Louis De Lauro asked Social Media Friends to Retrace 9/11
Here's what they remembered 18 years later
Jennifer Gilber Tanay I was teaching 5th grade. My kids were at art class and I was working in my room with CNN on my computer (don't ask me why...I never had news on any other time) and I heard the breaking news. When I looked up saw the footage, I was frozen. I immediately thought of my brother, who worked across the street from the WTC, and began frantically trying to call him. I could not reach him and I had to compose myself because kids were returning from art. I was told to announce it was indoor recess (We were in lockdown, but we didn't want to alarm kids) and we temporarily shielded them from the horror. I tried calling my brother on breaks throughout the day and finally reached him after school. He was safe, so I could breathe a little. The whole event was and still is surreal and my brother will not talk about what he experienced that day...
Louanne Stebor It was the most stunningly beautiful morning. The sky was crystal clear blue. I was on my way home from a PTO meeting at Faber school and life seemed perfect. I walked in the door and my husband, Gary, was home from work and he told me a plane had just hit one of the towers. I th
Dana Gornall I was pregnant with my daughter at the time and my son was not even 2 years old. I had the Disney channel on in the morning while I was getting ready for work so knew nothing about the first plane hitting. On the way to daycare I heard about the first plane on the radio. By the time the news of the second plane hit I was on my way to work (had Stern on). As the day went on we heard of more planes... the one at the Pentagon and one flying near Ohio. I thought it was World War III. I left work and got my son from daycare. I didn’t want to be away from him and wondered if we were all going to die...
Cheryle Huttemann I was in the phone with my girlfriend. No TV on. My husband came into the house and told me to put on the news. We stood there in shock as the news story unfolded. I went to the school and picked up 2 of my children. My son, almost 18 told me he was heading to the city. The rescue squad, his friends were heading into NY to help. Although I was scared, how could I tell him not to go. He was gone for a week.
Carolyn Lewis You kept coming into my classroom and telling me stunningly horrifying news. At one point I fell back on the lockers. All I kept thinking was-is my mom alive, my sister, my family and friends, who else did I know that worked there? Are our president and leaders still alive? Is this going to be the end for all of us? I don’t remember anything else about that day in my classroom because I had to put my game face on. I couldn’t go home because they closed the bridges. My sister, also a teacher in SP and 7 months pregnant that lived on Staten Island, was in a car behind me driving all over trying to see if they would open the restriction. They didn’t. I had to protect her and try to keep her calm. We went to my other sister’s house, watched with horror what happened during the day and saw the towers fall. Waiting, worrying, crying. No phones were working. Finally you were able to get a call through. Then the calls started coming in-who was missing. Living in Staten Island, You know a lot of people who are uniformed city workers, as well as those commuting w a ferry ride to work. Everyone was in a state of shock. I went into work the next day w the clothes I wore the day before because I had only what was on my back. My 9/11 clothes, and I never wore them again. But I remember thinking that day was the clearest, bluest sky I had ever seen. Not one cloud in the sky all day. But for months after 9/11 all you saw around NYC were thick, dark smoke and what looked like smudged clouds at ground zero. It’s still haunts me. And I still mourn my friends who died senselessly that day. I lost my best friend on Pan Am flight 103 in Lockerbie, I had to flee the first twin tower bombing in ‘93-but this somehow was different. It was massive and it brought terror to everyone’s doorstep. The psyche of people who live around NYC was changed forever. But it also brought us together, and we became smarter and stronger for it. For those who went through it, we will never forget.
Maggie Toomey I was in Ms. Joshua’s class, fifth grade. Another teacher had come into our room and told her to turn the TV on. She did, then promptly turned it off. Everyone went home early except myself and two other classmates. I walked the 12 blocks home on unusually empty streets. My mom worked in NY, but I was to naive and young to make that connection. I came home to find my mom sitting in the living crying. I thought she felt sick, why else would she be home from work so early? We were not news watchers in my house. I assumed what she was watching was a movie. She told me to go to my room. Years later my mom would tell me details that could have changed my life forever. My mom worked in the second tower, on a floor between the 60th -70th floor. She was running late. She was on the subway when the first tower hit. Her entire team passed away. Being so young, I didn’t have enough world knowledge to understand what was going on. As an adult who know takes care of kids in that same age, I find myself trying to give them an unbiased overview of current events. But then I wonder, is it better for a child to be blissfully (and confusingly) unaware? Or is it better to have them informed and fearful?
