#286 | Sunday, November 25th 2001
I am 15 and in the 10th grade of high school. I walked into my second period class on the morning of September 11th. A friend told me a plane had just crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. I thought he was joking, or, if he wasn't joking, it had to be an accident. We took our seats and turned on CNN after the teacher said he had heard the same thing. The rest of the day was a blur for me. Watching the tv set in each classroom, discussing it at lunch, and waiting for the reality of the situation to sink in. I was in a state of depression that night. I had been overloaded with information and terrible pictures that day. I cried that night for the first time in years. The next few days were more of the same at school. We watched CNN all day to see if there were any new developments. I went to give blood but was turned away by a lady who said that they had enough and would ask for blood from teenagers if there was a shortage.At school they set up a collection for the Red Cross. I donated $25. Now, months later, I can see everything in perspective. I agree with President Bush's "War on Terrorism" as long as every effort to save civilian lives is made in the process. These views are shared by few of my classmates. The shallow, ignorant fucks say "Nuke the whole country!" and "That whole country is full of terrorists!" It makes me angry to see how some "patriots" act in times like these. This does NOT make me proud to be an American. I hope that the United States can recover from this catastrophe and rise as a stronger, wiser nation.
Steve | 15 | Georgia

#215 | Monday, October 22nd 2001
On the morning of Sept. 11th I walked into my Sophmore English class where the television was turned on. I saw it was something big but I didn't know how big of a deal it was. (I just thought it was something in Pittsburgh with a power plant or something like that.) As I started my warmup I heard the anchor of MSNBC say "...this is latest video of the plane crashing into the World Trade Center..." right then I turned around and you could see the destruction of the first tower and then seeing the plane hit the second.

Which later in the day I realized that my aunt works for American as a Stewardess and I wasn't sure if she was on one of those planes or not. But later that day I called my mom and she said my aunt was in Hawaii.

Kevin Higgins | 15 | Texas

#190 | Saturday, October 6th 2001
I have my alarm clock set up to wake me up via the radio. I was planning to wake up around 5am to work on homework, but I decided to sleep through it. I reset for 6:20am and fell back to sleep.
I woke up to a sound byte of George W. Bush, noting a "terrorist attack on our country". Still asleep, I didn't really understand or pay attention to what was going on, but I kept an ear on the radio as I got up and got ready for school.
Soon thereafter, the radio deejays came back on the air, and explained what was going on: two airplanes had crashed into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.
I didn't get it yet.
I went downstairs for breakfast, where my mom and my sister were having cereal. I sat down at the table to eat. "Did you know the World Trade Center has been hit by a plane?" I asked. They didn't know. My mom went into the next room and turned on the television to see what was going on.
Just then, the first tower fell. It fell. I saw it live, sitting there in my den at 7 in the morning. Live broadcast.
I went upstairs to brush my teeth.
Soon my carpool driver arrived to take me to school. He's my age. I got in the car, and he asked "Have you heard?" "Yup." He had the news on. Usually he had a rock station on, but today it was the news.
On our way to school, the second tower fell. "We've just gotten news that the second tower of the World Trade Center has fallen." I whispered "Oh my God" and tears began to stream down my face. Until then, I had been thinking, 'Wow, it'll be weird now that there's only one WTC tower. I wonder what it'll look like when I go back to NYC?' And now there were none.
At school, we had an impromptu assembly, where our headmaster talked. About what, I don't remember. I was crying, worried about my friends in New York, freshman college students going to NYU and Columbia. I was also worried about possible attacks on my city of Los Angeles.
Some classes tried to put it aside. In chorus, we sang. In science, we had lectures. But in english, we had a freewrite on what we were feeling. In math, we watched the news for the entire period. And in history, we talked about the political and economical aspects of it all.
"This is the defining moment of your generation," my history teacher said. "Most goings-on in the next few decades will be an effect of what happened today. Today's newspaper will be the last 'normal' one [without Sept. 11 coverage] for a long time. This is your Pearl Harbor."
Once I was home after school, I was constantly online. It would be hours before the first newspaper had any information on what was going on, so I checked CNN.com over and over, and there was something new almost every time I checked. I felt so informed and in the know.
New York is my favorite city in the world. When I see pictures of its streets covered in soot and debris, I choke up. It looks like a third world city, not sophisticated and stylish like it usually is. And to think that innocent businessmen and women burned alive, were crushed in the falling buildings, or fell to their death from the towers ... it's a feeling I can't describe. Sorrow doesn't begin to cover it.

