September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document

Story:"Tuesday the 11th of September 2001 started like any other day. It was a very nice day, I grabbed my bagel and coffee at Jersey Avenue station and hopped onto a New Jersey Transit train bound for Newark.

This part of my commute to work takes about 40 minutes or so and a big part of it is very productive for me. I normally read and respond to emails on my BlackBerry, particularly emails from the non-U.S. offices.

As usual, I went through the 20 or so emails and then proceeded to play some games of Tetris. Strangely, my games of Tetris on my BlackBerry were going rather badly. I couldn?t seem to clear the rows of blocks away.

I arrived at Newark New Jersey and got onto the PATH train. Still trying to get some good scores on Tetris, I finally gave up. A New York police officer got onto the train at one of the stations. Not an unusual event, as they use PATH to commute like the rest of us. This NYPD officer, however, was about to become the starting point to the events ahead.

As we rattled along the tracks towards the World Trade Center, this NYPD officer?s radio crackled to life. A voice announced that a huge explosion had been witnessed at the World Trade Center. My ears pricked up. Nobody else seemed to notice. They continued to read, sleep and listen to music. Again, the voice on the radio repeated the message about the explosion at the World Trade Center, this time with more urgency. I turned my head to look over at the officer. He was paying close attention to his radio, but certainly not taking any action, like stopping a subway train that was heading in the direction of a disaster.

We rocked and swayed our way into the World Trade Center station. I looked out of the window, but saw everything was normal. The doors opened and we filed out. Immediately the smell of burning. I looked around. People were not running, but rather continuing up the stairs and escalators normally. Once we got to the mall level however, the scene changed. Security and police officers were screaming for us to get out.

We ran out and looked up at a scene from a movie. Godzilla, maybe, or Independence Day? No, this was reality.

I grabbed my phone to call my wife to tell her that I was alright as I was sure that she would be concerned for my safety. No signal! Everyone around me had cell phones in their hands, but no signal.

I walked over the road to the Millennium Hotel. I went into the lobby to call my wife. I spoke to her and assured her I was okay. Just then, there was the sound of jet engines straining and a sudden deep and violent explosion that shook the ground.

Debris started falling to the street. People were pushed back 3 blocks. There we stood and watched in horror.

In the mass confusion, I had less knowledge at the scene of the attack than did people watching CNN. They would be concerned, knowing that I commuted into this area everyday. I had not thought of that.

My BlackBerry now became my only form of communication. My cell phone, which had no signal, was useless. I grabbed my BlackBerry out of my pocket and saw the first of many emails that day. What follows are approximately the first hour of emails beginning right after the first plane struck. As you will see they are frantic emails, and I have left the spellings as the emails were typed. It is chilling for me to read these emails now."

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 8:55a
From: Hazem
Subject: A plane just went through the world trade center, 10 stories from the top.

"I had no idea where Hazem was, but it was great to see that email".

To: Craig
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:06a
From: Brad
Subject: World Trade
Brad Wozny is one of our vendors.

Craig,

Is all oaky with your folks?

Brad

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:07a
From: Martin
Subject: NY Crash

"Martin is a college in Frankfurt. His email was a forward of the story".


"I typed a quick email to my wife".

To: Karen
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:10a
Subject: Explosion

While I was calling you the second building exploded.

I don?t have a cell signal I think the towers are on top of the building.

Call jean, malcolM works in the building!!

"I sent her another email".

To: Karen Johnston
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:13a
Subject: Second explosion

It was a huge boing that crashed right into the wtc, then a second explosion caused something to hit the second tower and its now on fire too!!

Email is my only form of contact.

People throwing themselves out the building!!

Horrible!

"As you can see, there was mass confusion. Even though we had heard a plane seconds before the explosion in the second tower, we did not know it was a plane since we did not actually see it hit. Nobody around me had the correct story at that point".

To: Craig
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:14a
From: Christopher
Subject: World Trade

Did you see the whole thing?

"Chris, who works for a vednor and knows us all well, was trying to find out what was going on".


"In response to my earlier email, my wife replied".

To: Craig
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:24a
From: Karen
Subject: RE: Explosion

I called but NO ANSWER! OH I?m praying, I swear PLEASE BE SAFE, JUST GET OUT OF THERE OR SOMETHING! I still haven?t heard from Jean.

To: Internal Group>
Cc: Craig, Martin
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:21a
Subject: Everyone urgent

If you can read email from anywhere, please meet me on the corner of Fulton and Broadway. I think this is the closest we will be able to get to the building.

"I replied to Alex".

To: Alex
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:22a
Subject: Re: Everyone urgent.

I?m too far away but I?m ok.

"Somebody standing next to me mentioned that it was a suicide bombing. I wrote to my wife".

To: Karen
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:23a
Subject: Re: Explosion

Someone said it was a suicide bombing.

2 planes deliberately flew into the buildings. Don?t know if its true.

"Alex replied to me".

To: Craig
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:26a
From: Alex
Subject: Re: Everyone urgent

Great. If you see any of my folks let me know.

"I then emailed my immediate team".

