SEPTEMBER 11, 2001


What follows is the running journal I kept during and following the tumultuous times of the September 11, 2001 attack on the

World Trade Center.



Tuesday, September 11th, 2001


9:55 am – Two Planes have struck the World Trade Center
I'm stuck at work in New York City and all phone lines have been disconnected outside the city. Also all subways and airports have been shut down. I'm not near a television and have no radio access. CNN and MSNBC web sites are jammed.


12:04 pm - Can't go home
The latest information we have it that its been confirmed that both of the twin towers have collapsed.  We've been told we may go home, but I cannot get out of Manhattan to New Jersey (and home). Phone communications still sporadic, but have been able to reach Beth's mother in Long Island and some others in Manhattan.  No phone service west of Manhattan.  All transportation routes (subway, trains, buses, ferries) have been closed. May have to stay here. Have had offers from two friends (Scott and Jim) to stay with them. Will stick it out at work until I get more information.


1:22 pm - Evacuation
Got in touch with Beth in New Jersey. All OK there.   Also, finally able to get through to my mother in Indiana via cell phone after walking up to the Lawyer's Dining Room on the second floor.  I could tell she has been very worried.  Don't know exactly how this looks to people outside of New York watching on television.  Must be terrifying.  People are trying to leave here. Those going east to Long Island can walk across the 59th Street Bridge. Co-workers grabbing food and then going in groups to walk the bridge to Queens. We hear there is a ferry to NJ, but most say its too dangerous to try with too many persons trying to board...a mob scene. George Washington bridge open to New Jersey, but too far to walk from my location on east side Manhattan. Will wait to see if train tunnels open later.


1:49 pm - Making a run for it
I'm going to close out now and try to get to Penn Station. We've been informed that some NJ transit trains are running. If I can just get across the Hudson River somehow, I'll be able to make it home.  It looks like I'll need some luck.



Wednesday, September 12th, 2001


8:39 am - Home - No More World Trade Center
I made it home safely last night…all phone lines in NJ were tied up, but now seem to be clearing. I walked from the east side across Manhattan to Penn Station and caught what was apparently the first train though the tunnel on the Dover line. I have never been more aware that I worked on an island.

The walk was beyond surreal. There were very few cars other than emergency vehicles and there actually seemed to be people who had struggled up to Penn Station on foot from the World Trade Center area as the subways were not operating. My understanding is that subway trains began running shortly after I got to Penn Station.

The New Jersey Transit train was not as packed as I imagined as most people did not know that service had re-started. Some, however, seemed to have walked all the way up from near the WTC site.  You could tell because they were the ones covered in a beige powdery dust.  Upon emerging on the New Jersey side of the tunnel, I was greeted by a view I shall never forget: billowing smoke seemingly a mile high covering all of lower Manhattan that I would later still be able to see even from the train station of my small suburban village.

I am unable to get into work today, but I don't think I would have tried anyway as I slept only fitfully. Beth has gone to work at her hotel as many, many people who couldn't make it into New York were stranded near her business at the Meadowlands. She and her co-workers actually saw the collapse of the 2nd WTC tower from the 9th story Concierge desk of the hotel.

While all of my family and friends appear to be alright, I am sure I have acquaintances who have perished in this tragedy. I dread standing on the train platform tomorrow as I know that some of the persons I have accompanied to work for the last 8 years will never return from yesterday's 7:15 to Manhattan.


6:49 pm - And will I return...?
I will not be going to my place of work in New York City tomorrow. I shall, instead, meditate in the best way I know...I shall play golf.


7:06 pm - World on Fire
WTC on FireThis is a view of the WTC after the planes had struck, but before their collapse as viewed from the Bronx terrace of my co-worker and friend, Peter. His words that accompanied the picture:

"I watched these buildings being built and for 17 years it's been part of my view of the Manhattan skyline."

Click on the picture for a larger view.




