Pols remember 9/11: City Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

Where were you when you heard that planes had struck the World Trade Center?
My day started off in the studio apartment in Woodside I shared with my partner Dan. I walked to PS 12 to vote, hand out literature and speak with voters, as it was primary day. It was one of the most beautiful days I could remember.
There wasn’t a cloud in the sky at 8:46 in the morning, when the first plane hit the tower. A friend came up to me a few minutes later and asked, “Did you hear that a plane crashed into the World Trade Center?” I hadn’t. I imagined it was an accident. I imagined it was a small plane. It wasn’t.

What was your initial reaction to the attack?
I was driving to meet up with my mother with my friend Irene who had Howard Stern on the radio. As we drove down Northern Boulevard, Howard Stern began screaming. He said that the buildings were collapsing. I looked at Irene. She looked at me. We were stunned.
I thought about everyone in the towers and about the catastrophic loss of life. We met up with my mom. She was in tears, shaking. We tried calling my two sisters who worked in lower Manhattan. We couldn’t get through. They, like so many that day, walked home to Queens.

Ten years later, what are your thoughts and feelings about how far we have come since then?
Today, when I think about 9/11, I remember the pain and the horror we all experienced. But I also think of the courage displayed by New Yorkers and Americans in the face of evil. We live in the greatest city in the greatest country in the world. For that, I am eternally grateful.