A Day Of Rememberance

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A repeat for today...

A Beautiful sight...

The sky was bright blue that morning. (As it is today in New York...exactly the same in fact) The train ride from Princeton Junction train station to New York Penn Station was uneventful.

As usual, I slept most of the ride.

Walking through Penn Station, I noticed a crowd and stopped to investigate. It seemed there were some NY Rangers in the Rotunda signing autographs and building excitement for their upcoming season.

I grabbed my cell phone and tried to call my friend Bob, a huge Ranger fan, but was unable to reach him, so I walked out into the warm sunny day and began my usual trek up 7th avenue toward 7th and 43rd where I was working at Juno Online.

Reaching the building, just off of Times Square, I stopped at the third floor cafeteria to pick up my roll and Pepsi and then rode the elevator up to my floor.

We had just moved from across the street, as Juno got ready to merge with Netzero, which would signal the end of my 6-month tenure with the company.

Sitting down in my cubicle, I turned on my radio to The Howard Stern Show and ate my roll as I laughed at some bit they were doing.

At about 8:55am, Robin Quivers, Howard’s sidekick, stopped the conversation and said “Hey Howard, a plane just hit the North World Trade Center Building” It hit at 9:46am…

As most of us did, they assumed it was some small private plane that had made an error. Then, everything changed…

Reports that another plane had hit the other tower. People were arriving and some began to gather at my cubicle and we listened. The radio I had also picked up TV frequencies, so we switched over to WABC in New York and their reports made us realize something very bad was happening.

All of a sudden, I realized about 25 people were crowed around...all straining to hear and then began to scatter to make phone calls to friends and loved-ones to se if the could get more info. We heard reports of planes hitting buildings in Washington and that the Washington Monument might have collapsed…so many stories…none confirmed.

About 9:30 or so, we headed downstairs to a pub located next door to watch the TV and find out what was really going on.

As were watching the TV, at 9:59 am, we watched in horror as the South Tower collapses before our eyes. A half hour later the North Tower also collapsed. We were standing there, crying, hugging each other, and wondering what we re going to do. I try my cell phone, but it is useless…the major cell towers for NY were located at the top of the two beautiful buildings that I just witnessed disappear.

With two other people, I head upstairs to our old offices to help one of the ladies get some things. When we get off the elevator, I turned to my right and looked out the window. Where, in the past, I could see two towers, all I saw was smoke and then it hit me…they were gone and so were so many people.

We hurried out and I said I needed to go…to where I was not sure, but my only thoughts were, if this was a terrorist attack, where else but Tomes Square is the decadence of New York more prevalent, with it’s billboards and theatres and so many people.

Heading uptown, I once again thought of my friend Bob, who lived in the upper 80’s on the east side. Maybe he was at his apartment and I could go there.

The news had said no trains were running, so there was no way to get home. As I walked, thousands of other people walked with me…dazed looks in their eyes…did I look the same to them I wondered?

I didn’t have Bob’s home number and I kept trying his cell to no avail. I found a phone book and ripped the page out that listed his last name and as I walked I stopped at phone booths on the street, trying to find the right number. Mostly I got answering machines, none were his. At one point a woman answered the phone and I asked for Bob and she started to wail asking if I knew her brother and he worked at the WTC and did I know if he were all right. My blood went cold, knowing it was not my friend’s home, but that I had put myself in a spot where I was listening to the sister of someone who might have just perished.

That was the last call I made.

I kept walking, now sure I would never find his apartment, but I didn’t really know what I was doing anyway.

Sirens were constant…fire trucks, ambulances; police cars sped by heading down toward the devastation.

Don’t turn around and look, if you do you will see the plume of smoke again...just keep heading north.

But eventually, I knew I had to head back toward Penn Station…it would be my only way home. I looked up and realized I was on 97th street and Third Avenue. I had walked 50+ blocks uptown and 6 blocks across town…in Manhattan that equates to about 3 –3.5 miles (20 city blocks to a mile, plus the cross-town avenue blocks).

I turned around... but stared at the sidewalk in front of me…never looking up…not wanting to see that plume of smoke I knew was there in place of those two majestic towers.

That was when I heard a sound I would hear over and over for the rest of that day…Two Navy jets blasted overhead. I heard a radio from a car saying that jets were circling Manhattan, making sure no other planes got close.

So, I walked…and kept walking…hearing the reports from radios…stopping to look at TV’s in bars…not really understanding or wanting to at that moment.

I walked all the way to 34th and 7th, where my morning had begun. Another 4 miles or so…how long did it take me? To this day, I am not sure.

