9/11: Twenty Years Later
Alumni Remember and Reflect – Part One (Part Two)
Thank you to the alumni who submitted articles. Further contributions or comments should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
the way I remember it, september 11, 2001
By Stephen Eulie
I was at work early that day. My boss had our team in for a group meeting to kick off our budget planning, and I arrived from New Jersey via the PATH station under Two World Trade at around 7:30 am. It was a normal commuting day as I walked through the station and rode up the long escalators that let us off at Church Street. I made the walk down to our offices at Two Chase Plaza and remember the deep blue sky and bright sunshine. It was a “top-ten” weather day in lower Manhattan.
Our meeting began promptly at 8:00. It was a tight-knit group, and we spent a few minutes talking about our Labor Day weekend. I remember toward the end of the meeting turning around and looking out of the conference room window and seeing small papers, like confetti, floating down. Someone said it was a ticker tape parade and I remember thinking to myself “It’s too early for the Yankees. The playoffs haven’t even started”.
Our meeting wrapped up a bit after nine, so a few of us thought we’d take a walk outside and check out the parade that we thought was headed down Broadway. We started off in that direction and then, there it was: smoke coming out of the top of the North Tower. As we got closer, we overheard people talking about a plane hitting the building. I asked a man next to me what he knew, and he said it was a Cessna or maybe a Piper Cub that had evidently flown into the building, probably pilot error. “Wow,” I said. “That’s a pretty big hole for a Piper Cub.”
I walked down Liberty Street to get a better view. The closer I got, the worse it looked. As I was standing at the corner of Liberty and Church, a hook-and-ladder drove by and standing on the back was a fireman. He was yelling at the crowd that had gathered, “Get out of the way. Get back, get back!” I can still picture his face, etched with worry and fear as he hung off the back of that truck.
The street was covered with debris. On the sidewalk was an airline ticket jacket that looked like it was burnt around the edges. Weird. I looked back up at the smoke coming from the North Tower and that’s when it happened. I can see it in my mind’s eye today. The entire top of the South tower went up in flames. It all happened seemingly in slow motion. First, there was the flash, then the fireball and the searing heat which you could feel at street level, and then the noise from the explosion. It was terrifying.
I had no idea what was going on because I did not see the plane from where I was. Maybe a boiler at the top of the second tower had ruptured from the heat of the fire from the first. Even at this point it had not occurred to me that this was a premeditated attack. It was just a bad set of events that happened the way things do. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. These thoughts must have flashed across my mind in a fraction of a second because then I was running down Liberty Street and away from the heat and fire and mayhem. Stuff was falling from the sky–small pieces of metal, lots and lots of small pieces of things, some of them on fire.
I made my way back to our building. As I walked through the entrance of Two Chase Plaza, there was a young woman just standing there with her face in her hands, crying. I took the elevator to the seventh floor. People have asked me why I went back to the office. Why didn’t you just go home that day? It still hadn’t sunk in, all that had occurred. All I can remember was that there were meetings scheduled for later that morning and I needed to be there. As the elevator door on seven opened, a co-worker was waiting to get in and looked at me and said, “Are you okay? You’re white as a ghost.” I headed back to my office with the intention of calling my wife who was at our home in New Jersey.
Because of the early meeting, many of my colleagues were in the office, but a lot of my direct reports had not yet made it in. I sat down at my desk and logged on and saw the news and realized what had just unfolded. Over the next half hour, those of us who were in the office tried calling the people who had not yet made it in, to get them to stay home or head back home. Someone came by and told me the Pentagon had just been hit. Jeez, what a morning: abject terror, shock and now the country is under attack. Can’t get much worse than this. My dad called me and was crying, I think a little over his concern about me being so close to things and partly out of his sorrow for our country.
Just after I hung up the phone, there was a huge rumble that shook the building, and then we got hit by the debris cloud. The sky outside went black, and the lights went out and smoke filled the office. The South Tower had just collapsed. Someone had said that One Chase Plaza, a 70-story building that was right next door, was a target, and the first thing I thought was that it was hit by another plane. Fortunately, our floor warden had the presence of mind to send us all to the stairs to exit the building. We walked down the flights of stairs in a very quiet, orderly fashion, but had to retreat inside due to the smoke and debris on the street. We ended up in an office on the third floor and waited. I called my wife, got through, told her I was okay (and that I loved her) and not to worry if she didn’t hear from me for a while. At that point, from the news coverage and pictures she was seeing, she thought I was already dead. It was probably harder on her not knowing.
