My Experiences on September 11, 2001 | Submitted by Edward Grannis

Ed Grannis was employed by the NYC DOT working the 9:30-6:00pm shift at 40 Worth Street in lower Manhattan when the tragedy occurred. Traveling to work and just leaving the City Hall train station he heard and saw the plane pass and as an aircraft mechanic and hobby pilot, knew something was wrong. It was then he witnessed the first plane strike the North tower. He walked up to the West Side highway to see what happened and saw the upper part of the building engulfed in flames and smoke. Ed stood there and watched with many other folks around him. With emergency vehicles moving swiftly around they were moved north of the Trade center. At that faithful time of 9:03 am he witnessed the second plane hit the South tower and described the vibration from the collision as being next to "blasting speakers in a night club" coupled with intense-heat. With glass from a nearby building raining on them, they ran into the lobby of a nearby building for safety.

Ed saw many horrific things that day. He saw paper and debris flying through the air like confetti at a parade. He saw folks helping a "bloody woman" who sat on the side of the street. He continued to watch the debris flying through the air but quickly noticed people who were trapped in both towers jumping to their deaths. They could see the dresses and the shirt ties flying in the wind. As folks on the ground were hugging and crying he saw several people who were trapped above where the planes hit jumping to their deaths one right after another.

He continued past Chambers street to 40 Worth Street and heard the collapse of Tower 2. At 10:28 he witnessed the collapse of Tower 1 and described it as unbelievable as it just seemed to pancake down. At 11 :00 he decided it was time to try and leave as chaos had obviously broken out. He walked across the Manhattan Bridge onto Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn because authorities had closed the Brooklyn Bridge which he would have normally used. He then took the train and buses back to Staten Island which took him over 8 hrs to get back home.

Two days later he had to drive back to work. He assisted in bringing masks and other essentials back to the "pile" which at one time had been the trade center. He recalled while being at ground zero, a firefighter was checking through the pile looking for any signs of life fell, through the pile and by the grace of God, were able to pull him out before he fell all the way through. He remembers traveling back to 40 Worth Street and seeing parts of the jet engine once belonging to the aircraft, sitting in the street. Back at 40 worth he assisted in cleanup efforts and in restoring services so folks could return to work. It took several weeks and many long hours per day before things began to resemble some sense of normality.

Although Ed did not lose anyone in the tragedy, he had a sense he made some good contributions towards recovery and restoring services. Like many people affected by the tragedy his life has changed, he suffered from 911 cough which fortunately didn't last too long. He feels the heaviness of frustration and at times anger because the love of flying and working on airplanes is lost probably forever. The extra security all over is also a daily reminder to him of the evil committed that day.

 

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