September 11, 2001, a day that will be burned in the back of our minds for the rest of our lives. It was a day when all hell broke loose in New York City, and Washington D.C., and the worst possible things imaginable happened. When you left the house that morning, did you think that it would be an ordinary day? Probably, and so did 6,198 people who are now either confirmed dead or missing. The number might sound a little high but it is the truth, over 6,000 people are either missing or dead, when a group of terrorists rammed two planes into the WTC like a bull in a china shop, whereas nothing in the area is left whole.
It was the beginning of a normal day in the life of the world's financial and business capitol. I got up out of bed as usual, showered, shaved, ate breakfast and kissed my wife and kids goodbye.
It was 8:00 am and I was just leaving the house for the long daily hike towards the nearest subway station, almost 10 blocks south of home. At 8:30 am I stepped off the subway and into the Concourse level of World Trade Center 1, the North Tower. I got on the elevator and pressed the button for the 40th floor where my office was. Once I stepped off the elevator I went straight to my computer, logged onto the network and double clicked on Outlook Express to check my e-mail. As I double clicked on the first e-mail I felt a low rumble which quickly got louder and started shaking the building. All of a sudden it felt like the whole building shook, and the first thing that went through my mind was "What the hell was that?"ÃÂ. At first I thought it might've been an earthquake so I looked out my window and I noticed the sheets of paper falling from above, and I saw the black, billowy smoke filling the sky. I then told everyone on my floor to get to the stairs and walk to the ground floor, something told me that we were in trouble and we had to get out now! The only person that couldn't get out was Betty, a paraplegic who was in a wheelchair, so I ran over to her picked her up out of the chair and started to carry her down forty floors. On the way down firefighters were passing me going up, wearing gas masks and extremely heavy equipment. One passed out on the way up, I could hear him as he fell but I kept going because I couldn't carry another person. I was so scared, not only for my life but also for Betty's and my other colleagues. Were we going to die that day or make it out alive? Outside was when the smell hit me. It was different than any I have ever observed before. It smelled like sulpher, burning paper and wood, and like death. Then I looked at my watch, 9:45 am, an hour after I started down the stairs. Immediately two paramedics ran over and took Betty out of my hands and escorted me to the nearest Triage center where they stitched up the cut on my head. That's when I saw my boss Sheila and I asked if Jim had gotten out. He worked for the accounting firm two floors above mine, and he was my best friend. Before she could tell me either way I heard another rumbling and I saw that the south tower had started to implode on itself. Sheer horror and adrenaline started to pump through my veins and I ran. About thirty feet in front of me, there was a car and I hid behind it as the cloud of dust, debris, smoke, and ashes came roaring towards me. It was like nothing I've ever felt before, the intense heat and the inability to breathe clearly. When the ashes finally settled I looked up and the sky was as black as night and there was such a thick layer of ashes on the ground it looked like it had just snowed. I started to walk towards the area where the towers used to be and I saw three fire engines that looked like they had been put through a vice. I kept walking until all I could see was smoke to my left and to my right. I stopped about ten feet from where 7 World Trade Center is, when I looked up and saw the other tower starting to collapse. Once again I ran, but this time I ran farther and faster than I had ever done before. When I ran out of breath and my legs hurt from running I walked and then when my legs where feeling better I ran again. I finally made it to Times Square and I stumbled into a building. I don't remember anything else until about three days later when I awoke to my Wife looking over a bed in a hospital. I think I passed out again that night when I heard the news that the towers were hit by planes.
It's been two weeks now. I've been in and out of hospitals looking for Jim. He's one of the 6,000 people that are missing. I went to Yankee stadium on Sunday and prayed for hours that somebody would find Jim and bring him home to his friends. I have a feeling that he won't be coming back, not now or ever. I just can't understand why it wasn't me that died. I was only two floors below him, yet I made it out and he didn't. I just doesn't make any sense why he had to die. I cry for him every night before I go to bed and every morning when I wake up in the mornings. When I woke up after being unconsious for over five days I told my wife that I wanted to move. I live in Canada now, but still being American I write so that my fellow Americans can understand what happened that day. Every time I hear sirens I jump and cringe and no matter what I try to do, I still can't get that horrible smell of death and destruction out my nose. It just doesn't make any sense why somebody would want to do this to thousands of innocent people and I hope that the President hits them and hits them hard. Many friends that I left in New York are still crying for lost loved ones as am I but I'm comforted by a verse in the Bible from Revelation 21:4, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."ÃÂ.
I will always remember the faces of the people that were climbing down the stairs, the smell of the smoke, and the, once glorious, New York skyline which is no more. I will always remember when the House of Representatives, bi-partisan as it is, became one party, Americans, and sang "America the Beautiful"ÃÂ on the steps of the Capital Building. I will always remember the friends loved, and lost on that dreadful day September 11, 2001.