September 11, 2001: A Letter Carrier’s Story

Mail destined for the World Trade Center (WTC) was processed by the Church Street post office located across the street. The WTC complex was so large that it encompassed two zip codes, 16,000 addresses and required ten letter carriers whose daily rounds were made within its corridors. I’d like to relate the story of one carrier, Emma Thornton, whose daily rounds took her through the upper floors of one of the twin towers.

A long-time New Yorker, Emma worked out of the Church Street post office for over 20 years. She remembered watching the towers be built, and then watched in horror as they collapsed. Her route, 24D, covered floors 77 through 110 of the north tower, which was hit by the first plane that morning. Among her patrons were people she’d gotten to know over those two decades, including staff from the Windows on the World restaurant and financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald. As she said, “Every time I think about it, tears come to my eyes. A lot of my friends didn’t make it.”

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