I’m a 23 year old woman living near Frankfurt, Germany. I would like to share the experiences I have made during the September 11, 2001 tragedy.
I have started to work in a Frankfurt branch of an American Bank in July 1999. Soon I got to know my other British and American colleagues of whom I speak to a couple of times during the week on the phone. They are all very nice colleagues, always open for a quick chat and to share a laugh.
On September 11, 2001 I was working in the office as usual, together with one out of five colleagues, the rest had been on business trips or at home that day. Our offices are on the same floor with a group of traders, most of them of American origin.
My colleague went out of the office for a moment and when he came back he locked dazed and he told me: ‘An airplane has hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center. Go and see by yourself, but you are not going to believe this.’ I hurried over to the trading room. I was standing there for ages, together with the traders and their secretary. We saw the towers burning, the smoke over the city, people screaming and running for their lives ... it seemed like a very horrible nightmare and I wished somebody could have told me, that this was just a scene from an action movie.
Then we had to watch the first tower collapse and the second soon after. At this point me and the other secretary started to cry, we were holding each other’s hands, we were just able to shake our hands in disbelief. When I went back to my office, my phone started to ring, it was my sister. She asked me: ‘Did you see it on tv?’ and she was crying as well. When my colleague went over to the trading room again and he came back, he was almost in a shock when he said: ‘And now an airplane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington.’ I couldn’t believe my ears, nor my eyes about what I saw on tv. I was thinking of my American colleagues and I was wondering, if anyone of our bank had been in the WTC at this time.
The rest of the day none of us were able to get back to work. We stood together watching tv or calling colleagues, friends and families. When I got home, I had to cry again when I saw more pictures on tv. It seemed so unreal, but it was true ...
In July 2001 three other friends and myself had booked a trip to NYC for end of November 2001 and we were really looking forward to it. We were first thinking about cancelling the trip after September 11, but then we went to visit NYC. I had been in the WTC before in 1999 and to see the skyline of New York and Ground Zero was really, really hard. The towers were just gone, together with the lives of 1000s of people. I felt very sad. But I still love New York of course. It is a beautiful, exciting city, the people were so friendly, so helpful, and I think I do not have to feel guilty that we have enjoyed our 4 days in the city very, very much and we will definitely visit NYC again one day. I think it helped me a lot to believe what has happened ...
My life has changed after the attack, even that I live in Germany. Since I do work for an American bank, we had and still have Security people working outside and inside our building and we had to remove our banks’ logos and details from the building as well. I probably have become more careful too. I do see almost every day with different eyes, I care much more for my family and the little things that happen around me and I enjoy little things much more than I did before.
Many young people got scared and confused about what was going on in NYC and Washington and then in Afghanistan afterwards. The USA are far away, but Afghanistan is only a couple of hours away from Germany ...
Our family’s Peruvian friend who lived in NYC to study was not hurt on September 11, nor his friends and relatives. But three young colleagues of ours in the WTC have died in this tragedy. I pray for them and their families and I pray for the presidents and the governments in our world that they will be strong enough to make the right decisions and I pray that that kind of tragedy will never ever happen again.
God bless you all.