JP Morgan Chase
Denise: So you wanted me to start out by telling you…?
Constantine: Yea I’ll ask you the questions. Okay. Okay, this is my interview with Denise Williams and Denise why don't you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Denise: Okay, um I was born in Harlem, New York and I have lived on Long Island ever since birth. I was raised out on Long Island. I have been out here approximately forty some years, forty plus years and um I went to school and was educated on Long Island. And then from there I returned to New York City and went to uh school in New York. And when I finished going to NYU, I returned home and worked for about a year on Long Island. And decided that I loved the city so that I wanted to work in New York so after working for CitiBank for about a year on Long Island, I worked for CitiBank in New York City and then went on to JP Morgan Chase. So um I worked for JP Morgan Chase at 270 Park Avenue and at the time when I was downtown for 9/11 I had to go downtown for a meeting with the Morgan people the merger hadn't quite taken place yet so they had an office on Broad Street. So that's why I was downtown that particular day.
Constantine: Okay um, so why don't you take me throughout that day I guess you wake up in the morning, you commuted into the city?
Denise: Yea uh normally I would um take the Long Island Rail Road from my stop in Amityville. I am one to get to New York pretty early, so this particular day instead of walking to midtown I had to take the railroad in and then the subway downtown for a meeting. And I would say that I got there fairly early, I was there about 8:30 and I was one of the first people at the building for the meeting and another colleague of mine came in and she had been absent for a couple of days with migraine headaches and while we were waiting for the meeting to start at 9, my colleague said to me you know I need a cup of tea and a bagel would you come with me? So we go outside and see these papers flying around but I am so intent on listening to her talk about these horrible migraines and her missing work you know we just thought maybe you know somebody being that it is Wall Street area that you know oh somebody's papers got away not knowing that…
Constantine: So you didn't hear anything?
Denise: Well not yet no, because this was uh you know this was before anything I don't know if the first plane had hit at this point but papers were flying around so something had happened that we weren't even aware of at this point
Constantine: Right so you didn't hear anything, you did see anything and didn't see anything on the street or anything to alarm you? That anything was different.
Denise: No. Exactly so you know we’re walking around the papers are flying around we come back in the building. And we’re waiting now the other colleagues have um kind of started arriving and then someone went to the window and noticed that the first tower was like you know we saw this fire this smoke. And then it’s like wow, and so my first thought was oh maybe a furnace or something you know a generator a computer blew up or something you know then we’re like oh that where those papers must be coming from. And um of course we continued to look at the window and then uh one person went to the computer to see if they could get the news or put the radio on to see what might be going on. And the more we looked out our window we saw this like, the um fire was getting worse and it was just starting to burn down the side of the building. And you know we just kept looking and looking and seeing if we could get something um you know
Constantine: Some kind of information
Denise: Right so I think finally the lady Diane heard that they thought maybe the news report was maybe a small little plane bad hit the building or something. But we just kept looking you know and just of course our meeting never took place right, because we kept watching how the intensity of the fire burning down, it was just getting progressively worse. Um and while we were looking at this we just kept…we were mesmerized at what was going on and then um…
Constantine: Can you describe to me what’s going on around you what is, what are your co-workers…is the hysteria is there nervousness?
Denise: Not yet, no.
Constantine: What about maybe, can you see the street level?
Denise: No, because I was on, I don't recall what floor I was on, but I was on…because I am not familiar with that building since it wasn't a Chase it was a Morgan building. I was maybe on the 20 something floor.
Constantine: Ok pretty high up?
Denise: Yea, I was, I was high up. Maybe even higher than that. So at this point they’re very tall buildings and we could see the building adjacent to us and the towers weren’t that, I wasn't like right at the towers but you could see them.
Constantine: Especially the side point of impact?
Denise: Yea. Yes. Yes, unfortunately. So we just continued to look at it because I guess we thought at some point is thing going to out? What's going on here, you know? We’re looking talking, you know persons running back and forth because we were in a conference room to a computer to see and uh then I forgot what time did the second plane hit?
Denise: About 9:50...Was it 9:15?
Constantine: I think it might have been about
Denise: The first one was like about 8:52 or something a little bit before 9.
Constantine: Right and then one was a little bit after 9.
Denise: Right and we’re standing, were all at the window still looking at the side of this you know the tower burning
Constantine: From the first incident?
Denise: Exactly, first incident.
