9/11 Stories: Lila Nordstrom


“I saw what I thought was a bird fly pretty close to the window and then a second explosion happened and I belatedly realized that had also been an airplane. It did occur to me later it was probably the last time in my life that when an airplane passed overhead I didn’t notice it because ever since then I have noticed every airplane, no matter how high in the sky. I monitor airplanes. I watch to make sure it makes it out of view”. Lila Nordstrom was a 17 year old senior at the prestigious Stuyvesant High School, which is just three blocks from the World Trade Center. She was on the 10th floor in an architecture class when a loud boom shook the building. There was a huge fireball around The World Trade Center. No one knew what had happened until a student ran in, saying a plane hit the World Trade Center. The teacher insisted class go on as usual. He was old school. He was there for the first bombing of The World Trade in 1993, when Stuyvesant just opened. No one evacuated then, and he was adamant no one would be evacuated now. Then, the first tower fell and a huge dust cloud started coming toward the school. Suffering from lifelong asthma, Lila decided that was enough for her, but her classroom was the furthest away from the north exit. It took a while to make her way. By then, the announcement was made throughout the school: “Evacuate”. There was no plan. It was chaos with students crying and screaming in the hallways. Lila was the first to exit the school. The minute she stepped foot outside the, the second tower started to fall.


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