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During the September 11 attacks, WXXI host Jasmin Singer was in lower Manhattan. Hear her story

A woman in military fatigues stands outside the entrance to Pace University, behind barriers that read 'police line do not cross'
Jasmin Singer
Victims of the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center were sent to Pace University for triage. Jasmin Singer snapped this photo of a guard outside the university entrance on that day.

On September 11, 2001, I was in my last semester of college at Pace University in lower Manhattan, right down the street from the World Trade Center.

I remember I would often visit the Twin Towers for a doughnut or an everything bagel on my way to class.

The author, in profile, stands before a wrought iron fence with a candle in a photo of a scrapbook page.
Jasmin Singer
The author, in profile, stands before a wrought iron fence with a candle during a vigil on September 11, 2021.

But that morning, I was running late, undoubtedly fighting my roommate for access to the bathroom mirror. Little did I know that my college was about to become a triage unit for a terrorist attack. Or that I’d have a front-row seat to the towers crumbling — the thousands of lives inside crumbling with it.

My story is nothing extraordinary; it’s one that eight million other New Yorkers know all too well. It’s a trauma that will forever bond us.

And whenever I meet someone else who was there, this inevitable painful moment is shared between us. In our silence, we recall the eerily perfect weather that morning. And then the thunderous sound of the first plane hitting the building, on that day that permanently bookmarks our lives: everything before and everything after.

Twenty-two years ago, I was just about 22. That’s half of my life now spent on the “after.”

And in all the years since, September 11, 2001 has remained tucked away inside me — inside everyone, really, whether or not we were there.

Because, in a way, we were all there. And, somehow, we all kept going, even when that seemed impossible.

Hear Jasmin Singer's 9/11 memorial
WXXI host Jasmin Singer was a student at Pace University in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001.
Paper taped to a newspaper says, 'triage pace un.' with a directional arrow showing the way to go

On this sad anniversary, it’s the heroes who fearlessly ran into those burning buildings, never to run back out, who are front of mind.

And just as we all navigated the confusion and grief together 22 years ago, today, we will join together and honor their legacy.

Jasmin Singer (she/they) is WXXI's Weekend Edition host. She's also the author of "The VegNews Guide to Being a Fabulous Vegan" and "Always Too Much and Never Enough." She's the co-host of the "Our Hen House" podcast. After living in New York City for nearly 20 years, then trying out West Hollywood for size, Jasmin and her wife are climate refugees who found their way to Rochester.