#864 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
My 22 year old grandson told me what happend. I watched tv over and over and couldn't take it in. My niece had to tell me over and over what I had heard and seen for myself on the tv. I just could not process it. It took over a week before I could actually take in the enormity of the tragedy. I am on the west coast. I could not and will not ever want to see ground zero. I do not want to see photos nor hear the stories of the people who were lost.
Marianne Olguin | 61 | California

#862 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
I was asleep when my mom came into my room. "Get up, Leslie is on the phone". Why in the world was my best friend Leslie calling my at 8 in the morning? "Are you watching tv? Turn on the tv,we are being attacked." she yelled into the phone. I didn't understand, what was being attacked? What was she talking about? I went into my Mom's room where she had a tv on, and I saw the smoking building. I was so confused, like everybody else was at the time I think. I couldn't figure out what was happening, what in the world was going on. My mom and I sat on her bed all morning watching the news. As the events unfolded, I bacame more and more shocked. There had to be some mistake, who or what in their right mind would dare to attack America? Things like this don't happen here. And then it hit me, Sara, another of my best friends is at NYU, where was she? Was she okay? Those hours untill I heard she was okay were horrible.When those buildings fell....I couldn't breath. I think a part of me fell apart along with them.I will never know what it feels like to have lost family on that day. But I know how my heart was crying on that day. How I was so hurt and in pain at what I was watching. I just couldn't, and still don't understand why in the world this happened. It's been 6 months now, and I am still feeling it. Maybe I don't think about it all day, every day like I did those first few weeks, but it is still with me.I can't watch a lot of new movies about war and fighting, it's too real now. It reminds me of what is going on, and I have friends in the army, it makes me think that this is what is happening to them, and I can't handle it yet. I still get that sinking feeling when I see footage on the news. But I think we need to be reminded. I think people are starting to forget what happened. Yes, we need to move on, but we can't forget. We can't let go of that feeling of loss we had. Especially in California, New York is so far away, it is easy for us to become detached from things. I hope that years from now, if someone is reading this, they can be detached from it. I hope that future generations look back and wonder what war was, and they are baffleled that things like this ever happened in the world. If in some small way my worlds can help them to see how horrible war and viloence is, even to people not directly affected, they will see how horrible it is. And hopefully, it will become a thing of the past.
Carla B. | 20 | California

#860 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
I left my home for work about 5:15 A.M. early the morning of September 11, 2001 for the 1-1/2 hr drive. I listen to an all news/traffic station in the morning and when the announcement was made, I thought it was a horrible accident, but as things developed, my mind wouldn't accept the fact that this was not an accident, it was deliberate. I am a Reservation Sales Associate and work for Amtrak. Our call center covers the entire nation and my job is to make train reservations. I talked to people all over the country who were stranded and trying to get home. The overall demenor was one of sorrow and shock, people were tearful and there were a lot of "God Bless Us" phrases. The train system was the only form of public transportation available during that horrible period, and I talked to a young couple in Florida that was trying to get back to Philadelphia, they had gone for an extended weekend, and their child was with a babysitter, they were frantic. I talked to a businessman in Seattle trying to get back home to Boston and the businessman in Boston trying to get back home to Seattle. There were adults trying to get to elderly parents and students trying to get home. I talked to men in the Military trying to get home/or to their base, they sounded so very young and I thought they sounded scared, but it was probably me. However, everyone I talked to was very calm and very patient (we were so swamped, and had no train space), they all were amazing. I cried with the woman in San Louis Obispo who had a sister working at the World Trade Center she hadn't heard from and she couldn't get thru to. I saw my coworkers crying with other passengers they were speaking to. After a week I was unable to go to work and took off three days, but then sat in front of the TV watching all the news channels, trying to get some answers as to what kind of god wants you to kill in order to get to heaven??? I never found an answer, and I never will. The American people are strong, and we will be much stronger in the years to come. I now tell people that I love them and care about them, this made me realize how quickly I may lose that chance. GOD BLESS AMERICA.
Jeannie O'Regan | 61 | California

#857 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
Here is an essay from my collection of Sept. 11, 2001-inspired essays, poems and meditations published at http://www.geocities.com./inspirationpress/cupofinspiration.html

Temporary Troubles, Eternal Glory: Do Not Lose Faith

Christmas time is the time to be together with loved ones and with those who matter to us a lot. This year’s Christmas season will be more meaningful for many of us in this country and around the world. It’s a time when we can truly count our blessings in light of all the conflicts, acts of violence, diseases, the terrorist spread of anthrax in our mail system.

The tragedy of Sept. 11 is still fresh on our collective minds. There is no way we can’t forget those who laid their lives at the great altar of service. The first celebration of Christmas after those horrible acts finds us more meditative and mindful of our position in the larger community. We are the keepers of our brothers and sisters. We become more united than ever before despite all the things that existed out there to divide us. The enemies might have tried to divide us, but we did not get into their traps. We stood tall and united in the midst of our calamities and tribulations.

The temporary troubles of our lives are nothing in comparison with the eternal glory we are called to have in the Father of all comfort. (2 Corinthians 2:3-4). In these days of tremendous pain, it is good to go back to the things that bring us comfort, the things we are familiar with. Family, friendship, religion, strong sense of community, flag and patriotism are all the things that become important in our lives since Sept. 11. This is why our officials encouraged us to go back to our normal routine despite all the changes that suddenly became part of our world. Our world changed on 9-11.

