9/11 - 20 Years On: ‘There is something deeply traumatic and uprooting to see a giant fall’

Many people with strong Meath connections were caught up in the 9/11 tragedy with at least two losing their lives.

Among those who died in the tragedy was Patrick Aranyos (22) who was financial worker with Morgan Stanley. Patrick had phoned his father from the 80th floor to say he was all right after the first plane had hit the tower.

Tragically another plane was flown into the building Patrick was in. Patrick's mother was Winifred O'Reilly from Ballinlough, a cousin of the then Bishop of Meath Dr Michael Smith.

Also among the near 3,000 people who died in the attack was Michael McHugh (35) who worked as a broker on the 107th floor. He had relations who lived in Oldcastle.

Among those who were near the disaster was Mary Hubrich, a native of Navan who worked in the investment sector with her office just a 10 minute walk from the Twin Towers.

A member of the Marmion family, well-known publicans in Navan, she had just stepped out of the subway on her way to work when she looked towards Broadway only to see one of the towers collapse. "It was very frightening," she said.

Damien Creavin, son of the the long-serving Meath GAA Co Board secretary Liam Creavin, was also close to the tragedy. He worked with a publishing company based on Fifth Avenue a couple of miles north of the Trade Centre. He talked of seeing "nuclear-like plume of smoke" when he emerged from the subway and looked down at the disaster zone.

Damien's brother Freddie was employed with an insurance company in Manhattan at the time but on the day disaster struck he was working from his home on Long Island.

Sean Coffey from Rath Chairn, an engineer, watched from a roof as the second tower collapsed. "It was surreal as if we were watching a movie. We felt it couldn't be happening," he said.

Carpenter Seamus Daly from Clonbarron, Kildalkey was working on a job on Leonard Street, seven blocks north of the World Trade Centre. "I had just opened a window because it was stuffy. I heard a plane going over and then an incredibly loud bang."

Another man who was very close to the tragedy was Mick Buckley a stock market trader from Dunboyne. He recalled the panic, the horror, the dust. He described how: "Debris and people start to fall off the building as fires lick their way up the building." Then he watches in disbelief as the towers collapse. "There is something deeply trumatic and uprooting to see a giant fall." he added in disbelief.