Vanadia

NYC Stories

Denise Motta

My last visit to the WTC was on SEPTEMBER 10, 2001 at 12pm.

I was there for my lunch hour as I was almost every day. If I would of known that would of been my last visit inside one of the most remarkable buildings in the world I would of never left that day.

On the morning of SEPTEMBER 11, I arrived to work at 9am. I work on Williams street 3 blocks from the WTC.  I never made it to my desk that morning
because one of my co-workers told me to come straight to the window.  When I looked out I seen people running in the streets & paper flying in the air. We both couldn’t imagine what was going on.  I began to get this eerie feeling when all of a sudden “BOOM” was the next thing we heard it sounded like an explosion of a bomb or something we could feel the vibration and then before we could think of what to say or do we heard the president of my company on the loud speaker telling us “TO EVACUATE THE BUILDING IMMEDIATELY”.

I still had no idea what was happening and in my worse of nightmares I could of never imagined what I was about to experience next.

I ran down a few flights of stairs with my co-workers and I found myself on John street running with the rest of the people but this time I saw what I was running from. THE WORLD TRADE CENTER WAS ON FIRE!!!!

Both Towers were burning with roaring fires I stopped on Water Street and heard from someone what was happening. I couldn’t believe my eyes or ears and didn’t know what to do.  I looked around and realized I had separated from my co-workers.  At this point all I wanted to do was talk to my family to hear from them what was going on.  I stopped at a pay phone and found myself waiting on the line with a dozen other people as we watched the fire.  It seemed there was no where downtown to go and not view the Burning of the Towers.  I knew I was now at least 5 blocks away but it seemed as if I was standing right next to them. I was in the middle of chaos people running and yelling and cars and buses stopped.

Everyone waiting on the pay phone line had the same blank face as the next guy.  Although I didn’t know these people it felt as if I did.  I met people who were on their way to work at the wtc and thank god seen what was happening and never entered the building. One lady was calling her office to see if everyone was okay.  I was really shaken up but I was still able to hold myself together until I heard a horrified voice scream “PEOPLE ARE JUMPING”

As I looked up I began to see this for myself.  It seemed as if Bodies were falling from the sky. I began to get hysterical and my fingers as well as body were completely numb.  People were screaming in horror as I was.  My world stopped at that moment.

Soon it was my turn for the pay phone but I was unable to separate my fingers to dial, I was unable to remember my sisters phone number and I was unable to put the quarter in the slot. Not knowing what to do I walked like a zombie to the end of the line because I knew that everyone behind me was just as desperate to talk to a loved one.

Time seemed to stand still and nothing seemed to be reality. People began talking and I soon heard that a plane crashed into the Pentagon and that there were many other planes still missing. I knew than I had to talk to my family to tell them I was okay.  When it was my turn again at the phone I was still shaking but I took my phone book out and dialed slowly.  My sister answered she works on the east side and 40th street.  She was okay and tried to calm me down, but it felt so good to hear a familiar voice.

As I hung up I began to see people running faster and I than I heard a noise that was louder than anything I ever heard in my life and white smoke began
to fill the air. I was unable to see anyone anymore. It was THE TWIN TOWERS FALLING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I ran for my life with hundreds of other people.  We ran towards the bridges, I heard someone yelling to put something over your nose and mouth so I grabbed my sweater to shield my face from the smoke.  I found myself running past the bridge and into Chinatown there I stopped and a lady put her arm on my shoulder to console me. I couldn’t stop crying, and I couldn’t stop shaking and I couldn’t believe.  I was scared but I also couldn’t leave my city just yet.

I went to another pay phone to call my family to tell them I was okay. I made a plan with my sister and best friend to meet and I began to walk to midtown.

As I walked towards midtown I often turned around behind me and it looked as if I was walking out of Hell. I met my sister and friend and we walked towards the 59th street bridge to begin our long voyage home to Queens.  My experience on 9/11 has changed me forever as it did America.

My heart will be forever broken for all my neighbors who woke up on 9/11 went to work like I did but who never made it home that day and my eyes will forever miss the most Magnificent Buildings in the world that once stood 3 blocks away from my office.

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