September 11: An Oral History [NOOK Book]

Overview

About 3,000 people lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001. Thousands more narrowly escaped, their survival a result of eerily prescient spur-of-the-moment decisions, acts of superhuman courage, the unfailing kindness of strangers, and, in some cases, fortuitous strokes of luck. September 11: An Oral History unites the voices of that day. It is at once a dramatic reminder of one of the most devastating events in history of the nation and a tribute to ...
See more details below
September 11: An Oral History

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$13.99
BN.com price

Overview

About 3,000 people lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001. Thousands more narrowly escaped, their survival a result of eerily prescient spur-of-the-moment decisions, acts of superhuman courage, the unfailing kindness of strangers, and, in some cases, fortuitous strokes of luck. September 11: An Oral History unites the voices of that day. It is at once a dramatic reminder of one of the most devastating events in history of the nation and a tribute to the spirit of cooperation and the outpourings of empathy that marked that day for so many people in the United States and abrad.

Written and compiled by Dean E. Murphy, who covered the attacks on the World Trade Center for the New York Times, September 11: An Oral History presents vivid eyewitness accounts by those who rushed to the scene, as well as the stories of people around the country and abroad who watched as events unfolded on television and waited for news of friends, family, and acquaintances.

A priest who runs an adoption center near the WTC paints an unforgettable portrait of what he calls "the meeting place of Hell and Earth that morning"; a businessman from Los Angeles in New York to conduct a training seminar recounts in breathstopping detail his descent with a blind colleague from the 78th floor of the North Tower; a senior at a high school; the owners of a small business in Arkansas describe their thoughts and feelings as they waited to hear from a customer who had become part of their lives though they had never actually met him; and a civilian employee at the Pentagon recalls giving up hope in a smoke-filled office, her hair on fire, only to be led to safety by the soothing voice of a colleague.

Contributions from firefighters, police, and military personnel, and other rescue workers demonstrate the mixture of professionalism and humanity that justly elevated them, despite their own modesty, to the status of national heroes. There are stories, too, of those who narrowly missed being part of the mayhem--including a family of four who changed their plane reservations from one of the hijacked jets and others whose arrivals at work were delayed by unlikely coincidences and quirks of fate like forgetting to turn on the coffeepot the night before.

The first and only oral history of September 11 that presents people from all walks of life, these poignant, often harrowing vignettes capture the grief, rage, and fear that gripped the nationj--and offer an intimate, inspiring look at the strengths that enabled us to move on.


From the Hardcover edition.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A Changed Commute, a Saved LifeA Police Officer Loses His Friends and His PassionA Prayer to Die Quickly and Painlessly. A Mother's Run for Her Life as the titles of the personal accounts in New York Times reporter Murphy's volume indicate, the stories are by turns frightening, sad, surprising, terrible and miraculous. Scenes from the lives of those who were closest to the disaster, they provide a crucial and moving record, one guaranteed to produce chills in all but the toughest of readers. The immediacy of these accounts can be stunning, as are the twists of luck and split-second decisions that led to survival. (Aug. 27) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Soul-stirring firsthand accounts—terrifying transports—of living through the disasters of September 11, as told to New York Times reporter Murphy. Murphy was one of the reporters who covered that grave day and its aftermath, and for this collection he took on the unenviable task of asking those who survived by the skin of their teeth to relive the catastrophe, plus a handful of people who, by the grace of fortune, were slow at making their morning coffee or decided to change travel plans and so missed a doomed airplane. Murphy admits to some "compositing" of the testimony, but he strove for accuracy and credibility. And the stories simply rattle, first from those who had to wait in jam-ups to get onto escalators or out the door. But those that most whiten the knuckles by far are the near-escapes. For instance, the fireman who dove into the lobby of the South Tower to escape the crumbling edifice and was buried in the rubble, or the office worker who heard the building’s public-address system say it was safe to return to work: He heard people screaming, " ‘They’re jumping. People are jumping’. . . There was a tremendous disconnect between what was happening around me and the announcement that it was safe to go back upstairs." Or the management services worker who had just walked out of the tower: "Just 50 yards behind me a hundred and ten stories started coming down. . . . I became buried in debris and soot. The whole place was as dark as the darkest night." More buried people were rescued than is common knowledge, and Murphy found a handful of them. One of the real keepers of the flurry of 9/11 publications, destined to find a place on the shelf and be turned to time and again.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385508360
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/1/2002
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 590,469
  • File size: 564 KB

