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Perspectives: Remembering Where You Were On 9/11

In our second post as part of our new blog series, Perspectives, we asked: do you remember where you were on 9/11?

Alyssa Toro, Senior Partner/Chief Creative Officer: The image is so crystal clear to me. I was here, in fact, in this very building. Except back then, there were no TV screens or monitors aside from our own where we could all gather. We had radio piping throughout and quickly learned about the first tower. I remember nervous expressions and everyone in disbelief. At that time, we were in one room, mostly. None of us knew what really happened, we just thought it was a rogue plane incident like everyone else at that very moment. Then as the news turned to more panicked voices, we darted out of CP and ran trying to find the closest TV to watch it unfold. I remember about 6 of us sprinting toward Back Bay and stumbling upon Clerys where the doors and windows were open to the public (rare for that hour), and people were packed inside watching the TV screens above the bar. We saw it there. I can see the second tower crumbling like it was yesterday. So many emotions ran through me. I grew up in New Jersey and those towers were a beacon to us as we drove from the shore to NYC often. I was numb. Truth be told, I can’t really remember what happened after that moment. At least not as vividly. Somehow we must have made it back to the agency. I do remember calling my husband in his office in Providence, my parents in New Jersey, my brother in London…and my grandmother, also in NJ, who was in her 90s at the time…to make sure we were all ok, but also to hear their voices. I needed their voices.

Scott Savitt, Senior Partner/Director of Digital: That morning, I was at my office on Newbury Street and I remember my desk phone ringing. It was my friend Andy calling instructing me to get in front of a TV ASAP. We didn’t have a TV in the office so I bolted down to the corner pub. I remember looking in from the outside and it looked more like an after work crowd assembling for drinks on a Friday night, yet it was 9:15 in the morning. This corner of Newbury Street is located approximately 2-3 blocks from the tallest building in Boston, the John Hancock Tower.  This is the moment that I’ll never forget about that day. People were swiftly walking out onto the streets of Boston and I noticed many were funneling out of the John Hancock Tower. The building was being evacuated. Suddenly, I turned from a shocked bystander witnessing this unthinkable act on TV to realizing Boston could be under attack, too. I quickly located my family to make sure they were all accounted for and safe, and we all decided to meet at home as soon as possible. The next 2-3 weeks was a blur. All I remember now of that time is being glued to CNN 24 hours a day in a state of complete shock. My thoughts always turned to all of the brave people in NYC who REALLY went through that horrific day. What that must of been like? I knew that life as we knew it would never, ever be the same.

Tia Taffer, Account Director: Everything was new and a little scary; it was my second week at Boston University. I remember feeling eager that morning walking into the ivy-covered Morse auditorium for an introductory lecture. Projected on the screen was a picture of the NYC skyline with words that read, “World Trade Towers Hit.” Some of my classmates left immediately but most of us stayed for class feeling nervous and not quite understanding the gravity of what was happening. It was one of the first experiences we all shared, and in the coming days we’d huddle around tiny dorm room TVs as we figured out how to sense of the senseless so far from home.

Tom Taylor, Associate Director of Social Media: It started as a typical day in the seventh grade. But on my way to class, as students poured out of first period, I remember hearing someone say, “a plane crashed into the World Trade Center,” and found myself instantly thinking: “this can’t be real.” Our teacher had a TV going in class; we were glued to it. And I vividly remember the tone in his voice – he was devastated, staring blankly, and at a complete loss. To be honest, I was still confused. When I got home, my mom was saddened and absolutely furious. She drove me to football practice, and tried to breakdown the severity of the situation in only a way that a seventh grader could handle. But it suddenly dawned on me, when we pulled up to the practice field, only to find out that practice had been canceled. At that moment, it became very real.

Kathy Murphy, Executive Assistant: I was at work and someone yelled “A plane crashed into the World Trade Center.” My coworkers and I gathered in one of the conference rooms and we watched the horror unfold. All I knew then was that I wanted to go home. It seemed like thousands of people were running in Copley Square — fear on their faces, trying to get away from the tall buildings and, like me, just wanted to make sure our loved ones were safe. There were so many people packed onto the train it was hard to breathe. Not a word was said by anyone. We were all in disbelief, in shock. A sense of dread etched on everyone’s faces. I remember racing into my home so I could start watching the news. To see the survivors being found and the incredible joy this would bring to their loved ones. And then the slow, slow realization that there would be no survivors. I just wanted our country to go back in time and have things the way they were before 9/11. But I knew we couldn’t, and that America would never again be the same. The next day, I arrived outside my office and there was man on the corner of Mass Ave. waving a huge American flag. Everyone was beeping and yelling, “USA, USA, USA.” Tears in my eyes, I felt my first sign of hope.​

What’s your perspective? Tell us in the comments below.

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