9/11 and the days that followed are ones I will never forget

September 11, 2020

9/11 and the days that followed are ones I will never forget. I was supposed to be under 2 World Trade Center at 8:45am when the first plane hit but slept through my alarm clock. My office was located directly across the street from the World Trade Center towers and when the towers came down, so much heavy shrapnel hit our building and tore a chunk of it down.

Two people in my office died that day and hundreds of coworkers had stories of diving under cars and in corners right before more heavy shrapnel hit the ground and could have killed them. My girlfriend worked on the 100th floor of Two World Trade and 700 people in her office died. I thought she died too but she happened to go down and get coffee. I cried when we finally reconnected. Cell phones did not work well for 2-3 weeks after that so it was hard to know what was going on. Our investment bank had to scramble and figure out a way to get the whole bank to work out of warehouses 3 hours away in each direction so we had a six hour commute each day to New Jersey to get to the warehouses soon after 9/11. It was an unbelievable thing to experience.

I was the sole volunteer of my whole investment banking group to offer to go into the half torn building and retrieve critical documents for the company. I volunteered because I wanted to see what happened and really understand the calamity of it all. I put two moon suits on, goggles, gas mask and flashlight and went into our building with a Marine Corps captain with 9 pages of critical documents to retrieve for the investment bank.

Going into the building felt like going into a bombed out bunker. The firemen had drawn finger paintings across the whole bank on the thick white sooted walls of planes flying into the towers, it was eerie yet poetic. I slugged through the fallen walls and fallen cubicles and saw half drunk and abandoned cups of coffee still there with white soot in them, and eventually found all of the items in the nine pages and put them in big black garbage bags and wheeled them out with the Marine. It was a moment in time I will never forget and one that made me even more grateful to be alive.