Today I am reminded of how far I have come since that day. I can remember a life before 9/11. The world seemed safe and we all seemed secure in our lives. But moment that changed my life was when I finally walked out of the Trump Tower and saw nothing but ash every where, covering the cars and all over the streets. I felt like I was in one of those post WW 3 movies.
8 years ago I wrote a blog entry. I never read it. The reason I wrote it was because I didn’t want to forget the details that were fresh in my mind. I can tell you that none of the details of that day have left my mind. I read it this morning and it was difficult for me because it is quite choppy. I wrote in a different mind state and I left out many things. My entry was pretty short so here it is:
I work on the 6th floor of 40 Wall St. so i could see the World Trade Center….but I could feel the explosions and I could certainly here them too. The radio was letting us all know what was happening. I had friends working in that area ( 4 World Trade to be exact). I tried my best to get in touch with them. When i couldn’t…I really tried not to lose my composure…I informed my girl of the plane crash and she in turn called her family as well did I….Then the second plane it the North Tower. We all start to panic…What are we going to do?
Well if u don’t know…we work across the street from the stock exchange..so I was not too keen on staying in the building. But we had a meeting and management felt it was best to stay in side the building because there was “Pandemonium” outside….Fine whatever….As soon as the meeting is over….Tower 2 comes down….I hear them say it on the radio as I hear and feel it…..then this THICK BLACK CLOUD covers the windows….We all freak out and head for the stairs….When we get to the lobby and it is like a nuclear winter outside, I will never forget it!
There is this restaurant that is connected to the lobby of the building that was giving out water and towels to cover our faces. I knew we could not go outside, there was too much soot flying around…So we wait and Tower 1 comes down and once again….day becomes night! They takes us to the basement and just sit there for about a half hour…then they evacuate the building. (By the way, when I say “we” I am talking about me and my woman) We head toward the South Street Seaport and saw the empty space that was the World Trade Center. When we at the seaport we saw the footage of the terrible events.
From then until now all I am thinking…”All those People…”
Of the many things that I left out, one was that a family friend died that day. Steve Mercardo, who I looked up to, was a firefighter whose company was one of the first to arrive at the scene. He never made it out the building. While I am not sure which building he was in, I am quite sure he saved countless amount of lives. Years later, I went on a cruise with his brother and parents and every time I looked at them, I could see him in their eyes.
Another thing that stands out to me is that Josie was with me when all this happened. Clearly we were just dating at the time, but I will never forget the fear in her eyes when we saw the black smoke cover the windows after Tower 2 went down. I remember telling myself that I am not dying today…not in this building and not like this. When we got to the lobby, they would not let anyone out so, as I mention, above, we were shuffled to the basement. Probably the only thing that was even remotely amusing was the fact that in the basement was the safe, yes…where Trump keeps the money. I often wondered if the building we were to fall would they be digging for us or the money.
I also did not chronicle what happened after we made it to the South Street Seaport. At that point we had no clue how we would get back to the Bronx. There were boats taking mass amounts of people to Ellis Island and New Jersey, but no one was going north. So that meant we had to walk all the way to Grand Central Station. If I am correct, that is over 50 blocks in order to catch the 6 train back home. Between seeing the F16s flying up and down Manhattan or the armed members of the military doing patrols around the United Nations, it made for a very emotional day.
While I could go on and on, the one thing I that just does it for me was at the end of the night, calling people to see if they were ok and alive. I got an IM from my cousin (now brother) Rick. He was in California at the time and he said, “man, I thought I would never see you again”. I just cried so much.
To this day, I still have trouble going down there. I still have issues with looking at the NYC skyline, it is just ruined to me.