#512 | Tuesday, December 18th 2001
I am disabled and house/bed bound for the most part, so I got a computer in April/01 to help with my isolation and joined some communities online and made friends from all over the world, but mostly in the United States. Since buying the computer I very rarely watched any TV. I just get up, get my decaf and go to my computer and log in to my Quit Smoking Support Group to see if any one is in need of help.

I had gotten my coffee and was walking past the TV to my computer, it was around 9:00 am, I got 2 steps past the TV and a voice in my head said "TURN THE TV ON", it was loud and very present, so I surprisingly back stepped and turned it on, to a world of terror, happening before my eyes, my mouth dropped, it was a while before tears came, I was in shock. At first I recall thinking this must be a movie, it must be, it's too horrible not to be. Until the second plane came in. I stayed transfixed to the screen until about 11am, then logged on and started a Prayer Thread for all Americans hurt or killed in this atrocity at my Quit Smoking Support Group, which is made up of mostly Americans. Several online communities I belong to lost members at the WTC and I cry now as I write this, recalling that awful day and the days after. God Bless all who where touched that day by such evil actions, those who lost loved ones, and especially the children. Those that were lost are in a better place than this, in Gods loving arms.

Cheryl Benson | 46 | Canada

#419 | Sunday, December 9th 2001
I remember the Sept. 11, 2001 as if it happened today. My mom had gone to see my sister in St.Louis, Missouri and the day before they had a very bad vehicle accident. My son and I had gone up there. Upon waking the morning of the 11th, my son Chase yelled at my mother and I to come see the TV. As I watched in horror, the second plane hit. I will never forget the site of the twin towers, people jumping out of the building and everyone held in total shock. We later went to the hospital and my sister was also watching the news. I guess their accident was not nearly as bad after watching the terror that hit New York. It will be a day eveyone will always remember. Joyce Lawrence
Joyce Lawrence | 46 | Tennessee

#376 | Saturday, December 8th 2001
My best friend and roommate, Kris Orr, were getting ready to go to different movie sets to be extras, I was due at Drew Carey and he was due at a funeral scene location.

I had arisen at 5:00 to check my email and didn't have the T.V. on...when it got to be time to wake Kris up, I disconnected my modem and the phone rang right away...it was Kim, Kris' sister.

"Are you watching it?"

"Watching what," I asked.

"Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center and one went into the Pentagon."

"Oh my God," I thought, but it was a prayer too....and I turned on the T.V. Then I woke Kris up. He talked to Kim, but I don't remember what he said. I was too stuned.

We watched the images as they played, everyone saw that. Someone from Central called each of us some time later to tell us that the shoots had been cancelled, but who would have wanted to go anyways?

The building collapsed on the rescuers. People passed on the film from their videocameras. I was in the smoke and dust as a tower fell, while I ran, being carried by a woman, into an Italian restaurant and my life was saved. I was a police chaplin that was hit by a falling person carried by four of my friends. I was a black woman choked by dust, a doctor that was running to perform triage.

Sometime around noon, it got to be too much for me and I had to go in and take a nap...I was in information overload.

And I became more survivors and children of people that didn't make it and my empathy antennae were burned and dusty and I cry when I remember it and I'm crying now writing about it and it's December 8, 2001.

I have done volunteer hands on work for People with Aids when their was no medicine. I have sat in hospital and hospice with them as they passed. I thought death and I were brothers, the kind that acknowledge our bond but aren't all that glad to see each other.

I didn't know death. I may not know it now, but I know its smell and its feel.

I only saw it on t.v. I work in the industry that turns words into pictures, into entertainment...

But that day touched me as if I were there. I pray for the ones that were.

Dave Atkins | 46 | California

#367 | Saturday, December 8th 2001
I was at work, had just sat down with a coffee at my desk when a news bulletin came through on the radio. I immediately went to our lunchroom and turned the TV onto CNN. It had only happened about 3 minutes before. I stood there for a minute or so in shock then went to get other employee's. We watched for a period of time when I saw what I thought was an American military plane fly behind the building thinking it was taking a look at the damage. When the explosion came through the front of the second tower. I new right then it was terrorists.
We continued to watch in total disbelief as the towers fell to the ground and the Pentagon was attacked.
At the time it made everything in life so insignificant as I'm sure others felt .
Now I realize just how great life is and how important it is to enjoy every single day ! !

