Night Of 9/11 in North Hollywood, CA by Deirdre Ryan Photography

9/11 The Way I Remember It

Our experience of 9/11 was being woken up by the radio that we have set to a certain time as our alarm. We lived in a small section of North Hollywood, CA called Valley Village. We’re both from NJ so our families were on the East coast.

My mom had just flown back home to NJ and was supposed to fly into Newark but instead went into Philly and got in either that morning of 9/11 really early like a Red Eye or in late, the evening of 9/10.

We were listening to Ralph Garman on the Kevin and Bean show, something about him was not right, something about the Twin Towers. I was sort of listening, half awake, and my husband, David started to really wake me up. That’s when he turned on the news(we put it on the Today Show), only to see one of the Twin Towers up in smoke and flames.

It didn’t seem real at all, it was like a scene from an action movie and I expected to see Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis to fly over to save everyone.

We then got a call from my parents who were up in NJ, they told us to turn on the news and we said that we already were watching. Then I called our friends in Oregon for them to turn on the Today show. I also called my friend Lisa to turn on the news and to call her mom. In time a few minutes later, I can’t remember, after hanging up,  I think to see the other plane to hit the other tower, which we saw live on t.v. Our mouths dropped in disbelief….plus a few curse words…and prayers.

We kept watching, I mean how couldn’t we stop? Never did we think that those buildings would fall like that. No one did. And then they collapsed.

Once again:

Our mouths dropped in disbelief….a lot more curse words…and prayers.

All I kept thinking about were the poor people that worked on those top floors, and the ones that worked in the levels below for the PATH train station. It was like an entire city below those towers, but it was actually a mall. Every time I would go there, I felt the weight of those buildings above me until I reached the sidewalks. There were fast food restaurants, a 1 hour photo lab, a dry cleaners too I think. I hope that all of those people got out in time. Then I thought of some friends of mine that worked in the city, and my friend’s father who was also in the city that had a compromised immune system due to being very sick. With all of that dust and debris I was very worried for him.

Then we heard about the plane that hit the Pentagon(American Airlines Flight 77) and the passengers that helped to deliberately crash the plane(United Airlines Flight 93) into a field in Stonycreek, PA, and prevent it from hitting its intended target.

David had to go into work, his new job at a Termite Art Productions (which later became Creative Differences, now located in N. Hollywood) in Studio City,  and this was his first week. I had to go to Bel Air Camera to do some graphic design work for their Los Angeles Times ad, and they were located very close to the Federal Building in Westwood. It was hard to get any work done that day. No helicopters or planes were up in the sky unless it was military. All around and on top of the Federal building were men and women securing it with automatic rifles.

The owner of Bel Air Camera gave his employees $50 to spend in Westwood Village to support the businesses that day.  It was also to show the terrorists that we weren’t afraid to go out and about our day, like a  f***k you to them. I will never forget that, it was a great show of patriotism and community.

Were we scared? Yes. But then, we stopped being scared.

That night, no one could really sleep it seemed. The air space above us was quiet, but the community was alive with the sounds of people and a candlelight vigils on the corners, waving their flags, cars, trucks honking their horns with the American flags waving from them. People lined the sidewalks shouting USA, waving the flag, showing a force in numbers.

My husband and I somehow got on a firetruck with the local fire department and some of the firemen, with my film camera, documenting what I saw. I didn’t use a flash, grabbing some 400 speed black and white film,  I used my Nikon N70(F70 outside of the US) and the fasted lens that I had at the time, my Nikon 20mm f 2.8 lens, As you can see, some of these images are blurry and far from perfect. But I believe that they captured the spirit of the emotions and what was going on that evening in our  neighborhood. I do have more images from that night I think, it’s just sometimes hard to look at and remember that day.

All photographs appearing on this site are the property of Deirdre Ryan Photography. They are protected by U.S. Copyright Laws, and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Deirdre Ryan Photography. Copyright ©Deirdre Ryan All Rights Reserved.

Night Of 9/11 in North Hollywood, CA by Deirdre Ryan Photography

Men, women and children on a busy corner with lit candles and waving American flags.

Night Of 9/11 in North Hollywood, CA by Deirdre Ryan Photography

Looking up at one of the firefighters that I rode with in North Hollywood with a large American flag. Shot on b/w film on the night of Set. 11th in the Studio City area of Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley.

Night Of 9/11 in North Hollywood, CA by Deirdre Ryan Photography

Shot on b/w film on the night of Set. 11th in the Valley Village area of Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley. Men, women and children on a busy corner with lit candles and waving American flags.

Night Of 9/11 in North Hollywood, CA by Deirdre Ryan Photography

Shot on b/w film on the night of Set. 11th in Studio City, CA in front of a local pet store that has a large banner and the American flag in front of it. The guy in front is my husband.

All photographs appearing on this site are the property of Deirdre Ryan Photography. They are protected by U.S. Copyright Laws, and are not to be downloaded or reproduced in any way without the written permission of Deirdre Ryan Photography. Copyright ©Deirdre Ryan All Rights Reserved.

The next morning I went to eat breakfast at a favorite place in NoHo(North Hollywood), I just had to get away from the t.v. and so did others around me it seemed. Everyone was talking but we were quiet. No aircraft was out still, unless it was military out on patrol, and if you’ve ever lived out there, you’ll realize just how quiet it was without the constant drone and noise of planes and helicopters, so for me at least, it was a little bit of a blessing for the state of my nerves. I did picked up the L.A. Times, and still have that newspaper packed away.

A few weeks later, we did fly back East to CT for one of my best friend’s wedding. She and her husband had family fly over from Ireland and the UK. The airport experience was very different, lines were longer, more security, and very strict rules about what you could and couldn’t take on your flight. Screw the terrorists who did this! Nothing was going to stop us or anyone from going on with what we wanted to do!

The wedding was beautiful and we all had a great time!

Myself and my husband sometimes still have a hard time looking at images and footage from 9/11, especially my husband who has worked for tv shows that are about 9/11 and has had to go through footage over and over again non-stop(he was an assistant editor on WTC – 9/11 Stories From The Ruins and then other shows that had more footage for them about that day).

Sadly, many  very brave 9/11 rescue workers, and people who were in the direct or surrounding areas, had to beg Congress to continue with the help they needed to provide free medical care and services and it FINALLY passed in December 2015. Down to the WIRE, but it passed. These men and women have cancer, “the World Trade Center cough” and more medical issues that came about due to the fact that when the towers came down, they released all of these vast amounts of chemicals, like carcinogens, jet fuel, asbestos, plastics, metal, fiberglass and who knows what else and the wind blew it all over the place. Also let’s not forget that for about 90 days, the site was smoldering. Newsweek recently did an excellent article on this very subject.

Do you have anything to share about day, something that sticks out that you want to share? Please leave a comment below, and thank you for taking the time to look at my post.

Comments

comments

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *