Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Ago Today

Five years ago today started as just a regular old workday for me, just like for most people across America. As the terrible events of 9/11 began to unfold, I emailed an old friend in New York City who was also at work. This is our email chain (unedited except for removing names). Even though my 9/11 story is quite inconsequential, I could never bring myself to delete this from my Inbox.


-----Original Message-----
From: NYC Friend
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 11:03 AM
To: Parlancheq
Subject: RE: Needs news fast!

I got home last night at about 6:30 PM. I had to walk home because there were no subways, buses, taxis, etc. The streets are still devoid of cars and in NYC at rush hour (basically all day) that is a chilling sight. I stayed up all night watching the news coverage of which I had been deprived all day at the office. Watching those images of the towers crumbling into ruin made it impossible to sleep. Just unbelievable to look up and not see them in the skyline any longer. And then the third building came down, too.

I guess the perps came in through Canada, flew from Portland, ME to Boston and then started terror. Yes, it seems that the pilots must have been overwhelmed by the terrorists and then carried out the suicide attacks. The video of the second, large plane just smashing into the tower is something none of us will ever forget. They are still hoping to dig out survivors from the rubble.

Something amazing and heroic must have happened on the fourth plane that crashed outside Pittsburgh. Seems that the passengers and/or crew must have been able to force the plane down before it could hit Camp David or the White House. There is so much bravery and unity here in New York – it is quite inspiring and one feels very proud of the firefighters, police, EMT's, volunteers, etc. They are saying now that at least 300 of the emergency workers are still missing.

I wax poetic, but it is a time for true feelings to be shared. Just be glad that you are yours are safe and sound today. I still don't feel particularly safe. When I think of all those lives that were lost for no reason, I get very choked up. I nearly burst into tears on the nearly empty and silent subway car when I saw again the front page of the New York Post.

I'm going to be in the office all day again.


-----Original Message-----
From: Parlancheq
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 3:18 PM
To: NYC Friend
Subject: RE: Needs news fast!

I would caution you about the ills of smoking, but considering the apparent danger of just showing up at work in the morning, a few cigs probably isn't going to do you in.

Just watched TV for about 20 minutes. Not too much new news. A lot of video footage from earlier today in NYC, not much else. Pictures from around the towers are amazing. Very had to believe that BOTH towers came down. Boston airport authority confirmed two of the 'unaccounted for' (i.e., crashed) planes originated from Logan -- I'm thinking all the security folks there can pretty much kiss their jobs good-bye -- and one of those planes definitely hit one of the World Trade Center towers, with reportedly no prior communication from the plane regarding problems/hijacking. Info from the airlines is pilots are trained to steerclear of all populated areas in case of hijacking, so likely the pilot wasn't flying (was dead?) when the plane approached NYC airspace and was steered into the World Trade Center, although maybe we'll never know as the 'black boxes' may be impossible to find in all the rubble. Anyway, you'll probably hear all this on the news this evening.


-----Original Message-----
From: NYC Friend
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 2:13 PM
To: Parlancheq
Subject: RE: Needs news fast!

I'm headed out to smoke a cigarette which I'm about to bum from my assistant. All of our events for this week have canceled. Of course, it's our busiest week until December. But really, none of that shit matters right now. I can't wait to get home and watch TV. I've only seen lame stills on the internet.

Now they're saying it may have come from Saudi Arabia or Algeria. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds. The date today is 911, which is very chilling.


-----Original Message-----
From: Parlancheq
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 2:03 PM
To: NYC Friend
Subject: RE: Needs news fast!

Someone here just said the same thing...about how these types of strikes usually come in groups and today's destruction was likely just the beginning. Actually seemed to me, he knew far too much about 'how these things work.' Hmmm... Guess I better try not to piss him off, just in case.

No one here is working, except for my boss's boss whose office is across the hall. He's been on conference call after conference call, all work related. (Very thin walls here, so I'm quite sure about it.) He must be under the false assumption what we do matters. I mean, really, it's not like the data are going to disappear if we don't analyze them today. One of the secretaries is spazzing because her sister lives in NYC. Even though she got an email from her this morning that she was at home and OK, she won't be content until she gets a real live phone call. Everyone else is pretty much glued to the TV screen in the conference room. I, myself, am taking a break from news for the moment, although I'll no doubt head back there in a few, even though nothing new has been reported in hours.


