Two years ago today...

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Jeff Eline
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Two years ago today...

Postby Jeff Eline » September 11th, 2003, 6:19 am

September 11, 2001. It's hard to believe that it's been two years since that horrible day. Everyone always asks, "Where were you?" If you don't mind, I'd like to share.

I hadn't been to NY in probably 10 years. I picked 9/11 to return. I was rehearsing a short film I was about to produce and the space we were using was located on 7th street.

A friend of mine and I were driving up I95 from Baltimore to NY. The weather was amazing and we had the windows down and the music up loud. His cell phone rang and his wife told him that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Towers. It had to be a mistake, a Cessna, or maybe a traffic helicopter. We kept driving. Now listening to the radio, we learned that a second plane crashed into the second tower. Obviously, we turned around and came home.

When we heard that a plane hit the pentagon, I remember the very strange feeling that we were being attacked. That evening was by far, the strangest night I've ever lived through. Constant news coverage, some cable channels were silent with just a full screen graphic showing. Seeing that footage of the planes running into the towers over and over and over again.

Jamy Swiss wrote an excellent account of those days HERE . If you get a chance, please read it.

Thanks for listening.

Where were you?


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Rich Cowley
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Re: Two years ago today...

Postby Rich Cowley » September 11th, 2003, 11:28 am

I was in southern California at 6AM that morning, leaving the house to go to a technical seminar. Hopped in to the car, turned on NPR, and started listening to a reporter telling what he was looking at first-hand...

I remember thinking, "Hey, this is pretty cool - somebody's updated the Mercury Theatre's War of The Worlds broadcast, and made it relevant!" I kept listening, and when the reporter started crying over the air, I started to realize that *nobody* is that good at acting...

I still went to the seminar, and we spent the breaks converting the projection screens in the front of the room into enormous televisions screens, tuned to CNN. It was the first time in a long time that I felt real fear. Not stagefright, not butterflies, not slight unease, but real fear. I hope to Any Power Greater Than Me that I never have to go through that sensation again.

Thanks for listening!

Lisa Cousins
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Re: Two years ago today...

Postby Lisa Cousins » September 11th, 2003, 12:09 pm

My two greatest memories of that day are Jim Steinmeyer and Richard Kaufman.

A copy of Jim's outstanding "Art and Artifice" appeared in my mailbox that day, and I spent the afternoon completely absorbed by it. I found it so intelligent and fascinating that it easily kept my attention focused well above the yawning abyss.

That evening here on the Genii Forum (I was but a lurker back then), Richard Kaufman started a thread called "We are not illiterate baboons" in which he scolded participants for bad spelling and poor punctuation. Coming as it did from one of the attacked cities, this concern for the petty niceties of life had me laughing until I had tears in my eyes.

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Re: Two years ago today...

Postby MaxNY » September 12th, 2003, 8:18 am

I was working in the middle of Times Square, I wanted to go home (up in the mountains), but they shut down all exits off this island. Realizing that they were bombing people, I walked up to "Strawberry Fields", a wonderful place in Central Park dedicated to the great late John Lennon. Later that evening when I got home my wife and I drove a few miles up to Seven lakes Drive, where I went swimming... with nobody else around for 20 miles.
Two days later we all returned to work, during lunch I walked the streets, and the panic in people's eyes was beyond description. For months later you could smell that horrible stench, even up in the Mountains.

Jim Maloney_dup1
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Re: Two years ago today...

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » September 12th, 2003, 8:36 am

I was sleeping. I was in college in Hoboken and had no business being awake that early. ;) I woke up sometime after the crashes, but before the buildings collapsed. I had IM's from some friends up in Canada wondering if I was ok. I replied with something like "Uhh...yeah...I'm fine. Why?" Then they told me what happened. I looked out my window, which had a view directly across the river to lower Manhattan and just saw a big cloud of smoke.

