"The problem here is a totalitarian uniformity, a cult-like mentality such that even allies are enemies if they fail to follow the Exact Party Line. " - Phyllis Chesler

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Don't Need Any Lecture Or Class, I WAS THERE!

UPDATE: I am working at the site where they are protesting today. I am right at the corner of Broadway where the World Trade Center used to be. They aren't letting people directly in front on the street where it was.

There is a group of nasty anarchists protesting and it just angers me. I will post photos later when I can. They are so sick. And they have no regard for those who were murdered and for the feelings of the families. They are brainwashed into thinking they are doing this for the greater good and that is more important than the emotions of the families they step upon. They disgust me!

I bear witness without media pontification or left-wing editorializing and meaning changes.

I was there that day. I was NOT at the site. I was on the E train that would have ended at the World Trade Center.

It was election day in NYC. I stopped first to go and vote, something I believe strongly in doing as my civic duty.

Then I walked the the train. I probably got on the E train 10 minutes before the world as we knew it forever changed.

I remember complaining that the train was delayed and that I would be late to work. The entire events happened while I was in the tunnel on that train that day. Everything!

I got out of the train and walked to my bagel place. No one said a word to me. They just let me pay for my bagel ...but they knew.

I worked for a cable television station at the time and when I walked in one of the girls working there whom I was friendly with told me what happened and I looked at her and said,"That's NOT funny." I just didn't believe her.

She said, "There was a terrorist attack. Someone flew planes into the Trade Center.

I just could not wrap my mind around that sentence. I told her it was a cruel joke as she brought me to the television where live news shot were showing the fire and huge gaping hole. I put my hand in the VCR slot to feel for the phoney tape. Nothing! And then my heart sank.

I new immediately it was Muslim terrorism. No one else would do this. No one! I honestly didn't care what came out of my mouth that day. Fuck them if they didn't like the truth. LOOK what silence gets you. I told people, we ignored what they do to the Israelis and THIS is what we get.

I had to find a coworker who's mother was supposed to be working in the towers that day. Frantically he was trying to get her on the phone. I didn't own a cell phone then but so many did and no one could get calls in or out. Ironically the only thing working well was the Internet and so I emailed my brother and a few friends. My coworker's mother was finally able to get a call in and tell him and me that she was not downtown and not to worry. I ran around my office like nobody's business until I found him.

My brother as it turned out was sleeping since he didn't have to go into work that day or he had to go in late, I forget which.

A friend, who I was able to communicate with through email had an apartment and a business in the city, emailed me to come to his location so that I could use his phone. He for some reason had pretty good service, while most of the city didn't. He also offered me a place to sleep if I needed it.

THEN the news reports of a possible car bomb at the Pentagon came in. Which as we all know it turned out to be another plane slamming into the building there in DC.

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. And honestly that expression doesn't do justice to the intense feeling I had when I realized that "someone declared war on us", this was much more than a terrorist attack.

The reports that people were jumping stunned me. I couldn't understand why. I guess in order to survive, our brains push out that which it cannot handle. Coworkers had to explain the reasons why.

How do you get yourself to take in the fact that people are jumping from that height? They know there is no chance of survival. I just couldn't "get it."

And then the plume of smoke. And it was hard to tell what happened. You could hear the reporter mention the top of the building toppled. But that really was not the case. It was just a television screen of dust. And then all you saw was one building.

And again I couldn't get myself to believe people were still inside. I told myself, well at least there is still one building left. They didn't get both.

When the second tower fell the reality hit me. And I started to cry and cry and cry. And I didn't care that my coworkers saw this. I kept saying "Oh my g-d, there's people in there, there's people in there!"

I made my way with some girl from the company who didn't have family in the city, to my friend who invited me to use his phone and stay with him.

Out on the streets it was ominous. No cars, and barely any busses. Sworms of people in the streets. Shop owners with the televisions outside for all to watch and listen to. I saw two men with Israeli flags drapped around them. (They understood all too well.)

My mother had beeped me to see if I could respond. (yes we used beepers back then) I finally got through and I told her I was ok and where I was going and I would call her again when I got there.

When I arrived at my friend's location and got Mom on the phone again she told me about two more planes. WHAT?

I don't remember much more of the conversation with her. I only remember the feeling. I know we told each other we loved the other and I promised to call her again when I could.

The trains weren't running until late that night.

I decided to go home.

There were about 4 people on the train with me. All of us had that same stunned look.

I met with a neighbor that night. I just didn't want to be alone. She was hysterical with anger. She worked for CBS TV and lost friends. The television stations had their antennas there. She was screaming and screaming and mad. It was if this happened only to her.

