James Debth


As interview by Eunhyo Mah, March 22, 2019

James Debth: In His Own Words

My name is James Debth and on the day I lived about 600 yards away from ground zero. I was right there on the day of 9/11.
I just happened to be watching TV, a little thing came across the screen and somebody made an announcement and said, “We think a small plane has hit the world trade center, we don't have many more information yet, we’ll get it as soon as we can.”
So we thought oh so some pilot wasn't very good. I thought well, this would be interesting. So I took my camera downstairs and i was kinda shooting and when I got down there and i looked up, it was obviously a bigger deal than what they had just announced on the TV.
So i ran up to my room and for some reason i thought, i need to get away from here because there was a lot of not good stuff happening. By this time, that was when the first building came down so i was walking towards the world trade center, and you’ve probably seen on tv, a big cloud of everything came up, and so when i looked up, all i saw was a big huge cloud of stuff coming at me. So i looked for a building to run into and i ran into the golden sax building. Just as i got in, the doors closed and it just got dark as all this stuff just came by.
A lot of the things I remember were constant sirens. All over the whole city. Like, for days, all you heard were sirens. Police cars going here, ambulances going there. They blocked off all the hospital exits, all the hospital places, all the streets were blocked off with dump trucks.
The other thing that I remember, is that everybody was sort of doing things for other people. It wasn't a total panic, it was like a controlled we need to get out of here, we need to do this, we need to go here, etc.
Oh that was the other interesting thing: so i took the train up the morristown and my friend said it’s interesting, because usually by some time of night, you have to pay to park in the places where the train stops. You have a parking pass that you use to park there, so usually by the end of the day, the parking lots are mostly empty. My friend said, you know who didn't make it because their car is still in the parking lot
It changed everybody’s life. You thought you were going one direction and all of a sudden, you’re doing something different.