Marissa' Story | Submitted by Marissa Panigrosso

That beautiful and tragic day when our country turned upside down, changed my world forever.

From my window on the 98th floor of Tower 2, I was stunned. No time to think, managers were urging us to go to the stairs and leave. I left all my possessions behind, pictures on my desk of a lived life; briefcase holding my paper identity.

As I passed a manager on the way into the staircase his face registered fear and terror. Not that we knew what was happening but you knew it was not good. Workmen on the floor told me to go the roof and I balked. They said that's what you do in a fire. Unfortunately many of my colleagues went to the roof and perished. Walking down the stairs to the 78th floor I thought, can I walk all the way down to the ground and get out? Instead I hopped the first elevator that came up leaving behind at least a hundred people crying and unable to move from where they were. An announcement played continuously: No danger, please remain where you are. The elevator that could hold at least 25 people was virtually empty. The next elevator that followed mine was the last one able to get to safety.

As I stepped onto the lobby floor, guards were waving their arms wildly. They motioned for us to keep away from the exit closest to Tower 1. The lobby was deserted. Stalls and stores left unattended, everyone gone. I turned to my friend when I realized that I had no money. She gave me twenty dollars we hugged and separated.

I exited by Cosi Restaurant and was running alongside a young man who said he had to call his wife. She was pregnant with their first child. I wished him luck and then I realized was running on glass and picture frames. I am sure at that time it still did not register that death was so close.

Century 21, the department store is where I crossed and as I did Tower 1 was struck. I was confused I did not even hear what people later described as a deafening sound. A woman pushed me so hard I ended up in the doorway of another store and lay down to avoid the debris coming from all directions.

 

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