We sat for a bit, and then a Fire Marshal came and told us to remain in place and wait to evacuate the building as the debris and smoke made it too difficult to navigate the streets in lower Manhattan. He said that it was highly likely that the North Tower was going to collapse within the hour, and that after that he would return and evacuate our group from the building. Some folks decided to leave and take their chances, but most of us stayed. There were a group of employees sitting on the floor saying the Catholic Rosary, while others just talked about the fourth plane that had just crashed in Pennsylvania. It was obviously a tense time but everyone in our group seemed very calm given the circumstances. In retrospect it could have gone very badly for us had the second tower fallen sideways, but at the time we were just anxious to get out of there and be on our way home.
Just before 10:30 we all felt the–by now familiar–rumble under our feet and heard the noise. The second tower was coming down. The shaking seemed on go on for a long time but was probably over in less than a minute. More black smoke and soot in the air and we all gathered around the windows overlooking the giant mushroom sculpture in the plaza below. As the air cleared there it was, still standing, but now everything was covered with several inches of white dust. It was now just after 11 am and true to his word the fire marshal returned to our floor; we headed down the stairs and through the lobby and out the front doors.
On the way out there was a young man, a security guard, handing out paper towels that had been soaked in cold water. His uniform was torn in places, and he was covered from head to toe with the dust from outside. He told us to cover our noses as we headed out and up Broadway. I’ve often thought of that selfless young man, sticking to his post, probably the last to leave. He could have just left for home, but he chose to remain and help others get out safely.
I spent that night in Manhattan with a friend of mine. By the next morning, they had restored NJ Transit service from Penn Station, and I took a mid-morning train back to our home in Denville. My station was the eighth stop that morning, and I remember watching as husbands, wives, parents, kids and significant others ran to their loved ones getting off the train. It wasn’t the greeting someone gets after a long day at work, or even at an airport at the end of a long journey. This was something different altogether; a thankful, tearful, almost desperate reunion for someone thought to have been lost forever. This happened at every stop on the line as we rode west.
When my train pulled into Denville, I saw my wife run to the platform as I got off. As we left the station the last thing we saw were the wreaths that had been placed on the cars of those whose lives had been lost the previous day. Many of those cars remained there, just that way, for months long after.
walking in and out of the abyss
By Robert Gordon | Vice President Fraud Prevention and Investigation Department (1982-2006)
In September 2001, I had been working in NYC for Chase for about 20 years. My office was located in lower Manhattan and on September 11th, I was situated on the 15th floor of a 20-story building on Broadway about three short blocks south of the World Trade Center. My office had a large window overlooking Broadway. Looking North was Trinity Church and a majestic view of the World Trade Center.
I commuted from New Jersey, taking an NJ Transit train to Newark where I switched to the PATH train that went under the Hudson River into the World Trade Center. After departing the PATH train, I would take the long ride up one of the three escalators from the basement of the World Trade Center to its mezzanine level. On 9/11, as I did each morning, I stepped onto the escalator at about 8:45 a.m. Midway up the escalator, I felt a rattle on the escalator steps. Suddenly a dozen or so NYC Transit Police begin running up the escalators, pushing aside the crowds. New Yorkers are used to this type of activity and usually are fairly unfazed by it all, and I was no exception. But when I hit the mezzanine floor at the top of the escalator, I realized quickly that there was something happening that was not at all routine. A band of New York City cops and Transit Police were loudly telling the crowd to get out of the building, and they were not suggesting that we be calm and not run. The scene was chaotic with the panicked herd of people running for an exit the cops were directing them to.
Having spent so much time in the World Trade Center, I knew a variety of exits and entrances. So, to avoid being trampled by the rushing crowds, I opted for an alternate route out of the building. I veered away from the panic and went out a door onto the plaza on the Broadway side. I discovered quickly that I had made a mistake. Large chunks of fiery debris, some the size of Volkswagens, were falling all around me. The sky was a blizzard of white paper and debris of all sorts, fire engine sirens had begun blasting and people were scrambling seemingly confused as to which way to run...and so was I. I decided to zigzag and serpentine across the plaza. It was ridiculous in retrospect, as if the falling debris somehow knew where I was going.
