Wabash men's experiences
I did not want to believe what
was on TV. I frantically dialed my home number many times before I got
through. I heard the voice of my mother. She was crying. She could not
find my father. Suddenly all went numb inside of me. I felt nothing. I
wanted to get sad, but I just felt empty.
Later that evening, we found out that my fathers job did not
send him inside the World Trade Center that day. I spoke with him, and
he told me about seeing the plane hit.
Nnamdi Nwosa 05, whose father works for the City
of New York and regularly serviced the World Trade Center
On the first floor of my office building at 32 Old Slip, there is a fire
station. Thirteen men from that engine company died on 9/11. My secretary
today brought the remaining men brownies she baked for them last night.
She had been coming out of the Path Train (station was in the basement of
the WTC) when the first plane hit. As she was running from the building,
she saw many people jump to their deaths, so she has been terrified to return
to the city. But she wanted to return today in order to deliver those brownies.
I am damned proud of her.
From my apartment, I can now hear the sounds of helicopters lifting from
a Coast Guard ship outside my window and of machines removing pieces of
the ruins at the WTC.
Just found out a good friend and his adopted son were on one of the Boston
flights. I'll be going to the memorial service in Syracuse. Very sad times.
Dave Marshall 83
New York City
from Wally-L posting
I saw the towers collapse. We saw people jump out of
buildings, and afterwards we saw the many families torn apart who had lost
those they loved. Now, their memories lie in pictures and short journals
posted up and down the streets of Manhattan.
Lower Manhattan is demolished and virtually shut down from anybody. Id
spent many hours there in the past. It had been a beautiful place to abide.
In many ways, these deaths remind me of the violence I grew up with and
the many deaths in the inner-city neighborhoods of my youth. I will not
forget what has happened on this American soil. and I will not forget what
has happened during those perilous times of living in volatile inner-city
communities. They will have an impact on my work for a long time.
e-mail from Nate Quinn 00
I work out on Long Island, about 60 miles east of NYC,
but happened to be in the city yesterday to attend a water quality conference
in the Con Edison building on 14th Street (about 2 miles north of the
Trade Center.) I had taken the train in from LI and, it being a beautiful
day, was walking to the meeting. At about 8:50 am, I heard a number of
sirens and saw rescue vehicles heading south but didn't think much about
it as sirens in the city are pretty common. The conference started at
9. At about 10:20 the session moderator informed us that a plane had crashed
into the Twin Towers and that they were on fire. Con Ed said that the
city was locked down with no subway or train service and that all the
bridges were closed. They advised us to sit tight until further notice.
Needless to say, the conference was over.
We were in a windowless auditorium on the 19th floor but managed to find
a south-facing window at the end of a narrow hall. My first glimpse of
the situation showed the north tower on fire backgrounded by a huge cloud
of smoke and dust. No south tower. I felt sickened. I left for a few minutes
and when I returned, the north tower was gone. The scene was almost surreal
with the city framed by bright blue sky but blotted with the grayish white
smoke and dust plume drifting off to the southeast
At about noon the local city dwellers began to drift off but we out-of-towners
waited for some word on transportation and exit routes. My office had
paged me earlier to see if I was OK and I was able to use my cell phone
to reply affirmatively. I asked them to keep me informed of the transportation
situation as we were getting no news in the auditorium. Pagers worked
but cell phones gave busy or no signals most of the time.
Around 1 pm I heard that the Long Island Railroad had announced that train
service out of the city would be resuming but with no schedule. I decided
to walk back up to Penn Station on the chance that the trains would begin
running. Since some bridges were reported open to foot traffic, my backup
plan was to walk to the 59th Street Bridge and cross there to reach one
of my company's facilities in Queens.
The walk uptown was uneventful. There was virtually no vehicular traffic
but lots of walkers as it seemed that everyone was let out early. No panic
and every one seemed unususually courteous (for New Yorkers), but many
people were stunned and awestruck as they first came around a corner and
were able to look down an avenue and see the huge smoke plume.
I was able to get on one of the first trains out. There was no schedule,
but the LIRR had everything pretty well organized with plenty of staff
to direct people to the right trains. They packed them up and sent them
on their way as soon as they were full. The ride was amazingly silent.
As I write this, I just learned that one of my son's friends, who I knew
from their days playing together on a traveling soccer team, has not been
heard from. He worked on the 102nd floor of the north tower, which was
the first to be hit.
Chris Gross '64
Yesterday morning, I was in the office at about
8:30 am. My office is in midtown, about 2-3 miles from the World Trade
Center. At the time of the first crash, I was on the phone with a broker,
who, in turn, was receiving television and internet broadcasts and informing
me of what was going on during our conversation. We ended our call before
the second plane hit. I then went to an internal meeting.
Since at that time those of us in the meeting only knew about the first
plane, it was not yet clear whether it was a tragic accident or a terrorist
attack, but of course we all suspected the latter.
The meeting lasted until about 10:15. At that point, we all knew that
the crashes were part of a terrorist attack. Our office building was not
evacuated, but many others were, so we all decided to leave.
My wife Veronica and I, walked home. (We work together here at Dewey Ballantine,
and our apartment is about a 15 minute walk away.) There were more people
than usual on the streets because apparently everyone had left work, but
at least in midtown there was no panic or hysteria. Everyone was walking
in an orderly manner.