Thursday, September 13th, 2001

4:23 pm - The New Manhattan Skyline

( The New Manhattan Skyline )


7:43 pm - Another unique World Trade Center story
You may remember Beth's and my friend Michael from anecdotes in my Paris Vacation Journal entries. Here is his singular story from an email he sent us. I have some others that I will be posting at a later date.

Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 9:14 AM

First of all...thank you to the many of you left me a message or e-mail with your concerns....

I was on board a Continental flight from Newark to Los Angeles yesterday morning, and while on the taxi way towards the runway at 8:45AM saw the first wave of devastation to strike the World Trade Center. Still having no idea what had happened and two flights behind the tragedy of the United Airlines flight bound for SFO, we proceeded to take off...

From the moment we took off (Newark airport parallels the Hudson River and World Trade Center), we knew something was wrong. Using phones on the plane we were told by family and friends what was happening. After about an hour and a half, the pilot informed us that the FAA was grounding all flights and we were to immediately land in Louisville KY. Once on the ground we were seeing images of what was happening back in NY and DC and the sheer magnitude of what a total tragedy had just taken place.

We were told that the FAA would not lift the ban for a day or so at the earliest...a few of us got together and rented a car in Louisville and drove the afternoon and night back to New Jersey.

All in all a tragic and saddened day, but I am happy to be back at home !

Let us all take a moment of reflection for those less fortunate and the families that are without loved ones today and still looking for answers.

Thank you all again, and I will be in touch soon....



Friday, September 14th, 2001


11:08 am - Another World Trade Center recollection
A woman who lives a few doors down from me worked at the World Trade Center. Here is my conversation with her on the sidewalk while walking my dog:

Me: Thank God you're all right and got out in time. Tell me what happened.
She: I work on the 36th floor and we just walked down the stairs.
Me: Did you hear or feel anything? What made you start walking down the stairs?
She: We didn't hear anything, no bumps, nothing.
Me: Which building did you work in?
She: WTC 2. I think the second plane had already struck our building by the time we started to evacuate. Someone said there's smoke in the building so we thought it was another bomb and started down the stairs.
Me: Was there smoke in the stairway.
She: Yes. It was scary, but everybody was very calm until we got to the lobby. It was a disaster. There was a cordon of, I think they were Police or Fireman, who were yelling for us to start running, but don't panic. I don't know how to run and not panic. I just started running and following everyone else. I think they wanted us to run because people were jumping from the building and they thought we might get hit.
Me: Where did you run?
She: They had us go up and over the, you know, the thing, the runway that connects the Trade Center to the World Financial Center. That's when I looked up and saw all the fire and smoke. It started to get hard to breathe.
Me: Where'd you go when you got across the runway?
She: I never stopped running. I kept going right to the ferry, got on it and rode to Hoboken where I caught the [New Jersey Transit] train home.
Me: So you weren't there when the buildings collapsed?
She: I was already home. I watched it on television.

Her husband appeared in their doorway with their portable phone. "It's your boss; he wants to talk to you," he said.

She: Oh, I left him a voice mail.
Me: What did you say to him?
She: I told him I would never work or even set foot in a high rise building again.


Monday, September 17th, 2001

12:19 pm - Missing
Beth is an elder at her Presbyterian church and, after a meeting last Saturday morning, she brought home a page and a picture and asked if I could scan the page and insert it into the page and mail it out to a guy on AOL.

"Sure," I said. "What is it?"

"Someone that's missing who worked at the World Trade Center."

"I'll get right on it."

Not really looking closely at the picture, I plopped it in the scanner and set about putting together a "Missing" poster. The scanner wanted to make the picture about 3 megabytes in size so it took a little finessing to get it to a reasonable size that AOL email would accept.

After it looked completed, I printed it to make sure everything would look good on the other end. That's when I actually took a good look at the picture.

"Jesus," I said out loud. I knew her. I rode to work with her almost every day for the last year on the train to New York. Her name on the poster did not ring a bell.

