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Never Forget. The Individual Search for Answers

Living and working in New York on 9/11, we all have our own memories and recollection of that terrible day. I remember our meeting being interrupted with the news 'a plane had crashed near the World Trade Center'. We were a mile or so away in midtown offices so watched on TV like the rest of the world. When the first Tower fell, we watched in horror, but it became very real when a few moments later the windows in our conference room rattled as the wave of sound and air rushed north through the skyscraper canyons of this part of town. The air became grey with dust and debris and endless pieces of paper blew everywhere like ticker tape, but it was really only a couple of hours later as the first survivors of the attack shuffled up Park Avenue, covered head to toe in white building dust, that the true human impact dawned. I worked for Philip Morris Companies at the time, and the security and emergency team - mainly ex-cops and firefighters - had already sprung into action and had set up water stations in the lobby of our building, phone banks so people could let their loved ones know they had made it out especially as cell coverage had been switched off or overloaded. It was overwhelming, but I forever tip my hat to the PM team and those who orchestrated what slight relief and help we could offer. Of course, many didn't make it out and I can only imagine the terror of being trapped in a building on fire 80 stories up.

The picture here is my lasting memory of 9/11. A few days later 'Missing' posters started appearing in Grand Central Station's lobby and hallways. Tens became hundreds and within days thousands. Some were professionally produced, others handwritten in broken English and all with a picture of a missing loved one. Some of these pictures were men in uniform, women in smart business suits or graduation pictures, but some were from family get togethers, Christmases, Birthdays and Weddings with the rest of the family stood next to the missing victim. Everyday, we stopped and read many of these flyers, I never saw anyone I knew or had information to soothe the families' heartaches, but it felt appropriate, and still does, to use the time to remember. #9/11 #NeverForget


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