作者:George Chiang 江正吉
- 一. 前言
全世界無數的電腦專家們正在電腦前戰戰戰兢兢地等著迎接「千禧年」的到來。終於平平安安的進入了廿一世紀。人們的興頭尚未消失時，在隔年的九月十一日早上將近九點鐘時，在紐約市的 LOWER MANHATON，忽然間有一架波音七六七飛機衝撞曾經是世界最高的大樓—– 雙子星 ( TWIN TOWERS) 大樓的北棟。接著不到廿分鐘，竟然又有一架七五七 衝撞南棟大樓。導致兩棟大樓在兩個小時內崩塌而消失於這個世界。這堪稱為新世紀的首宗大慘案，被稱之為「九一一」慘劇。該慘案中的死亡人數據估計有將近三 千人。而當時在兩棟大樓內的人數約一萬四千二百人。換句話說在該慘案中，約有百分之八十五大樓內人員安全逃出。而我個人也正是倖存者之一。在此願將我當時 從七十四樓辦公室逃生的經歷，及逃生後的個人感觸與讀者分享。
話說二ＯＯ一年九月十一日星期二，我照常在八點就抵達辦公室。循例打開電腦邊看E-MAIL邊喝咖啡提神。E-MAIL正 看得起勁，忽然聽到「轟」的一聲巨響，抬頭望著窗外，只見到另一棟大樓左右幌動著。下意思以為是發生大地震，趕緊往辦公桌下躲。想想不太對勁，也就跟著同 事往太平梯逃生。因為有了九三年大樓第一次爆炸後逃生的經驗，最終大家都平安逃生。兩棟大樓也安然矗立著。所以在「九一一」第一棟大樓逃生時，起先大家都 不知道原因，心想最終還是可以安然逃生。大家出奇的平靜，不急不緩，邊下樓梯邊聊天。但是下到第五十八樓時又是一聲巨響且傳出是第二棟大樓被飛機衝撞，這 才引起大家的緊張，加快速度往樓下逃。約模過了一個鐘頭終於下到地面。當時地面已積水有三吋深。向廣場望去只見血跡斑斑慘不忍睹。本想走近看個究竟，奈何 被維持秩序的警員擋住並要大夥向一定方向逃生。記得走過一個 BLOCK 回 頭一望只見兩棟大樓冒著一大片濃煙，不久又見第二棟大樓緩緩下降終至消失於濃煙之中。接著濃煙快速的奔向我們這方向來。於是我和另一位同事快速往前急走。 頃刻間被由後奔來的濃煙籠罩，幾乎是伸手不見五指的情況下，我們兩個人盲目的往前走。終於逃出濃煙。望著我的同事，只見他的眼鏡沾滿了灰塵。當時第一件想 到的事就是打個電話告訴太太。正好對街有一家 AT&T 的代銷商，我倆就走過街去借電話。但是所有的通訊皆不通。記得我們正在撥電話之際， AT&T 的店員竟然送上兩杯水要我們喝並且出用前後拍拍我們的身子，試著拍清我們衣服上所有灰塵。這是多麼窩心的人間溫暖啊！
電話既然無法接通，我倆只好繼續往紐約 PENN STATION 方向走。沿路見到的人群幾乎都是在談論爆炸案的事。大約過了四十五分鐘，終於到了 PENN STATION。站外是人山人海。我倆雖都住在 NEW JERSEY，但是我是搭火車上下班，而我同事是搭巴士。巴士站離火車站有八個街道。所以我倆就在 PENN STATION 分 手。當我擠進車站內才發現所有班次皆停駛。於是我快速從人群中擠出車站外，奔向巴士站試圖找到我的同事。因為他才剛從腦瘤手術康復不久，深恐他受不了這四 五個鐘頭的折磨。然而到了巴士站也只見到人山人海，跟本就找不到我的同事。也只有帶著內疚之感以及疲憊的身子往住在五十六街兒子的家走。
而當我一副狼狽邋遢的身子出現在兒子住處的門前， “OH! MY GOD! DADY!” 兒子帶著即驚又喜的表情道出了這麼一句見面語。 馬上帶我去洗澡間 TAKE SHOWER。洗完澡出來一盤熱呼呼的 SPAGHETTI 及一碟生菜沙拉巳經放在餐桌上等著，兒子要我趕緊吃。 這–幕真是我對九一一災難中永遠難忘的甜蜜回憶。 而那盤 SPAGHETTI 及生菜沙拉,吃起來真的比什麼山珍海味都可口，也永遠留在我心底。當天就在兒子住處過夜。
大樓 北棟 南棟
衝撞時間 8:46 AM 9:03 AM
衝撞範圍 92 ND ~ 98TH 78TH ~ 84TH
崩塌時間 10:28 AM 9:59 AM
飛機所屬 美國航空(AA) 聯合航空(UA)
估計當時在兩棟大樓內的人數 14,154 人
跳樓死亡 200 人
消防人員 411 人
隨機人員 AA 87 UA 60
個人以為「與其回憶過去的慘劇，不如展望未來的美景。」( SEE SLIDE AND VIDEO)
完工後的WORLD TRADE CENTER (WTC) 共有六棟大樓:
TOWER 1 共 98-Story 加上 天線總高度為 1776 FT.最頂層設有觀景台. 將於6/2015 開放
TOWER 2 比TOWER 1 稍底但是仍高於帝國大廈
TOWER 3 高度與TOWER 2 差不多.
