REMEMBERING 9/11: YBF Readers Share Personal Stories About Being In NYC On 9/11
Today, we remember the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by sharing stories sent in by YBF readers who were in NYC on that fateful day. Read about their experiences inside…..
A few readers sent in stories about their experiences in NYC on 9/11. Read them here…..
The day was supposed to be a beautiful day. I woke up early that morning anticipating the trip to Brooklyn. Me and some high school friends planned on cutting school and going downtown to shop, eat, laugh and live. On our way, coming from Staten Island we were on the 8:30 Ferry headed into Manhattan. We were almost at the Manhattan border when the first plane hit the towers. We felt the impact in the water as the boat shook. The boat was occupied by mostly business men and women on their way to work. I was so confused as to what was actually happening. We all watched the second plane hit not too long after. That’s when it became clear to many that there was something wrong. I looked around me and saw everyone on their cell phone. Some people were even crying. We were almost at Manhattan when the Ferry boat did a U turn and made its way back to Staten Island. I remember thinking “dammnn we can’t go to Brooklyn.” As we were on the boat on our way back to Staten Island we watched the towers burning, and lower Manhattan in a frenzy. At that point I still didn’t realize how serious it was. I was young and should have actually been in school but it just so happened that I was witnessing a tragedy that would become history. I will never forget 9/11 terrorist attacks.
I was in high school at the time and it was located very near the world trade center. I remember it was during my 3rd period class that our school principal announced that all of the students, faculty and staff meet in the auditorium. I remember finding this quite odd and thought that perhaps it was some random fire drill of sorts. It wasn’t long before we were told what happened, and we all burst into tears. It was unbelievably surreal. Many students were worried about loved ones who worked in the WTC and I later learned that some did in fact lose relatives on that horrible day. I was a senior that year and only the seniors were allowed to go home early, soon after the announcement. When I stepped outside, that’s when it became real. It felt like a scene from a horror movie. Smoke everywhere, people running and crying. I didn’t know which way to go. It took me 6 hrs to get home when my commute is usually 45mins. On the way home, I met several people who were anxious in knowing about their loved ones. I’ve never seen the people of NYC so united as I did that day. No one was a stranger. We didn’t bypass one another without at the very least giving each other a look of despair. It was a day I will never forget and one that will live with all New Yorkers forever.
I will never forget that day ten years ago. I was a junior in high school and ironically enough, I was in my American History class when America’s history changed. To witness such hatred, horror, and panic is still something that hurts my heart today. But to also see the way this tragedy pulled us all a little closer, even if for a moment, made me feel proud to be an American. To the families that lost their loved ones on that day, we will never forget!
- Domonique Brown
When I remember September 11, 2001, there is a great sadness that comes over me. I was in Brooklyn, on my way to Manhattan. I was a freelance artist at the time, so THANK GOD, I did not have to go to a 9-5 that day. I stopped at the bodega a little after 8am to get a metro card. The owner told me, “I don’t think you’re gonna be able to get into Manhattan. A plane just hit the World Trade Center.” He pointed at a 13″ TV behind me to look at the footage playing of the plane hitting one of the towers, which I later learned was the first tower to fall. I stood in shock, but it still didn’t register. I told him to have a good day & I left, still on my journey into Manhattan. I got on the A train, but by the time I got to High St Brooklyn Bridge station, the train operator told everyone that it was the last stop & everyone had to get off, because no trains were going into Manhattan. I immediately got off, because I knew what happened, and as I was exiting the train I turned behind me to see if others were leaving, only a few of us got off. The others were on the train like it was a normal signal issue that was causing the delay.
