September 2021

“We Will Never Forget”

Today is a beautiful September day, much like September 11, 2001…20 years ago.

This Newsletter is dedicated to all the heroes and those who perished on that tragic day. As a tribute, I have asked some of my team members to write about their memories from 9-11.

Below is a Memorandum from AJ Schneider, President…Wheaton Group. I echo his thoughtful words and sentiments…….

It’s important to take time to remember and reflect upon tragedies and transformative moments in our nation’s history. In the new millennium, perhaps no event has had more of an effect on our collective minds as the tragedies that unfolded on September 11, 2001.
As we work through what are, not arguably, very challenging times, take a moment tomorrow to reflect on an event that was so unthinkable that it unified our nation together within 24 hours rather than creating a political divide.
As a company, we’d like to encourage our agents, drivers, and staff to take a moment to reflect upon September 11, to honor its victims as you see fit, and to offer support to friends, relatives, and those in need as we all work to push through our current challenges.

I was in the kitchen, with the TV on in the background, talking on the phone to my friend Laurie…..our morning ritual. As we were both chatting away, the TV caught our eye when we saw what we thought was an accident of a plane hitting the first twin tower. In utter disbelief, we stayed on the phone for the next hour or more… we saw the rest of the tragedy unfold.

Many of the parents went to take their children out of school, I decided not to. Instead, I drove to an area where I was able to see the smoke pouring out from the New York skyline. Made many calls to friends/family members to check in, so many of us had loved ones in the city. 

One of the most surreal and heartfelt memories of that tragic event was a drive from Montvale to Midland Park to a football game on or about September 12th. Driving with my family, husband, and two daughters we witnessed the unity of community for on this drive we saw candles in windows, flags out and signs of neighborhoods coming together as a visual gesture…….it felt like a big hug.

John and I were carpooling and on our way to drop me off at work in Ramsey. It was a beautiful morning, with fall in the air. We approached the office in Ramsey we heard the news that a plane had struck the tower. Shortly thereafter my cell phone rang, one of drivers was passing by as the plane hit the tower, he was going to head out of the city as quickly as possible and not make his scheduled stops, since we had really no idea of what was going on. As more and more information was coming out on the news that a second plane hit the second tower, most of us headed outside from our office, where we had a view of the NYC and the towers, everyone was stunned by what we were seeing. We closed the office early that day. It’s a day I will never forget! This was just one of the many reasons our son decided to serve his country in the US Navy. 

It was a beautiful, cloudless day. I was a Moving Consultant with my last employer, an International Moving Company. I was at our office in Whippany that morning without an early sales call when we heard that a small plane had hit one of the Towers. We had thought accident at first but it didn’t take long to realize what had really happened once we heard about the 2nd plane hitting the other Tower. We were gathered around watching on a small TV in the warehouse and were shocked and stunned once the Towers fell. We called it a day after another hour or so and I drove home to pick up my wife when we went to get our kids out of school. My daughter was 14 and my son was 12 at the time. Everyone was upset, crying, very emotional. My first day back in the City was Friday the 14th but you couldn’t get below 14th St. I will never forget the family I was quoting for a domestic move to Kentucky. He was going to retire but changed plans when he found out his daughter perished in Tower 2 around the 70th floor. Months later I was visiting a mother and her little boys in an apartment on the Upper Eastside who were moving back home to Spain. I’ll never forget the 1 son’s bed had an American flag draped over it. It was from his father’s funeral as he had died at the office on 911. Will Never Forget!

I remember the morning of 9/11 as being a beautiful sunny and calm morning as I got to work.  Just as I sat down at my desk, I heard the news from a coworker who just walked in saying “a plane just hit one of the twin towers.” We all ran to the conference room and turned on the TV to get more news.  Listening in disbelief and shock, people in the office all started crying.   I realized at that moment that my three brothers who worked as first responders of NYPD would or could be at ground zero.  Throughout the whole day, my family and I were in a state of anxiety and a feeling of helplessness.  It was the worse day in our lives as we watched alongside the world watching as both towers fell.  All of us at work didn’t know what to do, so many of my coworkers at the time started experiencing the same realities of family members and friends being in the towers, on a plane or in the area.  As the morning unfolded and the news of the plane crashing into the Pentagon and the plane in the crash in Pennsylvania, we all were in a state of numbness as we left work. I remember feeling so lost, lonely, and afraid not sure if home was a safe haven anymore. Not until later that day, did my family and I hear that my three brothers were safe. Although, two of my brothers who worked for EMS and Harbor Units, were among the first to respond who were at ground zero and had run for their lives as both towers fell.  Although this is the 20th year anniversary it will be a day that forever lives in the forefront of my mind, never to forget!

A clear beautiful day with no clouds in the sky and I was working at the time and it started to come across the news of what was going on.  I recall everyone stopped to watch the news in our break room and all were very quiet watching as the plane hit a second time into the south tower.  For the day we kept working, quiet was not the word and we all were concerned about loved ones that may be in that area. Terrified about what was going on, sad and tears during the day. Cell phone service was not great but was able to contact my family to make sure they were all OK, my cousin at that time was a PO in Manhattan and ended up being down in the area at the time.

I met up with all my friends after work at our local place to go for drinks and food to gather for comfort. Calling friends making sure they were all OK.  

Afterward going home to watch the news for what seemed all night trying to rest even knowing that this world was not the same and never would be again.

A day I will never forget. I was working at St. Joseph and had just discussed what a beautiful day it was when we heard that a plane hit one of the towers – how on such a clear day! As we began to hear more information, worried parents began calling and coming to the door to make sure their children were ok. Even today the panic voices and cries of loss are still so vivid in my mind. And that night I held my family never wanting to let them go.