Author Topic: September 11, 2001 Tenth Anniversary  (Read 4976 times)

Offline BLeafe

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September 11, 2001 Tenth Anniversary
« on: September 08, 2011, 09:45:04 PM »
If anyone has any stories, photos, remembrances, etc., of that fateful day, please feel free to share here.

If anyone's interested, I took photos that day from my apartment and those images and stories are on my site under the "September 11, 2001" gallery listing.


Usually when I see the rising 1WTC (1,000 feet and 80 stories so far), it's all shimmering white lights. Tonight, I noticed for the first time that the tower's lights had a red, white, and blue theme.

It's kind of a cloudy, crappy night, but I wanted to take some pictures of it.  I took a couple of shots before a cloud lowered and revealed a reflection of the annual memorial lights, which I hadn't noticed and which I guess are being tested tonight to get them ready for Sunday.

The lights are off now, so I'm glad I got a shot of the test. The colors are not good, but I'm guessing this is pretty much what it will look like on Sunday evening:



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Offline Editor

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Re: September 11, 2001 Tenth Anniversary
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2011, 09:18:25 AM »
Hackensack, Old Tappan residents share their stories from Sept. 11
Friday, September 9, 2011    Last updated: Friday September 9, 2011, 1:24 AM
BY MARK J. BONAMO
MANAGING EDITOR
Hackensack Chronicle

On first glance, the municipalities of Hackensack and Old Tappan dont seem to have much in common.

Hackensack is more urban, the seat of county government, a place where traffic jams could happen. Old Tappan, on the other hand, is an idyllic, suburban community, where leaf-shaded driveways replace city-style double parking.

But 10 years ago, these Bergen County communities were united by the same sense of shock and solidarity that united the region and the nation. If anything, a look back now at Sept. 11, 2001 reminds both places of a crucial commonality: the threads that tightly bind family, friends and even complete strangers together, when fate conspires to tear them apart.

Kelly Rice, the wife of David Rice, a teacher at Fairmount School in Hackensack, went to lower Manhattan on that sunny morning a decade ago full of hope she had a 9 a.m. job interview at Aon Corporation, an insurance brokerage and consulting firm located on the upper floors of the south tower of the World Trade Center.

"I was there early, so I was in the companys offices when the planes hit," said Rice. "I saw the first plane hit the other tower from the window. First, I thought it was an accident. But I said to myself, Im getting out of here. I took the stairs. I didnt want to be stuck in an elevator on the 105th floor."

Rice proceeded down the stairs to the 79th floor, where the elevator banks from the top floors stopped. There, she heard announcements over the public address system saying that the building was secure and advising people to go back to their offices.

"Most people just stopped to catch their breath. I decided to keep going," Rice said.

Rice remembers little about the rest of her trip down the stairs to the ground floor. But she does remember her last moments on the way out of the building.

"There was debris, fire and smoke. All of the windows were blown out," Rice said. "The building was shaking. I didnt think that I was getting out. I was saying my goodbyes. I ducked into a phone pod, and prayed that death came quick. But I opened my eyes, and I saw a police officer standing in front me. He put his hand out to me and said Come."

The police officer led Rice to a broken escalator, on which Rice made her way out, about five minutes before the building came down. On the way out to the street and on the long way home to a relieved family via ferryboat and train, Rice remembered someone she saw running in.

"There was this fireman: about six foot five, blond crew cut, built like a tree. This guy was moving like his life was dependent on saving someone that day. He was not going to leave without saving someone."

Old Tappan Mayor Victor Polce was also in close proximity to the site of the 9/11 attacks.

"I was right across the street," said Polce, who was sworn in as mayor in 2000 and was working on Wall Street at the time. "At about 8:45 a.m., I heard an explosion, and started to see debris coming down. There was a lot of chaos going on. We didnt really know what was happening. We started to evacuate, and while watching from the window, you could tragically see people dropping to their deaths. Some were holding hands. The sound was devastating."

Polce helped evacuate his building and, once outside, was convinced by a friend to not get his car and head to the waterfront to get a ferry ride out of lower Manhattan.

"My friend and I got one of the last water shuttles over to Hoboken. Im very grateful to him now," Polce said. "We squeezed on, and as we pulled away, we could still see the bodies dropping. Not long after, we began to see the towers come down. We were stunned. No one could believe it."

