As someone who saw the second plane slam into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, Bronx native Willie Colon has a more unique view on the day than many of his teammates.
He was 18 years old on that beautiful day 13 years ago, and in his first day as a freshman at Hofstra. Colon was in his first college class when the discussion on the syllabus was interrupted with the news a plane had flown into one of the Twin Towers.
“We were in class and a young lady came in and was like, ‘I think like one of the towers came down,’ and we were looking at her, not believing,” Colon told Metro. “Then a professor came in and said, ‘You guys have to get in touch with your families, this is serious.’ Then we looked outside and people were running out to their cars.
“You really didn’t know what to make of it all. I remember Hofstra has those tall towers and there are study rooms up top and you can see into the city. I was up there and saw the second plane go into the second World Trade Center. People were screaming. It was unreal, a very unsettling time. We thought it was an accident at first. We were watching it on TV and then watching it there. We had a direct line to it. We were like, ‘Whoa.’ It was such an eerie feeling.”
It wasn’t until later that he began to hear about the link to terrorism and he began to piece together that it was a deliberate act.
There was no power for a couple days on campus and the opening game of the football season was cancelled. He checked in with his family and he remembers that one of his best friends from high school had a mother working across the street from the Twin Towers.
She was trapped in her building and would later tell Colon about what she saw that day, including panicked people jumping to their deaths rather than burn in the building. She couldn’t return to work for a year due to the trauma she suffered.
“It’s a day you can never forget. We can’t take our liberty and the freedom to live life for granted,” Colon said. “You just try to say a prayer for those who are lost. Afterwards, I remember people coming together, all races and faiths. We seemed united, really patriotic at that time.”
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