#1487 | Thursday, July 18th, 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. On September 11th 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, 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 2 seconds of silence, 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 a 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 threw 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. So 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 World Fianacial Center 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 3 payphones, so I kept running and saw a women locking up her shop. I asked her with tears in my eyes and gasping for breath, "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 my 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 me 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 in and around the disaster. I thought I could do 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 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. He dropped his emergency medical supply bag and ran away from the WTC, I passed the bag and paused. 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 World Financial Center. 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 "Where the hell can I meet you? I'm across the street from the Marriott- A 727 just rammed 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 headed into the basement looking for a route to the rear of the building , I asked someone how to get upstairs and he pointed to the elevator , but i wasn't about to get on an elevator. I was now running around the basement looking for stairwells or any water fountain, my mouth has never been dryier as i was yelling into the walkie and running around at top speed. I decided the only way to get upstairs was to go back outside up the ramp and then over the lawn and into the building. i was asking around for a water fountain or a bathroom , people directed me to the other side of the lobby so i ran to it and it was closed so i went to a back door of a restaraunt and knocked and waited a minute then i ran away to find water elsewhere then a man opened the door and saw that no one was there so he went back in , fortunatally the door was slow to close and i ran up to it a went in and looked around for water he told me to get out of here were closed and with my hoarse voice i said i need water , he said no we are closed and i pleaded with him to just gimme some water, so he did and i was on my way, i ran out of the rear of the building and noticed that the police were not letting anyone go anywhere towards the WTC they were directing everyone towards the water and i noticed everyone running south. This didn't make sense to me because that would leave no place to run, but only 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 it but wasn't transmitting so i could seem to be one of hundreds of rescue people that were there also not in any uniform but most had badges hanging around thier necks. 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 away. 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 turned to see what they were staring at and saw a slow continious 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 interests 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 call 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. Here 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 trying 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. I followed every trail and every story and got to the originator of each version and found that each one was false. misinformation and miscommunication is the downfall of our society .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 in 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 wanted 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 countless nights tossing and turning and having the weirdest nightmares 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 Abdu. I heard from another manager Mahendra that he and Abdu ran up 21 stories and knocked on all the doors and amaizingly people were still sleeping and they woke them up and evacuated the building ,mahendra was on the south side of the building and abdu on the north, abdu gave Mahendra his cell phone and he used the walkie-talkie to communicate with each other. They got to the second floor Abdu tells Mahendra that he is with two guests and two firefighters and they are leaving, then the first tower collapses, crushing the marriott hotel, only part of the corner of the building survives, it consists of a sales office (3rd floor) and a large conference room called the Harvest room (2nd floor-plaza level)when the walls came down Abdu was in the part that was crushed but Mahendra was in harvest room and had debris all over so he and the people he was with got out on a giant pole or beam that had fallen and landed on the second floor reaching the street level so they climbed on it and crossed it to safety, and soon after the next tower came down as mahendra reached the hudson river. They saved about twelve people that day, my personal heroes. Iv'e seen a book that had everyone that died in it but didnt find Abdu, i guess they didnt do enough research for it. 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. if you want you could visit a link to a time line of events that day and i come out when the second plane hits and he says the time is 9:02 am, just go to www.msnbc.com/modules/wtc/video/standalone.asp
scroll down and look for the picture of the towers burning and click it.
My little sister told me there's a song by Linkin Park called "Crawling:WTC Tribute" so i download it and the audio from that footage is on it. anyway life now is just a never ending attempt to stay sane, or at least seem like it. if you have any questions just email me at junglpoppa@aol.com ciao
jerry | 26 | New York

#1488 | Thursday, July 18th, 2002
I was on a business trip in Stockholm, Sweden. I had a meeting at 1:30PM (8:30AM EST). At the conclusion of the meeting, about 3:30PM, I got in a Taxi and headed for the airport. In broken English the cab driver said, “ it is a bad day.” I said, “I am sorry to hear that.” He didn’t respond, rather listen intently to his radio (I thought he was waiting for a soccer score). Then 5 minutes into the ride he said, “I hope you aren’t flying to the US today.” I asked what is wrong with the US? He told me that a plan has crashed and a lot of people have died. I asked him what plane crashed and where did it happen. He said, “ no, no, I mean planes, many planes, have crashed. Thoroughly confused I had to assume his English was wrong. Then he said, “it means WAR with America, are you American?” Not sure how to respond in that context and after thinking I did say yes. To this day I get a cold shiver down my spin when I think of his next comment. With tears in his eyes, he said, “I very sorry for you loss… I must give sincere condolences to you and your family and the US country for this terrible day.” At this point I am still not clear on what has happen and why it affects me. However, one thing was clear a taxi cab driver in Sweden felt it was necessary to offer his condolences to me because I am an American. Without knowing any more details, my body seemed to go cold. After twenty minutes of silence we arrived at the airport. I saw the military blockade and felt sick. Inside the airport I finally realized what the driver was trying to tell me.
Nathan Foster | 30 | Wisconsin

