I woke up early on Tuesday – before seven o‘clock. My brother and I had breakfast in the stern of the boat. Viewing Manhattan. The morning was calm, the day promised to be hot and the weather excellent.
I wanted to meet my step-brother Steve, in Manhattan. We had not agreed on a time and place yet, but had an arrangement to call by 10.00 a.m.
Joachim went to work. I sat down with a book on deck until the sun was too hot.
Then I went into the cabin, maybe around a quarter past eight. Lying down with the my book so that I could see the blue sky through the top hatch. The boat was rocking gently.
I read for a little while and fell asleep for a short time. The phone rang. Steve and I had a chat about the plans for the day. We discussed where we could meet and which subway I should take. I wanted to smoke a cigarette. With the phone in my hand, I climbed onto deck.
First I saw a cloud in the south, shaped like a cigar. Turning my head I saw that the cloud ended at the World Trade Center and realized that it had started there. “The Towers are burning.” The people on the surrounding boats were looking towards Manhattan. The couple on the nearby boat had a television. They said, it was terrorists with airplanes, both towers had been hit, no accident – an attack.
Steve was ok but we didn´t meet up this summer.
The towers smoldered, behind some of the windows it seemed to be burning. Parts of the facade were falling off. The sky was bright blue.
The South Tower collapsed with a dark rumbling sound. The most evil sound I‘ve ever heard in my life. The collapse continued.
When it died down, a cloud spread out the streets, covering the surrounding houses, covered the lower part of Manhattan. Radiating stunned disbelief.
The South Tower was gone. The North Tower stood alone in a cloud of dust, steel and smoke. The North Tower stood smoldering. The situation seemed to ease.
Dull and grinding the North Tower collapsed. A column of smoke formed the silhouette in the sky.
Then the cloud swallowed Manhattan.
Manhattan disappeared in an apocalyptic cloud and took the 20th century with it.
A steady fresh breeze pushed dust and smoke from the streets to the south into the port of New York. The twin towers had dominated the skyline. The other buildings are high, but there is no comparison, none scrape the sky.
The sky was cloudless. The sun set, painting Manhattan in a golden and reddish light, leaving a deep exhausted perplexity, anger, grief and despair.
My brother returned late, the streets still blocked, traffic jams and street controls. Continuing reports, pictures, interviews on TV. Soon they were talking about the names of suspects, speculating on their motives, numbers of victims and possible consequences. Something had come to an end, no one knew what had begun or what would happen.
Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, Flickr
“A Week in September 2001“, the English Version as a free eBook in the Apple iBookstore
“Eine Woche im September 2001“, die deutsche Version ist als kostenloses eBook im Apple iBookstore erhältlich