Constantine: Can I just ask you so the sentiments or the thought around was that it was just a small plane, a small accident?
Denise: That’s what, exactly.
Constantine: That's what you thought at the time.
Denise: Well that's what, that’s what we heard a news, somebody on the news was saying you know, radio stations said maybe a Cessna hit the building. I am thinking a generator or something inside, that the fire was coming from inside where maybe a generator or computer blew up or something you know were all speculating on why are they are having a fire over there? You know?
Constantine: So take me back, now you are watching out of the window?
Denise: We’re watching out of the window because basically you know that’s a no fly zone. Which I didn’t realize so there saying oh someone must have gone off course if a plane a little plane, hit the building you know because you’re not supposed to be in that area. So we’re all standing by the window still just in, mesmerized by the fact that how this thing you know the fire’s picking up speed and intensity
Constantine: Can you see any people in the building?
Denise: No, no I wasn't clo… I wasn’t close enough to see that but as we’re standing at the window, all of a sudden this big jumbo jet it was surreal comes by the window and I mean literally if the window had been open we would have been able to touch the tire.
Constantine: Of the plane.
Denise: Yes that second plane and you could hear the rumbling of the engine you know and I was like oh my God. We screamed of course I went and grabbed my pocket book, my tote bag, and just like I’m getting out of this building.
Constantine: Let me ask you something specifically; the plane hits and then you go and grab things? Or while it was in motion?
Denise: No, no, no, no.
Constantine: While it was in motion?
Denise: Who happened was we’re standing there then all of the sudden I mean the plane comes by you know the window, and you know the picture on TV that you see of how the plane curves and slams? I saw that.
Constantine: Right and after the point of impact is when you took action?
Denise: Yes exactly.
Constantine: What is going through your head at this point?
Denise: I started praying, my first thought immediately I said it’s a terrorist attack.
Constantine: Immediately that was your first inclination.
Denise: Right because now before the other it was supposedly a Cessna maybe that wasn't a Cessna. Two of these things are not happening on the same day one plane getting lost is fine but two is not happening. So immediately I’m like oh my God this is a terrorist attack.
Constantine: And the people around, you the same feeling?
Denise: Well I don't know what their feeling was. I know everybody’s screaming and of course you could imagine it’s a little chaos because you don't normally stand at a window with a plane cruising by. You know and I mean it was so close like I said if that window had been open we could have touched that tire and the shaking you know because obviously it's a big heavy jumbo jet you know we could feel the impact the plane’s you know the rumbling of the plane and we watched where it was going and how it just curved and circled and slammed into the building. At that point I grabbed my tote bag and my pocket book and ran for the elevator and I don't know I thought back to when I was a kid and I’m asking was there was a bomb shelter in the building and when I got downstairs because I don’t know this building, um the manager for that group of ladies she’s standing there like, you know she can’t talk, speechless. And I am like Joanna is there a bomb shelter in the building? And she can’t answer me so I’m like I am not staying in here. I don't know where I was going but just knew, my inner spirit told me get out of here. So it was crazy for a few minutes because me and my colleagues…now mind you the interesting thing was the, in the bank it’s called heritage firm whatever firm you’re from originally even though you merge the heritage Morgan people they stayed in the building the Chase people that came down there for the meeting, we left.
Constantine: Now the people that stayed in the building was there a reason? Was there somebody do you know maybe if somebody told them or just…?
Denise: I didn’t…I didn't wait to find out. It became…you know what kicked in? Survival of the fittest.
Constantine: Survival, you’re right. Just get out.
Denise: It kicked in I started praying I am like God please help me I just, I think I started repeating the psalms to myself another colleague of mine Colene and someone else it was really crazy for a few minutes because we got on the street got out that building, got the elevator down from the 20 something floor, wherever we were. We headed toward um Chase’s headquarters at the time was One CMP oh maybe that's… a Chase building we went to. We go in the building and then I’m like what are we doing in this building? It was just like crazy because you didn't know what to do. And I’m why am I going in another tall building?
Constantine: And you’re going because you’re following the colleague? Or your own inclination?
Denise: No I am going became I am thinking maybe um, because someone said maybe employee assistance could give us direction on what to do. So then I’m in the elevator and I remember I’m saying this has to be a terrorist attack and there was a lady in there and she's like don't you start these vicious rumors. And look I have no time to argue with her so I took the elevator down and it was like really crazy for a minute it was something out of a movie. Then we saw a little Chase van that takes you from different locations we get on this little van but were stuck in traffic in traffic now.
