#2427 | Thursday, September 12th 2002
I was at home. I actually first heard of the trajedy unfolding by news brief on the internet. I then turned on the TV and saw the devastation after the first plane had hit. And, then all the commotion and the increased level of fear when this was seen as deliberate with the crash of the second jet into the towers. Actually, I was numb and still am. Even though I can intellectually wrap my hands around this event, can rationalize all the reasons why anyone would do such a thing, emotionally I am raw. We continue each day as the last, but still come up short for the why's. As a devout Christian, I find myself doubting where my God is in all of this. But, that is good. It means I am still working through this. Our church had a small gathering yesterday evening. It was in contrast to the big event in this small town. People listening and conversing with people. No crowds to get lost in. Friends with friends. My continued prayers to all that have lost so much in this trajedy.
William Brandes | 53 | Ohio

#2399 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday, and on Tuesday mornings I volunteer at an organization in Washington, DC which provides meals for homebound persons with AIDS. I took the underground metro to where I volunteer, leaving home around 8:30 am and arriving there around 9:00 am. My supervisor was not around, so I just started doing my job of packing meals for delivery. The kitchen is very noisy, and although a large radio was turned on quite loud, I could not hear what was happening. People would go to the radio, listen a while, and then make exclamations. I really didn't pay a lot of attention. Then around 8:40 am people started leaving the building, and becoming curious, I did so also, and saw a great deal of black smoke coming from across the Potomac river. I asked a woman what had happened, and she told me a plane had crashed into the Pentagon. I saw she had been crying. She also said two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. I asked her if they were small planes, and she said no, they were large commercial airliners. This was the first I knew of what had been happening. I started to panic not just from the shock, but because my patner worked at the US courthouse in Washington, and there were rumors of car bombs going off in front of the State Department, and that the Mall was on fire. I called my partner, and he said he was OK and was going to stay at the courthouse though everyone was told to leave. He said he felt safer there than on the streets, where it was mass panic. I remember the rest of the day in kind of a daze, finishing my shift, going home on the metro (which I was surprised was running), walking my dogs, and being glued to the TV. I remember making chili for dinner and my brother from California sending an e-mail to make sure I was OK. Most of that day that I remember was not really being afraid, but how quiet it was, except for never-ending sirens, helicopters, and military jets flying over. As well as armed soldiers on the street corners of the Capitol Hill area I live in. A day to remember indeed. I wasn't sure there would still be a world in another month, but here we are a year later, September 11, 2002. A world still so much the same, yet so very different. I haven't been to New York since the attacks, and want to go there. I don't have the answers to the endless questions raised by 9-11. I just hope the rest of the much-hyped new millenium is a big improvement over it. As corny as it sounds, we're either going to learn to live together, or we're all going to go up in flames.
Christopher Koppel | 53 | District of Columbia

#1975 | Tuesday, September 10th 2002
I woke up sick with a high fever that morning at 6 a.m. and decided to call in sick at 7. I slept for a couple hours, waking up at 9:11 a.m. (this is true - I couldn't believe the significance of the time when I realized it later) I turned the TV on to try to wake up enough to get breakfast when I saw the coverage of the attack on the first tower. Because of my fever, I couldn't make any sense of what I saw. Then I saw the live coverage of the second attack. By that time I was wide awake and horrified. The large number of lives lost sickened me. When I saw the towers begin to collapse and realized hundreds more had died, I was almost numb with horror.

I stayed glued to the screen for the next hour. Just when I was about to get up to get breakfast, the announcement was made that there was an attack on the Pentagon and possibly the White House. I only live about 70 miles southwest of D.C. and know several people who commute to work there daily from my area. The realization that this could involve someone I knew began to hit me and felt like someone had punched me in my stomach.

I didn't realize the worst was yet to come. When the towers began to collapse and reporters said there were countless rescue workers and police killed in the line of duty, I had to fight back tears. I am almost in tears while typing this.

