Thursday, August 18, 2011


As we approach the 10th anniversary of 9/11, I thought it appropiate to include an article my husband wrote for a local newspaper. Also note the included watercolor painting by Artist Arthur Anderson.
Arthur Anderson


By Bob Gilbert

As we approach the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I have vivid memories of that day.

The weather was crisp and clear, and I was at work in downtown Brooklyn.  At about 9 o’clock, a co-worker told me that there was a fire at the World Trade Center as a plane had crashed into one of the buildings.  I looked out of the window and saw dark smoke billowing from one of the towers in the distance.  Like everyone else, I felt great concern about the people inside of the burning building.

When a second plane crashed into the other tower, what we thought was an accident was revealed to be a terrorist attack.  I joined some co-workers on the building observation deck, where we could see smoke pouring out of the twin towers.

Our building administrator announced that there were no threats against our building and that it was safe to remain at work.  As things worsened, we were directed to go home, as mass transit and bridge and tunnel closures were imminent.

I was fortunate that my family members were out of harm’s way – my wife was at work in Staten Island, my daughter was at college in Philadelphia, and my mother-in-law was at home in Brooklyn.  I got in my car and headed home.  As I passed Flatbush Avenue, I witnessed an army of fire engines, police cars, and other emergency vehicles screaming north toward the twin towers with sirens and horns blasting – help was on the way.

I headed south on Fourth Avenue toward the Verrazano Bridge for my trip back to Staten Island.  It was late morning but it looked like rush hour – hundreds of people streaming out of subway stations and businesses, all rushing home as the subways and the city were shutting down.

A mile or two before the entrance to the Verrazano Bridge, traffic came to a complete halt because the bridge had been closed.  People got out of their cars and were milling around and sharing what they had heard to that point.  I borrowed a phone and called my mother-in-law, and let her know that I was headed home. 

When the bridge finally reopened, traffic crawled to the entrance, where a lone police officer waved us through one car at a time.  I crossed the bridge and was glad to be back in my own borough.

I listened to the car radio as the news reports poured in, and what I was hearing was surreal – the Twin Towers…the Pentagon… a plane brought down in Pennsylvania… 

I arrived home in the early afternoon, and, and my wife arrived about an hour later.  We watched TV as the disaster unfolded, trying to comprehend the incomprehensible.

It is amazing to think that September 11, 2001 started out so uneventfully and routinely.  Like so many of my fellow New Yorkers, I got up early, had breakfast, and headed off to work.  Who could have imagined on that clear sky morning what was about to happen?

Those are my memories of the morning and early afternoon of September 11, 2001.  On this tenth anniversary, hearts go out to those who lost loved ones on that day.