Where were you when the world stopped turning?

posted at 12:41 pm on September 11, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

Driving into the office this morning and seeing all of the giant American flags unfurled over all of the tallest buildings, and revisiting all of the pictures, videos, and soundbites coming through my newsfeed today, I’m irresistibly and just as poignantly reminded of exactly how I felt on the terrible day of September 11th, 2001. I’m sure that everybody who lived through that day remembers where they were and what they were doing when they saw the news, and I’d like to briefly share my experience — an experience probably familiar for many, but I’ve just realized, I don’t think I’ve ever written it down before, and I’d like to take a moment to do so.

On the beautiful, clear morning of this day, eleven years ago, I was sitting in my middle school Civics class. The lesson that day had to do with the three branches of our government and the separation of powers, and at least half of the class was having difficulty containing their impatience for the early lunchtime period. Toward the end of the hour, a teacher from down the hall burst through the door, whispered something to my Civics teacher, and rushed back out again. My teacher went over to the TV, turned it on, flipped to CNN, and stood back. There it was. The horrible image of a bright blue sky filled with black smoke. We all stared in silence for a minute, and I don’t think I nor my peers really had any comprehension of what it was we were looking at. The bell rang, but nobody moved. My teacher turned away from the TV and looked at all of our bewildered faces, clearly at a loss for what to say. He finally managed to get something out: “This… this is huge.” That was when the first wave of cold horror washed over me. We all filed out into the hall to go to our next period, and the normal buzz was even louder than usual — it wasn’t quite panic, but our eight-grade minds were having trouble grasping what was happening. During my next period, we all sat in silence again and just watched the news with my teacher. That was when I began to understand the enormity of what I was seeing: As I was sitting there in Yearbook class, thousands of Americans were staring the reality of imminent and gruesome death in the face. As I was at a large school in the northern Virginia suburbs, several of my peers who had parents working at the Pentagon were pulled out of school early that day. I don’t remember any tears from anyone — just shock. Confused, paralyzing shock. At home that evening, my dad sat me and my brother down and told us solemnly: “Kids… your lives are never going to be the same.” And that was when I started to cry.

I don’t have a ton of distinct memories from my middle-school era, but that one is forever imprinted on my consciousness. I even remember exactly what I was wearing and what I had packed for lunch. I invite you to share your own stories in the comments, as we take this day to remember and reflect upon the thousands of people who died at the hands of hateful terrorists; the countless displays of courage and kindness in the aftermath of the attack; and the men and women who have worked tirelessly since to keep the forces of evil at bay. God bless America.


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The muzzies won, in big ways.

The world has changed for the worse, in dramatic ways, since that day.

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Never forget, indeed, but most have ignored, to their peril.

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM

I laid in bed for hours watching in disbelief…

TheAudacityofNOPE on September 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM

At my desk, a coworker ran up and said “Go online, two planes hit the World Trade Center.”

“Two?” I asked, knowing instantly that we had been attacked.

Akzed on September 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM

From other thread

And never forgive.

Solaratov on September 11, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Indeed, indeed!

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Was in NYC on Sept 10 for a rain cancelled Yankees game.
Was at work in Hartford on Sept 11. Total disbelief and horror as the news came in.

The world changed. My then-3 month old son will not know a pre-9/11 USA.

freedomfirst on September 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM

Took the kid to school on my first day ‘on the bench’ as a consultant. The start of my longest period of unemployment in my 41 years- 5 weeks. Rushed home and watched the horror on TV for the next few days. Called Lockheed Martin (my last client) told them I’d drive rivets in airplanes at $10/hr if need be- ANYTHING to help to KILL SOMETHING for this.

michaelo on September 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Here.

juanito on September 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM

On the 44th floor of 2 WTC when the first plane hit. In the LL Concourse outside the lobby when the 2nd plane hit us, under the East River on the L train when the first tower collapsed, walking home to Queens from Williamsburg when the second tower collapsed.

Got home around 1:30 PM.

TheLastBrainLeft on September 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Someone once said “I learned everything I need ton know about Islam on 911.” Apparently, that’s not enough.

Number of mosques in U.S. nearly doubles since 9/11

Akzed on September 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM

I was working in Minneapolis, engineering a syndicated radio program. When what was happening started showing up on the TV in the studio, I picked up the script for that day’s show and lobbed it in the wastebasket. That day, and the rest of week, was a steady diet of horror, as the attacks were replayed again and again, coupled with shots of the smoldering rubble.

My first daughter was barely a month old, and I couldn’t shake the horrible feeling of wondering what kind of world I’d brought her into.

That following Saturday, I stayed in the house all day and watched nothing but my stack of Looney Tunes videos.

CurtZHP on September 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM

I was doing office hours for the physics class for which I was a TA. A couple of students came in and mentioned that a plane had hit one of the towers of the WTC. An accident, I suggested? No, it was a jumbo jet, and it was deliberate. Then another student came in and reported a second hit – and I told them it was Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. They didn’t even know who that was.

Prufrock on September 11, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Always remember.

Speakup on September 11, 2012 at 12:47 PM

I was a flight attendant for TWA at the time. Departed Omaha for StLouis about the time the first plane hit…. Blissfully unaware.

