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Weston Woman Remembers Sept. 11

Cheryl Bryant was living in New York City during the attacks on Sept. 11. She moved to Weston in 2004.

WESTON, Conn. -- On Sept. 11th I was at my desk at my job in downtown Manhattan. My office was two blocks south of the south tower. My assistant ran into the building saying that she thought a small plane or helicopter hit the south tower of the Trade Center. I had previously worked on the 84th floor of the south tower, so I had experience with helicopters flying low and close to the towers. At that point, I walked to the window which overlooked the West Side Highway and watched (surreally)?? what appeared to be bodies (although they looked like mannequins) flying over the highway. Panic set in with some of my co-workers when the building's security made announcements over the loud speakers to evacuate--I was calm, just expecting this to be a small aircraft accident.

As my other office location was farther south about seven or eight blocks, my goal was to go to that building when they instructed us to evacuate. Upon exiting my office building, I saw that a jet engine from one of the planes was on the ground at the front door, along side it a black high-heeled shoe. I kept my head down and made a beeline the few blocks down to my other office. Chaos ensued at the other location, as I worked in the financial industry and there were televisions in the brokers areas. We started to understand the impact and severity of what was going on. We all watched in disbelief what was happening to our nation, here in New York and at the Pentagon. Perhaps the most frightening experience of this horrific day was when I heard fighter planes overhead. I thought for a moment that we were going to be bombed. Fortunately, the president of our company made an immediate announcement over the loud speaker that those planes were ours and that we were safe and protected. More announcements came instructing us to evacuate the building ... this all before the towers collapsed. Midway down 10 or so flights of stairs another announcement came telling us to go back into the building. Then, while watching the television, I watched in disbelief as the towers crumbled while my body felt it happening (we were about eight blocks south of the south tower). It was like being on a simulator-type ride at Disney.

As the morning went on, we tried frantically to reach our loved ones. Telephone service in the city was non-existent, but I was able to call out of the city to my Dad, who then was able to reach my husband to let him know I was okay. About 3 in the afternoon we were able to leave the building ... trying to figure out how I would get home (I lived midtown on the West Side). We were given surgical masks to help with the dust and smoke. I walked north with some colleagues to the South Street Seaport, where we boarded a tugboat to bring us to midtown. I walked across town to meet my husband, all the time thinking, "How did this happen?  How will this nation get through this? Who did I know that didn't make it?"

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