He wasn't an eyewitness and fortunately did not lose any loved ones on that fateful September day in lower Manhattan, but Bills WR Donald Jones grew up close enough to New York City to feel the pain and after effects that the World Trade Center attacks had on the psyche of the nation's largest metropolitan area.
Jones, a Plainfield, New Jersey native, was just 14-years old, and he was already in school by the time the first passenger plane struck Tower 1 at 8:46 am.
"Everybody was talking about it at school, but I didn't know what happened exactly when I got to school," he said. "When I got home I was shocked that somebody actually flew planes into the buildings."
Just a half-hour drive from Manhattan, Jones wasn't able to see the destruction, but his mother's boyfriend Sean Wilson, a Newark airport employee, did.
"You can see the World Trade Center from the Newark airport, and he saw the second plane fly into the building. He told me he was shocked by the sight," said Jones. "The first plane had hit, so he was standing out there watching it and he saw the second plane fly into the other tower."
Jones said Wilson had tried to call their house to speak with his mother after the second passenger plane hit Tower 2, but cell phone lines were jammed with all the emergency communication going on in the area.
Though Jones didn't experience personal loss as a result of the attacks, he experienced the events and what followed first hand growing up so close to the most infamous attack on U.S. soil. It was impossible to avoid living a stone's throw from Manhattan.
"Living so close to it… that whole thing was tough that day," said Jones. "Then the whole aftermath, it was a difficult thing to endure just being around it. I can't imagine how those that lost loved ones on that day persevered, but many of them have… probably in tribute to those that they lost."