Tribute Tour of Docent Jim Kazalis | Submitted by Jim Kazalis

This tour monologue was created by me as a volunteer docent at the Tribute center in lower Manhattan while the 9/11 memorial was being constructed(2006- ?). The tour would last about 70 minutes. There were a maximum of about 22 patrons, every age, both genders and from all parts of this good earth.

 

Introduction - Firefighter's Memorial

You are encouraged to use cameras.

Did anyone know someone whom was lost in the tragedy?

My name is Jim Kazalis. Myself and Jane Doe will be taking you on a tour of the WTC site for the next 1 hour and a few plus minutes. We will not be going down and inside the site but instead we will be going up and around making about five stops and ending in the American Express building.

I think it fair to warn you that portions of what I describe are graphic in nature.

I am a survivor and was working on the 67th floor of 2 WTC. I will share my story with you further on in the tour. I prefer using 1 and 2 World Trade as opposed to North and South Tower as the people who were working and died here would only know it by those names. It was only after it became a media event did the names North and South Tower emerge.

For close to five years visitors to this site would circle this site either clockwise or counter-clockwise – looking downward for details or clues on what happened here but the results were always the same. The only thing they would discover was their own dizziness until September of 2006 when the Tribute center opened and provided these tours as well as the personalized story of 9/11 at 120 Liberty street. The Tribute center was founded by the September 11th Families Association. You will note that the dominant color of Tribute is blue. And Blue symbolizes the sky on 9/11.

9/11 is so important it has become an official word in most English language dictionaries since the tragedy. It is not a trendy word either. Trendy is something that is cool today but not cool tomorrow. Something like my green leisure suit hanging in my closet. Which has mysteriously shrunk over the years. You can turn on the t.v. tonight and you will hear the word 9/11 more than once and it has been six years since the tragedy.

Within a one hour and 42 minute time frame -2749 lives will be lost –victims whose common crime was to get out of bed on a Tuesday morning to pursue happiness. More will die here than died in the attack on Pearl Harbor in1941 signaling U.S. entry into WWII. Of that tragic number 343 were NYC Firefighters- 37 PA Policemen , 23 NYC police officers, 11 EMT workers and 2000 plus office workers many whose most serious on the job injury to that date may have been a paper cut. In addition 184 died at the Pentagon and 40 victims in Shanksville ,PA. 90 Fire Trucks(more than what most cites have) were destroyed and 30,000 residents in lower Manhattan will be displaced – some as long as a year. Property values will fall dramatically. Businesses will close. Some will never reopen. People will lose their jobs. A city, a nation and the entire civilized world will see and feel the effects of what happened right across the street for a very long time.

On February 26 1993 1500 pounds of a high explosive will be detonated by terrorists in the underground parking garage in the World Trade Center in a rented truck. It will blow a hole in the garage six stories deep. Six people will lose their life that day. This was an all day decent and evacuation that went into the night. Those that stayed in their offices fared better than those that left immediately. A small percentage of people were rescued on the roof by helicopters. This would be in some people's mind eight years later.

Behind me is the 10/10 firehouse. Six firefighters from there died on 9/11. What you are looking at is a 56 foot long bronze Bas Relief donated by the legal firm of Holland and Knight memorializing all 343NYC firefighters that died that day plus Glenn Winuk who was a partner in the firm and volunteer firefighter who from his law office at 195 Broadway ran into the WTC to help and lost his life.

