Remembering 9/11: A Witness Reflects

This is a guest post by Richard Nix of

There are nights I wake up and ask myself: “Did two jetliners really hit the Twin Towers? Was I really there?”

As far as I was concerned, there was no better place to work than downtown Manhattan. Born and raised in Staten Island, I took great pride riding the Staten Island Ferry to and from work each day. Riding the boat allowed me to read my paper, catch up with some friends not to mention getting a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline each and every day.

At the time, I managed a computer company on Fulton Street. A daily task of mine was to walk to the bank on the corner of Broadway and Fulton Streets, just a short walk from the Trade Center. On more than one occasion, when looking up at those towers I’d think; if those towers ever fell over, they would surely hit my office.

On Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, while enjoying my second cup of coffee, I heard a loud boom and felt my building shake. I looked out my window and saw a small crowd looking towards the Trade Center. I went downstairs and stood on the corner and looked up. The North Tower was in flames and papers were floating as they would in a ticker tape parade. I remember picking up a paper and seeing a report with Cantor Fitzgerald on it. The top of the page was charred.

I ran back inside and put on the TV in our waiting room. I could now see the gaping hole in the north tower. I thought, how could a plane hit this building? I never suspected terrorism. That was until I saw on TV and felt the second plane hit the south tower. I started to page my technicians in the area and had no luck reaching them. I remember my wife calling and saying, “You have to come home!” I said I was in charge of the office and we had technicians out in the field. Meanwhile, I had a 4-year-old daughter and a 6-month-old son at home. I never felt fear as I had heard the F-16’s over head by then and did not think our 16 story building was a target. After seeing the Pentagon on fire, I knew things were really getting crazy.

I remember receiving a call from a friend whose sister worked for me. I assured him that I would get his sister home. Little did I know what would happen next. Our building rattled, the lights blinked and I saw the tower starting to collapse on the television. I heard screams from Fulton Street; I looked out my 4th floor window and saw hundreds of people running down towards the South Street Seaport looking back as if Godzilla was chasing them. Day turned to night as outside turned pitch black. I remember telling a co-worker to shut off our air conditioner. Several employees said we needed to leave our building, but I assured them that we were safer inside. “Where could we go anyway? The subways, buses and ferries were not running.” The city was in lockdown and we were trapped there.

By then, my current fear was more about the other tower. What happens if it falls towards us? The thoughts that went through my head was that of being unprepared. I remember thinking that I never increased my life insurance policy after the birth of my second child. How crazy was this!

The other tower imploded and all our technicians had managed to make it back to the office. When we heard subways and ferries were running again that afternoon, I went outside with a co-worker and my friend’s sisters. I remember seeing abandoned buses and ashes that looked like moon dust. There was an eerie quiet to our once bustling area. I felt as if we slept through a nuclear war. Our walk to the Staten Island Ferry was anything but usual. As we boarded the boat, I remember seeing people wearing life preservers. As the ferry pulled away from Manhattan, the familiar skyline I enjoyed every day was changed.

Ten years later and I am working for a great company, We help families who are caring for their elderly parents. Now from that same Staten Island Ferry, I see a new skyline rise up from the ashes. Proof that life goes on.


For more coverage on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, click here.

Image Credit: Paul Stein via Flickr.


Aud Nordby
Aud nordby5 years ago

I`l never foget!All in my heart

Sandi C.
Sandi C6 years ago


Michael C.
Michael C7 years ago

Lee C. As for the Pentagon, I know it well, from inside and from the outside. In the late 1970's, I and 7000 other concerned citizens attempted to close down the Pentagon.

We did in part, for 3 days, I and 15 others were on the heliport for those days, until the storm troopers rappelled down and everyone was arrested.

God, I miss the old days, before the birth of the SHEEPLE.

Patricia G.
Patricia G7 years ago

Touching. My heart is with all the people in the USA.

An Mi
Anna M7 years ago

"Life goes on", but not for the families and friends of the victims. My heart goes out to them on this day and every day.

Green Road A.
Eric Straatsma7 years ago

Full Online Movie Tribute to 9/11 Victims Created By Engineers and Architects

Lee C.
Lee CC7 years ago

tegory 4 storm) started 1 Sep 2001 and proceeded in a straight line for NYC six days. No mainstream media reporting. No warnings. No evacuation of southern Manhattan for something as silly as a hurricane.

Be aware of what is really going on.

Lee C.
Lee CC7 years ago

into the Pentagon was the actual aircraft seen by witnesses.

As for all those decrying "conspiracy theories", it should be pointed out that, by definition, the government's official story is a conspiracy theory itself describing how some nineteen devout terrorists (mostly Saudi Arabians witnessed cavorting in decidedly non-religious manner immediately beforehand) defeated a trillion $ defense system with utility cutters and incredible timing.

Just to be accurate: there is no explanation available to the public that is not a "conspiracy theory".

People today are so far up their own alimentary canal that they have a knee-jerk reaction toward those who seek facts and realistic answers. Epithets such as "Conspiracy Theorist" should be seen for what they truly are: "don't look at the evidence, just believe the mythology that is easier for all of us to accept".

Gloria H: the real problem is that so many people did think they saw aircraft. I saw aircraft that morning. Before, during and after. But people hear the propaganda and they link what they saw to that storyline. Which is part of what makes it so effective.

At some point, the majority reaction is no longer to demand reasonable explanations and accountability but to simply accept what we are fed by the mainstream media.

Take for example Hurricane Irene. People were panicked a week before landfall by stories. Here in southern Manhattan we were issued "evacuation orders".

Hurricane Erin (at times a ca

Lee C.
Lee CC7 years ago

This story is another example of extremely unusual circumstances. Another person I know also picked up some paper with "Cantor Fitzgerald" letterhead that morning.

However, the closest Cantor Fitzgerald office was located at least two floors above the damage zone in the north tower.

I was in Beijing 9 Feb 2009 less than six blocks away when the Mandarin Oriental Hotel caught fire in the evening and burned until close to dawn. Not only was there no collapse, but subsequent x-ray analysis of the structure revealed no deformation or weakening. A far cry from 7 WTC (47 story skyscraper) which disintegrated and appeared to drop straight down into a pile less than twenty feet high.

Michael C. - In the 70's, entire sections of lawn at the Pentagon were scaffolded while anti-aircraft missile launchers were installed. Interestingly enough, the "terrorists" just happened to pick a day when the launchers were on stand-down due to "war games".

Christopher Fowler - those coincidental war games (along with the June 2001 directive transferring NORAD to the control of VP Cheney) were directly responsible for the lack of CAP response from Andrews AFB, just a few miles away from the Pentagon.

Any competent commercial pilot, engineer, or intelligent being will confirm that a jet airliner is incapable of any sort of steady flight twenty feet above the ground at "530 mph" (as reported by ATC radar logs). What is more likely is that the carrier flight for the ordinance expended

Nessie B.
Nessie B7 years ago

A simple, but powerful story. Smart to think of shutting off the air conditioning. Thanks for sharing.