NOT TOO LATE FOR EARLY
You can call it lucky, but for me I say it was a special call from God. On Tuesday September 11th 2001 I was supposed to take the 8:18 train to New York city that morning to visit the garment district. Normally I would always take the train early so I could arrive at 9 when the store most open. I had to go to work at 3:pm so I could shop and be back at 1:00pm in time to go to work at the youth shelter where I worked at.
By 7:30 am I had gotten up taken a shower and was dressed, but I kept milling around trying to remember not to forget anything. It was a little cool so I had to grab my jacket but the sun was out and it was a nice sunny day. Perfect I said since I would be walking for quite a few blocks in New York.
I was going to go to New York on Yesterday but the weather report said rain and storm clouds but said today would be in the 70s so the feasible thing to do was to wait a day I mean its not like new York was going anywhere. If I knew what was to take place the next day I would of embraced the storm and the rain.
At 7:59 American Airlines flight 11 A Boeing 767 plane left from Boston Massachusetts with 81passengers, and 11 crewmen. It was already 14 minutes late leaving from Logan International Airport bound for Los Angeles . Unknowingly at the time there were 5 hijackers on board.
At 8:00am I was ready to go, and I looked at the clock on the wall, and moaned to myself. I had only 18 minutes to drive downtown, park the car, and board the train for new York. that means I would just have to get my ticket on the train. I thought about it the fact that I would have to rush to make it and I hate rushing. I decided I would wait and take my time for the next 9:18 train.
8:14 United Airlines flight 175 A Boeing 767 Plane left from Logan International Airport in Boston heading for Los Angeles with 56 passengers, and 9 crewmen. It was running 14 minutes late.
At 8:10 I decided to turn on the television for a while and leave about 10 minutes to 9 and that would give me plenty of time to arrive.
At 8:42 flight 175 was hijacked over Albany 140 miles north of New York City.
At 8:46 flight 11 crashed into the North Face of the North tower 1 between floors 93 and99.
At 8:48 CNN aired the crash on Television I saw all these people so I st down and wondered what was happening. No one knew yet just what had happened and they were speculating, and the wrong information ws given out numerous times.
At 9:03 flight 175 crashed into the south face of the south tower 2 between floors 77 and 85. and the crash threw parts of the plane including the engine 6 blocks away.
By this time I had already abandoned my trip knowing something dreadful just happened in New York. I sat down and watched the news in awe.
9:58 The south tower crashed falling 56 minutes after flight 175
10:28 the north tower fell 1 hour and 42 minutes after flight 11 fell.
I though about all those people some jumping from the windows rather than burn to death. I witnessed the horror of the second plane hitting and was grateful for missing the dust and debris that enveloped lower Manhattan.
It would be a while before I could go to the garment district to shop.
When I got to work things had already went awry from the New York happenings. Many of the schools in Connecticut closed early on September 11th and parents were not prepared for that. At the shelter no one was told the kids we had in school were getting out early and the kids were all let out some wandering around trying to get rides and wait for someone to come. Two of the girls were let out so one girl went to her grandmothers house. The grandmother bought her into her sons room who was way at the time. The grandmother opened the drawer and saw a BB gun, and thought it was real. She told the girl get it out of my house, and the girl said its not mine. The grandmother said I don’t care get ti away from me. The girl called out office and spoke to the house manager who said we are coming to pick you up. She had another girl with her and she waas picked up and the manager got the gun from her and locked it up in his office when he got back to the shelter.
Meanwhile the other girl contacted her state worker and told her bout a girl with a gun and that she pulled the gun on her. The worker did not even bother to call us at the shelter to get clarification as to the situation. She called her Office and a team of supervisors head down from Hartford which was one hour away. When the state team came in they were upset and were talking about a girl with a gun like there was havoc here and we were not in control. They were bought in to the office and told the situation was different from what they heard and at no tie was anyone of the kids in danger.
They asked about the girl who reported the incident and found she had ran away. We stated that’s s why she ran away after she realized she lied about the whole thing and did not want to be confronted with the truth. We asked the state why did they not just call us instead of at least calling us and telling us what they heard so we could of at least enlighten them of the events that followed. Because of this incident affected by 9/11 we shelter lost its license for funding from the state, and I ending up looking for a new job.
I was also scheduling a trip to Africa in 2012 and had gotten my Passport form to fill out to get ready for that. Things changed drastically in the Airports, and many planes trip were cancelled, and many people were afraid to fly including me especially to another country. For a year I could not get to New York’s lower Manhattan so that killed my part time garment business. You had to have special ID and show it to thousands of police on every corner who had automatic weapons in their hands. I could not even get close to the garment district.
I am grateful to be alive because even if I did not get too close to The Twin Towers I would of been affected by the dust inhalation and would probably now be suffering from the aftermath with medical problems like many today still suffering from.
Today I still have not resumed my part time garment business, because I received another job way better than the one I had before. I help thousands of youth being an advocate for those that end up in crisis.
I still have not gone to Africa( maybe one day) but that is still on my agenda. When I drove thru New York it sees like a big whole is in the horizon missing the Twin Towers I had gotten so used to seeing.
I was supposed to go to New York early that September morn, but I ended up late, but not too late, because my late turned out to be right on time. Still every year I have to stop, and say a prayer for the families of the victims as that day will be a continued remembrance in my mind.
I had replaced my trips to New York with writing poetry and books about the ills that plaque our society and helping humanity in ways that I can.
My new book Diary of A Purple Limousine will be out this year ! To God be the Glory, Roje’