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 My meeting this morning was at 200 Liberty, the building shook. People began running in all directions. Some that were outside ran in, those inside ran out, people at the top of the stairs went down, other ran up. I thought, so as I later learned did others, that 200 Liberty was bombed. Within a few seconds I watched people in the mezzanine level skywalk connecting buildings in the World Financial complex began to scream and run out of the skywalk into the main lobby. Over the volume of their screams, I heard what seemed to be the crackling sound of what I imagined to be the Hollywood version of automatic weapon fire. I was convinced there was armed gunman in the air walks chasing the people into the building. People ran past me toward the security desk. I waited to see the reaction from the building’s security staff but turned back toward the air walk before I noticed their response. No one ran toward the skywalk. The noise got louder; I got frightened and dashed down the stairs and fled onto the street.

  I immediately spotted Scott and with him in the image’s indelible forefront, my frame’s backdrop contained the still warm and smoldering scattered piles of rubble that had rocketed out of the World Trade Center. The piles were on all the streets and the plaza surrounding us. Concrete, furniture, and building parts had been blown out, downward to the pavement below. My mind couldn’t complete the puzzle, nothing was registering with me. I thought that 200 Liberty was bombed and that the debris had fallen on to the streets from directly above.


  A fellow ran by and yelled that a twin-engine plane crashed into World Trade. I had a picture of a small plane like a Piper. Wow! I thought, remembering reading about a plane that hit the Empire State Building. I stepped out from the doorway of 200 Liberty and looked up. The sight was awful. Black smoke was billowing out of about a dozen floors about two thirds of the way up the Tower. A few incredibly red flames were visible under the thick pitch-black smoke. Nothing made sense, especially the idea that a plane crashed. I looked up toward the roof of 200 Liberty and it seemed O.K., so I asked another person running by, “What happened?”. “A plane that was trying to land at LaGuardia crashed into the Tower.” A third person yelled, “It’s a horrible accident, that plane was trying to land at the airport.” Scott turned to me, “Bomb”, he said chillingly and almost as a matter of fact. “Terrorist attack” he uttered a few seconds later. Maybe Scott was right. I discounted the idea of a plane being off course, it was too perfect a day, hardly any wind, deep blue sky and unlimited visibility.

Heavy debris, concrete, and façade metal and glass stopped raining down. Quickly surveying the roadways and intersections in front of us, it was inconceivable that one bomb could have caused this amount of destruction. I rethought the events of the past few minutes, a roar, an explosion, building shaking, and the crackle of gunfire; a bomb, maybe a missile, possibly a plane, the World trade Center, more likely a terrorist attack. The dumbfounding, paralyzing power of that moment’s confusion overwhelmed me. My feet were stuck to the pavement and I was transfixed on the Tower.


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