TBinSTL on September 11, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Middle school? Wow. :)

Anyway, I was working in Arlington for a startup (remember when this economy actually had startups?) and the CEO had us all come into his office to watch news coverage of a plane hitting the WTC. We figured it was some kind of accident until other reports came in about hijacked planes, the pentagon, etc. CEO had us all go home. I went home, got my emergency supplies together and was getting ready to pick up my wife and head for our own personal “undisclosed location.” Before I left news reports made it clear that the immediate danger was past, all planes were grounded, and we were all left sorting through the wreckage.

I remember going outside and thinking how quiet it was when two fighters roared overhead. Wife came home, we watched the news and mourned the loss of our friend Dan McNeal in the attack on the WTC.

JohnTant on September 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM

…on my way to work at the initial report that a plane had hit the building…hadn’t even determined what kind of plane yet…was at work by the time the TV crews started broadcasting…riveted the rest of the day… and helpless.

KOOLAID2 on September 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM

My grandparents had Pearl Harbor.

My parents had the Kennedy assassination.

I have 9/11.

Please, God, don’t let my children have a “I’ll never forget where I was when…” day like any of those.

JimLennon on September 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

several of us crowded around a secretary’s tiny tv screen watching coverage of the first hit when the second one occurred. Everybody’s hair stood up.

I happened to be scheduled to meet a client to introduce him to the Christian Lebanese engineer I wanted to turn a project over to. I suggested we introduce him as Fred Hammond (closest I could come to his actual name) on the way as we discussed what we had seen.

DanMan on September 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Are we really still doing this? I thought last year would pretty much be it. Apparently not.

NoStoppingUs on September 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

I was at Ft Irwin, CA. A cook mentioned that a bomb had gone off at the WTC in NYC and I saw the long range shot of the tower smoking heavily in the morning sky on CNN.

ted c on September 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Erika: Did I read this correctly? You were in 8th grade? NOW I really feel old!

ImageSniper on September 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

When I heard (webnetline) that the first plane struck the WTC, I thought it was a horrible accident. When I heard about the second plane, I went to the dormitory cafeteria to watch the press coverage on the TV. And there I was to watch the coverage of both towers collapse.

Jeddite on September 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM

I was at OS “A” school in Dam Neck, VA. We were in the middle of doing manuevering boards when an OS2 came in and said something to our instructor. He sat there kind of befuddled for a minute and then told everyone to head back to their barracks, the base was on lock down.

Each of the four floors of our barracks had one television. We were all huddled around the one on the second floor. I remember watching what happened and it was just so freaking surreal. I had never heard that building as quiet as it was that day.

JAGonzo on September 11, 2012 at 12:51 PM

I posted this earlier on the other thread.

I was one of the last people in America that day, at least in the East, who knew what had happened. I was working in DC as a lobbyist, and went in early that day to an 8:00 breakfast at the DNC. Later I went to a Senate Banking Committee hearing that began at 10:00, and as was usual practice I had arrived at 9:00 to stand in line. The cell phones went down in DC that morning due to overloads. The hearing started and went on until 10:20, when Capitol police came in and said everyone needed to evacutae due to a “threat to the Capitol,” but that’s all we knew. Outside was chaos, I saw Senators and Congressmen and famous TV news reporters running down the street. I made my way over to my husband’s office two blocks north of the Capitol and finally got through to him on my cell phone. His building had already been evacuated and closed, but he stayed to find me. He let me in and as we rode the elevator up, he told me what had happened. This was about 11:00. I didn’t believe it. From his office we could see the smoke rising from the Pentagon. We went into the conference room and watched the TV as events unfolded.

For the next hour we attempted to reach our best friend who worked in lower Manhattan (my husband had drinks with him a few months earlier at Windows on the World), my BIL who also worked in Manhattan, my office, and our families. Our friend had watched both towers fall from his office. My parents had been frantically trying to reach us and my mom was crying when I finally reached them.

We walked back past the Capitol to get my car and drive home, it was after noon at this point. We drove on I-395 past the burning Pentagon and smelled the jet fuel in the air. We picked up our daughter from her church preschool, and learned that the rector’s wife had been in her car right in front of the Pentagon and saw the plane hit it. We picked up our son from his school – he was in 3d grade – and when we got home he kept asking over and over again, “Is there going to be a war? Is Daddy going to have to fight?” Heartbreaking. He was quite traumatized by 9/11 and would not speak of it at all for years.

———

Recently I spent some time with another employee of my company who works in our Washington, DC office. She told me that on 9/11, her daughter had originally been scheduled to be on AA Flight 77, which hit the Pentagon. She was heading to college at UC Santa Barbara and her parents were to follow on Thursday. At the last minute, they decided she should not go alone and they switched her to the Thursday flight. They have all had “survivor’s guilt” ever since.

rockmom on September 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Are we really still doing this? I thought last year would pretty much be it. Apparently not.

NoStoppingUs on September 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

People love to talk about themselves!

ImageSniper on September 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM

This was the event that completed a nearly decade-long conversion from a dumb liberal to a wise conservative. The conversion started with the fall of the Berlin Wall, was hastened on by Bill Clinton, and in the days following 9/11 I finally said “enough is enough.”

I voted for Al Gore in 2000 (*shame*) and had a sense of dread watching President Bush fly around the country that morning. I was thinking he was in way over his head. When he sat down and addressed the nation from the White House in the day or so following, I realized that he got it and we would be in good hands. Remembering the moment at Ground Zero with the fire chief and the bull horn still gives me goose bumps.

9/11: Never Forget.

Mallard T. Drake on September 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM

I was sitting in my kitchen, having a cup of coffee, and saw the second plane hit. Up to that point, I didn’t really have any idea what had happened – to the first Tower. No real link to terrorism.

