My son was 10 at the time, and it was his first day at a new school. It was a tense morning. We waited for the bus at the end of the driveway, and I had to get my daughter on a bus as well.
I was talking about buses and the hectic morning when he interrupted me and told me a plane had just hit his building. "There's paper and smoke everywhere," he said. In hindsight, I wish I had screamed, "Get the hell out of there."
My 4 year-old daughter wanted to talk to him, and I handed her the phone. She said: "I love you daddy." When I took the phone back, it was dead.
He was such an incredible father, and he loved his kids more than anything. He knew that we loved him.
I kept trying to call him back, but kept getting a busy signal. I called a friend and told her the news. She turned on the TV and just gasped. I drove home and turned on the TV myself and saw the second tower where he worked and all the black smoke. I went to the bathroom and threw up.
I absolutely believed he was alive. Other people who worked with him got out. I held on to hope. I figured he was in the hospital somewhere.
His name appeared on a website, and it listed him as injured or missing. That turned out to be a funny website — a joke. Isn't that awful?
A few days later, I called someone from his firm sobbing and asked him to tell me what was going on. The guy said they had looked everywhere for him, but that they did not expect to find more survivors.
It's been hard to rebuild. I just try to be strong.
Note: Garry Lozier worked in the World Trade Center.
ADAM LEWIS, 36, OF FAIRFIELD [Kathryn Hebert of Bethel, sister]
On the morning of Sept. 11, I was on maternity leave. Around 9 a.m., my husband, a fireman, called from the Connecticut Avenue Fire Station and asked me if Adam was working and what tower was he in. I assumed Adam was working and I remembered him telling me that he worked in the second tower on the 89th floor.
Jay said to turn the TV on right now. At the moment I turned on the TV, a plane was crashing into the second tower towards the top and everything burst into flames. I'm not sure how long I just stood there watching, but I knew Adam was dead. How could anyone survive that impact?
What transpired after this was a flurry of phone calls and emotional family events that continued for a very long time. And with that, the difficult reality that at some point the inexplicable would have to be explained to the surviving children, and even our own children.
SEAN ROONEY, 50, OF STAMFORD [Beverly Eckert of Stamford, wife]
My husband Sean was trapped in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 but was able to reach me by phone. When the smoke and flames drew near and Sean knew he was going to die, he remained calm, speaking of his love for me and for his family. I will forever be in awe of the way he faced those final moments. In the days that followed, I felt somehow infused with his courage and strength, and that helped me persevere through the difficult months that followed. So many other family members were similarly inspired. Despite our private anguish, we shared a goal — to make this country safer so that the deaths of 3,000 people would not be meaningless.
Note: Ms. Eckert's comments were made in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform. Eckert died in a 2009 plane crash in Buffalo, N.Y. She was the co-founder of Voices of September 11th.