#2022 | Tuesday, September 10th 2002
Five time zones away from ground zero, I was asleep during the attack. I do not typically turn on the television or radio while getting ready for work. But after dropping my daughter off at school, I turned on the news in the car. I was thoroughly confused. The anchor woman kept saying we did not know exactly where the president was... as if he was literally missing. Then it seemed as though he had been kidnapped -- that hijackers were on Air Force One. I was worried and surprised.

But the reality, the truth that I then watched over and over on the television during the next few days, was a million times worse. I can still remember that it was a sunny day and I can even remember the section of road that I was driving down when I first heard something was terribly wrong in our country. And I can remember, and continue to feel, the pain of losing thousands of Americans. I did not personally know a single person lost on September 11th. Yet, somehow, I feel like a piece of me is missing. Maybe it is my innocence and naiveté. They crumbled, like the towers, exactly one year ago.

Jessica Wilson | 29 | Alaska

#1953 | Tuesday, September 10th 2002
Tommorrow morning one year ago at 5:15 in the morning my mom ran into my room yelling my name. At first through my groginess I didn’t recognize the tone of her voice and I was angry with her for waking me up 15 minutes early, I was about to yell at her when she saw that she had woken me up and she started screaming. “They’re killing everybody, they’re killing everybody” she cried, I looked up into her face and saw the horror, torror, shock, fear, and tears on her face and my heart froze in terror. What could turn my mom into this? What could do this? She grabbed my arm and led me upstairs to the tv and that’s when I started to cry too. They were showing footage of the plane hitting the first tower. I though it was a mistake, I had no clue what was going on, I thought that it must be a freighter, it didn’t even occur to me that there might be people on the plane until later. I didn’t even know what significance these buildings had, where they were, what they were, what was in them, other than people, I knew there were people in them, and that they were burning alive and that was all. And then the second tower was hit. I saw the first footage live. I think I screamed, or maybe it was my mom, and that was when I realized that it was not a mistake, that there were people in the planes, and that the planes were aimed like missiles for a very clear target. People just like me, a 15 year old girl who was just as inspired, just as in love, just as hopeful as me just got catapulted into a building and nothing, no act of god, nothing that said ‘No this ones special, we’ll save her for something great’ kept it from happening. I took a shower, I forced myself to stop crying, I didn’t want to go to school, I wanted to stay glued to the tv all day. When I came out of the shower the first tower was collapsing. And with it fell every hope I had of it being ok. Of something being ok in such chaos. News people were weeping. People were running and screeming, the dust was coming up behind them as they ran and then they were engulfed, and people who were only 6 feet from the camera disapeard. I went numb. The second tower collapsed and I thought of all of the people who were lost in the dust at its base as it fell on top of them, they wouldn’t even know because of the dust until it was on them, or maybe the sound would give it away, but they would still be dead. I was filled with disbelief that they would show such a thing on tv, like it should be blurred out like breasts and bleeped over like curse words. I was filled with dread as I went to school that I would be unaware of what was happening, we listened to the radio all the way over the bridge. I went into the office to tell the secretary what was going on in case she had gotten there too early too know. But her radio was on too. I went to my 0 hour typing class through deserted halls and found the door to the room next ot mine open and every student who was in my class, and those who showed up early for whatever other reason in the class. Most of the desks were empty, and everyone was silent. 2 different tvs showed 2 different channels of 2 different views of the 2 towers. My mom doesn’t believe that there is symbolism in life, but I think that symbolism was created from life and is the reason the idea exists at all. And this was symbolism. Some people were crying but most just stared at the tv with as blank a wall of disbelief on their faces as was on mine, a wall of noncomprehension, dumbfoundedness, shock. How could anyone hate anyone so much? So much that the needs of all others are totally unrecognized, no not unrecognized, it was a total lack of any thought at all, disregarded, ignored, blatently ignored and thrown into the faces of all watching that these people didn’t give a damn about the sanctitiy of life if it got in the way of their sadistic hatred. In my next class we watched tv again and the next and the next. It was a Tuesday. I had typing early, then Ms. Reyes for LA third period, Ms. Kreigmont for History fourth period, Ms. Spence for French 5th period, I stayed in Ms. Kreigmonts class for lunch to watch the TV, and then Ms. Dapcevich for 6th period. Ms. Dapcevich was the one class we didn’t watch tv in. She gave an explanation, I don’t remember what but I remember thinking it was weak. I considered getting up and leaving to watch tv somewhere else but by the looks of her she was on the verge of a breakdown herself, and I didn’t want to be the one to set it off. As it was I think that she saved us all, routine, routine, routine. I think she even gave us homework. And then my boyfriend drove me home and I watched some more tv. I thought I was going to die. They were estimating that 5,000 people were in each building, few had gotten out, some were sent back in told that it wasn’t a danger, and then there were those on the plane and those on the streets. So many people. It turned out to be less, but that didn’t really make much of a difference. The next few days were filled with discusions, and reviews. I watched the tv as little as possible because I knew that they would be showing those horrible images time after time after time. I remember watching these 3 people on the steps of a building. Their faces were so dramatic that they could have come from a soap opra, they looked exactly like they were acting in a super man movie “It’s a bird, it’s a plane” and then the humor of it fades as their faces show them thinking “Oh my god it really is a plane!!!” and then they screem and the camera goes elsewhere. I felt dead to the world, they hate me, the 15 year old girl with hopes and dreams and goals and loves, simply because of where I live. I could have been on one of the planes. I could have been in the buildings. Anyone could have been anywhere, and the world didn’t care who, so long as they were dead. Then the finger pointing started, and the answers tumbled out, still are. But I don’t really feel any better about it, knowing who it was. Cutting off the head never killed the cause, and these people obviosly felt pretty strongly about theirs. It still makes my throat choke up. Still makes me change the channel, still makes me cringe, and always will. I remember it so clearly because I told myself “Molly, this is not yesterday, and this is not tommorow, those are days that can fade into time, today is a day that in thirty, fourty, fifty years people will ask you ‘Where were you when the towers were hit?’ like ‘Where were you when Kenedy was shot?’” I asked my grandma that, and my grandchildren will ask me my question, I hope though, that they wont have a question for their grandchildren to ask them, because it is the worst feeling in the world to go back and feel like it was yesterday, or in my case tommorow, all over again.
Molly Antrim | 16 | Alaska

