Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

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September 11th, 2010 · 1 Comment · Social Commentary

The night of 9/11/01, I wrote my family an email to let everyone know what happened. I wrote it from my hotmail account, which I don’t have anymore. I don’t know why I didn’t send it to myself but no one in my family still has it, nor do I. So I wanted to pay tribute to the memory of the dead from that day, New Yorkers, and also put down in writing what I experienced.




I’ve watched the 9/11 tributes each year for the last 9 years. The victims of Terrorism, and their families deserve that. My kids need to understand it. I and my best friend

(who should have been on the 78th floor that day but thank God was running late) now have kids. I was blessed with Sofia and Nodari – 9 years later.

But it almost didn’t happen.

That day I was running late for class at New Horizons on Broad Street. Here is the sequence of events that I personally experienced.

First let me say that I was downtown for a job interview on lower Broadway and wanted to meet my then wife Nico for lunch. She was setting up for an event at 1 Chase Plaza.

She couldn’t make it and was too busy. So I went to catch the 8th Avenue local back uptown. I remember seeing more police than I’d ever seen in my life in one place at one

time including Port Authority Police, Mounted Police, Police Trailers and Mobile Command Posts. What is going on?

I remember thinking that Madonna or someone was in town and maybe there was an event in the Plaza.

That was the Thursday before 9/11.


Ran down 50th St right around 9 am to catch the 2 downtown.
Got into train station – lots of confusion.
Cops and plainclothes on radios.
Trains still running?
Strangers talking to eachother.
People asking the Newspaper Vender what’s going on.
Train comes.
It crawls.
Some people ignoring.
Train gets to 14th Street.
Guy gets on the train – agitated.
Tells me a plane flew into world train center.
Curious as to why train is continuing downtown.
Get out at William and Wall St.
Everyone looking up.
Black Smoke rising into the sky from the direction of the towers.
On Wall Street all seems normal.
I go to 40 Broad – people still arriving for week, me for a class in Dreamweaver.
Didn’t bring my video camera for my cable show StreamTV – Life Art Rock Tech.
Both Towers hit, no one is paying attention to the teacher who is trying to keep people focused.
Student in back by windows overlooking Broad Street on cell phone.
Everyone grabs their stuff and starts heading for the door.
Teacher doesn’t know what to think and aks people to be careful on the way out.
In the hall – everyone scrambling to find an exit.
We’re only on the 3rd floor – I find the Exit and yell it’s here.
People streaming down the stairs, putting on suit jackets, trying to make calls, losing their shoes.
I’m in shock I think but yell out for people to calm down we’ll all get there.
Doesn’t stop some people from panicking.
get onto the street, the entire Stock Exchange emptying.
Huge guys running in terror, dodging each other, people tripping and falling.
Shard of metal something whizzes by my face.
I’m walking quick but wondering about my wife (ex-wife Nicole) who is a few blocks behind me at 1 Chase Plaza.
There’s no way I can go against the thousands of people running south – I have no choice.
Get onto Water Street.
The Cloud – I duck down into some small side Street.
White out.
For about a minute – I’m thinking anything could happen, this could be the day that I die.
Remember thinking wish I had my camera.
No sound – very quiet.
After a few minutes I get up, covered in ash.
People buzzing about making it to the Brooklyn Bridge.
Where are our guys? Who’s defending us.
Get to John Street where I can try and double back to Chase Plaza.
cop tells me to go the other way.
I don’t listen – he’s got his hands full with others.
Korean Grocer handing out waters on John Street, I take one to wash the ash out of my eyes.
Get to Chase Plaza, the gates have been trampled, there is no one around.
I go into the building but there is no one around.
Finally I encounter a shocked Security Guard, one courageous man who stayed at his post.
“I’m trying to find my wife, she was on the 65th floor doing a webcast for Sun Microsystems on the 65th Floor.”
“They were all moved to Sub-Level B, But I don’t know where they are now.”
“How do I get there?”
“I can’t let you go there – it’s sealed anyway.”
I turned around – wandering in a haze. Wasn’t going to go to the Brooklyn Bridge so I headed North.
Coming up on Pace University – More people streaming north.
Near City Hall – I feel the Second Tower fall.
Hundreds of cops by the Courts hearding people north but also running themselves.
Finally I get through to my wife and we make a plan to meet in little Italy.
She’s also in shock.
People on the streets handing out water to those of us covered in ash.
A doorman on Houston Street lets us use his bathroom to clean up.
We get to her parents house on West 22nd Street. Her parents have the television on.
Her stepfather rightly says, this will change the world forever.

That was then. Now I’m watching a guitarist and a singer singing a song called “Borrowed Angels.” To this day, I’ve never had an all out cry. I get choked up sometimes, but for some reason, New Yorkers, we keep going. Nothing stops us. Not terrorists, blackouts, nothing. We keep going. I haven’t slept the same way since, and quit smoking within two months. How could I put smoke willingfully into my lungs when all those firefighters and cops died running into the flames. How many parents went to work that day who were someone’s children. And all I can think is that they were someone’s borrowed angel.

I look at my daughter, and her smile. She’s my Angel.

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