Constantine: Ok, tell me what is it like on the street right now? Tell me like what’s it like on the street, fire trucks people running around, any of that?
Denise: No right now, it’s people running around and there's no fire trucks yet you know because I’m from a distance if there is I don't know about it because I’m on as I said I was on Broad Street so I am a little ways off and I’m down these little small little you know how Wall Street’s very tiny? Little side streets so but you do see some people running around but the chaos and the pictures where you see of people all of the place I was gone by that time because things happened really fast. That plane hit I went and got out of that building um as I said for a few minutes we ran over into JP Morgan Chase, I mean sorry, I mean the Chase heritage Chase building I go up in the elevator, I come back down, I get in this van for a minute and then we get off the van because the van’s going nowhere because the traffic was like chaos. So then my colleague Colene said I’m going home. And I’m like oh home because I am thinking to get back to midtown, I’d be safer in midtown and I’m thinking yea she's right why am I trying to get back to the job I should be trying to get home too. So I call my husband my cell phone was working I keep Verizon for that one reason. I don't have a problem with them but I feel loyal to them because people there’s no signal now because you know the towers and things have been knocked out the you know the antennas. So I was able to get my husband, I tell him what’s going on, I told him I says you know this has to be a terrorist attack, do you think I should go on the subway he goes well Denise, I think whatever they planned to do is over today but you don't know.
Constantine: Right and where was your husband at the time?
Denise: At home, on Long island, in Amityville.
Constantine: And he shared the same feeling that it was a terrorist attack?
Constantine: But he felt that it was over?
Denise: It was over right. You know this is the second plane you know maybe he was trying to reassure me so I said to him, I love you I don't know if I’ll ever going to see you again because you don't know, I mean I don't know what's coming next we’ve had two planes. You don’t know if you’re going in the subway, you don't know if bombs have been put in the subway, you don't know how extensive this whole thing is. So um Colene went to the ferry to go home. She used my phone to call her son-in-law because he worked downtown. She went to the ferry and me and two other colleagues we went Fulton Street because I asked someone, I don't really know downtown it was Fulton Street. We went down in the subway I think we probably got the last subway train that ran from down there.
Constantine: From down there right because that's right next to my school, the Fulton Street station.
Denise: And we went down there hopped on the train and went to Brooklyn. The whole aura of train because people were like…
Constantine: Why Brooklyn, just because that was closer to home?
Denise: The Long Island Rail Road is out of… Well why Brooklyn because Juliana and Evelyn both lived in Brooklyn and the Long Island Rail Road was in Brooklyn, so I could get the rail road from theere
Constantine: At Flatbush aye?
Denise: So my thing was get to the, I wasn’t going to try to get to midtown. So I was very happy to see Brooklyn. So we took the subway ride as you know however long it is from down there and everyone was like kind of huddled together, people were crying…
Constantine: Inside the train?
Constantine: And did you see anybody who had been closer to the point of impact on the train?
Denise: Um at this point to be honest with you I don't recall, I just know that the people, I guess everyone was in shock you know and people were just trying to um be compassionate to each other and calm each other down and just be thankful that you were alive because as I said seeing that plane go by it was surreal so it’s almost like you were in a state of shock, you know.
Constantine: Right and still your feeling has it changed you know during the course of the day. Let’s say you’re on the train, people are talking, what are people saying?
Denise: We’re talking about what happened you know because this is like unreal. Because I think one lady said one the tires fell off, she might have been a little closer on the street when we saw this plane pass by that one of the tires from the plane fell off like in front of her or something so basically we were trying to comfort each other and just talk about what we had seen at that point you know? The trauma that the people experienced actually in those towers was unbeknown to me at this time because it was all you know evolving at the time when I am on my way to Brooklyn.
Constantine: Yea so you’re already in Brooklyn as, as…?
Denise: Well I am on my way traveling to Brooklyn. When I get to Brooklyn, my final destination, my two colleagues got off before I did, because I guess I was going to the last stop because they had to tell me you're the last stop. When I got to Brooklyn, um the Long Island Rail Road was a little chaotic at the time. We didn't leave there for a while and it was when I was
Constantine: Can you give me a time frame of when you arrived at the Long Island Rail Road maybe?
Denise: Maybe around…the second tower fell about 10:15, was it?
