9/11: In Remembrance

This was beautifully penned by my daughter for a school assignment.
It deserves to be shared as it touched me and assuredly will you.

The Diary Entry of a Civilian Witness to the September 11th Attacks

I would never forget the sight of the World Trade Center towers burning. I could never forget the sound of them imploding and sending a cascade of debris and dust through the streets.

I was on the ground visiting a nearby store when the first plane hit. It was a normal sunny day in the financial district of Manhattan; people were simply going about their business. I was too absorbed in shopping to notice a low-flying Boeing 767 pass over my head and hit the North Tower, killing an untold number of people immediately. The explosion and a scream reverberated through the storefront I was in; I saw the fires, the smoke, licking at the sides of building and I could register what was happening. This was something I, no one, not anyone in this city has seen before.

I thought, at first, it was an accident. Someone was yelling a plane flew into the World Trade Center, and they knew someone who worked there. I recollected myself from my shock and began talking to anyone who saw, or at least had a vague sense of what was happening before us. A sense of dread and despair filled us as we realized that hundreds of people were immediately killed – there could be upwards of over 100,000 people in the World Trade Center towers at any time. We hoped that at least there’d be viable escape routes for the people in the above floors, but we didn’t realize they were trapped.

In a blur, first responders came by and told us to get out of the store and head out of the city. I grabbed my things and quickly moved with the panicked crowd, some breaking out into fits and others stood still, gaping in awe at what was unfolding before them. I remember looking back and seeing a massive plume of black smoke spout from the Tower and across the skyline. It was disheartening to see; those towers were just as important to New York City as the other symbols, the Empire State and Central Park.

That’s when I saw the second plane, low and menacing, circle around the city and hit the second tower at an angle. People screamed, panicked, and ran; we knew now what it was. Terrorists.

A million thoughts ran through my head as I tried to figure out who or what organization would daringly attack America like this. How they could kill thousands of innocent people in one of the busiest spots in Manhattan. Someone near me pointed out how people were jumping out of the towers, they’re becoming more frequent as the fires continued to burn. I was completely horrified. It was either burn to death or jump, there were no other options.

What a way to die.

Things began to get muddled as the South Tower collapsed. A cloud of pure dust and debris, of which I later would learn to be toxic, covered nearby streets. Tons of concrete crushed people on the ground and anyone in the buildings. It was a horrifying sight. The same occurred when the North Tower felled, the air was hard to breathe, it was difficult to see. A bright New York City day, ruined.

I would never forget that day.

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