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M. Gasior       MY REMEMBERANCE 9-11-2011 00:03 AM
September 11 2011


In my entire life I had never been to lower Manhattan until I was finally going to interview for my very first Wall Street job. It was the beginning of the 1980's and it was interesting how different the area was than the Midtown/Times Square version of New York City than most tourists consider "the real" New York. It seemed more serious. Quieter. Businesslike. It was the heart and soul of the global financial markets, which was where I knew I could never be bored. I still think it was funny when I remember my first ride on the 4-5-6 subway train to my interview because I freaked when the conductor called out the "Brooklyn Bridge" stop and I could only assume the next stop would have to be someplace in Brooklyn. Since my interview was going to be in the World Trade Center, I jumped off the train in a panic to figure out what I'd done wrong and felt foolish when I checked the MTA map and found the "Wall Street" stop was still two stops away. Ultimately I would end up working in Two World Trade on the 105th floor and living in the first apartment building built in Battery City. It was the halcyon days of Wall Street I and although friends thought the prospect of living in Downtown Manhattan was better left for Monks, I liked the routine of my days. I awoke early, walked across the West Side Highway to the Vista Hotel. Cut through the Vista's lobby to the lobby of Two World Trade. Took the express elevator to the 80th floor and then transferred to the "local" elevator that would deliver me to the 105th floor. The view from my desk of both the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge never got old for me. I felt like a little kid at how I would marvel to see small airplanes and helicopters flying below me. Usually twelve hours later, rather than go straight back to my apartment, I would head to the lobby of One World Trade to catch the direct elevator to my favorite bar of all time at "Windows on the World" to meet all my friends for happy hour. If I said that I'd been to WOW hundreds of times I'd probably be lying since the number may actually contain four figures.

When I stumbled into the training and consulting business I have run for the past 22 years, there was no city more important for me to have on the calendar than New York City. That was the heart from where the blood for the world's financial system still pumped and my choice of location was easy; my old neighborhood. While a lot of training companies frequently use hotels; I learned quickly that someplace constructed for the purpose of teaching was a much better alternative if it were available. With that, I settled on the "College of Insurance", which was barely a block from the World Trade Center and offered a very clean, modern and nice facility. Also close by was the "Millennium Hilton", which was perfect for the Hilton Honors Diamond Member that I had become to keep my points racking up. Not to mention they would usually take VERY nice care of me with regards to lovely suites on extremely high floors looking across at the World Trade complex and across the river to New Jersey. Some years I was there nearly 90 days plus, but that was okay because it somehow felt a little like home to me. That's not a bad feeling for a guy who travels as heavily as I do.

September 10th, 2001 was a fairly typical day for me. I'd flown into Kansas City, MO on Sunday the 9th and had taught a one-day program for a longtime client of mine. The course ended on time and after some client relation time afterward I hauled ass for the taxi waiting to take me to the airport. The weather was literally stunning and the cab pulled up to the curb in front of the U.S. Airways counter more than 90 minutes ahead of my flight. Life was good and I figured I would arrive back in Connecticut at a fairly reasonable hour, which I appreciated since I was back on a plane Wednesday to head to a client in Chicago for a somewhat extended visit. The house I had recently bought was still in the middle of massive renovations and I was only going to have Tuesday to meet with the assorted subcontractors who were working on the job and a full night's rest sounded pretty appealing to me. Plus I had to unpack and repack for the next trip. It was very nice to feel things were going so smoothly.

Needless to say, I immediately got agitated when the gate agent reported that my flight to Philadelphia was canceled and the airline would be able to fly me out the next morning. Well, this was completely unacceptable and I invoked one of the many FAA rules that travelers like myself commit to memory and told her I'd like them to book me on another carrier since this was not weather related (it was gorgeous out) and was in fact equipment problems that they had suffered in Philly. The agent complied and put me on a 7:00 p.m. United flight to O'Hare with a connection to Hartford that would get me to my home airport just after midnight. By no means was this as good as the flights I was originally booked on, but not bad. After over an hour delay in Chicago, my United flight landed me into Connecticut just after 1:00 a.m. on September 11th. I waited for my bags and finally fell asleep at around 2:30 with my alarm now set for a luxurious 8:00 wakeup time. There was a stop I wanted to make at my bank, which opened at 9:00 and then I would head to my house to see what was going on with my subcontractors.