I went back to my apartment and called Mom again. I had nothing to say but I felt so alone and stunned.

No one went to work for the next two days. The Mayor asked us to stay home. Three days later when work was open again, I made my way to the E train. As I approached the top of the hill getting off the bus to the train, I looked to my left and saw thick thick smoke! It was STILL burning. And I knew I had no choice but go into it.

Even before I got on the train I saw the first poster of "the missing." In my town in Queens, a young waiter from Windows on the World, posted desperately from his family.

At every corner in the city, the posters, the signs, the faces.

The firemen from the station across from work never returned. NOT ONE MAN!

(Forgive me for any typos or spelling errors and for ending this post here. I just cannot write more and I can't get myself to look this over. Writing it down is reliving it enough for me for today.)


HappyHourSue said...

Wow- that is an amazing account. This must be a very emotional day for you every year. Thanks for sharing with us.

Aleta said...

OMG.. My heart cries with this post. I'm so sorry for you and for those living in NYC/DC. Words don't do justice, but yours hit home. Everyone in this area was in shock and disbelief and then.. we were ready to pick up arms and fight.

I flew to Maryland to visit with relatives soon after 9/11.. to give them a hug, to know they were safe. I saw the look in the eyes.. a type of mourning that comes from deep within and I see it again in your words. *hugs*

Jessica said...

Thanks so much for sharing Lauren. I was talking to some friends at work this morning and we started to recount our 9/11 experiences. all the way around it seems that, like you, at first we couldn't believe what was actually happening.
I can't imagine being in New York at the time. My mom still lived there then, and I knew she wouldn't have been downtown, but it took hours to get in touch with her...I was so worried.
Her Best Friend's husband worked in the WTC, but he was out of town that day. He lost a lot of friends. :(

Tenakim said...

Thanks for sharing!

Lauren said...

Sue, when I started to write the story I didn't think it was that emotional. The more I wrote and the more I had to remember it, yes it started to affect me. Being here today, not by choice, has been rough.

Aleta, Thanks. This happened to all of us as a nation, not just those living here. We were just the ones trapped her during the event. Scary.

Jess, Thanks for sharing. Sorry for your father's losses. I wish him peace.

Jessica said...

Thanks, but not my father. My mom's friend--her husband lost people.

Da Old Man said...

I just can't type what I feel today.

Lauren said...

Jess, sorry 'bout that. Please send my thoughts to the proper person.

D.O.M., this must be a very hard day for you. I thankfully didn't know anyone personally that passed, not to my knowledge anyway. I have no idea how that would have affected me. I guess in that sense I am blessed. I am so sorry for your loss.

G8rBryan said...

This is my first visit to your blog. Thank you for sharing this post, I thought it was great.


I can't even imagine. Thank you for sharing that with us.

Gypsy said...

This was a very poignant post Lauren and I am deeply sorry that you were actually right near the coal face when this all happened. I know it might seem strange when I live thousands of miles away but I too was deeply effected by this tragedy and still am today.

I remember my husband and I were about to turn in for the night when our late night news service was interrupted as news broke of the first plane hitting the WTC. We sat there all night (our night, your day) and couldn't believe what we were seeing. I don't think we exchanged a single word as we sat there in silent disbelief.

A tragedy to be sure but one made more so because it happened at the hands of so called human beings.

Sherry Martschink said...

What a meaningful and thought-provoking post. I wrote of my experience on my blog; doing so brought back such strong feelings.

Lauren said...

Gypsy, Thank you for sharing your experience with us. It's heartwarming to know how it affected you even though you aren't a citizen. Thank goodness for good people like you.

Sherry, Thank you. I will have to pop over soon.

Chat Blanc said...

Thanks so much for sharing that. There's nothing more moving than hearing from people in NYC and others intimately impacted.

The protesters, conspiracy theorists and other DUMBASSES who spew untrue shit about 9/11 make me SICK! Even the most popular video "Loose Change" and other theories have ALL been DEBUNKED!

Isolated said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. I remember looking at the TV and seing all of those people jumping. All I did was cry and scream oh my God. I couldn't believe it. The desperation those people must have felt to jump. Thank you for sharing...

Lauren said...

Chatty, You're welcome and thanks for reading it! I think it is important for all of us to tell our stories and let them stand for the living truth.

Isolated, thanks for popping by. I'll have to go check out your blog asap. At some point in that day I know i just kind of shut down to the reality because I had to survive it. It's a strange paradox of feelings.