Read an Excerpt

In the North Tower

We saw the World Trade Center in flames--big gaping hole all the way on the top of it. We could see people jumping from the top of the building.
--Mayor Giuliani


Teresa Veliz

A Prayer to Die Quickly and Painlessly

Teresa Veliz was the facilities manager for Clearforest, a software development company that had offices on the 47th floor of the North Tower. Because she had two narrow escapes on September 11--one on an elevator and one on an escalator--she worries that she cheated death. She has been unable to return to work, and only conquered her frequent anxiety attacks by going back to Lower Manhattan and retracing her steps of that morning. There with her mother at her side, she cried until she could cry no more. "I won't lie to you," she says. "That day turned my life upside down."

I can still hear that horrible noise in my ears. "Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!" It was the sound of my elevator hitting the walls as it dropped from just above the 47th floor. The further down it fell, the fainter the bangs became--and the more terrified I felt. I had just stepped off that elevator, maybe nine or ten seconds earlier, leaving a handful of people continuing up to higher floors. I got off, turned the corner and opened the door to the ladies' room. I said good morning to a lady sitting at the mirror when the whole building shook. I thought it was an earthquake. Then I heard those banging noises on the other side of the wall. It sounded like someone had cut the elevator cables. It just fell and fell and fell.

I began to cry. "Oh, my God, I just got off that elevator!" Isaid. "That could have been me." I prayed that those other people had gotten off on the 48th floor before the elevator dropped. But I didn't have much time to be upset because the building shook again, this time even more violently. The lady at the mirror grabbed me from behind and held on for dear life. She was sobbing and screaming. I didn't even know her name. She worked for a bank on the same floor. We would pass from time to time in the hallway or in the ladies' room and exchange pleasantries. But I was all she had right then. I had to be strong for her.

"We have to leave," I told her.

"No! No! We can't go out there," she screamed.

"I have to go and see who is in my office," I said. "But I'll take you to your office first. I promise I won't leave you alone. Don't worry, everything's going to be all right."

I dropped my things on the bench in the bathroom--my handbag and the morning supply of bagels and muffins. I opened the door and there was a puff of dust so I turned back and got some tissue to cover our noses. I then walked the lady down the hall toward her office, my mind in rapid-replay mode. I was retracing my steps, the ones that got me off the elevator with only a few seconds to spare. I had stopped at Bon Ami to get the muffins. I remember the line was long. I was very impatient. I never had to wait so long before and I wanted to be at work on time. Then I went to American Cafe for the kosher bagels. Some people in my office only eat kosher. I had to wait there too. Finally, I waved some money in the air and slapped it down on the counter. "I can't wait," I announced and I rushed out the door with the bagels. When I entered the lobby of 1 World Trade Center, I pulled out my ID and swiped it through the security reader. I could see the elevator was there, the doors still open. Oh, great, I thought. The elevator is going to leave without me. But for whatever reason, it didn't. I ran and got in. It wasn't crowded. "Today is my lucky day after all," I thought as the doors closed and we headed up directly to the 44th floor, where I switched to a waiting local elevator for the final three stories up.

I felt okay leaving the lady at the bank. There were about 50 or so people there, so she had plenty of company and would be taken care of. I didn't worry much more about her. But I was worried about my own office colleagues. I felt it was one of my responsibilities, making sure everybody was okay. It came with the job title. I was chief caretaker, ordering supplies, buying breakfast--and taking control in an emergency. I am strong when I have to be for other people. It wouldn't be until much later in the morning that I let down and allowed myself to feel all the pain and anxiety that was rushing through my own mind and body.

"Katherine! Katherine!" I began screaming as I opened the door to my company's offices. But Katherine, I later learned, was still in the lobby waiting for an elevator when the plane hit. She had turned around and left the building safely.

Then I heard the voice of another colleague, Karin. "No, T, it is only me," she said, using my nickname. It was still before nine, it was Election Day and quite a few people had morning meetings away from the office, so Karin was alone, except for an electrician who had been working in the hallway. She was so scared that she was hiding under a table. "What do we do?" she asked.

"We evacuate," I said.

I told Karin to gather up her things, that I would be back in a minute. I had to run back to the ladies' room and get my purse. I didn't want to leave without my ID. The electrician tried to talk me out of it, saying it was dangerous to go back there. But I felt okay about it because I had just been there. When I got back from the ladies' room, Karin was in her office talking to her mother on the telephone. Her back was to the window. I was looking at her when something fell behind her outside. Was it a body? A piece of the building? The airplane? I wasn't sure, but I knew things shouldn't be falling like that. "Please hurry up!" I said to Karin, not saying anything about the object outside. I knew that would have sent her into a panic.

