Blue Tuesday


I woke up on September 11th, to an empty house. My clock radio went off making Junior (my cat) who was asleep on my head and me jump out of our sleep as usual. As I was waking up I was trying to get a feel of the weather so I could figure out what to wear for work. I also reminded myself to call my Aunt Barbara as soon as I got to work; her husband had passed away a year ago on this day; I wanted to see how she was doing. My mom was going to drive her to the cemetery, which is why she was not home this morning. As I left my house the weather felt a little humid already and I was glad that I had chosen to wear my sleeveless sweater today. I walked from my house over to the "N" train; until September 11th I would take the "N " train to "Cortland Street" every morning and I would get out under One Liberty Plaza. As I walked thorough Liberty Plaza I was trying to decide if I wanted to get an Espresso Frappacino, at Starbucks or just get to work. I decided to go to work instead. As I got to the corner of Liberty Place and Broadway, I turned to look at the Trinity Church Tower Clock to see the time: it was 8:40 am.

As I got to my building ‚ One Chase Manhattan Plaza, I heard this roaring that shook the ground and blocked out the sun. I turned around to see what was going on and saw an airplane flying straight into Tower One of the World Trade Center.


Tower One After the Crash

I heard and felt that crash. After the plane hit I could see flames shooting out of Tower One; I could feel the heat of the fire on my face, papers were blowing out of the building, and people were running frantically down Liberty Place and coming towards my building.


Liberty Place

I walked inside my building and got out my cell phone and I reached my mom at my auntís house; they hadnít left for the cemetery yet and I let her know that I was okay, but that there had been some kind of horrible accident at The World Trade Center. After speaking to her I went back outside to see what was going on. By this time our plaza was starting to get covered with paper and there was gritty dust flying in the air. I got dust and dirt in my eyes and wiped it away. I started looking around and I could see pink building installation on the ground, there was a large European newspaper with a picture of the dog "Eddie" (from the Television Show Frasier) advertising for Coach. I picked up a piece of paper with letterhead with an address from a company inside the World Trade Center; the letter started out "To Whom it May Concern"; I donít remember the rest of the letter of nor the name of the company it came from as I put it back on the ground where I had found it. About this time security told us to start coming into the building, since I worked there I was permitted to go up to my floor.

When I got up to my floor I went to my desk and turned on my computer and logged in for the day. I then went down the hall to one of our Senior Vice Presidentís office with some others and looked at the World Trade Center; there was a huge gap like a crater in the side of Tower One with flames coming out of it. At this time we felt another rumble as the second plane crashed into Tower Two.

Tower Two

My entire building shook on its foundation. I still believed at this time that it was still some kind of a horrible accident. Even when reports came in that a third and fourth plane had crashed into The Pentagon and a forest in Pennsylvania respectively, I was sure it had to be some kind of horrible computer malfunction - - and that planes were simply falling out of the sky because of it. After all this was America, this kind of "thing" does not happen to "people like us"; this happens in poor third world countries like Iran, Indonesia, or Bosnia. It was only when they announced on the news and the radio that the planes had been highjacked and that this had been done deliberately that I got really scared. My first thought was Why? How? Why would someone want to do this and kill innocent people? What will they hit next? The Statue of Liberty, maybe The White House?

It was only then that I began to look around my office to see who was there and who was not. I looked for my friend and co-worker Maggie, she was not here yet and I knew that she had to walk thorough the World Trade Center after she got off the ëEí train. Luz, my boss I knew rode her bike past the World Financial Center every morning and she would have been riding right past there when at least one of the planes hit. Florence, one of the sweetest ladies I have the pleasure of knowing, was usually in by 8am; her computer terminal was black today. I walked back down to the Senior Vice Presidentís office that I had been in before and now I could see the people who where looking out of that same crater and as I stood there I watched some of them jump. I turned and got out of there I just couldnít bear to look at it - - life had become surreal. I walked over to one of the conference rooms where people from the floor had gathered. I found Maggie, she had made it and was okay, I gave her a big hug and kiss and asked her if she had seen our boss Luz yet, she said that she hadnít. I asked if anyone had seen Florence, but no one had seen her either. I went again to call my family and tell them that I was okay and for them not to worry.

Scenes From Inside the World Trade Center Before the Collapse



Right after I got off the phone I heard and felt the most horrible and rumbling in my life, my building was shaking again but this time it was much harder than the one before. I looked down the hall towards the windows that faced The World Trade Center, and saw dust, debris, paper, and insulation flying towards our building. I remember my friend Jake telling everyone to get to the other side of the floor and to stay "AWAY FROM THE WINDOWS"! The clear blue of the day disappeared and day was turned into night from the dust and dirt. I could not see the Federal Reserve Building which is right across the street from our building, and when I did go to the window after the rumbling had stopped and looked down to the street below I could see nothing. As the dust and other particles flew in the air and started to settle, it was followed by another horrible sound: Silence. Gone were the sirens of the fire engines and the police cars and I began to wonder what happened to them as I did not realize that the towers had completely collapsed killing many people that still were inside them.


The Collapse

As the dust started to settle and the sky cleared, evacuation procedures were started for my floor. First we were brought from the 26th floor to the 25th floor and then down to the 22nd floor. We were kept on the 22nd floor for about another hour, we were starting to see that the dust that had been flying around outside was now also creeping up into our building and on to the floor that we were on. When they allowed us to leave we walked down the stairs from the 22nd floor to the lobby.

When I got there I could not believe what I was seeing, gray dust and dirt, building installation and papers all on the floor of the lobby. The same stuff was also all over the outside on our Plaza floors, on the steps and in our giant water fountain.