As I was coming out of the station I had this unusual feeling of anxiety and fear. When I walked out, there was a car with the passenger door open & radio loud enough for passersby to hear the news channel. It was mayhem and that was the first day I realized (after being in NY for 2 years) that you could see the world trade towers very well from the Brooklyn Bridge. When I looked at the bridge and saw people walking…and running…across covered in white ash, then I looked at the 2nd tower and was only able to see it standing for a few seconds before it collapsed before my eyes. It sounded like Niagara Falls. My mouth dropped open and I cried and looked up to the sky and said, “What is going on?! Why is this happening?” A woman came around the fence, walking fast & crying hysterically. I just stood there, scared to move. I tried to use my cell phone to call my mother & I knew she must have been just as hysterical as me and the woman that passed me. My phone didn’t have a signal so I walked until I found a pay phone and the line was around the block. I walked to a school and went in and found pay phones. There was no line. I called my mom and when she heard my voice, she screamed, “THANK YOU JESUS!!!” and just cried. We both cried. I was so scared and was praying that wouldn’t be the last time I spoke to her.
I was traumatized for months. I still get so sad when I hear the #’s, 9/11. that day represented so much for me, and millions of others, but I must say that I felt every emotion: fear, joy, pain and anger. Anger because I had to walk from downtown Brooklyn to BedStuy (Stuyvesant Hts), which took me an hour. I know that was not long compared to many others who did not live in Brooklyn, but Jersey, Queens, or Staten Island. Some people did not get home for several hours.
I THANK GOD that I did not make it to Manhattan that day…that, even though I was not working on a project that day, or working a 9-5, I was still running behind (my) schedule. My heart goes out to the families and friends who lost loved ones that day. I pray that those who perished that day are at peace.
-Mary, Brooklyn Girl from San Francisco
I am from Brooklyn, NY. I am 21 years old now, but when 9/11 first occurred I was 11, and starting 6th grade; As a matter of fact I was outside on my school lawn which has a direct view of lower Manhattan. We were playing outside during physical education and all of a sudden my classmates and I heard a loud “BOOM” we looked over and the first tower was on fire. At 11 years old I thought it was a movie or something, nothing at all compared to what it is remember today. With everyone’s eyes looking at the fire, we then saw what looked like a giant black bird ram into the 2nd tower. My physical education teacher then noted something was wrong and told us to come back inside. As we were walking in I noticed that one of my classmates was crying. I asked her what was wrong and she told me her dad worked in the 76th floor of one of the two towers. My heart sank and I didn’t understand what our nation was experiencing. Two hours later my uncle picked me up and some of my family members went to church. My condolences go out anyone who lost someone on 9/11 whether it be in NYC, PA or D.C.
9/11 was a very important day for my family and I. I still remember this day and replay everything that was happening. I was very young around 7 or 8, at home for some reason that day and my grandma was on the phone with my grandfather like she usually is. He worked for the port authority and he was in the 1st twin tower that fell. She was talking to him about how his day was going and she said, I just want you to know I love you and he replied back and said I love you too. After that, moments later everything went down. This triggered me so hard because we found out through all the coverage that was on the news channels. My family and I were devastated it was non-stopping tears and visitors showing up at the house. It really showed me that you really have to cherish every single moment with the people you love the most because seconds later they can be gone. It upsets my mom the most that people are trying to make money off of a tragic situation by building museums and memorials and charging a fee. As a family we are strong and it still affects my mom, aunts, uncles and my grandma the most when we have family events. It really made my family ties so much stronger and 9/11 will always be in the heart.
I was trapped at the Bowling Green train station because there weren’t any more trains going uptown or downtown, so all passengers had to walk. Above ground it was chaotic. People were confused and I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t even know that the towers were hit by a plane until I walked to the city hall train station and then walked over to Brooklyn Bridge (still no trains obviously) and saw tower 2 crumble. When I got home to Brooklyn the smell turned my stomach I can still remember it. I also remember how people helped each other, people gave out food water and shoes (a lot of us lost our shoes running across the bridge because people thought the bridge would be a target after the tower collapsed). I’m proud to be a New Yorker but at the sometime I wish something else could’ve brought us together
-Lisa Del Sol
I’m from Brooklyn NY. I was 8 years old when the twin towers went down. I remember being in class reading a book, when the principal came on the loud speakers & told us that the 1st tower was hit then came back & told us the 2nd tower was hit. I remember everyone & myself was looking out the school window seeing smoke in the air. Everyone in my class was scared. We really didn’t know what was happening. I remember thinking OH MY GOD, my mom’s best friend works in the one of the towers. I was sad. Parents were picking up their children from school. I remember my mom friend came & picked me up from school and I went to her house with my sister and her kids. When I got to her house I called my mom & ask if Nadia died. She told me no she had called out. I just remember tears rolling down my cheeks because I was happy she wasn’t there thank God. When I put on the TV, every channel was talking about what had happened. I just remember sitting down watching the news, just sad seeing both planes hitting the towers, both towers falling, people jumping out the window, people running, all that smoke in the air. As a little girl watching all that I was very confused I wanted to know why NYC why is this happening to us and was very scared to go to Manhattan.
