Where were you?

I was driving to a doctor’s appointment this morning when I saw the flags at half staff. Like everybody else, I remember where I was that morning seven years ago. I was moving to New York from Washington and I had just past the exit to Philly on the Jersey Turnpike when I heard the news on the radio.

The movers were part time NY firemen. They left the truck at a rest stop and took off for NY before the bridges were closed. What was normally a five hour trip took close to ten.

No TV. I heard the news on the radio all that time. Just like how people heard the reports about World War II. An awful day. I lost no one, but I am sure you’ll understand this when I say I felt like I did, because I knew people who did.

Share with us your memories of that day.

5 thoughts on “Where were you?

  1. I guess I will go first. At the time I was a broker for Gruntal and Co. and my office was right by Grand Central. I was living in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn at the time.

    Everyday, I would take the express bus to lower Manhattan and then transfer to the subway right in front of the World Trade Center. If I got the normal 8:15 bus, I would have been right there when the first plane hit at 8:45.

    Anyway, at the time I just got my dog a few weeks before. Being a puppy, she just got her shots and had to taught to do her business outside. The way you do it is walk her until, well you know…

    That day it took her 45 minutes to finish the job, so when I got back to my appartment, the WTC was already on fire, and I stayed away.

    I went down to Shore Road and watched the towers collapse and pretty much fielded phone calls fromn everyone who wanted to know if I was ok.

    P.S. I still have the dog, who is now seven years old.

  2. Personally I can recall almost every moment of that day. I was in my office on the 7th floor of the Whitney Grove Building at Yale when I heard the CBS Newsradio helicopter pilot report at 8:45AM that morning – “there’s some smoke coming from the World Trade Center – I’m going to take a closer look”. With no TV, I got my information from the radio – later that morning,Yale President Rick Levin announced that staff was dismissed and I went to see my sons – Michael was at work, Frank in Chicago on business (he rented a truck and drove home). When I got home to Cheshire and saw flags at half staff and heard the carillon of St. Bridget’s playing hymns and patriotic music, the tears came.

    A few days later, I wrote:

    As I write today, smoke still emanates from the site in New York City known as ‘Ground Zero’. The terrorist attacks of 9/11, which murdered thousands of innocent American men, women and children on our own soil, have altered our world forever. Our country is in a war and the change is palpable. We have High Alerts, increased military cover of planes and ships, a strong and visible national patriotism, a proliferation of flags flying, and a resolution to prevail against terrorism. It is both a difficult and proud time to be an American.

    It is hard to make sense of this Armageddon, these attacks on the hearts and souls of America. All the superlatives apply and are not enough. Tears flow and are worn like a badge. We ask everyone we speak with “Family OK?” We wake up thinking, no, hoping it’s a bad dream, but it isn’t.

    Every day I read the short obituaries: ‘Portraits of Grief’ that The New York Times is running about every person who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center. I can barely stand to read them, but I do. It’s important. I feel I owe every single person a few minutes of my time to read a few paragraphs about that life and the hopes and dreams cut short, lost to evil.

    We must never forget.

  3. I was in North Carolina at a client site. I had driven the day before.

    It took me talking to the CEO to convince them that driving 12 hours was cheaper and better. I wanted to test out my new used car. They were worried i would break down. I said “well i have AAA and i will be on side of the road. if the plane has a problem it would crash and I would be dead.”
    This was said a week before. when it all happened. we were trying to find my eldest brother who usually flew out of Logan. he canceled his flight the day before, asked my wife how i was she told him i drove and he said thank god my little brother is an idiot.

    Other stuff happened too. but yeah. i think things like that stick in the memory forever.
    I remember at a very young age my dad waking me up. sitting me on his lap and telling me watch and remember, this is history. So i sat and watch a man walk on the moon, with my dad. Unfortunately he died at a very young age. my wife nor my kids ever got to meet him. oh yeah he helped build the trade center..

    so yeah its hard to forget..

  4. I think I had just gotten to work and soon after heard something happened at WTC. I called a friend at Merrill to ask what was going on.

    He said he just saw a second plane hit. Soon after we had to evacuate to Bryant Park. I remember walking up 5th and seeing the buildings smoking. It looked surreal, like a movie. Not like real life. Every once in a while I would go back to 5th to see if I could notice anything different. Then the buildings were gone.

    That day there was a lot of chaos in the country and the news outlets did not know what was happening while it was happening.

    I was talking to a colleague today about this who was a block away at Merrill when this happened. He told me of running from his office to the Manhattan Bridge to get away from all the dirt and debris.

    I couldn’t get home because the trains were not working so I wandered around midtown watching a lot of tv. Saw pictures of the Pentagon burning and scenes from NY. Later that night I was able to get home.

    Somewhere in the news cycle it was reported that our president was reading to a bunch of kids in a classroom. When he was told about what was going on he returned to reading to the kids.

  5. I was flying that morning…
    As the plane approached Pittsburgh, we did the nearest I’ve ever come to a “touch and go”; within probably 10 feet of landing, the engines were gunned and off we went, for another go-around the airport. “Strange” I thought…
    When we landed, I hurried to pick up my rental car, pretty much oblivious to anything odd in the airport. I was only able to get a minivan, although I had reserved an economy car. “Strange” I thought…
    So I drove into town, pulled up to the hotel valet, and started into the hotel lobby. It was jam-packed with people, silently watching a TV too small for the room. “Strange” I thought…
    I start to walk through the lobby to my first appointment, and see what the whole world is watching… The first Tower collapses, and I recall tearing up, thinking, “how can one Tower go on without the other? How could we see that?” Then, the second Tower collapses. My cell phone rings off the hook, as family, friends and coworkers ask, “you ok? Where are you? Did you hear? Are you ok? Come home.”
    I was very fortunate to have a rental car. Rumors spread of a plane flying towards Pittsburgh, and all of the office buildings were evacuated. I watched the city evacuate at about 10:30 am as though it were the evening rush hour. Strange…

    I retrieved my car from the valet; it hadn’t been moved in the hours since I drove it in. I started the longish drive down the PA Turnpike, under cloudless skies with not a jet-stream in sight. The only other traffic on the highway was military traffic, including at least one truck-mounted rocket, headed in the other direction. An hour or two into the drive, I noticed some smoke drifting across the Turnpike in the middle of nowhere, PA. “Strange” I thought…
    When I finally got home, after dinner time, I hugged my family tighter and longer than I probably ever had before, kept the kids away from the TV until bed time, then watched it all with my wife, and drained a bottle of wine.