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Day of Chaos and Terror, Part 1: A Veteran Trader Remembers 9/11

"A bomb?" I asked again.

"No chance, there's too much damage," Ron replied. "Someone would have to bring truckloads of explosive up tens of stories without being seen or noticing their stockpiling."

"Then what?" I wondered. Now I was scared.

Ronny didn't know, although he noted it was a lot of damage. Still, he didn't seem panicked to me. At the very least, he expected the disaster systems to bring it all under control.

"They have tremendous fire systems, enormous sprinklers and safety equipment -- that fire will be out in a few minutes and everything should be OK".

My phone rang. It was my wife.

I recall very little of our conversations that day. Most of what I recount about what I said to her that morning and afternoon are what she later told me I had said.

I told her that I didn't know what was going on, but that most people were assuming it was an errantly flown general aviation plane and that no one had any idea whether anyone inside the building had been hurt. We heard sirens starting to wail from uptown now, and the smoke coming from the tower darkened and thickened.

I took several more steps away from the World Financial Center mall and toward the exchange building, assured my wife that I was perfectly fine and hung up my phone. There was a bunch of traders and staff members gathered outside the building, guessing about the cause of the destruction. Some traders asked me whether I thought the markets' opening would be delayed. I first looked at them in disbelief, because I was thinking about other things, namely about the safety of the people high up in that tower. But then I thought, "That's the mindset of a trader for you."

Just then I heard a roar from behind me and turned. A commercial plane was flying leisurely toward the south at a low altitude, directly above the Hudson River. I watched it as it headed toward the Statue of Liberty, executed a lazy and slow left turn round the torch and headed toward us...

Click here to read part 2.

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