I was recently hired in May of 2001 as administrative assistant with the New York State Assembly. I lived on Swan Street and an easy walkable commute every morning across the Concourse or Plaza got me to the Twin Towers on Washington Avenue. One particular morning I couldn’t help but notice how blue the morning sky was no clouds, no haze, no pollution, just a deep blue I had never noticed before. I got to work at 8am on the 11th floor to start another day like so many before.
I was one of the few “old ladies” that did the standard secretary and phone work. The majority of employees were newly hired “interns” right out of college and their slightly older mentors. Over those several weeks of training and learning how to run a campaign for Democratic candidates, on a Tuesday, September 11, 2001 many of these young people were sent down to Staten Island for their first Primary Day. It would be like no other for these employees, the political candidates, the city of Manhattan and the world.
“At 8:46am American Airline flight 11 crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.”
Several bosses had TV’s in their offices and the buzz went through the place quickly with different groups of employees racing to their boss’s office to watch what had just happened in NYC. I sat on the floor with the others stunned, most of us thinking what a terrible accident, how could this have happened? Until…“9:03am United Airlines flight 175 crashes into WTC’s South Tower.”
By now the phones were going crazy. I was asked to cover the main phone lines while the bosses were franticly trying to reach the campaign staff on Staten Island. I started receiving heart wrenching calls from the parents of our employees wanting to know where their son or daughter were and were they safe. I had no answers for them none of us knew. It was a very long, exhausting day and night. It wouldn’t be until the following days as the campaign staffs made it back to Albany that we would hear the tales of horror for these young kids. They were all safe on Staten Island witnessing in real time what we watched on TV in the office.
“Despite the more than 3,000 deaths on 9/11, lives were saved because people stopped off to vote on their way to work that day, meaning that the Twin Towers were emptier than normal when the planes struck.”