Wednesday, September 06, 2006

9/11: The Phone Calls

As soon as the first plane hit and we saw we were letting the networks cover the story I called my father. He worked in New York City for 20 years. He knew and worked with many companies that operated out of the WTC, and he is a pilot. At first we were all talking about an accident. I was talking to my Dad about Flight paths and Air Control Towers when I looked up and saw the 2nd plane live on TV. As it came into frame I remember saying He comes another one, somebody is going to lose their job sending planes over the city like that. When it hit I was stunned and my Dad said that was no accident. Things started moving in the control room and I told him I had to go.

Soon after I called my wife and told her what was going on. She was a Store Manager for Blockbuster at the time and there were no TV's only movies playing at the store and she was in her office (store still closed) going over nightly numbers and voicemails from district. I told her what had happened. She sent another employee up front to the only TV that got outside stations to put on the Today Show. I told her nobody knew anything and that just the 2 planes had hit the towers. I hung up and told her I would call later.

I called my Dad again and we talked for a few moments. He wanted to make sure I was OK and people were starting to think about getting to the ground floor in his building. One of his co-workers was upset because she was on a phone call with someone at the WTC when the line went dead (she was talking to someone at Cantor Fitzgerald). I eventually hung up.

When the plane hit the Pentagon the first call was to the wife. I told her what had happened and she freaked a little. She yelled at me telling me to not fuck around, I had to plead with her to believe me that the Pentagon was hit, she asked what was going on and I told her I think we are at war. I told her I would call with anything new and hung up.

I again called my father and we talked about 'the war'. He told me to be careful and we would talk later.

I then called my brother in Chicago. He was not home but his now wife answered and we talked for a few minutes. She was freaking out because their apartment was in the shadow of the Sear's Tower and that at some point during the call she looked outside and saw the streets filled with people moving away from the tower and heading to 'safety'. I told her to make sure she was safe and that I would call my brother later.

When the first tower fell I called my wife and just said it was gone. I told her I was going home as soon as possible and I would talk to her later. Eventually I left and got home. The first thing I did was call my grandmother (I did not have her number at work) who lives in Queens. I got her after a few tries (busy lines) and she was in tears. She could not understand why these animals would do something like that to the poor people, she could not understand why they would attack innocent people. Just like Pearl Harbor (my Grandfather, her husband was stationed there in 1941). We talked a little then I left to make more calls.

I tried to call my Aunt who also lives in Queens. I could not get through and was worried. My mother had called and told me my cousin was an EMT at New York University and was helping at the site. No one had heard from him and my Aunt was worried. He eventually came home but it was a long day for them.

After that last call I mostly sat on the couch and watched the entire thing unfold. I took a few more calls from wife and family but I remember little of those as I was just glued to the TV the rest of the day.


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