Sitting it out in Long Island

Date Submitted: 08/16/2003
Author Info: Terri (Babylon, NY - USA) 
Occupation: Computer Technician/Engineer
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: Yes

I didn’t need to be in work until 10:15 AM that day. I spent most of the morning doing housework. I didn’t have the TV or the radio on; I was playing a music tape as I cleaned. I didn’t know any of it had happened.

I needed to leave for work at 9:45 AM. Just then the mail came. I got the mail out of the mailbox and opened one credit card bill. I was very upset because there were a lot of charges on my bill that I did not make. I looked in my purse and saw that my credit card was missing… I realized that I must have dropped it someplace, and someone was using it. I thought I’d make a quick call to the bank to have them cancel my card before I went to work. I was trying and trying to call my credit card company, but could not get through. The line would ring once, and just go dead.

I was frustrated, angry and annoyed. I didn’t know that the customer service call center for my credit card company was in the World Trade Center, and I still had no idea what had happened. Irritated, I took my credit card statement with me in my purse and decided to call again when I got to work.

I stopped at a 7-11 to get coffee on the way. I still hadn’t heard the news. It was now 10:00 AM. I had a music tape playing in my car, so the radio wasn’t on. In 7-11 a group of people were talking about something ‘horrible’. I asked what had happened, and was told only that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center buildings. I was amazed, but didn’t think anyything along the lines of terrorism. I thought it was perhaps a private plane. I had an image in my mind of a tiny, tiny hole in the midst of that large tower.

I got on the Long Island Expressway heading West. It was such a beautifuly day; this perfect pristine blue sky. But it looked weird. Straight dead ahead, in the midst of that blue, there was this wide grey streak that went straight up, then curved to the south. I didn’t know what was causing that.

There was a businessman driving a Lexus next to me. I looked over at him as he was driving, and saw that he was crying.

I noticed the HOV lane was blocked off by police, and then a stream of firetrucks and ambulances started streaming down. I turned off the music and put on the news.

I had to pull over to the side of the road. I was so upset. Every few seconds, there was another special report:

Special Report: It’s been verified that two planes have crashed into both towers of the World Trade Center

Special Report: A plane has crashed into the Pentagon

Special Report: A plane has crashed in Pennsylvania

Special Report: The White House is being evacuated.

I didn’t know what to do. I realized the vulnerability of living on an island. I thought about turning around, driving out East, and getting on the first ferry off the island and to Connecticut. I thought about driving to Northport to pick up my husband at work. I thought about driving north to Massachusetts to be with my son.

I finally decided the best place for me to be would be where people expected me to be, which was at work. This way I could be with other people who could verify that they saw me if something worse were to happen. I know that’s an odd thought, but I was so frightened I wasn’t thinking clearly.

Because the phones were dead, we couldn’t work that day. But at least we had internet. We all sat in our cubicles, huddled around each others computers, watching the news live on video feed, and sending and reading a constant stream of emails.

There’s nothing more to write about that day.


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