Stunned and breathless, I made it across Broadway out of the reach of debris, but still surrounded by clouds of floating pieces of paper. I stood there with an assembled crowd staring in shock at a massive fiery gash high up in the North Tower. I still had no clue what had happened... possibly a gas explosion I thought. I headed to my office and took a break at the rear entrance of my building and then heard another explosion. I couldn't see the World Trade Center from where I was then, so I presumed that it was the secondary gas explosion that I had theorized. When I got to my office, my staff was huddled around a conference room TV waiting for details. Others were looking out the picture windows on our floor with a bird's-eye view of the fire and smoke streaming from the building. We learned that two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center, the first one into the North Tower and then the South. I then realized that the escalator rattle I'd felt was surely the plane exploding into the North Tower and I was amazed that the impact shook the building all the way to the basement, about 90 stories down. At first, everybody including the news media presumed that it had been a pilot error or some bizarre air traffic controller glitch. Even when the second plane hit, the thought of a deliberate attack hadn't sunk in. The story rolled out over the next few hours...multiple planes, multiple destinations, terrorists, and it became clear that we were under attack. But the information remained vague. Nothing much more than what we could see ourselves and what CNN provided was learned.
Suddenly I heard a scream from a secretary down the hall, followed by a frantic proclamation that the building was coming down. Incredulous, I began to rise from my desk to go look down the hall where the best vantage point was, but ended up under my desk when our building began to shake violently. My picture window overlooking Broadway turned pitch black and began to rattle. The noise and vibration were so great that I feared the terrorists had followed up with a nuclear device ,and I figured that was the end of Manhattan.
When it finally began to clear a bit, I could see through the haze and floating debris a bleak winter-looking scene with white parked cars, white deserted streets, and sidewalks with a few dazed slow-moving people all blanketed in a layer of white dust. The air was too dense with smoke, dust, and debris to see the rubble of what was left of the collapsed tower.
I began thinking about an escape from the city when reports surfaced that the Brooklyn Bridge, only about a quarter-mile north of my office, was being used as an evacuation route. Then suddenly, the same loud rumble began again and there were yells from the floor that the other Tower was coming down. It was deja vu...the same intense rattle of our building and its windows and again the total darkness. Any thoughts of evacuating then were on hold. After almost the same amount of time it took for smoke, dust and debris to clear somewhat from the first Tower collapse, three of us who lived in the same general direction decided it was time to go. The plan was to hike out, head for the Brooklyn Bridge, walk across the bridge and hopefully hook up with a friend of mine with a car to drive to New Jersey. The hike out of Manhattan was surreal with the dense haze in the air, white dust on everything, in some places more than an inch deep. I had my t-shirt, which I had soaked with water, wrapped around my face. My briefcase was full of whatever survival stuff I could put together, a couple of bottles of water, an old granola bar and a quart of brandy left over from the last year's holiday party. Along the way, I remember coming upon an abandoned fruit stand with an assortment of fresh fruit covered in white dust. Not knowing what the future would hold, I filled up any available space in my briefcase with apples and bananas, hoping that it wasn't technically considered looting. We were told by a passing dust-covered lady that they had closed the Brooklyn Bridge to all but emergency personnel and that we had to head instead for the Manhattan Bridge, about a half-mile north, to get out of the city into Brooklyn.
The view of the lower Manhattan skyline as we walked across the bridge was unnerving. Giant plumes of smoke had replaced the gleaming twin towers that used to be the centerpiece of NYC. We were part of a stream of New Yorkers hiking in silence, all in shock, but relieved to be out of the city. On the Brooklyn side of the bridge, we jumped on a bus and eventually hooked up with my friend with the car in Brooklyn. Dazed and tired, we finally headed home to New Jersey. It was a long day indeed, and it wasn’t until I finally went to bed that night that the magnitude of what had happened really set in. I didn't sleep.
Returning to work in lower Manhattan was to some extent grimmer than 9/11 Itself. By then we had a very sobering death count. Thankfully, I didn't know anyone who perished in the disaster, but I knew lots who knew someone who did.
