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Still Haunted by the Events of 9/11 and What Was Witnessed on that Day

Updated on February 24, 2016

On The E Train to Work

Late For Work

That day started out like an ordinary day. I was late for work and I got off the E train on Chambers street, which is one stop before the World Trade Center Stop. It was about 9:30 am when I got off the train and exited the Chambers street station. I had marveled over the twin towers many times when I first started working downtown and could see them from my office window. I guess over time you get used to a thing, even as magnificent as the towers.

Marvelous Twin Towers

One of the Most Popular Tourist Attractions

It was not uncommon to see tourists standing around taking photos of the towers from a distance. It was a nice view from there. On this day, people were staring up at the towers and I remember feeling annoyed that they were in my way. I was like, “Come on people, it’s the twin towers, let’s just keep it moving please.” Then I noticed their faces they looked horrified and were covering their mouths. That’s when I swung around to try to see what was so mesmerizing today. Maybe there was a flag pinned or something. That’s when I saw it.

The Beginning of the End

The black holes in each of the towers! There were flames coming out of the holes. I was trying to imagine what could have caused this? What happened? Was there some sort of explosion? I ran over to the coffee and bagel cart and ordered my usual. I asked the guy that I always chat with about the weather if he knew what was going on. He informed me that two planes crashed into the towers. I couldn’t believe it. That was crazy! How could that happen? He said that it must be a terrorist attack. I thought he was just messing with me. He said how else two planes could accidentally crash into each of the towers. I paid and started on my way to work. At that moment, I noticed that the guard was evacuating people from my work building and I thought that was weird. I asked a coworker and she said that phones aren’t working and the city was under a terrorist attack.

A Horrifying Sight

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I tried to call home, but cellphone services seemed to be down. I just stood there staring up at the buildings and that’s when I noticed papers flying down from the windows. I was devastated and heartbroken. I remember telling a coworker who was crying that surely all the people were already evacuated and I think most of us believed this was true. That was until we started to see people jumping from building. They looked like stick figures with clothing on. Some were holding hands and I screamed. I could not believe my eyes. How could this be really happening? People were still inside?

Police officers were shouting for people to move further up a few blocks from the area. Me and couple coworkers started walking quickly up a few blocks and then stopped and stared up. I think that after seeing the people jumping from the buildings I was already pretty messed up, but too much in shock to realize it. As we watched the fires burn from the holes we heard a loud noise even from the distance we were at. I still cannot say what that sound was. It sounded like a ground opening up or something, maybe even the sound of concrete exploding. The first tower went down like a demolition seen on television. We all screamed and covered our mouths. I just kept saying don’t worry, everyone was evacuated. Even though I saw the people jumping from the towers, I still believed that everyone was evacuated before the tower went down.

I’m sure that most of what I told myself was what I needed to believe to stay lucid. As I watched the one remaining tower with flames and black smoke still coming from the large hole, a short while later, that tower went down the same way. I felt empty. A pregnant woman looked about 8 months along, sat down on the concrete nearby me repeating that all of her coworkers are dead. My coworkers and I asked her if she was all right. She said she was late for work and her office was on the 98th floor of the North Tower. The plane crashed into the 93rd to the 99th floor. She just sat there shaking her head.

Live News Coverage of 9/11

Confused and Scared

The Longest Day

As we stood there in silence watching the towers in disbelief, quite a few people in a zombie state would often stop and stare up at the burning towers stating that they were on the 100th floor or one of those higher floors most affected by the impact. They were in a state of shock and for good reason. If they had not been late for work, they realize that they may have been inside the buildings at that moment instead of watching the events from the street. The events were hard to watch and we were all in some sort of state of shock as we watched the events unfold. This was the day that would change all of our lives, especially those that were there inside and out.

A police officer ran up to us and everyone else in the area announcing that the area was being evacuated and we needed to quickly move further uptown because now that the towers have collapsed, a large amount of toxic debris was spreading rapidly. He was soon joined by more officers shouting for everyone to get further uptown as fast as possible. We were terrified and started running as fast as we could further uptown terrified that some sort of deadly toxic fumes would consume the air shortly and kill us all. The police seemed to be just as terrified as the civilians. As they were giving the vital information they were also heeding their own warning and running for safety with the rest of us. We kept going past West 4th street and decided to just keep walking until we figure out how to get home. We realized our families were probably worried because they had no idea what was going on in the area, especially since phones were no longer working.

Lights Shine as a Memorial After 9/11

The Aftermath

I felt numb inside and desperately wanted to go home. The trains were surprisingly running from the location we winded up. As frightened as I was to take a train with rumors of terrorist attacks on the rise, I just really wanted to get home to my family. I made it home safely and suffered many years of PTSD from what I saw that day. I witnessed this from a safe distance in comparison to those that were right there getting covered in debris and worse those that were inside. My heart is always with them and those that were lost on that day.

Even today, I cannot stop thinking of how these people’s only mistake was making it into work early or on time. I was late and quite a few other survivors that actually worked on the floors directly hit were late and survived, but with the realization that everyone they work with are deceased. I remember that day was so sunny and the sky was so clear and blue. It is so odd how you can remember so much details years after an event when the event is so devastating. It’s those details you want to hold onto, but then the horrifying ones keep crashing back in. Even now, as I write this article tears are flooding my eyes and that date, sadly, will only ever remind me of these events.

The Freedom Tower in Remembrance of the Victims

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