As I walked with the others to the exit at Williams Street, we were directed to go to the South Street Seaport. There were many people out on the street when I got out there and I soon lost track of the people from my floor. As I walked through the dust that completely covered Maiden Lane; not a person said a word there was just again more silence; there were hundreds of people walking along beside me and yet no one said a word; I wonder if they felt as numb as I did at that moment.


 Unknown Location

When I got to Maiden Lane & Pearl Street there were more police there telling us to go towards the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges instead, I did not know how to walk to the bridge and I was so frightened that I was going to get lost. I started to follow all the other people that were walking and crossed my fingers that they were going the same way. During this time I was trying to call my mom again on my cell phone to tell her that I was leaving Manhattan, so she would be able to come and pick me up once I got to Brooklyn. What I did not realize at the time was that when the towers collapsed so did the telecommunications for cell phones, television networks, etc. I finally made it to the Manhattan Bridge and my feet started to really hurt; I looked down at my feet and noticed that my sandals was cutting into the big toe on both of my feet and that they were bleeding. Although the sandals I had on, were nice for work they were not cut out for this much walking. I eventually took them off and walked barefoot thorough the dust. As I walked across the Manhattan Bridge, I thought to myself how many times I said I would like to have taken this walk, I never imagined it would have been like this, I kept looking back towards Manhattan and all I could see was smoke and fire. As I continued to walk all I though of was: Manhattan is burning.

I got across the bridge and into Brooklyn. I got in touch with my Mom finally on a pay phone in front of the 88th Precinct on Gold Street. I told her that I was going to walk under the BQE (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway) and for her to pick me up with the car there, all access was cut off around the parameter of the bridges and police. My mom and aunt found me and we drove to my Auntís house. When we got out of the car both my mom and aunt hugged me, it was only then that I started to cry. All that I could think of was all the poor people that were dead and how could someone be this sick. I remember crying how "I would never feel safe again".

In hours and days after the aftermath of these terrorist attacks, and it was determined that people of Muslim descent were responsible for this tragedy I was very hurt and angry. I was angry at the fact that not only that could someone be so warped to do this to another human being, but to say that they committed their crimes in the name of Allah. My heart went out to those of the Muslim faith that were innocent and had nothing to do with what had happened, I also feared for the Muslimís in the United States that they would suffer repercussion for the sins of others. It broke my heart to see the pictures on the Internet of the children in Iran who were cheering when they heard the news of what happened in America. I hated when I heard people calling them "little bastards" when all these children were doing is what they had been taught. It also broke my heart when I heard of kids in my own neighborhood that singled out people of Arabic descent and taunted them for their beliefs. I remember crying in my motherís arms a few nights later; when I smelled fire outside and heard fire engines, my first thought was that they had tried to burn down the mosque again (the night before someone had thrown a Malatov Cocktail in their entrance). I remember praying to God and asking Him "please donít let it be the mosque again, please no more".

However, I still hold on to this belief: I would not wish on anyone including the people of Afghanistan, what Al-Qaeda did to us. I simply want the people responsible to be punished. I hold on to this because if I donít then I am no better than the people that blew up and destroyed a part of our world; what Bin Laden and al-Qadea did was more than just instill fear into my heart, he also took away my sense of safeness and security. What he did not take away was my ability to still love and to look upon a group without bias and without either one of these things taken from me he hasn't won anything.

I remember the dead but I also remember the living. My boss Luz is okay, she was not hurt that day. Florence had the day off she later retired at the end of the year after 46 years of service. Another person's sister had not gone to work that day her baby girl was fussing so much she decided to take the day off.... she had worked on the 84th floor of Tower Two of the World Trade Center. Others were not so lucky a friend of the familyís daughter worked as a business manager at Cantor Fitzgerald, she never returned home from work. She was 28 years old. An attorney who originally worked for our company had left six months earlier to become Head of Litigation at Cantor Fitzgerald, he never came home again either. He was only 41 years old and left behind a wife and 7-month old baby girl. Thousands of others also never came home that day.

In the weeks that followed we had bomb scares at the airports and in New York City and Washington D.C. -- the anthrax mailings, the beginning of the War against Terrorism, and the killing of our US Officers overseas. I returned to work eight days after the attack to dust masks, the smells of burning chemicals and seeing the jagged remains of what was once the World Trade Center. I can remember walking up the subway stairs that first day back and my legs shaking as I remembered what happened the last time I was here and how when I got upstairs it was like I had entered a police state with the National Guard on patrol with M-16's. The first visual image I can remember of that day was seeing a picture of a person that was missing and put the palm of my hand on the picture hoping against hope that their family would find them alive.I remember promising myself that I would not look at what was once the World Trade Center and being compelled to look anyway -- only to see a jagged edge. I remember just sitting on the stairs of my plaza that first day breaking down and crying.

Eight Days Later..

Many people also questioned thier belief in God asking how He could have let this happen to innocent people and perhaps that there is no God. This incident however strenghten my belief in God, for although many people died in this event al-Qaeda and Bin Laden did not accomplish what thier original intentions were and that was to kill tens of thousands. They also accomplished something else that he never intended to do and that was to bring this nation and the world together in unity and a quest for peace that they failed to anticipate or consider with this attack of mass murder. We have strenghten as a nation banded together instead of a nation of separtists. We have become Americans first and our national origin second.

September 11th will live with me always; sometimes I feel like it happened just yesterday. It has changed my life forever. There is so much healing that is still left to occur in myself, those around me, and people in this world as they have mourned along side us since this tragedy occurred. If some one were to ask me what I have learned in event of the attacks of September 11th, I would tell them this: I have learned to value my American Citizenship and not take it for granted, my power of free speech, my right to vote, and the ability to cry and feel the pain of people that I never knew. But most important today I realize the value of a human life other than my own.