I was only six years old when the World Trade Center was attacked, but I remember it quite clearly. My sisters Jill and Carly remember it much more then me, being 8 and 10 on 9/11, so much of this is also from their retellings.
It was a clear summer day when I went to school in Lower Manhattan, while my parents went to work. My dad worked in the World Trade Center, my mom in the New York Stock Exchange. My mom hated that he worked there, but me and my sisters loved the Towers. We used to always go to the top of the South Tower, and I loved it. I used to pretend that I could fly and being so high up always made my heart sour.
So on September 11th, 2001, at 8:46 a.m., we were about twenty blocks away from the World Trade Center. We didn’t hear anything, though Jill swears she heard a huge crash and the sound of a plane. But I heard nothing. Then, one of the first grade teachers came running in, panic all over her face. She whispered something to our teacher, who paled, but didn’t say anything. She just said we were leaving school early today, regardless if our parents were here or not.
I was overjoyed, because I thought that I could spend the rest of the day playing. I met up with my sisters, but I noticed Carly seemed upset. She was in fifth grade, and she told me her teacher told her the World Trade Center was just struck by a plane. She didn’t tell us, but we found out when we went outside.
We could see the North Tower burning from over the tops of the buildings and I remember panicking, thinking the world was ending. I remembered my dad worked in North Tower and I thought he was dead, as with my mother and everybody else who my dad and mom were friends were dying.
Thankfully our friend’s mom took us to her house, since my Mom was still at work. Our own apartment was only twelve blocks from the World Trade, and Mrs. Anna was frantic. She was calling everybody she knew, asking where they were. We were watching it on TV, and we were arguing which tower it was and what was happening. I was sitting there on the couch while my sisters argued if it was on purpose or not, crying.
At that moment, we heard the roar of the plane and since all of us were looking out the window, we saw it, clear as die, Flight 175 strike the South Tower. That’s when everybody started screaming and panicking even more, and people were on the streets crying and running away from the Towers. Our mom arrived about ten minutes later and she looked shellshocked. She kept calling our dad and getting no answer except for a busy tone.
Finally, our dad called. He said he was out, that he was safe, and he was about two blocks away from the World Trade Center. It was right at that moment, when the South Tower fell. He said Oh God and hung up, or the phone died, or went dead. I remember staring out the window, head out, watching as people ran for their lives, watching as hundreds died right before my eyes.
We were pulled back inside and the windows were shut as the dust cloud descended. Everybody was panicking now as the dust from the collapased building swirled outside. We decided we had to leave the City, but before we could, the second Tower fell.
The rest of the day is a blur to me. We didn’t know where our Dad was, where our uncle and aunt, my aunt worked in the World Trade Center as well, were. We just left.
Our dad came to our grandparent’s house that night, covered in dust and looking shellshocked. It turned out that he managed to get out of the North Tower before it collapased, and surrived both collapses. Same with our Aunt, who had barely made it out of the South Tower with mere minutes to spare.
I count myself lucky that we surrived, especially my aunt and my father. But they lost a lot of good friends, including close family friends who I still remember to this day.
I’ll never forget 9/11.