"Who is this!?" I fairly shouted.

"She and her husband joined the church a few months ago," said Beth with a catch in her throat. I now remembered speaking to her on a few occasions as almost everyone in our town does as they wait for the train. I looked harder at the poster I had created. In the description of what she was wearing when she went to work that day, I saw the words "multi-colored scarf" and my heart stopped.

She was on the 7:15 midtown train with me the morning of September 11th.

Missing Poster for Kirsten Lail Christophe


Tuesday, September 18th, 2001


11:49 am - Another Survivor's Story
Following is another survivor's story that Beth received via email. The writer is from the Westchester area of New York.  It's a little long, but it is well worth reading all the way through.

My name is Adam Mayblum. I am alive today. I am committing this to "paper" so I never forget. SO WE NEVER FORGET. I am sure that this is one of thousands of stories that will emerge over the next several days and weeks.

I arrived as usual a little before 8am. My office was on the 87th floor of 1 World Trade Center, AKA: Tower 1, AKA: the North Tower. Most of my associates were in by 8:30m. We were standing around, joking around, eating breakfast, checking emails, and getting set for the day when the first plane hit just a few stories above us. I must stress that we did not know that it was a plane. The building lurched violently and shook as if it were an earthquake. People screamed. I watched out my window as the building seemed to move 10 to 20 feet in each direction. It rumbled and shook long enough for me to get my wits about myself and grab a co-worker and seek shelter under a doorway. Light fixtures and parts of the ceiling collapsed. The kitchen was destroyed. We were certain that it was a bomb. We looked out the windows. Reams of paper were flying everywhere, like a ticker tape parade. I looked down at the street. I could see people in Battery Park City looking up. Smoke started billowing in through the holes in the ceiling. I believe that there were 13 of us.


We did not panic. I can only assume that we thought that the worst was over. The building was standing and we were shaken but alive. We checked the halls. The smoke was thick and white and did not smell like I imagined smoke should smell. Not like your BBQ or your fireplace or even a bonfire. The phones were working. My wife had taken our 9 month old for his check up. I called my nanny at home and told her to page my wife, tell her that a bomb went off, I was ok, and on my way out. I grabbed my laptop. Took off my tee shirt and ripped it into 3 pieces. Soaked it in water. Gave 2 pieces to my friends. Tied my piece around my face to act as an air filter. And we all started moving to the staircase. One of my dearest friends said that he was staying until the police or firemen came to get him. In the halls there were tiny fires and sparks. The ceiling had collapsed in the men's bathroom. It was gone along with anyone who may have been in there. We did not go in to look. We missed the staircase on the first run and had to double back. Once in the staircase we picked up fire extinguishers just incase. On the 85th floor a brave associate of mine and I headed back up to our office to drag out my partner who stayed behind. There was no air, just white smoke. We made the rounds through the office calling his name. No response. He must have succumbed to the smoke. We left defeated in our efforts and made our way back to the stairwell. We proceeded to the 78th floor where we had to change over to a different stairwell. 78 is the main junction to switch to the upper floors. I expected to see more people. There were some 50 to 60 more. Not enough. Wires and fires all over the place. Smoke too. A brave man was fighting a fire with the emergency hose. I stopped with to friends to make sure that everyone from our office was accounted for. We ushered them and confused people into the stairwell. In retrospect, I recall seeing Harry, my head trader, doing the same several yards behind me. I am only 35. I have known him for over 14 years. I headed into the stairwell with 2 friends.


