#1418 | Sunday, June 23rd 2002
on this sad day, i was home in edinburgh,scotland, with my family, and a few friends, it took a trip to the shop for someone to tell me what was going on, i came home and put on the tv, what we saw was humanity at its worst, but as the days passed, it was obvious that the best of humanity was unfolding, we were uniting, we were coming together. Its sad that it took so many lifes for this to happen.
i remember sitting in the house, on the night of sept 11, and openly crying in front of my family and friends, we All were, the sadness felt over this side of the pond was enormous, looking back on some of those images, its incredably hard to believe they accualy happened.
right now my thoughts are still with the victims, and there familys,also the emergancy services who had to do unspeakable things, and seen unimaginable things in the days following, but the familys who have to go on !!! there are no words, only prayers, and them knowing the whole free world is with them, always !
i sometimes, well, usualy if im feeling sad, and i think about sept 11, i go onto the internet, and remind myself of what a warm, caring world this could be, the sky is the limit, the love felt in the days after was unbelievable, one of the most inspiraing days was, when , at buckingham palace, they played the american national anthem, again, i cryed, it was a show of friendship, to friends in need. to remind us that even though evil forces wander in our world, the good heavily outweighs the bad, of this there is no doubt. I also remember the anger , the hatred, people looking for answers, this is human, and it was a part of the healing process, but we (the free world) waited till we were sure, it was hard, i think if america had bombed who ever they thought was responsable that day, i believe they would have had the backing of the entire world, but they didnt, they waited. and they did it right.
JUSTICE WILL BE DONE, but also the victims, familys and heros of this hurtfull day will never be forgot, and they are the ones whom will be remebmered.

from scotland, love !

Shaun Gibson | 28 | United Kingdom

#1396 | Friday, June 14th 2002
Taking the elevator to the 95th Floor of Two World Trade Center is something that had become a mindless, involuntary action for all of us who worked there. Our offices at Fiduciary Trust had consisted of the 90th to 97th Floors, with a few unoccupied floors in between. I had been working at Fiduciary for over two years, and it had become a second home to me.

8:40a.m.
I received a call from a friend of mine and I had told him I had come into work early to finish a project I was working on the night before. When asked how the remainder of my day looked, I replied, "I'm going to have a really busy day ahead of me, so I'd better start it." Almost immediately after I hung up the phone, there was an unforgettable sound - the roar of an airplane engine.

It's ironic that despite how high up we were, we hardly noticed any aircrafts overhead. Yet today, we heard this one. The next sound we heard was what sounded like an earthquake, then a bomb. A woman on the Northeast side of our floor screamed, and as I quickly arose from my chair to see what the commotion was, our windows shattered. "What was that?!" I screamed. Someone yelled, "I think a plane just hit Tower 1! Everybody get the f*%# out of the building!" I grabbed everything I brought in with me that morning (my purse and briefcase) and ran towards the nearest exit, which was approximately 8 feet from my desk.

I was running for my life, not knowing what would happen next, when I saw my co-worker Lori running out as well. We headed for the elevator, then I stopped. I asked her, "Shouldn't we be taking the stairs in an emergency like this?" and she replied, "No! Just get in the elevator! C'mon!"

We dashed into the elevator and held the door as our co-worker Andrew ran in. All three of us looked at one another in disbelief. An eerie feeling stirred throughout my body. For a moment, I thought I was dead; as if our Tower, 2, had been hit. Then the elevator stopped. the doors opened to the 90th Floor.

Occupying the 90th Floor were the Legal and Human Resources departments. The elevator door opened, and all that was heard were the screams of panicked employees. Lori and I pleaded with them to come into the elevator, but no one did. The door then closed. Why didn't they go? This question haunts me every day, due to the fact that many of the people on the 90th Floor who were there that day are missing.

We landed on the 78th Floor, which was one of the main elevator banks of Tower 2. Lori and I ran into the nearest elevator we could find, and shoved our way in. A woman in front of us said, "That's it! No more people!" I looked behind me, and there were two men - scrambling to get on another elevator.

When the elevator stopped at the ground floor, I looked to my left. Liberty Street, which is the main entrance used by many Trade Center employees, was in ruins. Debris from the Tower and office papers engulfed the sidewalk. I watched as security guards lead people away from the street outside, when I took my cell phone from my purse and called my manager, Joanie.

Still not really knowing what had happened, I said, "Joanie! I think there was an explosion in the World Trade Center!" She asked me to hold as she turned on the television. "Oh my God! A plane just hit the Trade Center!" For whatever reason, I asked her if I should go back upstairs. Joanie relentlessly said, "No! You go home and call me as soon as you can." When I ended the call, I heard someone on the PA system say that there were no problems with Tower 2 and workers should go back to their desks. I decided to walk out.

I saw a few co-workers in the lobby, including my former manager, Chris, who inquired if I was ok. Andrew, who just recently underwent knee surgery, became my rock.

