#2079 | Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
911 Day...

For many, like myself, especially living in Manhattan, the day was horrendous, shocking, unimaginable and I cried a lot inside (and out). It is a day to stamp onto history, in infamy, regardless of one’s politics or perspective. Personally, it was one of the hardest days emotionally I’ve had to live through…
I am not afraid to say I am traumatized.
We’re OK. Physically and health-wise, we are fine. At the time, Joanne was at work at her client’s location, and I was home sleeping- she called moments later after the first plane hit to wake me, by the time I got up, both towers of the World Trade were lit up…
Watching it unfold on CNN digital cable TV and in a real live view from our high-rise apartment. (The TV is right next to the window)- I was mesmerized, surfing the news and simultaneously using my high-powered binoculars: seeing it actually happening, burning , it was totally overwhelming, almost unbelievable, looking right at it in a real time viewpoint, in real life - sirens screaming one after another all hours, and on CNN live, animated, mediated on the screen- my urban space became the global stage- instant news from a place of the current crisis international …
Joanne’s vendor company was located in the WTC. (It’s weird to say "was" being that it was still existing only hours ago.) If you remember, I sent out some attachments with photos of July 4th fireworks last year, taken from the 83rd floor. In the past, we have spent plenty of time around the immediate area (now "ground zero"), shopping in the WTC mall and shops outside and eating at favorite restaurants there and close by. Her company, IQ Financial, the maker of the bank loan administration software that Joanne implements for their customers, is one of the hundreds of companies located there. She has known many of her friends and associates from that office, for years, even before moving to NYC.
Joanne had an office in the WTC- Tower 2 last year, and could have gone to work for the company further as an employee, had she not signed directly with her client French bank. She still had been working on a consistent basis with many of the people there, and had been in contact socially with several, considering a few her very good friends. We have gone out together, eating, drinking with them and even have been to the Jets football games together. When Joanne got home she spent some time on the phone, trying to get word about her friends- these people are our good friends… and they have not been heard from. It is ironic and upsetting for me to think that the dedicated workers were the ones that went back up. It’s the good ones that always get the shaft. They all die young.
We’re hoping for some word tomorrow- The phone’s been ringing off the hook… The missing people’s family members are going crazy…
For myself, I was wide awake upon opening the shades and seeing the fires topping the buildings, surreal smudges of soot, distinct flames in the four mile distance- the Twin Towers were like candles, incense sticks starting to burn down. It didn’t occur to me the gravity of the situation at first- I thought, maybe they were small prop planes and they’d eventually put out the fire, with only a few injured or killed- no big deal. But this was. I took a bunch of pictures, as I watched the TV coverage zoomed in on the World Trade Center. And when the horror escalated, an explosion of TV media coverage; interviews and reportage on-the-scene; repeating the video clips over and over- I started to breath harder and my heart started feeling heavy. As the South Tower collapsed, my heart sunk, and I would have dropped to the floor if the couch were not right at my knees. All I could think of was Joanne’s former office people- our friends and 10,000 others! It was as if my aura was being depleted- swept along by the rise thousands of souls into the cloud of smoke. When the second tower fell, I was already drenched in tears- devastated by the thought of buried masses and in anguish made more terrible by familiarity making personal the place… and the faces…
Thousands of lives and deaths- several people said as they were evacuating, climbing down the stairs, the firefighters were making their way up, shortly afterwards, only minutes after the people get out- the tower collapsed…
Thousands of stories-
One of Joanne’s friends- a British co-worker, called his wife on his cell phone from the stairwell saying he couldn’t get out of the building because the levels below were too hot- in effect he had a chance to say good-bye- he had three kids…
Another one of Joanne’s friends- leaving the building, she got down the many levels, continued down flights of stairs, got below the levels when and where the 2nd plane hit, and while feeling the rumbling, shaking of the building, kept going, calmly proceeding, left the building- they were walking away, when their tower collapsed, and the air became thick with dust and smoke, and everything turned pitch black - it was then that she became afraid and thought she was going to die! She was talking to Joanne on the phone this evening and said she is in shock- terrified, afraid to think about going out again and can’t leave the clutches of her husband’s arms…

