9/11: Eyewitness: ‘Every day there was a different funeral’Written by Zach Davis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo resident Keith Meyer was a witness to the 9/11 attacks.
The former New York City resident was going to work on Wall Street six blocks away from the towers when the attack began.
“It was just a normal September morning,” Meyer said. “Still to this day when I see a cloudless sky it makes me think of that day.”
Meyer, a Long Island native, was on the subway traveling to his job at Kaller’s America Gallery, which dealt with items including historical documents and signed letters from historical figures including Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and others. When he emerged from the subway, he had no idea what was occurring just six blocks away.
“I was underground for a while and I got to my subway station on Wall Street,” Meyer said. “I was coming up the stairs and some guy said, ‘They bombed the World Trade Center again.’ Immediately as I got up there was all kinds of crap flying in the air and some got into my eye. As I walked up to the building where my office was on Wall Street, they had TVs in there and it was on.”
Meyer watched the TV coverage downstairs with his boss and other employees for a while before they went upstairs. There they called a meeting and determined that with the New York Stock Exchange three buildings away from their location, the best course of action was to go home.
“We were thinking, if people are flying planes into the World Trade Center then they might blow up the stock exchange,” Meyer said. “We said, ‘Let’s not stick around’.”
Meyer returned to the subway and traveled toward Queens, just trying to get away from the site. On his way back, he saw the attack site clearly for the first time.
“We are on the train heading out and you come out of the tunnel and that was the first time I saw the towers on fire,” Meyer said. “You see it with your own eyes and it’s different than seeing it elsewhere. It’s just night and day.”
Meyer began checking his phone for updates. That’s how he discovered that both towers had fallen.
“You just don’t know what to think,” Meyer said. “There are so many things going through your mind.”
Following the aftermath of the attack, Meyer said that it wasn’t just the initial assault that bothered him and other New Yorkers, but also other consequences as time went on.
“It wasn’t just that day, it was the months afterwards. It just kind of drained on you,” Meyer said. “You would see the cars still in the lot from the people who never came home from the train. There were signs up everywhere of people missing. The smoke didn’t stop for months, it just kept smoking and it came into the office through our ventilation system.”
Meyer also discovered that he knew two of the people who were casualties of the attack. Previously a volunteer firefighter for seven years in Long Island, he knew firefighter Gerry Schrang as a member of Fire Rescue Co. 3, killed during the attack. He also grew up four houses down from Morty Frank, the vice president of institutional sales at Cantor Fitzgerald, located on the 104th floor of the South Tower.
“Every day there was a different funeral,” said Meyer of all the lost lives. “It was ‘Amazing Grace’ with the bagpipes just every day. It just drained you. The day was traumatic in itself but it was just a constant living with it every day.”
Not everything was negative for Meyer. One week following the attacks, Meyer found out that his wife was pregnant.
“Normally, it is jumping up and down great news, but I thought, what kind of world am I bringing my child into?” Meyer said.
In 2003, Meyer moved his family to Toledo, where he still resides.