America was something we took for granted, but now we appreciate it as if every day were our first as an american citizen. I wear an american flag pin every day. I also get mad when I see people disrespecting the flag by wearing skirts or carrying bags that are made of an american flag pattern.
I get the most mad when people descriminate against Arab Americans or other minorities as a result of this. This is a time to band together, not fall apart. America is not just a country of white christians.
We must also accept and embrace those countries who offer their help and friendship. International amnesty is more important now than ever, for our government and for our social morale.

Even now, words escape me. It sounds trite, but words cannot express what I feel in the wake of this. Surely in 30 years, I will feel the same way, for this is a life-altering event.
My generation's grandparents had Pearl Harbor. Our parents had Vietnam.

We have this.

Helen Gruner | 15 | California

#185 | Thursday, October 4th 2001
On September 11th 2001, I began my day as usual, I woke up, watched the news and part of the Today show and went to school. Towards the middle of second period where I was at a study at the Revere High School, Revere, Ma, sophomore, an announcement was made over the P.A. system stating that a plane had crashed into the world trade center in New York. They said that the building was on fire. From the tone of my principal's voice, everyone could tell that this was not good. They said that there would be tv's set up in the Cafateria and Library. Since my class was within feet of the Cafateria I decided to go and see what was on the news. I couldn't have been in there more than two minutes when from the left hand side of the television, came a plane, out the right side came a ball of fire. The entire room went silent. A room that had about 50 people at the time was completely silent. Then almost at once everyone realized what had happened and gasped for no one could believe it. For the rest of the day i did not leave that room. I stayed by the tv, because everytime i thought of leaving something happened, the pentagon was hit, the building collapsed. It was a very sick feeling in my stomach. Then they had made a comment that they did not know if this was the end, then they announced all building evacuations in Boston. I knew my parents were both home from work, but i was still worried. It took me until about 11:45 to get in touch with my mother. her and my father were ok at home watching on tv. then they had said that there were planes still un accounted for and that anyplace could be a target. The whole school was focused on this event. classes were so mellow that if you didn't show up you were excused because you were watching the news. i am 15 years old, and have never seen anything so disturbing in my life. I felt scared, and sad. I felt for the victims and their families. this event was so big in my life, that I will always know where i was, September eleventh, two thousand one.
Al B. | 15 | Massachusetts

#141 | Sunday, September 23rd 2001
Every day, at the end of second period, my high school gives announcements over CCTV. They play the announcements on channel 48, overriding CNN Headline News. After the school announcements were done, the TVs throughout the school went back to showing CNN, where the current headline was "2 planes crash into World Trade Center towers."

I thought it was an impossible coincidence. I actually laughed. It seemed impossible that, in the same day, two planes would crash into two towers of the WTC. I knew no commercial pilot could hit such huge buildings, so I assumed the planes were small planes, probably flown by student pilots, and that no damage had been done.

At the beginning of third period, the principal gave an announcement over the intercom giving the details of what had happened. My teacher had the television on. I saw the plane hit the second tower, and realized that the crash was no accident. The news anchors then talked about a plane crashing into the Pentagon, and a bomb outside the State Department (reported as fact at the time, even though it turned out to be false.) We watched the Twin Towers crumble.

That was my education for that day.

Gavin Baker | 15 | Florida

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