#1562 | Sunday, August 18th 2002
I was standing in my kitchen with two contractors and a wallpaper hanger as the news came across the television. It wasn't real. The only thing I could think of was getting my four year old from school.
Rob Cantrell | 38 | Florida

#1490 | Friday, July 19th 2002
Where was I when the world stopped turning....I was on my school bus driving down the lonely highway heading to a work meeting when I heard on my cb radio a call from the coast guard or something that they were closing down the Ponce Inlet lighthouse. At that moment I truly though that we had a hurricane coming and I had missed the weather reports. I arrived at the meeting and about 10 minutes into the meeting one of my friends stood up and told us we were under attack...that the WDC had been hit by two planes...there was plane down in another state and that our Pentagon had been hit also...I was amazed and just didn't want to believe what I was hearing...so after departing from our meeting I took the bus straight to a store around the corner to check it out on a tv...and there to my amazement it was all true.
While standing there they were showing people leaping to their deaths from the highest floors...people walking or running in shock from the dust....smoke billowing like a demon in the sky and total and complete chaos in New York city...
My first thoughts were for my daughter and granddaughter in New Jersey and making sure they were safe...after many calls I found them to be safe and sound...on the other hand I talked to my Aunt in New York only to find one of her dear friends was on the first plane as a stewardess and perished when it hit....My only thoughts to all this is why would someone hurt and killed so many people just for their own self satisfaction.
These animals don't have a consious to what they are doing and must have crossed paths with the devil himself.
I will prayer for the people affected by this terrible act of terror and wish them comfort for those injured and my deepest sympathy for those who lost their loved ones to these inhuman beings. Also in the song Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning? by Alan Jackson My husband and me did almost everything in that song within hours of or days of this terrible event.

Roxane | 43 | Florida

#1421 | Tuesday, June 25th 2002
My husbands family was driving in from North Carolina and arrived minutes after the first plane hit the towers. My brother in law, his wife and little boy along with my oldest niece were coming in for the funeral of my husbands sister who had killed herself the Thursday prior to Sept. 11th. My oldest niece was her daughter. The circumstances surrounding their arrival were hard enough to cope with and then for all of this to unfold was overwelming for my niece as well as our whole family. At a time as sensitive as this for our family, we could relate to those who lost loved ones on Sept. 11th. It is most definently one of those times we will never forget in our lifetime.
The Welch Family | 35 | Florida

#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.

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

#1378 | Thursday, June 6th 2002
I was teaching a humanities class to a group of university students. In between classes, I was told that a plane, believed to be a Sessna, had struck one of the towers. I then had to teach another class, and when it ended I began to realize the tragedy. I spent that afternoon with friends and colleagues as we tried to make sense of it. For the remainder of the week, I dedicated my class time to creating a forum for my students to have an open dialogue about what they were feeling and thinking. Many students chose not to speak, but many welcomed the opportunity. One student said that I was the only professor she had who had even addressed the issue, which troubled me but it was understanable.

That weekend I created a streaming slideshow of photos of memorials placed in N.Y. and in Pennsylvania. Today, although I was not directly effected by the events, I am still struggling to make any sense of it. I am sure that many of us are.


John Hardin | 32 | Florida

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