I was woken up by my alarm and felt somewhat confused by my surroundings since, as my previous home had already sold and the new house was not quite ready, there had been an interim move to a corporate apartment. It's not an unusual feeling for me to wake up and not know exactly where I am, but I shook off the cobwebs and got myself ready for a pretty active day. My first stop (as it often was) was 7-11 to get myself the largest "Big Gulp" of Diet Coke possible to get my caffeine levels where they needed to be. It's my habit when I'm at home to listen to primarily New York radio stations and I happened that morning to be listening to 880 WCBS, which is an around-the-clock news station. It wasn't quite 9:00 as I pulled into 7-11 and I heard the newsperson make the first announcement that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center's towers. "Holy ****" was all I could think, and although a shocking announcement, it wasn't beyond the realm of possibility, since I'd seen planes flying lower than my desk on a nearly daily basis. I remember thinking it was weird since it was such a gorgeous day where I was, which was less than 60 miles from Manhattan in straight line. Of course, there may very well have been fog or low clouds over the Hudson River that could have obstructed the pilot's vision. I proceeded inside and got my 44 ounces of liquid caffeine.

As I got back in the car and continued to listen, the updated news was that it hadn't been a small aircraft at all, but appeared to be a very large airliner and that Tower One was burning badly. My mind now was racing all over the place about what might have happened, who might I know who would be in the building and more. Although I was still driving toward the bank to take care of my business, I decided to stop at another convenience store to use their payphone since I'd forgotten mine at the rental apartment in my haze of a morning. I wanted to call the guy who worked for me at my new house and tell him to pull one of the televisions being stored in the garage so it would be on when I got there. I pulled right up to the phone, and after rolling all the windows down and cranking up my radio, I got out to make my phone call. As I was bringing my guy up to date on what was happening in New York (he hadn't heard anything about it yet) I heard WCBS report live as the second plane had hit Tower Two. I told my guy to get the TV out and that I was on my way to the house right then. The banking wasn't important anymore.

My kitchen cabinets were installed, but there were no countertops yet, and my guy had placed the little TV set in the middle of the center island and had it tuned to the events. Two installers from the alarm company and my guy were standing motionless in front of the screen and barely grunted an acknowledgment of my arrival as I walked up and made it four of us watching. We all stood there silently and watched. It seemed like no one even knew what to say actually. All we could do was stand there staring and looking back and forth at each other as if perhaps one of us might have some sort of wisdom to offer. When the third plane hit the Pentagon, the news didn't seem to know at first what had happened or what exactly had been hit. At that point we began to discuss what might be going on since none of us had any compass to go by with regards to terrorism or acts of war on our own soil. Sure, Pearl Harbor had been equally sneaky, but that had been almost 60 years ago and there was at least a massive war going on. I had just left my seat on an airline flight barely eight hours ago, and it was as typical and mundane as most of the three million miles I've flown. My mind could not at all comprehend or compute what was going on here or how this could be happening. All I could do was stand there like a blank faced moron and stare silently.

On a couple of occasions all three of the guys would turn to me and apologize for the fact that they weren't doing the work they were supposed to be doing. I assured them that there was nothing more important that any of us should be doing than watching this history unfold in front of us. Hours went by before talk started about whether the two towers might actually come down and suddenly a massive cloud of dust and smoke indicated that perhaps one of them might have. After more time we stood and saw not only both towers come down, but Seven World Trade as well.

