#932 | Monday, March 11th 2002
We were donating time to the United Way - Sept. 11 was the day for the scraping crew - We scraped the old paint off of a very poor lady's house and made repairs so that the paint crew could come by a few days later and complete the work. We heard about the towers being hit on the way to the site.

The old woman's daughter came by and spent a few hours with her during the day. As she left the house, she turned to me and said, "You're doing a very good thing on a very bad day."

Ultimately, those who destroy cannot defeat those who build.

Richard Hare | 46 | Texas

#915 | Monday, March 11th 2002
At 6:30 am California time, I woke up my 12-yr-old daughter for school as I do every weekday morning. It was just another Tuesday. We talked for a few minutes, then she got up and I went to wash up. I turned on the small TV in the bathroom like I always do to check on the local news, weather, etc. It's a tiny black and white TV which does not get very clear reception, but as soon as I turned it on I could hear the urgency in the voices of the newscasters. At that point, both planes had already crashed into the towers and I believe one had already collapsed. At first, all I heard was that a plane had crashed into the tower and, like so many others, thought it was just a terrible accident. But soon I heard the word "terrorism" and pieced together what had happened. I immediately went into the family room and turned on the big TV. It was clear as I flipped around to different channels, that something monumental was taking place. My husband was on his morning walk, my college-age son was still asleep and my daughter was still getting ready for school, so I sat there alone just trying to comprehend what was happening. Even after I learned that a second plane had hit the towers, for some reason I still thought it was just some horrible accident. Then they said something about a plane hitting the Pentagon and one heading toward the White House and one was down in Pennsylvania but they didn't know if these were related to the Trade Center crashes. I remember thinking, "Of course they are!" That's when it hit me: "My God, we're actually being attacked." I didn't even try to determine what country could be doing this or why. All I could think of was, "We're going to war and I have a 20-year-old son." By now it was probably around 7:00 am. I went into the bathroom where my daughter was getting ready and told her to come watch TV with me, that something was happening that she would remember for the rest of her life. We both sat there watching as I tried to calmly explain to her what was happening even though I didn't really know myself. My husband came back from his walk. He must have heard what was going on from someone on the street and came home to watch the news reports. Even though we were geographically removed from the horror, I still hesitated to send my daughter to school. But since we live in a relatively small town, I thought it best she go. I knew they would be discussing it there all day and it would be good to keep the routine as normal as possible.
My mother was already planning to spend the day with me that day. She came over around 9:00 am. I was so happy to see her. I felt, at 45 years old, I still needed my mommy. We watched TV nonstop all day and all evening. To this day, before I get out of bed in the morning, I switch on the TV first thing, just to quickly check that everything is OK. It's a new habit I'm sure I will have for a long time to come.

Ann Groves | 46 | California

#836 | Saturday, March 9th 2002
I was still at home trying to get myself dressed for work, help my 8 year old daughter get ready for school and dress my 4 year old son for daycare when I learned about the attack. My husband had heard the radio accounts of the attacks as he drove to his office. He used his cell phone to call home - to tell me to turn on the TV. It was about 7:35am in Albuquerque, NM - 9:35am east coast. Immediately, I turned on CNN and watched in horror, crying and praying on my knees. My children joined me. They were frightened to see me - their Mom - so distraught. We held hands and prayed. We asked God to hold up the buildings and allow as many people as possible to get out. We watched and watched. The buildings held. Then, one collapsed. We prayed harder for the second one. Eventually, it collapsed. I cried. I thought of how my parents must have felt when Pearl Harbor was bombed. I called my manager and told him I wouldn't be in. His son lives in NYC close to the WTC. His son had called to say he was ok. I took my daughter to school where her teacher, a NY native, was coping with helping the children understand. This woman, the teacher, hadn't heard from all of her NY relatives, yet. (Eventually, we learned that her relatives were ok.) My son and I went grocery shopping, stocking up on items, preparing as we did for Y2K. At the stores, we met NY natives worried about their loved ones. Everywhere we went, there was a personal connection to NYC or the pentagon. Later that day, I told my children to look up into the sky and to see that there were no planes. I don't think there'd ever been a day when I hadn't seen or heard planes. We were at war. We did hear jets later that day and were relieved to learn that they were our NM Air National Guard's F-16s.
Julie Miller | 46 | New Mexico