#1192 | Friday, April 19th 2002
I don't think Britain should be helping the Americans because they don't appreciate it, the British soldiers are risking their lives for a country that couldn't give a toss about Britain helping. The Americans werent bothered that we kept getting bombed by the IRA where lots of people lost their lives. But as soon as it happens to them they expect everyone to unite with them and feel sorry for them which I don't.

SO......

FIGHT YOUR OWN WAR!!!!!!!

A British Person | 40 | Alaska

#1182 | Sunday, April 14th 2002
Our alarm goes off at 5:22 am Alaska time. I got up to let the cat out and wandered back into the bedroom to get my clothes before showering. My husband stays in bed until about 6 am when the second alarm goes off, but the radio continues to talk and sing to him while he dozes.


When I walked back into the bedroom at about 5:30, Jim asked me if I'd heard about the World Trade Center. I asked him, "What'd they do? Bomb it again?" He said he wasn't sure since he was half asleep when he heard that "something" had happened. I got into the shower and proceeded with my routine since I had the radio on in the bathroom and knew I'd hear it whenever they mentioned it again. And . . . mention it they did!


Jim was up by 5:45 am that day and sitting in front of the TV upstairs with a cup of coffee. I went up as soon as I was dressed . . . in total disbelief! He had watched the second plane hit . . . and we both watched the first tower fall and then the second.


To say we were both pretty rattled is putting it very mildly. We were in shock and couldn't believe something so horrible could happen in our country.


We went to work that morning and every day following - Jim to his job as assistant city attorney, and me to one of two local public schools as a speech-language pathologist.


