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Ground Zero Diary

Snapshots of a Tragedy

An email from a young Texan:
I was just writing you to send you my love. Grandmother said you were okay, but I just wanted to let you know that I was thinking about you. Watching this terrible attack on the news really puts one's life into perspective. I can't imagine how it feels to be there and see the destruction. I'm glad that you are okay.

An email from Mexico:
I been praying for you all and all the Church in Chihuahua has joined to pray for NYC and the US. I hope violence stop very soon. I need help of you. My friend Manuel works at World Trade Center II, I do not know if he has been hurt or if he survived. I been trying to call NYC but I realize that all lines to call the US are busy. I guess everyone in Chihuahua is calling. Manuel's wife is from Colombia and I do not think knows many people in NYC. I want to ask you to call her or visit her to help her and him if he survived.

An email from Massachusetts:
Got your message that you're safe...internet access was at a stand still at work...we have an entire division located in the WTC and of course everyone had friends or family they were trying to get in touch with...we were told around 9:30 they were all evacuated... Of course I had no concept of where you lived and worked vs where the attacks were and the phones were down in NY.

An email from Tokyo:
I have been worried about you - tried to phone you more than 10 times but disconnected. Every TV in Japan is reporting this tragic event all day. GOD BLESS YOU AND AMERICA.

Then, I left the store and started heading up Broadway. I knew that my husband Peter would hear the news and worry about me. I wanted to phone him but every cell phone, every pay phone was busy. People were running and talking on their cell phones.

I decided to get as far as City Hall, and I would stop at my friend Bebe's apartment building and ask her if I could come up to telephone Peter.

I rang her bell and as soon as we said hello, there was a huge explosion behind me.

It was more terrifying than the first. People were screaming. The people around me couldn't see where the explosion had come from and it sounded like it had come from the sky. I thought we were being bombed from above.

I was aware of thinking, "This feels like Armageddon." The air was filled with the noise of sirens. Fire trucks, police cars were trying to get through on lower Broadway.

The cacophony added to the general feeling of panic. I remember thinking if the fire engines and police can't get to the building, we're in real trouble. I thought there might be continuous bombing.

I was running up Broadway the whole time. I only felt safe once I had gone past Canal. I couldn't imagine terrorists wanting to bomb north of Canal Street.

I wanted to call Peter again. Every phone was busy. Finally, I found a place and when I reached him, he said, "Thank God."

I was home by 9:30 am.

Less than twenty minutes later, the first of the two towers collapsed.