On my way to work, I was thinking about my daily two-hour commute. As I exited the PATH, I smelled smoke. Inevitably, someone yelled, “fire.” Everyone ran upstairs and rushed out of the World Trade Center. As we exited, I saw fire high in the North Tower and debris was falling around me. I noticed an airline ticket by my foot. After watching for a while, I saw a jet screech into the South Tower. People scattered everywhere. After thinking about it, I decided to report to work. I wanted to meet up with my colleagues and see if they were okay. I wanted to see if I could help. Unfortunately, the building was in lockdown. The armed guards would not let me in. I met some of my colleagues outside. They were going home. I went to an office building on Wall Street to meet someone. There, a few blocks from the WTC on the 19th floor, I saw the first Tower go down. People around me started yelling and screaming. We walked downstairs to the lobby. Sometime after, I felt what I thought was an earthquake. In fact, it was the second Tower. We waited for the dust to settle and then I started home. It was September 11, 2001.

—Michael Marino