#2489 | Friday, September 13th 2002
I was just out of the shower, getting ready to drive the 33 mi from home in suburban Virginia into DC when my wife called me from the bedroom. I sat down beside her on the bed and we watched the North tower burn. And we were still sitting there, transfixed, when the second plane hit the South tower.

I watched for another ten minutes, decided I ought to get to work (I work in data systems for the Washington Post,) so I got dressed and went out to the car. My wife called to me from the front door, saying that the TV was reporting fire from the Executive Office Building. That's about four blocks from my office at the Post. So I came back inside.

And found out that a third plane had hit the Pentagon, and the news station had mistakenly reported the smoke as coming from the EOB.

And then I gave up on getting to work. I sat beside my wife and we watched and watched and watched the coverage.

And then we watched the towers fall.

I was stunned.

367 days later, I am still stunned. I've been to the WTC site, and I've watched the Pentagon being rebuilt butt the image of the falling towers runs through my memory often, and that memory still leaves me feeling shocked and stunned.

I searched for a personal connection to the tragedy, having grown up on Long Island just outside Queens. Couldn't find one. Nine months later, I pulled a business card out of my wallet and realized that the very nice, quiet family man I'd met on an Alaska cruise/tour the past summer had worked on the 98th floor of the north tower. My heart sank when I got on some website and found that this man was confirmed dead.

On the anniversary of the attack, I found a place of worship and offered prayers for this man, his family, and for all the dead, injured, orphaned, widowed, friend-rivven.



Joel Wasserstein | 56 | Virginia

#2466 | Thursday, September 12th 2002
I was working in the emergency department at the hospital on Andrews Air Force Base - Home of Air Force One, on the outskits of the District of Columbia. I was working with my nurse manager, who was going out to the front desk to triage a patient. She came back through the doorway and said, "You'd better come out here and watch this. A plane just hit the World Trade Center." Since my sister had just moved to the greater NY area, I knew instantly that this was not an accident. We were standing there watching the television when the second plane struck the second tower. The realization of what was going on hit everyone like a ton of bricks.

Then every thing became a blur of activity. Suddenly the Pentagon had been struck, the base had been shut down, the phones were ringing off the hook.... The Emergency coordinator for the national capital area started taking information on how many beds we had available in the hospital. Then rumors started flying. We heard the White House was on fire, we heard that there was an explosion at the capital building, we heard that the base itself had become a target....

The hospital's medical control put together teams of people to put in buses to take them out to the Pentagon. I was initially sent down to get on a bus, but other people had already put together certain teams so I stayed in the ER.

We didn't get any of the critically injured, but we did see the "walking wounded." There was an Army troop that had jumped out of a third story window. There was another man who was near the impact site. He was doing alright - physically - but he was sure that the friend he was talking to was dead.

I didn't get home until later that night. I had spent the day being all business. It wasn't until I got home that evening that I had the time to sit down and watch the news with complete attention. And it wasn't until then that I allowed myself to feel what was going on.

Colleen | 29 | Virginia

#2459 | Thursday, September 12th 2002
I couldn't believe my eyes when i turned on the news that day. I was in shock, as was the world. I went about my morning as usual, got in the car, and drove to work. The news flash came on the radio that the Pentagon had just been hit by an airplane too. I remember sitting at the stop light and it hit me.. My mother is there. I frantically grabbed my cell phone and called her office. No answer. I got to work and kept trying to get through and still no luck. She always calls me whenever anything happens up there.. whether it be a bomb threat, a demonstration, or an evacuation. Three hours later, her call finally came through. I heard her voice say, " honey, i'm ok, i'm out of there, i just need a hug." She was in tears. She was just down the hall from where it hit. I was so relieved at first, but then i felt the guilt because someone else had lost a mother, a father, a loved one. I picked up my daughter and our family gathered together and hugged all night. She is always our support and this time we were hers. The affect this has left on her is unexplainable, unless you were there. She loses sleep, she tenses up when she hears a plane, everyday she walks in the building, she remembers. She always told us to make sure you tell someone you love them because you never know if you will see them again... and we tell her everyday. We are thankful for the opportunity to do so.
Wendy | 31 | Virginia

#2453 | Thursday, September 12th 2002
On Septmeber 11, 2001 I was in school. I had been in school for not even an hour. I didn't hear about this tragedy until a couple of hours after it had already happen.

On September 11, 02 my school watch a movie on the tragedy that had happen this was a movie about the tragedy. The video showed people jumping out of the window, and right when I saw that I looked up and said "what had those people done to deserve that?" I wonder why they deserved that?
Well i am very sorry for those who lost their love ones and i hope that they will leave a happy life even though this happened to them!!

