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9/11/2001 - 17 Years Later


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What were all of you doing on 911? It's still real vivid for me. Its strange to think about that now as its still so kind of present in my mind. We were not sure what was going on that day. I was doing sales support for Getinge USA. We heard a plane hit but like a lot of people figured it was a small plane. MSN practically crashed with all of the traffic. We huddled into the conference room and I remember also there was a lot of confusing information. There was one big tv and people just stayed glued to it. The strangest thing was watching a co-worker prepare sales reports with all of it going on that afternoon? We couldnt figure out how she wasnt phased by it. I still think of that all these years later.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

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Still very vivid for me as well. We were working on a campus network upgrade project for Morgan Stanley, WTC's largest tenant (25 floors in WTC2 and all of WTC5). I spent about 2 years on that campus with this project. I was the lead Architect, and we were nearing the completion of testing and implementation planning, so my work was largely done at that point. I was not there on 9/11, but several members of my team were still testing on the 74th floor of WTC2. Only a few of them had arrived by the time the first plane struck, and Morgan Stanley security had immediately started evacuating people. Their emergency backup center was about 1/2 mile uptown, so everyone relocated there.

 

One of my colleagues was at the Post Office right next to WTC when the first plane struck. He said the air pressure disruption from the impact knocked everyone on their butts.

 

I was working from home preparing an assessment report for another client when my mother in law called to ask if I was alright. Once I found out what was going on, most of the rest of the day was a panic of trying to locate coworkers and see that everyone was safe. I also had to deliver, by phone conference, the assessment report that I had been preparing. That was kind of a surreal thing in the midst of all that was going on.

 

In the craziness of preparing that report and trying to track down people, I forgot to contact my own parents. They knew I worked at WTC, and of course phone communications were difficult. It took a little time, but I was able to talk to them and let them know I was ok.

 

One of my architects was on the PATH train from NJ to NY that morning when the first plane struck. They were all forced off the train and to ground level at Exchange Place, which is the last NJ stop before WTC. It's right at the water, and he could see WTC1 with the smoke billowing out. He was at the water's edge when the second plane struck.

 

One of the things that the locals vividly recollect is how beautiful the weather was that day. It was absolutely perfect - wonderful temperature, low humidity and not a cloud in the sky. It's just such a bizarre association.

 

We spent the next weeks and months relocating our client to emergency, temporary and eventually permanent space. One of their emergency spaces was in Jersey City on the water. The building had a big panoramic window looking directly across the water as the smoking heap (which festered for weeks). It was very difficult to look out that window.

 

Shortly following, I did a fair amount of work for NYPD, which included surveying locations in and around the WTC area. It has stayed with me.

 

I have been downtown quite a bit since then, but I have not been to the spot where the towers stood or the memorial museum. Not sure I can.

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Yeah I would imagine it would hit to close to home. Trouble is a lot of cancer is being linked to the first resonder's situation there. It was on the news that a good number of them have experience as a result of fumes inhaled that day.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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I have a number of stories from that day.

A relative of a high school friend died in the Twin Towers.

My sister-in-law was a stewardess for United at that time. She was scheduled that day to be on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania (Flight93?) but changed her schedule with a coworker...it has haunted her ever since and she no longer works for the Airline.

I was working then in DC for the State Department as a contractor in an annex building. I remember getting 3 emails that morning. The first was about the world trade center. The next stated "the Pentagon is on fire" and the third said tersely: "NETWORK SHUTDOWN NOW!" and that's when I remember heading for the exit.

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My Mom was on a bus in Jersey City the day before, and she had a ugly premonition that she quickly blocked out of her mind. She told me as she looked at the Trade Center, she sensed its vulnerability!

 

I knew a drummer Gregg Gerson, from NYC who quit his job to work on the horrifying 6 story high rubble.

 

If this is not appropriate I guess it can be deleted.

 

This is from his website.. it is not bull, I know this man, he is the real deal.

 

 

"When Gregg Gerson picked up his first set of drum sticks at the age of six and later while touring with Billy Idol, he never imagined that he would one day put them down in favor of an acetylene torch.

In many ways, he represented the quintessential New Yorker. In 1978, he moved into his two-room studio on MacDougal St., "a dump," as a young, struggling musician. Though a successful artist - he's also played with the Sex Pistols, Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger - he still lives in the modest walk-up, with the shower in a closet in the living room. But on Sept. 11 he briefly abandoned his drum set, compelled to help in a long and grueling rescue effort.

 

Later he would say the event transformed him - into a real New Yorker.

 

From the corner of MacDougal and Bleecker Sts. he watched a ball of fire erupt from the World Trade Center's south tower, and continued to watch in disbelief as the giant fell, and still his eyes were glued to the sky as the north tower pancaked, in an eery, almost graceful manner, 110 stories to the ground.

