Editors note: We are very honored to bring you this first hand tribute from one of our own forum members who witnessed 9/11 first hand and is sharing his story and photos for the very first time.
It is 10 years. We all know what that means. For me, it is 10 years from that morning where I had to run as fast as I could to save my life. Nobody expected the towers to collapse. And when the South tower started to come down, it came down fast. It is 10 years of the nightmares, and the flashbacks. This “anniversary” as it is referred to is different though for me. Not because we are finally seeing some progress at Ground Zero. Not because Osama Bin Laden has been killed either. It is because I am finally able to open up and talk about that morning.
Twenty four hours later I realized how lucky I was to be alive. That did not make me happy though, as the reality of how many close friends were not alive. The one that hurt the most was the loss of my childhood friend from the age of eight. She was my best friend, my soul mate and my rock. We went through elementary, middle and high school together. She helped me make it through when my father passed on at a way too early age. And then, on that day she was taken away.
At 9:00AM, I was on the No 5 train heading to 7 World Trade Center for a meeting. I was to meet several other detectives also going to the meeting (ironically about insurance fraud) for a quick breakfast at 9:30. When the doors to the train opened at Wall Street, a middle age man quickly got on the train. He was rambling “I can’t believe it…the plane just hit the building..don’t go there….” From that moment, everything else just seemed surreal.
I have pulled out of storage an envelope containing photos (printed ones from film) from that day, and days that followed. Only a select few family members have ever seen these, and I have selected a handful to share. The first one is the view of what greeted me when I stepped out of the underground subway exit. I stood with about fifty other people who had exited at the same time, all of us staring up, mouths open and in disbelief.
The rest of September, October & November of 2001 was very hard to get through. In December, I had another life changing event. I made the decision to purchase an A6. It is also going on 10 years since I joined the Audi community, and the forums. This really helped me deal with “life after 9/11”. I became very involved with a local Audi/VW car club. Weekly meets with great people sharing our love for these cars made a difference in my life. It helped me to cope. And over the years all those that I have met in person or shared stories with online in the forum have been there for me through my personal hard times.
May God bless America, as we remember the 2,996 people that lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
Stephen aka “5-Speed-6″