I’ll always remember – I saw that second plane headed toward the second Tower – and I remember saying, out loud:

Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!

I was the only one in the kitchen.

OhEssYouCowboys on September 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM

I was at the Office I worked at with my co-workers.
(We were a branch office of an engineering firm, with 5 in
our office)A women who had her own business next to ours had
a TV, so we all went over there to watch…sad, sad day.

ToddPA on September 11, 2012 at 12:53 PM

I was in the shower when the phone rang. It was my mom and she said “turn your TV on, they’re attacking us”….totally off guard, I said WHO is attacking us? She said “just turn on your TV”.
The first tower had just been hit….I was so freaked out, it was surreal and so scary. I was spellbound, like the rest of the country. I didn’t stop watching for hours and then days. Cried through all of it. I cried last night watching TLC.

redlucy on September 11, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Got home around 1:30 PM.

TheLastBrainLeft on September 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM

wow! Glad you’re here to comment.

DanMan on September 11, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Walking to the Schine Student Center at Syracuse University to get breakfast before my first class of the day. I noticed that a couple of fighter jets flew over my head heading south while I was walking. NEADS is just north of Syracuse in Rome, but at the time I didn’t realize the significance.

As a friend and I sat down to eat, a guy set up a projector in the dining hall and turned on the news.

MobileVideoEngineer on September 11, 2012 at 12:53 PM

People love to talk about themselves!

ImageSniper on September 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Especially Zerobama.

freedomfirst on September 11, 2012 at 12:54 PM

I worked part-time that year; on Tuesdays I was home with my then 2- and 4-year-olds.

I stood on my deck and marveled at an early-autumn sky, cornflower-blue and clear as polished glass. Then I went inside, rounded the corner, and froze in astonishment as the second plane, impossibly low, flew into the tower.

My four year old–who is now fifteen–remembers three things about that day:

1. he played with his matchbox cars on the coffee table
2. big planes flew into the buildings…
3. ..and Mommy cried

Grace_is_sufficient on September 11, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Muslims have carried out 19,582 terror attacks worldwide since 911.

The next day after all aviation but military was grounded, a jet flew over our house, and my seven-year old asked if that was a good airplane or a bad one. He’s a Marine recruit now.

Akzed on September 11, 2012 at 12:54 PM

I was in sixth grade.

The teachers had made a pact not to tell any of the kids what was going on but everyone knew something was up. There was no hiding the whispers the teachers were exchanging, the worried glances, the fact that throughout the day parents kept showing up and taking their kids home.

Finally at lunch time I’d had enough. I walked over to one of the teachers and asked point blank what was going on. She told me “A plane crashed and some people were hurt.” I accepted that information and went back to my friends and told them. “It’s not big deal, a plane crashed, that’s all” I don’t think I’ll ever forgive myself for dismissing something like that.

It wasn’t until the second to last class of the day. It was band class and to our surprise our teacher told us that we would have a free day, we didn’t even have to take out our instruments. We sat there chatting up a storm and then the bell rang and the principal came over the loud speaker.

“It’s time to bring to your attention what has happened, a lot of students were concerned. This morning four planes were hijacked by terrorists, two hit the World Trade Center, one hit the Pentagon and one crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. We do not know how many casualties but we want you to know that you are safe.”

She went off the loud speaker after that and then there was silence. I have never heard such silence before in my life. No one said a word, no one cried and no one breathed. It took a very long time before someone finally spoke. We all were abuzz at what had happened and no work was done for the rest of the day.

I remember riding home on the bus and rushing to my door. “Mom! The World Trade Center was hit!” and my mom turned to me and said. “They’re gone.”

I sat in front of the TV for hours watching the news. We all went to church that night and I remember crying when I heard the president speak, I cried for a long time with everyone at my church as we prayed.

Those things never leave you.

NerwenAldarion on September 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Heard the rumor the first plane hit and walked to a coffee shop to stand literally packed in with other people watching in disbelief as the other plane hit.

I was in a foreign country where terrorism was kind of an accepted fact of life. But on an intuitive level I knew this was a whole different ballgame.

CorporatePiggy on September 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM

I was working at CSC in Columbia, SC. We had just started the first morning of our POINT (software for P&C insurers) user group. I was woring on my computer in my office when I got an email alert. I follwed the link and saw the live video on the screen.

I went down to the auditorium where the user group was meeting in general session. I found the UG president and told her what was happening. She immediately interrupted the current speaker to let the group know what was going on.

There were a lot of gasps and some started crying. Only later that day did I learn that at least 20 of the people in the room worked at offices in the WTC.

We managed to get a live TV feed onto the big screen in the auditorium. The UG (and many CSC employees) spent the rest of the day in the auditorium watching and listening to events unfold.

The next day we and the UG were faced with how to get over 250 people back home with no air service — a very few had driven their own cars. Thanks to some cooperative rental car companies (Hertz and Avis in particular) many were able to rent cars to drive home. Numerous CSC employees volunteered to drive others back home — in some cases more than a 1000 miles each way. In the end, everyone got home within three days.

The day was indeed a tragedy. But the way everyone pulled together to get people back home was an amazing experience.

Final note – All of the 20 or so people who worked in the WTC lost many friends and acquaintances that day. In talking to some of them years later, most believed they would have died that day as well if they hadn’t had the good fortune to be in SC that day.