 

In front of Deutsche Bank Building

On the morning of September 11, 2001 two commercial jets will leave Logan Airport from Boston. Another will leave Dulles Airport in Washington DC and still another will leave Newark. These were transcontinental flights filled with over 9,000 + gallons of highly flammable jet fuel. 19 terrorists will take over the planes. The two planes from Logan will wind up here. Flight 11 will crash into 1WTC between the 93 and 99th floors. Flight 175 will crash in 2WTC between the 77th and 85th floors. Both planes will tilt their wings just prior to crashing to create maximum damage. The one from Newark (Flight 93) will crash in Shanksville, PA after the passengers heroically attempted to take control of the plane back. The plane from Dulles will fly into the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

Does anyone know what the tallest building in the world was in 1914? [Hint]- You are probably looking at it. It was the Woolworth building at 233 Broadway. That building started a race that still continues today to build the world's tallest building. The twin towers would remain the world's tallest buildings from 1972 to 1974 until the Sear's tower in Chicago was completed. Does anyone know what two inventions were needed to build a skyscraper?[pause] An elevator was one but more importantly a safety elevator. One that would not readily crash. The other invention was a mass transit system. You needed a way to get a lot of people in and out of the ground floor area quickly. There were 99 elevators in each of the twin towers. On 9/11 people were trapped in these elevators. Some people rescued themselves. Some would be rescued by others. But many remained trapped until the end. They would never even know that an airplane had crashed into their building. If you want a sense of how high the towers were- that is the rebuilt 7 World Trade Center 52 stories high - double it and add six more stories for a total of 1350 feet. That was also the NYC command center that Mayor Gulianni was walking to on the morning of 9/11. It would be the last building to collapse that day. The towers were so high that tourists would lie on their backs in the Plaza to photograph the twin summits.

The WTC was designed by Minoru Yamasaki for the Port Authority of NY and NJ. Mr. Yamasaki suffered from acrophobia. Does anyone know what acrophobia is?[pause] It is a fear of heights. Mr. Yamasaki used his fear of heights in designing the WTC. Windows were 22inches wide floor to ceiling. You had to almost press your face against the window to see down. When you did look down both your hands pressed against the support giving you a strong sense of security at every height.

This site is 16 acres and there were a total of 7 buildings. Directly in front of us would have been 2WTC which is why the Deutsche Bank directly behind you had sustained such damaged. On the very spot where you are standing now people most certainly died. People who thought they were ordinary bystanders watching the towers were pulled into the tragedy by a collapse no one expected when 2WTC fell first. Further North almost across from the glass opening opposite the Winter Garden would be 1WTC. The Marriott Hotel would sit on the corner between both towers. Then 4,5 and 6 WTC. All were connected through the concourse, the underground mall.

There are some features I would like you to note:
The slurry wall- In order to support both towers they needed to excavate to bedrock 70 feet down. To get down to that level the would most certainly hit water seeping in from the Hudson river. The engineers devised a special machine that would dig a 3 foot wide trench approximately 20 feet long. They would then bring in these huge cranes and drop a 70 foot reinforced iron cage on end into the trench. They would pump the slurry in. The water would be displaced and then concrete would be pumped into the trench. This process would be repeated a few hundred times around the perimeter until it was complete. This was also referred to as a reverse bathtub.
Does anyone know where the dirt went that was excavated?[pause] . It was placed inside of coffer dams in the Hudson river where Battery Park city and the World Financial Center will be built. Instant expensive real estate given to the city of New York in exchange for building the WTC. They had a unique problem with the PATH train which for our out-of-town tourists is our interstate subway system. The train was built in 1908. So they had to excavate around it and support the tunnel in midair with steel supports until they could make a more permanent station. I had seen those supports when I had come home on leave from the military in 1968.
The tie backs prevent the wall from caving in. They drilled steel rods at an angle into the bedrock then grouped them together.

Does anyone know why they stopped building at 110 stories? (pause) Wind. The design of the WTC would be affected by the wind. It would sway as much as 11 inches in the wind. When they were designing the WTC they invited people to a free eye exam in a trailer that was on a hydraulic platform. The platform would move back and forth but they did not tell the examinees that the platform was moving. The examinees had to tell the optometrist that he or she sensed movement. The engineers wanted to see how much sway caused by wind load would be noticed by the people. It could not distract tenants from their daily tasks in an office environment. Things I remember about windy days in the WTC… If you high enough in the tower and had a round pencil and placed it on your desk it will roll off your desk. Doors would sometimes automatically close. And if you went in to a restroom and looked into a toilet you would see the water slosh back and forth. Elevators would run at half speed. That would upset us the most as it would delay our mass transit connection when we were leaving work. NYC commuters are obsessed and driven by train schedules.

