Friday, September 11, 2009


We moved to New York City just months before 9/11. This pic was taken as we drove into the city across the GWB. You can see the towers standing boldly on the edge of Lower Manhattan.

Supertrav was hired at his job only weeks before the tragedy. He was such a new employee that his supervisors didn't have his phone number to tell him not to show up at work on 9/12. He was the only one who did, other than his two managers. The day ended within the hour, as a bomb threat was phoned into Grand Central, which is connected to his building.

On the morning of 9/11, I had decided that it would be a perfect day for Christian (5 yrs old) and me to do some shopping in lower Manhattan. We had only one cellphone on those days, so Travis gave it to me in case I needed it during my travels. It was our intent to leave all together, and share the subway ride for part of the journey. However, my efforts to get out the door on time were held up because of a lolly-gagging, half-dressed child who wasn't entirely interested in leaving, and a missing Buzz Lightyear shoe. So Travis kissed us good-bye and headed downtown on his own.

A short while later, as I was gathering my keys and purse, I saw a message sitting in my inbox.
It was from my dad. I had no idea....

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 9:06 AM
Subject: NYC
Hi Sweetheart,

Just heard about the mayhem at the WTC buildings. Is Travis near that area? If so, is he OK? Hope you are well. Must go.

Heaps of love,

Confused, I walked over and turned on the TV, telling my son that we would leave "in just a minute". We didn't.

This is an email I sent to friends and family that evening.

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 8:33 PM
Subject: this morning's events

Dear friends,

Thank you for all of the emails regarding our safety. Your thoughts and prayers mean a great deal to us. Travis is home and safe. He works right next to the United Nations building (which has had no incident thus far) and his building was evacuated shortly after the second crash into the WTC tower. For those of you unfamiliar with NYC, he was about 50 blocks north of the tragedy, at about Midtown. The towers were located at the bottom of Manhattan Island, and we live very near the top - about 6 miles away. Travis tried to get home using the subway, but quickly abandoned his efforts when the trains were suspended. He ended up walking home (all 120 blocks!) and arrived about 3 hrs later. He said that there was an exodus of people walking north, and that he was probably in the very front of the mass.

These events have been incredibly devastating. I wept in near hysterics as I watched the towers collapse live on television. It was especially disturbing as Christian and I were late in our efforts to get to that exact area to do a bit of shopping.

Again, thank you for your messages of love, concern, and support. Our voices join yours as we pray for comfort for the families involved, and try to keep abreast of the efforts we can make to help.

With love and gratitude.

The remainder of this post features emails I received on 9/11 from all over the world. I have decided to share them, because I think they are an honest and spontaneously beautiful record of the day's events. For the most part, they are listed in the order received, although the "time received" jumps all over the place because the messages are from so many different time zones. Aside from the elimination of names, they are unedited.

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:21 AM
Our prayers are with you during this time in your city you love, and prayers for those involved in this great tragedy.

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:37 AM
Subject: Are you okay??
When I saw the news this morning, the first thing I thought of was if you were okay?? I called your mom and dad and talked to (your brother). He said you guys were okay and Travis was on his way home.

I'm sure you are beside yourself, and I just wanted to let you know you are in my prayers. I know you must be really worried. Thank goodness you are okay.

I love you all.

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:44 AM
Please let me know if you are ok. I am really worried as I know taht you have just moved to New York. I am seeing scenes of horror, people are throwing themselves out of the world trade centre to try to save themselves, due to the buildings being attacked by terrorists. Please please let me know. I have just heard that another plane has been hi jacked and is heading to Washington. I have to email a friend in Washington.

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 11:37 AM
Subject: Oh my gosh!!!!!
Oh my goodness we have just heard and seen the tragic news!!!!!! I hope and pray that you and your family are a lright!! I know you won't be worried about emails at a time like this!!! But OH how are hearts, thoughts, love and prayers are with you at this time. I am just crying at the moment. Love you all.

