Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wednesday Word—Remember



Every year I have new readers and for those new readers I'd like to rerun the piece Pop wrote about his experience on 9/11/01, when terrorists struck about 5 blocks from where he was working. Once again, we'll be watching on tv and crying while the names of the dead are read. This year, along with Pop's eye-witness account, I'm also privileged to share another eye-witness account written by one of Pop's co-workers. I apologize for the length of this post and the lack of photos. First, here's what Pop wrote.


remember going to the Yankees/Red Sox game the night of 9/10/01. We had an amazing thunderstorm with the rain cascading down the facade of the old stadium and the game was cancelled around 9 pm. On the subway home, we talked about getting to work on time instead of going in late, as we had planned. Yanks/Sox games always last way too long.

I got to the office about 8:47 that morning and had just turned on my computer to start work. It was a beautiful Tuesday and it was the weekly close. I had signed on and began to open applications when I heard someone say the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane. We thought the plane was a small private plane.

A group of my coworkers and I went to the window to see what was going on. We saw the North Tower ablaze; papers fluttering in the sky like large snowflakes. We also saw objects too heavy to be paper plunging to the earth and didn’t know we were watching people jumping from the building. All you could hear were the sound of sirens from the Fire Department, Police Department and EMS all rushing up Broadway to the disaster. We were all wondering how they would fight this fire.

Another coworker yelled a plane was coming. As she yelled, the entire bank of windows on the 27th floor of 1 State Street turned dark as the plane whizzed so close by you could read all the markings on the bottom. The building shook from the power of the jet engines. The plane sped toward the tower, although it looked to be happening in slow motion. The explosion that followed was more vivid than anything Hollywood could create. My boss started yelling it was time to get out of the building. He was yelling to get our belonging and evacuate.

People were running to get their things while I—being the grandson of a fireman—stood transfixed by what was unfolding at that window. The sight of a box of continuous feed computer paper floating out from one of the broken windows and then slowly unraveling as it made it’s way toward the ground just amazed me. Then I felt the heat from the explosion and I too knew it was time to leave.

27 flights of stairs later, we were standing in Battery Park watching, again not clear as to what we had actually seen. No phones—either land lines or cell—were working so we couldn’t call our loved ones to tell them we were ok.
This photo appeared in Vanity Fair. It was taken by Will Nuñez from the same building that Pop works in.

R and V and some others chose to stay and try to find a phone that worked. My department chose to walk. We wound our way up the East Side of Manhattan looking for safety, being careful to walk along the water and away from the buildings. Somewhere in Chinatown we heard the roar of what sounded at first like another plane and then like a subway train. The South Tower had fallen and what we heard were the floors pancaking. Fortunately, we were far enough from the plume of smoke and dust that we didn’t inhale any of it. We continued to walk until we were in Little Italy when we heard the sound again. This time we turned around in time to watch The North Tower falling. None of us would ever be the same again. None of us will ever forget that moment. It will be hard to forget that 14th Street (about 4 miles from where I work) and somewhere is where civilization started to appear again only there were soldiers directing traffic.

We ended up on 62nd Street and 1st Avenue, ironically near where I had once worked. I thought about that as we walked. We caught our breath, got to see some tv coverage, got something to eat and it was time to move again. The attacks took place before 9:00 am EST and I got home to my two cats sometime after 8:00 pm EST. In between, a friend and I saw 7 WTC also collapse from the attack. We were at 23rd Street and the Hudson River waiting for a rescue boat to take us to Jersey. 
I now cherish the extra time I’ve been given and the people I knew then and know now. I’m sorry we all had to go through this, but at the same time it has made us better and stronger. 
Everyone after 9/11 wrote and spoke how they never would forget this day but since then it sometimes seems to me people look at what happened as an inconvenience. People from the rest of this country seem to want to forget it was America, not New York City that was attacked. 
We all remember our brave soldiers who gave their lives every year on Memorial Day and all our soldiers who are doing and have done their duty on Veterans Day. On this day we need to remember all the innocent who did nothing more than come to work that day or get on a plane to begin a vacation/business trip. 
I wish for all of you peace, health and happiness for whatever days we all have left. Please don’t forget as I never will. 

ⓃⒺⓋⒺⓇ  ⒻⓄⓇⒼⒺⓉ

After they descended from the building, Pop and his group immediately headed uptown to safety. Robert Tonchuk and his group stayed downtown to look for a working phone. These words are taken from Robert's Facebook page, with his permission and without editing although the names have been removed.

I walked up from the State Street subway and ran into D. There was glitter in the air. I said, some promotion for Mac cosmetics or D&G by an outrageous gay ad exec. D said a plane hit the tower. I looked up. Smoke only seen. The plane hit the opposite side of the building so we only saw smoke in the distance.

Upstairs on the 27th floor, facing the towers, we watched and wondered how that could happen. F, V, K, A, M, S, MOC, all of us. L was bursting invoices and didn't know.
Then the sound from plane 2 seen flying toward us. Those who were there know the fabulous open floor Thomson had. We saw the plane flying toward us. M on the phone...."what is that noise????"
It flew by our window … our voices silent … it tilted, we saw it's underbelly, and we watched it fly into tower 2 and our building shook from the impact of it hitting that tower. I remember the windows shaking.
I looked around … nobody was moving. We were frozen. I couldn't speak. I tried a few times and then yelled that we need to evacuate; V kicked open the stair doors to sound the alarm.
I could go on, the mad rush to evacuate, pulling Y off the phone and telling her to hang up on our CEO who was in Texas. She wouldn't so I grabbed the phone and did it for her. She was mad but two months later thanked me. I remember for the first time feeling helpless. I swore never will I allow that to happen unless God makes that choice for me.
I won't go in much detail, but we were in front of our building not sure what to do … then the booms of what sounded like bombs … it was Tower Two crashing down … the black ball of ash swooping past the Bull down the block … coming toward us … I remember V saying what is next? where do we go?? I said we cannot go back into One State Street … the buildings didn't seem a safe place to me … so we all grabbed hands and started running thru the dark as it came over us … the ash and blackness hit us, like hot snow, in our face, mouth, nose, eyelashes, but we held each other's hands refusing to let go of anyone until we saw light. I remember stopping and ripping my shirt off, and other men I think did too. We ripped them into little pieces to use as masks and filters so we could breathe thru our mouths since noses were not an option.
We crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and realized the world changed … as did I.

38 comments:

  1. Your graphic is beautiful. Wow, incredible stories and accounts. Purrs to all our American friends today.

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  2. My human doesn't like to dwell on it too much. It is still too painful.

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  3. I remember getting a call from my parents who happened to be in another state and the hotel they were in didn't have cable. I remember scrambling to turn on the TV and watched, in horror as the events unfolded right in front my eyes.

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  4. How scary for your peeps, CK. Our head peep had just started a new job in after being laid off from a NY company on April Fools Day. Her her former coworkers were all on Maiden Lane, near WTC. In some ways, she was grateful for that layoff so she wasn't in the middle of it, too.

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  5. Simply we remember too. Have a wonderful Wednesday.
    Best wishes Molly

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  6. A day that changed our country and the world forever. We will never forget.....

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  7. Very sad :( It's interesting to read accounts from people who were so close to it all. I was still in high school and remember watching it on TV before I left for school. I was pretty shocked when the 2nd plane showed up on the TV screen... the TVs were on all day at school that day. Thanks to your Pop and his friend for sharing.

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  8. Thanks to your Pop & his coworker for sharing their stories and perspectives. Although it seemed as though the whole world was there...seeing the story through the eyewitnesses of that terrible tragedy are sobering. It's a day that changed us all forever.

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  9. Wow, I remember watching this on the Today show as it happened and listening to Matt Lauer. It was so surreal. I cannot imagine actually being there in person. Thanks for this post and reminding us that we should be thankful everyday that we are on this earth! Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Joe

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  10. 12years later and the stories still are surreal. Mom watched the second plane on TV from Dallas. She was with a client company, Sabre...spin off from AA...and people there knew the AA flight crews as many were former attendants. Mom couldn't get home for 2 days...and we know it was the USA attacked

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  11. Mom was on the phone with Auntie El and they both saw the plane crash into the 2nd tower. Mom was worried about Auntie El because she still lived in NJ and nobody knew what would happen next.

    We will never forget.

    The Florida Furkids

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  12. Yes, a day that must NEVER be forgotten. So many beautiful lives, lost... So tragic.

    Purrs,
    Nissy

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  13. Thank you for sharing Pop's memory of that day. It's a day well never forget.