I never got up from the TV except for brief trips to the bathroom or for medicine until after my husband came home from teaching at the local community college. I felt less afraid with him home, and finally turned off the news at 2 that afternoon.

On my way to work every day, I pass by the National Guard Armory in Winchester. When I returned to work on the 12th, I saw tanks and barb wire surrounding the building. I think that's when the full enormity of what happened hit me and I knew we really were at war. I don't think I felt truly safe until the barricades were finally removed weeks later.

For the next several weeks, I was extremely nervous when I heard the roar of an airplane overhead and my head would jerk up in an attempt to identify what kind of plane it was. If I could tell it was a National Guard plane, I felt better but often the plane was too far away for me to tell.

One year later, I still feel a hole in my heart because of the deaths of my fellow Americans. The only way I know to honor them is to remember them in ways like this. May they live on in our hearts.

Karen Wisecarver | 53 | Virginia

#1876 | Tuesday, September 10th 2002
I was at home on that morning. with my now ex husband.

The day changed my life. I was first in shock, then broken hearted over the deaths and losses of all the people. Tears for the families were shed and many prayers were uttered then and in the days to come. I wanted to go to war personally to find the people responsible for such a thing.

One month and fourteen days later, after much soul searching and prayers, I left my husband of thirty two years.
He was and is an alcoholic and drug addict. He abused me verbally and emotionally for all of those years. I raised two daughters for him. I worked my way through nursing school to make a better life for us and he worked hard to destroy everything for which I worked very hard. He spent everything we had on drugs, including the home I bought, on my own. Because of 50-50 laws about marriage, he acquired credit cards, unknown to me and spent until everything was gone. I sold the house to keep from having foreclosure. My girls grew up and left, only after I almost completely lost my sanity. Yet I still stayed with this man because I loved him. That is a brief history of the story.

Sept. 11, 2002, made me wake up and realize that my sisters were right, I needed to get away from this man. I left one morning Oct. 24, 2002, with my clothes and that is all. This was only after I had lived with my mother-in-law for the past year, caring for her at home. She had heart heart and kidney failure, and I am a nurse.

I just looked around one day, and said to myself, my life could end today and I would have had nothing but abuse from this man, and he has never applied himself in any way to try to take care of me or my children. It is the best thing I ever did.

I am a Hospice nurse now, and I see people everyday with problems that cannot be fixed, just like the many families that lost loved ones on the nightmare day, 9-11-02. It gives a perspective on my own problems, however heartbreaking they are to me, mine can be fixed.

That day gave me the courage to escape the life and the man that was killing me slowly. You see, I had no desire to live anymore. Now I do. It is a difficlt struggle everyday to keep that desire. I look around at the suffering, heartaches of those poor people, and I keep going.

I am making a a move, back to my home state, my oldest daughter is going with me, she's going to college and I am going back to school for my RN degree, I am an LPN.

Ironically, a day that took the lives of so many, gave me the courage to finally run for my life. I would have surely taken my own life had I stayed in that place. It changed my life, the way I saw things. I saw my situation as hopeless. I am now recovering from
years of mental and emotional abuse, with the help of God. It gave me the courage to escape. It made me see how quickly life can be taken away without warning. It made see that I needed to flee, stop making that addict able to be who he was. I was an enabler, not realizng it. Now I am free from all of that.

I pray everyday for the survivors of that day. I consider myself to be one of them. Sept. 11, 2002, gave my life back to me. I was one of the lucky ones. I am a survivor.

mjshook | 53 | Florida

#1212 | Friday, April 26th 2002
My heart goes out to all those who have either lost a family member or a friend in this most incredible tragedy.

Recently, while scanning the shelves at a local used bookstore, I came across a book titled: "Windows on the World Complete Wine Course" by Kevin Zraly, located on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center. It is full of signatures on the inside and back cover, possibly those of people who had their offices there. If anyone knows or would like to have more information, please contact me.

Randall Kinsley | 53 | Indiana

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