-----Original Message-----
From: NYC Friend
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 1:16 PM
To: Parlancheq
Subject: RE: Needs news fast!

I can't help but wonder if the carnage is over, or if there's more on the way. These sickos are really fucked up. Death in the name of God is certainly the work of the devil - this comes from a devout atheist.

I still don't know what friends of mine may or may not be OK and it's freaking me out. I can't really believe the towers are just gone until I see it for myself. It seems to unbelievable. I'll be at work until like 8:00 PM tonight, when all I really want to do is go home, watch TV and cozy up to a glass of scotch!

If the US supported Palestine, then the Israelis would have done it. Just nuke the whole fucking area and get rid of them all. Bush has been spirited away to some war room somewhere, I'm sure. I'll be curious to find out what happens next. Everyone's just in shock now. You should see the look on the faces of people in the streets.


-----Original Message-----
From: Parlancheq
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 12:45 PM
To: NYC Friend
Subject: RE: Needs news fast!

Yeah, heard the same rumor about the PA crash...actually someone here commented on it being a probable scenario when the first word came of the PA crash. Not sure about the crash near Camp David - Heard that once on the news, but then not since, although ABC is now reporting a fifth 'unaccounted for' plane. Of course, I'm beginning to wonder, where the hell is Bush? If he left Florida at 10:00, why hasn't he surfaced anywhere yet (e.g., via video feed from some secure bunker in a hillside of West Virginia)?? And why do they keep saying Cheney is 'in charge' at the White House? Mind you, I rather prefer thinking Cheney is in charge than Bush at this point. At least he has experience, if nothing else!

Glad your friend's dad is OK. Don't think I really know anyone in NYC except you. (The kids go to camp with people from NYC and surrounding area, but the kids themselves weren't likely to be in the towers on a school day. Who knows about their families?) Someone here's sister lives in NYC, but she's OK, although reportedly the crash/collapse shook her out of bed this a.m.

Haven't seen the Palestinian footage. ABC (the only channel we can get here really clearly) just keeps showing a live feed from somewhere at the "tip of Manhattan." Religious fanatic types make me sick anyway. I'm all for everyone preaching/practicing whatever they want, but I think you really cross the line when you go and crash a bunch of planes into major cities just because the US supports Israel. (Or whatever the eventual reason might be found to be.) Give me a friggin break. I don't think there is any God who would approve of such a thing.


-----Original Message-----
From: NYC Friend
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 12:26 PM
To: Parlancheq
Subject: RE: Needs news fast!

I'm in midtown pretty far, so I can't really see anything downtown. All of our events are cancelled, except some accounting firm. They can't go home, so they're coming here to eat and drink. So, I'll be here for the whole day. I guess that everyone below the 80th Floor of the first tower got out OK. My friends Dad was on 77 and he got out, just barely before the total collapse of the tower. The hospitals here are overflowing and a strange calm has come over the City. The rumor here is that the PA crash was actually a commercial jet shot down before it crashed into the heart of Pittsburgh. Who knows?

Also, footage of the Palestinians dancing in the streets is really sick.


-----Original Message-----
From: Parlancheq
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 11:51 AM
To: NYC Friend
Subject: RE: Needs news fast!

Yep, the Japanese folks are just thinking...oh, regular old day in NYC. They will probably snap tons of photos on the way to their luncheon (I'm thinking stereotypical Japanese tourist...), and make loads of cash selling them to the news agencies.

Our Atlanta office closed for the day at the request of the landlord down there... probably just being cautious and trying to avoid massive lawsuits, just in case. All our other offices are staying open for now, not that much work is getting done. I was checking out the news, but it's just the same old stuff over and over since no one really knows much at this point.

Reports are 4 planes were hijacked (1 from Boston, 2 from Dulles-Washington, and 1 from Newark) with two hitting the towers, 1 hitting the Pentagon (or in that vicinity), and 1 crashing near Camp David in (rural) Maryland. Also, a possible crash in (rural) Western PA. That last one was reported, but not ad nauseam like everything else.

I got thru via telephone to my Mom’s office, only to find she's working off-site this week, and that the site she's at is hosting a group of school kids from NYC. Didn't even try to call there - I'm sure it's chaos trying to see if any of the kid's families were affected by stuff in the city. Can't reach anyone else (Dad, the aunties) – Not that I need to talk to any of them. You know, it's just when you think you can't call them, all of a sudden you want to.