Cecil on September 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM

I was at home with our two toddlers and pregnant with our third. My husband walked in the door and said the WTC had just been hit by a plane and terrorism was suspected. Turned on the TV & watched in disbelief.

A day or so later, I remember being at the park with my kids, and realizing how eerie it was that there were absolutely no planes in the sky.

JA on September 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM

People love to talk about themselves!

ImageSniper on September 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM

If you don’t like this thread why comment?

sandee on September 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Woke up in California, news was talking about a “commuter plane” hitting the WTC as a news item. By the time I was finished getting ready for work they were still yammering on about a plane hitting the WTC. Turned on the television just as the second plane hit and knew that this was something more than the result an errant navigation system (a prevailing theory up until that point). The Pentagon was hit on my way into the office. At no time until it happened did it even occur to me that the towers would collapse.

And, only later did I find out that my brother had just moved from midtown to just south of the WTC the weekend before. He was fine but out of his apartment for months.

Happy Nomad on September 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Are we really still doing this? I thought last year would pretty much be it. Apparently not.

NoStoppingUs on September 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

MSNBC does one thing, and one thing, only, that’s worth a damn. On this day, every year, it replays the events of that day.

Every American should always be reminded, that there are forces out there, beyond and within our borders, who want to exterminate us.

OhEssYouCowboys on September 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM

I’d just gotten up and was in the shower in California (around 5:45 a.m PST), when my wife ran in and said that her brother had just called from Philadelphia to say New York City was being bombed. We turned on the TV and watched stunned as the second plane came in and hit. I had to leave for work but saw the first tower come down around 7:00 a.m. PST and my wife called me in the car to say the second tower just came down. Spent the rest of the day in shock, getting updates from my wife via phone calls.

Trafalgar on September 11, 2012 at 12:56 PM

My uncle and aunt were going through naturalization ceremony when the first plane hit the building, and had to walk all the way from Federal Plaza to Brighton Beach. The magnitude of what actually occurred did not settle in for them for the next few days.

I also remember winning a hefty bet against a friend who was convinced that Americans will take to the street en masse demanding to assault, deport, or at least restrict the Muslims. Naturally, they did not. Betting on people’s stupidity was, is, and will ever remain an easy moneymaker.

Archivarix on September 11, 2012 at 12:57 PM

I was beginning my 15th year in the Air Force sitting in an academic training class preparing to become a member of JSTARs. I just remember crammed into this small office space with a bunch of fellow squadron members watching events on the TV and knowing that the rest of my career had just been given a new purpose. We all knew what was coming after the first plane hit, war. It is a shame our society never really grasped that notion to its fullest extent. While some have, our society as a whole never embraced what happened to our world that day.

I also remember calling my wife who was working at a nearby school to let her know what had happened. The school (which was full of military brats) hadn’t gotten the news yet so there was some confusion on her part as to what I was saying.

That night we explained to our then young children that I was probably going to be gone a lot over the next few years. Little did I know what an understatement that was!

Although retired from service now, many of my friends are still fighting the war that was brought to us on 9-11. So grateful to have such men and women who will stand in the gap for us all.

Centurion68 on September 11, 2012 at 12:57 PM

If you don’t like this thread why comment?

sandee on September 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM

People want attention.

;O)

OhEssYouCowboys on September 11, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Heard about the 2nd plane on the radio on the drive into the office in Denver. Someone rolled out a TV. Will never forget Katie Couric asking someone if this was the result of Bush administration policies.

perroviejo on September 11, 2012 at 12:58 PM

I was in our HR person’s office. She put the phone down and said, “That was the dean on the phone. She just told me a plane hit the World Trade Center.”

I imagined a small prop plane. I went down to my office and checked online just as the second plane hit. Then there were reports that something had happened at the Pentagon and that a plane had crashed in a field in Pa.

I remember watching the cloud of dust where the plane hit, thinking the top of the building was about to fall off, and then realizing the entire building was falling.

AubieJon on September 11, 2012 at 12:58 PM

I don’t have a special story.. Just home. Watched for 24 hours straight. What struck me the most was the days after watching the people holding up signs of their loved ones asking if anyone had seen them..

sandee on September 11, 2012 at 12:58 PM

I was in the basement of the house getting ready to warm up for a rehearsal and had the radio on the “Barbara Carlson (Tucker’s mom) and Friends Show” when the news came in. Being a born and bred New Yorker who had moved to Minneapolis I thought, “Jesus, the inevitable finally happened. Somebody went of course or fell asleep and hit one of the towers.”

When the second one hit, Barbara’s producer, an Army vet, said, ‘Oh, God, we’re being attacked!”

On the way in a reporter on the radio said one of the towers collapsed. “What? Collapsed? What does he mean by ‘collapsed’? ” There was no way I could fathom what that meant because I just couldn’t picture it. It was like being told the sun fell out of the sky.

When I got to work no one was on stage. We were all in the lounge when the second one went down.

It was then I understood the meaning of “collapsed”.

princetrumpet on September 11, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Posted this on the other thread:

I remember I was on my way to work at a tiny suburban newspaper, and I remember thinking what a beautiful, sunny, mild day it was. My car radio had been left on the local station for the traffic reports because on the previous day, I had to go to one of the city offices for training, and so when I got in the car, it clicked on and I heard the tail end of a report that ” … a plane has crashed …”

A very short drive later, I was at the office and virtually every single person, from the publisher to the mailroom employees, was in the newsroom watching the TV. The rest of the day was a blur, as we listened to the reports of those unspeakable tragedies, and tried to piece together our own reports of what happened, working far into the evening, still incredulous and not entirely comprehending what had happened.