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  14. Thank you.
    A lot of people will remember always. That's not a good thing. Just a tragic bad thing.
    Flags are waving here for the
    Americans who lost their lives on this day. Every. Single. Life.
    Paw saluting,head bowed, heart heavy,
    QUINN

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  15. It's hard to look at the pictures and hear the stories of survivors, but we must Never. Forget.

    Thank you.

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  16. Thank you again for reposting your Pop's (and his boss) eyewitness account. We are afraid that as we move farther away from the Tragedy more people will forget what a horrible attack this was on America.

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  17. This is such an emotional time to remember. We weren't going to post today but after reading yours, we decided to do a short one. And we added a link to this.

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  18. I was on holiday that week and on that day I was out (it was afternoon here) and I received a call from my mother who told me she thought a plane had hit the tower in New York. I thought she was either crazy or it was an accident with a small plane. Then she rang again and said the other tower had been hit! I turned on the car radio and I was horrified, rushed home and turned on the TV. It took sometime for it to sink in.

    I cannot imagine what it must have been like to have been there! The two accounts above are very powerful. Thank you for sharing them today. The people who were there and who continue to be affected will never forget. The rest of us must also never forget! Caro xx

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  19. I can't even imagine being there. Amazing stories. I still cannot believe that could happen in the US but; sadly it did. Bless all those people.
    Sue B

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  20. CK....we canna even begin ta noe what kinda emotions yur pop, yur familee N all yur friends & de co werkers wented thru that day or in de days that followed...we noe it wuz knot eazee for yur pop N yur friend to rite this piece; we noe itz knot eazee to re live de events that unfolded that day...we appreciate them both takin the time to tell their storee XXXXXXXXXXXX~~

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  21. My heart goes out to you. TY for sharing this post.

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  22. ((hugs) Just know you all are in our thoughts, and we're thankful your pop & all you guys were and are safe.

    XOXO
    Soft purrz,
    Selina & MomKatt Laura

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  23. Wow. That's all we can say after reading Pop's and Robert's accounts of what they saw that day. Thank you for sharing their stories with us. We will never forget.

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  24. Fangu to Mr Keshia's Pop and His Friend for sharing their stories. PurrPurrPurrForPeace

    Lilith Kitten Mahoney, Age 12
    Nurse Cat & Diabeticat
    on behalf of The Feline Contingent & Staff

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  25. I love this and glad to see it again. I posted 9/11 posts from the last 6 years.

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  26. Thank you, CK, for posting Pop's and Robert's accounts of what happened that day. It is indeed a day that changed us all. And we will never forget.

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  27. thanks for sharing this every year. We should not forget.

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  28. Thank you for sharing the stories, CK. It's been long time since then but I clearly remember the day. We will never forget.

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  29. Reading stories like your Pop's really bring the horror down to a personal level that you don't get from watching TV news...Thank you for sharing CK

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  30. Your Pop's account is amazing and each year I read it and get goosebumps. We will never forget, thats fur sure.

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  31. Eye witness to history. We will never forget.

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  32. Thank you for sharing. Mom read this with goose bumps all da way thru and when she finished reading, just could not move for several minutes.

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  33. Reading this vivid account made the Human relive the events of that day. But it's a good thing to remember.

    The Human was struck again today how fleeting collective memory is--the freshmen and sophomores at her school were born in 1998-99-2000 and have no memory of any kind of 9-11. It is shocking how fast a generation rises that has no first-hand knowledge of events.

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  34. Hi CK....first of all, amazing recollections of 9/11 and the horror of being "there" so close. I guess we will all ALWAYS remember where we were that day. Secondly, I wanted to introduce myself since King Spitty has kindly presented me with a Viceroyship in territory right next to yours! Since we're to be neighbors I thought I should stick my head in the door here to say HOWDY.

    Yours in defense of Kitty's Kingdom, Sammy

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  35. we always will remember and this piece remains one of the best I have ever seen about 9/11

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  36. This is one of the most moving pieces I have seen about it. I remember another homeschooler's child calling and telling us about it (I didn't believe him at first as Bryan was known for having an active imagination). We spent the day watching the news reports instead of doing lessons, after I turned on the TV and saw he was accurately reporting what was happening.

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  37. Hey CK--The Hood is a large and dangerous territory, but I have complete faith in you. I am furry glad Sammy has made contact. I don't think he's quite as tough as you so you might need to help him out a little. XOXOXO

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