Yesterday marked the 9-year anniversary since the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, 2001, so Brian and I decided to spend the day talking with people throughout the city, starting at Ground Zero, to ask them where they were when they learned of the attacks. With an increasingly fragile political and economical climate in the U.S., we often forget how connected we are to one another, but in times of tragedy, we remember. If we could only keep in mind that we are all citizens of this country and citizens of the world even in times of peace, we may be able to better weather our problems and come to solutions that will positively benefit the most people.
"I was in a car with a couple of friends, running late to school. We were listening to the radio when we heard that the first plane had been hit. By the time we got to school, everyone was already crowded around the television sets. It struck me as odd that they said they knew who was responsible for the attacks so quickly, that day."
Michael Rattis, 26, Upstate NY
"I was in class at school in the Bronx. I was working on a project, and the teacher stopped the whole class and said that they'd knocked down the World Trade Center. I didn't believe it at first, but then we were dismissed and I walked outside, and the sky was filled with smoke."
Manny Ayala, 20, the Bronx NY
"I was at home--it was a Tuesday--and I heard it on the TV. At first, I thought that maybe something went wrong with the pilot of the first plane, but when the second one hit, we knew that it was something else."
Gina Staic, 51, Queens, NY
"I was working at a hotel on 34th street in Manhatten, and I was so scared at first. I left work and walked to my home after the second plane hit, and everyone was scared and looking at the sky."
Carmen Castilo, 56, Astoria, NY
"I was at Cafe Au Lait in New Jersey picking up cappuccinos for everyone at the office. Everyone froze in line and behind the counter; no one felt like ordering anything after that."
Jabier Robles, 43, with Janus, Edison, NJ
"I was little. I was at school, PS 64. They took us all to the auditorium and soon after our parents came to pick us up."
Chris Cruz, 17, Manhattan, New York, NY
"I was at the dentist office in Long Island when the first plane hit. I was really lucky that it took longer at the office than they expected--I heard the first plane crash and it was unbelievable that I was there when the second plane hit, as I was supposed to catch a train to the U.N. building in Manhattan."
Dorothy Prunhuber, Long Island, NY
"I was in my home in the Upper West Side, listening to the radio. I couldn't believe it when I heard, so I turned on the TV. I saw the second plane hit, and then saw everyone walking down the street in a big crowd because the trains were out."
Rodney Harrison, 48, Manhattan (Lower East Side), New York, NY
"I was at seminary school studying in Long Island. I was in class and we were told that the World Trade Center was hit, and then we watched the second plane hit the tower on the television. I remember distinctly how safe I felt at the seminary away from the city, and how sad. Soon after, we had a mass and prayed for all of the victims and their families."
Father Gilbert, 34, Brooklyn, NY
Photos © 2010 Brian Adams