Date Submitted: 08/09/2002
Author Info: Kelleigh (Willoughby Hills, OH - USA) 
Occupation: Customer Service/Support
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

I am from Cleveland, OH, but I was on vacation in NYC on 9-11. I was staying in a hotel (a safe distance from the towers, but close enough to see it), I had just gotten out of the shower a little after 9 am and turned on cnn…when they were covering the first plane hitting the tower. I looked out the hotel window and sure enough there was a huge cloud of smoke in the sky. I looked down to the street to see people running around and ambulance after ambulance rushing towers the towers. I woke up my friend and we watched the entire thing out the window and on the TV at the same time. At that point we didn’t really know who or why this had happened. We got our stuff together after both of the towers had collapsed and decided it was time to get out of our high rise hotel…just in case. I tried reaching friends and family but no cell phones worked and the lines at payphones were HUGE! We stopped in a cafe for a quick lunch and listened to the radio they had in there and talked to some locals. Then we headed out onto the street (camcorder in hand) to try to find out what was going on!! Every once in awhile we would see a car pulled up to the curb with the radio on and a crowd gathered around…cars and people covered in ash would pass…we walked down as close as we were allowed to get to the scene which was taped off with police tape and guarded by officers. People were riding around on bikes passing out bottles of water to victims, we saw several cars and pick up trucks with signs made out of cardboard boxes and marker which read “Rescue Team”…

All tunnels and bridges out of the city were closed, so we were stranded until about 6 PM when we finally heard they were allowing a small amount of traffic onto the George Washington Bridge. We raced to our car and drove to the bridge and finally got out of there. While we were driving over the bridge I looked back at the city, and saw the huge cloud of smoke looming over it. It really was a horrific sight. We drove to York, PA to stay the night. We listened to the radio the entire drive there, then turned on CNN to watch the aftermath. It wasn’t until we actually saw what had happened, who did it, and how many people had died or been injured that it hit me what a truly horrifying and sad day this was. I hadn’t realized the magnitude of it, I don’t know if it was shock or if it took actually seeing it close up to realize it. But I’m glad I was out of the city when I realized because I wouldn’t have stayed nearly as calm as I did…I was very lucky not to have been hurt or loose loved once in this event but my heart goes out to thsoe who were not as fortunate…


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