 

"I was in shock. It was insane. Then I stood there and I had this void. Later on, I saw the south tower drop...and I'm watching this, and I just dropped down on my knees and started crying," said Gerson.

 

That night he went to the Salvation Army headquarters on W. 14th St., hoping to help in the rescue effort some way. He was told no volunteers were needed, but Gerson wouldn't take no for an answer.

 

"I said, 'tough. I'm here,' and I just pushed this guy aside and helped some guy that was unloading supplies. I said 'I'm not just going to stand here.' "

 

He went back the next day, and found himself on a van, seated next to Kathleen Turner, and headed down to "ground zero."

 

He returned again the next day, and the next day, and the next. By day three, he "wanted a shovel." The scene was a "war zone," he said, the atmosphere "chaos." Understanding of the difficulties, but tired of waiting around, he decided to take the initiative and walk onto the rescue effort himself.

 

"I just walked into the supply area and got dressed in all the gear you would need for a recovery and search and I just grabbed a shovel and started walking south... I just went," said Gerson. "It was chaos down there. I was looking for a crew to work with."

 

He walked into a crew of steelworkers and dockbuilders, an elite crew of metal workers and welders, several of them Ecuadoran immigrants living in New York City. He would spend the next 10 days cutting steel I-beams and delicately removing debris in a bucket brigade. Nevermind that he didn't know how use a blow torch, or that he knew virtually nothing about steel or excavation.

 

"I just started working with this crew and never left. I worked that day for about 22 hours. A foreman came over and said, 'you can leave, your shift is over,' and I said, 'no this is my time.' He gave me a pat on the back and walked away. We were on a search and rescue operation. My attitude was I'm on a search and rescue. In my mind, in my heart, I wasn't ready to accept that the majority of the missing were gone. I came back the next day. I didn't even sleep that night."

 

Gerson soon befriended Charlie Rouff, a dockbuilder who took the drummer under his wing. They worked well together. Gerson would follow him for most of the next week, cleaning off steel with a shovel so Rouff could burn through it with a torch. Riding in a bucket attached to a giant crane, he had an awesome aerial view of the mountainous pile of debris, a terrible mess of twisted metal and smoldering rubble.

 

"When I said I wanted a shovel in my hands, I got it. We went right into the belly of the beast. I stayed right with Charlie. He took me under his wing, and that's how I stayed," said Gerson, who was later invited to join the dockbuilders union, Local 1456, which he will probably do. "I was basically learning as I was going. I was a real quick study."

 

He worked nearly 144 hours in "a week and change," and still has blisters on his feet from the work. The will of all remained strong, and he called everyone a hero, from the Red Cross volunteers and E.M.T.s to the teenagers from Kansas City who massaged his tired feet during breaks. Even friends far from ground zero helped out. One did his laundry. Another fed Alexander the Great, his cat.

 

He's uncomfortable, however, with being called a hero himself.

 

"I'm not a hero. I'm a drummer. That's what I do. But I'm a human being first, and I'm an American, a New Yorker. I just did what came natural to me. I would do it again," said Gerson.

 

Although the prospect of finding survivors dwindled as the days passed, it did not affect the resilience and determination of Gerson and other volunteers.

 

"Everybody down there was motivated. Morale dropped as we realize that we hadn't found anyone. We were finding remains. As it was diminishing, morale had definitely dropped, but it didn't slow the effort."

 

Now that he is no longer, as he put it, "in the belly of the beast," Gerson has had a chance to process the experience, and although he still is not sure he understands the ramifications of it all, he's certain he'll never be the same again. Mundane things like a flat tire that used to bother him now seem "minuscule." He's more patient, and he's a tenant activist turned - gasp - Giuliani fan.

 

"I think Giuliani is amazing. I love him," he said, adding that if the Mayor were to finagle a way onto the ballot despite term limits, he'd vote for him. "Giuliani is really, truly...," he paused, "I love the guy."

 

Coping with the terror has been difficult. Although not a packrat, he's been unable to throw away a letter announcing the funeral of the wife of an acquaintance, a World Trade Center employee who was killed in the attacks.

 

He left the interview to meet a friend's therapist for a little assistance.

 

"I saw some pretty horrible stuff down there. I can't even describe it," said Gerson. "I haven't had a decent night's sleep since [sept. 11]. I just keep tossing and turning. I'm emotionally, physically and spiritually tired."

 

©The Villager 2001"

 

Also this article from 6 months later.

http://www.gregggerson.com/Greggpages/GG-WTC-02.html

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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I was living in California at the time. I was asleep, I had the day off as my parents were there visiting me.

