Posted by: gmontealegre | September 6, 2011

9/11 I was there….

photo credit Daily News

I went to work early that day and I thank G_D for sparing me the anguish and devastation my friends from #PATH experienced.  For almost 17 years a group of us, one of the many that struck up conversations day after day on the crowded train, traveled to the #WTC on the train that arrived at 8:43 a.m.  On 9/11 the first plane had already attacked the WTC and  the police were ushering commuters out. There was an urgency my friend could not understand until she saw someone’s shoes at the top of the escalator. Then she said all she could think of was running to South Street, jumping into the water and swimming to New Jersey. I asked, “but why the water?”  She said she did not know why, but she thought she would feel safe. Luckily she saw people walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and she followed the crowd for five hours before meeting up with someone she recognized.

My other friend was sitting on the toilet at the Newark Penn Station when a police officer ordered everyone out.  She was confused to hear a man’s voice in the women’s bathroom but she complied.  Still she was able to get on the PATH to NYC but she did not make it past Jersey City when all the passengers were ordered out.  All of them were on the banks of the Hudson River watching as the second plane hit the WTC.

It has taken my friends a longer time to heal from that experience.  Their experience was definitely extremely harsh when compared to mine, I have no doubt. They were out on the ground, at ground zero, the same place I would have been with them, feeling panic and that of all others as they tried to take cover and get away from the area.  I was in my office, eight floors above near Foley Square, not hearing the panic on the streets but watching the events as they were developing via the TV. Yes, I was affected and I actually I saw the first plane fly by my 8th floor window.  I was in the ladies room washing my plate after eating oatmeal at my desk for breakfast when I heard the motor of a plane and without looking I was imagining the Wrigh Brothers Airplane….and I said to myself, “I’m not looking.”  But curiousity got the best of me and I turned to look.  My eyes could not believe what I was seeing. To my dismay, there was a passenger plane outside the window.  I could not believe there was passenger airplane outside the window. I tried to see if I could see the people sitted inside through the tiny windows. I was telling myself “this plane does not fit here, it is going to crash against the buildlings.”  The plane looked as if it was headed to City Hall. The plane left and I put my ear to the wall to hear it crashing as it hit the buildings near 100 Centre Street. But I did not hear anything. I walked out of the bathroom and I saw two executive secretaries walking down the hall.  I was second guessing myself whether  to mention it to them or not.  Whether they would think I was crazy if I said I had seen a plane outside the ladies room window. I decided to tell them and they looked at me and said, “What?” and kept walking.  I ran to my office and asked my colleague if she had seen a plane go by the window behind her.  She said, “No.”  I asked again, ” Did you not hear a loud noise or a motor? and she said, “No.”  I could not understand.  And then something on the TV caught my eye, and it was a gaping hole at the WTC. Were glued to the TV and could not go away from it.  Reporters were already on the air saying the WTC had been attacked and seven other planes were missing and expected to attack additional locations in the United States.  Unbelievable!!! I could go on…But this was the day when I tought the world was coming to an end.  (But I am not finished.  More later).

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