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Twin towers hit home to businessmen

PUBLISHED: 01:00 09 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:49 03 March 2010

THREE Suffolk businessmen today spoke of the awful scenes they witnessed on a business trip to New York.

Amid the debris and grief that still hangs like a shadow over the Big Apple Americans are desperate to return to business said the men.

THREE Suffolk businessmen today spoke of the awful scenes they witnessed on a business trip to New York.

Amid the debris and grief that still hangs like a shadow over the Big Apple Americans are desperate to return to business said the men.

The trio from Brafe Engineering in Grundisburgh have just come back from a week-long business trip to the city.

As the company does extensive business with America, they were determined to attend the huge Chemshow, which takes place every two years, to make contact with possible new customers.

While they were there, Andrew Dalby, Steve Reynolds and Chris Coolbear were all struck by the resilience of the New York citizens to try and carry on with their lives around the huge void that was the twin towers.

Mr Reynolds, production manager, said: "People are just trying to get on with things.

"There was massive police presence throughout the city and a lot of people were saying that Manhattan has never been such a nice place to live because of it."

Mr Coolbear added: "People (at the exhibition) were shaking us by the hand and thanking us for going over."

However, although industry appears to still be clinging on, leisure and tourism has been affected with hotels drastically slashing their prices and theatre tickets easily available.

Although none of them had planned on visiting ground zero before they went out there, a trip around the city made them feel compelled to pay their last respects to the thousands that had died there.

Mr Dalby, marketing director, said: "I had a huge hang up about going down there.

"I thought it would be very macabre."

But after they had taken a bus tour around Manhattan they quietly walked to the scene of the devastation.

Mr Reynolds said: "While we were on the bus you could still smell the smoke of the fires still burning.

"I am very glad that we did it – all the cards and the flowers that were there.

"The police and authorities have accepted now that people want to be there. "Areas have been set up where you can go and look and be respectful to the terror that went on."

After the noise and hustle and bustle of the city, ground zero is an area of sombre quietness.

But according to Mr Coolbear the Americans are paying tribute to the dead in all sorts of ways with flowers, t-shirts and even postcards of the twin towers.

The group was also struck by the sheer size of the wreckage, which equates to the size of 10 football pitches.

Mr Dalby said: "A huge truck came past us and it was visibly struggling getting up the hill.

"It was carrying just one window section of the World Trade Centre."

According to the group the huge steel girder had twisted like a piece of tin foil with the force of the impact.

Although many Americans are not travelling unless they have to, planes are still full and hundreds of companies are still attending conferences and exhibitions in the country.

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