Remembering 9/11

Avatar for donnaldy59
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-19-2001
Remembering 9/11
13
Tue, 09-11-2012 - 10:09am

Hi everyone - I don't want to hijack Terre's week but I think this is important.

Since today is 911, I wanted to know what you were doing when you first heard that the World Trade Center Towers were hit.  What was going through your mind through the following days?  Laura (cl-gazebo) was actually in New York City when it happened and her story is quite telling.  We all have our own stories and this is the day for telling them and maybe relieving some of the painful memories....

Being in Arizona, I was about as far away as I could get but it has affected me quite strongly both then and now.  I get up around 4am and always turn the TV on to news right away.  I was listening to the news as I was getting ready for work when I heard about the first plane hitting the Tower.  I sat down to watch and was wondering what happened and thought it was a little plane that crashed into the Tower by accident.  Then as I was watching (I had switched over from local news to CNN), I saw the next plane hit the 2nd Tower.  I knew right then that this was no accident.  That this was some sort of planned attack and I was glued to the TV from then on.  I just sat on my bed watching numb as the Towers crumbled to the ground and all I could think of was all those people who had died because I knew there was no way they could have survived that.  To this day, just thinking of those people and what must have been going through their minds and the total blind panic they and their families were going through brings tears to my eyes.  I, for one, will never forget.....

 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2001
Tue, 09-11-2012 - 10:36am

We were living in Saudi Arabia at the time. My friend from across the street called and told us to turn on the news --- at that time, no-one knew exactly what was happening and thought it was an accident) . I turned on my set and saw the plane hit the second tower live...  so now we knew it wasn't an accident! Sat there with the house boy (from Sri Lanka) and just were totally stunned...

We ended up spending days glued to the television (we could get NBC and CNN on direct satellite feed, no commercials) and were on lock-down by the company (Darned good thing we had plenty of food as there were no grocery shopping trips for about six weeks because of the lock-down),. The company was talking with the DOD, trying to determine if they should evacuate us all, or just dependants, or do nothing.... Depending on what DOD told the, we could either have all been flown out, shipped out on a naval ship, or driven south in a caravan to Oman (My DH was on the committee who revised the evacuation plans, which had been established back when the Iraquis invaded Kuwait and our town was actually hit by a Scud missile or two)... Luckily, we didn't have to leave because that would have meant leaving our pets and our "stuff" behind, in the care of locals, which didn't leave a good taste in our mouths...

Meanwhile, all our Saudi friends were coming by to offer their condolences and marvel at who would do such a thing (then, no-one new how many of those people were Saudi and the Saudis were in denial about bin Laden --- it took a couple of shootings on Saudi soil before they woke up to the fact that they had bred a viper in their bosom, so to speak!). After these local shootings, the ocmpany did have all dependants moved out, went about creating a walled compound and moved everyone into more cramped apartment quarters. The lovely 3-bedroom house we lived in was essentially abandoned (the houses we all lived in were owned by the Royal Commission and I assume a Saudi lives in it now). That, I understand, is how it is now, although dependants have returned.

Needless to say --- very scary. Every compound had guards with mirrors to look under cars and they searched under the hoods and in the trunks as well, if you were visiting. The checkpoints at the consulate tripled in number and doubled in efficiency. We didn't live in a walled compound but a local neighborhood so the police patrols were increased in number by the Saudis, just in case... but nothing actually happened to cause this other than this deep underlying uncertainty in the back of everyone's minds (it was nearly a year later when the shootings occurred that killed a number of expats in Al Khobar). Our bus couldn't /wouldn't take us anywhere because it had the company name emblazoned on it (in Arabic, but it still was known as an American company) and the company feared that would make it a target for any local radical who wanted to become a martyr. All shops and markets in Al Khobar lost a lot of money because NO-ONE went shopping there for over a month so when they finally let us travel back to town, the merchants welcomed us with open arms! We were missed!!