Wendy Doyle Murray Downtown 85 Broad...which means downwind Walked Home up the east side after the towers fell with a group of colleagues No phones or PCs or email Blackberry worked! Will never forget a single minute of the day esp the smell Will ever forget the smoke Will never forget being home from work for a week because i worked downtown
James Maturo I was on my way to work, actually in the bowels of the WTC making my connection from the PATH to the RR subway to Brooklyn. This was around 7:30. September 11th happened to be my service anniversary with my company. We were having a cake for me when we heard of the first plane hitting. Some of us went up to the cafeteria where we had a view of the towers, just across the river. Suddenly, we saw another plane flying too low directly hitting the second tower. A sight I will never forget.
Charlie Foxtrot My dad was a truck driver working night shifts. He had just came home from work and I jumped in the shower to get ready for class at MCCC- Flight III. My dad knocked on the bathroom door and told me to come out asap. We watched in horror as the second plane hit. The rest is a blur.
Later that night my mom kept telling me it was alright if I didn't want to become a pilot anymore. The thought never crossed my mind even though all planes would be grounded for a long time.
I was supposed to be in the World Trade Center that Friday on a date in NYC. My boyfriends dad was there for the entire day the day before. My uncle wasn't so lucky. He was a psychologist that worked in a building very close by. He made a run for it as the first one came tumbling down. He found coverage underneath a vehicle. He witnessed someone that jumped land right in front of him. He never went back to his career and to this day still sees a therapist.
Shelley Moore Teaching, like you. Trying to make sense. Students desperately trying to reach their parents who worked in the city. One of my students got through to her mom. Then she screamed and the line disconnected. It was right when a tower fell. It was like that most of the day. Colleagues trying to reach brothers, sisters, spouses, friends, while still trying to be the professional resource for students who were in shock or desperately trying to reach loved ones. Many went home. It's never a great day, especially those years, like this year, when it falls on a Tuesday.
Lisa DeFebbo I was teaching a Special Education class. Our television was on at the time. Of course, we weren't really paying attention. I remember hearing a loud cry from the back of the room. One of the students watched the 1st plane crash. That got everyone's attention. I will never forget the numbness I felt while I stared at it happening twice! The reality still hasn't hit me 17 years later....sadness, but hope for our future as a nation.
Faith Thompson I was at my first PTO meeting in the Faber all purpose room. Abigail had just started Kindergarten. Had my newly acquired cell phone with me (I think a Nokia with the short built in antenna!) but there was no signal in that room. I was so happy to be at the meeting and excited to get involved. After the meeting I was driving down High Street and turned on the radio. I heard that all the bridges and tunnels were closed and was just wondering what was going on when my phone rang. It was my husband John who told me what happened. It was so hard to process what he was telling me. At home I immediately turned on the T.V. and saw the towers in flames. The announcer was talking about how the Port Authority had evacuation procedures in place that were practiced regularly and it was just going to take a while for everyone to walk down the stairs. I was on the phone with John again when the first tower collapsed. I screamed out loud and sank into a chair. I yelled at him, "Oh my god! All those people!" It is emblazoned in my brain. I remember the days following waking up in the morning and for the briefest nanosecond being blissfully unaware of what was going on in the country and then the pit in my stomach returned and I would think "oh right." But I would get up and face the day because we were incredibly lucky to not lose any of the many of the friends that worked in the towers or nearby.
