Saturday, September 11, 2010

A few real-life 9/11 stories

This was always an interesting day in New York City.

The subways in the morning seemed empty and the streets were quieter than usual.

It was somber and people reminisced if you asked them.

My co-workers always were a bit reflective. They each had their own 9/11 story.

One had been on her morning commute on the ferry across the Hudson from New Jersey. Her office was part of the World Trade Center. (There are several buildings that make up the World Trade Center besides the twin towers.)

She saw the whole thing unfold from where she stood. Her ferry ended up turning back around, and then shuttled people back and forth the rest of the day in order for them to get off the island.

She lost a couple friends. Her office relocated to NJ for the following year until it was able to move back into the restored space.

Another co-worker's husband was downtown near the site and walked/ran up to Grand Central Station after the planes hit to try to catch a train out of the city back to their home in Westchester. He caught the last train out.

He wouldn't leave their house for a few days and frantically kept the blinds shut. He suffered from a bit of shock.

One cab driver I was chatting with told me about how he had to just get out of his car and leave it because the traffic was completely stopped leaving the city. He joined the thousands of people walking and running up the Upper West Side trying to get as far away as possible. He ended up walking all the way home to his home in the Bronx.

He said it was so strange to see shoes stores completely packed with people trying to get out of their work shoes and into something in which they could move more quickly.

The next day he was able to make it back to get his car and went down near the site to pick up his son-in-law who was a NY Fireman. He got in the car covered from head to toe in a white ash and a most horrendous smell of burnt flesh. They had to hose him off multiple times once they got home.

A friend of ours was getting ready for work in his apartment just blocks from the site. His building started shaking and then he heard the sickening noises.

He had to evacuate and was not allowed back into his apartment for four months.

These are just a few of the many stories I heard, and of course there are countless stories I did not hear.

I talked with several people who had lost friends and loved ones. And I also heard some really incredible stories about people who were meant to be there that morning but for whatever reason were not. Some were running late for work, out at a meeting, or something like that.

Such a traumatic time in so many people's lives. I was captivated by their experiences.

Missing you today, New York City.