Former Grand Marshal Joe Greco 01 took this photo in New York City on Sept. 11.Alumni discussion board posting, Sept. 20:
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 8:30 a.m. I took my kids to school. The school is directly across the street from my apartment, and also about three blocks north of 7 World Trade Center. After dropping them off, I was standing in front of the school speaking with some locals. Thats when I heard it. It was definitely a jet airplane. But, it was markedly louder than normal. I looked up. There it was, less than 1,000 feet up, directly overhead and it was accelerating! You could hear the increase in thrust. It was turning, but not toward New Jersey.
I can only tell you that the next 20 seconds keep playing themselves over and over in my head. The plane hit 1 WTC. It exploded and was completely ingested by the building. There was just a black, gaping hole. Truly horrifying. But, of course it was a terrible accidentwasnt it?
In the seconds that followed, the adults pushed all the kids and horror-stricken moms into the school for cover. I ran into the school to my kids. They were OK. The class was calming down. The teacher was fighting back tears, but she was holding on. I decided the best place for my kids was right there. I went back outside to see what was going onmaybe I should go help? As I exited, I was greeted by the enormous fireball of the second plane crashing through 2 WTC. We all felt the heat on our faces. I screamedwhat was that? I got the answera second plane.
I ran back in and grabbed my kids. I took just enough time to make sure the teacher knew I had them. We started running north. Believe it or not, with the hordes of people running, I actually saw an empty cab! We took the cab to the East Side where my car is parked. My instinct was to get the hell out of Manhattan. On the way, listening to the radio, we heard a terrible roar. The radio announcer was in tears2 WTC was falling. Completely unreal. That couldnt be true. But a simple turn of my head to the right confirmed that it was definitely true. Then a few minutes later1 WTC was obliterated as well.
I left the cab and ran for my car. We piled in and then sped north. I knew my wife was in a meeting on 21st and Park, but thats all I knew. I found Courtney in a conference room on the third floor. She had only heard that a small plane hit the WTC.
Next stop was a pay phone (cell phones were dead) on 26th and 6th. I called my sister and told her to get downstairs. We picked her up on 45th and 5th. Then we headed north and west. I was doing 95 mph on the West Side Highway (not bad for a minivan!). They closed the George Washington Bridge. We sat there for an hour. I finally made it to the Willis Ave. Bridge after exiting at 158th Street and heading south again on the FDR. Once out of Manhattan we sped 40 miles to Westchester and I stayed up all night watching the news at my sisters house.
Since then we have inched our way back to Manhattan, spending a few nights in a hotel. Access to my home is severely limited. On Thursday I had to pass through 10 security checks, showing ID every block or so. Army and National Guardsmen were everywhere; M-16s were common. I had three minutes in my apartment with an Army escort. The apartments are dusty. The lobby is covered with debris and mud. Outside is an absolute war zone. Being there is like being in a foreign world. The TV simply cant convey the true atmosphere. And trust meyou should consider yourself lucky for that.
Well, we are slowly putting our lives back together.Stuart Stakoff 89
Prayer service remarks by President Shirley Ann Jackson, Sept. 11
Class note submitted by Karl Kusche 89, Sept. 19
Essay by Alan Balfour, published in Newsday, Sept. 13
Student Senate resolution, Sept. 11
Polytechnic column, Sept. 19
Alumni discussion board posting, Sept. 20
In memoriam: Nicholas Humber 63
E-mail message to Rensselaer Magazine, Sept. 23
Polytechnic column, Sept. 19
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