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Topic: 9/11
Message: Posted by: arthur stead (Sep 11, 2020 02:46PM)
My wife Leslie and I lived through 9/11. We lost contact for 14 hours after the event, because all TV and phone service had died. I’ve relayed the personal details of what we endured on that day in a previous 9/11 post a few years ago. But I thought that today I would share just 2 of the many traumatic things we experienced afterwards. Bear in mind, the fire from Ground Zero burned for 8 months, and all residents in the vicinity inhaled that smoke during that time.

At the time, Leslie was helping an elderly couple run their antique shop in Gramercy Park while they vacationed in Budapest. The morning after 9/11, Leslie opened the shop and found that phone service had been restored. She called the couple and explained that the Twin Towers were gone. Try as she might, she just couldn’t get them to grasp that reality. They just didn’t believe her, until news the media in Europe finally reported the facts.

Later that morning, a group of elderly ladies living in the neighborhood visited the shop. They were very distraught, and Leslie tried to comfort them. At one point they all held hands and cried together. (Remember, no one knew at that stage what had really happened; whether more attacks would come; whether it was a dirty bomb, etc.). Anyway, Leslie noticed that these ladies all had numbers tattoos on their arms. Referring to the smoke from the fire, they told my wife, “We recognize that smell.” Because it was not only the smell of furniture and documents and electronics and building materials in that smoke from Ground Zero … it was the smell of burnt human beings, too.

The second event happened a couple days later, when Leslie and I were on the subway heading to work. Our train was diverted to an unscheduled subway stop close to Ground Zero. The train stopped, the doors opened, and an unbelievable stench filled our car. People were choking and holding their noses; some were coughing and retching; and a lady sitting right across from us involuntarily puked. A lone fireman stepped into our car. He looked exhausted, terribly sad, and there was smoke coming from his boots. Everyone acknowledged, without speaking, that we were breathing the smell of death. The train took off, and no one said a word. We were all just left with our own thoughts.

Sometime later, we heard that about 300 people had been waiting in a subway stop right underneath one of the Towers. When that Tower collapsed, the water pipes in the subway burst, and those 300 souls drowned.

I’ve got many more traumatic stories to tell, but I think this will do for now.

We must never forget!
Message: Posted by: slowkneenuh (Sep 12, 2020 12:24AM)
A moving story Arthur. I truly regret the incident that caused so much heartbreak and changed dramatically the way we live and the sacrifices that people made then and continue to make today. I'm also sorry you had to get up close and personal experiences of the tragedy.