TOWER 1及 TOWER 2由於 FUNDING的問題，目前僅計劃建到七樓
TOWER 4 高度與TOWER 2 差不多高度與TOWER 2 差不多. 業已完工 (11/2013) 。是 PORT AUTHORITY未來的辦公室之一。
TOWER 5 六棟大樓中最低的一棟，僅有 50-STORY 目前尚未動工。
TOWER 7 已完工
紀念水池 兩座 200呎見方的水池，座落在原南北棟大樓之位置.周圍牆高約三呎半，牆頂為約一呎寬平頂上刻有罹難者的姓名。
紀念博物館 座落於兩紀念水池之下方。 將於 4/2014 開放PAC (PERFORMANCE ART CENTER，座落於TOWER 1 & TOWER 2之間。 僅 300呎高，替代原有的 TOWER 6。其內附設有三座電影院。OCULUS 造形奇特。是PATH WTC STATION ( SEE SLIDE )
— 生與死就在一線之隔。與其對死者的哀慟欲絕，更須珍惜 在生的相聚 有一位同事的女婿，原在南棟大樓上班。當北棟大樓遭撞時也跟著一些人逃出大樓。沒多久該棟大樓宣告是北棟大樓遭飛機衝 撞。於是有些人又回辦公室。同事的女婿因忘了帶車子的鑰匙，於是又回辦公室，從此天人兩隔。當時他的太太已懷孕六個月了。真不敢想像她在產房時是多麼的痛心。
最 後我要一提在那堪稱世紀慘劇中最令我難忘與不捨的是當大夥沿太平梯往下逃生時與那些無數的消防人員擦身而個。他們一個個背著救火的道具往上跑，為的就是要 達成他們的任務。然而很不幸的是最終與大樓共同消失於這個人的世界。大樓可以重建，然而那些消失的消防人員的生命卻是永遠無法喚回來。讓我們在這感恩節再 度到來的前夕，共同遙寄我們永遠感恩之心及無限的敬意。
RETROSPECT 911 TRAGEDY
1. 911 TRAGEDY
Countless computer experts around the world are trembling in front of theircomputers waiting for the arrival of the “Millennium.” Finally, we are entering the 21st century in peace. Less than a year later, at nearly 9 o’clock on the morning of
September 11 of the following year, a Boeing 767 plane collided with the tallest building in the world —– The North Tower of the Twin Towers located in Lower Manhattan. Within twenty minutes, another Boeing 757 flew into the South Toer.
The two towers collapsed and disappeared from the world one after another two hours later.
This is the first major tragedy in the new century, and it is called the “911” tragedy. The death toll in the tragedy is estimated at nearly 3,000. The number of people in the two buildings was estimated to be around 14,200, so approximately 80% of the people in the building escaped alive. I am one of those survivors. I would like to share my experience of escape from my office located on the 74th floor and my personal feelings after the escape.
2. Personal Experienc On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I arrived at the office at 8 o’clock as usual. Per my usual routine, I turned on the computer to catch up on my email while drinking coffee, suddenly, I heard a loud “boom”. When I looked out of the window, I saw the other Tower moving left and right. I thought it was a big earthquake, so I quickly hid under my desk. However, I didn’t think it was right, so I followed my colleagues to exit through the safety stairway.
