I was there. Every New Yorker knows what these three little words mean. I worked in the Stock Exchange Building, approximately four blocks from The World Trade Center. After the second tower was hit, the Stock Exchange closed and the building was evacuated. It was considered a target.
Who's target? No fire drill had prepared us for the chaos in the streets.
Ten of us decided to walk north, away from the towers. I wondered, What other New York landmarks were considered targets? Nobody's phones worked, and despite the thousands of people in the streets, I felt totally alone. We walked for hours. All I wanted to do was get home.
I'll never forget the sounds -- people screaming, fighter jets flying, the towers falling, the sirens of emergency vehicles heading towards the towers while everyone ran away. Even now, I can't hear a siren without getting a lump in my throat.
Rumors in the streets: the White House was targeted ... more planes are coming ... we're at war. We passed a soldier on Lexington Avenue with an assault weapon. What was happening?
Somehow, I made the last train out of Grand Central Station. People were staring at wallet family photos. More sounds: people whimpering, whispering, talking to themselves. Some people saying, "I never said goodbye this morning."
Since that day, I always say "I love you" to my husband when I leave the house. You never know if that's the last thing you'll say to each other.
Jean M. Dunn is a Seabrook Island resident.