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Each plunge brought a groan from those in our small crowd that dared look up.  Each groan triggered screams and wails from many more who wouldn't dare turn their eyes skyward.  Tears filled our eyes while the scene was repeated over and over again.   A half dozen more leapt.  Scott and I were like stunned and couldn’t bare the unfolding horror.  Some men and women fainted and some others were frozen hard with the fascination of the fast unfurling events.   We had to leave.  We were going to walk to the river, now.  Before setting out, my knees were weak so I sat on my briefcase to collect myself.


Resting against the doors opposite me were two men and an EMT.  One man had the top of his head burned away and was bleeding heavily from gashes above his ear.  The second was wearing what appeared to be a Hawaiian shirt, until I realized that it was his flesh, muscle, bone and blood that made up the gruesome colors of the print.  I had to leave at that second.  I stepped away from 200 Liberty World Financial Center, aimed toward the River.  The second plane, a Boeing 767 struck.  This was much different than the first hit.  The second crash was a phenomenal roar of jet engines aimed directly to our ears in all directions after ricocheting off the concrete and asphalt canyons formed by the buildings and streets. Then the concussion of the explosion nearly knocked us off our feet with its power.  We didn't know where to look, where to run, where to hide. The jet delivered its payload with a fury more like a full volume surround-sound of a Saturn rocket trying to escape Earth’s gravity.  The reality was quite different; a plane plunging down toward the center of the earth.


The sound shook us to our bones, momentarily convinced, that this second hit was a missile or a rocket.  It was beyond our comprehension that we witnessed a fully fueled 767 jet running full throttle at 700 feet overhead hitting an immovable object while carrying 15,000 gallons of jet fuel and 100 people.


Scott and I were scared.  We thought for another minute that maybe there were other rockets aimed at us.  Would there be another, and another?  We assessed the worsening situation in a workman like manner, what was riveting, painful yet infuriatingly fascinating, became real and immediate personal dangers.  The horror unleashed by the second strike started us walking away in search of safety.  The whole time our ears picked up the continuous crowd drone and the repetition of whimpers as another, and another, and another hero, being first imprisoned, leapt to a fast and concise finality, snatching away from fate what I imagined like being dipped alive in the Hell of the Towers’ fury.


We headed toward the Hudson River, determined to walk out of this horror and into the safety of our families deep in New England. We moved along like two machined parts on a long conveyer belt.  Methodically,, without looking back, we passing through intersections where vehicles of all descriptions were parked, abandoned some still with motors running.  We walked on sidewalks cluttered with mothers and children, workers and bosses, police and fire, EMTs, a park rangers.  Mostly the mass of humanity was either flowing toward the scene of the disaster or stayed still as for those with unobstructed views.  A few like us walked away.  During our exit we heard one jetliner hit each Tower.  We heard eight planes in all were hijacked.  At some point we heard that one plane hit the Pentagon, a car bomb blew up the Washington Memorial, a plane crashed into the Chicago’s Sears Tower, the TransAmerica Building and there were four planes in the sky somewhere still at large.  Looking up, I asked, “Where is the Air Force?  Where are the fighters?”  I picked out two NYPD helicopters, hardly a force.

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