September 11, 2009

9/11 - 8 years later

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8 years ago today, all of us experienced in some way or another the tragic events of 9/11. i was a paralegal one year out of college. i was on the bus commuting from my parents' house in nj to the city with my mom sitting next to me. as we get close to the lincoln tunnel, i hear someone on their cell phone saying a small plane crashed into one of the buildings of the twin towers. they said it was a cesna so we all thought it was an accident. the second plane crashed while we were in the tunnel so we had no idea it was a terrorist attack. as my mom and i walk through port authority, still not knowing about the second plane, we see people crowding around the kiosks they used to have in the buildings that had cnn on. we were late that day so we rushed out still now knowing what happened. i took the city bus uptown and heard the bus driver say he saw the second plane hit. my heart sank and realized that it wasn't just a small cesna that crashed. my dear friend M worked in the towers and i went into a panic. i dialed her cell and of course couldn't get through since everyone else was calling and the phones were jammed.

i got to my office and everyone was freaking out. i called everyone i knew to make sure they were ok but the phones were jammed. i still couldn't get through to my friend M. my brother was still in rhode island at school and he was able to get through to people so we had him call to check on everyone. someone had a tiny tv and they left it on in the conference room, but they kept showing the planes crash into the buildings and i couldn't stand it so i go back to my desk to put the radio on. this was before the buildings fell and we were all in a panic but little did we know that it was going to get so much worse. i remember our office manager run to my desk saying she heard one of the towers fell. my friend H, who was the other paralegal working there with me, said her brother worked with the architect that built the towers and it was impossible for them to fall. it was also completely unbelievable that the towers could ever fall. then the unthinkable...the towers did fall. all i remember next was that my mom and i had to figure how to get back to nj. they had closed all the river crossings except for the gw bridge. my cousins were still in the city and they were going to try to drive north, head into nj and then go home to central jersey. it was a risk though because we weren't sure if anything was open for us to leave. my mom and i decided to camp out at my aunt's house in the upper west side. i think we walked up but i can't remember. i do remember the atmosphere was eerily quiet and sickeningly tense. i think people were still digesting what was happening. at my aunt's place, we kept watching tv even though they just kept showing the planes crash and the buildings fall. it was terrible but we couldn't help but watch. finally at 8pm that night, i got through to my friend M and found out she was ok. thank god.

my sister was still in high school and the school was closed early. she was safe at home with my dad, and we were glad they were away from the city. my brother was away which i think was hard for him since he couldn't be with us. we were all safe though. hubby M told me he was working at the american stock exchange downtown that morning and was caught up in the dust storm when the towers fell. he made it out ok, but the thought of him experiencing that is the scariest thing.

eight years later, i still cry seeing the memorial or when they ring the bells marking when the planes hit the towers. i still feel that same feeling of fear as if it were yesterday. it will probably never go away since it was something that was so catastrophic and tragic. like they say, we should never forget.

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