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A Day That Changed The World........
September 10 2011

This story was contributed by Oscar N. Registered Nurse who was working in New York on September 11, 2001.

A Day That Changed The World........

When September comes, it brings with it the sweet breeze of fall. The
exhilarating sniff of fresh air. But this September will prove to be life-changing to
many, especially to the many who lost a loved one.

I work the night shift at the New York Presbyterian-Cornell Medical
Center,Cardiac Center. After being a night nurse for the past 10 years, there was nothing extraordinary
about that day in September,2001. I was looking forward to my trip back to Toronto the
following day to visit my family and as was my routine, I would usually bring small presents
for the family. My niece and nephew especially loved the moon-cakes that I brought home from
Mott Street. I got off work around 8:00 AM, took the M79 crosstown bus and got off the
Lexington Av/68th Street stop to transfer to the #6Downtown train. As usual, it gets packed with
the morning rush-hour crowd.

By the time the #6 train approached Chinatown, the crowd had thinned. I got off
from the train and looked at the time of my watch - around 8:30 AM - not bad considering
the distance from 68th Street to Chinatown was about twelve miles. I walked towards the
bakery and got the moon-cakes. But as I was crossing Bowery Street, I noticed a commotion of
people running towards me. I looked up and noticed a thick black smoke coming from near the
City Hall. I said to myself: the City hall must be on fire! As I started to move faster and walk
away and while passing by an electronics store - there it was around 30-40 tv sets with glaring
pictures of the World Trade Center tower being hit by a plane. I turned around and looked back to get a
better view of the skyline. And in shocking disbelief, indeed one of the twin towers of World Trade Center was up in smoke - after being hit by a plane. Suddenly, there was commotion everywhere. I could
here the deafening sounds of sirens both on the ground and somewhere up in the air. People from
everywhere all rushed to the streets. And in a short period of time, Manhattan was in gridlock -
people, cars, commuters - everybody descended on the streets, spilling from everywhere.

By the time I reached 14th Street, Union Square was milling with crowds of
onlookers and watched as the first tower started to collapse from the skyline. I sensed panic in the
air, so I continued to walk with the throngs of millions of people to reach the 59th Street Queensboro
bridge. I looked at my watch - it was about 1 PM. I have been walking for the past three hours among
the millions of people.
Cops were everywhere. As we were about to cross the bridge - cops corralled us
into groups to avoid a sudden rush of people dashing to cross the bridge. At half-way across the
mile-long bridge, I looked back only to find giant columns of black smoke - the World Trade Center was gone!

It would be around 4PM before I finally reached home. My neighbourhood was all
glued to the TV and watched the replay of the terrible tragedy over and over again. I tried to call
home but i could not get across - it seems that everything was jammed and busy. It will be the following
day before I could speak to my family about what had happened in the city. But by then, the world
have known - This would be the September 11 that will live in infamy!

(The city was locked around the perimeter of the World Trade Center all the way
to 14th Street. Union Square would become the memorial grounds for the weeks that follow. When the
crowds were finally allowed to come near Ground Zero - as the World Trade Center site would
eventually be renamed, it was about a week later. But the air was still thick with dust and smoke).

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