Constantine: Yea, right.
Denise: I got there about 10 o'clock.
Constantine: So you were…all right…10:15.
Denise: About 10 o'clock and about 15 minutes later um it was announced that the second tower had collapsed?
Constantine: How did you hear about that?
Denise: On the train.
Constantine: They just announced it?
Denise: They said that the second tower had collapsed.
Constantine: And this is, I mean had the MTA put it through were they telling you, updating you any contingency plans of such and such happens?
Demise: Well at this point, the rail road was trying to figure out how to get the trains out to get people to Jamaica station. So as we
Constantine: The Long Island Rail Road?
Denise: Right, the Long Island Rail Road.
Denise: So what we were…I was actually physically on the train at this point and we were traveling toward…out of Brooklyn.
Constantine: Into Jamaica?
Denise: Yea and when the uh um, I was on the train and they said the second tower had collapsed. So uh as you can imagine people now some people were able to get a signal so they were calling family members, just having a discussion of what they saw and where they were at, at the time. Um and then when I got to Jamaica station of course the rail road, it doesn't take much to set them off, but I must give them a compliment. They handled this situation much better than they normally handle a regular delay. Um for a while they had three or four trains all going to Babylon which was my line but express trains…so they had to work that out. So I was at Jamaica for, um quite a while, I got to Amityville at almost 12 o'clock a little before 12. So from the time this started which I think was incredibly fantastic to have gotten back to Amityville… a quarter to 12…
Constantine: In comparison to some other people maybe that you know?
Denise: Yea. Yea, because some people, you know, it took all day long for them to get back but I think why I was fortunate …one was timing. Um what I opted to do because I didn't wait, I didn't hesitate to you know, I didn't stop to cry because you know you saw a lot of people crying and everybody reacts to things differently. I mean New Yorkers, Americans we’re not used to terrorist attack. I mean I felt like I was in Beirut.
Constantine: You just felt like foreign country, war zone?
Denise: Right, the feeling I had when I was on the street trying to make in that short period of time trying to figure out what I was going to do. I all of the sudden felt like wow this must be like what it’s like in Beirut. Um and um my, the husband picked me up at the train station and we went home and my phone of course every relative every friend that I’ve ever known called.
Constantine: And you were all pretty much able to get in touch with the majority of them.
Denise: Well they called me. I wasn't really up for calling people other than speaking to my husband um it just you know of course I told the story over 50 million times. But it was a very traumatic experience. Um it was a very nice day I remember and uh when I got back home it’s just like I had, I definitely had a problem with planes, I don't live too far from an airport and when I, I happened to go outside and a plane passed by and I just started crying.
Constantine: But that day when you came home you just proceeded to, I guess?
Denise: I stayed home, I prayed. I spent most of the day, I talked to… I was on the phone most of the day because people were calling to make sure I was ok. Um so basically kept reliving what had happened earlier in the day.
Constantine: Over and over, right, and uh okay so then I guess had you watched the news at that point. Did you turn on the TV?
Denise: Oh yea the news was on definitely, definitely.
Constantine: Right and um…Ok so let’s talk some uh maybe some days after and how that kind of effected your life?
Denise: It was difficult the days after. I think I managed fairly well but um I didn't go to work the next day. Um…
Constantine: Had your company contacted you or…?
Denise: I had spoke to my boss when I got home. And she knew…
Constantine: That day?
Denise: Yea, that day. Basically she knew that I had gotten home ok because my boss was still midtown and you know the rest of us had gone down there. So someone had gotten, one of the colleagues had gotten through to the boss to uh tell her that we had all uh gotten home safely. One person was missing because she was trying to, but she was ok, she was trying to get to the meeting she had gotten there she was coming late
Constantine: Wow, ok.
Denise: So she kind of, I think she was stuck on the ferry or something like that or she was coming in from Staten Island… Oh the bus, not the ferry she was on the bus.
Constantine: From Staten Island?
Denise: Right, so she saw it from a different angle um when the towers collapsed and everything so um. But the days following, the next day I didn't go to work. The following day, um after that, I did go to work and I refused to go in the subway.
Constantine: And so how did you…?
Denise: I walked, I mean midtown I will never forget it was pouring rain um but I just didn't want to you know because then people saying maybe there might be bombs or things in the subway so. One, I was upset when the Long Island Rail Road hit the tunnel all the time, but I always would pray because I am like well what's next you know? You become very suspicious, very paranoid, um and full of anxiety and um you know of course I started saying that I didn't want to work in the city anymore but the bottom line is I have to go to work. You know, I couldn’t quit my job.
