Justin Goldstein
Justin Goldstein

What I Witnessed on This Terrible Day, 15 Years Ago

What I write today I write neither out of anger nor out of fear. These words come from years of thinking about what I witnessed and I feel that it is now time to tell my story. 15 years ago today on September 11, 2001, at 8:46 AM I was about enter my school building located at 145 East Broadway. I am about to enter school and then I see it.

The “it” I am referring to is American Airlines Flight 11 crashing into the north tower of the World Trade Center. I ran inside school to the backyard we’ll all what we used to go and play until school started at 9 am. I want to tell my principal that I had seen an airplane hit the twin towers. He did not believe me. I want to tell my classmates that I had seen a plane hit the twin towers. They did not believe me, saying that it was thunder, even though it was sunny day. Finally I found my second grade teacher, who believed me because he knew I was not one to lie about what I had seen. He raced outside just to witness what was happening himself, then ran to the principal and told him what was happening. The principal then went outside to see what was happening with his own eyes and then went back to backyard and told us all to go to classrooms, probably fearing for our safety.

My fellow third-graders and I went to our classroom much to the surprise of our teacher. The principal had not told the other kids in the yard what had happened, so when the teacher asked why we had been sent up to class early, I was only one who new what was going on till I said because an airplane hit the twin towers.

The teacher had us began to daven (pray) and then turn on the radio to listen to news. While he was listening at about 9 am (at the time I did not know the exact time but I now know the approximate timeline of the attacks), he took us downstairs to see for himself what was happening. At 9:03 AM, I witnessed United Airlines Flight 175 hit the southern tower of the World Trade Center.

Fast forward 15 years. The shock of what I had witnessed still lives with me today. There are no words that can truly describe it.

About the Author
Justin Goldstein is currently a second year MSW student at Yeshiva University's Wurzweiler School of Social Work.
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