a song by Linkin Park called "Crawling:WTC Tribute" so i download it and the audio from that footage is on it. anyway life now is just a never ending attempt to stay sane, or at least seem like it. if you have any questions just email me at junglpoppa@aol.com ciao

jerry | 26 | New York

#1486 | Wednesday, July 17th 2002
I was on my rooftop in carroll gardens, brooklyn. I saw the 2nd plane hit and everything fall. Living in NYC and seeing this first hand was pretty rough.

I have images of it.

I can't post them here, but if you want to see, email me @ jeffrey@brainware3000.com

Jeffrey | 26 | New York

#1477 | Tuesday, July 16th 2002
I worked in WTC 3 , better known as marriott world trade center. My office was between the first and second floor. I was an audio visual technician. I started working at the world trade center in February of 2001. I arrived at work at 7 am to find that the valet department didn't have my suit dry cleaned and ready for me so i called my manager from the basement and told him the situation and he said to clock in and come upstairs. not having the proper attire to work on the floor i worked in and around the office cleaning and organizing supplies. we spoke about and hour about the weekend that just passed, we were becoming good friends since we had the same taste in music and shared a strong work ethic. his name was abdu malahi he was 37 from Yemen had two sons and a wife. as i was walking through the office creating small talk with my other manager Laura and abdu she had mentioned to me that the hotel for the first time in a long time was at 100% occupancy, then the initial crash, sounded like a refrigerator fell from the sky and hit the other side of the ceiling. We all stood up and looked at one another completely stunned. About 4 seconds of silent, then the same sound continued for about as long as it took me to leave the building (approx. 1 minute). Before leaving the office, I thought of my friend Ish on the 3rd floor, so I turned back and grabbed the walkie-talkie and called for him. My voice was so frantic that my manager Laura told me to calm down and not to panic. As we headed down the stairs, Abdu noticed he was barefoot and had left his shoes underneath his desk, so he turned back to get them. Laura and I continued down the stairs and headed into the lobby where over a thousand people were clearing out of the ballroom. It was panic and chaos running through the hall and people were falling on each other. Laura noticed there were people tripping over an easel that had fallen to the floor so she bent down to pick it up but was unable to do so due to the amount of people running in fear. Since she was having trouble, I spread my arms to block off people from running into her. The sign which was on the easel was under my feet, and there was coffee spilled on it. I knew it was a hazard, so I tried to pick it up but was also bombarded and a man behind me did the same as I did before and stopped people from running into me. We through these items to the side and continued to run to the nearest exit, which was a handicapped ramp next to the large revolving door entrance. When I got about 20 feet from the door, I noticed no one was leaving the building. They were all standing by the door as if scared to leave. So I said in my loud deep announcer's voice, "PLEASE EXIT THE BUILDING!" And people began to run out and south. I then realized that north was where I needed to go, because that's where I live. As I stood immediately outside the doorway, I noticed there were no moving cars in the road, but there were a few cars that looked abandoned in the middle of the road, some crashed into walls and other cars. The next thing I noticed was clicking sounds, like things were falling. As I looked up I saw smoke billowing from WTC1, North Tower. I put another call into the walkie-talkie to Ish to say "They blew up the WTC, it's on fire." He asks where I am and I tell him I'm in the front of the building. Abdu interrupts out transmission and urges us not to use this radio frequency during an emergency. As I start running across the street, I noticed a man placing linen over a man in the middle of the street. I see the man who placed the linen run away leaving the other man on the ground alone. S i go to the man on the ground and as I get closer I begin to see that the man's body is completely burned. All of his body hair was burned off and it seemed as if his eyelids were also burned off. He was scrunched up in the fetal position with his head a few inched above the ground. Amazingly he was alive and I told him it was going to be okay. He replied with an okay. As debris was continuously falling around us, About 20 feet away I saw the back of an office chair. I went to pick it up to use as a cushion for under his head. When I picked it up, it was still hot and singed from what seemed to have been the initial explosion. I run it back to the man on the ground, I slide it under his head but it doesn't reach. There's still about a half inch from his head to the cushion. I tell him again, "everything is going to be allright." He answers, "Allright." I tell him "There's a pillow under your head, if you want to put your head down." He then says, " I can't move my head." I then call Ish on the walkie-talkie again asking him to come to me. he asks me where I am and I tell him I'm outside with a man and I think he fell from the building. The faint sound of fire engines blaring in the distance begin to close in. As the first fire truck makes a U-turn on West Street, I wave him down and direct them to the man on the ground. I then proceed