9/11 Stories

Sandra Lang

It was such a beautiful crisp New York day. I had just arrived at my office on Broadway and 42 street when my phone rang. It was my sister —she was watching the Today show—a plane just hit the WTC! She was insisting it was a terrorist attack and pleading for me to get out of my building. My co-workers started getting phone calls too - we couldn’t imagine what was going on. You can almost touch the Empire State building from our office windows—everyone on the phones was insisting we get out - when the second plane hit. My sister was now screaming - “Oh my God - get out -get out! The Pentagon has been hit!” My friends and I left our building as if we were in a dream. Was this really happening?

We fled to the street and looked downtown - it looked like Hiroshima - black mushroom clouds - people running past us - uptown - away from it. It was surreal - shining sun, blue sky, quiet. No one spoke. We walked up to my sister’s apartment on 63rd street, filled with fear, but numb at the same time. Someone had opened their apartment window on 61street…they had placed their TV at the window - groups of people were crying as they watched—we were in shock seeing it for the first time. I felt like I was 13 again - the day that JFK died.

When we reached my sister’s apartment we cried and hugged each other. I finally got thru to my children - they were evacuating their offices also and coming to be with us. I called my friends- their son in law worked on the 104th floor for Cantor Fitzgerald—the horror had begun - I called my brother - his best friend worked for Cantor also - and another friend’s daughter was there too. The Long Island Rail Road was running again later that night. My daughter and I clung to each other on the train. There were only two other people in our car - covered in white dust. I thought of Pompeii and the remains we had seen there. We made it home at midnight.

We walked thru the parking lot of our village train station in the dark and so many cars were still there - where were their owners? Many of them did not return to our peaceful town. The pain is almost unbearable. Friends, beloved children. Can we ever forget? I cry everyday for all those lost.

Sandra Lang