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New Yorkers


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New Yorkers

Statue of Liberty and New York City skyline on September 11, 2001 "We call ourselves the Capital of the World because we are the most diverse City in the world, home to the United Nations. The spirit of unity amid all our diversity has never been stronger."
New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Opening Remarks, United Nations Special Session on Terrorism. October 1, 2001. Fulltext

"About 8:45 a.m. on the morning of September 11th, which happens to be my birthday, I was in the Chelsea TV studio control room on 26th street when the first of the two jetliners crashed into 1 World Trade Center. Three minutes later I was driving in the middle of a convey of ambulances and police cars racing down Seventh Avenue towards the Trade Center… Just after I got out of the car I heard a deafening noise and rumble. I didn’t know at that time that it was the impact of flight 175 on 2 World Trade Tower...
We trained our camera on the firefighters racing towards the unknown, Then several cops and firemen shouted and pointed upwards - 1 WTC was starting to crumble. As my cameraman pointed his lens upwards, firemen shouted “Run!” We all scrambled for our lives as the tower collapsed. Several cops and my cameraman slipped and fell on the white ash as they ran. Two Feds and I scooped them up and kept running. We could not outrun the avalanche of debris, so we dashed up the stairs of the old Saint Peter’s Church on Barclay Street. About a dozen of us made it into the church, We were coated in white ash. As the tower continued to collapse, the tiny church shuddered and began to fill with choking, thick white dust.
I eventually filed several reports that morning from phone booths around the twin tower area. A man told me that he had been late for work and that was the only reason he was still alive. I was among a group of UPN 9 reporters who ended up around midnight reporting from the roof of a building where our live camera was set up. It was then that I realized my own car had been crushed beneath the 1 WTC tower. A week later I found my car at the Staten Island Landfill where the FBI was sorting through evidence.
It was perhaps the most difficult story I have ever had to report because I had to remain detached while focusing on the intensely emotional details of the story. Breaking news doesn’t always allow a journalist time to explore how they feel about what they have just reported. September 11 was the worst day in modern American history. I suspect it will take months before any of us will fully know how emotionally scarred we might be from what we saw and heard. And then there is the fact, that I will never again care to celebrate my birthday, September 11, in quite the same way again because of the mass murder of innocent people I witnessed that day."
Frank Ucciardo, UPN 9 News, New York. RIAS Berlin Commission Fellow, 1996..

"I was sitting at my desk in the New York Stock Exchange, putting together a business report for German TV, when I got an e-mail: “Big fire at World Trade Center:” Immediately switching on the TV I saw the first pictures, the flames, the smoke. So I grabbed my jacket and hurried out onto Wall Street. By that time, at about 9 a.m., the air was already filled with smoke, people gathered on the streets. I tried to reenter the NYSE but found the building being evacuated. So I headed home as I live just around the corner from the exchange. There I started reporting to Germany via phone. Shortly afterwards police and soldiers urged me to get out of that building too. I left, not knowing that I wouldn’t be able to return for a week as police blocked access to all of lower Manhattan. I slept at colleagues' places for that time being given “clothing donations” since I hadn’t taken anything with me from my apartment."
Michael Storfner, Bloomberg TV, New York. Rias Berlin Commission Fellow, 1998.

"It’s difficult to know what to say, I think, because it’s difficult to know what to feel. We’re still numb. As I write this, the day after the bombings, the view from my office window is almost ordinary. The sun is shining, the sky is blue. I can hear sirens coming and going, but there are always sirens coming and going in New York. To the south, the smoke hanging over the city looks like a bank of fog, incongruous on such a sunny day, but not threatening. There’s hardly any traffic. It could be a quiet Sunday morning in Manhattan, except that it’s Wednesday, and we’re all haunted by nightmare images. Buildings spouting flame, smoke and debris boiling up as if from a volcano, bodies pinwheeling…"
Peter Givler, Association of American University Publishers (AAUP). The Exchange, September 12, 2001. Frankfurter Buchmesse, Oktober 2001. Fulltext

"... September 11, 2001 was marked in the New York City schools by many acts of quiet heroism. When the terror attacks struck the World Trade Center that morning, several nearby schools had to be evacuated in the chaos and confusion which ensued. But there was no panic or hysteria. Rather, classes of school children could be seen walking together -- many hand-in-hand -- in a calm procession behind their teachers -- many themselves only barely into their 20s - through wailing sirens, speeding emergency vehicles, and flying debris, walking for miles until they reached safety. One teacher later recounted how one of her young pupils turned to look back at the burning World Trade Center, and then turned to her and said: ‘Teacher, today even the birds are on fire.’ We can only be grateful that these children were incapable of comprehending the horror of what they were actually witnessing -- people jumping to their deaths from a flaming skyscraper..."
From remarks by Harold Levy, Chancellor, New York City Board of Education. Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin. November 2001.

"Today is the first day I’m able to concentrate on anything but what has happened here in New York. We were temporarily evacuated from our house, but now electricity has been restored and we are allowed in again. We live about ten blocks from the Trade Towers, but there are many tall buildings between us and it, so there is no rubble near us. Everywhere one walks one sees fragily and fear in people’s eyes. Every square and park has become a makeshift shrine, with candles and posters of missing people, notes scrawled to lost friends, wilted flowers. It is very sad. We are among the lucky ones, as we have no friends who are missing. By some miracle, none of the parents at our daughter’s school are missing either. There are acts of great kindness all around, which is cheering. People here are profoundly shaken, and I suspect will be for some time. We can only hope that this brings the world together, that there is some good to come out of this violence."
Andrea Barnet, Author of “Crazy New York”. Reading tour of Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt, and other cities).

Smoke shrouds lower Manhattan. Left, the Statue of Liberty. (AP/WideWorld Photos – Dan Loh)

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