Sandra Bookman reflects on the anniversary of 9/11: Believing the unbelievable

Sandra Bookman Image
Monday, September 5, 2022
'Eyewitness to 9/11: Behind the Lens' Official Trailer
On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we hear from the Eyewitness News journalists who were there, in the streets, in the air, and in the newsroom, reporting on the events as the tragedy unfolded, capturing the unforgettable video of that day, and risking their lives to tell the world what was happening.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- I remember just about every detail of that day...especially the morning:

Of waking up later than usual because I'd worked late the night before and would work late again that night because of the election.

Of listening to news on the radio that a plane (believed to be small) had struck one of the Trade Center towers, and then turning on the TV to Channel 7 and seeing the second plane hit the other tower.

Of believing we were under attack.

RELATED | 'Eyewitness to 9/11: Behind the Lens' reveals untold stories, rare video of America's darkest day

WABC-TV looks back on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 to hear from the Eyewitness News journalists who covered the attack as it unfolded.

Of calling the assignment desk first to say I was headed in and calling my mother in Texas second to let her know I was okay, but probably would be out of touch for the rest of the day.

Of running down Columbus Avenue from my apartment six blocks away, hair barely out of curlers, clutching a second set of clothing and makeup, believing I might not get back home that day.

Of going on the anchor desk with Bill Ritter just after the first tower fell and trying to stay calm and make sense of the various unconfirmed reports coming in: planes missing, explosions in Washington, people jumping from the World Trade towers.

RELATED | How reporter N.J. Burkett and his photographer escaped Twin Towers collapse

Eyewitness News reporter N.J. Burkett and photographer Marty Glembotzky rushed down to the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. While shooting a standup right below the burning towers, the first tower began to collapse.

Of volunteering to cover a special Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral later that evening and reporting the name of the first confirmed death: Father Mychal Judge, the FDNY Chaplain.

Of standing in the middle of Fifth Avenue on the phone with my mother, weeping, and repeating over and over, "Mama, it's bad. It's bad."

CLICK HERE for more Eyewitness News reflections, photos and stories marking the anniversary of 9/11


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* Follow us on YouTube

* More local news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.