My Aunt Johanna lived in New York City when 9/11 happened. She lives there now. She has a website called mental-photography
, where she posts her photography and some of her writings. I vividly remember 9/11, safely tucked away in my little corner of Wyoming. These are her words.
It is not long after 9 am on Tuesday, September 11th. I climb up from the subway
at 49th Street and 8th Avenue and head toward my building entrance. As I
approach an electronics store, a small crowd is hovering around the entrance,
staring upwards. Jeffrey, a co-worker, comes up to me and I ask him what is up.
"They bombed the World Trade Center." It barely registers, so foreign a thought it
is. Then I, too, look up at the TV screen. It doesn't even occur to me to look
south, where the Twin Towers stand. Besides, they’re obscured by the nearby
On the elevator up to the 5th floor, I glance up at the "Captivate" news screen,
looking for any updates. The news is spreading. Everybody is cautious; they
choose their words carefully.
I make a beeline to the nearest conference room, but the TV control panel isn't
Others have already crowded into the 6th floor conference room. Practically
standing room only. It's packed. People are hovering outside the entrance as
well. I slip past them, spy my friend Oksana, and slide into a chair next to her.
There are about 30-40 people in the room; all eyes are trained on the screen as
we watch the scene play out. They’re replaying the footage of the first, then the
second plane crashing into the Twin Towers.
There's a collective gasp. Not a few expletives are tossed off. Some have tears in
their eyes, others are clutching their cell phones. One man makes nervous but illworded
observations that are completely ignored. He's then even more flustered.
Then news comes about a crash in D.C. Another collective gasp. Five
excruciating minutes later, we're told that the Pentagon has been hit.
I slip out of the conference room, realizing that family and out-of-town friends will
start calling. Two relatives have already called, anxious for news of my safety.
When I finally get a line out, I check in with both to reassure them that I'm okay.
Then I call Dad, tell him I'm safe. This is World War III, he says...