Friday, September 11, 2009

South Tower, 84th Floor


About six years ago I met an amazing women named Patty. She became a huge support for me during a difficult time in my life--the horrible infertility years. As I got to know her, I found out that Patty had been working in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. She told her her amazing story of that day. And recently I asked her to recount it for me so I could share it. It's amazing. Here are her words...


"I woke September 11, 2001 to a beautiful fall day. Showered and dressed and headed to work. I worked on the 84th floor of the South tower. I remember clearly that day, noticing things about my surrounding that I would normally take for granted. When i left one elevator on the 77th floor, heading to my next elevator I realized the enormity of this building and the life size flower arrangements that I passed every day and hardly took notice of.

I was at my desk at 7am, we started our normal trading process by filling the screens with markets. What seemed like shortly after, we all felt (rather than heard) a tremendous thump. At that very second Karen (who sat next to me) said, "Patty, grab your bag, that was a bomb", i did so. As I was leaving our trading pit I saw Jose (our trading floor 'do everything guy') who was directing us to stairwells with the most urgent face I had ever seen. Later I learned the one of four stairwells he directed us to, saved our lives. It was the inner most stairwell of the building. There was a buzz going around that a helicopter hit 1 WTC by accident, walking toward the stairs I smelled the fuel. At that point my body took over my mind and every part of my being knew I was in great danger.

I remember people being very cordial in the stairwell, looking out for the elderly, helping others that needed assistance. Its at that point where the greatest patience of my life came into play, its very tempting to roll past people knowing you have a very long way down. I tried to repeat the lords prayer in my head but couldnt get past the first verse. A couple people saw my face of fear and tried to calm me. We started our flights down, it was beginning to go smoothly and I started to relax a bit. At the 65th and then the 44th floor there were announcements for 2 wtc employees to report back to their floor. The 44th floor was a main elevator bank so a lot of people exited the stairwell waiting for an elevator to retreat back to their office. I considered it and as I approached the door to that floor a loud NO was in my head, just then I saw a colleague who said, "im sticking with the stairs", I agreed. At that point the stairs were empty and we were heading down quite quickly. At the 42nd story, we heard what sounded like and felt like a freight train ripping through the building. People flew across the stairwell, thankfully I was at a landing and secure. The building is meant to bend in case of hurricane winds, it bend so far each way I thought it was going to break in half. Karen was screaming and I remember telling her as calmly as i could to keep going. I should mention, the people that got into the elevator did so minutes before the plane hit us, they didnt survive.

We continued down, it was getting hot, I was sweating but had no idea why. Finally we were on the observation deck level, we were told to take an escalator down to the mall area. It was torturous being on the ground level of a building that you just wanted OUT OF! A glimpse of the concourse (which i thankfully forgot quickly) was total devastation, a war zone to be exact. Pieces of plane and building wreckage, I'll leave it at that.

Once outside, my friend Karen had to change her shoes, the cops and firemen told us to run and not look back. Of course we ran and looked back, My building was on fire too, my thoughts were the fire jumped. (?) The strangest thing about the outside world was people standing and staring a the buildings, completely frozen. The only people walking and running were WTC employees.

Im not sure how i knew the buildings were going to fall since i had no idea what even happened, but i did. I told Karen we were going to the seaport, try our phones then proceed over the brooklyn bridge. As we were halfway across the bridge we saw our building crumble to the ground. My first thought should have been my co-workers but it wasnt, it was the cops and firemen surrounding the building. We made it to downtown brooklyn were my brother picked us up and took us home.

Upon driving to bay ridge a black, dark sky started to clear and all of a sudden we saw blue skies again. We got to my apartment, turned on the TV. The first thing i saw was Katie Curic and I thought to myself, I shouldn't be watching this. My second thought was, if i had just died, life and news would go on like every and any other day. No phone service so I turned on my computer. My first email was from a friend from Roomful of Blues saying "God hopes this email reaches you". It was only at the point I realized everyone i knew thought i was dead.

The next few days I had hopes that people would be found in the building, it never happened. Friends that were family to me 10 hours a day, 5 days a week were gone. The cast of characters I knew and loved will never be forgotten. I will always mourn their loss and the tragedy their families endure forever. I went through a scary, tragic ordeal but this isnt about me, its about the amazing people who innocently went to work that day and lost their precious lives."


A few years after I met Patty, we both were able to concieve children. Her little boy, Nathan is just younger than Daphne. And I think all the time how he wouldn't be here if Patty hadn't listened when God told her to get out of the building and stay out of the elevator. It's so amazing to me how things turned out. I know it didn't turn out this well for so many people who died that day. But for some reason, Patty's time on this earth wasn't done yet. Maybe because of Nathan.

Patty, thank you so much for being willing to share your story again. It's inspiring and precious. Your little boy will treasure this history you have written down when he gets older. And we all will treasure it every time we remember that infamous day.

15 comments:

M-Cat said...

Best.Post.Ever

Kristina P. said...

Wow, this gave me goosebumps. Thank you for sharing her story with us.

Koreena said...

That was amazing. Thank you so much for sharing that.

Cook Family said...

Amazing, Thanks!

Lia said...

Thank you for sharing this personal story with us.
But a special thank you to Patty for being brave enough to write her story down for us.
much love,
Lia xx

L. said...

It never seems so piercingly real until you hear from someone who was there. How amazing, crushing, astonishing! It still seems impossible that such a vast, brutal tragedy could have been done -- that there are so many twisted, evil people still waiting eagerly to try again.

Please extend our thanks to Patty for sharing this story.

Tiffany said...

Chilling. Thanks to you (and Patty) for sharing!

Kristine said...

I really like hearing the stories from survivors of 9/11, mostly because it was so surreal for the rest of the world who sat and watched with jaws dropped and lips praying for those in the middle of it. Thanks for sharing :)

Shawn said...

Thank you for sharing this----it makes it even more special from someone that survived....

Devri said...

Wow, that was an amazing story!

thanks for sharing that with us, now, when I remember the day I will remember this story as well. thank you.

MiaKatia said...

Thank you Patty for sharing. I think the line about news going on today and ever day after really made me think the most. We really should stop and remember more often.

Kado! said...

thanks to you and Patty for sharing that story...wow..i don't know what else to say...

rychelle said...

what an amazing story. thank you both for sharing it.

rae said...

Goosebumps.

André said...

wow.