One 9/11 survivor's experience



I remember 9/11.

When the first plane hit the World Trade Center, I was in my apartment about a block and a half away. I used to work for a law firm in the WTC, but even afterwards I still lived in nearby Battery Park City. When the first plane hit it sounded like a bus crashing into something.

I went outside to look, and I wasn't the only one. When I saw the building on fire, I foolishly went over to join a crowd watching on the other side of the street. I say foolishly, in retrospect, because if you see a building burning on fire, your first instinct should be to run away. But that thought didn't occur to me at the time. We didn't even know, yet, that it was a terrorist attack; it was thought that perhaps a plane had accidently crashed into 1 WTC. Remember, there was about a 20 minute gap between the first plane and the second one.

As I stood there looking up I saw parts of WTC destroyed but much of the building, especially lower down, was untouched. The thing I remember the most was the mountain of falling papers, falling out of the sky. I also saw people, standing on the edge of ruined building floors.

And then I saw the bodies, the people falling to their deaths. At first I thought that maybe air pressure had pushed them out, but I had arrived after the first plane had hit, so I don't think that was it. My theory, which I will never be able to prove, is that the flames were so intense that people instinctively chose to jump rather than be burned to death. I saw bodies falling. Not a lot, but enough of them.

And then the second plane hit 2 World Trade Center, a huge fireball exploded above and to the right of me. I was standing on the diagonal southwest corner; the plane hit from the southeast; if it had approached from the southwest, I'd probably be dead.

At that point we knew it was a terrorist attack, and everyone started running. There was broad panic because there was no way of knowing if there would be a third or forth plane that would dive down onto the crowds.

There was also no apparent escape. The burning buildings were blocking our escape to the north. And we were nearly at the southern tip of Manhattan, surrounded by water. So I ran east, to Chinatown. I know the exact time I arrived at the center of Chinatown, it was 9:59 AM. How do I know this? Because that is when the first tower collapsed. I saw it directly, unobstructed, framed between two sides of the street. It didn't lean over left, or right, but it simply went straight down, like an elevator, collapsing into itself. I remember the screams of the people around me who physically were unharmed.

I was actually rather fortunate because I was just outside the range of the toxic dust cloud. Others were not as fortunate.

I remember walking up the East Side Highway, which had been closed to traffic. I never saw a more well dressed crowd of refugees on foot.

I lived in my parents' basement for three months. My apartment building survived, but all my possessions were contaminated with asbestos and other chemicals. I remember going to J.C.Penny with a shopping cart and shopping for everything from scratch, as if I had just arrived on the planet Earth. All my possessions I had accumulated over decades were gone, all I had left were the clothes on my back. I remember going back to my apartment several weeks later in a hazmat suit and respirator, retrieving photos and a few books, going to a forest, and wiping them front and back, one at a time, over and over. I remember the air at the WTC was thick with the stench of death.

I remember how after the first plane hit, people in the 2 WTC were told not to evacuate and go back to work. No one was ever held responsible for this. I remember how Rudy Guiliani was hailed as a hero, when his decision to locate his emergency command center in the WTC hampered rescue efforts. I remember the smell of the WTC site, which cast a broad stench not just for days but weeks and months across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and New Jersey. I remember the coverups about the asbestos contamination.

I remember, shortly after 9/11, hearing execrable imans wailing in arabic on the radio to show that they were "good guys too" and thinking how utterly despicable they were. If my co-religionists had done this atrocity, I would expect ever representative of my religion to apologize, in English, until their voices gave out, not recite prayers of their own religion! I heard not a single apology from any Muslim. There were vast expressions of sympathy from the people of Europe, but virtually none from people in Muslim countries. Most Muslims did not commit 9/11, but a substantial minority supported the actions of those 19 Muslim killers. There was no mourning of any kind in Muslim countries. In fact many, like the Palestinians (in Gaza, and I remember press accounts of Muslims dancing on rooftops in New Jersey), celebrated the deaths of Americans.

I remember how George W. Bush was hailed for a hero, when his lax border policies had allowed these terrorists to overstay their visas. I remember his refusal to name the evil that committed this, radical Islam. The media not only refused to give the perpetrators a name, they bent over backwards to talk about imaginary oppression of Muslims after 9/11. I remember the image of Bush's homeland security advisor and spokeswoman going to a mosque and donning the Hijab, acting like subservient dhimmis about to be auctioned in the slave markets of Raqqa.

To this day the media still will not say we were attacked by Radical Islam. To this day the media still will not cover the subculture that exist in the Islamic culture that breeds this sort of hatred and evil. There was an uproar when the 9/11 Memorial Museum merely wanted to give the religion of the attackers. 14 years later, our current President also won't give our enemies a real name, just calling them nonsense names like "Daesh".

I am very angry with the mainstream Muslim culture which seems to at the very least tolerate and in too many quarters actually support this hideous evil. But I am equally angry with our past and current leaders, of both parties, who won't name the enemy, and still 14 years later, will not secure our borders. Even worse, George W. Bush did and Obama continues to import people from the very cultures who want us dead.

This was a terrible tragedy. But even worse, these 3000 died for nothing, because our leaders of both parties learned nothing from it, they won't fight an unrestrained war against it, and they won't protect our borders from it.

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