Constantine: As far as like maybe the hysteria within the media or you know those among you, how much did that effect you?
Denise: I had to slop watching the news after a period of time because the thing is um, I was there, I met others that was there, a friend of mine on the train she was down there a lot longer than I was and closer she worked for Merrill Lynch. She showed me her wallet; the inside of her wallet was full of the soot and the stuff from the whole…
Constantine: From the whole experience…
Denise: Yea, you know so you were affected by it and obviously when you watch these things on TV it can make, just make things ten times worse. It just kept making it…I had to cut it off for a while
Constantine: It just made the experience worse?
Denise: It intensified it. Because I lived it I saw what happened and you know when they kept showing that picture of that plane you know I mean just how it curved and slammed, I’m like yea I saw that in person, you know.
Constantine: Right and so, did it feel surreal for you at some points? Like kind of like you were in a movie, or something.
Denise: Oh yea, definitely.
Constantine: Ok. Um so the days and weeks after so you…Your feeling was you eventually wanted to move out of the city.
Denise: Yea, in terms of working. Um they had, the company had EAP. They had sessions where you could go and talk about what happened.
Constantine: Ok EAP?
Denise: Right, the employee assistance program, they had people come in and talk to the people that had been down there, to try to counsel us and ask us if we needed further counseling which I didn't go for, and the interesting thing was because of the job I, I dealt with clients and employees overseas in Europe so they weren't here. Even if you talked to people that were say even in Florida it wasn't their experience so for them when I was at work it was almost like the expectation of most people was um just take care of what I need not are you ok? One or two people asked me are you ok? And I’m like how could someone be expecting me to think straight? It was very hard to work.
Constantine: So the, the vast majority, I guess the majority of your clients I guess you would say or your customers weren’t really sentimental or really couldn't make the connection as to what you had gone through?
Denise: No, no, not at all.
Constantine: And you were kind of offended by that?
Denise: Yea, I was very much so. Um you know it’s just keep doing the job you know. And um sometimes in retrospect I would say to myself well I should have taken more time off. I mean that was a traumatic experience, but you know after say two or three days, even I felt like the job expected you to just get back to business as normal. Um and it really took… it was very hard I would say at least for a month or so, just to focus your mind on what you had to do. Because the fear of one, what you experienced and is it going to happen again and of course the hype of the media and you’re out on the street you're here you’re there, it’s just… it was, it was hard. It was very hard.
Constantine: So during the course obviously, how long did you I guess you made this decision pretty much immediately that you wanted to leave but you were at this job and so how long after did you remain at the job before you eventually left?
Denise: Oh a good two, two and half years.
Constantine: Two and half years till you left?
Denise: Easily, yea I think well let me see that was uh or was it longer than that? I think it might even be longer than that. It was longer actually because that was 2001, uh actually no. I guess it was almost three and half years later.
Constantine: And how do you uh, what is your impression as far as um let’s say the city infrastructure or government kind handling the situation particularly on that day. How do you think they handled it? What's your impression?
Denise: Well I didn't you know what I saw on the news I don't think anyone was really prepared for what happened. I hate to fault people I expect them to be more prepared now, I think I was never, I’ve never been a big fan a Giuliani’s. But I think he did a fairly good job of trying to calm the people down. Um in terms of emergency management, the fireman and the police, I think they did the very best they could possibly do and people gave their lives for that day. I don't think anyone was ever expecting anything like that to happen here so I don't particularly want to say pass judgment on what anyone did but I think Giuliani did a fairly decent job so but my question more would be now are we prepared for this again and I seriously doubt it.
Constantine: You said you remained in the city for approximately two years after the attacks so let’s talk about maybe the safety concerns and whatever kind of plans were made. Did you feel comfort in those plans? Did you feel that they needed to be improved or whatever security measures…?
Denise: When you say safety in terms of the city? Or just my job? JP Morgan Chase attempted to implement some safety measures.
Constantine: Within your own company?
Constantine: Which were…?
Denise: Well security I mean in terms of getting into the building we had an ID but I mean they really stepped up security. They had um dogs constantly that would be um you know going around, sniffing around for bombs, checking cars. So they stepped up the security in terms of the people, the presence of people around the headquarters.
