I was supposed to be on the train arriving at the WTC Train Station at 8:48 a.m. on September 11, 2001.
Just 2 minutes before, the WTC had been attacked by a hijacker who took a plane from Boston headed to Los Angeles and crashed it into building Number One.
I am so thankful that I was spared the chaos my colleagues endured that day.
That day I went to work an hour earlier.
And although the experience was very traumatic, seeing it unfold on television was not the same as the commotion and utter fear that many of my friends on the ground experienced.
Many suffered post-traumatic syndrome and many are still recuperating 11 years later from their experiences of that day.
One of my train friends said her idea was to go shopping that morning.
She was hurrying to get to the store when as a police officer pushed her out towards the sidewalk. She was so annoyed.
‘What’s going on?” she asked.
“Lady just get out, follow the crowds and don’t stop,” was the order.
Just then she saw a pair of shoes at the top of the escalator. (Someone had left their shoes in their rush to get out).
Then it clicked.
Panic set in and she ran out of the WTC.
She ran to Veasey Street and then to Broadway.
She thought if she could only get to the water.
“But, why the water? You could have drowned,” I asked.
She didn’t know.
“I felt like a refugee, running for my life and nowhere to go.”
She thought maybe she would swim to Jersey.
She ended up walking across the Brooklyn Bridge for more than five hours to reach a loved one.
Meanwhile, I worked at an office building by Chinatown and was watching everything unfold via the television.
At first, we were ordered not to evacuate.
But as the buildings imploded - that changed.
By the time I got out to the street it was about 1:00 p.m. and the city was silent. It felt like an abandoned city. There were no people around.
Everyone had walked north towards 14th Street and all points north.
I was not aware of the crowds walking across the Brooklyn Bridge or any of the bridges.
I did not see people, only yellow caution tape cordoning off the area buildings.
I was spared the panic that only someone on the ground felt that day.
And although I feel guilty for getting to work early that day and for not going through what my friends went through, I did experience one of the worst days of my life seeing those planes hit the WTC and knowing we were under attack.
I’m not sure what I will tell my grandchildren about that day, but I am sure my emotions are going to be just as raw some ten years from now when they will be old enough to understand!
I’ll never forget THAT DAY!