Green Room

Quotes of the day: Remembering 9/11/01

posted at 1:46 am on September 11, 2009 by

The following was taken from Allahpundit’s twitter stream, over roughly a two-hour period on the night of 9/10. This may be the first time – no, it is the first time – that I’ve ever seen anything on twitter that reads like poetry. For this reason, I’ve preserved the form as best as possible.

Eight years ago, I remember opening my eyes at 8:46 a.m. in my downtown Manhattan apartment because…

…I thought a truck had crashed in the street outside

I remember pacing my apartment for the next 15 minutes thinking, stupidly, that a gas line might have been hit in the North Tower…

…and then I heard another explosion. I hope no one ever hears anything like it.

All I can say to describe it is: Imagine the sound of thousands of Americans screaming on a city street

It was unbelievable, almost literally

I remember being on the sidewalk and there was an FBI agent saying he was cordoning off the street…

…and then, the next day, when I went back for my cats, they told me I might see bodies lying in front of my apartment building (I didn’t)

We held a memorial service in October for my cousin’s husband, who was “missing” but not really…

He worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. They found a piece of his ribcage in the rubble not too long afterwards.

This is the guy who conspired to murder him: http://is.gd/38h7y

Had a friend from the high school speech and debate team who disappeared from the 105th floor

Had another friend of a friend who worked on the 80th floor or so, married six weeks before the attack…

Speculation is that he was right in the plane’s path, and was killed instantly when it plowed through the building

Did a bit of legal work for a couple whose son worked in the upper floors. Was dating someone else up there at the time…

I was told that she managed to call her parents while they were trapped up there and that the call “was not good”

Never found out if it was cut off by the building collapsing or not

I remember opening my eyes at 8:46 a.m. thinking “I hope that was just a pothole.” Then I heard a guy outside my window say, “Oh shit”

Opened the window, looked to my left, saw huge smoke coming out of the WTC

Left at around 9:30, decided to walk uptown thinking that the buildings would never collapse and that…

…I’d be back in my apartment by the next night. I never went back. It was closed off until December.

I remember thinking when I was a few blocks away that the towers might collapse, and so I walked faster…

…although I sneered at myself later for thinking that might be true and for being a coward. Although not for long.

To this day, you can find photos of thousands of people congregated in the blocks surrounding the Towers, seemingly…

…waiting for them to fall that day

When I got to midtown, rumors were that Camp David and the Sears Tower had also been destroyed. I remember looking around…

…and thinking that we had to get out of Manhattan, as this might be some pretext to get us into the street and hit us with some germ

I callled my dad — and somehow miraculously got through — and told him I was alive, then headed for the 59th street bridge

To this day, the scariest memory is being on that bridge, looking at the Towers smoking in the distance,

and thinking maybe the plotters had wired the bridge too to explode beneath us while we were crossing it.

I remember talking to some guy on the bridge that we’d get revenge, but…

…you had to see the smoke coming from the Towers in the distance. It was like a volcano

I remember being down there two months later. There was a single piece of structure…

…maybe five stories tall of the lattice-work still standing. It looked like a limb of a corpse sticking up out of the ground.

They knocked it down soon after

At my office, which I had just joined, I was told that…

…some people had seen the jumpers diving out the windows to escape the flames that morning

There was a video online, posted maybe two years ago, shot from the hotel across the street,,,

…and it showed roughly 10-12 bodies flattened into panackes lying in the central plaza

Maybe it’s still online somewhere

You have to see it to understand, though. You get a sense of it from the Naudet brothers documentary hearing…

…the explosions as the bodies land in the plaza, but seeing it and hearing it are two different things

I remember after I got over the bridge into Queens, I heard a noise overheard…

…that I’d never heard before. It was an F-15, on patrol over New York. Very odd sound. A high-pitched wheeze.

I remember on Sept. 12, when I got on the train to go downtown and try to get my cats out of the apartment…

…the Village was utterly deserted. No one on the streets. Like “28 Days Later” if you’ve seen that

We made it to a checkpoint and the cop said go no further, until my mom intervened. Then he took pity…

…and agreed to let me downtown IF I agreed that any exposure to bodies lying in the streets was my own fault.

Didn’t see any bodies, but I did see soldiers, ATF, FBI, and so on. The ground was totally covered by white clay…

…which I knew was formed by WTC dust plus water from the FDNY. It look like a moonscape.

There was a firefighter at the intersection and I flagged him down and asked if I could borrow his flashlight, since…

…all buildings downtown had no power. He gave me a pen flashlight.

The doors to my building at Park Place were glass but had kicked in, presumably by the FDNY, to see if there were…

…survivors inside. When I got in there, all power was out. No elevators, no hall lights…

…I had to feel my way to the hall and make my way up to my apartment on the third floor by feeling my way there…

…When I got there, the cats were alive. There was WTC dust inside the apartment, but…

…for whatever reason, I had closed the windows before I left to walk uptown that day, so dust was minimal. I loaded them…

…into the carrier and took them back to Queens. That was the last I could get into the apartment until December 2001,…

…and then it was only to get in, take whatever belongings were salvageable (i.e. not computer), and get out. I lived…

in that apartment from 7/2001 to 9/2001, but given the diseases longtime residents have had…

…I’m lucky I decided to move

My only other significant memory is being in the lobby of the apartment building on 9/11…

…and trying to console some woman who lived there who said her father worked on the lower floors of the WTC. I assume…

…he made it out alive, but she was hysterical as of 9:30 that a.m. Who could blame her?

I do remember feeling embarrassed afterwards that…

…I initially thought the smoke coming out of the North Tower was due to a fire or something, but…

…it’s hard to explain the shock of realizing you’re living through a historical event while you’re living through it.

