#2062 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
i was off from work that day, and was in the red bank, new jersey public library. i did not have a radio with me, and i was inbetween my home and the library when the attack started.
when i had gotten to the library, the attacks had started, and some of the computers that they have there have streaming audio and video.
i had heard the librarians talking amongest themselves. having my interest peeked, i had asked one of the librians,
'excuse me, but did i miss something?'
'you mean you haven't heard?'
'heard what?'
well that was how i had gotten the first reports.
there is a small park next to the library building, and i had gone outsid e to smoke a cigarette. looking toward the direction of new york, because i am only three or four miles from new york city, if you draw a striaght line.
i rememeber thinking, gee that is a low lying cloud. then i was then that i realized that i was the smoke from the fires.

lee wayne sandro | 40 | New Jersey

#2060 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
September 11, 2001 was my first scheduled day to work from home for Merrill Lynch. I was busy on the computer when my husband called to say that the WTC had been hit by a plane. I thought he must be joking -- it seemed totally unreal. But I turned on the radio, and sure enough, newscasters were reporting it. At first, we assumed it must be an accident, but then the second plane hit. Slowly, the realization came that this was no accident, but a deliberate attack.

When the first tower fell, my husband came home from work. Our home had been hit hard by hurricane Floyd a couple of years before, and the feeling of being traumatized came back. We just wanted to be together.

We drove up to Washington Rock park, where you can see the Manhattan skyline on a clear day (which it was - an absolutely gorgeous day). A group of about 40 people had gathered. We looked at the skyline, and there was a big gap where the towers used to be. White smoke was pouring up to the sky, blowing southwest along the Jersey shore. I remember looking at the scene -- the towers were gone, but it still didn't seem real.

I thought of the Bible verse, "who can stand before envy?" New York, and especially the WTC, stand for America's financial success, hated and envied by those who lack the opportunity or the discipline to be a part of it. Like rebellious teenagers, they tried to destroy what they couldn't compete with.

When we learned that the attackers were fanatical Moslems, I pitied them. Those pathetic men who died in the acts of theft, lies and mass murder actually thought God would reward them with Paradise! Instead, they were dragged straight to Hell by the devil who tricked them. They followed the god of hatred and destruction, and so were destroyed eternally.

That evening was the first of many candle-light vigils and prayer meetings. We prayed for the victims, hoping some might be found alive in the rubble. We prayed for each other, as so many had not heard from loved ones, who never came home. And we prayed prayers of forgiveness for the perpetrators, refusing to allow bitterness to infect us with added suffering.

I lost my job as an indirect result of 9-11; Merrill laid off 9,000 employees. A year later, I am again out of work. The terrorists succeeded in hurting the NYC economy. But they can never succeed in destroying our faith in God or in our country. America rose to greatness in that hour -- great compassion, great generosity and great courage. And God willing, we will rise again to financial greatness as well, because we will keep on working, keep on learning, and keep on contributing all we have and are to build the country we love.

The twin towers may have fallen, but NYC is still the financial capital of the world. We will never forget those who died to make it so.

May God bless and comfort you, and may God bless America!

Kathryn Riss | 55 | New Jersey

#2045 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I was working in my home office when my husband, a retired Port Authority Police Officer, called up to me that the World Trade Center had been struck- turn on the TV. I watched in disbelief. I heard him cry out "My buddies- my guys are there- Oh my God.." I rushed to be with him and watched helplessly as the events unfolded and my husband suffered. He immediately started to call spouses of his closest friends trying to find out specific news of his 'brothers'.

When we saw footage on CNN of Sgt. Marty Duane, PAPD, covered in white dust with his arm around a woman helping her into a bus we cried out in relief- at least Marty made it out.

As the names of our fallen friends became known, my husband began telling stories of their many years together.

I listened for news of people I would have known from my prior work in NYC. As the weeks went on- I heard of brothers, sons and friends of people I knew who were lost.

The next day I had a job in a building where the mood was to 'get back to work'. At the time I resented it but I look back on it as helpful to keep me from being overwhelmed by the sorrow and empathy I felt and still feel. And a bit of guilt that I didn't suffer as much as others. And I still resent the comments from those who did not suffer directly that we need to 'move on'.

Rhoda | 52 | New Jersey

#1989 | Tuesday, September 10th 2002
At the time, I was working in a sheltered workshop for the developmentally disabled. I had one parent comein and announce in a loud voice that we were under attack. i had no idea what she was talking about, and thought she was overreacting as usual to something. I found out shortly after that this time, she wasn't. My coworker and I did not have the radio on, for fear that it would set off behaviotrs in our clients. We got bits and pieces from another co worker and played CDs so that the clients would stay calm. The workshop closed at 1 PM and all we told the clients was that something ahppened and you should be with yoyur families. I went to my mother's homeand that's when I saw the news. It was like a movie and I kept watching for Will Smith to appear soemwhere. I recieved several calls asking if my husband was Ok as he could have been there. In fact he had been several weeks prior.

Thank you to all that helped in the rescue efforts. Blessed be

Rhett | 32 | New Jersey

#1986 | Tuesday, September 10th 2002
On the morning of September 11th, 2001 I was ready to go to what was my 4th day of high school in Princeton, NJ. I can remember thinking what a beautiful day it was, there was not a cloud in the sky. The day continued as usual as I oriented myself with a new school.
I was in band class with Dr. Biancosino when the planes hit the towers. Of course, at the time I was much more concerned about not embarassing myself with my less than amazing trumpet skills, than the terror that was unfolding in lower Manhattan. I would not hear about the attacks until my next period, Geometry with Mr. Manzer.
Class was going as usual when my teacher was called out of the classroom. When he returned he announced that two planes had collided with the World Trade Center towers, this was all we knew. The class became frantic as we began to analyze the situation.
Computers was next. The vast world of the internet was now at my fingertips.
It was then that what had really happened became apparent. I now knew about the attack on the Pentagon and the plane crash in Pennsylvania. I also knew that the towers which I had known for my whole life were destroyed. I then realized that I had a friend who attended school at Stuyvesant High, blocks away from ground zero. Fear set in.
In history class we began to get more information which I now know to be false. We were told that in addition to what had actually happened, a car bomb exploded outside the State Department, the National Mall was on fire, there was an explosion on Capitol Hill, and there were four more planes still in the air. This was one of the scariest moments of my life. As time went on, things calmed down.
Having lived in Brooklyn, NY for 7 years I felt a real connection to New York and those towers. I will never forger what happened that day, September 11th, 2001.

Brian | 15 | New Jersey

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