We were moving down very orderly in Stair Case A. very slowly. No panic. At least not overt panic. My legs could not stop shaking. My heart was pounding. Some nervous jokes and laughter. I made a crack about ruining a brand new pair of Merrells. Even still, they were right, my feet felt great. We all laughed. We checked our cell phones. Surprisingly, there was a very good signal, but the Sprint network was jammed. I heard that the Blackberry 2 way email devices worked perfectly. On the phones, 1 out of 20 dial attempts got through. I knew I could not reach my wife so I called my parents. I told them what happened and that we were all okay and on the way down. Soon, my sister in law reached me. I told her we were fine and moving down. I believe that was about the 65th floor. We were bored and nervous. I called my friend Angel in San Francisco. I knew he would be watching. He was amazed I was on the phone. He told me to get out that there was another plane on its way. I did not know what he was talking about. By now the second plane had struck Tower 2. We were so deep into the middle of our building that we did not hear or feel anything. We had no idea what was really going on. We kept making way for wounded to go down ahead of us. Not many of them, just a few. No one seemed seriously wounded. Just some cuts and scrapes. Everyone cooperated. Everyone was a hero yesterday. No questions asked. I had co-workers in another office on the 77th floor. I tried dozens of times to get them on their cell phones or office lines. It was futile. Later I found that they were alive. One of the many miracles on a day of tragedy.


On the 53rd floor we came across a very heavyset man sitting on the stairs. I asked if he needed help or was he just resting. He needed help. I knew I would have trouble carrying him because I have a very bad back. But my friend and I offered anyway. We told him he could lean on us. He hesitated, I don't know why. I said do you want to come or do you want us to send help for you. He chose for help. I told him he was on the 53rd floor in Stairwell A and that's what I would tell the rescue workers. He said okay and we left.


On the 44th floor my phone rang again. It was my parents. They were hysterical. I said relax, I'm fine. My father said get out, there is third plane coming. I still did not understand. I was kind of angry. What did my parents think? Like I needed some other reason to get going? I couldn't move the thousand people in front of me any faster. I know they love me, but no one inside understood what the situation really was. My parents did. Starting around this floor the firemen, policemen, WTC K-9 units without the dogs, anyone with a badge, started coming up as we were heading down. I stopped a lot of them and told them about the man on 53 and my friend on 87. I later felt terrible about this. They headed up to find those people and met death instead.


On the 33rd floor I spoke with a man who somehow new most of the details. He said 2 small planes hit the building. Now we all started talking about which terrorist group it was. Was it an internal organization or an external one? The overwhelming but uninformed opinion was Islamic Fanatics. Regardless, we now knew that it was not a bomb and there were potentially more planes coming. We understood.


On the 3rd floor the lights went out and we heard & felt this rumbling coming towards us from above. I thought the staircase was collapsing upon itself. It was 10am now and that was Tower 2 collapsing next door. We did not know that. Someone had a flashlight. We passed it forward and left the stairwell and headed down a dark and cramped corridor to an exit. We could not see at all. I recommended that everyone place a hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them and call out if they hit an obstacle so others would know to avoid it. They did. It worked perfectly. We reached another stairwell and saw a female officer emerge soaking wet and covered in soot. She said we could not go that way it was blocked. Go up to 4 and use the other exit. Just as we started up she said it was ok to go down instead. There was water everywhere. I called out for hands on shoulders again and she said that was a great idea. She stayed behind instructing people to do that. I do not know what happened to her.


We emerged into an enormous room. It was light but filled with smoke. I commented to a friend that it must be under construction. Then we realized where we were. It was the second floor. The one that overlooks the lobby. We were ushered out into the courtyard, the one where the fountain used to be. My first thought was of a TV movie I saw once about nuclear winter and fallout. I could not understand where all of the debris came from. There was at least five inches of this gray pasty dusty drywall soot on the ground as well as a thickness of it in the air. Twisted steel and wires. I heard there were bodies and body parts as well, but I did not look. It was bad enough. We hid under the remaining overhangs and moved out to the street. We were told to keep walking towards Houston Street. The odd thing is that there were very few rescue workers around. Less than five. They all must have been trapped under the debris when Tower 2 fell. We did not know that and could not understand where all of that debris came from. It was just my friend Kern and I now. We were hugging but sad. We felt certain that most of our friends ahead of us died and we knew no one behind us.