Rudy Giuliani, the NYC mayor, following the lead of George Bush, wanted to get everybody quickly back to work in the city to show the terrorists how resilient we were. Most major businesses were back functioning the week after 9/11. Most smaller businesses, however, were not operating and wouldn't open for months. Lower Manhattan had the feel of a war zone, with heavily armed police and military patrolling on every street corner. Cleanup workers with their heavy equipment had converged on the site and the gruesome task of unearthing and identifying remains had begun. All around the area there were posters taped to street signs and on walls were pictures of people still considered missing. Relatives and friends of those unaccounted for roamed the streets passing out flyers with pictures of the missing, hoping someone would recognize them and declare them to be alive. Numerous little memorials to honor the dead, in the form of candles, ribbons and pictures, were seen along the streets near the disaster site.
The air quality in lower Manhattan was stifling. The remains of the World Trade Center were still smoldering in a giant ugly heap when I returned to work, and the smell was pervasive for months. People were wearing dust masks and giant air cleaners were placed on every floor of major office buildings, even though the city and the federal government declared the air quality to be safe...a claim that was later refuted. Most felt that returning to the area so soon was a mistake.
One day several weeks later, I was walking past the fruit vendor who was back in business. I stopped and handed him a five dollar bill explaining that I had taken fruit from his abandoned cart on 9/11. He gave me a sad smile, shook his headand waved me on. New York’s reputation as a cold uncaring city had always been wrong, and 9/11 drove that real truth home with the many stories of the heroism of World Trade Center survivors and the fire and police responder’s courage and sacrifice. And the disaster definitely made New Yorkers more aware of how fragile and vulnerable the huge metropolis and its people were and will continue to be as the world had moved on to a very different place.
click for i am a 9/11 survivor
By Karen Ann McDermott
click for the untold story of the diesel fuel
as told by Charlie Maikish
click for stories told on the 10th anniversary of 9/11
the personal and the professional
(controlling intraday credit risk to the US Dollar)
By Chris Carlin
It is hard to believe this year marks the 20th anniversary. Lately we’ve had some days in which the sky was perfectly clear and brilliantly blue. To this day my wife and I will occasionally look up and note the weather is just like it was that terrible day. Some things you don’t forget.
I was holding a meeting in a conference room on the south side of 4 Chase MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn that morning when my assistant broke in and said her mom had called to tell her that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. We all got up and rushed over to the northwest corner of the building to take a look. Within seconds we saw the second tower get hit; that vision is seared in my memory to this day. I’ve described it as being like watching an action movie…almost unreal, and too horrible to be true.
Our team’s primary responsibility was to control the intraday credit risk in the US Dollar transaction processing businesses, primarily funds transfer, securities clearance and global custody. The team typically spent the morning reviewing overnight overdrafts that resulted from the prior day’s activities and responding to calls from our colleagues in customer service or sales for special handling on time- sensitive transactions. As the news of the attacks spread, all our phones literally lit up and it was instantly clear this would be a day like no other.
Chase was (and perhaps still is) the premier US Dollar-clearing bank in the industry, moving trillions of dollars daily as an essential cog in the systems that settled the USD side of financial transactions globally. As the morning wore on, we could see that our outbound queues of transactions awaiting release were building up–not because of unusually heavy traffic, but because inbound flows were seriously impaired.
By midday, I was called up to our Business Executive Lori Hricik’s office on the top floor of MetroTech to participate in the first of what would become a series of conference calls with the Federal Reserve Bank, the New York Clearing House (operator of the CHIPS payment system), and the other CHIPS settlement banks to review the situation and work on solutions to the growing gridlock in the payments systems. One of the key players in the industry did not show up on the call, was out of contact and, as I recall it, remained so for the rest of the day. We learned later that its primary production facility and backup processing site were adjacent to, albeit on opposite sides of, the World Trade Center. As the day progressed, we were able to provide significant intraday liquidity to the system with the support of our senior credit executives and senior management, allowing us to release the bulk of time-sensitive high-value transactions and achieve final settlement for the day.