to run across the street and I go into 1 Liberty Plaza ran inside and asked the store employees for the nearest telephone. While everyone around me was running around, there were those few that just stopped and stared at the burning building. I proceeded down the hall and saw that there was a line for the payphone, so I kept running and saw a women locking up her shop. I asked her with tears in my eyes and gasping for breathe, "Can I please use your phone." She unlocked the door and said make as many calls as you need and she went to another phone to make her calls. I called my sister Tess who worked in Midtown Manhattan and told her that there was a fire in one of the Twin Towers or an explosion, I still couldn't tell. She asked me if I was okay, I said yes, but I'm going home. She asked me repeatedly what had happened, but I myself did not know. She asked if everyone else was okay, I told her "people are dead." I then called my girlfriend Wendy in Queens who also did not know what has just happened. I told her that I was okay and not to be scared, I would go directly to her house as soon as possible. My 3rd call was to uncle Luis' girlfriend Gemma in Astoria and when she heard my frantic voice rambling on about burning building's, she began to cry and urged be to be careful and to call back when I arrive safely home. Since the woman owner of the store was still on the phone, I called my brother David in Miami, who 10 minutes earlier turned off his radio which was tuned into Howard Stern in order to complete some paperwork. He pleaded with me to put as much distance as possible between me and the World Trade Center. He repeatedly told me to go home. I told him I would go home right now and call him back. I then thanked the woman and left the store. I returned to the front of the building where rescue EMT's were unloading supplies and disbursing them amongst rescuers. One EMT pointed to a man who was helping another man and asked me, "Run this bag to that man." At the same time I over heard that a small plane had hit the building. Before this happened and after I spoke with my brother David, All that was on my mind was to go home. But when I was asked to help, It made me think about the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. When I first heard about that, I went to the site and volunteered for 3 days. But all I could help with at first was spreading salt on the ground for the anticipated snow fall. In the days that followed, I took food from the then Vista Hotel's kitchen and distributed it to the fire fighter's and police who were guarding the area. I thought I could more this time. I decided to go back. I had to run through falling debris to get back into the Marriott. Half way across the street at the U-turn on West Street, running in the same direction was an EMT worker with lots of badges. Seemed like he was of a high rank. I asked him "is there a coordinator or someone who can tell me what to do, I want to help."
He replied, "We shouldn't be here right now man." As he said that, we heard the roar of an approaching airplane. We looked up and watched the airplane as it crashed into the building. Our jaws dropped. We saw the plane enter the right side of the building and a ball of fire emerged from the left side of the building. We both started to run away from the building. As he dropped his emergency medical supply bag and ran away from the WTC I passed the bag then stopped. I wasn't sure whether I should continue running or stop and pick up the bag in case someone needed it. I turned and picked it up and continued running away. I ran to the garage ramp of One Liberty Plaza. When I reached the inside of the garage I stopped and turned. With the emergency supply bag on my shoulder, I attempted to call Ish through the walkie-talkie again. I asked him where he was. He told me the Winter Garden. I didn't know where that was. Abdu called out on the radio's and told us again to stay off the walkie-talkie's. I started thinking my friend is more important to me then emergency protocol. Ish then asked me where I was. Quite frantically I said "I'm across the street from the Marriott- A 727 just ran into the building. I'm leaving, I suggest you do the same." A heavy set African-American camera man knelt down and began to film me as I yelped into the walkie-talkie. He then turned the camera towards the burning building. I passed off the bag to another EMT and noticed that the police were not letting anyone go anywhere towards the WTC. I ran back into One Liberty Plaza, exited the rear and noticed everyone running south. This didn't make sense to me because that would leave no place to run, but to swim. Since I lived in Queens, which was on the other side of the WTC, I would need to go back through the area in which the police was directing people away from. Knowing they wouldn't let any civiIians through, I ran with the walkie-talkie to my mouth yelling into but wasn't transmitting. I ran up West Street for two blocks and stopped running and began to walk as I grew tired. I found myself surrounded by other people also walking north. Many words were exchanged with the other people running way. Ideas and opinions like this is no accident and this has to be terrorists and they are trying to knock down the building's. One man theorized that the point was to knock the buildings down as it was first planned in 1993. I turned and walked east and came to a major intersection where people were standing around staring at the burning Twin Towers. I heard children crying as well adults. I heard loud yelling, things like "oh my God"! "holy shit"! did you see that"? "i can't look," "there's another one!" So I turn to see what they were staring at and saw a slow continuos flow of bodies dropping, jumping and falling from out of the Twin Towers. I thought to myself, what if there were a third plane, if the second plane had made it through the building it would have landed where we stood. I got onto high ground, a park bench I think, and yelled into the crowd from behind, " if there's a third plane, we're all a fucking target! Get the hell out of here"!
