High School Coach Remembers Friends Lost 10 Years Ago

West Orange High School teacher and baseball and wrestling coach Steve Zichella reflects on 9/11

The terrorist’s attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 were found out about in countless ways across the United States, the reactions just as far reaching.

West Orange High School teacher and baseball and wrestling coach Steve Zichella was in his second year of teaching. Like many others, he thought that the first plane that hit the Twin Towers was a small one. Just an accident.

"I thought it was a one or two person passenger plane, it took like 20 minutes to get the pictures of it up online," said Zichella. "I remember being absolutely floored. And when the second tower was struck ... I thought it was definitely an attack on the city. There were so many rumors that circulated for the next hour and half. We heard malls were being targeted, that we were being attacked at so many levels."

He really felt the impact when he was watching television and the towers collapsed.

"That was pretty traumatizing," he said.

Zichella said he knew two people killed in the towers, one an opposing baseball player, and the other a workout partner.

"The baseball player was a little older than me, he played in the Metropolitan League and he had tried out (for a professional team)," said Zichella, who didn’t want to reveal the victim’s name. "He was on the cusp of professional ball. He was a catcher."

"My workout partner, that was really tough, I knew him personally. I knew those people were leaving some people behind."

Zichella recalls the rush of patriotism that followed in the days after and going to a store that sold flags a few days later.

"I remember going  with (former West Orange girls soccer coach) Greg Marchese," Zichella said. "People were chanting 'USA, USA' There were a lot of things like that."


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