#678 | Sunday, January 27th 2002
On the morning of 9/11, I was in my office getting ready to start the day. I had just gotten my two children off to school and I remember it was one of those beautiful September days that I wished I was home in my garden instead of at work.

I had just gotten settled at my desk when one of the men I work with came in saying he had heard on the radio that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Of course, everyone was upset and tried getting on the web to see if we could find any news. No one could get through.

Luckily, one of our conference rooms has a tv and the entire office went in to watch the news. As we were sitting there transfixed by all we saw, we heard about the 2nd tower and the Pentagon; a few people had tears in their eyes and most were just speechless; hardly anyone said a word and if so, it was done in a whisper.
Being a child during the late 50's, early 60's, the first thought seemed to be that all those air raid drills and bomb shelter nightmares were coming true.

My husband had just started a new job at a high rise hotel and office complex and I had no way of getting in touch with him. All I could think about was him and my children and if we were going to see each other again. I think it had to be the most horrifying feeling I have ever had in my life.

I also have friends and relatives that work in lower Manhattan and I kept praying that none of them were involved.

Eventually, we returned to our desks and fortunately my husband was able to get through to me. He had been up on the 16th floor and saw the 2nd plane hit. After that he helped to secure the building and after seeing that everyone left safely, he would be coming home.

I then called my children's schools and was told that they hadn't told the children in the middle school anything and that the middle school and high school was going on as normal til 3 pm.

Our company closed at 11 am and I think the ride home was the longest it has ever been. Knowing that my husband and children were safe helped quite a bit, but from Rt 287 you could see the smoke pouring up over the city and the horror and fear I felt for everyone in NYC stayed with me.

I remember walking into my home and turning on the tv - then the tears finally hit. Eventually, the calls started and luckily we had no one directly connected to this tragedy; although so many from our area did.

President Kennedy's assasination, then Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, the Challenger explosion, Lockerbie and Oklahoma City Bombing (just to name a few) and now the World Trade Center...all senseless. Lives lost and familys ripped apart; for what?

The first few days after were surreal. We got up, did the laundry, made dinner, kids went to school, people went to work, trying to bring some normalcy back to our lives. Unfortunately, however, our lives have been changed forever.

A few nights later, I took my daughter to a store on a local highway. We were coming out of the parking lot and there were people lined up on the highway with candles and flags and it continued all the way home. When we got back to our town we rode through the main street and there were people lined up there as well. It was one of the most beautiful sights to see. We had once again, come together as a nation and the feeling of patriotic pride was overwhelming. I hope that this trend continues. Although no one wants a war, we must stop madmen from destroying the world and the world we want for our children and future generations. I think the following says it best, even though it was written over 200 years ago, it is even now more appropriate:
"It is our duty still to endeavor to avoid war; but if it shall actually take place, no matter by whom brought on, we must defend ourselves. If our house be on fire... we must try to extinguish it."
-Thomas Jefferson

Jean | 46 | New Jersey

#654 | Thursday, January 24th 2002
I was in my office when I checked out a Norwegian Net Newspaper on my computer and saw a brief article saying that a plane had crashed into WTC. I wondered how that could have happened and thought it might be terror. When the news about the other plane broke ten minutes later, I had no doubt that this was a terrorist action.
When I came home from work a couple of hours later, we rewieved all we had heard on the news on the radio and had been reading on net news during the afternoon, and could see thet it really was true.

(The first attack happened about 2.15 PM local time.)

Per | 46 | Norway

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