I was having the time of my life.living out a lifelong dream of seeing my favorite performer live on stage. My husband surprised me with an overnight trip to New York City to see Michael Jackson's 30th Anniversary concert at Madison Square Garden on September 10, 2001. Between the Jackson's and all the other famous performers that night, along with the amazing city that is New York, and the fact that I had never attended a concert before, it should have been a highlight in my life, but the next morning my dream trip became a nightmare. It makes me sick every time I think about it.
I awoke the morning of September 11, 2001 at the Milford Plaza Hotel on 42nd Street at about 8:55 AM. I could hear my husband showering, and knew he would be anxious to get home, so I got up and got dressed. We checked out and walked out onto the street to find a valet to retrieve our truck. At first no one was around, which was odd because there had always been at least two hotel employees standing outside to open the doors or to get a car. Finally a small group of valets and bellhops came outside and we could hear one of them talking to the others in broken English. Plane drop from sky! He yelled. Plane hit tower! We stood there confused for a moment, as we watched them all huddled in a circle looking panicked. My husband walked up to them and handed him our ticket and asked for our truck. The man said to us. ?You can?t go. New York is closed. Planes have crashed into the Twin towers and they aren?t going to let anyone out of the city. They are closing all the bridges.? My husband asked him to repeat what he had just said, because we still couldn?t possibly understand what was going on. Regardless of the man's insistence that we could not leave the city, my husband demanded our truck.
While we waited for him to bring it around, I began to notice what was going on around me. A man ran up to me and asked me for a cigarette saying, I need one really bad. I have a lot of friends in there. Still confused, I handed the man one. Looking up and down the street, I saw what seemed to be everyone trying to call on a cell phone, and some people were running, and a lot of them were crying. That was when I became scared, and knew that whatever was going on, I didn't want to be anywhere near it.
The valet then drove around with our truck and my husband began to drive while I hurriedly turned on the radio to see if I could find out what was going on. As we drove, the newscasters were saying how two commercial planes had crashed into the World Trade Center and the first tower had already collapsed upon itself. I turned and looked out of the back window as we drove and could see the smoke rising above the city. I was now officially scared to death. Looking at all the traffic around me only scared me more. Every person in every vehicle was crying. From young to old, the highway was a sea of tears and fear as everyone desperately tried to leave the city.
The first bridge we approached had been closed. My husband decided that if we followed the Hudson River, we may be able to get across the Tappan Zee Bridge. By the grace of God, we made it across right before they closed it. As we drove listening to the announcers on the radio, we fully understood what we had just barely escaped.
Entering New Jersey, our first thought was to find a phone to call home and let our friends and family know we had made it out and were on our way home. Both of us still choking back tears, we stopped at a Burger King to use a payphone. As my husband called home, a trucker was on the phone next to us crying his heart out. As he hung up and went to leave, he patted my husbands back and said. "God bless you and all of us. I just found out my brother jumped to his death from the second tower." He then went outside to his rig shaking and crying. It is impossible for me to adequately express all the emotions I was feeling at that moment. I just wanted to get home.
After coming home and hugging our children, my husband and I were glued to the television all night and into the next morning, praying for the lives lost, and thanking God that he saw us safely home.