Back in 1993, there was another incident at the World Trade Center where a truck exploded in the parking structure underneath the buildings. While the faces of a few people were covered in black smoke, everyone else was safe and the buildings remained structurally sound. This was the memories of the 1993 bombing (Note 1). Therefore, when the plane crashed into the 91st floor of the North Building, everyone descended with slowly, calmly, and orderly. There was no trace of fear at all. Especially when everyone still didn’t know what happened, they only knew they had to evacuate. When I reached the 58th floor, I heardanother loud noise and we were informed the second building (our building) was hit by a plane. This made everyone nervous and we all sped up our descent down the stairs. After about an hour, I was finally on the ground level. There was already three inches of water from the sprinkler on the ground. Looking outside on the Square Plaza, I saw the blood stains; turns out that some people had jumped from the windows. I wanted to get closer to see what happened, but was blocked by the police who were trying to keep order and were directing everyone to evacuate in a certain direction. I remember walking through a block and looking back to see two smokestacks coming from the buildings, followed shortly by the second building slowly crumbling down until it disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
The smoke quickly rushed towards us, so another colleague and I hurried forward. Immediately, shrouded in smoke and unable to see our hands, the two of us walked blindly (Note 2) forward until were outside the smoke cloud. The first thing that came to my mind was to call my wife let tell her that I was safe. There was an AT & T office across the street and we walked in to borrow a phone but all communication was blocked. I remember that as we were dialing the phone, the AT & T clerk gave us two glasses of water and patted our bodies to remove all the dust off our clothes. What a kind gesture.
Since we weren’t able to use the phones, we decided to head to PENN STATION. Almost all the people we passed along the way were talking about the bombings. After about an hour we finally arrived at PENN STATION, and it was packed with people inside and outside. Although we both live in NEW JERSEY, I commute by train while my colleague commutes by bus. Since the bus station was eight blocks away, we headed off in separate directions. When I squeezed into the station, I found that all train services were stopped. I quickly squeezed myself out of the crowded station and rushed to the bus stop in order to find my colleague. He was recovering from a brain tumor operation, so I was afraid that it wouldn’t be safe for him to be alone for four or five hours. However, when I reached the bus stop, I could not find him (Note 3). With guilt on my mind, my only option at that point was to head over to my son’s apartment on 56th Street.
In all, it took more than six hours from when I evacuated my office on the 74th floor to arrive at my son’s apartment. I was really tired, and I didn’t have the energy to talk about my colleague. And when my scruffy face appeared in front of my son’s residence, “OH! MY GOD! DADDY!” my son said such a face-to-face with a surprised and happy expression. He took me to the bathroom to have a shower right away. After the shower, a hot plate of Spaghetti and a plate of lettuce salad were waiting on the dining table, and my son asked me to eat it right away. This scene is really my unforgettable sweet memory of the September 11 disaster. And that plate of SPAGHETTI and lettuce salad is really more delicious than any banquet dishes. It will always stay in my heart. I stayed overnight at my son’s apartment.
Note 1: I remember that the explosion in 1993 occurred on the fourth floor of the underground parking garage, where the power source of the building was located. The entire building immediately lost power, and it was pitch black in the evacuation stairway. You couldn’t even see the fingers in front of your face. The smoke from the explosion rose up the stairway so as people fled down, they headed straight into the rising smoke. This was the first major incident at these Towers since it opened in 1973, so no one had any experience, or knew what the protocol was in this situation. Many people were scared and were screaming all the way down, which adds to the tension and fear.
Note 2: In retrospect, rushing forward blindly with almost zero visibility could’ve resulted in the serious injury of running into a car or falling and getting trampled by the crowd behind you.
Note 3: After arriving home the next afternoon, I received a call from my colleague that he is a safe home.
3. THE RECORD OF ” 911 ” TRAGEDY:
WORLD TRADE CENTER ( TWIN TOWERS )
TOWER. NORTH. SOUTH.
TIME WAS HIT 8:46 A.M. 9:03A.M.
SCOPE OF HIT 92ND FL ~ 98TH FL 78TH FL ~ 84TH FL
TIME OF COLLAPSE 10:28 A.M. 9:59 A.M.
