Robert H. Gass (1954- ) was a Port Washington resident who was working as an IT Application Manager at Morgan Stanley in Tower Two of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. In this oral history interview, Mr. Gass describes his experience witnessing the planes hit Tower One of the World Trade Center, the evacuation from Tower Two, and the subsequent collapse of both towers. He then discusses the aftermath of 9/11, its effect on himself and his coworkers, and the support system he has found in his family and in the congregation of his synagogue, Temple Beth Israel.
“And we knew we didn’t want to go back upstairs, and I did not feel comfortable standing in the stairwell with all these people, and I said to my friends, ‘I’m going to go see what it looks like.’ So I walked up to the 51st floor, and I was going to open the door…And it was at that point that were I was standing moved four feet to the side, because it was at that point that our building was hit by the second plane…It was as if it was an earthquake.”
“And we were walking, and then they yelled ‘Run!’ So everybody started to run, and we ran towards the escalator…when we came out the escalator, that was where Borders, the book store, was. We walked out onto Church Street, and we looked up. And that’s the first time we saw what was happening, and we saw the top of the building completely engulfed in flames and black, and there was debris all around, some of which was actually parts of the airplane. You could see a jet engine laying on the ground.”