In March of 2001 I started working at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY, about 2 blocks away from the WTC. When I first was offered this job I made a comment to my Mom that “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take a job in an area that is so sought after by terrorist”.My Mom told me I cant think like that and I will eventually learn to like working downtown. After a few months I did start to enjoy the downtown area. The statement I made to my Mom was in the past and I never thought about it again until September 11th.
When the first plane hit I was sitting at my desk. I heard a coworker scream and everyone ran to the windows. The window nearest to me doesn’t face the world trade but what I saw from this side of the building was what looked like a ticker tape parade. There was paper flying all over the place. I then joined my coworkers in the offices that did in fact face the WTC. What I witnesses in the next few moments will forever be in my memory. I watched tons of people jumping to their deaths. It wasn’t until days later that I started to think about what must have been going through their minds at the time. I could not even begin to imagine the horror they must have felt. After the initial shock wore off I went to my desk and phoned my Mom. I told her what happened and said I was fine. I told her I don’t know anything else, they haven’t mentioned us leaving the building. At this point the second plane hit. People began yelling for everyone to evacuate I immediately hung up with my Mom telling her I would call her as soon as I could reach a phone. We were evacuated to the main building of the federal reserve, I work in an annex building across the street.
We gathered in the cafeteria and watched more people jumping and the buildings being engulfed in flames. We then were told there was a TV on in the conference room and CNN was on. I walked with a coworker to the conference room but as we were approaching the room the first building collapsed. This caused the windows to be completely black. One of the windows in the cafeteria where I had just been was blown in. It was at this point that I really began to panic. We were taken down a staircase to another floor where we stayed until 2:00 PM which is when we were told they were allowing us to leave. During the four hour that I was in the building I was able to get in touch with family and friends and let them know I was safe.
I walked with fellow coworkers to Canal Street train station(trains were not running below this point) and then I took the train to midtown and met my Mom in her office. I told my Mom to go ahead and go home but she refused to leave the city without me. At the time I thought she should have gone home but looking back I was grateful I was only a short train ride away.
When I reached my moms office she was standing outside. We embraced for a very long time and told each other how much we loved each other. I am 24 years old but at the time I felt like a child who all they wanted was there mommy to hug them and tell them everything would be OK. We then walked over the 59th street bridge where a friend of mine was able to pick us up and take us the rest of the way home.
During our walk over the 59th street bridge I asked my Mom if she remembered what I had said to her when I was offered this job six months ago. I didn’t need to remind her. She repeated to me the fears I had expressed to her 6 months earlier and told me that when she told me not to worry, she had meant it. No one could ever have imagined the horror that would take place on this day.
My office was closed until September 24th. That day was the second hardest day of my life, September 11th being the first. It was very hard to return to work but I did and with the help of my coworker and the seminars they had for us to help us deal with this tragedy I am slowing getting used to working there again. Thankfully no one I knew personally was killed. However I did have friends of friends and siblings of friends who were lost on that horrible day.
Since September 11th I try to remember what’s really important in life. Not to take anything for granted, to be grateful that I was able to leave downtown Manhattan that day, get to safety and that I am able to be with my loved ones. There are so many people that have lost family and friends. I could not imagine what these individuals are going through.
I just hope they will have the strength to get through this horrible time and eventually be able to remember the good times they had with the ones they lost.