#935 | Monday, March 11th 2002
Where was I?

I was just getting up and ready to take my teenager to school, everyone was still asleep and the I turned on the news.
I think my legs buckled out from under me as I sank to the couch and stared in horror...
I woke my family and then I called my mother who travels extensively out of the country to work. She was asleep, having just returned from Japan, I was glad she was home.
I tried to call my father, who lives in Manhattan, it took till the next day to finally reach him. He is a freelance photographer and lives on Broadway... I worried that I would see him on T.V. getting in the way of the rescue units, but he assured me that at his age, he no longer would do something so dangerous.
I grew up in Manhattan, I can not imagine those buildings not being there....I hope the families of those who were killed are able to oneday let go of the pain and maybe heal and then forgive...

Lesa O'Mara | 41 | California

#928 | Monday, March 11th 2002
I was on my way to work, I turned on the radio and Mark and Brian were talking about New York and what was going on. Well, being Mark and Brian, I called my kids and had them turn the TV on and tell me if something was wrong.
My middle son came back on the phone, “Mom, there’s a guy bleeding, the top of his head is gone!” I immediately told him he didn’t have to watch. I told the other two to catch the bus to school, love you’s all around, and hung up. The gate on to the base was just as quiet as usual, they hadn’t heard yet. By the time I got to my office, my middle son (William) had called back to tell me that the 2 had made it to the bus and to fill me in on what he’d seen.
He told me the second tower was hit and the Pentagon. I told him not to worry; everything was ok, and that the people that he saw were probably just very happy to be walking anywhere.
By 8:30am it was thankfully time for William to leave for school, so he didn’t have to watch anymore.
The base finally hit Delta, we were effectively locked down, and everyone walked around in a haze. Work continued base supply must continue, the planes must fly. I’m glad there was a purpose to keep our minds off the TV.
The problems started when well meaning teachers at the schools started using words like “war” “military” “lock down” and “bombs”. My son called near tears asking if I was coming home, I said yes, of course why? “My teacher said you couldn’t leave work, and that we’re going to war and you’ll be called up” I had just re-enlisted in the USN Reserves. As a single mother of three, it never occurred to me that my choice to sign up would put me at risk so quickly. My children were in on the decision, and they were proud of their mom. Now however, things had changed.

It’s been six months, my children still watch the TV periodically for news of call-ups, they listen to the music that helped me through; U2, Live, Sting, Hank Williams, Don Henley, Sammy Hagar, Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra.
We all keep track of friends and family effected. We just had a party for a close Air Force friend headed to locations unknown, and my nephew is on his way with the 10th Mountain Division, not to mention the 2 Master Chiefs at sea. We, as everyone, hope everyone will be safe and return to us as they left, healthy.
Our prayers to everyone, God bless those who are serving their country putting their lives on the line, and those waiting at home.
Becky/EAFB Ca./04/11/02

Becky Shores | 38 | California

#923 | Monday, March 11th 2002
Where was I?

On September 10, 2001 I flew into Chicago from LAX to attend a meeting and a major trade show. On the morning of September 11, 2001, I left my hotel room at approximately 7:50 am, just as news was talking about a “fire” at the WTC. We went into our meeting and took a break around 10:00 CST; at that time I noticed several missed calls on my cell phone. As I walked out into the Lobby of the conference center, I notice a standing group of people with their eyes glued to the TV set. People were crying, my 1st thought was this was a movie trailer, when someone mentioned the attacks on WTC and the Pentagon. After watching briefly, I attempt to call my family in Southern CA to let them know I was all right, all be home as soon as I can. Unfortunately, my cell phone service wouldn’t work; next try was the payphones, which were all busy with people trying to call home. Finally a payphone was free. Fear started settling in as I realized all circuits were busy, collect calls and calling cards wouldn’t work. Being over 2000 miles away from my family, I started to panic as I heard reports of Los Angeles and Chicago being possible target areas. The attendees of the meeting decided to continue with the meeting. Finally about an hour later, I received a very distraught call on my cell phone from my youngest daughter; they’ve been trying to reach me for over 4 hours and were extremely anxious to hear my voice. I assured them, things were okay with me and I’d keep in touch. I felt like I had to be brave but my thoughts went towards my daughters, my husband, my Mom and mostly towards my daughter’s friends who are in the service. I couldn’t help but think we are at war. Later that day in Chicago, the city was voluntarily evacuated. It was an eerie feeling to walk the streets of Downtown Chicago and find restaurants closed and no taxis running. Since all flights were canceled, all rental cars booked, trains filled up. My co-workers and I were basically stuck in Chicago for the week. We continued to work and spent lots of time at the restaurants and bars. I consistently called my husband and family. Although I enjoy Chicago, I so looked forward to finally going home to my family and friends. The biggest emotion that has come out of these attacks is FEAR. How can we ever feel safe again? How can I assure my daughter’s were safe. We’ve picked up and moved on and we are trying to continue with our normal routines, but nothing will ever be the same again. Never again will I take the little things in life for granted.

JC | 41 | California

#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

#914 | Monday, March 11th 2002
On the morning of Sept. 11th I got out of bed thinking it was going to be just another boring, depressing day of work. I turned on the TV and at that moment the second plane was hitting the WTC. I went from half asleep to fully awake instantly, and as the announcer said it was a terrorist attack a million thoughts were going through my mind. The number of people who were going to be killed or missing, what this would do to the economy, the stock market, etc. But the one biggest emotion that has come out of these attacks is FEAR. How can we ever feel safe again? We’re picking up, and moving on, but nothing will ever be the same again. Never.
Mary L | 45 | California

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