The WTC was and is a transit hub. It was also filled with life and life's events. It held free outdoor concerts in the summer in the Plaza. One day was jazz, one day rhythm & blues but my favorite was Rock & Roll Thursdays. If you were a tenant that worked in the WTC, on the first Thursday of every month you go to the observation deck for free. Just show your badge and the $10 dollar admission fee was waived. Something I did quite often.

If there is anything that helped to minimize casualties that day and there were a few things…. The WTC was about 30 percent full at the time of the first plane crash or about 14000 workers , me among them, were at work. It was opening day for public schools ,… A primary election was being held and the NY Stock Exchange does not normally open until 9:30. It would not open that day and not open for six days .

 

World Financial Area

There were great acts of heroism that day. Everyone who went into those towers after the planes hit and there were many, deserve to be classified as heroes. But one I wanted to give special recognition and praise to would be Rick Rescorla, The director of Security for Morgan Stanley. Morgan Stanley was the largest tenant in the WTC occupying 22 floors. I did not know Rick personally but I knew him to say hello. Rick emigrated from Cornwall England to the United States in the 1960's as a young man just so he could join our US army and be sent to South Vietnam to fight. This was at a time in our history when young men were fleeing the United States to avoid conscription also known as the military draft. He led a platoon through the notorious valley of Ia Drang, where more than 200 American soldiers died; a battlefield photo of him graces the cover of the 1992 best seller "We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young". Rick is featured in the documentary film entitled " The man who predicted 9/11". Rick was responsible for our constant drills of evacuation procedures. Even though Morgan Stanley was the largest tenant with about 2300 people in the WTC we lost 13 people to the tragedy that day. Rick was last seen going up the stairs not down . A real American hero who was not even born or raised here.

Before I begin my story I will allow ….. to share their experience with you.

It was my worst day at work , it was my best day at work in 37 years. The 400 collective days I served in South Vietnam as a 19 year old US Marine does not come close to the horror we all experienced in 102 minutes at this location on 9/11.
I live in NJ and arrived at Hoboken train station at about 7:45 in the morning. The weather was so nice I decided to take the Ferry to the World Financial Center. The ferry would pass through the shadows of both towers that were cast upon the river for the very last time. I went into the Winter Garden and walked up the marble semicircular staircase. I proceeded through the pedestrian bridge. Once I got to the other side there was a single side door that a lot of commuters would ignore. I went through this door and was at the base of the North façade of 1 WTC. I have always been an early bird to work. If I went in on time I would have killed by the debris and fuel hitting the North façade by Flight 11.

I proceeded across the plaza between the Koenig sphere and the stage for the concerts. The vacant white folding chairs in front of the stage were in place for the next show.

