Janice Brooks is a British survivor of the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
Almost 3000 people were killed, making 9/11 the most devastating terrorist attack in history. Read some of Janice's remarkable story below.
I’m just an East End girl who found myself in an incredible moment in history
Janice Brooks moved from London to New York in late August 2001, taking up the opportunity of a lifetime to live in the heart of Manhattan and to work in the iconic twin towers of the World Trade Center. As someone who had long felt a deep affinity with American culture, Janice touched down in the US with just a dog and a suitcase, ready to make the most of living in one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
September 11th 2001, just three weeks into the New York adventure started like any other day, the sky was completely clear and a stunning September blue. Janice made her way to work with her colleagues at Euro Brokers, based on the 84th floor of Tower 2, World Trade Center. At 8.46am that morning, Janice's life, and the world, would change forever.
The first plane struck 1 World Trade Center, the tower adjacent to Janice in 2 WTC. Although the people on Janice's floor heard the noise of the first strike, they were unaware that a plane strike was the cause. It was only by phoning the London office that Janice was informed of the gravity of the situation - by a colleague who had watched the attack live on the news from across the Atlantic Ocean.
Several thousand people inside 2 World Trade Center began evacuating, unaware that a terrorist attack was underway. The Public Announcement system inside the building told the people inside to return to their offices, as there was no indication at that time that a second plane would strike - the people leaving 2WTC were preventing the evacuation of 1WTC on the ground.
At 9.03am, the 2nd hijacked plane hit 2 World Trade Center, as Janice, her colleagues and thousands of other workers were in the process of evacuating. Janice’s remarkable story of escaping from the 84th floor is characterized by formidable tales of heroism and strength, from people she knew, from people she had never met, and from people she never saw again. Although Janice was able to escape, 61 of her colleagues did not survive the attack. 2,977 innocent people were killed in the 9/11 attacks, at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon building and on board United Airlines flight 93. Several thousand people now live with illnesses (caused by exposure to toxins), injury and emotional trauma as a result of the attacks.
Today’s schoolchildren were not yet born when 9/11 took place. They have only lived in a world since this happened. If I can help just one person to take a minute to remember all the people that died, that’s a wonderful thing.
Janice has since returned to the UK, working in London in the financial sector and living just outside of the capital. Janice is also working closely with SINCE 9/11 to tell her extraordinary story to groups of young people.
For today's young people, 9/11 was a historical event, whereas for most adults, it was the day the world turned upside down. Our hope is that through Janice's story, the events of September 11th 2001 are not merely remembered as a date or a statistic, with people appreciating that many thousands of people still live with the impact of that day.