#699 | Wednesday, January 30th 2002
I was sleeping in when my fiancée called and told me to turn on the TV. She had heard about the first plane crash at work and at the time nobody knew what was going on. I turned on the TV and was amazed by what I saw. Sitting there, talking with my fiancée on the phone, watching the burning building, then seeing the second plane. The fireball took my breath away. I've always wondered what it meant when people had said they were at a loss for words and I finally knew. All I could say was, "Oh my God," over and over and over again.

The news had come about the Pentagon plane crash. Early reports said it was the Old Executive building, next door to the White House, and fear had set in. Living just hours from DC, I couldn't help but feel the fear of what was happening.

And there I was, watching the TV again, talking with my fiancée again, when I told her, "They have a close-up of one of the corners of the building and it literally looks like lava flowing out of the side." I didn't realize it then that the molten lava I was seeing was the supports of the World Trade Center towers melting away under the extreme heat. My fiancée asked, "Lava?" and before I could tell her yes, I saw the top part of the crack angling over. Once again, I was reduced to, "Oh my God." I watched the tower crumble to the ground with my eyes and mouth wide open. It was like something out of a bad movie. The smoke rising and rolling between the buildings was unbelievable. We both knew that it was only a matter of moments before the other tower went and we were unfortunately right.

The skyline looked naked. It looked fake. Like someone took a picture and just erased the buildings to see what it would look like. But it was real. The devastation was real. The Pentagon was left a broken rectangle wondering where its other side was. It was sad. It was devastating. It was a shot straight to the heart and it hurt. Bad.

Then the stories began. The people who helped others get out with no regard for their own lives. The people they managed to pull from the rubble. The firefighters and policemen going into the devastation when others were running away to safety. The firefighters who wouldn't leave a woman alone in the building and managed to survive in the stairwell. The Bible on the chair at the Pentagon. The heroes became evident. "The strong shall survive" and they will forever survive in our memories. Pro sports stars became little children again, realizing that they played a game and that the real heroes were the men and women who risked their lives everyday to save others. We honored those who had long been forgotten and taken for granted. We started waving at the policeman and the firefighter again. NYPD and FDNY became etched in our memory as two sets of four letters that both became the definition of the word hero.

We honor our heroes and we fight to protect our freedom so that those who died will not have done so in vain. Those who brought this destruction to our country did not win. They destroyed our towers and took so many of our loved ones from us, but they made us stronger. They brought us closer together. We once again became a country of one. We once again rose as Americans. We are Americans and we stand together for the freedom we love and cherish.

Fred Telegdy | 26 | Virginia

#677 | Sunday, January 27th 2002
In my world geography class, we were taking a test, when a teacher runs in and the tv is turned on. The rest of the day was hell....
Orion | 15 | Virginia

#665 | Friday, January 25th 2002
I was literally walking out the door to head to work when an urgent news report popped on the screen.

It was Katie Kuric from NBC news telling the nation that a plane had just hit the world trade center. My immediate reaction was a horrible mistake.

I left for work and tuned my radio to my local radio station with the hopes of getting more news reports. All I got was the radio jocks carrying on with their normal daily humor. All I could think is, they have no idea that this just happened.

When I arrived at work, I was told by my fellow employees that a second plane had hit the other world trade center. I was at a loss for words. I was confused, afraid, and thought we were truly under attack.

Not long after I arrived at work, I received the news that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon. I became filled with fear knowing that the Pentagon was only 15 miles from where I work.

I was convinced this was the start of World War III and the events of the day was Pearl Harbor revisited.

As I sat at work, helpless since my only communication was the Internet and every news site was overloaded with people doing the same thing I was attempting to do, I did everything in my power to get the latest update, but to no avail.

Over the course of the next 2 hrs, I was told that both towers had collapsed and that another plane had crashed In Pennsylvania, probably on it's way to Washington DC to strike the White House.

During this time of udder chaos, rumors began to fly around. Well known news agencies reported on car bombs going off, and other places getting attacked, filling me with complete horror.

At around 11am, we were dismissed from work. I sat in Rush Hour Traffic in the middle of the day. Everyone had their radio tuned to some sort of news source, all of us eyed each other as we passed, silently reassuring each other that everything will be okay.

I arrived home to get my first visual of the entire days events. Watching people run as if they were in a movie, being chased by a huge monster.

My day continued with back to back news coverage and finally ended by me lying in bed staring at the ceiling, saying a pray for all those people in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania.

Zach Fitzjarrell | 23 | Virginia

#554 | Thursday, December 20th 2001
I can remember practically everything I did or said on September 11, 2001. It all seemed like a dream to me. Sometimes it still does. Everyday my thoughts are with the victims and their families. I wonder if I will ever stop thinking about them. Hopefully, I will not. I was so angry when I realized the full extent of what had happened. The fact that 20 strange men could kill thousands of innocent people is absolutely horrifying to me. Why would anyone give their life to a coward? I think bin Laden is a coward simply because he can't show his face; only in videos. I hope that America will be a stronger nation. I pray that more people will be more patriotic and more compassionate to one another. I hope we continue to pray, as a nation united by God, for answers we will probably never have and for strength to the victims' families and for the recovery of survivors.
Robin | 20 | Virginia

#518 | Tuesday, December 18th 2001
I was in Spanish class at 10 when I found out. We had heard a annoucement about threats earlier, but whoever announced it made it seem like we were just being threatened and that nothing had happened. Then we turned on the Tv and a gasp ran the room. One girl said Oh my gosh, it looks just like a movie. And we all didn't know what was going on, then i heard them say something about Washington and the Pentagon and how they didn't know where planes were and there could be one anywhere. I was shaking so badly and couldn't stop. Some of my classmates just shrugged it off after the intial shock wore off, but I couldn't take my eyes off the screen and I was crying. I knew people in washington, this just can't be happening. And then the tv told us the little they knew which made it even worse. I stayed glued to the tv for the rest of the day. Hoping and praying.
Staci | 15 | Virginia

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