Had it happened a year earlier, I could have been killed, as I used to work just a few blocks south of there and I would have been on a PATH train into WTC at that time. Although, thinking back my train would have likely been stopped before it got there, as I generally got into work around 10:00.

I went to Blockbuster that night because 1. I needed some diversion, 2. a good portion of the TV channels had been knocked out, and 3. any channels that were working and constant coverage of the situation. Apparently I wasn't the only one as the store was more packed than I had ever seen it.

I think it was the following Thursday or Friday that there was a thunderstorm. I've never been scared of thunder before, but that day it terrified me -- I was wondering if it was really thunder or if there were bombings going on nearby.

And yes, the smell and dust travelled across the river. For months afterward, as I walked to class, I could see a cloud of dust and smoke that filled lower Manhattan. I had never really noticed the presence of the Twin Towers before on that walk, but their absence was obvious every time I looked.



Re: Two years ago today...

Postby Guest » September 12th, 2003, 10:41 am

Thanks Jeff.

I was in the Chicago suburbs, running errands and trying to call my girlfriend (at the time) who lived in NYC. It was a little hard to get through the first time we talked, and neither of us knew more than you first heard (one plane in NYC and a helicopter in DC so that they thought at the time). She was walking to work at the time, and cars were already stopped by the side of the road with people listening to their radios (she thought there was something with the mayoral primary). As the day continued, it was harder getting in touch.

I could not reach (until a long two nights later) another of my good friends in NYC (a guy who had worked for me and had recently taken a job in some buildings across from the towers). He has some pretty horrific stories to tell.

Getting back to my (former) girlfriend, it was hard to stay in touch over the ensuing few days, and at the end of the week, we were supposed to meet in Las Vegas for her mother's birthday. As Friday approached, the planes were still not flying. In the end, she could not get any flight out of NYC, but was able to go out of Philly, and with O'Hare still essentially shut down, I was able to leave Chicago from Midway, albeit with almost a day delay due to a shut down of Midway as everyone (passengers, vendors, cleaning people)had to run a gauntlet one by one past witnesses to some comment made by one person to a screener.

In the end, we made it to Las Vegas, and I was never so happy to hug someone in my life (as I'm sure her mother felt the same). You see, after receiving two offers, my (former) girlfriend had recently accepted a job in midtown. The other job offer had been in one of the towers.

One final note regarding Las Vegas and magic. We went to see what was supposed to be Copperfield's Portal show that weekend, but his illusions could not be flown out of Mexico. Consequently, he did old material, but was as entertaining as always.


mike cookman
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Re: Two years ago today...

Postby mike cookman » September 12th, 2003, 11:06 am

I,too, was in Evanston, Illinois. I work at the Evanston Borders Books and Music. It was, of course, a very strange day. People were calling the store to ask various questions like, "did you hear anything about a plane crash in New York?" And as we all know, it just got worse and worse. It was eerie to be outside and realize there were no planes flying anywhere. Bob Dylan's album Love and Theft had just been released, and when I got home I put it on. I didnt enjoy it then, though I have come to like it since. But on that day it was hard to enjoy anything. I didnt know what else to do, so I just sat there and started crying.

Jeff Eline
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Re: Two years ago today...

Postby Jeff Eline » September 13th, 2003, 12:21 pm

Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Two years ago today...

Postby thecardman » September 13th, 2003, 3:27 pm

I was in Scarborough on the east coast of England for the IBM British Ring convention that was starting THAT DAY.

That afternoon (as it was for us) I was playing pool with Dave Robertson, a good friend from here in Scotland. Dave was busting me off the table. At 7-1 down, I told him that I was going to get my own cues that were in my hotel room and use them instead of the house cue I was using. I returned to my hotel, picked up my cue case and left again having a very quick look to see what was on television at the time. Usual Australian daytime soaps. I went back and beat Dave by the same score. As it turns out, when I left my room, I missed the first newsflash by 5 or so minutes.