By now it was midday and the four of us decided to try and do a little bit of work and then get the hell out of there. There was a phone line that I'd installed there for not only myself, but for any contractors who might need it, which rang right about lunchtime. It was my father who explained he'd spent the last few hours in a panic because he'd been calling my cell phone and I wasn't answering and he would go straight to voicemail. Throughout those hours it never occurred to me that while I was wondering who I might know in and around those towers, that there might be people wondering where I was. To be honest, most of my immediate family has no idea where in the world I am on any given day, and the most probable place other than home that I might be was right there in the World Trade neighborhood. In fact, I'd been there less than one week before this awful day. The 37 missed calls and worried voicemails when I would retrieve my phone made me so immensely sad because I knew there were thousands of relatives that day who called their loved ones' phones and left messages that would never be heard because the recipient was lost in this tragedy. I have buried my mother and lost many other friends and relatives in the previous four-plus decades, but the heaviness in my chest that day was something new to me.

The new house is located on a mountaintop in central Connecticut and puts me in the flight pattern of the Hartford, Boston and Providence airports. There are also at least eight, small airports nearby as well, which put many little planes in a lower altitude around my house. As I locked up the house to leave that day it was extremely eerie to me how empty and quiet the skies were. Even in the middle of all the emotions I was feeling I could look up and imagine that this was what the world was like back in the 1700's. On a daily basis the planes are something I don't even notice when they fly over, I was struck at how obvious and noticeable it was when they weren't flying over.

I went back to the rental apartment and could not tear myself away from the television because I wanted every scrap of information I could get on what was happening. Everything I saw and heard only made me feel worse. I wanted to scream, cry and kill someone all at the same time. It was an odd combination of anger, sadness, sorrow and apathy. There was a gnawing need in me to reach out to other people and say something. And although I knew I might regret doing so after two solid bottles of wine, I wrote the following and immediately sent it out to the 300,000 people on my newsletter list at that time. It was about 8:00 p.m. on the evening of September 11th:

With a Very Heavy Heart

I cannot contain the immense sadness and emotion, which has overcome me today and I must take a moment to write all of you tonight.

As the radio report came over the airwaves into my truck this morning from WCBS in New York City I pulled to the side of the road in Connecticut in disbelief and began making phone calls.

The sickness in my stomach and aching in my chest have not left me nearly 13 hours into this unspeakable disaster. Perhaps it is difficult to comprehend the sight of a jumbo aircraft slamming into the building in which I used to sit on the 105th floor. My favorite bar in the world was on the 107th floor of the other tower. The hotel where I spend nearly 60 nights per year is barely 100 feet across the street and is destroyed. Many of you have attended my seminars only a block away from Seven World Trade Center which I watched collapse on live television not long after dinner.

My friends and colleagues which occupy the immediate area which has been destroyed haunt every thought I've had today. So much of the Wall Street community is headquartered in, or immediately adjacent to the World Trade Center.

I saved my own tears until after I had tucked my three-year-old daughter safely into bed and thanked God for opportunity to do that. My prayers and thoughts now lie with the people and families whose lives were ended, or will never be the same because of today.

The world changed today and will never be the same. America's innocence was lost and I already mourn it.

God bless all the victims of today and my heart remains in my adopted neighborhood, which will never, ever be the same.


When I woke up the next morning I had already gotten over 900 responses to that email. Many were brief, some were angry, but many were extraordinarily long and heartfelt. I got many from people who had attended my sessions at the College of Insurance over the decade or so I taught there, and although I would recoil when they'd mention how happy they were that I "forced" them to check out Windows on the World, there was a certain happiness in me to think I caused anyone to have gone there. Ultimately I got over 2,000 responses to my message, and I not only read every single one, I actually printed every one of them and they now occupy two enormous three-ring binders. I never wanted to forget a thing about what people were thinking or feeling on those days because I know emotion fades with time. I also never wanted to forget my own emotions about that day.

