11th September, 2001. Some astonishing new helicopter shots have been published, showing the devastation of the Twin Towers. (I cannot post these for some reason - maybe they are digitally protected) They can be viewed here:
Frank Burford said goodbye to his quiet, sad wife with her tired eyes and her way of clutching at her watch, picked up his briefcase - it only carried his lunch and reading glasses - and walked quickly to the subway. He always liked the smell of the subway and liked being "suburban" and liked the smell of hot dogs and taxis. Frank had tried living in the trees some years ago and he came back with a dislike for trees and Agent Orange and the intermittent fury of war and the smell of old clothes that needed washing. A fresh shirt; Brooks Bros and because he was of an age, button down Oxford. He was still wearing the summer ones with the short sleeves. He was aching inside because of last night's row with Sally and he knew it was his fault.
Frank's day was going to be a bit more interesting, for he was meeting an old friend in the Marriott, on the South West Corner of the World Trade Center. The friend never made it. As he sat down with a coffee he heard a boom. Nothing much happened for a few seconds and then people got up from their tables and wondered if they should call for the check and thought better of it and started to leave. Frank looked around and almost absent-mindedly thought, "Bomb". By the time he had reached the exit, the alarms were sounding. Debris was falling and he wondered if it would be safer inside. Maybe there had been a major gas explosion. Frank decided to move and walked West. After about half a block he turned around and looked up at the North Tower and saw the flames shooting out of it. Someone told him a plane had hit and Frank thought it was maybe someone in a light aircraft or a small jet, but he knew that the guy must have been lost or something and that the Air Traffic controllers would not have let a plane fly so close.
He stopped and tried to phone Sally on his cell. He couldn't get through. He tried again and nothing. Just then somebody shouted "Oh my god!" and Frank looked up and saw what looked like a figure falling from the Tower. He didn't know what to do. His friend Ed should have been at the Marriott. Should he try and find Ed? Should he try and get through to Sally again? People just seemed to be milling around, not really sure what to do. Frank decided to get a coffee and find a restroom and find a phone. And then the South Tower was hit and it looked as though the cops were trying to clear the street so he entered a cafe and watched the world outside, inside the cafe, courtesy of WNYW. Somehow, it was easier and natural to watch it on TV and he was used to it. When he emerged again it was clear he was not going to get out of the area anytime soon, and so like others he stood and watched, as the South Tower began to collapse.
Frank got a ride home in a car from a stranger that day and when he got home he asked Sally to put his shirt in the washing machine - but she could put the jacket and the pants in the trash.