 

My brother calls me, wakes me up and says: "Turn on the TV". I'm thinking - WTF is my brother calling from Brazil and telling me to turn on the TV in the U.S.? Then he goes "Just turn it on and you'll see."

 

I was in NY for work a few weeks after it happened. The murals on Grand Central station with things like letters from kids to their parents, family members posting other things REALLY shook me. I had to sit down, chill, and drink some water to be able to keep going. I went to the museum 2 years ago and had a similar reaction - I just left.

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Around the NYC area we remember it like it was yesterday. I'm going to be playing the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful at a ceremony this evening. I can say from listening to the stories shared at these events you never really recover, you just figure out how to keep going.

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The signs and posters that plastered downtown and St. Paul's Cathedral with family members looking for loved ones - that was the most heart-breaking. I had to walk past St. Paul's during the recovery.

 

We have friends coming in from Italy this weekend, and the museum is on their itinerary. My wife and I are escorting them around NYC, but I told them we can't go into the museum with them.

.

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I was just finishing up a contract at Boeing in Seattle upgrading a 747 flight simulator. We were working graveyard shift since the pilots needed the simulator for training during the day. I left in the morning and headed back to my hotel. I flipped on the TV news and saw a bunch of people staring at a building with smoke curling out of the upper stories. Right at that moment a B767 flew in from off screen and punched a plane-shaped hole right in the side of the building. My jaw dropped. It was surreal. I just happened to walk in right at the instant of the 2nd hit. I had no context until I turned up the sound and found out what had happened. I ended up getting stuck in Seattle for a week since the entire US commercial airspace was shut down, and there were no trains, buses, or rental cars to be had.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

-Mark Twain

 

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I had a salesman and Sales manager on the George Washington bridge and saw the smoke from the towers, I guess it took a ton of time to get off the bridge.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

noblevibes.com

 

 

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I had a salesman and Sales manager on the George Washington bridge and saw the smoke from the towers, I guess it took a ton of time to get off the bridge.

 

I used to live a stones throw from GW Bridge, but I was on the west coast when it happened.

 

I just want to check in, on this: Am I the only one whose lasting reaction was of anger?

I think I was angry about it for 10 years. I knew a number of people who were more directly effected, but no one I knew perished in the horror.

My nephews are from NYC and they are tough kids, but even they did not seem angry.

I am no longer angry about it, but was wondering if I am alone in this reaction?

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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I worked 2 blocks away for many years but had left working in the city a few years prior to 2001. I was there and working my Freight Forwarding systems development gig for the 1st WTC bombing and heard the loud crack from the parking garage. The sound from the blast came right down the side street I worked on that dead-ended 2 city blocks away right at the parking garage entrance to the WT, southern building.

 

I was in the car listening to the radio driving to my day gig on LI on 9/11/01 thankfully! Terrible day for NYC...!

 

My wife's relative Jimmy below left had been an EMT for almost 30 years on 9/11 working Manhattan...his new partner who had started that day for his 1st day of work never came home that night (RIP)...he was in his 20's, that may in fact be him in the photo behind him guiding the stretcher covering his mouth and nose with the towel. Jimmy was never the same and retired shortly after..never fully recovered mentally. Still seeks support for that. Great guy on such a terrible day..!

tnns9VX.jpg

 

 

 

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I was living in NYC that day. Was very early in my comic book writing career and wrote a 12-page short story about my experience.

 

Here it is: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Kx7d7xSbtwbLu49AGhnctg6O0wuAKa-v4l0BsFfCHFQ/edit?usp=sharing

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Back in 2001, on most days I would take the PATH train from Hoboken NJ to the World Trade Center PATH station, and then walk a few blocks east to my office downtown. On that particular day I had a meeting out in NJ so I did not commute into NYC. My normal schedule would have put me safe in my office at least 45 minutes before the first plane hit, so if I had gone into NYC, I would have been scared but safe.

 

I remember feeling really sad and angry that day.

 

I also recall the ironic detail that the sky in northern NJ that day was the most beautiful shade of blue - the kind of sky that on any other day would make you think "this has got to be one of the most beautiful days of the entire year". This beautiful blue sky lingered overhead all day, contrasted with black cloud in the east over Manhattan, from the fire burning at the WTC site.

 

There was a friend from work who changed jobs earlier during 2001 to work at Marsh & McLennan. Her office was on the 96th floor of the North Tower, and she left behind a husband and two teenage sons.

 

For at least a few weeks the area west of Broadway in the WTC area was off limits to the public. Subway lines located east of Broadway were restored to service pretty quickly, since they were undamaged. I recall that at least for 6 weeks after 9/11 you could smell the burning smell as you started to walk up the flights of stairs out the subway station (these were downtown subway stations east of Broadway).