For months afterwards, I tried to tell people how I thought maybe the Towers…

…were going to be hit by six or seven or eight planes in succession. Which sounds nuts, but once you’re in the moment…

…and crazy shit is happening, you don’t know how crazy that script is about to get.

When I left at 9:30, I thought more planes were coming.

I left because I thought, “Well, if these planes hit the building the right way, it could fall and land on mine.”\

I remember getting to 57th Street and asking some dude, “What happened?”

And he said, “They collapsed” and I couldn’t believe both of them had gone down. Even after the planes hit…

…I remembered that the Empire State Building had taken a hit from a military plane during WWII and still stood tall

So it was never a serious possibility that the WTC would collapse. I assumed…

…that the FDNY would get up there, put out the fire, and the WTC would be upright but with gigantic holes in it

It took an hour for the first tower to go down, 90 minutes for the second.

Even now, despite the smoke, I’m convinced most of the people trapped at the top were alive…

…and waiting, somehow, for a rescue. The couple whose legal case I worked for told me that…

…their son and his GF contacted her father very shortly before the collapse. Which makes sense. As much smoke as there was…

…if you have a five-story hole in the wall to let air in to breathe, you’re going to linger on.

So for many people, the choice probably quickly became: Hang on, endure the smoke, or jump

If you listen to the 911 calls, which I advise you not to do, some of them chose “hang on”

Although needless to say, if you ever saw the Towers…

…you know how dire things must have been up there to make anyone think the better solution was “jump”

They were ENORMOUS.

Another weird memory: Shortly after I got my apartment in lower Manhattan, on Park Place…

…I remember taking my brother to see “The Others,” which had just opened.

And afterwards I remember taking him up to the rooftop of my building to admire the Towers. According to Wikipedia…

“The Others” opened on August 10, 2001, so this must have been within 10 days or so afterwards. Very eerie.

And I remember we also went to Morton’s and Borders right inside the WTC complex to celebrate my new job

That Borders was gutted, needless to say, on 9/11. You could see the frame of the building in the WTC lobby after the attack

I was reading magazines in there the week or two before

One of the weirdest feelings, which I’m sure everyone can share, is that I remember distinctly feeling…

…in the month or two before the attack that “important” news no longer existed. It was all inane bullshit about…

…shark attacks and Gary Condit and overaged pitchers in the Little League World Series. To this day…

…I try never to grumble about a slow news day because the alternative is horrifyingly worse

After the attack, maybe a month after, I remember going to see “Zoolander” in Times Square and…

…coming up out of the subway tunnel having the distinct fear that…

…the sky would light up and a mushroom cloud would appear instantly above my head in my lost moment of consciousness. No joke. In fact…

…I ended up going to bed around 6:30 p.m. for maybe three months after 9/11.

Even when I ended up working downtown for years after that, with a luxurious view of upper Manhattan from the top floors…

…I always feared looking out the window because I was paranoid that at that precise moment, the flash would go off…

…and that’d be the last thing I see. And in fact, for a moment in 2003 when the power went out city-wide,

…I did think that was what was happening. The wages of 9/11.

I leave you with this, my very favorite film about the WTC. If you’re a New Yorker, have a hanky handy. No. 3 is golden http://is.gd/38qsT

One more note: If you’ve never seen a photo of the smoke coming from the Trade Center after the collapse, find one.

Watching it from the 59th bridge, it looked like a volcano. There was so much smoke, it was indescribable. Just *erupting* from the wreckage

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I remember… I was working in a city office in Columbus, OH, on 9/11. I don’t listen to radio or anything at work, and about an hour in, a coworker came out of her office, and in this utterly… defeated look, said woodenly, “A plane just crashed into the WTC.” To my now shame, I thought it had been an accident.

And then I found out another hit.

The rest of that day… I think I just shut down except for one thing. I knew (but my mother did not) that my twin brother was scheduled to fly on a plane from Florida to California that morning. I spent the time frantically trying to contact my brother and to ensure my mother that he was okay.

I myself was scheduled to go to Seattle for a conference on… I guess it was that Friday or Saturday. I remember making the conscious decision to go anyway. There was this student reporter at the airport asking people why they were going. My answer was short and very very matter-of-fact.

“If I don’t, then they’ve won.”

We will never forget.
We will never surrender.
To any enemy, foreign and domestic.

Scott H on September 12, 2010 at 12:02 PM

That was moving. I have nothing so poignant or harrowing to offer.

I got a call while I was getting ready for work from my mom. I remembered thinking that the tone of her voice was the same one she uses when she calls to tell me that one of my relatives has passed away. I knew it was bad. She just said to turn on the TV. I just missed the second plane hitting. I worked for a mouse in Orange County, CA at the time and I called in to work to see if I should go in. No answer. So I drove to work listing to it all on the radio not knowing what was going on at work. When I got there a manager of mine was there turning everyone away. Told us to just go home and that we’d be paid for the day. A buddy of mine was one of the small handful of people who stayed that day. Said it was the weirdest day he’d had at work driving through the park in daylight where there should be guests packed in. After hearing reports of the park being found on a video in a terrorist apartment in Spain a few days/weeks (don’t remember) later I spend the next couple of months wondering if a suitcase nuke or dirty bomb would go off while I was at work much like Allah described.

Then there was the fake anthrax scare that two workers perpetrated. Never hit the news. FBI, HazMat, National Guard, biohazard suits. And not one news story. That whole end of ’01 was nerve-wracking.

oddjob1138 on September 11, 2011 at 11:28 AM

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Allahpundit on September 11, 2011 at 4:41 PM

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