I entered in 2WTC at the mezzanine level. I went down the escalator to get the elevators to my floor. I arrived at work on the 67th floor of 2WTC at about 8:05. I sat down at my computer in my cubicle were I did my job as a computer security analyst. At 8:46 I heard a muffled explosion. I stood up looked South over my cubicle partition wall towards the Veranzano Narrows bridge. I did not see anything. I discounted it as perhaps an air conditioning or mechanical equipment explosion, something not entirely uncommon in lower Manhattan. I then heard the hysterical crying of a secretary. When I glanced out the window again I saw 8 ½ by 11 sheets of paper fluttering and falling outside my window at the 67th floor level. My boss instructed me and others to leave down the stairwell. I put on my jacket, hit CTL-ALT-DEL on my computer to lock it, grabbed my briefcase with expectations to return. I proceeded down to the 44th floor sky lobby where at 9:02 I heard a voice over the PA system say "A plane has just crashed into 1WTC but that the integrity of 2 WTC was ok". This message was repeated again. Some people said they were going back to work. A few seconds later at 9:03AM Flight 175 crashed into my building. The entire building shook violently and swayed . My feet went into the air. I prepared to die. I was near an out of service elevator and the force of the impact drove a combination of air and dust though all openings around the elevator into the lobby. I remember feeling that I did not want my body to be found in an elevator shaft. As I realized I was not yet dead I picked myself off the floor but some items from my soft briefcase had scattered on the ground. One item was my rail pass. I felt I needed it to go home. Pandemonium broke out on the floor and now everybody headed toward the stairwell. I had to go against the flow of people to retrieve my rail pass. Somehow I got it without being knocked over. Even though there was chaos in the sky lobby people began helping people.

On the floors high above me something more extreme was occurring. People were making choices. They had to choose how to die. What used to be an office area was now unrecognizable, filled with debris, fire , smoke and no way out. When one sees charred smoldering bodies that can no longer be identified as man or women let alone which co-worker he/she was the choice becomes more apparent. If they wanted their bodies to be found and identified they would jump. Some were seen jumping holding hands, a feat not so easy when you consider that the windows were only 22 inches wide. They must have discussed in at least some detail how they would exit both the window and their life.

[I will hold up a 22 inch blue board] " This board is 22 inches long and was made by me and my four and a half year old grandson to give you an visual perspective of the width of every window in both towers."

Even though I was not on those upper floors , nobody lived who was there and I felt somebody must make an attempt to tell a small portion of their story.

Once I got to the stairwell it did not take long for movement down to stop. The WTC was never designed to handle a mass evacuation and we did not know whether the plane hit above or below us. People begin to panic and push. In what may have one been only a minute or two but what seemed like eternity we resumed the decent down. The stairwells would open up at times to office floors. This was common building design to prevent a fire from spreading up or down one continuous stairwell.

Finally the last door opened to the Mezzanine level in the lobby. We still had to go one more level down. We were now at the top of the escalators and both escalators had their power turned off. Two of the three stairwells opened up to the mezzanine level. This was causing a delay as people were backing up at the top of the escalators. Security guards prevented people from going out to the plaza and even tried to keep us from looking there. But as we were waiting our turn our eyes were drawn to the devastation in the plaza. There was charred debris everywhere I looked – later I would learn I was not only looking at debris but also human remains some still in their airplane seats with their seat belts on. As my mind raced - a huge outside building support encased in stainless steel came crashing to the ground with both ends on fire. I was looking at steel on fire. My mind had difficulty accepting what my eyes were seeing.

As I went through the revolving doors to exit the tower group of about 6 NYC firefighters were trying to get inside. A building service person was trying to open the revolving door so they could get through with their equipment, some of which weighed between 30 and 70 pounds. The service person was struggling with the doors and then the tall leader shouted in a forceful manner "HURRY UP" . The door opened – they now had 75 floors to climb and unknowingly will never reach their goal.

I was now in the concourse heading toward the Northeast corner of the WTC. To exit I had to walk up the escalator by 5WTC. A plain clothes policeman was stationed at the door and kept continuously repeating "Do not stop-do not look up" He knew we wanted to do both. He did not want this important exit obstructed. As I got outside there were people lying on the ground bleeding and EMT personnel tending to them. I crossed Church and walked up Fulton street. When I turned around I braced myself for what I was about to see by grabbing the Ancient iron fence that wraps around Saint Paul's churchyard. I stared in bewilderment at both 1 and 2 WTC. I saw the gaping holes made by the impact of both airplanes. After about 2 or 3 minutes looking I said my wife's name "Kathleen !!!".