One of my most vivid memories was from that first call in Lori’s office on the 23rd floor. While we were waiting for everyone to join, I couldn’t help but take advantage of the fabulous views her perch atop the building allowed. The sight of the smoke arising from the now collapsed Twin Towers and the US Air Force fighter jets circling overhead in that crystal clear blue sky remain with me to this day, but the most impactful vision for me was of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges below., An order had been given that morning to evacuate Manhattan below 14th Street and there were hordes of people walking across the bridges. Amongst the crowd were many Chase colleagues, some of whom had been operating what we referred to as the control room for funds transfer operations. Chase was in the midst of transferring funds transfer operations to Tampa, Florida, but the control room function, which maintained our links to the various payment systems, remained temporarily at New York Plaza. Our control room staff walked the two and a half miles over to Brooklyn and set up a remote site in a conference room at MetroTech to allow us to continue processing. They continued their efforts around the clock for days without complaint, despite the fact that many knew their jobs were soon to go to Tampa. I have not named individuals as my memory isn’t clear, but I write this to share my admiration for the dedication and professionalism of all the Chase operations and technology staff and so many other colleagues who overcame so much and delivered so beautifully on that horrible day and those that followed.
20 years ago: a window with a view
By John Rakowski (Chase employee from 1998 to 2008 and also heritage Chase from 1989-1996)
Over the years I’ve thought about 9/11/2001 now and again, but usually not for too long. It’s the kind of memory that’s unpleasant to dwell on–so many emotions bubble up. I’ve been lingering on that memory a bit more recently with the 20th anniversary approaching. For that day I have sort of a photographic memory; actually, it’s more of a moving picture memory owing to my visual perspective on that day. I was working in Investment Bank Technology at the 1166 Sixth Avenue building, between 45th and 46th streets. My office had a south-facing window with an unobstructed view of downtown, all the way down to the World Trade Center.
I clearly remember arriving at the office a few minutes after the first plane struck the North Tower at 8:46 am. When I walked into my office, I saw through my window the site of the gaping hole in the North Tower and the smoke billowing out. I remember falling hard into my chair to take in the enormity of the “accident” scene. The first thing I did was to call my mother and tell her not to travel into the city that day; she was making daily trips to visit my father who was in St. Vincent’s Hospital recovering from cardiac bypass surgery. The next thing I did was turn on 1010-WINS on my radio. As I watched the scene out my window, I was trying to process how this happened. At 9:03am, I saw the second jet approach and strike the South Tower. In a split-second, the veil suddenly lifted, and I realized what was happening, that we were under attack. Since I was the only person that had an AM radio, my coworkers started to gather by me to listen and to watch. We listened together to the news and watched mostly in silence until the South Tower collapsed at 9:59 am. The site shocked me and everyone else with me–there were tears, shouting and swearing. The Twin Towers were an indelible feature of our skyline. It was unthinkable that one of them was no longer there. Still refusing to accept what I was seeing, I was somehow surprised when the North Tower came down too at 10:28 am. Thinking about it, two decades later, it still feels unreal, like a horror movie, with that window overlooking the carnage.
The days and weeks following the attack also had a surreal feeling. The site continued to smolder–the smoke was as tall and visible as the towers themselves had been. The midtown building where our offices were located was shared with Cantor Fitzgerald. Cantor lost 658 people at their One World Trade Center offices. Also, the hospital where my father was, St. Vincent’s, expected to receive scores of injured from the towers. When I visited my father, the hospital had piles of get-well cards from children, but there was no one to open them. There were no survivors.
Sorry if this post is a downer. That’s why I’ve avoided thinking about the day too much. However, we lost 3,000 civilians that day and so many brave FDNY and NYPD heroes gave their lives, not to mention those extraordinary passengers on Flight 93. In the months and years that followed, thousands of our military service members heroically gave lives and limbs on our behalf. We owe it to the innocents and the heroes to remember what happened and why. Terrorists attacked America’s financial (WTC) and military (the Pentagon) centers and were likely targeting the Capitol Building before Flight 93 crashed. The terrorists objected to our prosperity, strength and pluralistic democracy and attacked buildings that symbolized them. Thank God, we have not suffered an attack of this scale since then.
