As people ran from the World Trade Center in the wake of the terrorist attacks 11 years ago today, Loganville resident Roopnarine Tony Persaud was one of them. He survived the attacks, but many of his friends didn’t.
Persaud said as an employee of Fidelity Investments in New York City, Sept. 11, 2001 was a normal working day for him.
“I worked in the 2nd World Trade Center (Dow Jones Building), connected to the 1st World Finance Center via a bridge over the West Side Highway,” Persaud said. “I would normally take the train from Queens to the WTC, which is the last stop, and I would normally arrive at the WTC around 08:40 and walk across the bridge to Fidelity for work at 9 a.m.”
On the day of the attacks, however, Persaud said his daughter overslept so he took her to school before going in to work.
“I decided to get off at Fulton Street, one stop before WTC, and grab a cup of Starbucks,” Persaud said. “As I was walking to the front of the WTC, I noticed a lot of commotion, firefighter etc rushing toward the building, but I sort of ignored it because it was normal to have false alarms at the WTC.”
Persaud said it was only when his cell phone buzzed at about 08: 57 a.m. that he found out what was happening.
“It was my mom who was watching TV at home saying not to go in the WTC - that a plane had crashed,” Persaud said, adding it was just a few minutes later the sound of the second plane was heard before it went on to hit the second building.
“Everyone starting to run away, and I dropped my Starbucks and ran also,” Persaud said. “We ran toward the Brooklyn Bridge area and walked over to Brooklyn with thousands of people. It was while walking over the bridge I believe the first tower fell.”
Persaud said with no phone service, there was just panic. “I continued over the bridge to Brooklyn and after an hour or so shared a cab on Atlantic Ave to Queens,” he said, adding Fidelity Investments employees returned to work at Merrimack, N.H. on Sept. 15 where facilities were available to continue trading.
Although he was one of the lucky ones, Persaud lost several friends that day, Roshan Singh and his sister Kami, another friend and co-worker, Harold Liscano, and several firefighters he knew from passing by on his walk to work every day.
“When Fidelity Investment announced in January they would be moving back to the WTC, I decided I could not walk past that graveyard,” Persaud said. “I moved to Georgia because my sister lived in Loganville. We came to visit and loved it and we’ve been here 10 years now.”
This year, however, Persaud finally made it back to the WTC site.
“I went back to this site because I wanted some closure. My plans to go last year for the 10-Year memorial were canceled when a driver ran a light on Grayson Parkway and killed my cousin, Ravi Singh, who was riding his bike,” Persaud said, saying he had to stay and make funeral arrangement. But this year he finally got to return.
“My daughter and I visited family and friends during the 4th of July holiday and I was determined to go and find some form of solace, some closure,” Persaud said. “I had not gone back since that dreadful day.”
Persaud said there does not seem to be the same interest now that the 10-year mark has been reached, but for those who were there, he said, it is still very real.