I proceeded walking up Broadway looking for an open pay phone or perhaps I could borrow someone's cell phone. The pay phone lines had 20 or more people and restaurants and stores were closed. I saw several smashed cell phones on the ground, probably the result of no service. There were no vehicles moving at all. Just people either walking North in center of the streets or standing in the street staring at the towers. When 2WTC collapsed at 9:59 I was still walking North. I heard a rumble and turned around to just briefly see the top of 2WTC disappear. I was not caught in the dust windstorm that was produced by the pan caking of 110 stories in about 10 seconds.

29 minutes later the same horrific scene will be reproduced. People were either fainting or crying in the streets.

I still continued walking North when I noticed something frightfully familiar . I was at the very base of the Empire State building. I am now at what was potentially the next terrorist target that day. How thoughtless to jeopardize my life twice in one day? I picked up the pace and cut across 42nd street to where I found an open restaurant with a working phone and nobody in line waiting to use it except me.

But I must take you back in time to another story right after the first plane hit 1 WTC but before the 2nd plane hit. Across the Hudson river in Jersey City directly behind the Colgate clock in an office building my wife Kathleen was at her job at 7AM that morning . At about 5 minutes to 9 someone came into her office and said the WTC was on fire. She went to the outdoor parking garage with her co-workers having a full view of what was to happen. At 9:02 she saw flight 175 fly by the Statue of Liberty flying erratically at a low altitude and at high speed. She did not associate this airplane with the fire in 1 WTC. When the plane hit the 2 WTC and the massive fireball unfolded engulfing the building I worked in, she let out a primal scream that had my name imbedded in it. She had be escorted back to her desk where for 2 hours and 17 minutes her left hand was frozen to the telephone waiting my phone call.

When I did call Kathleen the phone call itself did not last for more than 30 seconds and we were talking over each other's words. When I had received the phone bill one month later I noticed that I made the call exactly at 11:20 AM. On every anniversary of 9/11 at 11:20 I have called her and I say " It's me , I am OK and I love you".

I found my way down to the Hudson River where NY Waterways has their ferries docked. Bus terminals were closed, subways and bridges. The only way to cross the Hudson river was by boat. There must have been thousands of people in line waiting to get the ferry. Everything and everybody was still. It was like a "silent Woodstock". I had a radio in my briefcase and turned it on to a 24 hour news station. Just about everybody near me could hear it. After 15 minutes I turned the station off . I expected people to yell at me to turn it back on. Not a single person did. When I did catch the ferry I was fortunate that it was not only crossing the Hudson river but that it was going to Hoboken train terminal where I started my day. As I got off the ferry policemen we asking if anyone had worked in the WTC. They were directing us to a special area. I expected to be interrogated about the events of the day perhaps by the FBI , CIA or Secret Service but instead I was in front of a man in a full body white chemical suit and a respirator who was holding a fire hose. Even though no one in our group had been caught dust windstorm and had no contaminates on us, the bureaucracy of the moment dictated that we were to be hosed down. Like it or not. I was given a white towel to dry myself off although it does not do much good with wet clothes on.

The train station itself was in chaos no one seem to know when the trains were leaving. Some conductors said they would wait for the trains to fill up. Some said they would leave immediately. For a brief moment word spread that there may have been a bomb in the terminal. I remember seeing a large group of people clumped together sprinting at full speed to exit the terminal. It was an unintended rumor caused by the high tension of the day.

Finally the train I got on left the station and I wound up only one town away from where I started the day. I called Kathleen whom had already been home to come and get me. While I waited for her there was a pastry shop next to the phone. I always remember the joy and innocence of eating Italian ices in the summer as a young boy. I did not feel like eating anything but I knew I had do something that would start to get my life back on track. Others would have a much more difficult time.