So, Joanne and I hugged a lot and said, as we always do, that we are so lucky to have each other…
The sun then set on the once majestic buildings of the skyline, some now only debris and rubble, and overhead the light of day changed to black, like enough was enough, there was nothing left, our spirit was all spent… Late night, the cooler atmosphere disguised the horrible scene, the hot acrid smoke over lower Manhattan- where if ever after that dissipates; heaven will claim a part of it…
The politicians tell us we will be strong and are going to be fine. But, I have no resolve; I have no strength left- I am a dependent individual and have look to the new global media for a message; I depend on the stratosphere to filter the air I breathe and look to the world-wide state of affairs to satisfy my questioning, maybe in this way I can work out the pain and disgust, and gain a little strength to hang on-
I’m staying tuned to CNN- a division of AOL/ Time-Warner…
AOL/Time Warner Center is under construction 1 short block from our hi-rise residential building at the southwest corner of Central Park. At the moment it is at 5-6 floors high. It will be a large complex and house Jazz at Lincoln Center, restaurants, shopping mall, office space, and condos- starting at $5mil. Due to rise to 50+ levels and to be completed in 2003, it will be massive Twin Towers…
It may be a long time before people on earth will be fine.

James Look | 49 | France, Metropolitan

#2080 | Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
I was giving my daughter a bath when the phone rang. It was my Mom. The time was around 8:50 a.m. She told me a plane crashed into a building in NYC. I thought she was kidding. You see, we were going to be flying to Los Angeles on September 13th to attend the wedding of a friend. We were going a little early so we had some time to take my two kids to the San Diego Zoo and some other attractions. As we were talking, she told me to turn on my TV. Since my almost 2 year old was in the bath, I could only see part of the TV in our bedroom. I turned on CBS and saw the second plane hit the second tower. I just couldn't believe that people would intentionally crash planes into buildings.

As the day progressed, I tried to locate my friend who was getting married. She was a flight attendant for United Airlines based in San Francisco. I was so afraid that she was on one of the United flights. I finally located her and she was fine, thank GOD. She lost co-workers but she was ok.

She still got married on September 15th but we didn't make the wedding. We couldn't see taking a chance that other terrorists would try something else.
Lisa P | 32 | Ohio

#2081 | Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
I think anybody who loves their country had the greatest feeling of sorrow, anger and hope. Most of us were not there but we still feel the great pain that will forever hang over September 11th.
Nick Weaver | 16 | Illinois

#2082 | Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
I can remember I had just gotten out of the shower to begin another day. I got a knock on my door and it was my friend with tears streaming down her face. I asked her what happened and she stated a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I immediately turned the tv on and just as I did the second plane hit the second building. I ran and got my husband, who is a marine stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC and told him to watch what was going on. With the first word of terrorism coming from from the person speaking on the tv my husband said, "we are going to war, its a given" I immediately started crying hoping deap inside my husband wouldn't have to go but knowing in my heart that if he did I would be so proud because it was his duty and he would be protecting us all. I cried for days in mourning for the people who lost loved ones, and I prayed that justice would be done.
Rebecca Bell | 25 | North Carolina

#2083 | Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
We were already among the shellshocked. On September 11, my twelve-year-old son, terminally ill with cancer, was in Robert Wood Johnson's pediatric oncology unit, waiting for me to spend the day and night with him .................................. My husband had spent the previous night at Jake's bedside; I'd gone home to be with my daughter. As soon as she was off to school and I'd had a shower, I got into my car and began the journey I'd taken so many times: Up the Parkway, onto Route 18, my thoughts only of Jacob, hoping he'd had a good night, hoping he was feeling okay.......................... I had the radio on and heard the initial news report, minutes after the plane hit. Then a little later, one of the radio newsman said, "Wait, are they rerunningthe tape again? From another angle..?" The second plane had struck, and newscasters were momentarily confused. But after a few seconds they knew. We knew. That's when I grabbed my cell phone and called my husband. "Put on the news," I told him, "Two planes just hit the Twin Towers." I remember, I was in Marlboro, because a sign there says no cell phones while driving..........................

I got to the hospital, parked, and went up to my son's unit, just in time to see the first collapse. Jacob was sleepy, grumpy about the news being on, and while we fussed with his medications and other needs, from the corner of my eye I watched what looked to be a war movie set in Manhattan.
........................................
In the hallway, one of the other parents was pacing, looking shocked. He showed me the security pass dangling on his shirt. It was a pass for the 110th Floor of the WTC. If not for the serious condition of that man's daughter, he and his crew were supposed to have been working on a transmitter at the top of the towers. But his daughter, Julie, was terribly sick. So he wasn't in NYC.
.............................................
A few weeks later, Julie passed away. A few months later, we lost Jacob. I think often about all the people who were suffering private losses even before our nation suffered this horrible event. I hope they are getting the help they need, even as survivors of terrorism get the help that THEY need. Love to everyone, may we all know happier days,...Susan
Susan G. Phillips | 42 | New Jersey

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