One good thing I remember is that there was a time after the attack when hyper-partisanship was set aside, the houses of worship were filled, and we really pulled together as Americans. It was probably easier, before Twitter and other outrage machines, to do this. Though it may be harder now, we still must try: to be grateful for the opportunities we have here in the United States, and to value and preserve the freedoms we have, including the freedom to peacefully disagree without demonizing each other. Let this be our tribute to our 9/11 heroes.
my september 11, 2001 experience
By Ed Moran
Actually, my experience started a couple of days earlier. Both my married daughters were in town from Milwaukee and Atlanta. We four had tickets for a Sunday afternoon matinee and then a date with a good friend who was the manager of the Plaza Hotel. After dinner with him, he gave us the grand tour of the hotel, starting in the subbasement, where the tracks still exist for the railcars that were used to bring coal in for the furnaces. We then were shown to several special floors that were prepped for a large Saudi delegation. All the dinnerware and utensils in a special kitchen had been sterilized, and the entire area had then been sealed off with plastic sheeting awaiting the arrival of the delegation the next day, Monday, September 10. (I believe that was the group that left town quietly and quickly after the events of September 11.) Our tour concluded with a climb to a small balcony on the mansard roof of the building. It was a spectacularly clear night with a memorable view of downtown, including the brightly lit World Trade Center. My wife, my daughters and I had never seen such beautiful view of that building from that perspective before.
Two days later, I arrived at a law office to find no one there at the front desk or any of the offices. I finally found everyone in a conference room staring at the television and telling me that a small plane had just hit the World Trade Center. If only that were the case. The deposition was cancelled, and I proceeded to sort out the rest of my day, as everyone else was doing. My wife and I had been invited to a dinner to be given that evening for a friend, an Oklahoma bankruptcy judge who was sitting in NYC temporarily. The dinner was being given as a birthday present to him by his former law school classmate who was a vice chairman at Citibank.
I called the hostess to say that obviously the party would be cancelled and how sorry I was at ……words failed me. She said that there wouldn’t be a party, but since all of the judge’s friends were in the city for the evening and were now unable to leave, “We all have to eat, so come for dinner.” I explained that my next-door neighbor and I had decided to find a way to get home to Montclair that evening. I mentioned that he was a Citibank executive, and when I mentioned his name, she said, “We know David from his time in Hong Kong. Bring him along.”
So, hours later, he and I sat in the 55th floor penthouse terrace of the Trump Palace on East 69th Street having a very somber but elegant dinner with the leading citizens of Oklahoma City. As we looked downtown at the glow from the wreckage of that day, we recalled the event years before at the bombing of their city’s Murrah Building. I said that I had finally gotten to see the memorial the previous month and that it had hit home after my four-year assignment in their town. The memorial is poignant and I hoped that we could honor the memory of this day as successfully. One of the gentlemen said that it had taken years to negotiate with all of the interested groups before it could finally be built. We all agreed that it would take as long or longer for us.
The gentleman we were honoring that night, Judge Richard Bohannon, was probably one of the few people who was present at both places on each day. He was in his chambers across the street from the Murrah Building the morning of the explosion and had gotten up from his desk to take his jacket from the back of his office door. The explosion blew out the two windows in his office. The wide column between the two shielded him from the blast and saved him from serious injury. On this September day, he had just ridden the escalator up from the subway stop at Bowling Green and was turning toward the courthouse entrance when the first plane hit. He had only to turn around, and there was the horror once more.
My search for a place to spend the night was thankfully short and amusing. I asked my friend at the Plaza if there were any rooms. Not hardly but he offered me a spare bedroom in his apartment. “Stay at our place. I just arrived at the Fairmont in Bermuda, and Pam would welcome your company tonight.” (Good thing my wife, Sonnie, and Pam are good friends.)
As I walked crosstown at about 11 that night, I encountered a firetruck waiting at a traffic light on Madison Avenue. The firemen inside were staring out the window of the truck, covered with that grey dust we had all seen during the day. I could only shake my head at the thought of what they had just seen.
from 52 Broadway
By Fred McCarthy
Just a few blocks from the World Trade Center PATH entrance, Taxes Division occupied the seventh floor of 52 Broadway, overlooking the famed "Canyon of Heroes" where spectacular parades are held for special occasions. Twice that morning the normal daylight from my office windows was obscured, totally blackened, by the massive displacement of smoke and ash baused by the respective collapses of the Twin Towers.
As the buildings fell, the ground and our building shook just as it had when the second plane hit the tower, closer to our location. My view of that second plane was blocked, however; my eyes caught persons on a lower building rooftop across the street. As they watched a jet now speeding and aiming at the tower, they were frozen in fear and mortified by the horrific crash.
Later, as we were released from our building, I walked up to East 9th Street and I had the first view of the buildings' remaining forms amidst fire and smoke. I wondered to myself, morbidly, how many lives would be lost due to this terrorist attack.