New York City on September 11, 2001

Correspondence with Bruce Shriver
on 9/10/01 3:34 PM, Bruce wrote:

Hey, Walt! How are you?

I got your e-mail address from Scott.

I'm still kicking! I live in Brooklyn, NY with my wife Sarah, our 2 1/2-year old daughter Isabel and our shepherd mutt Lucy. Life is good!

I was keeping up with your goings on from time to time through Charles...but I haven't talked with him in some time.

I'm traveling to Dallas in October and want to try to get in touch with Ronald. Scott thought you might have his contact details. If so, would you mind forwarding to me?


From: Walter Kessinger
Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 7:27 PM


I hope you, your family and friends are all o.k. The whole country is devastated by what's happened up there.

Hang in there.


Date: 09/13/01 10:19am

Yeah, we're all okay.

We lost touch with my sister's husband for a few hours. He commutes through WTC from New Jersey to Brooklyn. He was stuck in the subway near City Hall. We lost touch with Matt's mother-in-law for a few hours shortly after she escaped from one of the twin towers. She was on the phone with her husband telling him that she had safely exited the building when people started screaming, she screamed and the phone went dead. She's safe.

My daughter's school is 6 blocks from WTC. It's less than a 10 minute walk, and they often take the kids to a playground right there in the complex.

When I got to work that morning, my wife called to say they were evacuating Isabel's school. She was sobbing hysterically. I had no idea what had happened. She was in the school, when the bldg shook. They thought a truck ran into the bldg and she went out with several parents and teachers to investigate. They saw one of the towers on fire and then what they thought was an explosion in the second tower. They had trouble crossing the street to get back to the school due to the people and cars racing up the street. She took Isabel and some other children and their parents to her office in Soho.

My wife's office was evacuated at around 10:30. She left me a voice mail. Nothing about where they were going. I got a call about an hour and a half later. They had spent 45 minutes hailing a cab on Broadway & Houston and 2 hours traveling to her aunt's apartment on 61st and 3rd. I met them there. I was so relieved.

Shortly after service resumed on our subway line, we went home. In our neighborhood, there was a thick layer of ash everywhere. The air was heavy, acrid and difficult to breathe. You could see particles in it. The smoke from the fire at WTC had been blowing over our neighborhood for several hours. We went home, closed the storm windows, hunkered down in front of the TV (only one channel) and wept. We hugged and kissed a lot.

The next morning I walked the dog down to the river. There were people gathered where you can see lower Manhattan. I watched the smoke still rising from where the twin towers used to dominate the landscape. Gone. It's unbelievable.

Yesterday afternoon, I couldn't believe all the American flags in our neighborhood...on flag pools, strung across second story windows, tied to broom handles, sticking out of windows, attached to car antennas, small ones planted in window boxes. Many, many more than Memorial day or Independence day. So we went home and put ours up too.

Walter Kessinger

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