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Ten Years Later: A Reflection of September 11

Usually, anniversaries are something to celebrate. Unfortunately, during this time of year we will be forever be solemn, flooded in the memories of what we shouldn’t have to remember.

Could you imagine 19 people discombobulating an entire nation, exploiting our cities by bringing horror and fear to what should have been a “normal” day?

It only took a couple of minutes and four airplanes to scar millions for life.

Images that are permanently embedded in our brains due to 19 extremists who severed families and keep others hopelessly wondering why. These same images could never be destroyed, because on September 11th of every year, television networks document actual footage, reminding everyone of the day that brought hell to New York City, Washington D.C., Shanksville, Pennsylvania; and the entire country.

Thousands of people in Manhattan were struggling, racing for the nearest exit out of this nightmare, covering their mouths and noses to keep the poisonous smoke from overpowering their lungs. Though I was not one to watch this unfold, unfortunately my father witnessed the devastation of the city.

Located on 55th St., and 6th Ave., quite a distance from Ground Zero, my father first heard the towers collapsing via radio at his desk.

We [the staff] saw people coming up from the subway covered in ashes trying to evacuate the Trade Center area.

Once we heard about it on the radio, hearing about both towers, we went into the conference room where the television clarified it all. And then we just watched the rest of the news, hypnotized by what didn’t seem real. Some people left work and because the city shut down the subways, people started walking home using the 59th St. Bridge. Some of us just continued to watch the news report, waiting for the subways to start working again so we could get out.

We shut down, but basically just had to wait. I did not leave the city until about 3 p.m. Because of our location in the city, it was probably safer then trying to get home any other way, said Rich Pollina, Vice President Director of Research for Millennium Sales & Marketing.

This was why no one came to pick me up from school. Both of my parents were working and couldn’t really evacuate.

It was just about time to have recess when the school staff told us we weren’t allowed outside. All I could think of why was everyone getting picked up and why was the school in such a panic. Oblivious to much of it, I couldn’t really respond- I was only in elementary school.

Today, I can’t imagine something this disastrous happening roughly 45 minutes away from my home. It’s still surreal.

Miraculously enough, despite our proximity to the city, no one we knew personally was injured in the attacks. But we too will have the scars, the images, and the pain that this time of year can bring.

Some had to give up and make phone calls to their loved ones or try to escape by jumping out of the building. I’m sorry these images exist, that these 19 people wanted Americans fearful. In quashing the American spirit, however, they were unsuccessful; I think we are stronger as a nation and as people.

About the Author


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10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

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