9/11 was on a Tuesday I went back to work on that Friday at Harborside Terminal directly across the Hudson River in NJ near where Kathleen works. The company moved us a total of 4 times in a one year period. I would also like to highlight that there were fellow IT employees who left the WTC that day walked North to the backup facility uptown and continued to do their normal job. That to me demonstrates the importance of computers in our Modern World. The company also provided free catered hot breakfasts and lunches right in the office space for months. There was on site psychological counseling available daily and there were lines waiting to use it. Employees wanted evacuation drills daily but with Rick Rescorla gone we settled for anything.

I would have lucid nightmares for 6 weeks, every night without fail. Lying in bed at night and looking out my bedroom window I kept seeing the image of defoliated trees covered in ashen dust and draped with computer printouts. I probably still suffer from "survivor's guilt" and now realize some of the guilt may have originated from the Vietnam war. But rather than give a therapist $100 an hour for listening to my story I do these tours instead. I have since moved on to a new employer in NJ. Also I have stopped making my mash potatoes on my dinner plate the shape of the twin towers. Does anybody know what movie I stole that scene from?

 

Winter Garden

When Silicone Valley was still just a valley and before the WTC was here this place was called Radio Row. Before the phrase hi-tech, before the word nerd existed . This was the center of the technological universe for the common man. I would come here as a 13 year old boy in 1960. This was where I learned to build electronic equipment from circuit diagrams not from A to B instruction pamphlets. The sales people who waited on you we not boys who wore blue or red colored vests but older men who wore long sleeve white shirts and a tie. More often than not they were engineers who shared their knowledge freely. As a result I self taught myself electronics and had acquired an Amateur Radio license that allowed me to communicate to the world from my parent's basement. When I enlisted in the USMC in 1965 I was tested in boot camp and given formal advanced electronic training. This was when 3 out of 4 recruits became riflemen. This new career saved my life when I was sent to South Vietnam as a technician. This in turn lead me into the computer field where ironically I nearly die 36 years later in what is considered a physically no risk field. When I landed my first job as a computer Input Output clerk Bill Gates was eight years old. People find this hard to believe but although I had a considerable lead on him in the IT field, he has been a tad more financially successful than me. When Radio Row was taken from me I was heartbroken. I lost something I loved. For that reason I did not warm up to the new World Trade Center. But as I matured I realized that what will be constructed here will be better than what stood here before. Civilizations must advance not retreat.

Now we are back to the present or at least the 9/11 present. This is where I had walked up the marble staircase on the morning of 9/11. This glass was not here before. A very wide pedestrian bridge was here instead. When the collapse of the 1 WTC occurred at 10:28 AM many people ran under the pedestrian bridge for cover. But the force of the collapse came directly on top of bridge destroying everything and everybody under it. The 110 story towers were now compressed into six stories of steel, dust, debris and death. Fires would rage here at over 1000 degrees for months. Over 500,000 people volunteered to work here. 36,000
Pints of blood were donated but only 258 were needed. Over 19000+ body parts were recovered. Only a little over 10000 would be identified. Body parts are still being discovered years later. Of everyone above the impact zone in 1WTC none would live. In 2 WTC 18 people above the impact zone would survive. About 10 days after the tragedy me and a group of my coworkers were sitting in a conference room when all our pagers went off simultaneously . Later on we would learn that they deliberately set off every pager in NYC and the rescuers had sensitive listening devices in place down here thinking they might find people who were trapped in the debris. Nothing but silence.

Engineers early on played an very important role. They surveyed the debris looking for potential dangers. In some cases before rescuers were allowed to search. The integrity of the slurry wall and structural integrity of the debris mound were mapped for the safety of the volunteers on site.

Eastman Kodak played an unusual role in the effort. There were over 8,000 photographs that adorned desk tops, office walls and cubicles in the WTC. They were recovered from the ruins and scanned and digitally restored by Eastman Kodak . In order for tenants to claim them they were placed on a special web site run by the Port Authority. I visually scanned the WEB site twice but had no luck in finding any photos of my family that were in my cubicle.

