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From Debbie (Kent) Capic, class of 1982
Luckily, we are all fine. Steve, my brother, Dave and his wife Chris and my brother-in-law Guy all made it out of the city. Steve's cousins who are firefighters and police officers were not in the building when it collapsed, but are there now, sifting through the wreckage. I will never forget that day, and my feeling of panic when I realized that I couldn't get to the kids. It was my worst fear. I am just thankful that I was able to get home.
I could see the fire and the subsequent collapse from my classroom window. It was horrible. I will never forget it. It was like a bad movie or something. The kids were remarkably calm. Their parents came to get them, one by one. It was extremely organized. I was able to get through to both babysitters to tell them that Steve and I were all right. They took care of the kids. Steve's office is close to the Staten Island ferry, so he was able to get home pretty quickly. He was with the kids by 1:00.
He called me at 9:15 to make sure that I was all right. My express bus left me off right in front of the World Trade Center at 8:00 that morning. When I got off the bus, there was an open air fruit market. It was full of vendors and people buying things. I almost stopped, but I wanted to get to school. The Century 21 store that is all burned out is where I get the subway. I feel so lucky not to have been there when it happened.
My friend's son works in number 7 World Trade Center. He saw the planes hit. She couldn't get in touch with him for hours. Thank God he is fine.
We had to walk most of the way from school to the ferry. It was running. I was so glad that Sara, another teacher, Rafael and his pregnant wife (due in three weeks) were with us. We were away from the explosion, but the white dust was everywhere. You could see cars and delivery trucks that were still running, with doors open, full of dust. People just got out and ran. There were shoes in the streets and they were deserted, except for people trying to get to the ferry. Rafael's wife had to walk 60 blocks from upper Manhattan to get to the school and then about 30 more to get to the ferry.
The saddest part for me is the fact that my mother's friend Sandy, lost her son-in-law. He worked for 'N Sync as a sound man. He was on his way to be with his wife for a planned Caesarian. He was on the first plane to hit the Trade Center. His wife gave birth yesterday to a healthy baby girl. Luckily her parents were with her. I don't know how you'd cope....
We'll be fine. I just pray for the people who lost their loved ones. This is too terrible.
Take care! Debbie
I can't believe that it is almost a year. I just pray this Sept. 11th will be a quiet one. I have been living in New York for sixteen years now. This past year, from September 11th to September 11th has been one of the shortest years of my life. I really can't believe how quickly the time has gone. Watching all of these "anniversary shows" and reading the e-mail that I sent to family and friends after 9/11 brings back all of the feelings of horror that I felt that day. I am a sixth grade teacher, working on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Last year was my first year back in the classroom after a two year maternity leave. A lot of deliberation went into my return to the city. I had to arrange for the care of my two children--one in school, the other at a babysitter. Both were on Staten Island; a few miles away, but in an emergency in another world. I worried about what would happen if there was an emergency--would I be able to get them? On September 11th, those of us who work in the city realized how vulnerable we really are. The island of Manhattan was under "lock down." No traffic in, no traffic out. Public transportation, which is the core of the city, totally shut down. Hundreds of thousands of dazed people walking, actually WALKING around and out of Manhattan. It was surreal. By the time I reached the downtown area, walking toward the Staten Island ferry with my friends, the streets were almost totally deserted. The dust, that dust was everywhere and as I walked through it, I realized that I was walking through the ashes of people who didn't survive. It was a terrible thought. We finally made it to the ferry. As we sat there, we turned to look back at the city and both of us cried to see the black smoke and the emptiness. A huge black emptiness where the WTC had been. When I arrived home and saw my kids and husband and neighbors, all running down the street to meet me, I broke down. Everyone was so concerned about my safety. I wrote my e-mail. It was posted on the website and I heard from so many people, people who I hadn't seen in years. This year has made me realize how important the little things in life are. A hug from my children. A smile. The bedtime rituals. Teaching a math lesson. Life has gone on here. I walk by "ground zero" every day on my way to the subway. I am so thankful to be able to do so. So many people, doing ordinary things have lost their lives in an unbelievable fashion. I take the subway and look around at the people who are in the car with me. All of us are going on with our lives, thankful just to be alive. As this year comes to a close I am thankful that I live in such a great city, where people care about each other. I am thankful that I grew up in such a great town, where people still care about each other. I am thankful for my family and friends, who have supported me throughout the year. Thank you for thinking of me. I appreciate all the words of support that I have heard from you! Take care! Debbie
My last visit to New York, was ironically, 1993 a week after the bombing of the Trade Center garage. A fresh foot of snow had just fallen so it was hard to get a cab. I walked from the Office on Wall Street where I was working (for the week) back to the Marriot and I passed by the twin towers.
It was the first day that people who worked in the towers could go back in and retrieve some of their personal belongings. Because of this, you could walk up to the southeast corner of tower 2 on Broadway before you ran into police barracades. Someone had reported that the intention of that bomb was to bring down the towers, something New Yorkers couldn't imagine.