I knew the kids at school would be affected, and . . . they were. Since we live in Juneau and have thousands of tourists in town every summer between mid-April and late September, some of the school kids were terrified! When said quickly, ?tourist? and ?terrorist? can sound similar, and we had several children who were afraid to go outside for recess or anything else. They were afraid the ?tourists/terrorists? would get them.


Inside, I just cried . . . for the kids . . . for those who died . . . for the survivors . . . for all ethnic peoples . . . for all of us, because the acts were so incredibly senseless. I can?t even imagine the hatred others harbor against us.


I still cry inside. It feels like there?s a pit in my heart when I think about all this even now. All I can equate it to is the ?duck and cover? drills we would have at school when I was a child. I knew we were practicing for something terrible that could happen, but . . . I was too young to realize what was happening in our nation. I do remember the feeling of nervousness and agitation that was created by an unknown terror. The biggest difference is that I?m an adult now . . . and I?m well aware of the ramifications of these terrible events.


We in Juneau weren?t as affected as many across our nation. But . . . we had more than a few tense moments since all air traffic was grounded . . . as was all shipping. Nothing could come in . . . nothing could leave. It was so eerily quiet to hear nothing in the air but birds in a community that is landlocked by an ice field on one side and the Inside Passage on the other. We are totally dependent on both air and water traffic for all our goods and always have planes flying.


Tourist season was essentially over . . . three weeks early. And . . . it hasn't yet begun for this year.


No national sports . . . baseball and football took a week off. Every player sported a flag on his uniform the following week. Not only was the national anthem sung, but at the seventh inning stretch "God Bless America" was sung and broadcast at every game . . . and I?d sing along in my living room or car. Just typing this brings tears to my eyes still.


Many local people immediately put out flags and other patriotic colors. Flags and other patriotic things weren't available for purchase locally for many weeks. I think it was January before I could finally purchase a flag to fly. It gives me inspiration daily when I watch it waving in the breeze on one of our driveway light poles.


I find myself singing "God Bless America" aloud or to myself quite often.


A local teenager who visited the fire station in New York that lost so many firefighters began making and selling flag pins (for donations) . . . and sent all the money to that precinct. She and her family were there the week prior to the disaster. The pins are still available for purchase.


A woman in Skagway, AK asked me in late March where I got the beautiful flag pin that was on my shirt. She didn't want to copy the idea but was touched by my story and wanted pins for herself and others.


I thank the National Guardsmen and women at the security stations in the airports when I fly. I think it's a mistake that they will soon be decommisioned and removed from the airports without the trained personnel available to replace them.


I thank the airport security people for wanding me, searching my bags and asking me to remove my shoes. I appreciate the extra measures they are taking.


The first Seattle Mariner's baseball game I watched in early April showed the singing of "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch. I wish they were still broadcasting it during each game. (The baseball season is only 14 days old.)


What do I want? World peace . . . but I don?t think I?ll live to see it. I want safety for all . . . enough food for everyone . . . acceptance for everyone regardless his or her race, religion or color. I want love and not hatred . . . no violence.


I'm a dreamer. And, I believe in God . . . and liberty and justice for all . . . Amen.

Dixie Alms | 49 | Alaska

#1011 | Thursday, March 14th 2002
I was in bed asleep. My son Connor, 6, and daughter Lena, 3, were snuggled in next to me. The phone rang, not unusual as my husband works at sea, and often calls when he is within range and able to phone. Jason told me to turn on the TV. I can't remember his words, only the serious sound of his voice. I found myself in shock as I watched the scenes unravel. I remember thinking it couldn't be. Tears came, no sound. My son woke next. I knew I couldn't hide the reality was he would find out soon enough. I explained the best I could, and Connor wanted to know why. "Why mama?" I woke Charity, 16, asleep in her room. She came in sleepy eyed, and was soon wide awake caught in the horror on the TV. A fitting question from one so young..."Why?"
Patricia MacDonald | 32 | Alaska

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