Constantine: Alright and you felt that was enough, what they were doing?
Denise: Well for a corporation yes, um you know in terms of getting in the building, it became much more difficult. Uh you know they opened we would, if you came in say with a gym bag or you know a bag of some size if they thought it looked suspicious. Or just to do random checks. So they did those type of things, they also had random drills emergency drills, where I worked on the 47th floor periodically we had to evacuate, walking down from the 47th floor.
Constantine: And is, when did it become wow this is really necessary to well this just another drill. Had that ever crossed your mind? Like ugh great, you know here’s another drill.
Denise: No I just, I felt it was necessary. They gave up flash lights, um flares, bottles, little containers of water to have on our desk. They have us a little emergency kit. So I think they really tried to make an effort uh you know and also telephone numbers, a chain of numbers so if something happened in terms of reaching us and um things of that nature.
Constantine: So your corporation itself had could you’d say a pretty established or a concise contingency plan in case of an attack?
Constantine: Now your impression as far as the years to come even with, even maybe within the first year like the city…how did you feel the city was handling everything? Like did you feel that they could have done more? Did you feel that there was room for improvement? Or they were doing maybe the best they could do or…?
Denise: I always felt there was room for improvement, but to be honest with you, when you're going to complain about something, well what is the answer?
Denise: The question is you know how could you make this better? Because um, and I think hopefully, over time, it’s something that will evolve and will get to how can we make this better. Because when you're dealing with such an enormous thing like this you know - this time it was planes, how do we know, would it be the water? I mean how do you really prepare for something like this totally? I mean there’s certain things you can implement but I think it’s a really big, big nut to crack here, you know?
Constantine: Now as far as um, maybe something a little bit more on the higher level, if you're comfortable with talking about it…um how do you feel your federal government and just you know your government on the higher up end, has handled this situation?
Denise: Poorly, I mean…
Constantine: You think it’s been poor.
Denise: It was horrible I mean, Bush to sit there an continue reading to that child...I don't want to get into political things…
Denise: But every time I see that um, it’s I mean, that is ridiculous and I think he would do the same thing if it happened again today. Um the federal government, the way they’re taking care…I don’t, I don’t know. The right people not in place to handle this. This has happened to us I think, at this point, we should already have some kind of plan or preparedness that we're better off. And people are still going through the airports with you know different objects and things that they shouldn't be carrying, so it’s like maybe we're focusing too much on one thing when it should be something else, you know? Um…it's awful....
Constantine: It's awful, and you think there, there needs to be…need…room for improvement?
Denise: Oh definitely! Definitely!
Constantine: Ok and uh so I guess you're not really...you don't really have that much um...I don't want to say faith, I want to just say, you’re just not secure, in yourself.
Denise: No! Not at all!
Constantine: And you're maybe a little bit more offended that they haven't taken a little more place?
Denise: Yea, well if they couldn't handle Hurricane Katrina, do you really think they are prepared to handle, god forbid we have, another terrorist attack? And I seriously doubt it's going to be by air again. It’s going to be some other means, so you got to have people in place that are looking at the big picture, you know? Um and look at countries where these things happen all the time. What do they do to prepare themselves for these kind of things, you know?
Constantine: Right. Now as far as our uh, maybe our agenda, I don't want to get too political you know with… as far as our emphasis maybe like you know for instance, we went kind of right into the war. Do you think the, there should have been more of an emphasis on maybe securing the country? Or do you think maybe that was more of a justified action to go after the terrorists?
Denise: Definitely, definitely not.
Constantine: Definitely not.
Denise: Definitely not.
Constantine: Ok so you don’t feel like it was.
Denise: And I don't think it's proved anything. Look how long this war's been going on. Look how many people we've lost. And it, it hasn’t helped us. It hasn’t helped us.
Denise: Do we have Bin Laden?
Constantine: Right. And um is there maybe some kind of suspicion to you as far as maybe the cause of it, as or who was maybe responsible? Had that occurred in your head initially, or maybe now when we're hearing some things?
Denise: No, no
Constantine: You're still, you’re still…you believe that it's what the government says it is.
Denise: Yea uh you know, I don't think there's weapons of mass destruction, you know um, unfortunately for several years we've done things to other counties, and you know, at times they retaliate. I don’t know if that's why this happened, but the bottom line is it did, and we have to deal with it and try to be prepared for another incident.
