The site Storycorps.com has hundreds of amazing stories. After reading through countless stories, a select few stuck out to me. I gravitated towards stories pertaining to 9/11/01. I attribute this gravitation to my personal connection with 9/11. Growing up in a suburb of NYC, many of my friends, family, and even my parents worked in Manhattan at the time.
I think it is safe to say that anyone who was alive during 9/11 can vividly recall where they were, who they were with and what was going on when they became aware of the two plans that crashed into the World Trade Center. For me, it was a beautiful, warm sunny, almost summer-like day. I was sitting in Mrs Colao’s 5th grade classroom and after the clock struck 10:00 many my fellow classmates began to leave school early. One by one the seats were vacated, and the classroom began to empty. Every time I asked why my friends were leaving, they said, “I don’t know, or I’m not sure.”
The hardest part of September 11th came after school. I got off the bus to find both of my parents home sitting in front of the TV crying. The entire country was feeling pain and sorrow. I can’t imagine the pain that Antonia Landraf and Matthew Gambale were feeling in the late night hours of 9/11. The two were waiting for their sister Giovanna, affectionately known as “Gennie” to come home from work. Gennie was working for Cantor Fitzgerald at the time. She was located on the 105th floor in Tower One. Antonia was at the World Trade Center that day as well. Fortunately for her, she was on the 5th floor of 4 World Trade Center and got out safely. “Like a lot of families, we had the missing posters up.” They just kept waiting for Gennie to come home.
“We pretty much canvased the city, hanging up those posers everywhere,” said Matthew Gamble, brother of Genna Gamble. The posters brought a little light to a very dark, and solemn time. People just kept calling the Gamble family home, not with information, but with thoughts and prayers. “There were candlelight vigils in front of our stoop, police would come and block off the street. Everyone would just come and pray, and I think that moved me the most.” Antonia found comfort in the community coming together to love and support her family at such a hard time in their lives.
A story with a happy ending was especially refreshing in my opinion because nine years later, I personally returned to ground zero on September 11th 2010. Even though time went on and people returned to their daily routines, many were still grieving. It was a sunny but chilly morning. Cops were present on every street corner, and on near by rooftops. Hundreds of people lined the streets with pictures, signs, and flowers for their loved ones. Many even wore tee shirts with the faces of 9/11 victims printed on them. I went with my boyfriend and his family to support him as he read the names of those who had fallen during the attacks on 9/11. Joe lost his father who was working for Canter Fitzgerald as well. Although he does not like to talk about it, I believe that he was feeling many of the same emotions that the Gamble family was feeling. What happened to them was a horrible tragedy and I greatly respect them for finding comfort in their community.
To listen to the Gamble’s story go to http://storycorps.org/listen/stories/antonia-landgraf-and-matthew-gambale/