It was a normal Summer. I was in between jobs after working for a company in Manhattan for 27 years. I was also working for a local AM radio station playing standards music in New Jersey, where I lived.
During the Summer months I met with a job recruitment and entrepreneurship group. The group met in tower 1 of the World Trade Center. On Tuesday September 11, I was scheduled to meet with my advisor at 8:30am on the 45th floor of tower 1.
In the meantime, my Aunt Marie was dealing with many medical issues. She had just finished radiation therapy for breast cancer. On the evening of September 10th, my aunt called me and asked me to take her to the hospital on Tuesday, September 11th for a final assessment. I told her that I had a meeting with my advisor at the World Trade Center. She immediately told me that she would change her appointment. I told her not to and I agreed that I would change mine, but she would have none of that. She wanted me to go to my appointment and would reschedule her appointment to Thursday, September 13th. We hung up.
All of a sudden, a funny feeling came over me. I couldn't describe it. Maybe guilt but I believe it was more than that. I immediately called my aunt back and told her that I would re-schedule my appointment at the twin towers and take her to her assessment.
I lived in Edgewater, New Jersey at the time which sat beneath the Palisades Cliffs on the Hudson River about 2 miles from the George Washington Bridge. At about 8:30am on Tuesday the 11th, while driving to pick up my aunt for her appointment, I heard a roar of a jet over the Hudson. It sounded so loud that I remember covering my ears! I turned to look but there were too many trees to see the river. I turned on 1010 WINS News radio and heard that a plane crashed into the trade center. At the time, they thought it was a private plane. I picked up my Aunt, and we listened on the way to the hospital. While at the hospital, we saw the whole thing unfold on the TV in the waiting area. I couldn't describe the feeling that came over us. My aunt turned and looked at me and said "I was your guardian angel" indeed she was and still is today! (She passed away in January of 2002.)
After my aunt's appointment, traffic was backing up all over Bergen County, NJ. Roads were beginning to close and getting around was very difficult. I dropped my aunt off home and drove back down the Palisades to Edgewater. What I saw, horrified me. I gathered with lots of people at our complex's club house on the river and saw the smoke, destruction and horror. I thought we were under attack and will never forget the dread and sorrow I was feeling.
A few minutes later, my Program Director at WVNJ called and asked me to come in and help with the coverage of the tragedy. It took me a very long time to get there. The station was about 6 miles away. I stayed at the station until midnight airing coverage and giving local information to our listeners. When I finally left, I felt like I was in a war zone. Every single street was closed, there were police at every corner and barricades everywhere. I had to explain at each intersection that I was going home after working at WVNJ. The police and state troopers let me through. Other than the police, there was no one on the roads. After about 1 hour and a half, I arrived home. Completely drained and feeling like I was on another planet.
This day is etched in my mind forever and I am grateful for my Aunt Marie for being my Guardian angel that day!