EDITOR'S NOTE: We asked you, our readers, to tell us where you were when you learned about the Sept. 11 terror attacks and what they meant to you. The following is a sampling of your responses:
It was a surreal experience for me to watch on television from Jerusalem the destruction of the Twin Towers, where I had previously worked. Since I had arrived in Israel at the beginning of the second Palestinian uprising, many of my friends had feared for my safety. They had urged me to come home to avoid the almost daily bombings in Jerusalem at the time. One friend, in particular, would say, "You are risking your life over there."
In a cruel ironic twist, his death on Sept. 11 forever silenced his warning. To honor his memory, I adopted a different philosophy on life -- "When your number is up, it is up." After that, I tried to live my life without fear. If God wanted me dead, I would be and nothing that I could do would change it.
I was driving my car on East Lafayette Street in Norristown and listening to WHYY-FM on the radio while on my way to shop at BJs in Conshohocken. The crash into the first tower of the Trade Center had just occurred.
The reason this location is fixed in my mind is that our daughter was on a business trip to New York City and was on her way to the headquarters of her company. She had taken the train to Manhattan from 30th Street Station. After I got home from my shopping, my wife and I were on pins and needles waiting to hear from her.
Fortunately, she was headed in the other direction, but she was unable to call us for at least three hours to tell us she was OK since phone communications were in overload.
I learned what dread is due to this event.
On Monday, Sept 10, 2001, my daughter Randi gave birth to a little girl who was named Samantha. On Tuesday, Sept. 11, I was babysitting for my grandson Mason while his dad was visiting with my daughter and granddaughter.
A little after 9 a.m., my son-in-law called me and asked if I had heard about the plane that had flown into the Twin Towers. I replied that I was watching Sesame Street with Mason and had no idea what he was talking about.
He went on to explain what he saw on the television and I just listened in horror. On a normal Tuesday, I would have been at work, surrounded by co-workers. Instead I was home alone with a 2-year-old. I felt very isolated, confused and a little scared.
So many lives lost and our family blessed with a beautiful new baby!
Arline H. Winkler
On Sept. 11, I was at my desk working here in Philadelphia at the Department of Human Services in Center City when the news came that the Twin Towers had been attacked. My mind immediately flashed back to the late '80s and early '90s when I was an employee at Two World Center (the so-called South Tower).
At the time I was working for the New York State Department of Consumer Affairs. My office was on the 86th floor. Although we had practiced evacuations of the buildings in the event of an emergency, I always knew that evacuating the Twin Towers in a real emergency would not be so easy to accomplish. We employees just crossed our fingers and prayed that such a calamity would never happen.
I was deeply shocked and saddened by what I saw on TV that day. I still had emotional connections to the Twin Towers and I still knew many people who worked there. I also have several family members who served in the New York City Fire Department at Ground Zero. Thankfully, they were not among the injured, but they knew many of the fallen firemen personally.
Needless to say, we were all deeply affected by the tragic events of that fateful day.
Jack M. Markowitz