#1489 | Thursday, July 18th, 2002
Hi, I live in Queens, NY and I was a junior in High School. I was just leaving my 3rd period class when i overheard a teacher say to my teacher that all of manhattan is closed, and a plane hit one of the twin towers. First I didn't think much of it, i thought it was just hear-say. When i arrived at my 4th period class, my computer teacher was looking for a cd player w/radio to hook up into the computers, so we can all listen to the news. Kids dictated from their walkmans what was happening. "Tower 1 was hit, Tower 2 was hit, Trains are closed, The Pentagon was hit, Tower 2 collapsed, Tower 1 collapsed. They're gone, They're really gone!" I was shocked, but still, the reality didn't really set in yet. Walking to my 5th period class, I saw my friends crying and heard them tell teachers "my dad works in one of the towers!" I felt really sad. My last class of the day, History, was the worst class ever... it felt like it was 10 hours long. We sat in silence the whole period. Girls in my class said they're mothers worked on the 76th floor, and near the site. There was nothing we can do, and it hurt. I realized, my aunt works in the towers. I was suppose to intern there for her one summer. Tears built up in my eyes but i held them back. Sitting in that class for 42 minutes was so crushing. Silence is what killed me the most. Finally the sound of the bell. I rushed outside and across the street to call my mom and my boyfriend. As I was heading outside, so many parents were waiting in the lobby for their children. At the phones, I couldn't hold in my tears any longer. I went hysterical. My sister brought me home, and I ran into my mothers arms. They told me that my aunt didn't go to work that day. I cried and cried. My mother calmed me down a little, but then I saw what has happened on TV. The second plane crashing into the Tower. My hysterics began again. Seeing this plane go so fast and then BOOM stop in a building was horrifying. I thought of all the people that were killed, how many families were now hurt. I felt such a pain in my heart, I really did. I hated the fact that there was nothing I could do... I'm underaged and can't donate blood, or volunteer, it just hurt badly. Later on that evening, my sister told me that my aunt had gone to work and she just got home now (it was around 4 p.m.) I was shocked, I thought she was home. My mom got off the phone with my aunt and she told me what she said. "She was on the 34th floor of the second tower. She left when she heard the first plane hit. The firefighters told her to return to the floor where they were and that the building was secure. She didn't listen and her and a bunch of others ran like hell out of there. It took her around 15 minutes to get out. She saw the second plane hit. She said that it was raining bodies, and that she had to jump over dead people, and try to avoid being hit by body parts." I thought this was terrible. Later that day, I sat in my front yard and looked at the pink sky that was over the park trees. There was a huge black cloud of smoke within the pink sky. It was sad. That night was the hardest. All night long you heard ambulences and police sirens, and you knew exactly where they were going. I kept the news on for most of the night, in hope that they would find people in the collapsed towers. I hoped and prayed that they would find thousands of people, but thats all they were...hopes and prayers. I could barely sleep that night. Images of the footage on TV of the second plane crashing into the building, and of people jumping from the buildings were all that played over and over and over in my mind. I cried, for that was all I could do. I felt the pain of families losing people they loved. I wish this day had never happened. Being young and dealing with this tragedy was very hard for me. I've never felt so patriotic or such a proud New Yorker. I'll never forget this day... I'll never forget where i was, or who i was with. I pray that justice be done to those that planned this. I pray for the families that lost their innocent relatives and friends. I feel that everyone's lives have been affected, especially those from NY, PA, and WA. God Bless America... Land that I Love...
Victoria | 17 | New York

#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

#1491 | Sunday, July 21st, 2002
I was in sitting in my 3rd hour class in West Monroe Junior High in West Monroe, Louisiana with 9 other people trying to firgure out if this was true or not and why someone would do this.
Rebecca | 14 | Louisiana

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