The Washington Times - September 10, 2011, 03:36PM

On September 11, 2001 I wrote a note from a Manhattan office about three and a half hours after the 9/11 attacks: 

“It is insanity all over this city! People were screaming from the subway stations when it happened. All public transportation to get home is unavailable. People are walking 50-100 blocks to get home. The city is not allowing anybody in or out of the city. It’s like a mass exodus all over the sidewalks. The looks on peoples’ faces are that of disbelief, and you know what everybody is whispering about. I have never seen so many cell phones out at once. People are emerging from the streets in dust. Ambulances, G-Men, and cops are all over the place. Lines are already forming outside of the supermarkets. Whoever did this is going to pay dearly.”


Along with a crowd of others, I had already seen the second plane attack on the World Trade Center’s South Tower from a TV monitor at a local gym in Manhattan. We could stand in the middle of the street, as there were few cars going by, and see the massive smoke rising above both towers.

Workers were walking  up from the financial district and were completely covered in white dust, as if they had just come from a war zone. Some, as I wrote ten years ago, came running out of the subway stations screaming.

Bad information circulated around the city about what was happening at the Pentagon, Shanksville, Pennsylvania and New York. In fact, fake bomb threats were rumored to be called into the Viacom building that day.

At the time, my office was located in Times Square. Many of us watched the disaster further unfold on the jumbotrons outside. An MTV colleague of mine ran out telling everybody, “The Pentagon was just bombed!” At that point, everyone looked towards the sky with concern. 

My brother, who lived further downtown, watched the horror from the rooftop of his apartment building and became physically sick when he realized what he saw falling from the crumbling towers was not just debris but human lives. 

Walking around Manhattan the days, weeks, and months that immediately followed, many found it difficult to see numerous 9/11  “missing person” leaflets taped on lamp posts, as the signs came off more like tributes to lost loved ones than anything else.

I remember two people on 9/11 each year who were killed in the towers. Larry Sumaya was part of a skiing club I was active in back in New York City for a number of years. Chantal Vincelli was a co-worker of mine at an e-commerce firm in downtown Manhattan. Both were good honest people who like so many others were taken too early from their friends and families.     

One year later in August of 2002, the U.K.’s Guardian gathered some statistics about people, issues, and other items of interest following the 9/11 attacks. Here are some to think about: 

Year the World Trade Centre was built: 1970

Number of companies housed in the WTC: 430

Number working in World Trade Centre on average working day prior to 11 September: 50,000

Average number of daily visitors: 140,000

Number killed in attack on New York, in the Twin Towers and in aircraft that crashed into them: 2,823

Distance, in miles, from which the burning towers were visible: 20

Maximum heat of fires, in degrees fahrenheit, at World Trade Center site: 2,300

Number of days underground fires at World Trade Centre continued to burn: 69

Number of days that workers dug up debris at Ground Zero, searching for body parts: 230

Number of body parts collected: 19,500

Number of bodies discovered intact: 291

Number of victims identified by New York medical examiner: 1,102

Number of death certificates issued without a body at request of victims’ families: 1,616

Number of people still classified as missing from the World Trade Centre that day: 105

Number of people who died when American Airlines flight 11 from Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles, California, crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center: 92

Number of people who died when United Airlines flight 175 from Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles, California, crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center: 65

Number of people who died when United Airlines flight 93, from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California, crashed in rural southwest Pennsylvania: 45

Number of people who died when American Airlines flight 77, from Washington to Los Angeles, crashed into the Pentagon: 64

Number of peole killed in the Pentagon: 125

Number of survivors rescued from Ground Zero: 0


Year Al-Qaeda was founded by Osama Bin Laden and Mohammed Atef: 1988

Date Bin Laden expelled from Saudi Arabia, due to anti-government activities there, and moved to Sudan: 1991

Year the Taliban seized control of Kabul implementing fundamentalist Islamic law and offering refuge to Osama bin Laden: 1996

Date expelled from Sudan due to US pressure, prompting return to Afghanistan: 1996

Number of Al-Qaeda members thought to have hijacked the four planes: 19

Number of the 19 who were Saudi: 15

Number of the 19 who are known to have made a will: 1

Emotional fallout

Number of orphans created by the 9/11 attacks: 1,300

Number of babies born to women whose husbands were lost on 11 September: 17

Number of days after 9/11 that Pat Flounders, widowed in the attacks, shot herself, the first related suicide: 91

Percentage of those living within a one mile radius from the Twin Towers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: 20

Increase in PTSD among Manhattanites post-9/11: 200 per cent

Estimated minimum number of New Yorkers suffering from PTSD as a result of 9/11: 422,000

Estimated number of the city’s public school students suffering from PTSD as a result of 9/11: 10,000

Percentage of Manhattanites who increased their alcohol consumption following 9/11: 25

Percentage of Manhattanites who increased their cigarette consumption following 9/11: 10

Percentage of Manhattanites who increased their marijuana consumption following 9/11: 3.2

Percentage increase in number of births reported in New York hospitals nine months on from 9/11: 20

Reported increase in church and synagogue attendance following 9/11: 20

Media and culture

Percentage of this year’s 14 Pulitzer prizes won by the New York Times: 50

Previous record number of Pulitzer wins by a single organisation: 3

Number of copies of Toby Keith’s (above) album ‘Unleashed’ sold in the first week of its release in October 2001, one song contained the line ‘We’ll put a boot in your ass/It’s the American Way’: 338,000

Number of songs, including ‘Ruby Tuesday’ and ‘Imagine’, banned post- 9/11 for being ‘lyrically questionable’: 150

Number of countries in which the star-studded telethon, ‘America’s Tribute to Heroes’, was shown on 21 September (including Afghanistan): 200

Amount raised by the telethon: $150m

Cost of making the terrorist movie Collateral Damage starring Arnold Schwarzenegger: $85m

Number of months the release of Collateral Damage was delayed on account of Warner Bros.’ ‘sensitivity’ to the attacks: 5

Number of mentions of 9/11 at the four-hour 25-minute Oscars ceremony 24 March, 2002: 26

Number of English language books published on the subject of 11 September: 672

Mayor Giuliani’s approval rating post 11 September: 91 per cent

Charity Amount of Federal Aid New York received within two months: $9.5bn

Amount collected by the September 11th Fund: $501m

Percentage of fund used for cash assistance and services such as grief counseling for families of victims and survivors: 89