R.I.P to all who lost loves one that day!
My grandmother worked on the 85th floor in the North tower of the World Trade Center, and one memorable day she brought me along to her job. It would be my first and last time seeing the buildings up close rather than from a view of the skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge. After exiting the subway station, I must’ve shielded my eyes to scale the buildings, seeing as though they pierced the sky. We entered her building and I braced myself for what I thought would be the longest elevator ride of my life, during which I feared the elevator would malfunction and the popping in my ears would never cease.
I was in fifth grade at Greer Elementary in Albemarle County, Virginia. The attack occurred while I was in social studies, and our teacher informed us of the planes plunging into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, explaining what “terrorism” was since we hadn’t covered the subject. After he finished, I told him my grandma worked in one of those buildings. He asked if I wanted to go to the guidance office, but I refused. I wanted to remain in class and talk about the attacks with my classmates. My mother picked me up early from school, and she cried and hugged me as if my school had been attacked. At home we watched the towers fall.
I hadn’t cried when my teacher told us about the attacks, and I hadn’t cried when my mother came to my school with tears in her eyes. However, watching the towers collapse, one then the other, caused an eruption inside of me and tears spilled uncontrollably down my cheeks. My mother was hysterical, switching channels and making phone calls trying to find out if my grandmother was still alive. After awhile, she sat beside me on the living room couch and we watched the news together. I cried myself to sleep, tuning out the drone of news anchors and sirens. My mom woke me up a few hours later and told me my grandmother was safe. The tears came again and I wasn’t pacified until I was able to speak with her myself. She didn’t tell me then how she survived, but her story unraveled in an interview I conducted for school a few weeks later.
It turned out that she missed her usual LIRR train, throwing her 15 minutes off schedule. She took a later train to Penn Station and transferred to the subway. While waiting on the platform at Chambers Street to catch 1 line, she heard an announcement describing an explosion at the World Trade Center that prevented the train from arriving. She ran out of the station and saw clouds of smoke and the buildings ablaze. A friend invited her to her office nearby where she attempted to make phone calls. Suddenly, the building shook, lights flickered, and roars of screams and thunderous commotion drew her out into the street. She witnessed people jumping to their deaths as smoke and debris began to clutter the sky. The South tower disintegrated before her eyes. She ran blindly, ending up at a thrift store on 14th street where she phoned her family, friends, and her office in Long Island. While on 14th, the North Tower collapsed like its twin, and here her memory blurs into a montage of screams, tears, and smoke.
Staring out of the North tower window, two years before the 9/11 attacks, I couldn’t have known that hijackers would plunge a plane eight floors above. I envisioned falling from the window, but I couldn’t have imagined the agony inside the heads of the people who jumped to escape incineration. While eating lunch with my grandmother in the lounge, it was impossible to know that two of her closest co-workers, Valerie and Marie, would enter the building on a regular workday two years later and never leave.
On that morning, I was in awe of the magnitude of destruction as the buildings disappeared into the smoke, a stark contrast to the wondrous experience of gazing out of one of the tower’s windows 85 stories up. For three seemingly eternal hours I thought my grandmother was dead and I am thankful that a twist of fate saved her life. Although the towers are gone, I will always remember those windows to the skies.
- Jillian McMichael
A big thank you to those readers who shared their stories.
Short URL: http://blackgossip.org/?p=1499