We came upon a post office several blocks away. We stopped and looked up. Our building, exactly where our office is (was), was engulfed in flame and smoke. A postal worker said that Tower 2 had fallen down. I looked again and sure enough it was gone. My heart was racing. We kept trying to call our families. I could not get in touch with my wife. Finally I got through to my parents. Relived is not the word to explain their feelings. They got through to my wife, thank G-d and let her know I was alive. We sat down. A girl on a bike offered us some water. Just as she took the cap off her bottle we heard a rumble. We looked up and our building, Tower 1 collapsed. I did not note the time but I am told it was 10:30am. We had been out less than 15 minutes.


We were mourning our lost friends, particularly the one who stayed in the office as we were now sure that he had perished. We started walking towards Union Square. I was going to Beth Israel Medical Center to be looked at. We stopped to hear the President speaking on the radio. My phone rang. It was my wife. I think I fell to my knees crying when I heard her voice. Then she told me the most incredible thing. My partner who had stayed behind called her. He was alive and well. I guess we just lost him in the commotion. We started jumping and hugging and shouting. I told my wife that my brother had arranged for a hotel in midtown. He can be very resourceful in that way. I told her I would call her from there. My brother and I managed to get a gypsy cab to take us home to Westchester instead. I cried on my son and held my wife until I fell asleep.


As it turns out my partner, the one who I thought had stayed behind was behind us with Harry Ramos, our head trader. This is now second hand information. They came upon Victor, the heavyset man on the 53rd floor. They helped him. He could barely move. My partner bravely/stupidly tested the elevator on the 52nd floor. He rode it down to the sky lobby on 44. The doors opened, it was fine. He rode it back up and got Harry and Victor. I don't yet know if anyone else joined them. Once on 44 they made their way back into the stairwell. Someplace around the 39th to 36th floors they felt the same rumble I felt on the 3rd floor. It was 10am and Tower 2 was coming down. They had about 30 minutes to get out. Victor said he could no longer move. They offered to have him lead on them. He said he couldn't do it. My partner hollered at him to sit on his butt and schooch down the steps. He said he was not capable of doing it. Harry told my partner to go ahead of them. Harry had once had a heart attack and was worried about this mans heart. It was his nature to be this way. He was/is one of the kindest people I know. He would not leave a man behind. My partner went ahead and made it out. He said he was out maybe 10 minutes before the building came down. This means that Harry had maybe 25 minutes to move Victor 36 floors. I guess they moved 1 floor every 1.5 minutes. Just a guess. This means Harry wad around the 20th floor when the building collapsed. As of now 12 of 13 people are accounted for. As of 6pm yesterday his wife had not heard from him. I fear that Harry is lost. However, a short while ago I heard that he may be alive. Apparently there is a web site with survivor names on it and his name appears there. Unfortunately, Ramos is not an uncommon name in New York. Pray for him and all those like him.


With regards to the firemen heading upstairs, I realize that they were going up anyway. But, it hurts to know that I may have made them move quicker to find my friend. Rationally, I know this is not true and that I am not the responsible one. The responsible ones are in hiding somewhere on this planet and damn them for making me feel like this. But they should know that they failed in terrorizing us. We were calm. Those men and women that went up were heroes in the face of it all. They must have known what was going on and they did their jobs. Ordinary people were heroes too. Today the images that people around the world equate with power and democracy are gone but "America" is not an image it is a concept. That concept is only strengthened by our pulling together as a team. If you want to kill us, leave us alone because we will do it by ourselves. If you want to make us stronger, attack and we unite. This is the ultimate failure of terrorism against The United States and the ultimate price we pay to be free, to decide where we want to work, what we want to eat, and when & where we want to go on vacation. The very moment the first plane was hijacked, democracy won.


Wednesday, September 19th, 2001

2:05 pm - The New World Trade Center
I guess you can figure out what is being said here.


