We haven’t even entered the memorial, and already I feel something. Memories of where I was when United Flight #175 struck the World Trade Center south tower come rushing back vividly. American Flight #11 had already crashed into the north tower at 8:46AM. I was staring at the fire and smoke coming out of the first tower when the second plane crashed at 9:03AM. I was joined by hundreds of people on Fifth Avenue at 29th Street, where we could see straight downtown. Traffic had been halted. We were all standing in the streets. I watched the antennae on top of the building wobble, and suddenly the building buckled and came crashing down. The scale of the damage we’d just witnessed put us into shock. People arrived toting radios and it was clear: We were under attack. The fear didn’t compel us to take cover, however. We just stood in awe and watched. We were close to the Empire State Building and it was being evacuated. We were out there at least an hour and a half, long enough to watch both towers fall.
I have flashbacks while waiting in line to see the memorial for the first time. I’m with my parents who are visiting from out of town with friends from Australia.
My mom remembers me calling her, reporting what I was seeing.
I’ll never forget when someone told me, “Turn around.” When I turned around to look uptown, I faced a sea of onlookers whose expressions revealed sheer terror. Strangers clung to one another and people shrieked in grief and horror. We thought we were seeing people jump from the buildings, but we did not want to believe what we were seeing falling from the buildings were actually people. We said things like, “Those can’t be people. Are people jumping? That must be debris.”
I’d like to link to a friend’s blog. Her husband thankfully escaped from World Trade Center 1 that day, and his account is chilling and real.
I’d also like to share my photos of the memorial and recommend that you visit as soon as possible, to appreciate the devastation and rebirth that have taken place.
I was moved when I saw “AND HER UNBORN CHILD” after several names on the monument. Please see the photos below.