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Recollections of 9/11 -- By Nichole Sayler (An NYC Student on 9/11)

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A photo of the twin towers taken by Gateway News Photographer, Dustie McIntyre A photo of the twin towers taken by Gateway News Photographer, Dustie McIntyre

Nichole Sayler lives and works in New York. On September 11th, 2001 at 8:00am she was in class just blocks from the twin towers at Parson's School of Design. Here is her recollection of the events that changed America.

"To Europe, she was America. To America,
she was the gateway of the earth. But
to tell the story of New York would be to
write a social history of the world."
H. G. Wells


“I guess what I like most about NY is that
it feels like home to me. I was born here
in 1977 and have lived here, on and off,
my whole life. I feel very connected to
NY. I love how much it has to offer,
though it still feels small and cozy. There
are so many amazing things to see here:
incredible art, just about every film, amazing
music, all kinds of interesting people. I
like to ride my bike on the Hudson River.
I like that I can walk my dog around two
blocks and he meets about 20 other dogs
to play with. I like that I can get a turkey
sandwich at 4 in the morning if I want to.
A beautiful night out in NYC can be any
night because anything can happen. It is
spontaneous and surprises you all the
time.”
Liv Tyler


I moved to Westchester County, New
York in 1990 around the age of nine years
old. New York became my place to call
home, it is where I grew up, my stability,
where I developed relationships, and
found myself. Along with life experiences,
New York became one of those things that
played a part in shaping who I am today.

I began attending Parsons School of Design
in 2001 and moved to New York City
in August of that same year. The World
Trade Center, the Twin Towers, in downtown
NYC held many meanings for many
different people. For some it was just
where they worked, for tourists they were a
place to visit, for some a landmark, two
beautiful structures, and for all of us they
were part of New York City’s spectacular
skyline.


We all know the events of September 11th,
2001 very well. I was only a few blocks
further uptown when tragedy struck; I
don’t really speak of that day and when I
do it only includes a few small details.

I walked to class confused from all the
commotion and smoke in the streets,
heard about the first tower, saw the smoke
from the second tower after it was hit and
it burst into the air as the buildings came
crashing to the ground.


Terrorist attack? What? I ran to the bottom
floor of my school building and
called my family, not able to think, but I
let them know that I was okay. I proceeded
to run out of the building back
into the streets not far from absolute tragedy
and immediate heartbreak.


I walked back to my apartment on 14th
street stunned and sat on the phone the
rest of the day with my family and friends
until I was able to get on the only train out
of the city into Westchester County at 7
p.m. that evening. The trip to grand central
station that evening was not the same.
I would normally hop into a cab or ride
the 4, 5, 6 subway train uptown.


I packed a bag and walked uptown from
14th street to 42nd in total silence. There
wasn’t a cab or a car on the road, and
maybe one or two people to every block,
all I could hear were sirens and felt completely
vulnerable to what else may happen
on my walk to what I was hoping for,
safety.


I did make it to safety that night but I will
live the rest of my life trying to understand
and comprehend that thousands did not
make it to safety. My home, my state, my
country was hit but even though there
were many that didn’t make it to safety,
some did.


Today the World Trade Center, the Twin
Towers to me are symbols of bravery,
love, heroism, trust, courage, strength in
the midst of ultimate adversity and everything
that New Yorkers and the United
States of America stands for and what I
have learned to stand for. September 11th,
2001 is never far from my mind or my
heart and is an experience that has affected
me in ways that I know I am probably
not even aware of.


So on this 5 year anniversary of September
11th 2001, I remember all the lives that
were affected by that day, directly or indirectly.
I continue calling New York my
home as a proud New Yorker and a citizen
of the United States of America I celebrate,
yes celebrate this anniversary knowing
that there are still heroes in this world
and many of them lost their lives on September
11th, 2001.

 

 

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