I don’t remember driving home. Sat in front of the TV for the rest of the night.

PatriotGal2257 on September 11, 2012 at 12:58 PM

I was in my living room in Berkeley, California. Up early, had a long commute, brewing my coffee. The local news suddenly cut to the national news. One tower was on fire, and I had been there a couple of years before and knew the scale of it-that was no small plane. I took 15 seconds to decide to wake my husband. He stumbled up and we wondered how this accident could have happened on a clear blue day, but I think I knew. Then we watched the second plane hit live, right in front of us. I swore, ran a circle around the living room, ran to a window…then, who did I know out there? Called a friend in New York, she was in a panic for her father in Lower Manhattan. Called a friend who was commuting and told her not to get on the Bay Bridge-too late! She was on it. Told her to get out of the City as fast as possible. My husband, the architect stared at those burning towers and said they were going to collapse. He said, the whole thing, both of them-see? There’s already a tilt. It will only be minutes.

Things were falling…were they pieces of the building? Paper? No, the rate of acceleration was all wrong for those. It was people. We watched people jump and fall forever. My God. Never, ever, will I forget, and my children will LEARN and know what evil is.

Shock, to mesmerization, to terror, to cold fury. It did change everything.

Javahog on September 11, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Are we really still doing this? I thought last year would pretty much be it. Apparently not.

NoStoppingUs on September 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

We’ll never stop.

thebrokenrattle on September 11, 2012 at 12:59 PM

I am a non-agressive, non-violent person by nature. Outside of a couple of scraps with my brother in my younger days, I have gone my whole life without ever having fought with a living soul not even in high school.

I think I have told my story before so I won’t recap from the beginning. But what I most vividly remember is sitting on the couch watching TV the whole day of the 11th with my hands pretty much continously clenched, shaking with the hate that I felt for the heartless animals, the rabid dogs who would do such a thing.

To this day, if I think about it long enough, I notice that my hands still clench involuntarily. You can’t possible know how out of character it is for me to say this, but if those monsters hadn’t died in the attacks, I could have easily killed them all myself. Its what you do with rabid dogs.

Texene on September 11, 2012 at 12:59 PM

I had just woke up and got online. A friend IM’d me to turn on the TV. She said it might have been a missile, but the news reporter said it was an aircraft. I figured it was an aviation accident because there wasn’t a country on Earth that would dare start launching missiles at us without facing massive retaliation.

Five minutes later, when I watched the second plane go in, I knew my children would have a, “Where were you when..?” question like I recall from the day Kennedy was shot–something I never wanted for them.

Liam on September 11, 2012 at 12:59 PM

I was at the office. Someone came in and said a small plane had hit the World Trade Center. We were speculating over how someone could not manage to miss a building; turned on the TV in time to see the second plane hit. I watched all morning in a state of horror and near disbelief. We didn’t get a bit of work done.

At noon I went to the Red Cross to give blood in the hope it would be needed. It was the only thing I could think of to do that might help. There were hugely long lines, snaking back and forth around the lobby. There was a TV on, which I could only see about half of the time as the lines crept forward. We stood and waited in silence, listening to the TV.

Green Tree on September 11, 2012 at 1:00 PM

It was an absolutely perfect morning in Virgina. Crystal clear and calm. I had to go to Langley AFB very early to brief the 4-Star. I finished and went to the gym when one of the TV’s had the Today show with the first report of the plane. I’ll never forget watching the second plane hit the other tower live on TV. I knew that one of my cousins had to have been killed. Since several of them worked for Cantor Fitzgerald up on the 100th floor.

One of my cousins was never found. Another took the day off because he wasn’t feeling well. He’s never been the same. A third that is NYPD also had the day off. He’s still works the Street.

God bless you, Joseph and everyone else that died that day. God bless all of the service men and women that have died since keeping us safe. May God bless and protect the USA.

AOTC

Agent of the Cross on September 11, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Are we really still doing this? I thought last year would pretty much be it. Apparently not.

NoStoppingUs on September 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Really? Why would we forget the event that took the lives of so many of our fellow countrymen…here on our own soil?

hmmm, furthermore, I seem to remember a quote that reminds us that those who forget history are doomed to repear it.

redlucy on September 11, 2012 at 1:00 PM

I was in Toronto, Ontario that day. I first heard about it when my clock radio went off around 9am. After listening for a few minutes, I arose and turned off the TV. I didn’t move an inch for the next six hours. I had lived in NYC two years before, and loved it immensely. I wept at seeing my beloved city in pain. But worse came later. As I took the bus to work that day, I saw people cheer the attacks. Some may have been in shock, but many openly danced in the streets. I will never forgive them for that, ever again. I moved away a year later and will never set foot in that horrible place. I encourage others to do the same.

KillerKane on September 11, 2012 at 1:00 PM

I was in Harford for a Hazmat training class. Our instructor went out to move his car and when he came back in he said he heard on the radio that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers. We had a TV in the classroom with rabbit ears. We turned it on and within 5 min we saw the 2nd plane hit. We all were in shock and disbelief. Our intructor was a first responder and in the national guard, he had to go to Bradley airport. We all left class around 10:00. I went back to my workplace in Mystic, Ct, listening to the radio the whole way. As a matter of fact that was the first time I had listened to Rush Limbaugh his station was the best one I could receive. When I got to work people were shook up and going home. Needless to say the next two days of classes in Hartford was not very instructive…a few in the class were stuck and couldnt get home due to the travel restrictions. It was just awful.