On May 30 ,of 2002 the recovery effort was officially over with the ceremonial hauling of the last steel beam off the site.

In 1970 the WTC was not yet completed and I was 23 year old avid NY Ranger hockey fan. It was the best team the Rangers ever assembled. Their first Stanley cup since 1940 was within reach. Their main rival that year was the Boston Bruins. Hockey fans and hockey players are the most passionate combination of people on earth. As a Ranger fan I not only rooted for the Rangers but rooted against the Bruins as well. After all isn't the word fan short for fanatic? My mom would be upset when I shouted obscenities while watching hockey games on our TV set at players who were not only doing their job but doing it well. I literally hated the Bruins. Derek Sanderson, Wayne Cashman, John McKenzie and Ace Bailey would bring out the worst in me. I was really bad during the playoffs when the Rangers went down 4 games to two. The Bruins swept the rest of their way to the Stanley cup. My hatred peaked. In 1982 I switched allegiances to the newly formed NJ Devils. In 1994 the Rangers drought would end with them winning the Stanley Cup. My fan based hatred had by now dimmed in my memory over the years. All this seems unrelated until 9/11. A few weeks after 9/11 The NY Times was running special stories on the victims called "Portraits of Grief". I did not think I knew anyone. After all I received no phone calls. But one of the victims on flight 175 was 53 year old Garnet "Ace" Bailey. He was Director of pro scouting for the Los Angeles King's ice hockey team. The same Ace Bailey that three decades earlier I vilified. The same building that I nearly died in was the same building his flight hit. He and 64 innocent people on that flight would die instantly. In what amounts to a 31 year long lesson, I have learned that hate is a temporary emotion and that love is enduring. I still love watching hockey games but I am unable to direct anger against any opposing player . Once our lives touch we always remain connected. Even you and I by virtue of this tour are now connected until we both can long longer love, hate or think.

 

The American Express Memorial

This final stop represents our ability to both remember and move on, seemingly contradictory notions. American Express travel services had 11 employee's die on 9/11. This memorial was designed by artist Ken Smith and is called "11 Tears". At the center is a 600 pound Brazilian crystal which was carved to have 11 sides- one for each victim. The massive crystal is set into a stainless steel ring and suspended by 11 thin cables. Beneath the point of the upside down tear is an 11 sided black granite pool; each side is inscribed the name of the employee and a few words, selected by those who knew them best. At random intervals, 11 drops of water fall from the ceiling into the pool, creating intersecting ripples, symbolizing the close-knit group of colleagues and friends.

We will go down with you to get a closer look at the memorial and will remain for a few minutes for any questions that you may have or photographs or perhaps you would like to share your story with us. Before we go down I would like to leave you with a few thoughts.

On evening of December 31, 1999 I was working at the stroke of midnight on the 67th floor of the WTC on our computer systems. It was known as the Year 2000 project.(also known as –Y2K). Everybody who worked that evening was given a flashlight by the Port Authority because it was anticipated that even the power grids may fail. The media more than suggested that the modern world would come to an end due to the inability of computerized applications being able to recognize the year 2000. The media was wrong. The world did not end on January 1st nor did it end on 9/11 nor is it ending now.

On a prior tour a patron like yourself told me that on 9/11 she was in labor in North Carolina when her daughter Sydney was born between the first and second plane crash. While the entire world was focused on the twin towers and the life leaving this world, life was also entering at the same time.

Earlier I had mentioned that the symbolic color of the Tribute center is blue because of the sky on 9/11. For me it carries the additional meaning of the good blue skies that are in my future. I am nearly 65 years old and older than most anyone here. If I believe I have many good blue skies remaining , imagine how many you have left. Thank you all joining the Tribute tour but more importantly , please enjoy the rest of your visit to NYC.

THE END

Voices of September 11th Connecticut Headquarters   161 Cherry Street   New Canaan, CT 06840   Phone: (203) 966-3911   Toll Free: (866) 505-3911
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