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9/11 memories: 'All hell was about to break loose'

September 11, 2013|By Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times
  • Glendale firefighters observe a moment of silence during a gathering at Perkins Plaza to honor victims on 9/11 on Wednesday, September 11, 2013.
Glendale firefighters observe a moment of silence during… (Roger Wilson/Staff…)

Even 12 years later, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, sear Americans' memories. In comments posted on latimes.com, people remember the tragic events of the day -- the moments, both good and bad, heroic and fearful, that are summed up by the numerals 9/11.

It was early morning when the first airplane hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. On the East Coast, commuters were rushing to their jobs, schools were filling with educators and students. It seemed an ordinary day until 8:46 a.m., when it wasn’t.

“On 9/11/2011 I was having a national sales meeting in our offices at the World Trade Center. We had visitors from Chicago, California and New Orleans. Everyone was looking forward to getting together to recharge,” writes Keith Webster of Malibu.

“At 8:45 a.m. while standing in our boardroom looking at theStatue of Liberty in the south harbor, all hell was about to break loose. We heard a pop then a swoosh. A stream of debris crossed the sky. It looked like a ticker tape parade but only a few thousand feet higher.

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“In an instant, I knew what was happening, in my mind's eye an image of a terrorist walking onto my floor with a bomb vest flashed. I could see my lobby vaporized and in flames.”

Webster also writes about his eventual rescue by heroic responders.

Maralynn Mash of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., says she was at an elementary school near the World Trade Center that day.

“The children were headed toward the basement for safety when police and fire officials came into the building thinking it was empty. “What the f--- are you doing here?” The children couldn't stop laughing at the 'f' bomb,” she recalled.

“But then we were directed to run ... run for your lives. Teachers and students, under the guidance of an incredibly able principal, ran ahead of the second 'cloud' north on Greenwich. Little did we know that the next year would test our strength for an entire year.... The school, in another building, the children in hotels and different homes, achieved the first-place reading scores for that school year in NYC. What I remember is a day of bravery, a year of dedication in response to an act of cowardice. So very proud to be a New Yorker and an American.”

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