Remembering 9/11: Xavier Toups, Errol Lewis, Scotty Gore and Angela Rosa
Soap Opera Network was launched on October 8, 2001, nearly one month to the day after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States. The staff of Soap Opera Network have compiled their personal stories and reflections 10 years after that horrific day.
It was my first year at University and I was in class that Tuesday morning. By the time my class ended, the planes had already hit the two towers, but I still had no idea what had happened. It was now after noon and I was making my way to a local television station where I was volunteering. On the bus ride there, I remember someone saying, “All of Silicon Valley is down too.” I thought there was some big power outage or something. As I entered the waiting room at the station, I looked up at the TV monitors and that’s when I saw all the devastation, a city covered in ash. I asked a guy, another volunteer, what in the world happened and that’s when he told me, “Two airplanes, commercial airplanes…jumbo jets, crashed into the World Trade Center.” I stood there in disbelief. I could not process what was happening, what I was seeing……until I the saw footage of the two towers coming down. Chills everywhere.
When I got home a couple hours later, I immediately turned on my computer and checked the soap opera message board where I was a moderator, because another moderator, Alyssa Davis (who later co-founded Soap Opera Network with me), lived in New York City. For the rest of day, I was glued to the TV. When I did turn the TV off to go to bed, I still wanted to listen to people’s reactions, so I turned on my radio. As I was laying in bed listening to the radio, they had an update that there was now footage of one of the planes hitting one of the towers. I jumped off my bed and ran to the TV – I had to see this! Chills everywhere once again.
Editor in Chief
It was a dark and gloomy looking early evening on Monday, September 10, 2001, which is where my story begins. I had recently begun my junior year of high school just days before at a transfer high school that catered to night and day students. The day population was mostly for foreign born individuals whereas the night was for native English speakers or transfer students from other high schools in New York City or out of state. I attended the night school.
I was sitting in my math class on the fourth floor, which hadn’t started yet, when I found myself looking out the window. The first thing I noticed was it was still wet outside as a result of the light rain throughout the day. The second thing I noticed was the tall twin towers staring at me, like they were calling to me. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Looking up in the sky with the clouds covering the top half of them both while still leaving a shadowy view of what you couldn’t see clearly if you looked close enough, the two tallest buildings in New York City just stood there.
It was nearly 11:00 PM when my night at school came to an end. Normally, I would walk to the Union Square station and take the 4 or 5 train to Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall in order to transfer to the Brooklyn bound J train to head home, but that particular night I decided to walk with some of my fellow classmates through Alphabet city, which is what everyone calls Avenue’s A-D in the East Village area. After the last Manhattenite got home safely, I headed on my own towards the Delancy/Essex Street station to catch my aforementioned J train. Before I walked down the stairs to catch my train, something caught my eye. I looked up before walking down and staring at me once more were the two towers. By this time it was 12 midnight – it was September 11, 2001. Once again those two buildings called to me and I watched them for just a few minutes. But in that short time it felt like hours. If I only knew then that what I felt in those moments just standing there that it would be the last moments I’d ever see the two buildings standing strong or I had known what would in fact happen nearly 9 hours later, maybe I could have done something, said something. I tore my eyes away, went down the stairs, got on my train and arrived home safely. I went to bed and had no dreams. Nothing.
I was awoken by mother who informed me that a plane had hit one of the towers. Instantly, she concluded it was terrorist act. I couldn’t believe it. Just a few minutes later a second plane hit. If I had doubted her when she said it, I sure didn’t when the next plane tore through the next tower. Tears had already fallen when I saw the first building burning, but they just dropped and dropped when the next building caught fire. That’s when I realized our world would never be same and any normality we had was thrown out with the broken glass and the instant loss millions bared witness to as it happened.
I had the day off from work and was sleeping in that morning when I received a call from my mom just before 8 am (Central Time) telling that a plane had hit the World Trade Center and that I should turn on the TV to see what was happening. At first, I thought that I was either dreaming or that it was just an accident of some sort, but then I turned on the television and after seeing the second plane hit, I knew it had to be something more. I was glued to the TV for the rest of the day in shock and horror, not knowing what was coming next. Even though I live in Kentucky, I was concerned because I live only about 40 miles from Fort Knox, and just a couple of hours away from a rather large Air Force base at Fort Campbell, KY. It was just horrifying. No American will ever forget where they were and what they were doing that day. I know I won’t.
On 9/11/2001, I was walking to an early college class in Queens. The path I walked and the place I live in Queens is just minutes away from mid-town Manhattan, great view of the Empire State Building, and a very good view of the World Trade Towers if you turned your head a little to the left. I saw that the top of one of the buildings looked completely charred black. I had no idea why, I thought maybe there was a fire and my initial thought was that’s going to take a long time to fix. So, I went to class and noticed there was a bit of a frenzy in the building. The professor hadn’t shown up as well. Somebody mentioned a plane flying into one of the Towers. I put on my AM/FM radio and heard it was a passenger plane and we all discussed the possibility of that being as accident. Then I heard that a second passenger plane flew into the second tower and related it to everybody. We were shocked and all discussed that it really could not be an accident at this point and all decided to go home. As I was walking home, I stared at the buildings in shock. There was a growing nervous silence in the air. Public transportation and the bridges had shut down immediately and it added to the silence from the shock and fear on all our faces. On my way home, I heard the Pentagon had been hit and a forth plane was missing and I thought some country was ending civilization as we knew it in the United States. I was scared. Then the buildings fell and it was shocking and heart-breaking. Later in the day, I did a grocery stop for myself and my mother incase this was the end. All you could hear now was fighter jets patrolling and it was a little nerve-wrecking at first because it was a speeding aircraft. It eventually became comforting. A day or two later a smell started and lasted for a few days, and this was all the way in Queens. It smelled like burning metal mixed with something else. That was just heart-breaking and I cried more than a few times. It was hard watching people searching for their loved ones desperately. I had never seen the City I lived in all my life so sad, shocked and silent as it was in those first two weeks.