September 11 Digital Archive






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September 11 Email: Body

This week has been a very frustrating week for society and me. I thank
you for your blessings and sentiments of concern. I am well. However, I
have written down what I experienced to better help me cope with this
tragic experience. I encourage you to read what I have written and
reflect upon it. Again thank you for your prayers and please continue to
pray for the victims and their families of the September 11th Tragedy.

"Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust."
-Psalm 16:1

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I experienced the most traumatic event in
my life. There are no words to describe the chaos, destruction and agony
that occurred. Nor are there any words to describe the pain and sadness
that resides inside my heart. However, this open letter will attempt to
convey feelings of hope and encouragement, and begin the healing process
for me.

It is funny how life's little details are irrelevant during the course of
a normal day. Things that appear systematic may not be in reality;
however, we never take the time to question. For instance, at 9:11, there
were three older women who sat in front of me on the Number 2 train. I
positioned myself to take their seats in the event that they exited the
train before me. They did. At 9:17, I noted the time and thought that I
still had thirteen minutes to make it to the office before my workday was
scheduled to start. Upon exiting the station, I looked at the Citibank
ATMs and was reminded that I needed to go to the Citibank Branch at the
World Trade Building during my 10:30 smoke break, to pay a bill. When I
walked into the office, I noticed the clock read 9:35 (which was probably
actually 9:30 since that clock always seemed to be running fast). There
were two bank examiners, a male and a female talking in front of the men's
bathroom. The male examiner must have been preparing to either leave for
a bank or was just getting into the office because he was wearing the
black computer backpack that was commonly used to tote our computers. I
went to my cubical, took out my computer and began the process of booting
it. I looked up over my cubical to see if my manager was in his office
because I needed to discuss some business with him. Seeing that he was in
his office and that he had just pulled someone into it, I decided to go to
the restroom, wash my hands (the subway can be really disgusting), and
clean out my coffee mug. The two examiners were still standing in front
of the restroom, and I greeted them with a nod. When I returned to my
cubical, I saw that my manager was available and thought that I would go
in and talk with him as soon as I completed booting my computer and check

my emails. I was happy to see that one of the summer analysts had been
extended an offer and he was conveying his gratitude for me helping him
during his internship. I quickly replied to him and sent the email off. I
was thinking that he was a lucky young man (although he was a few years
older than me). Suddenly at about 9:40, the building shook and the glass
vibrated violently. It started off as a rumble and grew to an incredible
indescribable noise. I thought it was an earthquake or something. I
stood up along with the rest of the office, when I heard my manager
scream, "Oh my God! The World Trade Building is on fire!" I ran into his
office. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The flames shot from the
upper levels of the building. The once glass encasing was gone to expose
the twisted metal and burning floors. Paper was everywhere. It looked
like a ticker-tape parade. I remember hearing one guy say, "I hope the
FBI won't need those papers." I thought to myself, "What an asshole!"
The scene became too much for me to bear when I saw a woman in a green
dress (details so vivid), leap from what had to be at least the 90th
floor. Why was she jumping? There was nothing at the end of her jump but
her demise. How could this be happening? I cringed as I saw others who
may have thought it was better to die instantly than to be burned alive,
fall to their death. I couldn't take it anymore. I went back to my
cubical, grabbed my phone and my cigarettes, and headed to the elevator.
As I rode down from the 20th floor, I kept thinking that this couldn't be
happening! People couldn't be dying within a couple of blocks of me!
This is going to be a really bad day.

When I got outside. There was madness. No one knew exactly what was
happening. You see people running and crying. People who exited the
subway station and had just missed the event, looked around in
bewilderment at all the paper debris and begin to comment, "This city can
get so dir-." I quickly called my mom to tell her what was happening. At
that time all I could tell her was that the World Trade Building was
ablaze, and that I was okay (I knew that this was about to make the daily
news and I did not want her to be concerned.). I then called my roommate
and told him the same thing. By this time, it was becoming increasingly
difficult to make calls since everyone was using their cell phones. As I
talked to my roommate, I moved to the side of my building to get a better
look at the Towers. As soon as I hung up the phone, I heard the
throttling engines of a plane. I looked up in time to see the second
plane fly into the building. It flew right into the building. A burst of
flames leaped from the building and again paper went flying into the air.
The impact was strong enough to throw people to the ground for cover. The
entire scene and experience was bad.very, very bad.

The details of my experience that I have just conveyed, disturbs me the
most. I am mad, and at whom I do not know. I swell with feelings of
frustration and fury. The day has left a lasting impression on my life
and the world. I pray for those whose life was shortened because of the
event. There are no words to say how sorry I am that they had to die. I
feel guilty and I don't know why. It is so hard.

Life is very precious, and I know this. I do not worry about the future
because I have always known that tomorrow is not guaranteed. However,
dealing with the present is very difficult. I hope that everyone continues
to pray for those people, who are still trapped under the rubble, who have
lost someone very close to them, and who are experiencing what I am

I am writing this letter to help myself in the healing process. You may
distribute it to whomever you feel could benefit from reading words that
express what they experienced or how they may feel, and let them know that
they are not alone. However, I ask that you do two things: 1) continue to
pray for the victims of this tragedy; and 2) call at least 5 people in
your life and tell them how much you love them. May God be with you.

Calvin M. Bailey Jr.

September 11 Email: Date

Fri, 14 Sep 2001 16:42:50 -0400 (EDT)

September 11 Email: Subject

Part of my healing process.


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