No matter how much change we have lately witnessed, we want to stick to the constant points of our life. There is no doubt that we were truly shaken by the anthrax scare. We knew that we had to be careful with something that has become part of our lives. For far too long, we have taken our snail mail for granted. When we saw that our mail men and women start becoming victims of the terrorist acts, we knew that those changes would affect us personally. This is why we need to be more appreciative and thankful for these people in our lives. How many times have we taken the time to purposefully say a few words of thanks to these brave men and women who deliver our mail to us in good and bad times? How many times have we personally thanked our dry cleaner workers? How about the men in uniform, the firefighters, rescue workers, police officers, emergency medical workers and even the rescue dogs? It makes sense that these people did not think twice to rush to the burning towers to help, guide, comfort others who were facing certain death? They rushed in to humanize and diminish the suffering of complete strangers. They REACHED out to them. They did something to alleviate their excruciating pain. As a grateful society, we respond by recognizing their heroic acts. In a matter of minutes, days and months, they have reclaimed the title that surely belongs to them.

These ordinary men and women did not become our heroes because of their excellent beauty (even though most of them are beautiful), they became our heroes for their unselfish, altruistic acts on behalf of thousands. Even on earth, their recognition and rewards are greater than most others.

From the smoldering rubbles rose goodness. It’s true that the hearts of many people in this country and all over the world ache, they have become witnesses of history. It has been history in the making ever since these tragic, horrific days befell our country. Goodness surely germinated and rose from the ruins of such major losses of lives and property. Grief took over our mind. The level of atrocity is unimaginable. Men have become their own fiercest enemies. They are bent on destroying themselves for each time a man dies, a part of another man also dies. If anything, the heinous acts of Sept. 11 make us realize the value of being connected to our community and the value of interdependence.

All over the world, prayer vigils were held. Churches saw an upsurge in attendance. Neighbors who never said hi to each other finally realized that they had so much to share. They are talking. Even major cities’ crime rates decline for the few days after the tragedy. Once for all, people matter. Relationships matter. It’s ok to grieve. It’s ok to look for public comfort and inspirational or spiritual matters. The stock market becomes less relevant. Our materialistic ambitions are set aside for a while. Our selfish ways become the antithesis to this kind of 1-for-all sense of community.

Compassion becomes more than a simple word. Seize the day. Live today and forget the past and even the future. How many of us wouldn’t like to sustain this kind of spirit of America at its best? Even on busy streets, complete strangers take time to say hi. They don’t seem to be peering down your throats without even nodding your way or recognizing you are around. Our hearts become open to the needs of our neighbors. That’s how it should have been all along! We may have finally realized that we are all on the same boat of life.

Life is too short for us to waste it. Let’s use it to contribute to our world and matter to others. Our life is like a flower. Job 14:2. No matter what may have come our way, we know that victory, glory awaits in the near future. 2 Corinthians 4:1, 7-8, 17-18;

Please meditate over this passage: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea..” Psalm 46: 1-2.

Let’s sustain the spirit of America at its best! We are a nation of strong faith, conviction and determination.

If you have any comments and feedback, contact us.

Joseph Charles | 36 | California

#845 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
September 11, 2001:
Last night, It was on September 10, 2001 I was on duty at a Security Patrol site, as I am in Security. My night as I recall was calm, with a few disturbances as normal. When I arrived home that following morning, a little exausted, I turned on the Television and viewed in shock of a the first N.Y. flaming building shown live on T.V. I did not realize or heard any thing from other sources moments before arriving home because I was enroute for home with radio silence?. You folk in N.Y. saw the immediate devestation effects.
At home, I was about 5 minutes or it seemed into the news when I watched a second plane ram the adjacent twin tower. [I Being a veteran realized we are at war from not hearing about the first hit plane, but a second is deliberate, as the first]. 'Very unusual' I said to myself, 'oh lord'!
I said to myself as a Veteran would, "We are at War"! Still shocked I changed the channel briefly and surely the tragic news was all over T.V.
'This can't not be happening, those innocent people are in the middle of a horrific and uncalled for act of terrorism' I said to myself. The persons involved as being responsible will be brought down by MIL. defense measures for this kind of cowardness.

Bare with me... this is a veterans mind talking war thought, due to defense of you and the United States. If I was not older than the cutoff age for reinlistment back into the U.S. Forces, I would go back and defend my people of the U.S.A. The U.S. Military needs to change the age policy, especially when we/I still have knowledge of previous military defense. I was a soldier and still think about it today. 'This, We/I will defend' is a soldier motto of war defense.

I am not scared of war, because I am hardened by my special area of training. To make a long story short, every true american should be on the defense of terror regardless if they are scared.
Talk to someone that is not scared, and we will sort out the problem of terrorism. Lets all work together. This incident at the Pentagon and New York should not have occurred due to our specialized mil. airborn intelligence and technology of tracking ahead of our own schedule time, anti-terrorism tactics and defense measures to prevent terrorism.

***My heart goes out to all families and innocent victims of war. Veterans and Active Duty MIL>Personnel too! This is war and we need to stick together and in any way...snuff out the bad people terrorist's.***

Back to the television screen live on 9/11 in the Pacific A.M., as I am watching and thinking, wish I could be there to help find people immediately, due to my past emergency service training.
However, I was called back to my work duty here to defend our other part of the Nation from more terror acts.... Sacramento. I was protecting and guarding a State Building around the clock until relieved for rest. Terror just about can occur anywhere, anytime.

Any, I repeat, any suspicious activity of any type regardless how small they are, should be brought to the proper authority by you for investigation before the incident and innocent get involved as a horrific scene. Defend Our Freedom. Be Alert always from this day out.
America will survive terrorism.

**God Bless America and our Freedom, yesterday, today, tommorow, forever.**

Eric Olsen | 38 | California

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