Are you getting lots of smoke where you are? That's what they keep showing on TV, but I'm not sure how far you are from the towers.

Take care.


-----Original Message-----
From: NYC Friend
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 11:21 AM
To: Parlancheq
Subject: RE: Needs news fast!

I'll probably stay at the office - good to be around people. Both WTC towers are gone. Everyone is cancelling, except the goddamn Japanese who don't seem to think anything unusual is happening. IDIOTS. They are arriving for lunch in 10 minutes.


-----Original Message-----
From: Parlancheq
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:38 AM
To: NYC Friend
Subject: RE: Needs news fast!

Go home (or stay at work if that's safer). Who the hell needs to schedule their special event today?? I also was just going to email you about the World Trade Center collapse, but you are closer and probably have better details than I at this point. I was still waiting to hear if it was one tower, or both, that collapsed. News from DC is that planes crashed into both the Pentagon and the USA Today building, with the "Palestines" claiming credit for everything. Our DC office is a several miles from downtown, but not far from the Israeli embassy, so the cops are all over that neighborhood.

Keep in touch, OK?


-----Original Message-----
From: NYC Friend
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:36 AM
To: Parlancheq
Subject: RE: Needs news fast!

Both World Trade Center towers are now gone. Washington is totally fucked as well. I just went down to the street and the mood is surreal. Hundreds of people were seen jumping out of the WTC towers before the first then the second collapsed. Yes, we are trapped on Manhattan Island, but we still have our land line phones - no cells. All airports in the country are closed. This is like war, it's very scary. I wish I were at home.


-----Original Message-----
From: Parlancheq
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:16 AM
To: NYC Friend
Subject: RE: Needs news fast!

Ohmygod! Well, one thing's for sure -- I will never, never fly again! (I already was completely paranoid about it.) Well, at least you're OK. That's a start.

I got a little bit of news from a co-worker, but all details are extremely sketchy. Same as you know already, two planes hit the towers around 9 a.m. First one, reportedly an American Airlines flight from Boston on route to LA which may have been hijacked, and the second an unidentified aircraft, but based on size, probably another commercial flight. And then explosion/fire at or near the Pentagon. (Someone in our DC office emailed me that it was at the White House, but the news is reporting it's the Pentagon in Northern Virginia) All phones in DC are down, even cells, per folks at our DC office. (Emails are still getting thru viaour direct LAN connection.) And you guys (all New Yorkers) are apparently the main suspects as you have been indefinitely incarcerated on Manhattan Island with the closure of all tunnels, bridges, airports, etc, etc.

I'm going to the conference room here where there is a television to see what else I can find out; just far too much going on in the world to worry about work. I'll let you know if I hear anything, and then maybe we can catch up on old news. I really would love to hear all about your trip.


-----Original Message-----
From: NYC Friend
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:08 AM
To: Parlancheq
Subject: RE: Needs news fast!

Europe was fine, but one of the WTC buildings is now totally GONE! They've closed the bridges, tunnels, subways and the airports across the country. I just heard that the Pentagon is now on fire. I too am trying to get news, but to no avail. We have no TV or radio at my office and it's really starting to piss me off.


-----Original Message-----
From: Parlancheq
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 9:37 AM
To: NYC Friend
Subject: Needs news fast!

Hey, how was Europe?? OK, more on that later... What is up in NYC??? Planes (plural?) crashing into the World Trade Center? Hijacked from Boston?? I'm only getting limited news. I can't even get onto the good Internet news sites -- Seems half the world is also trying. What do you know?

6 comments:

Just D said...

That is very intense. Thank you for sharing that.

Dr. A said...

No one will ever forget what they did that day. These e-mails emphasize that. Thanks for sharing.

alessia said...

thank you for sharing...

PARLANCHEQ said...

Hi commenters x 3. Thanks for visiting. I hesitated to post the emails because they were so long. But for me they bring back that day and how we didn't really know what was going on at first and then couldn't believe what was going on because it was too incomprehensible.

Julie said...

No, I'm glad you did post them. It's so interesting to replay just how confusing that day was, and how the information slowly unfolded, and how much speculation there was about who did this, how did they manage to do it, etc?

BeeJiggity said...

Thanks for sharing that string.

It is interesting to see the way other people experienced that earthshaking day.

I understand why you could not bring yourself to delete it.