RightOne on September 11, 2012 at 1:00 PM

I was at work, we had a custom cabinet shop and was in the shop making cabinets, and the news came on the radio! I was crying so hard I could hardly stand. I still cry seeing the the films of those planes and the Towers falling.

Our home has a sign on our front window, ‘WE Will Not Submit’ and our home will not!

God Bless Our Republic and please help us defend Our Nation against those who want to kill us if WE DON’T Submit!
L

letget on September 11, 2012 at 1:00 PM

I was getting ready to go to classes at college. I was running late. I had the television news on, but I’d been in the bedroom getting dressed. I rushed into the living room to get my briefcase, keys in hand… the plane was just impacting the tower.

I stood there stunned. The briefcase and my car keys fell from my hands.

I grabbed the remote and turned on the volume. I sank onto the sofa.

WHO would do such a horrendous, insane, thing? WHY would anyone murder defenseless people like that? WHERE was our military?

My phone started to ring. I ignored it. I watched horrified for a few minutes, I can’t remember exactly how long.

I remember thinking “What can I do? What will they need most?”

I grabbed the car keys and went to the nearest blood bank. There was already a line forming when I got there.

As I was donating, the shock and sorrow that I had been feeling, began to change. Another emotion was emerging. It was a deep and abiding rage.

I carry that sorrow and the accompanying rage to this day. They are seared into my heart. They will be with me, always.

thatsafactjack on September 11, 2012 at 1:01 PM

asleep and unaware-until i dashed to an empty subway to return to work after vacation. i couldn’t figure out why NO ONE was on the T and downtown boston was a ghost town.

then i got to work – and everyone left there was crying and listening to the radio…

mittens on September 11, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Classy first tweet of the day from the president on 9/11 RT @BarackObama: The election is in 8 weeks. Sign up to volunteer:—
Vamos Mets (@VamosMets) September 11, 2012

bayview on September 11, 2012 at 1:01 PM

My first daughter was barely a month old, and I couldn’t shake the horrible feeling of wondering what kind of world I’d brought her into.

CurtZHP on September 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Muslems have been murdering the infidel for 1400 years, its their duty and they’re good at it. We just got a taste of what the rest of the world has had to put up with for a long long time.

The real crime, is that we’re still fed the Disneyfied pap of the “religion of peace” even 11 years after we got a harsh lesson in the realities of islam.

Rebar on September 11, 2012 at 1:03 PM

The election of obama in 2008, and the fact that he has any chance at re-election this year, proves that many Americans have forgotten (or have chosen to ignore) the important lessons of 9/11. TOO many Americans have simply given up on our country – it is very sad, very un-American.

Pork-Chop on September 11, 2012 at 1:03 PM

I carry that sorrow and the accompanying rage to this day. They are seared into my heart. They will be with me, always.

thatsafactjack on September 11, 2012 at 1:01 PM

This.

redlucy on September 11, 2012 at 1:04 PM

I was shaving and listening to Howard Stern when he announced a building had been hit by a plane.

libertarianlunatic on September 11, 2012 at 1:04 PM

7.I told my sleepy wife that I heard on the radio that a small plane had hit one of the WTC towers. She went downstairs to watch on TV while I left. I listened on the car radio until I stopped at a gas station to fill up. When I turned the radio on again, the newscasters were referring to the second plane that hit the other tower. I knew then.

My commute took me across the 7 mile-long San Mateo Bridge, which is about 10 miles south of San Francisco International Airport. As I was on the causeway, I peered intently to see if there any airplanes heading toward the highrise. I was prepared to stop on the bridge. I learned some years later that the terrorists had earlier planned to include targets on both coasts, and the San Mateo Bridge had been one possible target. They scrapped plans to hit the West Coast as too difficult to coordinate.

aunursa on September 11, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Sitting in my office comptemplating how to survive the dotcom bust.
My Master Scheduler comes screeming down the hallway.” The World Trade Center has been hit by a plane. Turn on your TV.”
I can still see her face to this day. Fear.
Turned on TV. Channel surfed from scene to scene. CHAOS !
Mass confusion regarding a missing, presumed highjacked plane.
Terror attack !!! OBL.
Thoughts shift to my first born. Two months old. He will not live in the same world as I. Wish I could give him a bottle. RIGHT NOW.
Call wife. She wants me home.
Can’t go. Must address employees. Not sure what just happened. NO RETALIATION AGAINST ANY OTHER EMPLOYEE.
Production shut down. Stay in breakroom to watch the news. All phones available to call loved one ANYWHERE.
Download John Cooper’s 1998 interview with OBL
ANGRY. ANGRY.

Day off, tomorrow.

Jabberwock on September 11, 2012 at 1:06 PM

bayview on September 11, 2012 at 1:01 PM

I think he was late for the ceremony at the Pentagon this morning…anybody know for sure?

d1carter on September 11, 2012 at 1:06 PM

I was in Freshman highschool history class when we were told to go home. No reason given. We all thought “yay no school”. Then the horror of what happened was told to us out side by others. I won’t ever forget trying to call my mom on a cell phone and no one had reception.

