September 11 Digital Archive






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NMAH Story: Story

I was there...working on the 97th floor of Tower 2. Here is my story:

It was nearing 9 a.m. and I was waiting for my cubicle-mates to arrive. A few of us had already exchanged morning greetings. I was sitting at my desk when I heard a loud "BOOM". A giant fireball flared up outside our windows on the 97th floor, facing Tower 1. I stood up and couldn't believe my eyes. I didn't even have a chance to react. Someone yelled "It's a bomb!, others yelled "It's a plane!". I just stood there wide-eyed and terror-stricken. Then the heat came toward us like a wave. It was immediate and tremendous.
I grabbed my bags and started to evacuate, even though there were no alarms. I wandered into the hallway when someone yelled, "Take the Liberty Street stairs". I tried to think where there was another staircase, but realized I didn't have time to waste. By then, people were starting to appear and we all headed down the stairwell we were always instructed to use in case of emergencies. I saw one of my friends turn around to look for me as he headed down the stairs, but we were separated by the growing number of people.
Survival was my only thought for the next 45 minutes. In order to move as fast as possible, I took off my heels on the 95th floor and carried them down. The door opened on the 90th floor and I stepped out of the stairwell for a moment. I saw my boss, another friend and a bunch of others trying to decide what to do. I was drawn back into the stairwell and continued my journey downward.
On the 70th floor, an announcement was being made that our building was secure and we were to remain where we were. Some people continued down, but I exited the stairwell, once again. We were being instructed by a fire warden to stay put. Some people were talking about returning to their offices. I held my hand on the doorknob to the stairwell, and when the public address announcements ended, I opened the door and fled.
I reached the 61st floor when there was a tremendous explosion. The building swayed back and forth. I cant even describe the terror I felt as I was thrown into the wall. I screamed and screamed and screamed. A man grabbed me and held me until I calmed down. The lights flickered, there was white smoke everywhere and I saw that a large piece of concrete had fallen on the stairway landing. It took several seconds, but people came back to their senses. We all realized that we were not going to get out if we panicked. I tried to keep positive. One woman was praying, another singing. I resumed my descent. I didnt know if I had enough time to make it out of the building before it collapsed, because I knew it would collapse. It was inevitable.
The building was vibrating and I ran faster and faster. I hiked my skirt up around my waist and pulled up my sleeves. It was getting hotter and I was scared. I didnt want to die like this. My cell phone rang and I was actually mad because I didnt have a second to waste trying to find it and answer it. I did though. It was my husband. I was on the 35th floor, but I couldnt voice that detail. I told him I was leaving and said Goodbye.
I remember seeing two firefighters heading up and I wanted to tell them to turn around and save themselves. I reached the 20s…the teens…the 3rd floor…I remember thinking that I still wasnt safe, and now I would be at the bottom of the rubble when the building fell.
I finally exited to the lobby and ran past the PATH train entrance. I looked into the eyes of a security guard I saw almost every day and said Thank-you. They were directing us to exit. I was told to stop running, but couldnt.
When I got outside, it looked like a war zone, but I was grateful to see sunshine. I cried and I was shaking uncontrollably. I still didnt feel safe. I needed to walk away as far as possible because I didnt know how many city blocks would be taken out when the building fell. I wanted to live. I needed to live. I had to for my children.
I met another colleague who made it out and we walked, trying to make cell phone calls once we were away from the building. (Closer to the building, we were told to turn our phones off because they were interfering with emergency communications.) I was still barefoot and didnt even realize it. I put my shoes on when we were about 5 or 6 blocks away. We kept walking and made it to Canal Street when people began to scream. We turned around and saw debris flying up in the air. It was twinkling in the sunshine. I thought they blew up another building. My colleague was screaming No, NO! and I realized that was OUR building and we were just there. I shook and wept for all the trapped people and for myself. I couldnt believe I had survived and as yet did not comprehend the enormity of this event.

NMAH Story: Life Changed

My life has changed dramatically since that day. I am more fearful of the future and have a head twitch that manifests itself when I am stressed. I don't have as much patience as I used to have, and my family tells me I don't smile as much any more. Though I did not die in a physical sense, part of my personality ceased to exist after that day. My sense of fun and spontenaity is gone. I no longer have a "zest for life". And though I do have happy moments and try to put the events of September 11th behind me, it never goes away. It is something that will be with me until I draw my last breath on this earth. I will never forget.

NMAH Story: Remembered

That good innocent people died that day. They were only trying to earn a living for themselves and their families. They did not die for political or religious ideals. They died trying to escape. They died at their desks because their dedication to their jobs caused them to wait to long to leave. They died waiting for help. They died trying to save others. It is our duty to remember the people who gave their lives that day, especially for the sake of their children.

NMAH Story: Flag

A flag appeared in the bay window in the front of my home almost immediately after the attacks. I found it heart warming to see that so many others did the same. I actually cried everytime I saw an American flag afterwards.

I have always been proud to be an American, and proud of our flag, but now it has taken on a new meaning for me. God Bless America!


“nmah5531.xml,” September 11 Digital Archive, accessed May 30, 2023,