Bill Reid of Toronto | 46 | Canada

#329 | Saturday, December 8th 2001
It was so surreal ...

I'm 46 years old and have been a paraplegic for a year, having suffered a stroke in the
thoracic region of my spinal cord in Nov. 2000. Five weeks in the hospital, five months in
a nursing home to rehab and strengthen my upper body, then home ... with a significant
ulcer on the skin of my posterior, requiring bedrest and machinery to heal the sore.

You do what you can to keep your mind busy in these circumstances and I was lying in bed
playing a video game when the phone rang. It was my identical twin brother, who works for
a satelite radio company in Washington D.C.

"Do you have the news on?" he asked.

"Not yet," I said, reaching for the remote. "What happened?"

Before he could answer, MSNBC came onscreen, and I stared in disbelief as one of the World
Trade Center towers was burning.

"A plane flew into it," my brother said. I immediately recalled an incident back in the
30s when a plane crashed into the Empire State Building, and reminded my brother about it.

"Do you think it was something like that?" I asked. "An accident?"

"I dunno," he said. "But I'm thinking terrorism.

Just as he said that, the second plane hit, and just about dropped the phone.

I told my brother I wanted to watch, and would talk to him later. And minutes later, the
phone rang again ... just seconds after it was announced there was "some sort of explosion
at the Pentagon." They weren't ready to tie it in to the WTC explosion yet. But I was.

"One hit the Pentagon," my brohter said.

"Stay home today," I told him. He lives in Laurel, MD, and I figured if he stayed out of
D.C., he'd be fine. Because I was afraid is was going to be raining airplanes in New York,
Washington, and all over the country!

"Not to worry," he said. His wife wasn't letting him go anywhere.

I watched the news in a state of shock, wondering what would happen next, never dreaming
that the two buildings that had survived the bombing in its parking garage eight years
earlier were doomed.

One of the talking heads on MSNBC was ... well ... talking, when you could tell that the
producer was talking in his ear. They cut to New York. The first tower had collapsed. They
showed a tape of it doing so. Minutes later, as a reporter filed a story over the
telephone, she let out a yelp. The second tower was coming down.

That's when I started to cry and pray.

Later, I heard about bin Laden, the heroism of those on the plane destined for D.C. that
ended scattered on a Pennsylvanian field, and the cell phone calls from that doomed
flight.

And I remember saying aloud, to nobody, "This isn't Islam." I am not an expert on the
religion, but I know it defies the stereotype. I know it basically teaches the same things
the Christian Bible teaches ... love God and love your neighbor. And, I thought, as all
religions have teir right-wing fanatics ... so does Islam. But the Islamic fanatics get
all the press. Later in the crisis, when right-wing Christian fanatics like Jerry Falwell,
Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham ... who must have disappointed his father terribly ...
said the attacks were the result of God withdrawing his protection from our country, I was
almost as angry as I was when the planes hit.

I'm a lay minister in the United Methodist Church who is working toward becoming useful
again following my sudden attack of paraplegia -- and have done some studying. Check out
some of the stuff in Leviticus and Deuteronomy! The law God gave Moses has some pretty
harsh stuff. Then, if you wish to follow the hard-line right-wing interpretations, make
sure you kill your children if they get insolent. Says so. Deuteronomy 21:20. Is your
daughter a virgin? Hope so. Or else we gotta kill her. Check Deut. 22:23. And guys? If
there's something wrong with your ... uh ... 'manhood,' there'll be no church services for
YOU! Read Deut. 23:1

And let us not forget! This was the law handed down from God to Moses!

If we were to keep these laws, we'd be called murderers, and rightly so. Yet, I suppose,
if one wanted to establish some sort of jihad based on these Old Testament "truths" --

-- no, we'd still be murderers.

So as I watched the chaos in NYC and these thoughts went through my mind, I couldn't help
but wonder about the scene at the gates of Heaven. Would, as bin Laden seemed to assert,
God be flicking away the infidels and only allowing in those who follow bin Laden's brand
of Islam?

Or, now that we're at war and there's a good possibility that Osama could find himself
standing face to face with God, explaining why he did what he did.

Funny what goes through your mind while your world is changing.

Bob Schmalfeldt | 46 | Wisconsin

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