Optimus Prime on September 11, 2012 at 1:06 PM

From other thread

Obama’s first tweet on this 9/11 :
“The election is in 8 weeks. Sign up to volunteer:”

Mitt’s : “On this most somber day, America is united under God in its quest for peace and freedom at home and across the world.”

pambi on September 11, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2012 at 1:06 PM

One thing that day that struck me most was all of the church parking lots were full. I had to drive from Richmond, Va to Danville, Va that afternoon and all along US360 and US58 every single church lot was full.

People were saying a prayer for our country, a missing friend, or for those strangers in NYC, Pa and in DC that they never knew.

It’s a pretty safe bet that many of those folks didn’t give prayer much thought before that day. And many probably haven’t given it much thought since. But that day, they prayed.

BacaDog on September 11, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Are we really still doing this? I thought last year would pretty much be it. Apparently not.

NoStoppingUs on September 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

11 years after NoStoppingUs dies, people will still be saying “whatever happened to that superior-sounding person who always tried to make us feel bad for being human”, and the response will be “who cares? At least he’s not here.”

AubieJon on September 11, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Are we really still doing this? I thought last year would pretty much be it. Apparently not.

NoStoppingUs on September 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

People love to talk about themselves!

ImageSniper on September 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Yeah, because 10 years is the time limit for remembering horrendous events that merely witnessing via TV would impact our lives.

I was working for a bank in Nebraska doing Business Continuity Planning. We had a TV set up in one of the conference rooms and watched as they replayed the images of the planes hitting the buildings. And then live as first one, and then the other tower collapsed. At the time, I was eerily reminded of a department lunch we had just about a week before. I was talking to a colleague about how fractured the country was, especially after the election, and I said it would probably take another Pearl Harbor to make us all come together.

Mitoch55 on September 11, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Are we really still doing this? I thought last year would pretty much be it. Apparently not.

NoStoppingUs on September 11, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Because we’re still at involved in a hot war.

Two simple facts:

a) We didn’t start it despite what the Paulistas claim
b) Americans need to be reminded. Regularly. Most of us have the attention span of gnats sadly.

It’ not some grand conspiracy to scare you…

CorporatePiggy on September 11, 2012 at 1:07 PM

hmmm, furthermore, I seem to remember a quote that reminds us that those who forget history are doomed to repear repeat it.

redlucy on September 11, 2012 at 1:00 PM

redlucy on September 11, 2012 at 1:07 PM

I’m embarrassed to say I was watching the Today Show.
I don’t do that anymore.
I watched Fox this morning. Was Jon Scott on Fox the first to tie the attack to Bin Laden?

vityas on September 11, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Um don’t we have more important things to talk about, like iPhone 5? /s

I was in 11th grade English class. For some reason… this anniversary has seemed rather muted, almost like it isn’t remembered. I think (even though I have no proof) as a society we have become more self-obsessed and worry on the trivial things… hence my opening snark on how people would rather focus on unimportant things, instead of the gradual erosion of our liberties.

onetrickpony on September 11, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Boeing being evacuated in Pennsylvania now, due to bomb threat.

Schadenfreude on September 11, 2012 at 1:09 PM

I was living in Ft. Lauderdale, working in my home office when my teenage daughter stuck her head in the door and told me plane had hit the WTC. Thinking it was an accident, I said a silent prayer for the safety of those involved and continued working.

A short time later she came to the door again and said, “Mom, turn on the TV, something bad is going on.”

As I turned it on ABC was showing the replay of the second plane hitting the other tower just minutes after it happened.

A few minutes later my oldest daughter who lived 200 miles away called me asking who would do such a thing and why, and if I thought she should go pick up my 2 young grandsons from school.

While I was trying to calm her down ABC reported that the pentagon had also been hit by a plane.

My daughter who was also watching ABC heard me gasp, she said, “Mom, we’re under attack aren’t we?”

One of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to tell one of my children was, “yes honey, we are.”

Flora Duh on September 11, 2012 at 1:09 PM

We learned of it on returning to our Granada, Spain hotel after spending several hours with Spanish police filing a report on the theft of my passport earlier that day. We drove to Madrid early the next morning and spent another four days there, waiting for flights to resume and untangling the passport mess.

It felt very strange to watch it all play out from overseas. We were glued to CNN Europe, desperately trying to understand what was happening. It would have been a real nightmare if not for the wonderful people at our Embassy, and the staff at our hotel who knew our circumstances. They were so solicitous and so concerned for us, that I actually have some fond memories of that time. Still, it was never so good to get home.

Dee2008 on September 11, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Here’s a great place to see the network coverage of the day…here.

d1carter on September 11, 2012 at 1:11 PM

I was in 8th grade, getting ready for school. My mom had The Today Show on and they came back from commercial talking about how a plane had crashed. I remember there being some speculation about it being an accident, and then all the sudden another plane crashed in.

I was about 5 minutes late to class and told my teacher about it; nobody in the school had heard about it. My first period teacher said that we shouldn’t talk about it and finish our lesson ‘because then the terrorists will have won’. Fortunately, my 2nd period teacher had more sense and let us watch CNN live as the towers fell down.

I couldn’t believe what was happening…. that someone wanted to attack us. I remember talking with all my friends at lunch about how we wished we could enlist and take down whoever did it.

thinkingthought on September 11, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Corner of Cypress and Hope in Providence, RI, on my way to work. All of sudden, I just heard some guy literally screaming on the radio. I had no idea what I was listening to — until about 15 seconds later. I’ll never forget it.

Dopenstrange on September 11, 2012 at 1:11 PM

One of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to tell one of my children was, “yes honey, we are.”