4:11 pm - Security
The security in our building has increased exponentially since the WTC disaster. A New York Daily News article shows this picture of the line outside my building as we show id and have all bags inspected. I suspect this is happening all over NYC, but because we are just across the street from the Citicorp Center, we are being extra careful. As a matter of fact, you can't even shop in the mall inside the Citicorp Center unless you work in the building. It is just destroying the businesses there.


Wednesday, September 19th, 2001


3:03 pm - Orders to shoot down planes was given
From an AP story in USA Today:

"...After the Pentagon strike, Bush authorized fighters to shoot down any other aircraft that threatened targets in Washington.

"United Flight 93 from Newark to San Francisco was by then over Pennsylvania, headed back to the East Coast. F-16s from Langley flew protective patterns over Washington after the Pentagon strike, but as Flight 93 headed toward them, it crashed outside Shanksville, Pa., at approximately 10:03 a.m., NORAD said."


Thursday, September 20th, 2001

3:43 pm - Starting Over
This weekend we're going out to the house on the island to help Beth's mother with the tag sale. We're trying to sell everything we can that is in the house. The closing date still hasn't been set and the lawyers are sending the usual nasty letters back and forth. Don't know how its all gonna' play out.

Beth wants to make sure we pick up the flag before anyone buys or tries to make off with it. They're aren't any of the real things around here; mostly stuff made in China. Guy I ride to work with who sells flags said he was sold out in about twenty minutes when he re-opened his NYC shop on Thursday. He was on Good Day New York (Channel 5 locally) this morning talking about flag etiquette. I taped it (I hope). Maybe I'll learn something.


7:01 pm - The least would should do...

George Bush will speak of War tonight.

This is the least would should do:

Count the votes of the victims of the attack who voted in the New York primary before going to work last Tuesday in the rescheduled Sept 25th election;

Award the Congressional Medal of Honor to all firefighters and police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty;

Honor the foreigners who died on Sept. 11 with honorary United States citizenship.


Friday, September 21st, 2001

1:06 pm - Lamentations

Eicha (From Lamentations)

How lonely sits the city, that was full of people!
She that was great among nations is become like a widow.
Bitterly she weeps in the night, her cheek wet with tears.


Monday, September 24th, 2001


3:43 pm - Stephen P. Cherry
I found out over the weekend about another acquaintance that perished in the WTC disaster. Steve Cherry was the best friend of a dear friend of Beth's and mine, Mike Smith. Last summer we all had dinner together in Sag Harbor at Mike's house and Steve and I chatted about his musician father. He worked for Cantor FitzGerald, a company that lost a tremendous amount of personnel in the collapse. May he rest in peace.


Thursday, September 27th, 2001


3:34 pm – Sedona ABC/NYC/WTC
And he walked away
and never returned
As he always had

Because he loved her
but couldn't say it
Been there before

Could it be that he
cared too much? He heard it
Call him back to the

Dusty red mountain


Saturday, September 29th, 2001

9:25 pm
Tomorrow, I shall be attending what I hope is the last memorial service of an acquaintance who perished in the World Trade Center disaster.


Monday, October 1st, 2001


11:46 am   In memory of those whose spirit shines in the darkness.


This will be the last entry I make regarding the events of September 11.  The caption to this entry above in red was placed underneath the American flag on a card that was handed out at the memorial service for Kirsten Christophe.  I will close my thoughts on this tragedy with the words that were on the reverse side of that card:


Entered Into Eternal Rest
September 11, 2001

When I must leave you
for a little while
Please do not grieve and shed wild tears
And hug your sorrow to you
through the years
But start and bravely with a gallant smile.
And for my sake and in my name
live on and do all things the same,
Feed not your loneliness
on empty days,
But fill each waking hour
in useful ways,
Reach out your hand
in comfort and in cheer
And I in turn will comfort you
and hold you near:
And never, never be afraid to die.
For I am waiting for you in the sky.


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