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LMB RESIDENT SHARES HIS SEPTEMBER 11, 2001 EXPERIENCE Part 1


By LMBoroLMPark(2,097)



LMB resident John was working in one of the twin towers in New York City the morning of September 11, 2001. During the next few days his story will be posted in the LMBoroLMPark Newsletter. Below is Part 1.

On September 11, 2001, John  was in New York City working as a freelance sound recordist/video engineer. He had many clients in downtown New York, where he found most of his jobs. He also worked in Philadelphia and other places, but the New York work was most challenging.
This Tuesday he was working at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (Company), a very large financial consultant company similar to J. P. Morgan. He’s worked there a half dozen times. They had a television studio they’d just built, completed in December 2000.
They had called me to do audio or video engineering, John said, as usual---at the last minute. This particular time I was paged at home in Allentown at 4:15 September 10. Andy said he’d forgotten to book someone to shade cameras for a 9 a.m. show the next day, and asked if I was available. They do live multi-camera shows they send to all their branches by satellite.  I worked a lot of those places.
Before continuing, John added a couple of aside stories, noting that he’s had his share of terrorism experiences. “I’ve been close to it,” he said.
He’d done a lot more work at Merrill Lynch than at Morgan Stanley. In 1993, he had just left Merrill Lynch before it was blown up in 1993. As he left the company the perpetrators probably were trying to get their truck into the garage. The explosion at the World Trade Center occurred while John was in New Jersey, halfway home to his Allentown home. All the New York stations became just snow because they broadcast off the North Tower.
Another aside. John said his experience with Islam Faschist types goes back about 25 years to the Iranian hostage situation. He was a senior at Johnstown High School, cruising with his buddy. He and Ron drove down a street where Ron said “This is where Regis lived.” Master Sergeant Regis Ragan was one of the hostages, and he had just returned home the day before. They parade in his honor hadn’t even been held. Ron and I knocked on his door, wanting to say say welcome home, and Ragan said “Come in.” We talked with him for an hour and a half. He was taken hostage at the same age I was when I experienced September 11---38 years old. “This Regis thing didn’t pop into my mind until about a year ago,” John said.
In another aside
I’ve been to all but one of the places in London that have been terrorized---where the bus blew up, the Picadilly Line, Shepherd’s Bush---they keep hitting where I’ve been. It’s just the way his path happens to have gone.
On September 11. John arrived to his job at 7:34 a.m., a little late. He was supposed to be at Morgan Stanley at 7:30 a.m. He parked his car and walked out to world financial center, and across the sky bridge to go to Liberty Street into south tower, where he had to undergo security that was put in place after the 1993 event. “You had to stand in a cube, like the counter at the airport,” he said. “You had to have your picture taken for a visitor identification tag, they actually called the contact person who hired you, and you received a magnetic strip that took you through turnstyle leading to the elevators.
John made it through the security. Looking back, John wonders about how many of the people nearby him undergoing the security check died soon in nasty ways. “It’s kind of weird.”
The studio was on the sky lobby. Buildings that tall need both express and local elevator systems. In the South Tower people took an express elevator most of the way up, then continued on a local elevator. The changeover point was where John was scheduled to work.
“I remember standing in an elevator full of people watching the numbers on the counter---in my mind I was thinking there were ten feet per floor, how high do I have to go. I exited the elevator to go to the studio. Cameras were in one room and the engineering room where I worked was one hundred feet away. The room had raised computer floors and fans running. You couldn’t hear a lot. Andy (his employer), the production manager, came in and said in his haste the previous day he’d forgotten to get the audio set up. He asked me if I could “switch hats” and cover it. At this moment we were just setting up for the filming. A normal routine.
Just then Andy looked at the screen saw a little glitch. Then he heard a little noise---in the hallway we could hear all this scuffling and yelling from office area. We went out and were told a plane flew into the North Tower building. We saw tan dust and papers floating down. I looked up briefly. I remember the face of the department head, who said “Get out get out!”
Return to the LMBoroLMPark Newsletter tomorrow for the second segment of John’s 911 story.



This Blog Post has been read 22 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Monday, January 01, 2007
View other posts by LMBoroLMPark

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