Flora Duh on September 11, 2012 at 1:09 PM

I remember my 78 year old dad calling and asking me if the world had gone mad.

AubieJon on September 11, 2012 at 1:12 PM

We’ll never stop.

thebrokenrattle on September 11, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Yes. This^

Javahog on September 11, 2012 at 1:12 PM

I was at work. The owner asked me to wheel a TV on a cart into his office, and we sat there, watching in disbelief. We were a company of 80 employees. He let us go home at lunch to be with our families.

kingsjester on September 11, 2012 at 1:15 PM

I live in CA. Was up to go to work, shaving and radio said a plane had hit one of the WTC towers. Went out and turned on the TV, standing there watching and out of the blue another plane hit.

Just an awful day that makes me furious and sad.

arnold ziffel on September 11, 2012 at 1:16 PM

getting ready to take my wife to doctor for our second baby. due dec 25th. baby was born oct 30, 7 weeks early. prematurity complications, brain hemorrage, hydrocephalus, shunt implant. for the next 4 motnhs he was in the hospital having brain surgeries fighting for his life. j hopkins bmore. every time we entered the hospital we were frisked, very tight security. it was during the anthrax stuff. all i kept hoping was the next attack would be after my son was safe, out of danger and home from the hospital. my wifes employer actually bought a mil surplus gasmask online; thought that was funny. don your protective duct tape!

t8stlikchkn on September 11, 2012 at 1:16 PM

I was at home getting ready to go to work when a friend called. She said the WTC was hit by a plane. I turned on the TV just after the plane hit the Pentagon. My first thoughts were about people I knew there. To this day I hope they were not one of the ones forced to jump.
I was born during WWII, was in Selma and Birmingham, was in college when JFK was assassinated, watched men walk on the moon. But this was personal and will hopefully never be repeated.
God Bless.

Deanna on September 11, 2012 at 1:17 PM

My radio alarm clock woke me with the news that a plane had hit one of the towers. I remember thinking to myself that it must have been a small commuter type plane. I went about my morning blissfully unaware until I came out to the living room and saw the look on my Mom’s face.

Nope, I will never forget, and I will never apologize for sharing in the rememberance of this day or of those who lost everything on that horrible day.

ccrosby on September 11, 2012 at 1:17 PM

I was in New York on 6th ave. Still unbelievable what I watched.

rubberneck on September 11, 2012 at 1:18 PM

I was in Moscow Russia, serving an LDS mission. An older woman approached us on the street and asked if we had heard what happened in New York. She told us that someone had bombed New York and that the city had been destroyed. We immediately went downtown to an internet cafe to check the news. The first thing I saw was a picture of one of the towers in flames. I remember being relieved that it was “only” the WTC that had been hit, and simultaneously horrified that such a thing had happened.
The next day, all the missionaries went to our Mission President’s house for a big meeting. He was from Canada, and I remember that he cried when he spoke about how inspired he was to see how the people of New York instantly came together to search for survivors and comfort those who had lost loved ones. I came home less than 2 months later, and I remember passing the US Embassy on the drive to the airport. When I’d arrived in January of 2000, the embassy had been the scene of angry protests and hurled eggs. When I passed by again on my way home after 9/11, the street was lined with flowers and candles. I realized then that “world opinion” is fickle and irrelevant. Even those countries that supposedly hate us are filled with people who would give anything to live here- and feel a kinship with us as a beacon of freedom and hope for the world.

Komsomoletz on September 11, 2012 at 1:18 PM

t8stlikchkn on September 11, 2012 at 1:16 PM

How is your son now?

CurtZHP on September 11, 2012 at 1:18 PM

…I also remember sitting in the stands for a couple of days at community football games…the whole day…clear skys…without a plane in the sky anywhere!!!

KOOLAID2 on September 11, 2012 at 1:18 PM

I was working the third shift back then, and if I had followed my normal routine I wouldn’t have known what happened till I got to work that night. I had worked the night before, and I usually just went home, ate breakfast while reading the morning paper, and then slept. I wasn’t in the habit of turning on the TV for anything; I preferred to read.

It just happened that a friend called me that morning and while we were talking someone came into his office and told him that somebody flew a plane into the World Trade Center. I thought, okay, small plane, aviation accident. Then my friend said, “On purpose.” That’s when I turned on the TV. Both towers had already been hit, but what I saw on the screen behind the reporters was one tower on fire, and a replay of the second jet hitting the other tower. My jaw dropped. I stayed glued to the TV, and watched both towers fall.

I’ve had Donald Rumsfeld’s memoirs on my stack of books to read, and it just happens that today is the day I will start reading it. It seems appropriate.

backwoods conservative on September 11, 2012 at 1:18 PM

I was in Iceland participating in an international Naval exercise.

I wrote about my 9/11 memories after the 5-year anniversary of that horrible day here:

http://www.otranews.blogspot.com/2006/09/remembering-911.html

(back when I used to blog)

johnny alpha on September 11, 2012 at 1:19 PM

I was in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

dczombie on September 11, 2012 at 1:19 PM

I was in Omaha driving into work when I heard on the radio what happened but due to lack of information it only sounded like a small tiny prop plane. As I pulled into the parking lot the news of a second plane hitting the WTC. I distinctly remember thinking ‘Someone ought to check the air traffic controllers or their computers’. I walked in and saw the TV and everyone gathered around.

tommer74 on September 11, 2012 at 1:19 PM

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