I Will Never Forget September 11th, 2001


George Suarez-Villamil Junior (left) tells Christopher Barbieri about the agonizing experience of realizing that his father, George Suarez-Villamil Senior (right), was a block away from the Twin Towers during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

I remember the day more vividly than any other in my entire life. I was 14 years old and in my second week of eighth grade. I remember everyone at school initially being called outside for a drill. After 10 minutes of being outside, I knew something was wrong because we had yet to go back inside.

Over the next hour, our teachers tried to keep everyone in a positive state of mind as if nothing had happened. After an hour of waiting, we were told the horrifying news that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

My father was a plumber during that time and was working a street away from the towers. My heart sunk when I heard the news. My mother picked me up shortly after I heard what happened and tried to calm me down as she explained that she had yet to hear from my father.

As soon as we got back home, I ran to the TV and immediately turned on the news channel. Only in movies have I ever seen something so horrifying. The moment I saw the video of the two planes hitting the towers and the cloud of smoke surrounding Ground Zero, everything suddenly became that much more real. Tears ran down my face as I prayed for my dad’s life.

My mother, my sister and I all sat in our living room waiting to hear from my father. We waited about two hours. I remember the feeling of helplessness throughout those two hours being one of the worst feelings I’ve encountered to this day. Those were the longest two hours of my life.

Finally, around 1:30p.m. we receive a call from my father. It turns out that he had left his phone in his truck and by the grace of God, he was ok. My father came home a few hours later. His clothes were partially covered in ash and dust. For a minute, I was in disbelief. I proceeded to give him a huge hug and fill him in on how he nearly gave our entire family a heart attack that day.

It has since become our family tradition to revisit the Towers every year on September 11th and show our love and respect to all those who lost their lives on that day. Although I feel terribly sorry for all of them, I thank god every year that my father was able to make his way home.


Montclair State | New Jersey

Christopher Barbieri

I'm 23 years old and I am majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Film at Montclair State University. In my free time, I enjoy writing and making films. Whether it be a short story or a screenplay, I find myself getting lost in it for hours on end when I have no school or work.