by Mizuko Ito
A Chanpon Member writes from ground-zero for the Terrorist Attacks on New York City on 11 September 2001.
by Julia Rose, Chanpon.org member, NIS Class of 83
It was a very surreal day yesterday.
I saw the first tower on fire as I came out of the subway on my way to school, and heard a woman in the street saying that a large jet liner had just crashed into it. I watched for a few minutes, then went inside to. It was probably only a few minutes later that the second plane slammed through the South Tower. Who would have thought that the total devastation and destruction that followed was to come.
By the time I came out of school the New York skyline had been changed forever (my teacher kept lecturing for an hour and a half... He, along with most others who were far enough away from the crashes not to be directly affected by the mayhem were unaware of the goings on at the southern tip of Manhattan). The wide avenues were filled with people walking home. Everyone was surprisingly calm.
I went to a friend's office to use her phone to try to call my mom and my boyfriend Mark who was working somewhere down near the area of the World Trade Center. I never got through to my mom (but my brother did). After 3 hours, I finally got through to Mark, and was able to breathe again. I am glad I didn't know that his job site was only 6 blocks away from the World Trade Towers until after I knew he was safe. He watched the entire thing unfold, including people jumping out of windows 90 stories up to try and save themselves from the fires. He said he stopped counting after 30. Even having seen it up close, he says it still seems unreal and unfathomable.
We wandered the city for a while trying to figure out what to do when we overheard a cop telling people that the Manhattan Bridge was open to pedestrians, so we walked home over the bridge. The bridge and the streets were filled with people, all walking home in a daze, as far as the eye could see. I'm not sure how many of the thousands of people I walked with really realized the magnitude of what had just happened. I didn't. Still don't
really... but then again, how can you?
We were lucky because we only had a two hour walk home in the acrid smokey air... but on the news, we heard about people walking for hours and hours to get home. We spent the rest of the day and night going from the TV to the bedroom window (from which we used to have a magnificent view of the World Trade Towers) in disbelief.
It is now the morning after, and the smoke is still billowing. The trips from the TV to the window are still being made... and it wasn't a bad dream. On the TV, the cranes and the fire trucks seem so small compared to the heaps of rubble that they are digging through to try to find victims. I feel totally at a loss as to what to do. I can't imagine how the people who were more directly affected are coping.
A woman who was on the 102nd floor when first plane crash survived. Mark was in line at the bank behind two men who were evacuated from the 34th floor after one of the crashes. They pulled 6-7 people from the rubble during the night. One of the men they found was on the 89th floor, and had come down with the building. He is alive. Hundreds and maybe thousands of people are still trapped.
And to think that the mayor�s emergency safe house was on the 30th floor of one of the towers, because the World Trade Towers were thought to be indestructible, and therefore the safest place in Manhattan.
Mark and I were talking just the other day about how most of my generation knows not the horrors and sadness of war. Ironic, that only three days later this should happen.
Posted by Mizuko Ito at 2001年09月11日 09:41