It almost looked like–and I know this is terrible to say–colored balloons. Like it was raining people. I don’t know if you saw the cover of The New York Times the next day but it was horrifying–it was a picture of someone falling straight down. That’s what I saw.


It definitely was something that drew me closer to my spiritual side. I had some down time with God–asking him what’s going on and why he allowed me to live and walk away from this. He obviously has a purpose for me being here and I needed him to reveal that to me.


I was 22, just out of school working as a marketing analyst for American Express-a job I wasn’t happy in. Now I am freelancing in HBO’s marketing department.


Looking back, I see how far I’ve come. I went through so much and three months later American Express said they were splitting up our group and that we could repost for another position but we were not guaranteed another spot. I questioned whether I really wanted to be at American Express. Did I really want another financial analyst position? Did I want to stay in financial services? I needed to make a change. American Express was cool. I was secure and I was making good money, but it wasn’t my dream job. I was traveling out to Parsippany, N.J. [because they transferred our offices their temporarily] and coming home late, but not accomplishing much. So I needed to really refocus. I mean there were points four or five months after [Sept. 11] that I would break down and cry and I was like why am I still crying. It was because things just weren’t in line with how I wanted them to be.


Many good things have happened from the bad of Sept.11 [for me]. I have a good job. I was able to tell my parents things that I wouldn’t have before. I make sure to tell them that I love them and how grateful I am. And, I am just more open about my feelings and things going on in my life. I just think it took some time.

Loading the player...


I remember a couple weeks after [Sept. 11], I heard a big boom and I woke up and started screaming and ran into my roommate’s room. I was crying hysterically and I screaming “help me help me, something is going on.” And she said “Daria I think that’s just a garbage truck.” You know, during the day I wouldn’t express it [the fear] but at night when I was by myself and I heard the loud noise I thought something negative was going on and I got scared.


I had been on vacation in Italy and I had just gotten back on Sept. 10. I had to get back into the office early [on Sept. 11] to get myself oriented. I got to the office at about 8:15 a.m. [to prepare for a meeting] at 9 a.m. I went down to the floor that the meeting was being held on and someone ran into the elevator and said we needed to get out of the building. He said a plane had just crashed into the building next to us.


I went down to the lobby and there was a lot of chaos. I walked outside and I looked up and you could see the people who had evacuated to the top [of the first tower]. The second plane hadn’t even hit yet. Then about five or six minutes later, I heard a loud noise and I thought it was a helicopter or something coming to save those people on top. I actually saw the [second] plane go around and hit the second building. That’s when I started running and looking back and seeing the people in the sky. That’s when I realized this wasn’t a mistake.


Everyone was running and the last images I saw were people saying “help me, help me” and people jumping from the top of the building. I didn’t know how to proceed, [other than to] just run. We were all running and I stopped and looked back again and there was just smoke and debris everywhere. I didn’t realize that some of the debris was on me. You don’t realize that when you are in the midst of that something like that. You are just like “let me get out of here.” I was just disoriented and I didn’t understand what was going on.


There are so many lessons [I’ve learned from that day.] You really have to be OK with yourself, your relationship with God, and make sure you let those family and friends around you know how valuable they are in your life because tomorrow is not promised.