Alfonso Robinson

Political activist, online journalist

My memories of Sept 11 2001

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cross post from HatCityBLOG

On this day when we reflect on the tragic events of September 11th 2001, I wanted to share my thoughts on that event which I originally published back in 2007. This write-up has been modified from year to year as I add more of my memories and thoughts of that day to the post.

The City of Danbury’s 9-11 remembrance ceremony will be at the memorial at Elmwood Park at 6 PM.

9/11 Memorial Elmwood Park, June 2006.
Photo by ctblogger

September 11 2001 is a day I’m sure many residents of Danbury (as well as the nation) will never forget.

I remember that morning like it was yesterday. I woke up, made my usual cup of coffee, walked outside to my porch and saw what must have been the clearest, bluest sky I’ve ever seen. As usual, I was running behind schedule and scrambling to get ready to work but luckily I lived rather close to my job at the time.

While ironing my clothes, I was catching up with the morning news (I think I was flipping back between Good Morning America and the Today Show) and laughing at the thought of my friends goofing on me when I walk into the office late a minute late seeing that I said I would make it in on time the day before.

I can recall that I going for the remote control and was about to press the power button when someone on television broke with the news that “something” hit one of the World Trade Center towers. Now, this happened about a quarter to nine and I didn’t see the tower on TV when I turned it off…I just thought some small single engine plane hit the building or something.

I jumped in my car and while I usually listen to Stern in the morning, I tuned to 1010 WINS to find out about that plane that hit the tower and that’s when I first learned that something serious happened and the second plane at the other tower. By the time I made it to my job, the reality of the situation had already hit me…the country was under attack.

Work came to a complete standstill.

Walking into the office (at the time, I worked for a book publishing company) and everywhere I looked, I saw complete chaos. The internet being completely down (the WTC was a major hub for communications), people were on their cell phones trying to get in touch with friends and loved ones who worked in the city. There was no way to get any information except for the radio (we had no TVs in the building) so people resorted to running outside and getting their news reports from car radios.

I remember the moment hearing that there was a major explosion at the first tower and my heart dropped as I realized that a friend of mine worked at the tower from time to time and none of my friends knew whether or not he was at the WTC on that day…he had a young son and a daughter on the way.

I remember the horrible feeling of emptiness, a dark feeling you get when someone close to you passes away. Everywhere I looked, I only saw people with blank expressions on their faces as many of my co-workers (if not all) knew someone who was working in that section of Manhattan.

By late afternoon, after the other tower collapsed and the day was full of various false alarms (which we didn’t know at the time were false alarms), I remember saying “the hell with this crap”, packing up my things, and leaving work. There was no need to be at the job…most of the publishing industry is located in the section of The City that’s now covered in a cloud of dust.

I couldn’t get any work done…no one could get anything done on that day. My thoughts were on my friend (who I still didn’t know was alive, lost, or dead) his family, and all those people who lost their lives in an instant. Driving around town, you could see that everyone had the same look of shock and disbelief on their faces. It was like, how could such a beautiful day turn into a nightmare?

I pulled over to the first bar I could find (knowing that they two things I needed: a television and beer), and it was there for the first time that I witness with my eyes what I only heard on the radio and it made the situation even worse. The only bright spot of that day was the phone call I received telling me that my friend didn’t have to work in the city on that day but he lost a lot of colleagues who never made it out of the building.

That was a brief look at what I remember the most from that day and to be honest, I don’t even know why I’m writing this for.

Maybe it’s because the memory of that day is fresh in my mind as I watch the memorial service.

Maybe it’s because that moment was a turning point in my life when I decided to get more politically active.

Maybe I just wanted to share my feelings with someone who going through the same emotions right now as we remember those who lost their lives years ago.

Whatever the case, I know in my heart that I’ll always recall that experience on that terrible day on every September 11 for the rest of my life.

My heart will ALWAYS go out to all those who lost a loved on that horrible day in our country’s history. I pray that none of us will never forget and pass on our experience to the next generation who will never know what the beautiful New York skyline looked prior to September 11, 2001.

Categories: General

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3 Responses

  1. robinson says:

    Columbo

    1. I never said I worked in NYC and if you knew anything about NYC, you would know that MOST people who live close to their job in Manhattan DON’T drive to work.

    2. At the time, I worked for a publishing company in the Greater Danbury area and as anyone who has EVER worked in publishing know, MOST of the major book publishers (Penguin, Putnam, Hyperion, Avon, etc) are located close to the section of Manhattan where the attack took place.

    3. You’d be amazed how many people didnt go home but rather went to the cloest place that had a television. For me (and many others on that day), the bar was the closest place.

    4. I guess you missed the words “a brief look” at the events on 9/11 when you referenced the Pentagon. Guess you missed the part when I described being in a frantic state of mind not knowing if my good friend was killed in the tower (which could somewhat explain why I didn’t focus as much on talking about the Pentagon).

    5. “credulity?” Well that’s a new word for me.

    6. For someone who took the time to call him/herself “Lieutenant Columbo” you sound a lot more like Lt. Mauser from the “Police Academy” movies.

    …just sayin’

  2. Lieutenant Columbo says:

    Let me get this straight…

    You were “driving around town”, in lower Manhattan, on 9/11 with all that chaos going on, looking at peoples’ faces?

    You left your job early that day, after the attacks, in the midst of the chaos?! Why didn’t your employer just close the company since “most of the publishing industry located in that section of The City was covered in a cloud of dust”? How did you manage to drive your car in all that dust and with all the streets closed-off?

    You “pulled over to the first bar” you saw and conveniently parked – IN MANHATTAN – on 9/11?!

    If you needed a television and a beer, then why didn’t you just go home since you “lived rather close to your job at the time”? Gee, for a guy who was stressed-out, you managed to get yourself to a bar and enjoy a beer while the rest of America was in a state of shock!

    I noticed that you didn’t mention the Pentagon or Flight 93.

    Like everything else you publish, this “story” strains credulity.

  3. Thank you Al for that great personal narrative – and thank you for getting more involved in issues which affect Danbury, Connecticut, America and our planet.