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 12:33 PM
Subject: Are you okay?
PLEASE let me know that you are okay. I am thinking about you, praying for you and for our country. I have no words to express my grief over this tragedy. God Bless you and your family.

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 3:34 PM
Subject: Re: this morning's events
We had already been thinking about you and hoping and praying that all was well.


Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 5:42 PM
Subject: RE: Good To Know You're OK
Thanks for the update in light of the NY/DC Terrorist Tragedy. Silly it seems to me that my work place close business at 1pm in light of this event. I can only think that it's because our corporate headquarters are in the Eastern time zone.

I hope your emotional well being will heal soon.

Later Pal-ina!

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 4:56 PM
Subject: Re: this morning's events
I have been checking my e-mail all day..thank you for responding...if you should need anything...please let me could always call me, too. I am so thankful that all of you are safe, Praise the Lord.

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 5:00 PM
Subject: Re: this morning's events
Thank God you all right!!! Love to you and Christian and Travis.

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 7:41 PM
babee please tell me you okay and are nowhere near the trauma in NYC

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 9:23 PM
Subject: Re: this morning's events
This is truly devastating. I'm so glad you and your family are safe. I have other friends and family there, and still haven't heard from some yet. I know the area well, and it is so difficult to believe this has really happened. Hang in there, and know most of the country is praying for you. BYU had a special prayer meeting this morning in place of the scheduled devotional.

If you think of it, could you send me your current address? Or would you prefer to have newsletters forwarded by your parents? If you'd like to send any news, it's not too late.

Take care.

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:07 PM
Subject: Re: this morning
Yes, (wife) and I are fine. Seeing your e-mail tells me that you're okay as well - thank goodness. Watching it on TV has been truly surreal. (wife) and I have been talking over and over about the many people we know who work in the financial district. I'm trying not to fear the worst, but so many in our ward work in investment banking or law offices located in the financial district. In addition to watching the local news with endless personal stories, I have already spoken to several people who were downtown and witnessed the toppling of one or both towers. We went to give blood at St. Lukes, which is just around the corner, but there was a 3 hour wait. So many people have responded. For now, I'm going to try and focus so I can finish my paper, which is due tomorrow. Columbia was shut down today, but the official word seems to be that they will be open tomorrow.

Hope this finds you all well.

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 10:13 PM
Subject: Re: this morning's events
Thank you for this good news. I have not had access to a computer all day until now and I just logged on to send you a message to make sure you are okay. The moment I heard of the attack, I stopped what I was doing and prayed for the safety of you and your family. I have been so concerned all day and I am SO happy to hear Travis got home safely and that you and Christian were delayed just long enough to keep you out of danger. I imagine it must be quite frightening to be so close to the tragedy and I will continue to pray that you, your family and the entire nation will find peace amidst today's disturbing events.

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 9:43 PM
Subject: Re: this morning's events
The first thing that (my wife) and I both thort of was for your family's safety. We watched in disbelief as everything unfolded on T.V We are so happy to hear that You, Travis and Christian are all safe.

(Our sister) was trying to get in contact with you when she heard what had happened.

Our thorts are with those families who have lost loved ones at this time. Our immediate prayers are with you and Travis and also to the
families of those who have lost loved ones at this time.

All our love and aroha, ma te Atua e manaaki e tiaki koutou i te wa

Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2001 12:50 AM
Subject: NYC
my dearest cousin
im sssssssssooooooooooo glad to hear that you and the boys are safe. As soon as i heard the news i emailed and rang (our cousin) in sacremento straight away. this was about 8am NZT wednesday morning. unfortunately i only got to speak with (cousin's) husband and i had much difficulty trying to understand what he was saying. i attended a funeral in auckland as one of our co-workers father had passed away so had no way of seeing if you had replied to the email sent earlier. i phoned (my brother and his wife) around 8pm NZT to see if they heard and (wife) said that you were safe and that she'd received your email. I got all tearful when she spoke those words to me and also did again this morning when i finally got your email. I am most grateful that you, travis and christian werent harmed in the crashes yesterday. mum, dad and (sister) kept ringing me also yesterday to see if i had heard from you or at least spoken to (cousin). please know that our prayers and thoughts are of you and the boys always. we love you all so much and pray that you will always be safe. i love you heaps cousin. im just so glad your alive.
kia tu te mana ko koe me oku whanau. arohanui

Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2001 1:48 PM
MY GOD!!!!!!! Are you all OK???Just a quick line PLEASE-All love and prayers-

Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2001 1:30 PM
Subject: Re: Hello
Are you okay out there? Is your husband and son okay? I know you live far north of the crashes, etc, but you were the first person I thought of. I hope and pray that you and your loved ones are far away from the commotion.

Good luck with auditions next week!

Talk to you soon.

Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 1:40 PM
Subject: I am soo relieved I was in Helsinki yesterday to watch, with horror, the news unfolding in NYC. I'm back in London now, and have the first oppertunity to send you mail. Thank God that you could send it to me first.

I was very worried for all my friends in NYC. I have spent the last few hours with a friend who was due to fly back from London this morning. He fears that he has lost several family members who lived nearby, and who have not been in contact. I fear for all those families.

Thinking of you in now easier tones.
With love.

Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 2:09 AM
Subject: Re: wow
Oh I am sooooo happy to hear from you. I think the question is more how are you guys???? Surreal is certainly right. I am extremely apprehensive about coming over. In fact my husband is panicing a little. I was so excited too!!!! Oh well, it is not like such disasters are planned. We don't know when the airways will open up. I have a nother booking for the 20th...tentative, plus the 17th still stands. But frankly I am quite prepared not to make the trip at all at present. But that may be overreacting?????? I don't know????????!!!!!!!!!!! How far away from everything do you live? What is your home address...and phone #? I was rung at 12.30 am our time by a freind who told me about it all, and I watched in horror....praying, stunned.

Well the other thing is you guys are probably going to be in such shock!!!!! For a while...
I am.
Speak soon, so glad to hear you and your family are fine!
Love you.

Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 8:28 AM
Subject: thank you for responding Dear ones:I am so relieved to hear that you three ones are alright. I tried to call this A.M. but, of course, all the circuits were busy. My student came before I could send an email. Knowing that Travis worked for XXXXX, I was petrified that his offices would be in the World Trade Center Bldgs.

This certainly puts a different perspective on what is important in life, doesn't it. At first I thought that I couldn't teach because I would be too distracted, but, nobody cancelled and I decided it was better to go on with life as usual. I'm glad I was busy all day, (husband) and (accompanist) watched the news most of the day. Most of the malls are closed and heightened security everywhere. I just read a statement the church leaders made which is on internet. (Former student) called for your address, she was so concerned, as are we all. At the moment I am in tears of relief that you are safe...

I love you and pray for you.

Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 12:52 PM
Subject: Are you ok?
How are you doing? please tell me you guys were not involved
with all of that destruction tues.
I hope everything is ok with you.

Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2001 2:17 AM
Subject: RE: hopes that all is well
Thank you so much for your concern.

Yes, we all are fine, but at this point, I, too, am fearful that I will eventually know someone who has not been as fortunate! The problem in New York is that one always asks "what do you do?" --NOT "where do you work"?

So far, the closest we've come to disaster is that my niece's husband has been "imortalized" as being one of the crowd seen innumerable times on last night's TV running from the implosion of Tower #2! As far as I'm concerned, I can be content with that "15-minutes-worth of fame"!

And don't forget to give that "lollygagging five-year-old" a special kiss from me!

Much love.


Robin said...

MA - I cried and cried as I read this. I was here too, that day - in my office in midtown - and walked home to Brooklyn that afternoon over the Queensboro
Bridge with tens of thousands of others. You are so wise to have saved all these emails. Thank you for sharing them, and your own recollections.

KiaKahaMama said...

Hi MA, so glad to read this, an important record for a tragic time. Thank you so much for sharing!...powerful.