#1561 | Saturday, August 17th 2002
I was at the Renaissance Charter school in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York City.

I work there as a couselor twice a week. When I first heard that the tower had been struck, I like many of my colleagues believed it to be a freak accident. As the morning wore on and we were able to catch some television stations that teachers were utilizing in their classrooms, it became clear to us what had occurred and I was just walking around in a state of total disbelief. I could not imagine that what I was viewing on the television was actually happening.

The schools went into security alert mode and parents began to race to the school demanding with good reason for the release of their children. It became quite chaotic a scene. Some of the other memories I have are of children crying in the main office and being comforted by extended family members who themselves were in shock of sorts, because these childrens parents were working in the towers. A part of me just felt like I was walking around as an observer to all this happening around me and my responses were almost robotic in a way. It was when I finally arrived home in the late afternoon and watched the newscasts, that I finally was hit with the reality of what had occurred on this day. It was simply unbelievable.

For the next two weeks or so, I found myself waking up in the middle of the night, startled and thinking...."Is this really happening? Did this really happen? Did those people really jump out of this building?" It was so surreal.

In late September I registered with the Red Cross and began going to ground zero as often as time would allow for me to do so on the weekends, when I was free from work. When the Red Cross pulled out and the Salvation Army tent went up, I registered and began to volunteer with them at the tent on the site. It was an incredible experience. I stayed on through May 30th, the offical closing of the recovery mission.

At this time, I am looking forward to September 11th, 2002, the anniversary, as a day to remember the lives lost. I am not so much concerned about another terrorist attack at that time as I am about how I will feel going into the city and being around the site again. A part of me simply wants to get through the anniversary date, then close the book, and put it on the shelf where I can see it and be reminded, but where I can also go on with my life. I believe the most honorable tribute I can pay to those who lost their lives, is to get up every morning and live my life to the fullest in their name and in their honor.

Denise Villamia | 42 | New York

#1548 | Thursday, August 15th 2002
I was in school. I was at the computer in the library when a boy in my class ran in and said, "Come to the Media Lab, a plane has just crashed into the World Trade Center!" We all ran to the Media Lab. We watched on TV and various people (mostly boys, surprisingly enough) started crying. The drama teacher said, "We're at war," and a young science teacher began murmuring that her husband was on that flight. We stood and watched for a long time. Then we were all herded into the theatre where they were broadcasting CNN. Then another boy from my class ran in and said "High School can go," so I got out of there. Luckily I lived five minutes away. The people who lived in Brooklyn and Queens couldn't get home 'cause the bridges were closed. I walked home and only started crying in the elevator. When I walked into my flat my dad looked very relieved. He told me to stay home for the rest of the day. Cell phones weren't working. I called my friend in Boston and cried, and then everybody I knew in New York. Then, there was nothing left to do but homework. So that's what I did.
Masha | 17 | New York

#1527 | Thursday, August 8th 2002
It started out like any other day, 7am came and I was at work ready and rarin to go. My co-teacher and I noticed that many of our "kids" were late that day. Neither one of us knew of the tragedy that was unfolding. I remember that mother coming into the classroom and telling us that a plane had just flown into the World Trade Center. We both thought it was an accident until we turned on the radio in our classroom. The rest of the day was myself and my coteacher going through the motions of teaching. It didn't really hit me until I drove to my sisters and saw it replayed on television. It was just like a movie, it didn't seem real. To this day I pray for all of those who lost loved ones and those who were lost. God Bless the hereos of September 11, 2001. May they now rest in peace.
Becky Gensler | 23 | New York

#1512 | Thursday, August 1st 2002
I was in my 3rd period chemistry class in Queens,NY when the news came over the PA system. At first i thought, this can't be that bad stuff has happened like this before. But the next period which is my lunch period was pure chaos. Rumors were flying rampant..."oh the white house has been hit...theres a mall on fire.." and then finally i heard that the towers had collapsed. At first i thought hey he might be exaggerating like everyone else. But as the day went on it became clear that it was very serious. I will never forget hearing countless names being called over the loudspeaker for kids to meet their parents in the lobby. And i was left to think what is happening. As if that weren't sign enough that this was a dire situation, 7th period rolls around and we get dismissed and told that school was cancelled for the next day. I couldn't beleive that when the announcement was made kids stood up and cheered. It made me sick. I didn't find out till i got home what had truly happened. I could see the smoke on my walk home from school and i could smell it from my room. I'll never forget that night me and my sister(who wasn't sure what happened to a few friends of hers) took a walk up on grand avenue in maspeth. We walked around till almost 5 in the morning. The whole time being constantly reminded of the rescue efforts being forged by the glow of lights from the city. Its a day i'll never forget. I hope that in the future people can come back and read whats posted here and know what we all think as these tragedies transpired.
Francis Markey | 17 | New York

#1509 | Tuesday, July 30th 2002
On September 11th, 2001, I was on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. I'd arrived late that day. (8:45) Usually I would meet for the weekly Tuesday morning meeting with my Father and 6 other brokers from our firm, Harvey Young Yurman Inc., at Windows on the World restaurant. We were a small $2 brokerage firm. The night before I had cracked my tooth & couldn't make the morning meeting. The 7 men never made it out.
I just missed seeing the first plane, I heard & felt the 2nd. And when the two buildings came down, I thought it was the end of the world.
I ended up walking from the NYSE to the Manhattan Bridge. And as I went over, US fighter planes flew over and everyone hit the ground thinking it was another attack. When the police shouted it was the "the good guys" everyone quietly & slowly got back to their feet & pressed on.

Antoinette Harvey McCarth | 28 | New York

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