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Have You Forgotten…9-11 Ten Years Later

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It was a very normal day.  The sky was sunny and the air was calm as the work day was just getting underway.  This peaceful calm day would turn tragic within minutes. I was sitting in a cubical in lower Manhattan emailing a client when I heard a strange sound. My office building was a few blocks north of the Twin Towers. All of us in the office heard a loud noise and our lives changed in an instance.

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I quickly went to a window to see the North Tower of the World Trade Center in flames. A few minutes later a co-worker ran into the building screaming “I just missed getting hit by falling debris, its crazy outside”. He described how it looked like a war zone in front of the World Trade Center. People were jumping, pieces of the building were falling.  Ambulances, police and firefighters were rushing to the scene all while people were getting out of subways cars to start their work day.

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My eyes were glued to the Trade Center through the window in my office as I watched the North Tower burning.

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As I was watching in shock, I heard a muffled noise that was getting louder, and their it was.  A second plane was flying in the sky tracking right towards the World Trade Center…and then it crashed right into it.  That was horrifying.  Now I was nervous our building would be the next target. Very soon after the second hit I was evacuated from my building.  There were about twenty of us watching outside our building in disbelief as two of the tallest building in the world were burning in flames. Some of us were panic stricken, some were crying, and I was watching in disbelief thinking how could this happen in our city. This is not supposed to happen to us. This happens on CNN, not in our F’in homeland.

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People were now consoling each other and trying to figure out how they were going to leave the city as we were watching two buildings burn in downtown Manhattan. Then, we all heard a deep rumbling noise. A few seconds later, in the midst of a sunny day with 2 buildings burning a few blocks away from us, a whistling wind started blowing at us followed by an enormous smoke plum that was spitting up pieces of debris and a thick gray ashe in our direction. That’s when people started running to avoid getting hit by a building that was violently melting to the ground.

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I started walking from lower Manhattan to Greenwich Village which was only a few blocks away. I stopped in a local café around 10:30 to listen to the News to see if their was information on who was behind these senseless strikes on the Towers.  The café was packed with people wondering what the fuck was going on. I usually don’t drink during the day, but I made an exception and ordered a beer as I sat listening to the news.

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I tried calling my fiancé but my cell phone didn’t connect my call. The phone at the café had the same problem. After my second beer I figured I should try to leave downtown and go to Grand Central station to catch a train home.  Since the subway trains were not running, I needed to walk forty blocks uptown to Grand Central Station to catch a commuter train to Westchester.

The city was eerily quiet on my walk as many people like myself were just walking slowly towards Grand Central like mindless zombies.

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Their were cabs pulled over to the side every few blocks with their doors wide open and radio blasting so people could hear what was happening at the towers. One cab had a large crowd around it listening to Howard Stern describing the scene that I was literally now looking back on. When I finally made it to Grand Central there was no train service. Strangers were asking me where I lived to see if I wanted to share a cab ride out of the city. I waited it out and when service was re-establish in the early afternoon I was on the first train leaving Manhattan toward Westchester. As the train left the city I could see the burning towers out the side of the train.

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I felt like I was watching a World War II movie showing prisoners shuttled on trains in Nazi Germany.

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This day will always bring me pain and great anger when I think about it. This isn’t supposed to happen where I live.  Not in our country. Not in New York City.  Not with our great intelligence and military superiority. But it did, and I will never forget this.

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In case you are wondering about the picture of that telephone, it was During the cleanup of the World Trade Center destruction crews found a battered payphone several blocks away. The phone was traced to its location in the 107th floor Observation Deck-3 of the World Trade Center Building Two.  Joining the collections of the AT&T Archives and History Center in late 2001, the phone serves as a tangible and poignant reminder of that dark day in our nation’s history.   Next week, the phone will move from the AT&T Archives and History Center to spend three years in the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City.

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Have you forgotten?

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