Oh, and the security at Schipol, in Amsterdam, became (and still is) ridiculous! We were used to having our luggage searched in Saudi --- it was routine, but in Amsterdam? Whew! And let me tell you, except for the shoe removal thing, nothing in an American security check point comes close to either Saudi and Schipol security! We should stop complaining and wish for more effectiveness, not less scruitiny! Just my opinion...



CL for "

Avatar for terreinarkansas
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-05-2000
Tue, 09-11-2012 - 11:31am

I was on my computer as always posting and reading posts on iVillage. At that time I used to visit a board "Women of Color" and a friend of mine was posting like crazy (she lived/lives in NY). That's how I learned plus I had the tv on while I was posting. I was glued to the tv.  I never did anything else that morning but watch tv, even going to the bedroom  to watch CNN since the tv in my office doesn't have cable. I called dh at work and let him know. The rest of the day I felt shock,  dismay...I'm an emotional person so I felt this kind of internal stress and chaos. I can't imagine what those people in the tower felt...the panic and fear...I know it's an event in this country that I will never forget....

 

Community Leader
Registered: 11-21-2001
Tue, 09-11-2012 - 3:32pm

I am one of the very lucky ones....but I still can't read or hear about that day without becoming very emotional.

I worked in the World Financial Center across the street from the Twin Towers.  That morning I was eating breakfast at my desk when I heard a rumbling noise from overhead....I assumed it was some maintenance workers pushing a cart.  All at once one of the girls said "look at this!".   Papers were floating past our windows, which faced the Trade Center.

We looked out the window and saw smoke coming out of windows high up on one of the towers...we also saw some fire "pits" along Liberty Street.  We thought a generator or something had blown up....because we couldn't see the plane from that side.

I called Frank and told him that something had happened at the Trade Center and I wasn't sure how I was going to get home that night (I lived in NJ and if something happened at the Trade Center there would be no buses.)  I then called my sister, who worked on Wall Street, that I might have to go home with her that night to Brooklyn and Frank would pick me up.  She told me that she heard a plane had hit the Trade Center.  I told her that was impossible....how could a plane hit the Trade Center?  I told her I would call her later on that day.

All of a sudden we heard another loud rumbling and a boom....my boss said "Oh my God....it's terrorists!".  We looked out and saw more smoke and fire coming out of the buildings.  I called Frank to tell him what was going on, and then I heard the order to evacuate.  We were able get down to the street and gathered in a plaza near the water.

Everyone was milling around not knowing exactly what was going on.  I remember looking up and thinking "How could something so terrible be happening on such a beautiful day?"  I also felt bad for the firemen walking around...I couldn't imagine how they were going to get up there to save the people above the fire and smoke.

Then we began to see people jumping from windows....my boss grabbed me and turned me toward the water.  He told me not to look.  He was on the phone and found out that the Exchange was closed....so he told me and some others to try and find our way home.  luckily there were other men that lived in NJ and walked to the ferry to see if we could get on.  Amazingly there was no line...and no charge.  Just as we were getting settled we heard a tremendous explosion and saw a huge cloud of brown smoke blowing out over the water.  The ferry took off; they thought a bomb had gone off.

Looking back all you could see was smoke, but someone said that one of the Twin Towers had collapsed!  We couldn't believe it....but that's what had happened.  My first thought was for my boss because I had left him on the plaza (thankfully he was OK).

We made our way to NJ and got on the train.  Of course, we couldn't go anywhere until other ferries had come in.  Then we found that our cell phones didn't work...because the antennas were on top of the Trade Center which, by this time, had both collapsed.  We then started hearing the "rumors" about the Pentagon and Pennsylvania.

In any case, with the help of my friends, I made it home.  I hadn't spoken to Frank from 9 a.m. that morning...and now it was about 2:30 in the afternoon.  He thought he would never see me again.  At that time he worked in NJ so was able to get home much easier than it was for me.

I spent the next three days just watching the television and crying.  I finally went out on Saturday...because Frank forced me to.  He didn't want me to go back to NY but, of course, that wasn't an option.  I went back to work that Monday...but we never had an office back downtown...only midtown.

