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Terror Strikes America
Frank (frank@franksworld.com)
September 11, 2001

The Night Before

9 - 11 - 2001

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The Day Everything Changed

Photos Below Story

Like an idiot, I stopped in the middle of the street to take pictures, thinking that the worst was over. These pictures were taken around 9:40 am. Just prior to the collapse of the South Tower, the first building to fall.

Tuesday, the 11th of September was supposed to be an boring day. The day before was the worst day at work I had ever had. I was dreading going into the office.

Minutes after strolling out of my lower Manhattan abode, my world, along with countless others, was about to change forever. This was the kind of day, bad disaster movies are made out of -- except this time I was in it.

Shortly after taking these shots, I ended up running for my life as a 5 storey high dust cloud came racing at me. When the cloud hit, a sunny fall morning had suddenly turned pitch black and the air became unbreathable. There was a time when I thought I wouldn't survive.

Suddenly, everything else didn't seem to matter: I was pissed off. After all I've been through in my life and all the other tough spots I'd been in, I was pissed that it was going to end this way: choking to death on some New York street. I wanted to at least go down fighting.

Dazed, angry, and confused, I felt along the wall of buildings to keep at least some sense of direction. Next thing I knew everything turned from pitch black to brilliant white. I thought I had died. I began to think of all the things I hadn't done; of all the promises I hadn't kept.

But then, just as hope seemed to fade away, a man named John pulled me into a store that he himself found only seconds before. He saw the light from my digital camera and grabbed at me, effectively saving my life by pulling me into a shoe store on Nassau Street.

In there, I was able to catch my breath and regain my composure. After I thanked him profusely for saving me, he told me that his pregnant wife was working in one of the towers. I wanted to get his last name or phone number, but before I knew it, he was gone.

You can imagine my despair when the news announced a pregnant woman was amongst the first reported casualties. My thoughts are prayers are still with you and your wife, John.


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You can imagine my surprise to look up and see this. At first, I had no idea what was going on From this point of view, it looked like it was just a bomb.  
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Since the smoke obscured the top of the towers, we had no clue as to how bad it actually was.   People along the street were huddled around cars listening to the news. I continued to walk closer and get pictures. Even at this point in time, the smoke plume was enormous.
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The closer I got the worse it looked. We had no idea that both towers were on fire. My first thought was, "How could anyone get a bomb that big up there?"
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The gravity of the situation was only now hitting me. In between shots, I saw stuff falling from the building. Later, I would find out that those were people. Perpective from Broadway and John Street. At this point police were instructing people to get away.
DSC00020 While the camera was recording the previous shot, I saw that the other [South] Tower was also ablaze. There was a loud boom, sounds of cracking glass, the tower was collapsing. It looked like it would topple over onto us, but then after about 10 seconds, I was still alive. I stopped running and looked back. Only to see the dust cloud racing towards me.
I thought to myself, "One more shot and I'm out of here."

Images, Text and Site Design © 2001 Frank L.
All Rights Reserved.

Contact frank@franksworld.com to inquire about rights to these photographs.