NEW YORK—Sept. 11 became a day of mourning for America after terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in Manhattan, New York, 18 years ago shook the world. Every Sept. 11 since 2001, people have gathered to commemorate friends, family members, and heroes whose lives were taken on, and as a result of, that day. The Epoch Times went to what is now known as Ground Zero to meet New Yorkers and hear their stories of that fateful day.
Geraldine Sweeney: My sister-in-law called me to tell me that my brother was down here at the World Trade Center for a meeting that morning. He was the vice president with FM Global Insurance in Norwalk, Connecticut. He was just here that day for a meeting and he never came home. … We were glued to the TV and to the telephone, waiting to get a call from him that he was OK, and that call never came, never came. … It gets a little easier, but it never goes away, you know. Especially the fact that we’ve never recovered any of his remains. So this is almost like his final resting place. … We’ve made a vow that we’ll come down as long as we can walk.
Cicely Cornelius: I am here in memory of my father, Albert Gunnis Joseph. He was not killed on 9/11. He was severely injured. But he died three months later—from his injuries he never recovered. … It keeps rushing back every time. I remember all the time, but especially on 9/11, it just comes rushing back. Because you remember everything you did that day. That morning, I usually meet hin, when I get off at Folsom Street, I would meet him. He would wait for me—just to say, “Hello.” And that morning, he did not wait for me because my train was late. So, that haunts me to this day, that I didn’t speak to him that morning, as I did every morning.
Pat Pagano: Every year I’m here for 9/11. It’s been a vow … I would be here every year no matter what. … I didn’t lose anyone personally, but I lost a piece of my city, and a piece of my country. … What upsets me about that day is how tomorrow’s not guaranteed for anybody. These poor souls went up to work that day not realizing, of course, that they would never see the lobby again. They would never see their homes again. They would never leave work again.
Steven Kubic: We’re here in remembrance of all of our brothers and sisters that lost their lives on this day. … Every year we come back, we’ll always be here. … You’re not working, you come here. And you shouldn’t have to make an excuse of why not to be here. All of us want to come here.
Raymond Leslie Jr.: I came down today in memory of my cousin, Dousha Williams, who spent a lot of time in the pile volunteering. He passed away unfortunately from a 9/11-related disease. So I am here … you know … to pay a little tribute to my cousin.
Lois DiMarzio: I came up with the Tri-state K-9 Response Team to honor the memories of all the people that were lost on 9/11. … We’re here hoping that they’ll allow us to go into the reflecting pool where all the families of the survivors are, so that our dogs can help bring some comfort to them.
Deborah Lewis: I came here to pay my respect to one of my best friends, artist Micheal Richard, who died … in the World Trade Center. … I feel, even after 18 years, the pain is still very real. It is as if I am reliving the day again. The loss, the pain. You know, I feel in a sense maybe I’ve never really grieved because I’ve never got to say goodbye. Because it is not like when someone dies, you go to see them at a funeral and you say goodbye. I never got a chance to say goodbye. I think they found his body. In a sense, the loss is still real, the pain is still very real. You know, I think for many New Yorkers, we are experiencing that day. … We kind of move on with our lives, but mentally, we never really moved on with the loss of all the people who died—especially their families, who lost little ones. We’ve never really gotten over that pain in that loss, and that is my realization.
Jeffrey Keating: My brother was a firefighter who died on 9/11. And I came here to honor him. … He ran into the local 10 firehouse off-duty, grabbed someone’s gear, ran in, and he was the last person they ever found five months later. … The revolving doors were found right behind him so he was getting people out when that happened, so we know he got a lot of people out.
Gerard Lang: I came here in the name of my sister and my nephew—passed away on 9/11. It’s a day of reflection and to remember, every year it’s like a bandage been ripped off and you just hope to get through the day.
John David McDonald: One of my friends from high school—his name was Renoldo. He used to work at 7 World Trade Center. What happened was, when the chaos was happening, as the towers came down, a lady was running and she twisted her ankle. And my friend, Renoldo, he picked her up and carried her off to safety. They got married, and they have been married for 18 years.