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IRA Financial Blog

9/11 20 Years Later – Personal Stories – Episode 307

Adam Talks

In this episode of Adam Talks, IRA Financial’s Adam Bergman Esq. shares some personal stories and thoughts about the 9/11 terrorist attacks as we approach the twentieth anniversary.

Adam Bergman, a tax lawyer who started out in New York City, and founder of IRA Financial shares his personal stories from 9/11. He was a new lawyer at White & Case, so he was at the office by 8AM. Here is how he recounts the events of that fateful day.


It was a quiet Tuesday morning, with a bright blue sky. However, that calm would soon turn to chaos over the next several hours. The first plane hit the World Trade Center. The initial thought was that it was a small plane, and a horrific accident. Information was not as prevalent 20 years ago as it is today. Plus, technology limited your access to it. Adam’s then-girlfriend worked at the Stock Exchange. She couldn’t get much information either, as her internet was slow that morning.

Being in the city, Adam decided to go down to Times Square to see what was happening. Before long, the 2nd plane hit the tower. Right then, we knew our country was being attacked in some sort of terrorist plot. He made it back to his office, and everyone was in a fog.

The building is in midtown Manhattan, so everyone thought it was best to get out. There was a lot of confusion on the streets as no one knew what to do. Basically, no matter where you lived, you just started walking towards home. No one wanted to get on the subway and soon, all of the bridges were closed.

We soon learned that another plane hit the Pentagon, and one more, which was headed towards Washington, went down in Shanksville, PA. As we all know, the city’s landscape was changed forever as both towers of the World Trade Center collapsed.

The Day After

After watching the news all night with his roommate, Adam decided to go to work this next morning, simply because he didn’t know what else to do. As he left his place at 6AM, it struck him how empty midtown was. Obviously, NYC is the city that never sleeps, and there’s always people around. But, not on September 12, 2001. Upon arriving at the office, the higher-ups decided to send everyone home. So, Adam went back to watch the news to see what was unfolding in this “new” America.

Over the next few days, there were lots of bomb scares, including the Empire State Building. Random office buildings were being evacuated after threats were called in. On the Friday or Saturday, Adam was walking up 5th Avenue, when he saw people just running down the streets. A bomb threat was called into the ESB. It was paranoia aplenty in New York.

Although Mr. Bergman was an avid traveler, he was genuinely scared the first time he stepped on a train after 9/11. No one really knew if and when this attack was over. Living and traveling in New York became a nightmare for many.

The Country Comes Together

While 9/11 was the most tragic day on American soil, it brought the country together. It didn’t matter your political stance, your race or religion, or anything else. An American is an American. Everyone, including Democrats, supported President Bush and Mayor Guiliani. Americans were united with flags and other patriotic memorabilia were seen on every corner.

The entire country, and even most of the world, were united after these attacks. Our very freedom and way of life was being threatened by people who didn’t agree with our way of life. It was a time when the United States were truly united.

So much has changed since then as the country is divided once again.

Today’s Society

Unfortunately, the memories of 9/11 have faded. We are no longer united as a country; we have now been divided into teams. Democrats and Republicans, Liberals and Conservatives. We have forgotten what it means to be American and all stand for the same principles under one flag.

9/11 taught Adam how valuable freedom is and how quickly it can be taken from you. Less than 20 terrorists were able to change our lives forever and made hundreds of millions of people feel unsafe, scared, and fearful of just living life.  We lost our sense of security, of being safe in the most powerful country in the world.

9/11 in His Own Words

I remember feeling vulnerable and scared almost all the time. Anytime I saw someone look off, or carrying a large bag, or wearing a baggy coat I turned and walked the other way. I worked across from Rockefeller Center and remember being scared to walk through the building. It seemed the entire city was paranoid, suspicious and mistrustful all the time. I remember taking a business trip about two months after 9/11 and being so scared to fly. I literally scrutinized every person in the waiting are and each one that boarded the plane. It was a crazy time! But, after some time, life began to get back to normal. The feeling of community, oneness, unity, and solidarity started to dissipate. 

My hope is that when people think of 9/11, they don’t just remember the horrific tragedy of the day, but also look to the way the city, the country, and most of the free world came together to support the victims and first responders. Also, to remember how precious freedom is. Looking at the events that occurred in Afghanistan and how life can change so quickly and all the freedoms you took for granted can be taken away so closely.

Final Thoughts

This was a somber episode of Adam Talks, as Adam Bergman shared his 9/11 personal stories. But, we hope it was a bit uplifting as well. As Mr. Bergman said, we need to remember that feeling when the entire country was united.

We encourage everyone reading this to do what they can. Help support local charities, the Red Cross or even consider donating to the 9/11 Memorial Fund. Let us not forget what happened 20 years ago. Almost as importantly, don’t forget how the world came together in the days and weeks after. As always, thanks for listening!


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