Ultimately the ban was lifted and I was able to get to my client in Chicago the next week. Although I had missed the Thursday/Friday component of the seminars, we had worked it out that we would make things up the next week. I was on one of the first flights to fly on that first day, and it was an American Airlines flight out of Hartford non-stop to O'Hare. One of the primary upsides of traveling as much as I do is becoming a member of all the platinum, gold and aluminum levels of frequent flyer and the first class upgrades that often come with it. I was the first one to board my flight and took my bulkhead seat 1G, which put me on the right side of the plane literally a few feet from the cockpit door. In the past I would have likely broken out a magazine and ordered a glass of Merlot from the flight attendant, but all I could do this day was stare HARD into the face of every single person getting on that plane that morning. Some of you may argue this statement, but I don't feel I carry myself on a daily basis as any sort of "bad ass". Sitting there that morning though, I was consciously deciding how I'd do versus anyone else passing me to go take their seat. Even at my advanced age today (and then) I am still a pretty athletic 6'1" and 195 pounds, and if anyone thought they were going to get into that cockpit with a box cutter, they were going to have to go through me to do it. It became obvious that I was not the only one thinking this way, because after the plane door closed, the first class flight attendant went into the back of the plane and brought up the two biggest dudes she could find to have them sit in the unoccupied seats upfront. I even heard her say softly to them that she wanted them there in case we "needed them". The pilot added his own two cents when, as part of his pre-flight message, let us know about the very sharp ax that is in every cockpit for the crew to chop through the fuselage in the event of an accident and how skilled he was in using it. It was indeed a flight unlike any other I can remember taking prior or since.

The week at the client was somewhat normal except for the primary topic of conversation, which was the events of the prior week. The most traumatic moment of the week was a fairly standard fire alarm that required us all to evacuate the building onto the corporate lawn and wait for the fire department to give the all clear. The trauma was due to the fact that this client was in Northbrook, IL and not too far from O'Hare, so the skies were filled with one large airplane after another. I noticed very quickly that this large group of people weren't talking to each other very much and were by and large staring at the skies until we could re-enter the building.

For the remainder of 2001 we moved all of our New York seminars to Newark, New Jersey because getting in and out of any part of Manhattan was going to be a nightmare for a long time. I have total and vivid recall of my first time driving to Newark for that first class and crossing the George Washington Bridge, which I've also done over thousand times. My eyes always divert southward to take in the majestic view of the Manhattan skyline and they automatically did again that morning barely after dawn. All I can remember is not seeing those towers and a plume of smoke rising from that area instead and the visceral reaction that caused me to instantly look away and want to vomit. For the next couple of years, anytime I would drive that same road I could never look that direction again. It was if my mind couldn't comprehend and accept that those buildings aren't there anymore.

I had a dog named Teddy at one time, which was one of those dogs, that when called, would turn away from you figuring that if he couldn't see you anymore, well then perhaps you couldn't see him either. This is the psychology I have embraced with regard to "Ground Zero". I avoid going anywhere near there unless necessary and have visited the area a grand total of once. That visit was filled with nothing but tears and nausea. Perhaps I figure if I don't actually accept that those buildings are gone and see it with my own eyes, then they can live on forever. That's what they were supposed to do.

9/11 was many things to many people, but to me it changed me more than I think any other event prior. It made me finally accept that nothing is absolute anymore. I used to be a hard ass when it came to lots of things, because I would have NO trouble telling you what I thought was impossible. To completely dismiss you or an idea I thought was so far fetched that it didn't warrant serious consideration. As of 9/12, I finally had to accept that LOTS of things I can't imagine happening can happen, whether I think so or not.

I've been through lots of traumatic things in my life, 9/11 will always trump them all in shear impact on my thinking.

My mother passed away and I was the one who identified her in the morgue. They tore down my elementary school. I got divorced. I've wrecked cars. I've broken more bones and gotten more stitches, I can no longer keep track of how many.

