64th Floor, Tower 1

Heart AmericaI can still remember September 11th, 2001 so clearly, as if it was yesterday, not more than a decade ago.  With each passing year, I still feel the deep sadness, pain, and shock of it all.  My heart goes out to all of the families who have lost their loved ones.  I still watch the documentaries that air during this week.  It is a way to remember those who sacrificed their lives.

Years later, I met my husband to be.  As we got to know each other, I found out that he was a 9/11 survivor.  At first, I did not want to pry or ask too many questions, for fear I would open up a wound. He was very sweet and honest about what happened to him within Tower #1 on 9/11.  His account gave me a new perspective that the news programs or documentaries did not give me.  That perspective was a living, breathing account from someone I love…from someone who escaped this terrible attack.

A few days after 9/11, he poured his thoughts on to paper as a way to cope with this tragedy.  I did not read it until the twelfth anniversary of 9/11.  With my husband’s permission, here is an excerpt of his account:

  THE EVENT OF SEPTEMBER 11th

I woke up that morning with a lot of hope and promise for a renewed start.  It was my first day back from vacation where I needed some rest and relaxation from life.  The morning was just beautiful, not a cloud in the sky.  The sun was shining, almost blinding when looking at the backdrop.  I entered One World Trade at about 7:30 AM to begin my first day back.

The normal morning consists of coffee, a little bit of friendly conversation, and a lot of work; all of which I did that morning on the 64th Floor of WTC Building #1.  It was about a quarter-to nine when the day officially began.  A boom, a strong shift, a feeling of fright, a look out the window to see that my life has changed forever, and then flight, not exactly knowing what had just happened but knowing that I had to get out of the building.

I’m sure that these events have been relived numerous times by all, especially those who weren’t in either tower on that day.  I have two very vivid memories from this experience of war.  The first memory took place in the staircase on the descent down.  Surprisingly, people weren’t in a state of panic.  They were calm, carrying on conversations while walking down the stairs.  There was a call from above to clear the inner half of the staircase.  Victims from the affected floors walked down the stairs; some with cuts, some with tears, others with severe burns.  One lady had passed me with her arms extended, skin hanging off of them.  It was at this time that I realized the situation we were in was serious.

The second memory that I often replay in my mind occurred when I finally exited the building.  It was cloudy, very cloudy.  I stopped for a second to look at the outdoor plaza of the Trade Center; the location where only a week ago, I remember seeing the active fountain, tourists flooding the area, and people eating lunch enjoying the weather.  This time, there was no one.  I saw pieces of metal scattered around and white powder everywhere.  I looked at the other tower and barely saw its base.  The white smoke engulfed the rest of the building (little did I know at this time that Tower #2 had already collapsed).  I looked at my tower, and it too was engulfed in white smoke.  The scene was like out of a movie; the whole day was like out of a movie, except I was living it instead of sitting in a theatre and imagining myself in it.

I looked back and saw a woman crying.  She was frozen.  She couldn’t move once she saw what the plaza looked like.  My first thought was that we were almost to safety and she stopped.  The experienced had overwhelmed her.  I walked over to her, stepping over metal and powder on the ground and grabbed her hand.  I yelled into her ear that she was going to be fine but that she had to keep walking.  The firemen had said that to all of us in the staircase only a little while earlier.

Luckily we escaped.

Looking back at what had happened and by talking with other co-workers who escaped as well, I was able to piece together an approximate time table of events.  It took me over an hour to exit Tower #1.  I had left only minutes after my building was hit.  Tower #2 had fallen while I was still in Tower #1, probably at the time I was near the 5th floor and felt the rumbling.  Tower #1 had fallen not too long after that.  I left the building virtually without a scratch.  The fact that I am alive today is a complete miracle in my eyes.

 

It is a complete miracle in my eyes and our daughter’s eyes.  We thank God every day, especially today and so love you lots!

To Your Freedom in Living Life to the Fullest and Remembering those who Lost their Lives.

 

Update Note: Originally posted 9/11/13.  In remembrance, I will continue to share this post each year.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Lynn, thank you SO MUCH for sharing this. I think we all can recall where we were that morning that this tragedy struck. For me personally, my oldest son phoned from college in Indiana and asked me to turn on the television….for he had heard about something happening in the World Trade Center. I sat glued to the television for the remainder of the day. For those like your husband, who were a part of it…it will forever remain a part of them, just like soldiers after a war. For families of lost loved ones, it has forever changed them. And for those of us who watched from afar, it will forever knit our hearts to the families that were affected.

  2. Lynn, I thank God with you. What a wonderful story to hear that you have your husband and child from that tragic event. I do remember that day and when I first heard what was happening very well. Blessings to you and your family.
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