I quickly looked around the office for anything we might need to take if this turned out to be a big fire. My CD player was on my desk with my collection of CDs. Guns N' Roses. George Michael. A bunch of movie soundtracks. They can be replaced, I thought. Then I saw a laptop. It belonged to the director of finance who was visiting from Israel. I knew it had all of the company's important financial information. I stood there and spoke to it. "I hope you will be here tomorrow," I told it. "I can't take you. I can't be weighed down. I am sorry." We closed all of the doors to the inside offices, put some paper towels over our noses and hurried out.

We took staircase B. It was slow moving but orderly. Clearly, my survival instinct kicked in. I was as cool as a cucumber. I also had a bit of mother hen in me. I was very protective of Karin. We are about the same age, early thirties, and about the same height, but I am heavier and stronger. She wears a size 2, I wear a 14. And I tend to take charge in situations like this. At one point, when the flow of injured people in the staircase started to get to Karin, I shielded her. "It's okay, Karin," I said. "Just turn your head." We saw the lady from the bathroom upstairs. She was having a bad panic attack. She was crying hysterically. One of the emergency workers was escorting her down the left side of the stairs, which was reserved as a passing lane for the injured. We also stepped to the right when a blind man and his dog wanted to get by.

As I looked up behind me and down ahead of me, I heard people getting upset about the slow pace. "Why are we stopping?" they were saying. I said to myself, It's okay. Let them speak. So long as no one reacts and pushes their way down. At some of the slowest moments, I got impatient too, even looking enviously at the injured people who had priority to go ahead of us. Sometimes it would be like an ambulance racing down a busy street, when some cars pull behind it and take advantage of the open road. Only this time the cars were anxious people in the line. I told Karin not to worry, that I would get her out one way or the other. I would fight for us if I had to. I began devising a plan in my head. Karin would have a heart condition. She would pass out. I would tell everyone that we had to get by. But by the 18th floor, a fireman announced that it was clear sailing the rest of the way. No more stopping. And he was right. The pace picked up considerably and I never had to resort to the theatrics. I said thank-you to that fireman. I don't know if he heard me, but I was glad I said it.

At one point, we had to move to the right to let one of the many burn victims pass. She didn't know it, but this woman was an incredible source of strength for me. Her back was badly burnt, and so were her face, neck and ears. But she wasn't crying or screaming in pain. She might have been in shock, but even so, she walked with an amazing sense of dignity. Her chin was up, her shoulders back and eyes straight ahead. Don't lose it, T. Don't lose it, T, I said in a pep talk to myself after she went by. Later, I worried that I had let down a fireman, but it seems he gave me an impossible assignment. He had opened the door, I think it was at the 33rd floor, and looked right at me. "You," he said. "Tell No. 5 that the doorman is here." Smoke was coming off the floor into the stairwell and someone yelled, "Close the door!" The fireman was gone. Everyone around me started to repeat the instructions, like schoolchildren trying to memorize the words to a song. "Tell No. 5 that the doorman is here. Tell No. 5 that the doorman is here. Tell No. 5 that the doorman is here." But there was no No. 5. I carefully noted the numbers on the helmets of the guys coming up. Some had no numbers, at least not ones that I could see. The firemen with numbers were 23, 39 and 6. So the message never got relayed. I hope it wasn't important.

We finally reached the bottom, dumping out on to the concourse level. The sprinklers were on, so it had gotten pretty wet. We went through the turnstile and were directed toward the shopping mall. The place was empty except for security officers and police positioned every so often to give us directions. Turn left. Go straight. Turn. Straight. When we got the escalator near the Warner Bros. Store, the gentleman posted there shouted, "Pick up the pace!" That made me nervous. We started to move faster, though we didn't run. We got on the escalator, and as I looked to the top, I could see sunlight through the glass doors. I am free! I am free! That was all that came to mind. I am free! I am free!

