Monday, September 12, 2011

My 9-11 Experience

Most of you remember where you were on 9-11, and most likely have an interesting story to tell.  Well, here is mine.

I left for work a little late that morning and got a later train out of Summit, NJ.  As the train passed Newark, I looked across the Meadowlands and saw one of the World Trade Towers on fire.  I called my wife, who was still at home, and asked her to turn on the TV and see what was going on.  I was still wondering as the train went into the tunnel under the Hudson River.  When I left the train and arrived outside Penn Station in NYC, all the people were standing in the street in horror at what they were seeing.  My phone rang and my frantic wife told me that the second tower, which I was then staring at, had been hit by another plane, that it was a terrorist attack and I should get out of the city immediately.

Sometimes my being stubborn overrules common sense, and since I worked in the Empire State Building and was one of the primaries on our office evacuation team, I proceeded over 33rd street.  I noticed that people were streaming out of the building, so I asked one of the police officers what I could do.  He told me the building was closed and would be until further notice and that I should go home.

At Penn Station again, while many people were taking any train available to anywhere, I waited 20 minutes for the next train out to Summit.  Needless to say I picked the largest structural pole to stand behing while I waited.  As luck would have it, my train left on time.  Later on I found out that it was the last train out before Penn Station was closed down.

Traveling through the Meadowlands again,  all eyes were on the trade center, one building was no longer there, and the second collapsed before we reached Newark.  My emotions were a mixture of sorrow, dread, fear and anger all mixed up in one.  Most of those trying to call home had no reception since much of the apparatus had been on top of the towers.  A man sitting near to me, who still had reception, was trying frantically to reach his wife who worked in one of the towers.  Thankfully as we reached Summit, she called and told him she was alright.

I arrived home to see my family glued to the TV and very happy to see me come through the door.

My family was much luckier than many in the tri-state area.  One of my son's friends brother was working in one of the towers and didn't make it out.  That tragedy is enough, but many fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, aunts and uncles were lost that day to an Islamist terrorists group that has no regard for the sanctity of life.

Let us forever remember.

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