In the wake of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, many people wrote letters complimenting the reporting from MSNBC’s Ashleigh Banfield. I forwarded all the mail that was sent to my public box Will@msnbc.com to Ashleigh’s address. On September 19th, with the expectation that she would be assigned overseas, she had just enough time to send off the reply below.
Dear friends and family...
I am back at the office after 9 harrowing days at ground zero.
When the second tower collapsed .. the north tower .. I was underneath it .. about a block and a half away .. trying to report via cell phone on the confusion , mayhem and resulting deaths... from the tower one tragedy.
The powerful debris cloud nearly killed both Drew and me.. and if Drew hadnt kicked in two doors into a nearby building for an air pocket .. we might not have survived. We pulled a New York City police officer into the air pocket .. and also a World Trade Center security guard.
The four of us clung to each other breathing through my extra shirt until night turned back into day.
Then the scramble to continue report resumed . albeit .. I was in tears .. and still trying to breathe. Cell phone calls could barely connect...
I can’t begin to explain what I’ve been through .. nor can I even hope to describe what kind of horrors and bravery continue to inter-tangle amid the dust.. the sweat.. and the sadness.
I’m sorry to send this impersonal note... but I will not be able to correspond with the hundreds of well wishers who’ve wrriten .. and called to check in with me.
Please pray for the crews still working in such dangerous conditions.. please pray for the people who’ve lost their husbands, wives, daughters, and sons.
Please also pray for the loss of soul in this country.. and stand proud that in this time of travesty .. a new sense of national self has been born here in the United States .... it is, as Senator Robert Torricelli deemed it, “an unfortunate maturity.”
I may be heading overseas .. and as such will not be able to keep in contact via email or phone.
For those of you who are family friends.. please get updates from my mother.. as she will be my main contact.
Again, thank you for your thoughts..
Lets hope our lives will all be back on track soon.. though I’m certain few expect things to ever be the same.
ps .. please dont respond to this note... as there are over one thousand mailings clogging this address.. and it is needed as a working mailbox.. thanks.