Escaping Death on 9/11/2001 (sort of)

An open letter to Senator Diane Feinstein, The United States Congress and the United States Senate

Every American knows what happened to us on September 11, 2001 it is a day forever engrained in our minds, a day where murderous terrorists took the lives of 3000 innocent Americans. Their acts of violence knew no boundaries. Amongst the innocent where blacks and whites, Jews, Christians and Muslims, Democrats and Republicans, people from every race, religion and ethnicity from around the world, we were all Americans.

During the time of 9/11 I was working as a Systems Engineer in New York City. I supported Cantor Fitzgerald/Espeed as a customer. Cantor resided on floors 101 – 105 on World Trade Center Tower 1. I would normally visit with the team from Cantor every Tuesday. We had a standing meeting at noon. Over the years of working with them we built a relationship and became friends. They were a fun group of customers, we would meet and talk business for an hour or so, we would then have lunch together every Tuesday and wind up talking for hours.


This week the meeting was to be different, I was transitioning into a new role and would be handing off the account to one of the peers on my team. Myself and the account manager whom I worked with were to meet with Cantor that morning to have a discussion with them around introducing a new Engineer to them. On the way into work that day I received a call from my account manager, the alarm system in her home had gone off and she had to turn around and go back home to Hoboken NJ. She cancelled the meeting with Cantor and said we would reconvene later in the week.

I debated still going downtown to meet with Cantor but since I was just arriving at Penn Station I decided to go up into our office instead which was in 1 Penn Plaza right above Penn Station. It was another normal morning, Sunny day, first day of school for many area children and I had grabbed a cup of coffee and was headed to my desk to get some work done. There was always a TV in our lobby behind the glass wall that separated our lobby from our lab. As I passed through the lobby there were several people standing there watching the TV (this was slightly abnormal) so I asked what was going on and someone said a plane just hit the World Trade Center. It took a minute for this to register, at first I thought some idiot flew his Cessna into the building (It wouldn’t be the first time that happened to a high rise in NYC) but as I got closer to the TV I realized that this was no Cessna. I froze for a moment, I had no idea this was a terrorist attack. After examining the TV and seeing the flames and smoke I ran to my desk and began feverishly calling the guys at Cantor, at first ringing ringing ringing but no answer.. I dialed every number I knew but no one answered. Then not even ringing… We also had office space on the 43rd floor of 1 Penn Plaza, a few of us ran up there as we knew there was a clear view of the WTC from there. That’s where we saw the second plane hit. That was when I realized this was no accident. I will spare you the details of the day although it was trying mentally and emotionally it was nothing compared to what the people in the towers were going through along with those in the Pentagon and on United flight 93. I was alive and that was more than I could say for the 3000 people who suffered that day. We all know how the rest of the day and the days and weeks following played out.

While the current investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee chaired by Senator Diane Feinstein has now been released I find myself infuriated that members of the United States Senate would use this as an opportunity to politicize this incident and claim that the Terrorists whom were captured post this tragedy were treated inhumane and unfairly. They were tortured?

Sometimes when we don’t experience things first hand we really have no account for what happened. And no I wasn’t in the World Trade Center that day. I was a couple of miles away but it was close enough.

Senator Feinstein let me tell you who was tortured, it was the 3000 innocent hardworking Americans and their loved ones who were tortured that day! Your concerned about us water-boarding terrorists and using enhanced interrogation techniques? Maybe you don’t understand that these hardworking innocent Americans (tax paying Americans whom you and your colleagues work for) were the ones who were tortured. They were burned alive in the WTC, the Pentagon, They suffered severely from toxic smoke inhalation, some of them were suffering so bad from the smoke inhalation or the heat from the flames or from their bodies being burned they saw no alternative but to jump from 100+ stories to end their suffering as we all watched helplessly. Some of them stood up in a plane and bravely fought off the terrorists forcing United 93 to crash into a field in Pennsylvania potentially saving your life and the lives of your colleagues as well. These are the people who were tortured, their families and loved ones live with the torture to this day and into our future. They are missing their Mothers and Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, Sons and Daughters, Husbands and Wives, Cousins and Aunts and Uncles and Nieces and Nephews. We were tortured and murdered by a violent group of terrorists who knows no sense of humanity.

Now you have taken the opportunity to attack the folks who are employed by our taxpayers to protect us from these terrorists. I am thankful for the hardworking people of the CIA, NSA, FBI, Homeland Security and all of our Armed Forces. They did what needed to be done under the authorization of the President of the United States of America to obtain what information they could in order to capture or kill those responsible for this and to do their best to prevent this from happening to us again. Much like today through the authorization of our current President we use a drone program to attack and kill terrorists abroad to protect the lives of Americans. We don’t live in a perfect world and their are people who wish to do murderous, torturous, violent acts to peace and freedom loving Americans every day. I am glad we have a Intelligence and Defense community to do everything they can to prevent this from happening to us again every day.

I think its time for you to take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if you really have the guts to be the chairperson of the Senate Intelligence Committee or in all reality maybe it doesn’t matter as the power base in the US Senate will change hands come January 1st anyway and hopefully someone who has the guts to do that job will get it.

I will caveat this post with the fact that I am a registered Republican but this post isn’t political. I have voted both Democrat and Republican in the past and I just want the best people for the job in positions held by elected officials. I am a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. I believe in equality for all, gay rights, woman’s rights, our right to bear arms. I believe in low taxes a balanced budget, fiscal discipline and a strong military and intelligence community to keep this from happening again.

Sincerely and Truthfully saved by a home alarm system,

Dominick Anthony Delfino