No one in his family knew exactly where Polce was until a friend gave him a ride to Old Tappan.

"When I walked through the door, there was so much relief," Polce said. "There were tears streaming down everyones faces."

Safe at home, Polce did his best to provide support in his role as mayor.

"We all did what we had to do," Polce said. "We tried to strengthen our volunteer ambulance corps and other service organizations and make our town as safe as possible. Safety, for our town and everybody else, became a much bigger concern. We tried to comfort people and help people understand what was going on. Our message was that they were safe here."

In Hackensack, Joe Montesano, then the citys superintendent of schools, tried to convey the same message of calm to students and teachers alike during a trying time.

"We were flying by the seat of our pants, but we decided the best thing to do was keep the kids safe with us inside the building," Montesano said. "We tried to keep the kids occupied and busy. Im sure that the staff had their own issues and concerns, but they really rose to the occasion. They tried to answer the kids questions as well as they could. It made everything a lot easier."

Montesano had his own issue on 9/11: one of his own children was working on Wall Street that day.

"I was on the phone with my son Joe right after things started to happen, and then all of a sudden he said Dad, Ive got to go and dropped the phone," Montesano said. "Very soon after that is when the first tower fell, and I couldnt get any contact with him. Turns out he got one of the last ferries headed to Jersey City. When he finally picked up the phone, it was a tremendous relief. It was such a release of emotion, you cant imagine it."

Hackensack lost four residents on Sept. 11: Denise Crant, Shashi Kiran L. Kadaba, Srinivasa Shreyas Ranganath and Anil Shivhari Umarkar. Courtney Wainsworth Walcott, a New York native who coached basketball in Hackensack, is also remembered by many people. Old Tappan, fortunately, lost no one. But no matter the level of loss, the impact of the event left an indelible mark.

For Montesano, the prescription for what should be done for children to help them heal in the wake of the attacks applies for adults as well.

"In any event like that where kids could be emotionally affected, the thing to do is to let them talk," Montesano said. "You shouldnt avoid it and go on like its business as usual, because it certainly isnt business as usual. Lets deal with this."

Old Tappan is a place where people move to feel safe. But Mayor Polce, now working on this side of the Hudson River, admits that safety has become relative in America in the aftermath of the attacks.

"Someone turned to me not long after what happened and said Weve got to move on from this. I looked at her and said I dont think you know what youre talking about. We will never forget this day as long as we live. 9/11 was a defining moment for us. Youve got to be on your guard. Tomorrow is promised to no one."

As for Kelly Rice, 10 years ago she thought that tomorrow was definitely denied to her. Now, every day is its own state of grace.

"When I read about people who died, I wondered why they died and not me. I had those thoughts for a long time," Rice said. "I got past that. But now, I dont sweat the small stuff. Im just glad Im still here. You could be here one moment, and gone the next. It can happen in the blink of an eye. I realized that before, but not as acutely as I do now."

Email: bonamo@northjersey.com

Offline Editor

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Re: September 11, 2001 Tenth Anniversary
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2011, 09:21:32 AM »
Related Topics:

http://www.hackensacknow.org/index.php/topic,1577 (Community Flyer)
http://www.hackensacknow.org/index.php/topic,739 (Hackensack Victims Remembered)

« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 10:37:08 AM by Editor »

Offline Editor

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Re: September 11, 2001 Tenth Anniversary
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2011, 09:50:24 AM »
I had a very similar experience to the one Joe Montessano recounted in the article above.

My brother John lives and works in Manhattan and was at ground zero at the time. He was on his cell phone letting me know what was happening.  We were speaking just as the first tower was coming down and he told me he was running away.  I was watching this live on tv when we were disconnected.  I thought he was gone until we finally heard from him about 8 hours later.  I'm sure thousands of people share a similar story.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 09:57:39 AM by Editor »

Offline Chief Oratam

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Re: September 11, 2001 Tenth Anniversary
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2011, 10:43:07 AM »
I remember how at this time of year the setting sun would light them 2 buildings up like 2 great big bars of gold reaching skyward...


Offline BLeafe

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Re: September 11, 2001 - the view from Hackensack
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2011, 01:11:09 PM »
These are the AM and PM views of 9/11/01 from Hackensack.

