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10th Anniversary!
BAHS Beaver Area High School
Beaver, PA  USA
Tuesday September 2, 2014
1970
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Today's Featured Biography

 

Elecia Kerr Almekinder

On September 11, I was sitting in a cab in front of the Marriott World Trade Center at the corner of Liberty when the first plane hit Tower 1. It was a blessing that I was still in the cab, and my co-workers had teased me for checking my bag instead of putting it in the overhead bins, which made us 10 minutes later. Normally I traveled alone to our offices on the 85th floor of the World Trade Center, a trip I make weekly to NYC. I'm a computer applications analyst and the home office in Rochester was working on a project to support the NYC office making it necessary for me to go to Manhattan once a week. If I had been alone I would have taken the subway from JFK where Jet Blue lands into the World Trade Center. The plane sounded like a jet fighter pilot and I said to Katie and Bill "What do they think they're doing, buzzing Manhattan?" And then a few seconds later there was the sound of a sonic boom - now I know that was the first plane hitting the first building. A workman in the median strip next to our cab looked up into the sky and had a look of terror as he dove into his work truck yelling "holy shit!"

Then debris began falling. A piece of what looked like a cement truck fell 10 feet from our cab. I always wondered what I would do under severe stress. My hands laid on the backs of my huddled companions and I sat and prayed. I prayed out loud and clearly to make sure I was heard. For ten minutes debris fell on our cab. When it stopped we asked the driver to take us back to JFK. The path for the cab was clear. We were listening to the radio on the Brooklyn Bridge to try and find out about the accident. We thought a jet fighter pilot had an accident. We were looking back at the Towers and Bill said to us that the sad blessing was that it wasn't our tower, World Trade 2, that had been hit. At that point I saw the fire ball come out of World Trade 2, right about the area where our offices were located on the 85th floor. Seeing it on TV didn't do it justice. The fireball was horrific. The vision of it in my memory still is horrific.

At World Trade 2 my colleagues had started down the stairs when the first plane hit World Trade 1. One of the people I work with, a survivor, said she broke the emergency phone cover with her fist and heard all of the cries for help. But the people in the stairwell of World Trade 2 had been given the all clear. Many stayed in the stairwell, but six of them got into the elevators to get out of the Towers faster. When the second plane hit, the fuel went down the shafts of the elevators and anyone in an elevator was lost.

That day in September we rented a car and didn't listen to the radio as we drove home. We heard about the bombing of Washington and they said the bridges were being closed all around Manhattan. Someone told me later they were afraid the bridges would be bombed. I thought of that as we crossed the Whitestone Bridge. If a bomb were to take this bridge out would I be able to swim to shore so I could find my kids and my husband again?

I was home at 6 p.m. hugging my children.

Yesterday when Noah came with me to work for "Take a Kid to Work Day" I pointed out the copper beach tree that we planted on the 1st anniversary of September 11. It looks so small and I'm looking forward to seeing its leaves this spring and summer. I'd like to tell you that my life has made miraculous changes and to some degree it has. I am very intense about living. Even under everyday stress and worries, I try to find the joy.

I'm not fond of the war we are in right now. It is my favorite prayer that Mr. Bush doesn't spread the war to all parts of the world. A friend of mine said that there is evil in the world and it is good to fight that evil. Noah wants to become a Navy Seal now. He was 9 years old sitting in a classroom when they announced there had been a bombing of the World Trade Center. His teacher didn't realize that I was there and for 1/2 hour he didn't know if I was okay. I've always been a pacifist and it was hard for me to understand why he would want to become a part of the military starting at the age of 9. So I asked him and he said because he wanted to make a difference in the world.

My prayer for my children, and yours, is that all of them are used for God's purpose and not the errors of mankind.


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Elecia Kerr Almekinder

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