I only went to the site once more months later to check on files that were recovered.  Of course, everything was unusable because when the Towers came down the windows or my office were blown in and everything was contaminated.  I have never had the desire to go back there.

Laura
Avatar for donnaldy59
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-19-2001
Tue, 09-11-2012 - 5:46pm

Oh Laura I have tears pouring down my face.  I can't even imagine what you went through!  And to have seen those people jumping.  That just makes me so heart sick.  There are a few TV crews that got shots of people jumping but they are rarely replayed but the few times I have seen them I just break down.  But honestly they're probably the lucky one.....  Hugs Laura.  I'm so glad you and those you wokred with ended up being safe and sound.

 

Avatar for donnaldy59
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-19-2001
Tue, 09-11-2012 - 5:48pm

It honestly doesn't feel ike 11 years ago does it Terre?

 

Avatar for donnaldy59
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-19-2001
Tue, 09-11-2012 - 6:01pm

Carol - your life in Saudi sounds a lot like my life in Iran when I was there with my parents in the mid to late 70's.  We didn't live in a compound and was in a mostly Arab town in the southwest of Iran called Ahwaz.  My dad worked for the Iranian oil company.  The Shah of Iran was disposed and all of us Americans and ex-pats had to be evacuated immediately.  My dad's American boss was assassinated on his way home and we had 2 days to pack a bag and hop a plane.  Unfortunately because we didn't work for an American company we had a bit of problem finding a plane out but in the end we went with other Americans to Bahrain and then onto Greece for a while.  We were one of the very few who got our dog shipped out.  Most had to take their pets to the vet to be euthanized because Iranians didn't care for pets and they would have just let them run loose on the streets and die.  We had to leave everything behind and it took about 15 years to get any monetary recompense for it and when we did it was a tiny pittnance.  All in all it was a very difficult period of life!

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-1999
Tue, 09-11-2012 - 10:37pm

Laura, I remember clearly the details of your day on 9/11/01.  God bless you.  Do you still have nightmares?  PTSD?

I had just shown up for work (Central Time) on the 9th floor of a 40-story building.  Someone had a radio on and heard the news report,  As soon as word spread, we turned on the TV in the break room and stood there speechless.  Our bosses expected us to go ahead and work as if nothing had happened, but everyone was too stunned to do anything productive.

Having experienced a tornado that hit our office building March 28, 2000, and then 9/11/01, I became uncomfortable working in a high-rise, and I went out and bought my first cell phone.  I wanted to be able to tell my family "good-bye"  :smileysad:

Avatar for terreinarkansas
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-05-2000
Wed, 09-12-2012 - 8:37am

Oh (((Laura))), how awful. I got chillls reading your post. You must have been so frightened. So glad you came out of it alright.

 

Avatar for terreinarkansas
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-05-2000
Wed, 09-12-2012 - 8:38am

No, it doesn't. It just doesn't seem that long. 

 

Community Leader
Registered: 11-21-2001
Wed, 09-12-2012 - 10:26am

Gaye....I used to have nightmares at the beginning.....but none for years now.,  But every time I think of that day I feel as if I want to cry.....I can talk about it but getting through  the story is still hard.

Terre....amazingly I don't remember feeling frightened.  We were far from the danger pretty quickly once we got on that ferry...so my co-workers and I didn't experience the trauma of the Towers' collapsing.  I think we were all "numb" at the beginning.  But traveling home I started thinking about my boss, my BIL that worked in the Towers, co-workers that I hadn't seen.....thankfully all were OK...or relatively.  It only hit me when I got home and I saw my husband.  Also, when neighbors started coming by to see me....and then trying to call my mom and sister.  My sister didn't get home until later that evening.  She worked on Wall Street and they were prevented from leaving their building; once they could leave they had to walk miles to the Brooklyn Bridge and walk over....her husband picked her up on the other side.  Phone service was spotty for the entire evening....so it was an experience to say the least.  But then the next day I was a "mess"..... 

Laura

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