#416 | Sunday, December 9th 2001
I don't remember exactly where I was when the first plane struck. Probably sitting in my college's cafeteria, finishing the remnants of a stale bagel and complaining about a huge reading assignment for my 9 a.m. American History class. When the second plane struck, I was sitting in that class with other freshmen, arguing about the causes of the Civil War. Just before the first tower fell, I was hurrying across the strangely quiet campus to check my mail before my 10:30 class. That was when I first realized that something was wrong.

There were a hundred silent people clustered into one half of the college center, just in front of the rows of mailboxes. Someone had found a radio and had turned the volume all the way up so everyone could hear the news report. The announcer wasn't making any sense. She was saying that something had happened. Planes were missing. Planes had crashed. I stood there near the back of the crowd, looking to other students' faces when the radio provided no answers. Finally something began to get through. Something catastrophic had happened in New York. I think maybe someone I knew hugged me. I don't remember. I just stumbled back to my class, where I saw the same horror and stunned silence repeated on different faces over and over. My teacher dismissed class. She had to. None of us could think about the past just then.

I learned the details later. I tried to sit in front of the TV and watch CNN, but I couldn't. They showed the same pictures over and over. So I stumbled up to my room and talking with my roommate until it was time for my practice. I think maybe twenty girls came to practice when there should have been twice as many. They were clinging to anything normal. They wanted to forget, just like I did. Maybe we did forget for a few hours, when all that mattered was carrying the boats from the boathouse to the dock and wrestling the oars. But then we were back on campus, back in the real world, and life went on. It had to.

Later I tried to comfort friends with missing family and friends. Later I took a white armband, wrote "Peace" in block letters and colored it red, white and blue. Later still I was called a traitor to my country and told that peaceful patriot was an oxymoron. But that was later. Just then I was united with everyone else on my campus, no matter what nationality they were and no matter where they came from. We weren't all Americans, but we were all human beings. What had happened was unthinkable. We all mourned. And, finally, reality began to sink in.

Anna | 18 | New York

#413 | Sunday, December 9th 2001
I was in my school, Stuyvesant High, when the planes hit. I was in my pre-cal class when I heard a muted booming sound. There was always some construction around our school and I didn't think much of it.
Sometime near the end of the lesson, an announcement was made that a "small plane" crashed into the World Trade Center, and that we couldn't go out for lunch, as was the custom.
The teacher went on with her lesson (who can blame her?), and in the my next class, the TV was on (every classroom in Stuy has a TV.)
That's when I saw the huge fire and smoke and almost cried over the clips showing the planes crashing into the WTC. Not only that, from the classroom we had a partially obstructed view of the north tower. It looked like the tower had a huge gash, bleeding smoke.
I only became scared when they reported that the Pentagon was hit too. NBC showed live footage of the smoking Pentagon and wasn't able to provide any more information.
The ground shook, the lights flickered, and the TV went out when the first tower crashed. That was the scariest moment of my life.
About an hour later, the decision was made to evacuate the school. Everyone walked up north and I didn't stop walking until I was somewhere around 50th street, where I called my parents. Since hearing the news that all subway and bus service was suspended, I walked over the 59th street bridge to Queens and got on the #7 train when I saw that it was running.

Weiyin He | 15 | New York

#409 | Sunday, December 9th 2001
I was at work doing some general research for a project I was working on, when the MSNBC News icon in my toolbar began to flash. I clicked to open it, and all it said was "Breaking News - Plane collides with World Trade Center." I proceeded to tell my coworkers, and then I started to get updates, we were desperate for information, as we have an office in New York City, though thankfully not in the Towers. One of the attorneys had a small black and white portable tv in his office and we all congregated there to watch it unfold, including the Pentagon collision. The one moment I remember most clearly was when one of the law clerks informed us that the first tower had collapsed and no one believed her. Our office was in a panic because they didn't want to send us home. We work just down the street from the State Capitol as well as one of the tallest buildings in Upstate New York, and who knew what would happen next. Finally about 2:30PM EST they decided it was in the best interest of the employees to let people go home.
Sarah Gold | 26 | New York

#405 | Sunday, December 9th 2001
I was in my school in Brooklyn, that had a clear view of the Twin Towers on a good day. Since that Tuesday was a beautiful day, you could see them clearly. But all of a sudden, you couldn't see them anymore and all you saw was gray-black smoke. Then papers started flying outside school window (about 5-6 miles from the Twin Towers if you count straight). One student found a half of a burnt cell phone. Some people saw the Twin Towers collapse, before the school let us go home. The entire day if you looked towards Manhattan, the entire sky was black instead of blue.
VB | 17 | New York

#391 | Saturday, December 8th 2001
I was home, sleeping, when the first plane hit. A good friend who lives in Maine called and told us to open our bedroom blinds and look.

We live in Brooklyn, NY and are about 11 miles from the WTC. We used to see the Towers from our apartment windows.

That day we heard and saw them fall. And watched the smoke and debris reach as far as we live. And past...

Mara | 54 | New York

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