My wife, Jeanette (she passed away in November 2005), and I started going to Las Vegas in 1965. We went in April to celebrate her birthday, in September for mine, and in November for our anniversary.
We were in Las Vegas on Sept. 11, and Jeanette was in a beauty parlor having her hair done while I waited outside. She came running out telling me to come inside, since something terrible was happening in New York. I went in and saw, on the TV there, that the World Trade Center was disappearing.
We were due to return our rental car the next day, since we were going home. Having heard that all air traffic had been grounded, I called Amtrak and was told the line was three blocks long. I then called Greyhound, and they didn’t even answer. My next call was to Avis, advising them I would be returning the car in New Jersey. Unlike some firms that were charging outrageous prices, Avis charged me only for the additional days. All rental cars had been taken, and some people were buying used cars in order to get home.
We left Vegas on Sept. 13, traveling across country. It was eerie not seeing any aircraft in the sky for the entire trip. We got home on Sept. 17, and were glad to be there.
My company was located at 53 Park Place, and my co-workers were able to watch the entire tragedy. Everyone headed uptown to try to get home, and for the next several weeks we operated out of our Long Island location.
When I started going back to the office, traveling across the George Washington Bridge, it was very emotional to look toward downtown and see a large void where the World Trade Center stood.
I will never forget Sept. 11, 2001.