Then I looked and there were thousands all around Penn Station. They were lined up…waiting to be told when they could go inside and get on trains to get home. THOUSANDS, but you could hear a pin drop except for the sirens and the planes overhead. When a plane flew overhead, faces would look up…staring…but no one talked.

People with bullhorns were saying things like “No trains would be running until they had walked the miles of tracks under the Hudson River to ensure there were no bombs placed there.

And when the lines began to move, we shuffled forward a few inches and then stopped…a few inches…stop.

I then realized, I was inside Penn Station and an announcement was made for a Trenton train…the line I ride. I was pushed along with the crowd, but when I got downstairs, there were people hanging out the doors...it looked to me like one of those trains you see in India with people hanging off every inch.

Today - Until We Rebuild

I moved back upstairs and saw a posting for another train I could take and made my way to that platform.

I am not sure how, but I ended up getting a seat and I flopped into it. My head was down…I didn’t want to look at anyone and I was not the only person like that. When I did look up, all you could see were the tops of heads.

There was a spot next to me and a body flopped down. I sensed something strange and looked out of the corner of my eye. The man who was next to me was covered in soot.

His entire suit and head, only his face was cleaned off and even then, it was still dirty.

I whispered, “Are you OK?” but did not get a response, so I just put my head back down and stared at my feet.

When the train finally pulled out there was not a millimeter of space left, the aisle jammed with bodies.

The train went into the tunnel under the Hudson and as we came out on the New Jersey side, all heads turned to look toward Manhattan. I didn’t want to, I am not sure anyone did, but we were all unable to stop ourselves.

This was not like when you slow down in a car to look at an accident…it was more like pausing to pay respect to an old friend.

That huge plume of smoke was still there…black and grey and white...all mixed together…rising high above a city I have always felt I was a par tof and now, a part of me was gone.

I had been up in the Towers more times then I can count. Showing friends from out of town…taking pictures of the city…eating at Windows On The World…and I would never be doing that again.

And the people…the thousands of people who worked there...what had happened to them? The firefighters…the police…the Port Authority personnel…the emergency responders…my brain went into overload again and all I could do was stare.

When the train finally arrived at Princeton Junction, I made my way to my car and somehow drove home.

I watched the TV that day and then the next and then could no longer watch. To this day, if an image of the towers from that day come on…the one’s with the smoke and fire or after the collapse, I turn away.

Recently I had to take Path into Manhattan and when the train came out of the tunnel, we were in the hole that is still there. I closed my eyes…not able to look.

I have never been down there like so many. I just can’t go.

Over the next couple of weeks, as we returned to work, each morning and evening, I would pass cars which had not moved in the parking lots of the train station. Princeton Junction is a huge stop for many people in central NJ to take the train from. These were cars whose owners would never return for them.

Slowly they disappeared. Slowly life began again. But life in Manhattan, and the rest of the US has never been the same.

Years of working in Manhattan, I never heard a siren…never noticed a fire truck…

Now...I hear them blocks away…I know I always will.

Of course new Yorkers were not the only victims that day.

The Pentagon…

The people on those four flights…

Everyone who had a friend or a family member or a co-worker who is no longer with us...

I knew a few people who worked down there. They are still with us thank God.

One, a secret service agent, who worked in a building across the street, said to me one day “The horror I witnessed will never go away”.

My brother-in-law, Kevin worked a few blocks away from ground Zero.

When they left their building a wheel and strut from one of the planes was in the street outside their door.

It is five years later.

Our world is so much different.

The people ultimately responsible are still out there somewhere, and even if we eventually capture them, there are others waiting to take their place...We must all realize our world will never ever be the same...but we can all work to make it better.

Today, stop at some point and say a silent prayer for the 2,900 plus people who were murdered in cold blood that day.

They were not fighting a war…they were living their lives.

I truly wanted to include a list of all of those who were murdered that day...but the size is overwhelming blogger, so instead, I ask you to visit this site archived by CNN. It is a wonderful tribute to those who we lost that day. Find it here.

As I sit here at the computer this morning, the TV is on in the background and the names of those murdered at the World Trade Center are being read by their loved ones...
And the tears flow…
I always felt this picture needed to be manipulated so that the flag
was the center of what you see, so I did so in photoshop.

22 Of Your Sparks

  1. Liz Hill Says:
  2. I was hoping you'd repost this----still as gut wrenching as the day it happened.

    Be safe


  3. Coco Says:
  4. i cry every time i read this post, Vinny. our memories will last frever of that awful, awful day. *hugs*

  5. Anndi Says:
  6. As someone in charge of an Emergency Response Team, this is a day we lost brothers.

    As a mother, I mourn with my sisters... the mothers who lost their children that day.