But you know what? All that stuff happens to everybody. All of us are going to die. They do tear down crappy old schools. More than 50% of marriages end in divorce. Junkyards and emergency rooms do robust business every day.

Those two towers were supposed to outlive me though. Never once did I walk by them or go into them and think even for a millisecond that someday they might not be there. Because that was impossible. I don't even know how they would have torn them down if they'd wanted to.

Ten years later I am still coming to grips with the loss of life and the loss of our freedoms as Americans. By the time I ultimately fell asleep on September 11, 2001 I finally felt mortal. Open to anything being possible, whether I could imagine it or not. Thankful to have lived as long as I have and happy to be tucking my 13 year-old into bed tonight. I have not forgotten that day, those 2,977 dead who couldn't tuck their children in anymore or how all our lives are changed forever. (I don't count the 19 highjackers among the dead since I hope they are burning in hell somewhere with zero virgins)

Thank you all for reading my story.

AFS Seminars LLC

500 Chamberlain Hill Road

Middletown, CT 06457-5564
Philosophical       September 11 2012 ........11 Years 9-11-2012 05:58 AM
September 11 2001 - September 11 2012

11 Years
Philosophical       September 11 2013 ........12 Years 9-11-2013 00:17 AM
September 11 2001 - September 11 2013

12 Years
Philosophical       September 11 2014 ........13 Years 9-11-2014 06:16 AM
September 11 2001 - September 11 2014

13 Years
Philosophical       September 11 2001 ..... September 11 2015 9-11-2015 06:14 AM
September 11 2001 - September 11 2015

14 Years
G Donovan       Then and now - 15 years later 9-11-2016 06:49 AM
Each August and September, as summer fades into fall, Yahoo News photographer Gordon Donovan finds himself in a familiar spot – snapping images in the area where the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place 15 years ago.

“I do it because I love the city, the history of the city and how we’re not going to be put down,” explained Donovan, who was born and raised on Staten Island and watched the twin towers being built from across the harbor.

But his photos aren’t random shots of the evolving downtown landscape. He returns to document the exact scenes of many memorable images taken by photojournalists that tragic day in 2001.

“It’s fascinating to see how it has changed over the years, because it was just this big pile of rubble the first time I went down there about a week afterward,” said Donovan, then a graphic artist at CBS News, who was at work on the Upper West Side the morning of the attack.

Today there’s a museum honoring the nearly 3,000 people killed, a recently opened transportation hub and other signs of development yet to come.

“Now you can’t even recognize what happened,” Donovan said. “It’s beautiful what they’ve done down there. It’s just revitalized the whole area after such tragedy and put it back to life.”

Donovan’s then-and-now project, he said, is also a testament to the city’s strength and an opportunity to share the changes with New Yorkers who may have moved away over the past 15 years.

He said his project also honors the photojournalists who took the original images on 9/11. “These people risked their lives,” Donovan said. “It’s still home for them.”
G Donovan       911 ... 15 years 9-11-2016 06:50 AM
911 ... 15 years
M. Kent 9-11-2017 05:47 AM

The September 11 attacks (also referred to as 9/11) were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda on the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,997 people, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage.

Four passenger airliners operated by two major U.S. passenger air carriers (United Airlines and American Airlines) — all of which departed from airports in the northeastern United States bound for California — were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. Within an hour and 42 minutes, both 110-story towers collapsed, with debris and the resulting fires causing partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the World Trade Center complex, including the 47-story 7 World Trade Center tower, as well as significant damage to ten other large surrounding structures. A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was crashed into the Pentagon (the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense) in Arlington County, Virginia, leading to a partial collapse of the building's western side. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, initially was steered toward Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after its passengers tried to overcome the hijackers. 9/11 was the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed respectively.