I still had no idea what had happened, but thought something had happened when I passed a pub and, instead of the usual rock music blasting out, people were standing with drinks in their hands and mouths gaping open watching something on the TV.

My first idea of what had happened was when I walked into a news agents to get some candy. Looking down at the local evening newspaper, I asked the guy behind the counter what had happened. His exact answer was "some nutter Kamikazied a plane into the World Trade Centre". Forgetting the size of them, I thought it was a small light aircraft. Looking at the clock - it was 5:30pm - I said "I'll wait for the 6 o'clock news and see what happened then". I didn't have to as all 5 terrestrial stations here in the UK were doing wall-to-wall coverage.

Just thought I would add my 2-pence worth from this side of the Atlantic.


Jonathan Townsend
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Re: Two years ago today...

Postby Jonathan Townsend » September 13th, 2003, 5:27 pm

I was on my way to work and got the news of the first plane hitting the tower from local news. I did not look at the screen... just took a moment to consider those inside, and remember my father's tale of the small plane hitting the Empire State building long ago.

At work, half the staff were in the conference room... fixated, watching the twin smouldering towers.

The voice spoke of people, and some staff were commenting about those who tried to jump. I could not let myself hear such words at the time.

On the way past the conference room it happened. It looked so wrong and strange.

On TV, the towers continued to smoulder and fall. Like the loss of the challenger, this had to be shown repeatedly until the initial reaction was numbed somehow.

Honestly all I could think of was how some friends who live a few blocks away were in danger.

Business continuity plans went into action while security reports were checked and the backup tapes brough home for safe keeping. Back at the office an hour later It struck me that Mr Rogers had stopped offering new episodes and retired on Friday. I wondered if he would offer the public some reassurance or calm before the finger pointing began. Sorry to say he did not.

All I had in mind for the rest of the day were the thousands of lives affected by such a pointless action. Nobody was persuaded to offer more sympathy to any cause. Just lives lost, bruised and covered in dust. All our lives now tainted by fears of additional such actions.

Back at work I got to wondering just how much of our world would have to stop to watch and react as the TV coverage demanded we watch and worry.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

Rene Clement
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Re: Two years ago today...

Postby Rene Clement » September 14th, 2003, 10:42 pm

The Friday before 9/11 I had my usual Tuesday morning downtown NY meeting cancelled for that week. As usual on those mornings I would have arrived by train under the WTC at 8:45AM which would have been just around the time of the first plane strike. Instead I went straight to my office in Brooklyn of which the window behind my desk oversees downtown Manhattan and the Twin Towers. I saw the smoke around the first tower and heard the reports of a plane hitting it but no details were known. Staring at the Towers was an activity shared by all office workers with a window that morning. Later I witnessed, as many did, the second plane hitting the towers and immediately we realized the first was no accident. It was a hard day to get a normal work day done by my staff or myself as we listened to radio reports and watched the people coming across the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge below us as they exited lower Manhattan.


Re: Two years ago today...

Postby Guest » September 15th, 2003, 7:39 pm

After making arrangements weeks in advance and flying from California, I had just obtained my researcher ID badge, and was sent to the rare book dept., on the 5th floor of the Library of Congress,(D.C.), at 9:30am, where the curators had my requested volumes of the C.A. Newmann scrapbooks. At 10:00am, I was told I had to leave as the Pentagon had just been bombed. As I and others were pushed out into the sidewalks,few of us really knew was it just a threat, a false alarm? A molotov cocktail thrown by some malcontent? It was obvious many,(including mysel) had no idea what was going on, as many said, "lets have an early lunch, until they say we can go back to work."(!) Not until I got back to the hotel 15 miles away and talked to people on the phone did I really know what was happening. Downtown D.C. quickly became very empty and quiet,(on the streets anyway) as everyone had been moved away from the Capital...almost like a scene from "The Day the Earth Stood Still."