Lindsey Alexander | 12 | Virginia

#2452 | Thursday, September 12th 2002
September 11th, 2001-
I was working as a bookseller at Borders at the time, and I was working an 'open'- a 7:30 am to 4:30 pm shift. The store opens at 9 am, and I was stuck with the register. (As a bookseller, you rotate from the register to the information desk.)...

I remember that it was the second customer who told me about the first plane hitting the WTC. I was incredulous, and had a sudden flashback to college, when I'd found out about the first attack on the WTC from a message left on the whiteboard on somebody's door ("WTC is on fire") and had dismissed it as a joke-- only later to find out it had really happened. Of course, initially, I thought it had to be an accident...

Every other customer filled me in on what was happening. (For some reason, everybody was doing returns that day. That detail sticks in my mind.) Next I heard that the second plane had hit, and it was terrorists. "What is this, Terrorism Day?" I remember saying. I very much wanted to leave the register, leave the store, and go home and turn on CNN. But I couldn't leave the register!

Then a customer told me the first tower had fallen. It couldn't be! But it was. I was in shock. I never thought those towers would fall down. I didn't think they could. I believe the very next customer after that told me that the other one had gone down too. My very first reaction was anger. They can't go down! I haven't visited them yet! And now I never can. Later, when I began to get information from actual news and not word-of-mouth, the loss of life began to hit me. But I remember the delayed reaction to that. First I had to believe it had really happened. But to get to actual news I had to leave the damn register!

After that I remember news coming in one thing after another. The Pentagon's been hit. There's a bomb at the State Department. (That one later turned out not to be true, thank God.) Federal workers just got sent home. (From the store I imagine my dad, stuck in traffic.) A plane went down in Pennsylvania, that was probably aimed at DC...

At this point I'm frantic. Is somewhere else going to get hit? What is going on? Get me to CNN!

I got off for lunch at 11. I went to the back and listened to the radio, which was talking about the terrorist attacks, of course. There's a lot of "This just in" type of stuff. I don't eat lunch. I just listen...

At noon, when I would have had to get back to the store, we are all sent home. We are all very quiet. There are no customers. The parking lot is deserted, but the streets are full...

I drive to my parents house (I was living in a townhouse at the time) because they have cable and I don't. I turn on CNN. I finally see what I've been hearing about, and it's utterly mind-boggling...

My dad comes home first, then, later, my mom. We all watch cable news, the same images, over and over. I never saw the people jumping from the buildings though- by 12:30 pm, when I started watching, they had edited that stuff out...

I was there until about 9:30 or 10, just watching cable news all day long. I never do this. I remember trying to process it, trying to grasp how many people were killed. I remember Giuliani saying on TV that the number would be more than we could bear. I remember the TV reports estimating 6,000, 10,000 dead. (When the number finally got whittled down to 3,000-odd it was almost a relief, after that. Now, it looks big again.) I kept thinking, maybe the people in the second tower had a chance. I knew, even then, that it was those in the upper floors that had it the worst...

Stories of heroism came later. Then, it was destruction, desecration, and death. The firefighters came in, and the rescue dogs. But there was nobody to rescue, hardly, at all; and nobody at all after the first week. I had a feeling it would be so (110 stories coming down!), but I still hoped against hope. You had to hope...

I get back to my townhouse around 10:30 or so. I watch some more TV...

The next day I attempted to watch TV, then realized I had had enough. I couldn't watch anymore. That day I was on the internet a lot though. I got my news that way, the day after. I had the day off on Wed. the 12th. Probably a good thing...

What is it about Tuesdays? The Depression-starting stock market crash was Black Tuesday, wasn't it? Constantinople fell to the Turks on a Tuesday. And Sept. 11th, a Tuesday. Not my favorite day of the week...

The next time I watched TV was Letterman's first show back. The one where Dan Rather cried. It was all so surreal...

Flags appeared everywhere, including on my car. I wanted to see more of them, they made me feel better somehow. It seemed almost a travesty for life to go back to normal, for flags to go up from half-mast. I wanted them kept at half-mast longer. How dare we come out of mourning? Apparently, others were ready before I was....

I was not- Before- the kind of person who'd put flags on my car, who considered myself very patriotic. Now I have four flag stickers on my car (if you count the "God bless America" which has a flag on it) and flags at my cubicle. And now, unlike Before, I do consider myself a patriot. My country ain't perfect, but by God, it's still my country! And nobody, but nobody, has the right to attack innocent civilians who have done nothing more than go to work. I hope the armed forces can get al Qaeda and bin Laden and give them what's coming to them.

It's a year later now, and it still boggles the mind. My heart goes out to all the widows, widowers, and orphans; those who lost family members, boyfriends, girlfriends, or just somebody they knew. May the Lord have mercy on them, comfort and heal them. May the Lord have mercy on us all. And for all the victims of that evil day, I pray, May their memory be eternal.

God bless America.

Michelle Bahumian | 28 | Virginia

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