Claim: World Trade Center attack survivor Adam Mayblum gave a first-person account of his harrowing escape from one of the doomed towers.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2001]
My name is Adam Mayblum. I am alive today. I am committing this to “paper” so I never forget. SO WE NEVER FORGET. I am sure that this is one of thousands of stories that will emerge over the next several days and weeks.
I arrived as usual a little before 8am. My office was on the
We did not panic. I can only assume that we thought that the worst was over. The building was standing and we were shaken but alive. We checked the halls. The smoke was thick and white and did not smell like I imagined smoke should smell. Not like your BBQ or your fireplace or even a bonfire. The phones were
We were moving down very orderly in Stair Case A. very slowly. No panic. At least not overt panic. My legs could not stop shaking. My heart was pounding. Some nervous jokes and laughter. I made a crack about ruining a brand new pair of Merrells. Even still, they were right, my feet felt great. We all laughed. We checked our cell phones. Surprisingly, there was a very good signal, but the Sprint network was jammed. I heard that the Blackberry
On the 53rd floor we came across a very heavyset man sitting on the stairs. I asked if he needed help or was he just resting. He needed help. I knew I would have trouble carrying him because I have a very bad back. But my friend and I offered anyway. We told him he could lean on us. He hesitated, I don’t know
On the 44th floor my phone rang again. It was my parents. They were hysterical. I said relax, I’m fine. My father said get out, there is third plane coming. I still did not understand. I was kind of angry. What did my parents think? Like I needed some other reason to get going? I couldn’t move the thousand people in front of me any faster. I know they love me, but no one inside understood what the situation really was. My parents did. Starting around this floor the firemen, policemen, WTC
On the 33rd floor I spoke with a man who somehow new most of the details. He said
On the 3rd floor the lights went out and we heard & felt this rumbling coming towards us from above. I thought the staircase was collapsing upon itself. It was 10am now and that was
We emerged into an enormous room. It was light but filled with smoke. I commented to a friend that it must be under construction. Then we realized where we were. It was the second floor. The one that overlooks the lobby. We were ushered out into the courtyard, the one where the fountain used to be. My first thought was of a TV movie I saw once about nuclear winter and fallout. I could not understand where all of the debris came from. There was at least five inches of this gray pasty dusty drywall soot on the ground as well as a thickness of it in the air. Twisted steel and wires. I heard there were bodies and body parts as well, but I did not look. It was bad enough. We hid under the remaining overhangs and moved out to the street. We were told to keep walking towards Houston Street. The odd thing is that there were very few rescue workers around. Less than five. They all must have been trapped under the debris when
We came upon a post office several blocks away. We stopped and looked up. Our building, exactly where our office is (was), was engulfed in flame and smoke. A postal worker said that
We were mourning our lost friends, particularly the one who stayed in the office as we were now sure that he had perished. We started walking towards Union Square. I was going to Beth Israel Medical Center to be looked at. We stopped to hear the President speaking on the radio. My phone rang. It was my wife. I think I fell to my knees crying when I heard her voice. Then she told me the most incredible thing. My partner who had stayed behind called her. He was alive and well. I guess we just lost him in the commotion. We started jumping and hugging and shouting. I told my wife that my brother had arranged for a hotel in midtown. He can be very resourceful in that way. I told her I would call her from there. My brother and I managed to get a gypsy cab to take us home to Westchester instead. I cried on my son and held my wife until I fell asleep.
As it turns out my partner, the one who I thought had stayed behind was behind us with Harry Ramos, our head trader. This is now second hand information. They came upon Victor, the heavyset man on the
I guess they moved 1 floor every
With regards to the firemen heading upstairs, I realize that they were going up anyway. But, it hurts to know that I may have made them move quicker to find my friend. Rationally, I know this is not true and that I am not the responsible one. The responsible ones are in hiding somewhere on this planet and damn them
Origins: Most of us experienced the horrors
Distance cocooned us. We could not grasp what the survivors at Ground Zero went through even though the events played out before our very eyes. Those were other people on the screen, not us — frightened, injured, and lucky to have survived, they were images on the news, not real flesh-and-blood people. Their experiences were beyond our comprehension.
Adam Mayblum’s account is that of one such survivor, and through it he communicates the awful reality that was his escape from the heart of disaster, helping the rest of us better appreciate all that happened that terrible day. His story has been widely disseminated on the Internet since the days immediately following the terrorist action that brought down the twin World Trade Center towers, then home to his
Survival at the doomed World Trade Center towers that fateful day could be reduced to a matter of mathematics: almost everyone on or below the
Yet it was far from mere random chance that 99% of those who had a chance to get out did. Evacuation plans had been updated by the Port Authority in the wake of the 1993 bombing of the WTC, and evacuation drills held every six months prepared the towers’ inhabitants for the unthinkable. The resiliance of the twin towers kept them from collapsing just long enough for people to make their ways out. And the courage and level-headedness of innumerable folks like Adam Mayblum saved countless lives.
Pictured at the beginning of this article is the image of the Tower card from a Tarot deck. It depicts a sturdy tower rent by a bolt of lightning with bodies falling from the shattered structure, an eerie parallel of the destruction at the WTC.
In the language of the Tarot, the appearance of that card in a key position in the spread portends sudden and calamitous disaster (although some Tarot readers soften this message to a flash of insight or shocking realization). Yet any good reader will also point out that the tower, though blasted through at the top, retains its solid foundation even at the moment of devastation, holding out the promise that a rebuild is in the offing. That unbreachable foundation also exists at Ground Zero, even though the WTC buildings themselves were wiped out — it inhabits the souls of ordinary people like Adam Mayblum, who on that terrible day were called upon to counter disaster with courage and who met the challenge. Their quiet matter-of-fact attitude, deep-seated concern for others, and refusal to panic is one foundation that can never be destroyed no matter how many planes are flown at it.
Barbara “tower of strength” Mikkelson
Last updated: 17 March 2008