AIRLINE AMERICAN AIRLINE UNITED AIRLINE
AA BOING 767 UA BOING 757
ESTIMATE PERSONS INSIDE THE TOWERS:
NORTH TOWER + SOUTH TOWER : TOTAL 14,154 EA
DEAD: 2753 PERSONS, AT LEAST INCLUDING :
JUMPED FROM THE WINDOWS : 200 EA
FIRE DEPARTMENT PERSONS : 411 EA
PLANE ATTENDANTS : AA 87 EA, UA 60 EA
RECORD OF 911 TRAGEDY
ORIGINAL WTC TWIN TOWERS
4. LOOKING TO THE BEAUTIFUL FUTURE IMAGE:
My personal think that ” rather keep recalling the tragic memories of the past, it is better look for the beautiful future image.” Therefore, allow me to thoroughly describe the future World Trade Center (WTC):
Overall there will be six towers up around the original Twin Towers site:
TOWER 1: TOTAL 98-STORY PLUS ANTENA, THE OVERALL HEIGHT WILL BE 1776 FT;
TOWER 2: A LITTLE LOWER THAN TOWER 1, IT IS STILL HIGHER THAN EMPIRE BUILDING;
TOWER 3: ALMOST THE SAME HEIGHT AS TOWER 2;
TOWER 4: ALMOST THE SAME HEIGHT AS TOWER 2. IT HAD BEEN COMPLETED IN 11/ 2013. IT WILL BE FUTURE PORT AUTHORITY OFFICE;
TOWER 5: IT IS THE LOWEST TOWER AMONG SIX TOWERS, IT IS ONLY
FIFTY-FLOOR. IT HAS NOT BEEN CONSTRUCTED YET;
TOWER 7: COMPLETED.
Other than those mentioned above, there are two memorial pool, 200 ft by
200 ft square each, right located on the original Twin Towers ( 200 ft x 200 ft)
site. Three feet high by one foot thick wall surrounds the pool. There sacrificing persons’ name is carved on top of the wall.
Underneath the pools, there is a memorial museum which has been opened for public on 04/2014.
There is a performance art center (PAC) located on between Tower 1 and Tower 2. It is only 300 feet high to replace original Tower 6. There are three movie theaters inside.
The PATH WTC station has the special appearance, it looks like OCULUS.
BEAUTIFUL FUTURE WTC
PATH WTC STATION
5. SPECIAL Feelings AND CONCULISION:
It is often persuaded to try to forget the unpleasant past and wipe away the painful memories. In other words, just store the happy things one by one in your memory, and click it from time to time, then your life will be full of joy. This argument is believed to be completely correct, but is it that we ordinary persons can do it. What I am concerned, the September 11 incident can be said to be an unforgettable encounter in a lifetime, but it is really a mixture of sadness and surprise, but it is also mixed with the warm side of human nature. Is it possible for me not to think about the former, but to reflect on the latter? One by one photos of the twin towers from different angles, some are hung on the wall of the study room, some are collected in albums, and some are put in the picture frames as gifts for friends to remember. The contradictions in my heart are beyond words. I want to see it again, but afraid to see it.
Seventeen years have passed. On the appearance, it seems that everything is physically and mentally restored, but there is always the word “fear” inside my mind. No matter where I am, I always feel scared and insecure. Not only my own safety, but also often worry about my close relatives and friends who are not around.
When I was in Taiwan, I , very often rode a bicycle to the suburbs to enjoy the rural scenery. After I immigrated to USA, I love to travel by driving. I had driven across America from New York all the way to California in seven days.
Since I had gone through the “911” tragedy, I don’t like to drive unless it is necessary. This kind of psychological anxiety may be the sequelae left after the disaster.
An old Taiwanese saying ” there will be unlimited luck on you once you have
You survived from a very serious tragedy.” To me, I could survive from 911, I have already got a lot blessing and praying from my close friends and relatives who know that I am working inside the Twin Towers. I will never expect the extra luck at all.
However, what made me the most sad was when everyone fled down from safety stairway, there were many firefighters who passed us going upstairs, they tried to put off the fire, ended up they all disappeared with the towers. How great, admirable and sad they have sacrificed their precious lives to fight the fire.
Before September 11th, I always end with the letter of wishing people health and happiness. After the September 11th incident, I deeply feel that peace is the most important thing. I wish all readers Peace, Health and Happiness.