9/11/2001 Sophie Vorburger

Sophie Vorburger
September 11, 2001

Each morning of the week before 9/11, I would arrive at my beautiful private office on the 44th floor of the Carnegie Hall Tower overlooking the Hudson River. Each morning as I walked into my office I was having a vision of a plane coming straight at me. I am highly intuitive but little did I understand what I was “seeing”.

On the morning of 9/11 I arrived at 8AM like every other morning and went on about my day. My nanny was taking my children to school on the lower East side as she had done many times before. I brought several cups of coffee to my boss who was the CEO of the company. He would usually have the news on and would keep the TV on silent. Then we saw the inconceivable as the first plane hit the first tower. Chills went down my spine. The room felt silent. I broke that silence by saying it was a terrorist attack. I just knew. Being from France, I remember the senseless terrorist attack we had in Paris many years ago and the attack we had a few years before on the twin towers.

My nanny called. She had just getting off the bus and saw the first plane hit the tower. I told her to go home quickly and stay there while I would go get my kids. I called a car service and asked the car to stand by.

Fifteen minutes later the second plane hit and someone who was in the room said that was where his wife worked. He knew at that very moment that she was gone. He would tried to reach her of course, but he knew. We were all devastated for him, his family and the many people who had just lost their lives who were in the planes or in their office at the time.

Then the TV started to show images of people choosing to jump to their death rather than being burn alive. I had never seen such horror in my life.

The school at that point was in lock down mode. I asked for my children to be together as they waited for me to pick them up. The city had just closed all the bridges and public transportation was coming to a complete halt.

I told my boss I was leaving to get my children. No one could have stopped me. I got in the car and the driver told me he was the last car out and had suspended all service after I called. I was lucky. We had to go from West 57th street down to the lower east side. It took us over an hour. There were hordes of people walking up the FDR drive. Some covered in dust. It was like an exodus. It reminded me of the war pictures you see with civilians fleeing the war zones.

I found my kids and got back into the car. The teachers had been very sensitive to the children, letting them know what had happened without giving out too much detail. We could see the smoke rising from the towers as we drove away from the school.

My son who was 6 at the time quipped that he had been at the top of the tower the day before sightseeing. Questions were pouring in as we drove past the people walking on the streets.

After a very long ride we reached our home on the UWS. The nanny was cooking lunch and the TV was on. I received a call from a friend who had her son in school with mine. She said she could not come home in Battery Park and asked if she could come with her son and stayed with us. Her husband would come later and they ended up staying with us for the next 3 months as their apartment was inhabitable.

We were all glued to the TV as we saw the tower collapse. Nothing was making sense. How could this huge building be reduced to rubbles in minutes? What was happening of the firefighters inside and people trying to make their way out? How could such evil be taking place?

We cried as we watched. We were witnessing live the unthinkable and yet there was nothing anyone could do about it. As I was thankful for having my children safe with me, I thought of all the people who had just lost someone that day. A mother, a father, a child, a friend… How do you make sense of the senseless?

Those events will be etched in my mind forever and the memory of all those who died that day will be in my heart forever.

—Sophie Vorburger, New York, NY 2009

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