“9/11” by Alice Dusenberry, Lynden, WA

September 11 October 26, 2011 03:40

topic: 9/11 medium: TEXT

 as submitted for the “9/11” Open Call

I remember September 11, 2001 like it was yesterday. It was a beautiful fall day,

cool and sunny. The sky was the clearest blue you can ever imagine and there was not

a cloud in sight. On that day I was working at a New Jersey company in northern Bergen

A little before 9:00 AM I was having coffee in the cafeteria with my project leader

and some colleagues. The cafeteria was large and had four televisions. That morning

the TV was broadcasting footage of the World Trade Center, which was spewing smoke

from several windows. At the time I thought the building had just caught fire. At 9:03, we

sat horrified as we watched the second plane crash into the other building. My project

leader paled and said, “I was working at the World Trade Center during the first bombing

in 1993. After that incident, I did not want to work there any longer and got a job at this


We hastily left the cafeteria and returned to our office on the third floor. I got my

cell phone and called my son who worked in Manhattan. He once had a consulting job

in the World Trade Center. He answered on the first ring. He was on the commuter train

from Connecticut to New York. I told him what happened to the World Trade Center, and

that he should get off the train at the next stop and take the next train back home. He got

off the train, called his girlfriend to pick him up, and went back to Connecticut.

In the days that followed, the TV news broadcast reports from the site of the

World Trade Center and the other crash sites. The broadcasts were on TV all day long

for more than a week. The collapse of the two buildings killed many people, and several

of the victims lived in New Jersey.

The impacts were felt immediately. Local churches opened for special services.

Expecting a huge number of injured people, my family’s doctors closed their office to go

to the hospital to handle the emergencies. Non-profit organizations started fund drives,

collecting socks and bottled water for the firefighters and workers at the site.

As the days went by, the number of casualties grew from the crash sites in New

York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. Although I lived 50 miles from New York City,

five people from my town were killed that day. Three were workers in the World Trade

Center, the fourth was a parish priest who served as NYC fire chaplain, and the fifth was

a passenger on Flight 93 that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

It is ten years later and I always feel extremely sad when I turn the calendar page

from August to September. I live in northwestern Washington now, near the Canadian

border, where crossing the border is strictly controlled by Homeland Security agents.

Our lives are forever changed because of the attack on the World Trade Center.

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