W.B. man lucky
MARC VASCONCELLOS/THE ENTERPRISE
|Matthew Albanese was traveling to New York City on business when the World Trade Center was attacked.
WEST BRIDGEWATER - When Matthew Albanese traveled to New York City for business on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, little did he know the course his day would take.
Albanese boarded an early morning Amtrak train at the Route 128 station in Westwood bound for Penn Station.
From Penn Station he was to take the subway to a trade exchange building adjacent to where the twin towers stood.
But he never made it - and is lucky he didn’t.
The subway stop is “right underneath the towers,” said Albanese, who has traveled to the city on business many times.
Shortly before the train arrived at Penn Station, Albanese said he received word that the first tower had been struck by an airplane, but didn’t know what that meant.
As the train went underground, Albanese said that he could see smoke in the area from the towers.
The train then came to a stop, and Albanese - who was waiting on the train - purchased a ticket to go back home, thinking the train would be re-routed.
But that was not the case.
Instead, the train was evacuated and a bomb search was conducted.
After the train was evacuated, Albanese became part of what he calls a “very organized exodus.” “Thousands of people were walking (to get out of Manhattan),” he said.
Albanese walked from Penn Station, over the Queensborough Bridge into the borough of Queens.
Albanese describes his journey as “eerie.”
“There was a sudden sense of quiet in the city,” he said.
On a side-street in Queens he flagged down a limousine driver, who drove him to a rest area in Darien, Conn., where he was picked up by his wife, Beth, and his parents, Paul and Janice Albanese of East Bridgewater.
Beth Albanese had spent her day in a state of panic.
She was going into work late that day at Boston Children’s Hospital, and was watching the “Today” show when she saw the second plane hit the tower.
Beth did not go into work that day, as her only thoughts were, “Oh my God, my husband is there.”
When she and her in-laws picked him up in Connecticut, she said she was “thrilled to see him.”
Albanese said that he didn’t realize the magnitude of what had happened that day until he was listening to the radio while on his way home from Connecticut.
Looking back on the events of the day, Albanese, said he feels “very lucky” that the subway stopped operating when it did, because he knows now that he could have been underground when the towers collapsed.
Having gone through the experience, Albanese views Sept. 11 as a day when the “country was vulnerable. It was brought to its knees,” he said.
Albanese, an attorney who is chairman of the West Bridgewater Board of Selectmen, will be one of the speakers at a candlelight vigil being held in memory of 9/11, on Monday at 7 p.m. at the gazebo located next to the Town Hall.
Letter to the Editor
Sept. 11 attacks seem like just yesterday
This past week on Labor Day I had occasion to be in downtown Boston early in the morning. I had a few minutes before my meeting, so I bought a coffee and found a bench out on Berkeley Street.
As I sat on the bench I looked up at the Hancock Tower and simultaneously caught a glimpse of the sky, and in an instant I was returned to that fateful morning five years ago.
Five years ago as I walked outside to get my morning coffee from the canteen truck I learned of the planes hitting the World Trade Center. It was a beautiful September morning, and what I remember more than anything else was that bright blue, virtually cloudless, silent sky.
That morning I sat with a buddy of mine on a wooden bench, and we did not speak to each other. In fact, we did not even look at each other because we both knew the other was crying, and big tough guys like us don’t cry. We just looked at that bright blue sky and wondered why.
It is inevitable that each September, when I least expect it I look up at one of those bright blue skies and find myself back in that moment. It is still fresh in my mind five years later, and I know it always will be.
Let us honor those who were lost any time we find ourselves with a few quiet moments on a beautiful September morning.
JOHN S. MURRAY,