    As a human being, my heart breaks at the thought of such senseless violence.

    Thank you for reposting this.

  7. Schmoop Says:
  8. Good post Vinny, Cheers!!

  9. We Shall Never Forget!!!

    Be safe dear friend...


  10. honey that is the most amazing report of this that i have ever read. thank you so much for sharing it with us.

    hugs, bee

  11. katherine. Says:
  12. first time I read this...not a rerun for me.

    as horrific as it was to watch...I am sure it pales to having been there. I am glad you were safe.

  13. Excellent post Bond, very moving, real life on the spot, we were in north Georgia and I could not take my eyes off the TV, I was watching CNBC for early morning stock reports when the first plane hit, everyone was assuming an accident until we watch the second plane come in live, it is burned in my memory, I will never forget, I will never forgive, it was worse than Pearl Harbor.

  14. What a beautiful post, Bond. Thank your for sharing. I hope it helped you to do so.

  15. Meribah Says:
  16. I've read this before, but I had to read it again. It is still just as moving as it ever was. My heart goes out to all those who had to experience such a tragedy as this one. Hugs.

  17. Tug Says:
  18. What an awesome (?) post Vinnie...I have goosebumps, and tears.

    You were there, and remember the noise. I was working in Phoenix very near the airport...I remember the deafening silence.

  19. TURN: TY my friend...smooch

    COCO: I remember your memories of those planes having to land in your area...ty my friend..hope you are feeling better

    ANNDI: I debated on it but felt there was nothing else to post this sad day..the first time I am not in my home city on this day

    MATT-MAN: TY Sir

    DIXIE: We certainly will not forget...I will still not look at the images from that day 6 years ago

    BEE: TY dear...it is burned in my memory forever

    KATHERINE: Ty for your words...it was horrific

    SARGE: TY for the kind words...Yes it was worse, as we were at war then and the attack was on our military...this was MURDER or innocent people...not discounting the Pentagon attack...I would never do that.

    STARRLIGHT: It was certainly cathartic when I wrote it but the deamons still live

    MERI: TY my friend...HUGS back

    TUG: TY... have heard others speak of the silence in other parts of the country

  20. Sparky Duck Says:
  21. you are a braver man then me to even go near a repost like this. Big hi fives to ta, hugs seems so girly. ;)

  22. Unknown Says:
  23. :hugs:

  24. Travis Cody Says:
  25. Thanks for posting this again. It hit me hard the first time I read it, and it hit me just as hard now.

    I still can't write about the day.

  26. Mimi Lenox Says:
  27. This is my first time reading this, Bond. I was right there with you as you walked through the streets. It was wonderfully told. We are so glad you are safe. Thank you for sharing. I had no idea you were in New York that day.

    The silence still deafens me. No music on the radio for days in my part of the world. People didn't speak. Couldn't look up. In shock across the country. No words. Just no words.

  28. Peg Says:
  29. All I have are tears...so clearly written, so very moving. Bond, thank you for sharing this. I didn't know you'd been in NYC that day...


  30. Angell Says:
  31. So far behind on posts - I couldn't read any yesterday - just couldn't make myself look at anything to do with it.

    I remember this post - and it still makes me cry.

    Thank you for your wonderful words.

    God bless us all.

  32. Thank you for posting this. Those of us who were in NYC that day won't ever forget.

    I too can't watch the new clips. When I catch flashes of them on these anniversaries, the stench of the fires burned for months sticks in my throat. The fear returns of those weeks after of evacuated buildings and subways. Too many dark days.

    When my daughter was born 364 days later, people said, "Thank God she wasn't born tomorrow" thinking that day would forever be etched in darkness. Six years later, it seems not so - at least 50 miles outside NYC in Central Jersey it was Tuesday. Just Tuesday.

    Thanks again, Vinny.

  33. Julie Says:
  34. I had no clue dear Vinny...I'm speechless at how you walked us hand in hand through the horror.


  35. SPARKY..Man-hugs dude...LOL and ty

    DANA: and to you also

    TRAVIS: I guess writing and reposting helps me...but we all deal in our own way

    MIMI: Thank you for the kind words...I am glad I am here too

    PEG: TY, a day that will follow me forever

    ANGELL: I was with you not reading yesterday my friend..

    EPIPHANY: In Chicago it was a Tuesday also. I will not travel on that date, so i stayed another night that was not necessary.

    JULIE: HUGS back

  36. Unknown Says:
  37. Thank you for sharing your movig memories, dear friend. I´m so glad you´re safe.

    Going to get some tissues now - need ´em.


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