09/11/11 — 9/11 --eyewitness account

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9/11 --eyewitness account

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 11, 2011 12:58 AM

Amita Shreenath was supposed to be in the World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

"I had a meeting with a client in the World Trade Tower that morning at 8 o'clock," she said. "I was pregnant with my daughter at the time so I was having really bad morning sickness."

She called the client and delayed the meeting. She also rerouted her travel plans.

Typically, she took the subway from Brooklyn but, being pregnant, was bothered by the frequent stops and starts so opted for the bus, which entered the city via the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.

"By the time we came near the tunnel is when the second tower got hit and I saw that," she said. "And then my bus actually went into the tunnel. That was when the first tower fell -- the whole tunnel shook. Some thought it was a bomb.

"I stayed on the bus (when people got off) just because I was pregnant. They started backing the traffic out of the funnel. I saw the second tower fall."

Her husband, Dr. Ajay Shreenath, was doing his residency at that time, so he was already at work.

"All the cell phones went down," she said. "He was worried out of his mind because he knew I had an 8 o'clock meeting. I think it was about noontime when we talked."

Her daughter was born in March 2002 and even though that was a joyous time, that era still evokes a lot of "sad" memories, she said.

"I don't think there were many New Yorkers that didn't know at least one person that passed away," she said. "Our offices were downtown -- my company ended up closing their New York offices after that.

"I can still picture the ash ... it was gray, it smelled, it was like the whole city was surrounded by smoke for days. But it was nice the way everybody in New York had come together, just helped each other."

It was admittedly a scary time in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, said Mrs. Shreenath, who moved to Goldsboro with her family six years ago.

"I remember, for at least a month afterward, and I don't think we were alone in this, we were afraid to leave New York because you never knew when the bridges and tunnels would be closed," she said. "It was like, this is our home, we're not leaving."