Where were you on the morning of September 11, 2001?
I remember the morning of September 11, 2001. It was a Tuesday and the sky was almost cloudless. It was a perfect late summer day in New Haven, CT.. I work for a laboratory in the Hospital Of Saint Raphael in New Haven and I was in the break room with two of my friends (Gabby and Frank). Someone came in and said a small airplane just hit the World Trade Center in NYC. I remember Gabby’s comment was “How blind could they be? That building is huge.” Right there I guess we knew on the inside something was wrong.
We stood in front of a television set in the lad watching the Today show. There was only about 6 or 7 people watching it with us. It was live at the Trade Center and I remember how shocked I was at the size of the fire because they were still reporting that it was a small plane that crashed into the side of the building. It was then what seemed like a blink of an eye that a second plane appeared on the screen and slammed into the second tower. I was actually confused at that point. I thought maybe it was film footage of the early crash being shown. I then heard the panic in the news reporter’s voice and it occurred to me that this was a second plane. I felt the blood drain from my face when I realized we just watched hundreds of people die. I instantly wondered how in the world were they going to get all those people out of those burning buildings? The news cameras were closing in on images of people hanging out the windows hundreds of feet above the ground, trying to get air. I cold see things falling from the buildings and then I realized the things falling were human beings.
I remember running down the hall and telling people in our work area what just occurred. Before I knew it, it seemed like half the laboratory was crammed in front of this small television set.
I returned back to my work area and the phone rang. My friend’s and family all were calling to ask if I knew what was happening in NY. Awhile later my brother Tommy called and said that a plane just hit the Pentagon Building in Washington, DC. I remember I was almost in a panic on the inside because no one had any idea what in the world was going on. He would call with updates over and over, One call he told me that the planes were believed to been hijacked and there was possibly two more still in the sky.
I walked into the room were a TV was on. The room was now packed with shocked co-workers. As I walked in the unthinkable happened. One of the Twin Towers fell. My heart sunk. Total panic and a white cloud of smoke filled the television screen.
The phone rang again. It was my brother. He said a plane, a big one, just crashed in Pennsylvania. No one at that moment had any idea that what would unfold from the crash of this plane would go down in history as one of the bravest act of heroism ever.
Our hospital was now in a small network of relief hospitals designated to help with survivors o this disaster.
I left work early that day only to promise to come back if they need people to help with survivors. I remember getting on I-95 and the electronic highways signs all had the same message lit up across them, ”All entrances to NYC CLOSED”. I remember crossing the Q bridge over New Haven Harbor and looking up to see if any planes were heading toward it. Inside it was panic and disbelief.
Nearly all of the schools, stores and businesses closed early that day. There was no need to go back to the hospital because it became very apparent that there would be no survivors coming out of the now collapsed World Trade Center.
I sat in front of the television set all through the night watching the news in horror, sadness and disbelief. I watched the news as they showed families and friends of loved ones lost crying. The stories of the NYC firemen and policemen and rescue workers that lost their lives trying to save others. I heard of the phone calls made from hijacked United Flight 93 and how they began to believe that the passengers and crew may have fought back against the terrorists.
The following days proved to be a time of healing and support. I was one of those people that watched a telethon of stars rallying up support for the families that lost loved ones. I lit a candle with millions of others in remembrance.
One thing we must do is remember. Let us never forget what we lost and what was given on September 11, 2001. I hope in the next few postings I could help people do just that and remember and honor those we lost six years ago in that Tuesday morning.