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I had taught (contract instructor) a number of Novell classes in the WTC, somewhere about the 35th floor. The last one had been a few months earlier. Always treated nicely by the staff at the center, considered them as friends.

Was home most of that day, watching on TV. Really upset about it, specially when they showed pix of people jumping up and down with joy in some of the Middle East countries.

 

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I was in DC at a conference. When word of the attack got out, they turned on TVs and we watched in shock. They soon cancelled the conference, but we couldnt get out of DC given the traffic and the response at the Pentagon. So we found a hotel with a restaurant on a high floor, and looked out the window in disbelief at the smoke in the distance rising from the Pentagon.
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I was in the adjacent building on the 30th floor in the World Financial Center on that day and saw the first plane hit. I was the floor fire warden and ordered an evacuation contrary to what the buiding "shelter in place" announcements were. We immediately evacuated on stairs and I was the last one down with a pregnant woman and a heavy set woman.

 

When we reached the street our stairwell dumped us on West Street at the Hotel at the Base of 2 WTC. We could see people fleeing the hotel with burns from the jet fuel going down the elevator. There was glass and papers flying all over the place and you could hear the crackle of the fires on the 80th floor. We Assembled under the West Street Pedestrian bridge which led to the WTC and I called home to tell everyone I was ok.

 

During my phone call, I heard what sounded like an incoming missile and then a delayed loud explosion and then "click". My phone connection died; it was the second plane hitting the 2nd tower. At this point I "knew" the first plane was no accident and we were under attack. I immediately ran through the Winter Garden in the WFC through to the rear Marina towards the Hudson River. Many people were congregating and looking up at the disaster unfolding. We started seeing people jumping, speculation abounded about what was happening, and I just evacuated on one of the last Ferries to Jersey City.

 

It was then I realized I had left my backpack, car keys, wallet, everything back on the 30th floor. Luckily, when I got to Jersey City and hopped on a train for points north, New Jersey Transit relaxed all fare collection and I met up with other commuters who I knew and we pooled our resources to get home. I was home by 11:30am and fortunately for me, did not have to experience the collapse of the towers.

 

I had never experienced that kind of terror and still to this day experience PTSD symptoms. It feels like it happened last year, but it's just so hard to believe it was 17 years ago. Every year on this anniversary I am still contacted by the two grateful women who I helped down the stairs that day. I never saw my belongings again, nor many of the firefighters and co-workers who I rode the daily train.

 

Never Forget! ;-(

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I was in the adjacent building on the 30th floor in the World Financial Center on that day and saw the first plane hit. I was the floor fire warden and ordered an evacuation contrary to what the buiding "shelter in place" announcements were. We immediately evacuated on stairs and I was the last one down with a pregnant woman and a heavy set woman.

 

When we reached the street our stairwell dumped us on West Street at the Hotel at the Base of 2 WTC. We could see people fleeing the hotel with burns from the jet fuel going down the elevator. There was glass and papers flying all over the place and you could hear the crackle of the fires on the 80th floor. We Assembled under the West Street Pedestrian bridge which led to the WTC and I called home to tell everyone I was ok.

 

During my phone call, I heard what sounded like an incoming missile and then a delayed loud explosion and then "click". My phone connection died; it was the second plane hitting the 2nd tower. At this point I "knew" the first plane was no accident and we were under attack. I immediately ran through the Winter Garden in the WFC through to the rear Marina towards the Hudson River. Many people were congregating and looking up at the disaster unfolding. We started seeing people jumping, speculation abounded about what was happening, and I just evacuated on one of the last Ferries to Jersey City.

 

It was then I realized I had left my backpack, car keys, wallet, everything back on the 30th floor. Luckily, when I got to Jersey City and hopped on a train for points north, New Jersey Transit relaxed all fare collection and I met up with other commuters who I knew and we pooled our resources to get home. I was home by 11:30am and fortunately for me, did not have to experience the collapse of the towers.

 

I had never experienced that kind of terror and still to this day experience PTSD symptoms. It feels like it happened last year, but it's just so hard to believe it was 17 years ago. Every year on this anniversary I am still contacted by the two grateful women who I helped down the stairs that day. I never saw my belongings again, nor many of the firefighters and co-workers who I rode the daily train.

 

Never Forget! ;-(

 

You have my heart felt sympathy.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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I remember very well where I was: Right here. I mean, I was at home checking this forum. Suddendly, someone posted some first-hand news about a plane hitting the WTC, asking for details... so I turned the TV on, saw the images, and posted back, "yeah, it's true..." From Italy.

Of course, a very long thread took shape immediately, on that first strong wave of emotions.

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