Suspicion quickly fell on al-Qaeda. The United States responded by launching the War on Terror and invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, which had harbored al-Qaeda. Many countries strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded the powers of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to prevent terrorist attacks. Although al-Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, initially denied any involvement, in 2004 he claimed responsibility for the attacks. Al-Qaeda and bin Laden cited U.S. support of Israel, the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia, and sanctions against Iraq as motives. After evading capture for almost a decade, Osama bin Laden was located and killed by SEAL Team Six of the U.S. Navy in May 2011.

The destruction of the World Trade Center and nearby infrastructure caused serious damage to the economy of Lower Manhattan and had a significant effect on global markets, resulting in the closing of Wall Street until September 17 and the civilian airspace in the U.S. and Canada until September 13. Many closings, evacuations, and cancellations followed, out of respect or fear of further attacks. Cleanup of the World Trade Center site was completed in May 2002, and the Pentagon was repaired within a year. On November 18, 2006, construction of One World Trade Center began at the World Trade Center site. The building was officially opened on November 3, 2014.Numerous memorials have been constructed, including the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington County, Virginia, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Ellen Grade       516- 477- 8770 9-11-2018 06:16 AM
9/11 Memorial Ceremony To Honor Victims On 17th Anniversary Of Attacks

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It has been 17 years since the September 11th terror attacks forever changed our country and our city.
On Tuesday morning, family and friends of those who died will gather near the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in Lower Manhattan, as they do every year, to pause, reflect and pay tribute to the lives that were lost that day.

At 8:39 a.m., they will once again read the names of the nearly 3,000 victims of the 2001 attacks along the footprint
of where the Twin Towers once stood.
The ceremony will pause six times – twice to mark the time each plane hit the towers, twice for the moments when the buildings fell, and twice more to mark the attacks on the Pentagon and Flight 93.

More: Dozens Of Athletes Complete 3-Day Pentagon To Ground Zero Run In Honor Of Victims Lost On 9/11
The commemoration is a solemn tribute to those who died and those who risked their lives to save others.

For many making the pilgrimage to Ground Zero on this 17th anniversary, the pain will still be very raw. But the hope is that they will take some comfort in the 9/11 Memorial and Museum’s testament to the triumph of human dignity over evil and in being surrounded by new signs of strength at the site.

Four of the five buildings, including One, Three, Four and Seven World Trade, are now open and occupied. Over the weekend, the new WTC Cortlandt Street subway station reopened.

More: Those Who Suspect They Have World Trade Center-Related Illnesses Urged To Sign Up For Government Programs
There are also thousands of new residents living in the area, helping transform one of the nation’s worst tragedies into a symbol of renewal.

“I was here when it happened. So I’m glad there’s been a rebirth here and a renaissance,” said Marisa Latham, who works at Three World Trade.
At 7 a.m., the 9/11 Museum will open only for family members of those who died before reopening to the public at 3 p.m.

AJ       sad day 9-11-2018 12:29 PM
I was at the upper level of the 59th st bridge trying to get to work and they closed it down I tried the triboro bridge
same thing
stever       i remember calling mom 9-11-2018 12:49 PM
and her telling me that dad was headed back home cause they were turned away from the bridge

I just got to work and one of the guys started screaming at the tv in the waitng room on the scene of the first plane hitting the tower

sad its one of those days like when president kennedy that I never forget that moment in time

what about you
where were you

fill in the _____________
Peter       for 2 years when i was in nyc 9-11-2018 1:53 PM
all I saw was planes hitting buildings
Eternal Light       Never Forget !! 9-11-2018 4:20 PM
NIGHTBIRD       911.......18 YEARS 9-11-2019 00:03 AM
COUNTY ARCHER       RIP NOT the 11 but RIP 10-1-2020 3:50 PM
Joesph 9-11-2021 1:06 PM

KRAKEN       all Iranians are terrorists 9-11-2022 07:50 AM
Mother Mary
never forget ll
Aaron 9-23-2023 9:28 PM
Mother 🙏 Mary

🙏22 years🙏
Aaron 9-23-2023 9:28 PM
Mother 🙏 Mary

🙏22 years🙏
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