I got out of there and continued to run north. As I ran, I turned and looked back and saw that those hundreds of people I just yelled at were all running behind me. On the sidewalk I saw a woman with her two children and their nanny. They were standing there, staring at the Towers. I remember thinking, It breaks my heart to see parents not put their children's best interest first. SO i told her, "get your kids out of here." She said thank you and ran. As if she was in a trance and the only thing that could get her out of it was some words of common sense. I continued to run. As I was approaching the corner of an intersection, I see a taxi. So I wave him down and he signals me to come to him.
As I'm running across the street, another man is opening the back door of this taxi. He stands there holding it opened for his family who are crossing the street. I jump in under his arm. He pleas with me to get out. He needs to take his family out of here. I say, so bring them in. And I jump in the front seat. The cabbie asks me, "Are you all together">? I tell him, sure. The man in the back seat asks where I'm going. I tell him, "just tell the cab driver where you're going as long as it's not here." So we drive. Fortunately for me, he's going to the Williamsburg Bridge which is in my direction. We drop them off and continue over the bridge. Traffic was heavy. We pull over so I can use a phone to cal my girlfriend to let her know I was okay after the second plane had hit & to call everyone and let them know I was still okay and that I was on my way. I hop back in the cab and we continue onto the bridge. The radio in the cab was tuned to 1010 WINS, news radio. English wasn't his first language, so I clarified what has happened. In the rear view mirror. I notice the building begin to collapse and turn around to watch it fall. I start to cry and he pats me on the back and tells me that he has a son in Seven World Trade Center. He wondered if he was okay. He begins to cry too. He we are, two grown men, crying our eyes out in traffic. I ask him if he believes in God. He says yes. I tell him no matter what, God will take care of all of us. We continued across the bridge very slowly. When we reach the Brooklyn side, they cut off all traffic in and out of Manhattan. So we had just made it.
I arrive at my girlfriends house. I gave her the biggest hug ever and cried in her arms. We then sit on the couch and watch the news as I tried to contact as many loved ones as I could. That's when we saw the second building collapse on Television. I didn't know what to think. Trivial thoughts came to mind like, where will I work now and all my stuff I left in the office was now gone. I spent the next two weeks on the phone truing to find out what had happened to my boss Abdu. I heard many, many versions of what had happened to him. Some were that he had gotten out and was staying with a friend. Others were, he was in the hospital and that's why he wasn't heard from and he was okay, someone had found him in a hospital. I followed every trail and every story and got to the originator of each version and found that each one was false. My dear friend, Abdu, was missing.
I stopped trying to find out what had happened to him when I realized it was time to let go.
Soon after, Marriott held meetings. At these meetings, they shared as much information as they had. We were told that if they planned to build a new Hotel, we would have our jobs back, if we wanted them. In October, I got a call from the Director of the Audio Visual Department of the Marriot Marquis at Times Square. Me and three other associates from the Marriott World Trade Center were offered full-time positions starting immediately. I wasn't sure if I wanting to take the job for fear that I would be reminded of this tragedy daily. I also took graphic arts classes in an attempt to change my life. From September 11th to early January, I spent many nights tossing and turning and having the weirdest nightmare's one could ever imagine. It mostly involved falling airplanes crashing all around me. Everywhere I went I imagined airplanes crashing all around me and planned escape routes and thought of worst case scenarios. When driving, I notice license plates that begin with the letters ABU or ADU. Everyday at work, whether I'm coiling cables or tweaking an audio mixer, I 'm constantly reminded of Adbu. There were times when my friends and family arranged outings where we were all out together and while driving in the car, I'm in the back seat leaning my head against the windows, tears would begin to fall. I can't stop crying. The footage that the camera man had filmed of me yelling into the walkie-talkie was shown on Television a lot. Some friends have seen it on NBC, NY1. My brother called me one night and told me he just saw the footage on Entertainment tonight. My little sister told me there's a song by Linkin Park called "Changes:WTC Tribute" and the audio from that footage is on it. anyway if you have any questions just email me at junglpoppa@aol.com ciao

jerry | 26 | New York

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