I usually paste this in the 9/11 thread every year, I wrote it a few years ago, might as well put it here today.
Originally Posted by JETSWIN
The sound was of an explosion of that there was no doubt, but a longer drawn out sound. I looked at my boss sitting to my left on the 26th floor of 1WTC and we both had the same expression, wtf was that, then the building started shaking violently back and forth. From my seat ( I was actually standing holding onto my desk so I didn’t fall over) it seemed as if I was looking at the ground in a perpendicular way or a right angle. Guys were falling out of their chairs. When the shaking stopped no one knew what had happened, someone yelled out, “was it an earthquake?”
Then looking out the window on the north side of the building (opposite of the side struck) I saw streams of red, it looked like fireballs or rocket trails, I had no idea. As I was looking out I saw something that did not register in my memory until days later, someone was smoldering and heading straight down with a grimace, I can see that poor soul’s face right now as I write this, that’s when we got moving. We all raced for the emergency exits, I actually got hit in the head with a ceiling tile as I ran through the doorway out of the office, no damage just surprise.
The descent down the stairs was orderly and seemed efficient. There was a strange smell in the air which days later I assumed to be jet fuel, nothing out of the ordinary until I reached the lower floors which were starting to accumulate water from the sprinklers on the stairwell. I’d put my hand on a door every floor to see if it was hot, it was not, I had no idea what was going on. As I exited on the upper mezz. level the building begin to shake violently again (the second plane was striking tower 2) and I just started running. I sprinted for a revolving door that a split second before I entered had something huge, part of the building or a plane I’m not sure, crash just outside. A step faster and I was gone, no doubt. I spun and ran the other way, to another door, I snuck my head out and looked up and it seemed ok. I ran to the pedestrian overpass over the Westside Hwy, there was a security man on the other side screaming, “Run! We’re under attack!” As I ran past him he said he wasn’t sure what had hit the buildings, it could have been a rocket. I ran through the Winter Garden and did not stop until I was outside near the river, then I turned and looked up.
The sight was unbelievable and all I could think of were my friends at Cantor Fitz (where I lost one of my best friends and countless others with who I had once worked). When I realized people were jumping I decided to leave and not watch, I started walking up the Westside Hwy with two others from my office that somehow ended up in a similar location. I was able to finally make a call to my wife from a pay phone at this point as there was no cell service. We walked like zombies as we heard from people that planes had struck the building. We made it to Chelsea Piers and 2WTC came crashing down, it was a horrific sight as we all know, but one of the guys walking with me fell to the ground and started punching it, I did not realize at the time his brother worked in the building and he obviously thought the worse (thankfully he did get out). We made it to the parking garage around 34th street and our building came down. There were no words just head down walking to get away.
In midtown I went into a bar to get water and any info available and ran into a guy from my desk who somehow had made it to the same spot through a completely different route. As we both live in Westchester we start walking north, along Third Ave. I was hit by bird crap on that walk and someone told me how lucky I was, and I had no argument considering where I had just come from. We did not stop until we were in the Bronx on Arthur Ave., where my brother in law picked us up.
The day changed me profoundly then, I was depressed for a long time. I’ll never forget the day or my friends lost. I appreciate every day I have had since as the gift it is. Thanks for letting me vent this story, I do it every year and it makes me feel better and helps me keep the horror fresh in my mind. That is not a bad thing, because none of us should ever forget how hated we are whether it makes sense or not.