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    Posted July 16, 2011 by
    ssaban
    Location
    San Diego, California
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Share your 9/11 story

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    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     ssaban was working in Tower 1 of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Originally from Israel, she said thst the idea of terrorism wasn't new to her, but she never expected to be in danger in New York.
    - katie, CNN iReport producer

    I began working at the WTC in tower 2 on September 1, 2001.  I had recently finished business school and the large internet bubble had burst. I was looking for work but instead needed to take a job as a temporary worker for Westfield Shopping Town. They managed the mall located in the basement of the WTC.

    September 11, 2001 was a beautiful day. I arrived at work by 8:30 and sat at my desk to eat my usual breakfast of a bagel with cream cheese. All of a sudden there was a large boom but nothing unusual for NYC where noise is the norm.  I went over to the window where I saw our VP, Bruce Eagleson and one of the employees from the Port Authority standing in awe. I still hadn't processed what had happened as you could only see papers and debris flying in the air.  My first instinct was to jump on CNN.com to see what happened and wait it out. However, Bruce had the foresight to tell us to evacuate. As I was leaving I turned and saw Bruce, a man I'd only known for 11 days but came to like nonetheless. He went back to get the walkie talkies and told me to continue down. 


    As I walked down the 17 flights of stairs there were many people exiting the building. No hysteria, no madness. People joking about how much money they would lose on the trades they were in the middle of when they were so rudely interrupted by an explosion. Probably nothing to worry about and we'd be back in our office soon. 

    When we reached the atrium level of the building you could tell that something of great magnitude happened.  People were talking mentioning a plane crash but there were no details. It was most likely the work of an inexperienced pilot. Little did we know.

    I went outside and saw papers falling from the sky. My instinct was that we were being bombed from above so I, together with some others, ran back into the building. We were met by police officers who turned us back around and out of the building. Some people were hurt with surface wounds and were being treated inside the building.

    I was two blocks east when the second plane hit and glass went flying everywhere. Together with a group of people we huddled against the side of a window. The man next to us explained that it was most likely the heat from the fire that blew out the windows. It seemed logical. A woman was next to me crying hysterically. I took her arm and began to walk with her.

    Arm in arm I walked uptown with this woman I'd never met. The one thing I've learned from being Israeli is that when there is trouble it is best to go far away because more trouble will likely follow.  I didn't know though if I'd be expected back at work when this was all said and done so I waited just a little bit.


    I scoured the crowd to see if I could find the familiar face of a co-worker. Where was Bruce? He was right behind me in the building but I couldn’t see him now.


    We made our way to a central avenue when we saw the gaping hole in the building. The stranger that was still by my side was crying even harder. Her friend had worked on the 83rd floor and she wanted to know if she was ok.  Then we people jumping from the gaping hole.  People standing hand in hand jumping because that alternative was better than what was inside.  To this day I stand up high and can’t imagine the fear they must have had.

    I knew we had to leave and fast. We began walking uptown and at some point my new companion left me.  I went on the subway and found my way to my friend's house in NYC. 

    My friend isn't one to watch tv so when I stood at her door at 9am with tears in my eyes she didn't know what to think. I stormed in and told them to turn on the tv. What we saw looked like Armageddon. The pentagon was hit and a plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.  At least the towers were still standing. We went to their rooftop to see the gaping holes and stared in shock. Shortly thereafter we watched the buildings crumble on tv.

    Meanwhile my husband was asleep when all of this happened only to be awoken by his brother in Israel.  He told my husband to look out of our window (we once had a view of the towers). My husband immediately went to call my office. Thinking back I think i remember the phone ringing but knew I needed to evacuate so I got out without answering it. 

    NYC had no phone coverage on September 11 but we had embraced the im technology that was so new at the time. I was able to communicate with my husband and let him know that I was ok.  My family needed proof-did he hear my voice, did he know it was me? They wouldn't rest until they spoke with me- which wouldn't be until much later.

    Most of the day was a blur but I know that I wanted to go home to Hoboken, NJ.  Subway lines were down and the city was in chaos.  By the evening I was able to make my way back home. 

    The next day I called the Connecticut office where Bruce had an office.  I wanted to thank him for evacuating me from the building and saving my life. When I called the secretary was suspicious that I was asking for him.  I explained who I was and she informed me that he was missing.  I collapsed and began crying. This wonderful father of two was missing. 

    After Bruce went to get the walkie talkies he went down to the mall to evacuate employees and help any way he could. His son called and spoke to him and he assured him that he was leaving the building. He would never make it out. He would never get to see his boys grow up.

    At his funeral I introduced myself to his wife and let her know that I was one of the many people that Bruce risked his life for on that day.  I will be forever grateful.

    http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/memorial/people/3446.html

    *I don't have too many pictures of myself during that time in NYC so I’m including one of me with my nephew from that time period.   

     

     

     



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