Constantine: And then, as far as our foreign policy is concerned, do you think that might have to do with it? Have some kind of influ…
Denise: It's a good possibility, sure.
Constantine: And that also it needs room for improvement?
Denise: Sure, definitely.
Constantine: Ok. Well I guess that will conclude our interview, I thank you so much for…
Denise: Oh you're welcome! It was my pleasure.
Constantine: Giving me the time…to do, to do the interview.
Constantine: Alright so I’ll cut the tape now. Just trying to show us some of her preparedness, uh things that she does. Now why do you, why do you carry these sneakers with you?
Denise: Well, I don't carry them, I keep them here. I brought them from home, they're and old pair, but I have to be ready to leave quickly, and if I have high heels on. I might not be able to walk down it’s only twelve floors here but I’ve got to be ready to go quickly. I, I stay, I stay prepared, a matter of fact, the flashlight I spoke about earlier that JP Morgan Chase gave me, I'm going to bring it in here. Because if I'm here at night, and I need to see my way down, I've got to be prepared.
Constantine: And right now we are in Long Island, and you still feel that, that you would need these things.
Denise: Oh sure! Oh definitely.
Denise: Definitely, definitely.
Constantine: Now, you also mentioned before, as we were talking, that you always carry your pocketbook and cell phone and everything with you.
Denise: Oh yea, definitely, because I never know when I won’t be able to get back in the building, or if I'll have to leave quickly, that I have that with me. If something happens at the, at the moment, I've got to be ready to go, and there might not be time to get back to my belongings.
Constantine: Do you ever feel like you will...is this kind of a lifetime thing? That you'll always probably do?
Denise: Oh sure, definitely. I was affected to that point. To that point. Definitely.
Constantine: How do you feel about those around you who you don't maybe take the same measurements as you do? Do you feel like they're not taking it as seriously?
Denise: Well, they probably weren't there that day—they didn't experience it. But you know I talked to people about it, but everybody has a different uh reference point. And for me I know what it was like to be there, and um I, I look at security things and I always have. When I go someplace I’m looking to see where the fire exit is, how you get out of here. So the situation on 9/11 only intensified that.
Constantine: Right, so you were yea. So you were maybe like that before…
Constantine: and then 9/11...and then that all…
Denise: It drove the point home.
Constantine: It just kind of drove the point home and reiterated at lot of things.
Denise: Now I have lots of bottled water at home if something happens — I'm bad about that one though
Constantine: So you have, even at your place of residence, you have some kind of...
Denise: I try, I generally try to keep things...you know, the canned foods and things on hand. I don't buy the duct tape and all that stuff they talked about, but I try to be prepared.
Constantine: And uh maybe let’s talk about on a day to day, week to week, monthly basis, how many times does September 11th come to your mind?
Denise: Well with all the press and things going on in the newspaper now, I would say at least a couple of times a month. I mean, now with them building the memorial. I mean every day I might think about it to a certain degree, but um I'm at a point where a lot of times when I'm reading the newspaper, I have to pass it over because it’s just…
Denise: It can be, very upsetting and I feel very bad for the families. I, I have a friend who lost her sister, um and I only can imagine what the family's going through every time there's something in the paper about oh the memorial, the this, the that, the design. It’s like you know, it just conjures up all these feelings again.
Constantine: How do you feel about them building of a new World Trade Center? How do you feel about that experience? Do you feel that it should be done or maybe delayed or…?
Denise: I think delayed is probably a good idea—the memorial. Um you know, it's a very, very, very emotional type of thing, you know? Life. Yes, life does go on... um but I guess at some point they will, they need to put something back there.
Constantine: But you think more emphasis should be put on a memorial and then eventually towers?
Denise: Right. I think so.
Denise: I think so.
Constantine: Uh let me ask you, with other people around you, had you felt, ever bothered that people maybe moved on faster than you did, or any, anything like that or you just feel that’s their own way of dealing?
Denise: Yea, everybody comes to a, you know, this point of dealing with it at different times. What I find most interesting as I mentioned to you earlier is when you talk to someone out-of- state.
Denise: If you talk to someone in Texas, or someone in Florida, you know how they would say, well that happened in New York, it’s like it was another country, where this happened. Um you know the fact that some people just dismiss the whole thing.
Constantine: And, that, that makes you upset?
Denise: Yea, because we're all living in the same country, you know? Um so, yea it’s upsetting.
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