#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

#1478 | Tuesday, July 16th, 2002
I was in 2nd period when we heard that a plane had crashed into the WTC. We all thought it was a joke and didn't think much of the situation. However, about 15 minutes later we learned that the Pentagon and the other twin tower had been attacked. We all became numb and very confused. I'll never forget the looks on my classmates' or teacher's face. God Bless America.
Amanda | 16 | Ohio

#1479 | Tuesday, July 16th, 2002
I was in my band class,when the principal came on the P.A. system and told us everything. The news was on almost every station. It was devastating to everyone in the school. And on the way home on the bus, no one said anything. Watching the images was so terrible. So I stopped watching the T.V. for that entire week. When I went to bed I would listen to the radio(which I still do). I hope it never happens again
Ryan | 12 | Indiana

#1480 | Tuesday, July 16th, 2002
Almost a year later, I can still remember ewvery move i made on September 11th. i went to first period and we joked and laughed and the world was happy go lucky. As I was running to beat the bell for second period, i slammed the door closed to the locker room, and when i looked around, i saw shock and tears streaming down every girl's face. I was stunned and I thought someone had fallen in the locker room, but as i turned the corner, a site i will never forget caught my eye. There was a huge huddle of girls sitting in the floor and we were all watching the same tv tell us that our country was under attack. None of us believed it as we sat there and watched live as the second plane hit the WTC. then the images of the pentagon were flashed across the screen and it all seemed so surreal. When the bell for third period rang, I remember a hushed sound in the halls and everyone, if talking at all, was telling of the events. I got to third period faster than ever before, and i sat down to be greeted by the images again. Then a classmate came running into the classroom with tears straming down her face, and took her seat in the back of the classroom. I wouldn't find out until much later that her family members were in the trade center and didn't manage to make it out safely. I remember hearing my teacher mumble the words "please don't forget where you were today because this is a day you will never forget!" I was never so happy in all my life to hear the lunch bell ring. i ran to the telephone and called my parents to see if they'd heard and I just wanted to hear their voice! i went the whole day, eyes glued to the television and I remember making my dad speed home just in case something new happened. I will never forget the hate i felt as i heard of the attacker and how they had managed to do something so huge. I was so mad and hurt and shocked, but also, i had emmense pride in my country! I saw flags go up and wave with such a beautiful glow. I saw strangers embracing in the streets all over my town and i saw school memebers resolving petty issues in light of the tragicv events! Spetember 11th will stay with me forever. it is a day I will never forget.
Lacey | 15 | Tennessee

#1481 | Wednesday, July 17th, 2002
...i live on the west coast and i could not sleep, i turned to the CBS news thinking that would put me to sleep, and the next thing i know they are talking about a plane that hit the World Trade Center, the last thing that on my mind was terrorism, i thought that it was just a plane crash, i felt sorry for those on board... Bryant Gumble is talking to a lady that witnessed the first crash and i see a plane hits the other tower, my mouth dropped and it stayed that way for days maybe even weeks...i then watched another news organization, they were talking to a man at the Pentagon and there was a crash there while he was on the air...at this point i was frantic because i didnt know if where i lived was next...i didnt go to my morning classes that day but i did have to go to my afternoon one because of an exam...the drive there was spent with me looking out of the window to see if something wwas coming my way...i cautiously went into the university because it is near the airport and i was so afraid...i took my test but i mostly sat there still dazed...i still hurt for those that died, the family members and all of the children that lost parents-----> RIP
Aisha | 24 | Nevada

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