Stephen Fortugno I vividly remember being in your class that day and you getting that call. Definitely was a confusing day watching every one leave randomly throughout the day
T.J. Wenzel My memory of that day will always be tied to being in your class. I remember watching all of my classmates leave and the confusion that accompanied them doing so. I remember the palpable fear of those in our class that had parents working in the city. I remember you telling us that we would go home and see things on tv that would be scary and tough to watch, but that they would now forever be a part of history. I remember difficult discussions that we had as a class as we expressed our fears in the days and weeks that followed. I remember you giving us a typed account of that day as we left for summer that year, along with a photo Eric Ruiz’s mom had taken the exact moment one of the planes hit the towers. I remember too many vivid images that I wish didn’t continue to replay year after year.
Elisa Rosen I walked to work back then, so I wasn’t aware of what was happening until I arrived at the office in downtown DC. Someone had turned on a television in a conference room so we could find out what was happening. We were all horrified by what we saw. Then, the third hijacked plane hit the Pentagon. From my office window, I could see the smoke from the Pentagon rising into the sky. We then started to hear that there was a fourth hijacked plane, heading towards Washington. It was very frightening to look out the window and wonder if the city was being targeted by the hijackers on that plane, and, if so, how close we (or our spouses/family/friends) would be to the target. Then, all kinds of rumors started to fly at the office - that there was a bomb at the State Department, and that there was a suspicious vehicle parked in front of our building. We all started to wonder whether to go home, or whether it was safer to shelter in place at the office. I chose the former. I was thankful that I commuted on foot, because traffic was at a complete standstill. All of the streets were completely gridlocked. The apartment where my husband and I lived at the time had a view that faced towards the flight path for planes traveling to/from National Airport. During a typical day, there would be a constant stream of planes on final approach to, or taking off from, the airport. It was very eerie to stand on the balcony that day and see a deep-blue, cloudless sky that was completely devoid of any planes because all air traffic had been grounded. My heart goes out to anyone who lost a loved one or friend that day. I hope we never have to go through another day like that again.
Heidi Heleniak I worked at a speakers bureau and we had a big event that night in Vegas. In addition to finding out if our friends and family were safe (the office cleaner was running late that day and missed being at the WTC station by minutes), we needed to verify the location of our celebrity speaker who was flying in that morning... Deborah Norville was fine, at Newark airport. Her plane hadn't left yet. The convention was cancelled and our contact, the meeting planner drove all the way back to NYC.
Etya Pinker Novik I was on a NJ transit train on the way into the city. People got on the train and said a plane hit one of the towers. As more people got on, we heard the developing news. We realized that what we thought was an accident with one plane was no longer an accident. I must have been on one of the last trains that pulled into penn station. Took the subway up to my office on 50th and 8th which was at the time the tallest building in that area. Bought a bagel on my way in as usual and my husband called my cell, asking if I had heard what was going on. I went up to the 18th floor and watched the news and felt unsafe staying in the building. I was pregnant at the time and decided to stay in the city rather than try to get home. I walked with my friend to her apartment on 18th Street and I remember people running uptown with ash all over them. There was a hospital near my her apartment and I kept thinking there would be lots of ambulances and sirens. But there was no sound. I went to work the next morning not knowing what else to do. The city was eerily quiet. My daughter was born 6 months later and I had the TV on at the hospital and couldn’t stop crying watching the coverage. I stayed away from that area for many years and thought it would be too emotional to see the memorial. Just went there a few weeks ago.
Jeff Nolan Watched it on the old tv in class thinking a small passenger plane accidentally hit the tower - and watched it just get worse and worse -
Lisa Marion I was just laid off from working in the Executive offices at Summit Bancorp due to an acquisition and collecting severance. I was getting my annual heater checkup by a Meenan Oil technician. I was watching the news when it flashed to the first airplane hitting the tower. Shocked and amazed, I wasn't sure what I was watching was real? I immediately called the technician to come upstairs and we sat in awe and watched the second plane hit the tower. I put my head down and cried. I attempted to contact my brother who was scheduled to be in New York that day but I couldn't reach him. Fortunately, his trip to the City was canceled. The rest is history! I have met many people who were in the towers that day since and I am ever so grateful they made it out to those who didn't God Bless them!😪