February 26, 2002

Michelle, New Jersey

Our offices at Fiduciary Trust were on the 90th to 97th Floors of Tower 2, with a few unoccupied floors in between. I remember at about 8:40 AM, a friend called and I had told him I had come into work early to finish a project I was working on the night before. Almost immediately after I hung up the phone, there was an unforgettable sound - the roar of an airplane engine. The next sound we heard was what sounded like an earthquake, then a bomb.

I was running for my life, not knowing what would happen next, when I saw my co-worker Lori running out as well. We headed for the elevator, and then I stopped. I asked her, "Shouldn't we be taking the stairs in an emergency like this?" and she replied, "No! Just get in the elevator! C'mon!" We dashed into the elevator and held the door as our co-worker Andrew ran in. All three of us looked at one another in disbelief. An eerie feeling stirred throughout my body. For a moment, I thought I was dead, as if our Tower had been hit. Then the elevator stopped. The doors opened to the 90th Floor, and all I heard were the screams of panicked employees. Lori and I pleaded with them to come into the elevator, but no one did. The door then closed. Why didn't they go? This question haunts me every day. Many of the people on the 90th Floor who were there that day are missing.

We landed on the 78th Floor, which was one of the main elevator banks of Tower 2. Lori and I ran into the nearest elevator we could find, and shoved our way in. A woman in front of us said, "That's it! No more people!" I looked behind me, and there were two men - scrambling to get on another elevator. When the elevator stopped at the ground floor, I looked to my left. Liberty Street, which is the main entrance used by many Trade Center employees, was in ruins. Debris from the Tower and office papers engulfed the sidewalk. I watched as security guards lead people away from the street outside, when I took my cell phone from my purse and called my manager, Joanie.

Still not really knowing what had happened, I said, "Joanie! I think there was an explosion in the World Trade Center!" She asked me to hold as she turned on the television. "Oh my God! A plane just hit the Trade Center!" For whatever reason, I asked her if I should go back upstairs. Joanie relentlessly said, "No! You go home and call me as soon as you can." When I ended the call, I heard someone on the PA system say that there were no problems with Tower 2 and workers should go back to their desks. I decided to walk out.

 
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