We stopped by the grocery store on the way home. Since Manhattan is an
island (which many people tend to forget) we knew that if the bridges
and tunnels are closed, there would be no way for food to be brought into
the city. The store was crowded, but again very orderly.
Once we got home we got something to eat because both of us wanted to
give blood and neither of us had eaten yet. We quickly went to give blood
but we were turned away. There were already more donors than the medical
staff could handle. We were asked to come back today.
We spent the rest of the day trying to locate friends. Later that night,
my friend and Wabash classmate A.J. Lindeman  came over for
dinner, and we watched the events unfold. I will be leaving the office
soon, and my wife and I are going to try to give blood again.
John M. Olivieri 91
As I sit down to write about this, the wind has changed
directions and now for the first time can I actually smell and taste the
destruction. It's almost as if this bit of randomness in the wind serves
as another reminder that we cannot always control our thoughts or actions.
Nonetheless, some 30-odd hours later I think I can put the events into
the right order, with some perspective.
I work on a trading floor for an investment bank in Times Square and was
at work as usual before 8am yesterday morning. The trading floor is not
the stock-exchange open outcry type, rather the telephone and computer
screen jumble one sees on CNN.
I was fresh from a two week vacation, and had just flown back to Newark
on Saturday night with a twilight view of the lower Manhattan skyline,
looking at the twin towers as I always do in that situation and marvel
how they changed the skyline forever, defining the tip of the island with
and exclamation point.
By 8:45 I was talking to a colleague when there was commotion on the floor
-- for a split second I was thinking 'what economic number has come out?',
but basically instantly realized the murmur wasn't like that and ran to
a TV. We found out quickly that it was a plane, and had time to have the
conversation that we felt guilty that it was a good thing, in a way, for
it to have been a plane, since that implied it was an accident. Not liking
to stare at TV news faster than information was available, I tried to
walk around a bit, stopped to check email, going through the motions of
trying to think about work. Looking today, I found a timestamp of one
command I put into the computer was 8:59am.
When the second plane hit, there were shrieks and pained faces all about.
Fairly quickly we knew that there would be no more trading that day, and
I was trying to determine what we needed to do to lock down the trading
system so we could go home. About that time, one of my colleagues heard
from his wife who worked on a high floor of one of the towers that they
stopped her train 2 stops from Manhattan and that she was ok. Most things
could be done from home computers if necessary.
We decided to regroup in an office in another building, on the 34th floor
of a building on 6th Ave. With a straight shot downtown, I caught my first
first-hand view of the damage. We've all seen the pictures: there's nothing
more I can say as far as my reaction went. We started a rushed meeting,
but when the first tower fell and I saw the rising dust and smoke, I offered
my apartment to my commuting colleages, and we left. Walked directly uptown,
through Central Park as much as we could. One of us had a radio, and the
second tower collapsed when we were at 72nd Street.
I spent a couple of hours at the apartment decompressing and absorbing,
with only some conversation. And of course making phone calls. The phones
At 12:30, with some guilt for being hungry, we tried to distill
the latest facts from the TV and went around the corner to a deli for
lunch. The pedestrian traffic was one-way, streaming up
Broadway. 80th street was far enough uptown that we did not see any of
the 'walking wounded' but certainly it told the story clearly enough.
We soon heard the figher jets screaming across the skyvery distinct
from the commercial traffic that normally takes a big right turn to follow
Central Park North to LaGuardia.
By 4 pm, numbed enough to watch more TV, my colleagues had decided to
head to Grand Central Station in order to catch commuter trains home.
They did and made it home not too late. I walked the dog down on the Hudson
River promenade and out to the pier at 72nd street. Many New Yorkers were
out, it was a clear and hot fall day, and the attitude was more relaxed
than tense, though certainly subdued. There were a few amateur strategists
and analysts, but most talk was about loved ones and personal experiences.
Finally, my friends John and Veronica Olivieri, invited me over for dinner.
I have to thank them for that, as I didn't want to sit home in alone in
my own thoughts on that night.
A.J. Lindeman 91
At 2 a.m. I was on my way through
the rain to pick up supplies in the AMEX building, which among other things
was being used as a transfer station for the bodies and parts of bodies
we had recovered from the site. From there, they were packed onto trucks
to be taken to the morgue at Bellevue Hospital. As I entered the atrium
of the building I saw scores of workers holding their hard hats over their
chests. Fifty yards away a dozen firefighters proceeded slowly in my direction
carrying a body bag. I removed my hard hat and stepped to the side. As
they approached, I could read their red, swollen eyes. Their uniforms
were dark with mud and soot. Raindrops dripped from everyones gear.
A priest wearing a raincoat, a hard hat, goggles, a respirator, and a
headlamp came forward with a book and oils. The men carrying their fallen
friend cried quietly as the priest rolled back the bag and anointed the
body, administering Last Rites. In the atrium, heads bowed and no one
moved. I dont remember how long we stood there, but time seemed
to stop as profane space became as sacred as a shrine. Eventually, the
priest stepped away, and the firemen walked slowly forward, out the doors
and into the truck waiting outside. Without a word, we went back out into
the dark rain to work.
Vince Druding 97, volunteer rescue worker at World Trade
Center, from his essay "Ground Zero: A Journal," First Things,
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