I took the first one just after Tower 2 fell with a really crappy 500mm mirror lens that wasn't sharp and couldn't get the color right, but it sure captured the horrible feeling of the moment.

The second one was taken in the afternoon or early evening.


« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 01:12:57 PM by BLeafe »
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Re: September 11, 2001 Tenth Anniversary
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2011, 10:56:57 AM »
Brother can still hear Hackensack woman's laughter
Sunday, September 11, 2011
The Record

About two years after John Crant lost his older sister Denise, 46, in the 9/11 attacks, he was visited at his apartment by two detectives in suits from the New York City Police Department. He wasn't in any trouble with the law and wondered, "What's this about?"


CARMINE GALASSO/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
John Crant near a memorial to Marsh & McLennan employees. His sister Denise died in the 9/11 attacks.


Denise Crant

The medical examiner's office had identified a piece of Denise's clavicle, the first shard of evidence tying her to Ground Zero. "We're one of the lucky families," said John. "At least we got a marker, though you never come to terms with it. It's a hole that's always there."

Denise, also known as Dee Dee, was on the upswing when she moved back to the New York area in September 2000, rebuilding her life after divorce. A CPA, she took pride in landing a job in the facilities department of Marsh & McLennan. And she returned to Hackensack, renting an apartment a block away from where she had lived when she was married. "She liked the familiarity, and was in control again," said John.

Nine years younger than Denise, John said having his sister around was a big reason he chose to move to New York, to work in the recruiting industry. Each morning, he'd arrive in the office with the red light on his phone lit up. It would be a message from Denise, an early bird, chiding her brother for not being at his desk yet. The siblings brunched together on weekends, and Denise embraced his partner, Daniel. "She loved him and was always teasing me 'you be nice to him.'x"

In the blur of days following the World Trade Center attacks, Daniel was by John's side as he raced from hospital to hospital looking for his sister. She worked on the 93rd floor of the north tower. "I barely got her name out of my mouth. Thank God I had support. Thank God I had an employer that understood. I was in meltdown after that," he said.

The rest of the Crant family, which includes two other siblings, Ellis Jr. and Shelley, is spread out between Florida and Wisconsin. Hilda, their mom, had begun to develop dementia, and she'd forget that her daughter was gone. John thinks it's better that way. "It's always harder for a mother; they feel a pain that we don't understand." Hilda died in 2004.

Their father, Ellis, a deacon in the Catholic Church, leaned heavily on his faith to cope with Denise's death. "Life and death isn't as much an issue if your faith is strong," said John. "It's really about being with God eternally." Until he died in January at 91, Ellis, along with the rest of the family, made annual trips to Ground Zero on Sept. 11.

After the service, they would go out for brunch, and clink cocktails for Denise. "She would want us to celebrate and not be filled with sorrow," said John.

Recently, John's business as a career coach has been taking off. If Denise was still alive, he's certain that she'd be a partner with him, running the back office. She had been so proud of her kid brother's success that she gave him a small gift, a houseplant with a sign that said, "Now you're cooking with gas."

The sadness sometimes creeps up at unexpected times. When riding in a cab up FDR Drive, John is caught off guard when he sees the big white tent, standing next to the medical examiner's office on East 32nd Street. It is a makeshift morgue and memorial; inside are refrigerated containers storing 9/11 victims' remains - yet to be identified. "Even if I'm riding with people, my eyes go over there," he said. "Dee Dee is there. She's not only buried in Florida. This remains sacred ground."

He can still hear his sister's boisterous cackle. "She loved laughter," he said. He also holds tight to memories of her kindness. When Denise was weathering the lowest point of her divorce, losing her home and her financial stability, she still found room in her heart to help a friend in Wisconsin. She sent the friend $100.

"That's the kind of person she was," said John. "I hope I got a little bit of that in me."

- Sachi Fujimori
« Last Edit: September 11, 2011, 11:18:41 AM by Editor »


Offline BLeafe

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Re: September 11, 2001 Tenth Anniversary
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2011, 07:37:11 PM »
So I looked around me today to see the local flags at half-staff............funeral home (check)............bank (check)..............Sears (groan - they still haven't figured it out yet).

Then something caught my eye: seemingly half-staff between the ground and the clouds was what appeared to be the flight of a molecule of red, white, and blue.

It's the right day for that flight.


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