#895 | Monday, March 11th 2002
At 4:35 in the morning on Sept. 11, 2001, my phone rang waking me from a deep sleep. It was my father. My mother had passed away. I couldn't believe it as it was very unexpected. I live in Alabama and my parents lived in Florida, 100 miles away. My dad was having my mom buried in West Virginia. I was having some problems with my car that I needed to get fixed before making the drive to Florida, then north to WV. I arrived at the Auto Shop at 7:45 central time. I went into the waiting area and there on TV it showed the first Tower burning, saying a plane hit the WTC Tower. As I continued to watch, a second plane hit. I was in shock. As a result of the attacks, it became a problem getting my mother's body transported to WV from Florida since the airlines were shut down. Finally on Friday, it was decided that they would have to drive her body to WV. I will never forget 9/11/2001. As I was driving down to Florida that morning, listening to the radio and hearing that the Pentagon also got hit, I said aloud, "Heaven's Gates will be busy today. The world has many more angels to watch over us."
Tammy | 41 | Alabama

#877 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
I was driving to work when they interrupted in the middle of a song to say a plane had flown into the WTC. I thought to myself, "what a horrible tragic accident!". When I arrived at work and went to turn off the radio a 2nd announcement said a 2nd plane had hit. I sat there in my car in total shock, total disbelief. So stunned I sat in my car for a few minutes to compose myself. People were moving all throughout the office in search of televisions, trying, unsuccessfully for the most part, to get to news web sitem looking for radios, calling friends and family on the phone. It was so quiet in the office it was eerie. Having grown up in NJ and visited the WTC on many occassions I felt so helpless not being there with my family, helping out in any way I could.

I have always been a very patriotic person but am more proud than ever to say I am an American. God bless this nation, the victims, their families and all those selfless volunteers. And thank you to people world-wide who have grieved with us.

Barbara | 41 | Colorado

#865 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
Living in the western US, I was still asleep when it all started. My telephone rang about 6:45 and my boyfriend said to turn on the TV. I was still half-asleep and couldn't figure out why he would call me and tell me to turn on the TV. He finally told me that terrorists had flown airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I didn't believe him. And then I thought "World Trade Center. . . didn't that get bombed a while back?"

I did turn on the TV and saw the smoke and the chaos. We talked for a while, watching the pictures and listening to the reports. Then the first tower fell - I saw it start to go and then the huge cloud of smoke and debris. At first, I thought another plane had hit or something like that - wasn't really sure what had happened. Then I realized that the tower was gone and all I could think was that I hoped everyone had gotten out. Then a few minutes later, the second tower fell. This time I knew what had happened.

By that time it was about 7:30 and I had to start getting ready for work. Even though something truly horrible had happened, life goes on and I knew there would be work to do. And I'm much better off with something to do that sitting at home, alone, watching it all on TV. The commentators had started to bug me already with their theories about who had done it and why and being so sure it was terrorists. It was too early, in my opinion, to draw any conclusions beyond the obvious facts. So I hung up the phone, turned off the TV and started getting ready for work.

About 15 minutes later, the phone rang again. It was one of my best friends. Her brother-in-law is a pilot for Northwest and her sister had called in a panic. He was flying that morning and she thought he was in the northeast. He had called the night before and she hadn't asked where he was so she really didn't know. She had called his cell phone, but there was no answer and he hadn't contacted her. I don't think we knew for sure all the airlines that were involved, but the ones we'd heard about were not Northwest. We also didn't know about the crash in Pennsylvania yet, but that was about to come out. So we talked about that for a bit and decided that he was probably OK and was busy landing his plane and would be in touch.

That scared me - I had been pretty much OK until then. I felt like all my friends and family were not in any danger, though there were a few to check on, but knowing that there was somebody flying a plane up there who hadn't been heard from was a little unnerving. I got to work and someone had brought in a little TV set and we all gathered around. But there was no new news - just a lot of re-hashing of what little was known and a lot of speculation. More information did come out through the day and it became clear that terrorists had done this.

My friend's brother-in-law was fine. He had started in Dallas that morning and was flying to Detroit. He landed his plane in Indianapolis and was stuck there for several days. All he knew before he got to his motel room was that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center and he didn't quite believe that. When he got to the motel, turned on the TV and checked his cell phone messages, he realized what had happened and started calling everyone to say he was fine.