Sal Perrotta
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Re: Two years ago today...

Postby Sal Perrotta » September 15th, 2003, 9:41 pm

...I was in midtown Manhattan....there was a lot that was supposed to happen that day in New York City politics. The primary was of interest and that morning I wandered up to a room where the press conferences were to take place. The mega-screens were all set up and each featured a local news show....all of the screens and the speakers were working was about a second before I turned to leave to go in search of some breakfeast that all hell broke loose and for the first time in recorded history all the major news shows were showing the same footage over and over....

I could not move and could hardly breathe as I mentally began to process and understand what had happened.....the list of family, friends and others I know began to fill in my mind like a loud bell....I know that I could have gone to the roof to see it live but I just could not move.....

They shut down Rockefeller Center and I hardly noticed that all of the people from the T.V. studios had began to take up positions in the various parts of the room...cell phones not leaving their ears....none of the cool collected personalities came out that morning. Everyone was looking around not for a scoop on the news but to share the idea that was in everyones mind...."we know someone there...are they okay...."

Normal thoughts were lost that morning as the city ground to a strange it seemed that they chose to crash into buildings in a city where every major news organization in the world has a live crew 30 seconds away......Some how I am glad my feet would not move as I might have seen the second plane live....

where was I .....standing there before those bigger than life size screens....those few moments which turned into days wondering if I would have news of survivors.....some made it some did not....

At St Patrick's across the street the parade of funerals began shortly after...some days with three and four in a seemed like bagpipes were warming up all day long to play for those fallen heros.....

...a year passed and I saw another horror on the AM news shows.....they interviewed some people in the pacific northwest.....far away from New York where they did not have the smoke, the smell and the looks of frightened people around them.....those interviewed looked into the camera and said...."hey, it's been a year! Get over it!!"......well all can NOT LIKELY, ANYTIME SOON.....after all, it was several months later that someone we know was indentified because they found one tip of one of his fingers in the rubble......

....thanks for listening......

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Joe M. Turner
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Re: Two years ago today...

Postby Joe M. Turner » September 16th, 2003, 7:38 pm

I was preparing to travel downtown to Networld-Interop 2001 in Atlanta. Scott Horn (another magician) and I were going to walk through and see who was working.

I had turned on the television in the kitchen and saw smoke coming out the side of the first tower. I remember thinking, "How are they going to fix that? I wonder what the scaffolding will look like..."

I was watching when the 2nd plane hit and it became clear we were under attack.

A few minutes later Scott pulled up in the driveway and we decided to risk a trip downtown to see if the trade show was actually going to go on. As we arrived they were closing it. The towers collapsed as we were driving back to my house.

I went down again the next day and saw the nearly empty tradeshow floor -- it was like a ghost town.

I watched tv news for about 10 days non-stop after that.



Re: Two years ago today...

Postby Guest » September 17th, 2003, 11:40 am

I had a premonition (or something) about it the day beforehand.
I am not joking around here.
I have only told a few people about it. I still don't understand it to this day.
When you get so involved with psychic stuff day in and day out I sometimes wonder if the real thing sometimes manifests itself.

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Re: Two years ago today...

Postby luigimar » September 17th, 2003, 1:13 pm

Living in Mexico I didn't go through all that but I remember waking up uneasy that morning, as if something woke me, and had the urge to turn on the TV and there it was, the second tower had just been hit. Watched in awe what was going on. 2 days before (Sunday) I had been to David Copperfield's Portal Show in Mexico City. It was his last show and I had stayed outside the auditorium hoping to see him and maybe have a picture taken with him. I saw some of his stuff being put into many big trucks (5 or 6 that I remember) after the show and (as I found out later) they were supposed to be taken to Vegas I think, but after the attack they closed all the country and his stuff couldn't be delivered on time for his show so he had to 'improvise', but as I can hear, he was great anyway with 'smaller' stuff.

:( Really a sad moment ih history. :(


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