We were halfway up when the escalator stopped abruptly and the lights went out. I waited and listened for some sort of instructions. BOOM! The glass doors at the top of the escalator shattered. I thought it was a bomb. But then a huge wind, with the force of a hurricane, swept across us. I don't know what happened to the people standing in front of us, but I think they were blown away. Something hit me in the head and I felt my body being pushed backward so hard that I was about to break in half. It took all of my strength to fight the wind. I started yelling, "Get down! Get down!" I grabbed Karin and crouched over her, pinning her to the stairs with my leg. I had her head in my stomach. I was so afraid that she was going to blow away. "I got you! I got you! You're okay," I shouted at her. It felt like people were stoning me. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. Hit. I was getting pounded all over with metal and glass and other flying objects. Then the whole building started to tremble. I feared the ceiling was going to come down on us or that the escalators would be ripped apart and we would fall into some hole and be swallowed up deep inside the Earth.

I accepted death. My luck had run out. I was meant to die earlier on that elevator. "God, I can't run any more," I said. "I guess this is it." I was at peace with it but I made one last request. "I just ask one thing," I prayed. "Please do it quick. This stuff is really hurting now." I was afraid how I was going to go. The thought of being flattened like a pancake was very scary. I closed my eyes really tight and waited. But by some miracle, the wind stopped. There was no more shaking. The air felt heavy but I was not being pelted anymore. Everything was completely silent.

I opened my eyes, and there was nothing but darkness. "Dear God," I said. "I am blind." I felt around. Karin was there. She was fine except for some bleeding on her arm. My face was stinging and my neck and back ached, but I could move. "Hello! Hello!" I started to shout. "Somebody help us. Please tell us what to do." I wasn't blind. I could see a little light. It was someone with a flashlight. "Follow the flashlight," an instruction from nowhere came. "Follow the flashlight." I grabbed Karin's hand, when a lady on the stairs behind me said, "Please help me." I turned and grabbed her with my other hand and yelled, "No matter what happens, don't let go of my hand! Do you understand?" She said yes and so we started up the escalator stairs. As we felt our away along, there were shoes and sandals everywhere. I can only guess that the people in them had run away or had been blown away.

Copyright 2002 by Dean E. Murphy
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction 1
In the North Tower
Teresa Veliz: A Prayer to die quickly and painlessly 9
David N. Frank and Michael Hingson: The gift of another life 16
Louis G. Lesce: Saved by a bang on the door 25
Irma Fuller: Getting help for two friends on 27C 31
Saravanan Rangaswamy: An immigrant's first day on the job 37
George and Stephen Sleigh: A father one floor from certain death, a frantic son an ocean away 40
Gerry Gaeta: Of lost friends, family and buildings 49
In the South Tower
Roselyn Braud: A mother's run for her life 61
Brian Clark: An executive, in a bubble, to the rescue 70
Stephen Miller: Questioning authority as a way of life 80
Patrick McNelis and Ellen DiMaggio: A bond broker and his golf caps from Arkansas 85
Martin Glynn: In praise of a policewoman about to die 90
Jennifer Doyna: A fateful decision in the stairwell 95
Michael A. Lyons: Missing and feared dead 99
On the Outside
Richard and Cathy Brown: A family's walk through the valley of the shadow of death 105
Paul Engel: A priest with a heavy and angry heart 112
Ed Stawarz: A rooftop view into the windows of a doomed jetliner 118
Rachel Landman: At high school, trying to dance the cha-cha 121
Kimberly Morales: A college student's unplanned lesson in suicide 125
Dick Heffernan: A son found, but still an empty seat on the train 128
Tonya Young: Giving up on a dream in New York City 133
Patricia Ryan: Living in a neighborhood under arrest 140
Melissa Johnson: Alone and afraid in a big city 144
To the Rescue
Ernest Amrstead: Tormented by a conversation with death 149
Bill Beaury: A police officer loses his friends and his passion 155
John Citarella: A Fire Academy instructor buried in the collapse 163
Michael Currid: A fire captain mourns a beloved chaplain 170
Anthony R. Whitaker: A police commander fears his lost memory 178
Narrow Escapes
Richard Moller: Cutting it as close as a cup of coffee 193
Greg Miller: Sleeping-in the last morning of a New York vacation 197
Peter J. Genova: A changed commute, a saved life 203
In the Pentagon
Tracy Webb: Her hair burning, she follows a voice to safety 211
Paul K. Carlton, Jr.: A surgeon general in the line of fire 216
Karl Van Deusen: A Navy commander saved by a window 223
Victor Correa: An Army Officer knocked down but not out 230
Janet Deltuva: In the Air Force, putting duty before fears and tears 236
John Jester: Trying to protect the Pentagon against the unthinkable 249
Acknowledgments 249
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2003

    Heart warming

    This book is very touching, it shows what the victims of September 11th really went through. The stories are tragic, but informing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 9 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)