My boss is from New York and his nephew was in the Trade Center complex in one of the other buildings. He saw people jumping and his company lost people who were in the two towers for meetings. My boss' niece was stuck in traffic in Washington, DC for several hours - they just stopped traffic and made everyone stay in their cars. She was hysterical on the phone.

The father of another friend saw it all from the roof of his apartment building in New York. Other friends in the DC area were busy finding their friends and family and explaining what had happened to their elementary school students.

I decided that there was no reason to panic. It was very important to me to keep calm and calm others down. I know that we cannot live in a culture of fear. We have to go on living our lives, crass as that may sound. If we all hunker down in our basements and never go out, the terrorists win. We cannot let the bad guys win. My boyfriend and I had considered going to DC for an event in his family in mid-October, but we didn't go. I would have gone, but he refused to fly. It turned out that the anthrax situation started that weekend right near where we would have been so it was probably best that we stayed here. I did finally fly just after Christmas and it wasn't bad at all. I still don't think that security is what it should be, but it's better than it was. I'm also not convinced that increased security will solve all the problems.

I also have spend considerable time talking with people about fear of strangers. Some of these folks were afraid of 'strangers' before. Some of them certainly are now. I firmly believe that people are inherently good. I have known many Arab/Moslem people in my life and have no fear of them at all. I have trouble understanding some of the basis for the hatred of America. Some of it I see very clearly, but to have such hatred to do something this drastic is difficult to comprehend. But then, the first revenge killing for the attacks happened in my town the weekend after when a Sikh gas station owner was gunned down by a lunatic. That's equallly difficult to comprehend.

Violence is not the solution - it just causes more violence. Fear of others is not the solution. The solution is communication and understanding by all sides. I hope that people around the world will realize this and work for peace. I'm not saying that we shouldn't fight back - there is definitely a time and a place for fighting. But it needs to be rational and based on evidence and fact, not on emotion and for revenge.

I've been pleased with President Bush's response, for the most part. Six months later, I'm a little concerned as to where we go from here. I don't think that terrorism can be wiped out, much as I hate to admit that. So I wonder what happens next. We shall see.

I also worry that we as a nation do not seem to be concerned about what we may have done to create the feelings in the rest of the world that caused the attacks. We seem to have no clue that our policies and actions can have tremendous repercussions years after the fact. I hope that we will learn about the rest of the world and try to understand why others feel the way they do - and also why we do the things we do. We can only gain from that knowledge!

Ellen | 41 | Arizona

#854 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
I was en route to work in downtown Denver when I turned on the car radio to get a weather report. I heard Dan Rather talking about the World Trade Tower fire. I thought he was talking about the bombing several years ago. Then he said "the tower has collapsed" and he sounded so sad. Then I realized what he was talking about was actually happening. I started to cry. As I drove towards the city of Denver I kept staring at our tall towers wondering if we were next. It was eerie. Late that night at home after I finally turned off the tv, I lay in bed and heard nothing but silence outside. No wind, no people, no airplanes flying overhead. Just utter stillness. I knew the world had changed. And I knew thousands of people were out there waiting for someone they loved to come home, and that some of them never would.
Nancy | 41 | Colorado

#844 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
My wife and I both teach at the same elementary school, so on the morning of Sept. 11 we two and our two children were all getting ready for school when my sister-in-law, who lives up the street, called and told us to turn on the TV. We watched like everyone else as the tragedy unfolded in New York City, at the Pentagon and in that lonely field in Pennsylvania. I remember saying "Happy birthday to me" as I watched the carnage. Sept. 11, 2001, was my 41st birthday, and it is certainly one I will never forget. I tried to explain it all to my fourth graders at school. The odd thing is, the children really didn't seem too freaked by the whole thing. They talked about it, but to me it seemed many of them didn't grasp the enormity of the situation. I got the impression that many of the kids felt it was just like scenes from a movie or video game they had seen a thousand times. I feel like they had no real idea that thousands of people died on that surreal, spring-like September morning.
Mark H. | 41 | California

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