Eight years have passed since the tragedy known as 9/11 and yet here at Chip Chick – the reporters and editors remember it as if it were yesterday. In some way shape or form, we were all affected by the tragedy either directly or indirectly. On that fateful day, I received a text message (yes, in 2001 there were text messages) from a friend in Australia while sitting in class, asking if I was alright – I didn’t even know what had happened in the city surrounding us since that classroom had no windows. Minutes later everyone in the city was evacuating. But because I was going to school in NYC and dorming, they told the class we had to stay still, and we did. The city that I love was now dark and ghostly. The next evening, the dorm had to be evacuated because threats were coming in that the Empire State Building was the next target which was right by our dorm. We were told to run to the East River, but it was late and we were already in our pajamas. Worse, I refused to leave without my spiffy new Compaq laptop, so I ran back for it – ha! Downstairs we literally ran for our lives, and some of us cut our feet from glass in the street because in a panic we forgot slippers – but I had my laptop! After a few hours we all limped back and the Empire State Building was safe. But for the rest of the week, stores were closed and the streets were littered with the national guard. Yet we still had classes to go to because what else were a bunch of college kids trapped in NYC going to do.
Ali our Co-Editor, heard the planes go over Staten Island as they made their way into the WTC buildings. As a child those buildings were her favorite to draw and she always marveled at how when you crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, depending on what angle, one seemed taller than the other – so how could they be called the Twin Towers? She ran to Bay Street with her dad and witnessed New York on fire. A dark plum of smoke had cascaded its way over to Staten Island and the smell was overwhelming… She saw the last standing tower bellowing with smoke and then finally it came down. At night it was a scene out of Batman. There were no bright lights in the city skyline, just a few twinkles from office buildings and lots of smoke. She stood there and cried and lit candles as so many other New Yorkers did. Then she got adventurous and went to the city and saw the Super Crane in action and some of the rubble of what was left of her beautiful towers. Dust had covered all of lower Manhattan. The skyline she new as a child would be changed for ever.
One of our other writers was supposed to fly out of Dulles airport that fateful day on the same plane that attacked the WTC but she got delayed. While another was inside one of the towers and ran out of the building while it was on the verge of coming down.
Back then, none of us could use our cellphones to call loved ones and many landlines were down due to overload. iPhones and smartphones weren’t even a blip on the radar. But what we had was each other – friends, family and a nation that mourned the loss of an iconic pair of buildings and the innocent people within them that early sunny morning. Never forget 9/11.