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September 11, 2001: “I experienced the second impact”

September 11, 2001: “I experienced the second impact”

Twenty-two years have passed since the attacks of September 11, 2001, a tragedy that claimed the lives of 2,977 people and injured 6,280 others. Quebecers who have lived in New York remember this day very well.

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Speaking to Alexandre Duby on QUB Radio, architect Daniel Laporte said he remembers it as if it were yesterday. He lived near the Twin Towers, which gave him direct access to events. That day he was at home with his mother, who was visiting him.

“We were supposed to go eat at the restaurant on the roof of the World Trade Center,” Mr. LaPorte said.

He remembers that it all started at 8:46 a.m. when the first plane hit the north tower of the complex.

“This sound was the beginning of a very sad story,” he said.

When the second plane hit the south building a few minutes later, he knew something was happening.

Meanwhile, a few kilometers away, was the Commissioner General of Quebec-New York, Michel Letourneau. He witnessed the second collision while driving towards the city centre. This is what he said in an interview with QUB radio.

“My partner called me in a panic, asking me where I was and what I was doing,” Mr. Letourneau recalls. We in the van really didn’t know what was going on.

Confusion appears to be what witnesses to the attacks felt after the events. The Quebec-New York Commissioner General explained, speechless, that he found it difficult to decipher what had just happened.

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For his part, architect Daniel Laporte admitted the same thing, especially when he realized that the telephone lines were no longer working.

Listen to the interview with Daniel Laporte, a Quebecois architect who has lived in New York for over 22 years, and Michel Letourneau, Commissioner General of Quebec-New York 2001 on the Alexandre Dube program via QUB Radio:

Not negotiable

After the events, some went to the site to inspect the damage. Among them was Michel Letourneau. He described the experience as painful.

He stated, “The smell that was there was horrible. […] We didn’t know what we would find there. The dead, the police, the firefighters? It seems that we missed a lot of cases that we fortunately did not see.”

Mr. Letourneau added that he will always remember the smell, what he saw, but also that kind of silence.

“People were looking at each other, but no one was talking. Everyone was in shock,” he continued.

And after twenty-two years

Despite the years that have passed, Michel Letourneau has kept in touch with all the people he met after the tragedy.

He also stated that every year he writes a post on the social networking site Facebook recalling what he witnessed.

Daniel Laporte, he made it clear that he couldn’t help but have a heavy heart every day of 9/11.

“The thing I’ve learned over the years is that it bothered everyone so much. We live with it. We don’t think about it much,” he said.

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He concluded by saying that everyone remembers exactly where they were.

And where were you on September 11, 2001?