I felt lucky that I was there to actually touch the building and strain my neck upward trying to get a concept of its sheer size from the base. Ahead of me, was a set of stairs that people were being allowed to use and people were heading towards them. Between those stairs and myself, was the entrance to the parking garage which was concrete ramp extending from underground to street level.
As a NYPD truck climbed the ramp, it backfired. The noise was amplified by the concrete tunnel. Many people, still jumpy took off running in terror. I saw what had happened and just took in the excitement. A woman, black, in her mid 40's, wearing heels, a gray skirt, and flowered blouse with a black jacket came running toward me with a terrified look on her face. When she got near me she saw that I wasn't concerned and had a smile on my face (totally inappropriate) She stopped realizing what had just happened. She told me, "That wasn't funny, I didn't need that". After catching her breath, she turned around and walked back into the building. On Tuesday morning as that tower came down, I thought about her and wondered if she still worked there. Was she still alive?
It looks like I'm the last to check in. The office has essentially been closed all week. We had bomb scares in the building on Thursday and the company wisely decided to just close until Monday. Though still pretty shaken up, I'm fine.
I watched the Trade Center go down from my office window on the 21st floor in Times Square. Hysteria quickly started spreading and when the first building collapsed people rushed out of the building. I was standing in front of the New York Public Library when the second tower fell. People filled Fifth Avenue looking downtown in horror, then turned uptown, wandering silently towards Central Park. It felt like a bad Godzilla movie. All the stores on Fifth Avenue were closed. And once I got to the park it was filled with people wandering around in a daze. Cell phone service was knocked out but everybody kept on trying to get through. The benches and lawns were crowded but quiet.
I camped out at a friend's apartment for a few hours and finally made it home on the subway about 7:30 that night. Two good friends work at Morgan Stanley on the 69th floor of the South Tower. They had evacuated immediately after the first plane hit and both got out safely, thank god. Like the rest of us here in NY and all over the country, I ping pong between moments of despair and pride. Though I watched the footage all day on Tuesday, it wasn't until I read The New York Times on Wednesday that I think it all settled in. I'm a words guy. Reading the stories in the paper that morning on the way to work on the subway, I found myself crying. Looking up over my paper, I wasn't the only one in the subway car doing so. It's an image of New York that I'll never forget. Wandering the city streets, the buildings wallpapered with MISSING posters recording the height, weight, and floor number of the missing, it's hard not to get discouraged. But the stories of courage. Of sacrifice. Of people from all over the country coming in to help make me prouder of being a New Yorker and an American than I've ever been.
Aside from ignorant assholes like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson [religious fanaticism is as ugly in a Christian context as an Islamic one], this country has responded brilliantly in a crisis. I fear it may not be the last time we will need to do so.
My family is all safe. I saw the second impact as I was riding in on the subway. I got off and returned home. Our apartment in Brooklyn looks out on the harbor and lower Manhattan, so I was at home watching as the first collapse occurred. I cannot describe the profound sadness as I realized so many lives were being lost in an instant. The fireman/policeman in New York are incredibly brave. As the day progressed, the smoke was blowing right at us and full pieces of paper could be seen floating in the plume. But I was glad when our jet fighters finally appeared (even if it was only for symbolic purposes at that point). Right now all I can say is that I'm deeply concerned about what the future holds, and the war that will have to be fought to restore our sense of freedom.
Take care, Ken
I am safe. After a harrowing wait in Detroit, observing all the events, I finally made my way home to DC in a rental car. Peter is flying back from Paris 3 days late, but we're not sure how he'll get here. National is still closed to air traffic, Dulles is sort of open. Traffic is gridlocked due to the high traffic areas being closed around the Pentagon and all federal buildings.
The Pentagon makes my heart sink. It is truly, truly sickening. A friend of ours has a partner unaccounted for who works in Section E. My nephew works near the World Trade Center in NYC and saw the 2nd plane hit and the towers fall. Other friends in NYC say the water is bad and the air is unbreathable. I can't count the many times I've been on that roof or underneath in the subway.
I also see the Pentagon in passing many times a day. As far as airline crew members go, any terrorist training we have received is now out the window. It's apparent that seemingly innocuous passengers can have access to the cockpit at anytime and that flight attendants are the first to be disposed of in the line of defence.
The visual of seeing those airplanes and the things that I imagine will haunt me for the rest of my life. We always try to imagine what people have thought in the last moments of crashes and air disasters, but this had to be the most terrifying of any possible events ever. Now we are fearful of what havoc this has done to air commerce and our industry.
I am very fearful of the collapse of the major airline structure as we know it. It will never be the same. Anyway, we survived it, we'll manage, and we'll move on, but drastic changes are afoot and status quo is now not in my vocabulary. Who would've ever thought, as I sat waiting for my flight to leave Detroit on Tuesday that in less than an hour all American's lives would be thrown into sheer upheaval?