9:30 a.m.
As Andrew and I calmly proceeded to walk from the building, the roar of another airplane engine hovered overhead. We watched in horror as one more plane dove into the upper floors of Tower 2. While everyone ran frantically to search for a safe location, a stampede of people ran towards me and knocked me into a steel barricade. Andrew quickly lifted me up when in the distance was the alarming image of people jumping from windows to their deaths.

I quickly grabbed Andrew and asked, "Where do we go?" he calmly replied, "The South Street Seaport. It's the only place that's safe for now."

10:03 a.m.
We walked to Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport, where many took refuge. Almost all cell phone service was down, yet I remembered I had the ability to send and receive e-mail messages on my Palm Pilot. Shaking uncontrollably, I e-mailed my friend Joe to tell him I was fine and asked that he call my family to let them know I was ok. Andrew went to a payphone nearby to call his family, when a third rumble came. Tower 2 looked as if it was about to topple on us; onlookers by the masses ran in terror towards the edge of the pier, prepared to leap into the water below. "We're trapped," I said to myself. "This is it. The Tower fortunately collapsed onto itself, which instantly gave me the initiative to begin my journey home.

We decided to start walking up the FDR Highway, which was the mutual decision of most of downtown Manhattan. The streets were filled with people, mostly distraught and covered in soot, making their way uptown. Andrew and I had barely made it past the Seaport when Tower 1 inevitably collapsed.

12:30 p.m.
After two and a half-hours of walking and trying to get cell phone service, we wound up on 35th Street and 3rd Avenue, in Midtown. I was able to hail down a cab driver who was on his way home (coincidentally, he lives in my neighborhood) and agreed to drive me home - at no charge. I said somewhat emotional goodbye to Andrew, who in this traumatic time had truly been there for me. I was elated to know that he would be able to take the ferry home to New Jersey. To Andrew, God Bless You. You're an angel.

3:10 p.m.
We finally arrived in my neighborhood and made one last desperate attempt to call into my voicemail. There were 13 messages left from family and friends. It was the first time that day when I broke down and cried. I had survived a terrorist attack. I'm alive.

Although I have yet to receive counseling for the circumstances surrounding the attack, I've learned that expression through words has become my strongest outlet to recovery.

I've taken into deep consideration all my friends and colleagues desperately trying to reach me during that incredibly trying day of September 11th. Every conversation has ended with a sincere "I love you," or "I miss you," and the emotional support has been phenomenal. To my family and friends, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all, and God Bless You. I WILL RECOVER.




Michelle Cruz | 28 | Florida

#1303 | Tuesday, May 21st 2002
I woke up around noon on September 11 by the ringing of the telephone. I turned over in bed thinking "Great, telemarketer."...until I heard my friend Steve's voice saying "Hey Jo, did you hear about what happened in New York and Washington? The World Trade Center is gone..." and it was at that point that I very quickly reached for the remote and turned on CNN. I could not believe this would ever happen.
I ended up glued to the TV until I had to commute to work. I remember walking to the bus stop seeing the enormous lines, full of potential blood donors, in front of the Red Cross. There were even speakers mounted outside the radio station broadcasting ABC continuing coverage. I reached work , which was just as somber as I imagined. Specific instructions were given as to handling of accounts (I work in a call center that handles long distance service) -- none could be canceled and no calls (which were mostly collection calls) could be made out. I struggled working and watching the TV...then after four hours I decided I couldn't concentrate and went home. After picking up dinner I returned to my apartment, afraid to even sleep. I called my parents and a few friends just to make sure they were OK. One of my friends who had family in Long Island was hysterical. I also had a friend who lost some friends at the World Trade Center unfortunately. That night I did not go to sleep until 5 or 6 AM, part of me glued to the news, part of me scared of what was to come.

Jo Tokarcik | 28 | United States

#1204 | Wednesday, April 24th 2002
There was an all-school assembly -- called our Who's Who assembly going on. It recognizes excellences in high school students. We had just seen a motivational speaker who had come from the mean streets of Brooklyn, NY, and he had inspiried many, and put others to sleep. How unfortunate that as we look back on that day, I don't have any recollection of what he said. Mr. Pritz, the principal of Marietta HS in Georgia, came on and told the students that the speaker had discussed choices -- but that sometimes things happen that we have no direct control of. He said to the 1700 students, "Something has happened. Sometimes people do things that we just can't control." I remember thinking, "Oh no, there's been another school shooting." It was much worse. He told us that an airplane had slammed into the WTC, and that terrorism was certainly presumed. He handled it with such class, and leadership, that I remember thinking about how impressed I was with him at that moment. The rest of the day, I had my radio on in my office, and listened to the rest of the day's events with students crammed in there with me. I helped them to cope with the shock. What Hell we have seen.
Rob Opitz | 28 | Georgia

#1167 | Monday, April 8th 2002
my name is nicole condos i just got up a nd that and isaw the building on fire but i feel like i could cry and that but i was sad for the people and that so i give all my love and my soul too too the people that died i pray too them every night
nicole condos | 28 | Pennsylvania

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