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:29a
Subject: Everyone ok?

???

People are saying that it was 2 suicide planes.

"I replied to Brad as I stood continueing to watch from 3 blocks away".

To: Brad
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:34a
Subject: Re: World Trade

Yes Brad, it?s horrible!

To: Craig
Cc: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:33a
From: Phil
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

I?m fine; I saw the aftermath from Sixth Ave on my way home from the gym. I?m at home right now. Where is everyone? Can I get anywhere near the office?

Phil

To: Phil
Cc: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:34a
From: Craig
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

Not a chance!


To: Craig
Cc: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:35a
From: Phil
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

I?m going to work from here for now. Can someone let me know if we should report to midtown instead, or whatever the plan may be? Thanks.

Phil

To: Craig, Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:39a
From: Daniel
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

Two planes both buildings rod and I watched the second one horrible

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:40a
From: Daniel
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

Building evacuated

"Dan was talking about 1 Liberty Plaza at this point".

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:40a
From: Ray
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

My brother called me. All bridges and tunnels are closed, nobody in, nobody out. Brenda is still home, wanting to know if she should go to midtown. I?m still home.

Ray.

To: Craig, Alex
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:44a
From: Christopher
Subject: Alright

Are you guys okay?????


To: Christopher
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:46a
From Craig
Subject: Re: Alright

Yes.

To: Craig
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:47a
From: Christopher
Subject: Re: Alright
Ok! Thanks for getting back to me, I was concerned.

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:48a
From: Daniel
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

Pentagon hit and white house on fire.

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:50a
From: Craig
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

Are you serious!?

"My sister in South Africa emailed me next, obviously concerned for me".

To: Craig
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:46a
From: Carol
Subject: CRAIG IF YOU ARE ALRIGHT PLEASE E-MAIL ME.

"Dan, replying to my previous email".

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:53a
From: Daniel
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

Heard on car radio


"I replied to my sister".

To: Carol
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:55a
From: Craig
Subject: Re: CRAIG ?

Yes, fine thanx!
I?ll keep you posted.

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:54a
From: Phil
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

The Pentagon got hit by some sort of plane. The White House west wing was evacuated but IS NOT on fire. The Capitol has also been evacuated.

To: Craig
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 10:01a
From: Karen
Subject: Re:

Please get out of that area because it looks like they are hitting targets all over America!!!

To: Karen
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:56a
From: Craig
Subject: Re:

Looks like it but where is the question

"At this point one of the towers collapsed but from my vantage point it looked like just the top above where the plane hit fell off".

To: Karen
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 10:00a
From: Craig
Subject: The top just fell off!!

It fell off!!

"I was now running away from a massive cloud of white debris billowing out towards us".


To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:57a
From: John
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

Everyone ?

I?m home. I was 3 blocks away when the 2nd plane hit. If you can read this, try to get to the Staten Island Ferry. Call me.
I?ll come get you.

DO NOT go back to the building.

John.

To: Craig
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:58a
From: Kima Zamouche
Subject: how are you?

Craig,

Hope that you are in a safe place and OK as well as all our colleagues and friends.

Kima.

To: Craig
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:53a
From: Carol Johnston
Subject: Re: ?

Whew! Thank God! Okay, I left a hysterical message on your answering machine ? just ignore.

Carol.

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:59a
From: Daniel
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

I guess the newsz guys need blackberrys


To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 9:59a
From: John
Subject: Staten Island Ferry

If you can get to Staten Island, call me and I?ll come get you. I?m hoping they are evacuating people from there.

John

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 10:01a
From: Ray
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

Something REALLY BAD just happened, more smoke coming out of the WTC. But it?s coming from down low. Smoke is at street level.blocks away!!

Ray

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 10:02a
From: Alex
Subject: Re; Staten Island Ferry

I am meeting at. Midtown office.

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 10:03a
From: John
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

Ray,

Try to get to the ferry boat if you can and come to Staten Island. In any case, stay away from downtown. The top of one of the buildings just collapsed . . . .

John.

To: Craig
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 10:10a
From: Karen
Subject: Re: The top just fell off

WHERE ARE YOU?!!

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 10:03a
From: Daniel
Subject: Re: Staten Island Ferry

I?m one of the towers just collapsed

To: Karen
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 10:06a
From: Craig
Subject: The top just fell off

I?m moving away and I?M ok.

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 10:06a
From: Daniel
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

It fell down

To: Internal Group>
Sent: Sep 11, 2001 10:12a
From: John
Subject: Re: Everyone ok?

I take back everything bad I said about the blackberries.

John.

"The day continued on in its bizarre way and we continued to keep in touch using our BlackBerries. I, for one, found it very comforting to know that I was only a few key strokes away from friends, family and colleagues. The BlackBerries worked until around 5 p.m. when One Liberty Plaza lost power. At that point we could still communicate with ourselves but not with people on the Internet or in Notes.

It has been very traumatic re-living that day by going back in my emails to that fateful Tuesday, but it?s therapy after all.

I am very grateful to have a BlackBerry and to have been able to keep in touch so instantly that day."


view more information about this object