#1868 | Monday, September 9th 2002
I was working for a Local Retail Store in Erie Pa, in the Electronic Section for the day.
The Store Security officer asked around 8:32am, why I didn't have the Display TVs on yet. We talk for a few moments, then proceeded to turn all of the displays on. The first news broadcast of the first tower was breaking in. A fellow Firefighter friend of mine called me right away, to tell me that the WTC was on fire. As the Security Officer & I stood there and watched, everything then un-folded, the 2nd plane hit!
By this time, almost all the employees (working at that time) were calling me on the internal phone system, asking what is going on. I then noticed almost all the customers in the store, are now standing in the Electronics Dept. (Over 100 of them) Friends & Family started by now calling our store, telling us to turn the TVs on, something terrible had happened.
I received a phone call from my wife (who is also a Firefighter), she told me to be ready, because Erie County was now on a Status 1 Alert (meaning all fire/ems/police personnel are on standby) At this time, the 3rd plane had hit the Pentagon, and the reports were coming over the news, that there was a possible 4th plane & no one was quite sure where it was, nor where it was going. Cleveland Airport reported, they lost a plane from their radar area, and was possibly headed towards the Pittsburgh Area.
Everyone in the store started to cry, some were screaming, just everyone was in complete disbelief of what they had just witnessed. Our Store manager made the decision to close the store down, and if the customers wanted to stay, they were more than welcome too.
At 4pm, all the employess of our store, along with around approx. 50 customers or so, we held a candle light vigil outside for all the victims.
My wife was called in to her work & placed on emergency status (she worked for Verizon at the time). The Northwestern Pa Verizon team had by this time, started to 'field' all calls coming out of New York City & the surrounding areas. My wife was at her work for 22 hrs to help field the calls, since Building 7 in the WTC Plaza was the Verizon Building and had collapsed also.
As I arrived home, my phone was now ringing with family members & friends checking in & so forth. All of my friends are all Firefighters/Emts aong with my family. Everyone was checking to see who might be going where & doing what, in case our Respective Depts may be needed, in either New York, Washington DC or Shanksville Pa.
I stopped at my wife's work later that evening, to give her a hug, asking her to be careful & tell her that I love her.

Dave Lightner | 42 | Pennsylvania

#1846 | Monday, September 9th 2002
On September 11, 2001, I was sitting in my Calculus class. My history teacher came into the room and said that the World Trade Centers were attacked. My Calculus teach didn't really pay too much attention to it and kept teaching us our lesson. Then I went to my Computer class and our teacher said that he was going to cancel class for the day because he knew that we all wanted to know what was going on. So everyone went online and read about the attacks. During my last class of the day, we just watched the news the whole period. When I got home I called my mom right away because I was worried about my dad and sister. They were on there way to Disney World and I knew that was a possible target zone. So I kept the news on all afternoon and worried about my dad and sister until they called later that night. I was so happy that they were all right. The next couple of days in school were spent discussing what happened and what we could do to help out the victims. I prayed for my cousins family because they lost a loved one in the crash and i prayed that they would be able to find the body. We need to pick ourselves up from this incident and move on now. It was a terrible event in our history, but now we need to pull together and move on. That's what the country is all about. Picking up the pieces of the past and rebuilding.
Sara | 17 | Pennsylvania

#1842 | Monday, September 9th 2002
On September 11, 2001, I was working in a highrise building in Pittsburgh. It was only on the 11th floor, but that was high enough for me. Someone had the radio on that broadcasted from New York City when the first plane hit. I wasn't near a television and didn't want to be. I was confused. Why was this happening? Who would do this? WHY would they do this? Then I heard about the second plane hitting the other building. I started feeling like I just wanted to run into a bathroom and cry, I was so frightened. Next, I heard about the plane hitting the Pentagon. I've been near it once and the size of it truly amazed me. That someone would fly a plane into that building, let alone the World Trace Center buildings, blew my mind. I heard about planes being highjacked. I heard about one flying near Pittsburgh. I looked out my window. Where was it? Was it close? Would it come near downtown? The USX Steel building is the tallest in Pittsburgh, 64 stories. If it hit there, my building, next block over from it, would be affected. I wanted to leave work. I wanted to go home, go home to my mother, want my brother to leave his job, ( he works at the county courthouse, which was right accross from where I worked) and just go home. He couldn't leave until the building was secure, but at least he knew I was OK and I knew he was.

I saw the pictures of what happened, what the end devistation was and was horrified. I was proud that President Bush, who I didn't vote for, was smart enough to send troops to Afghanistan to deal with the Taliban. I was in the Air Force during the Gulf War, as was my brother, and we both wished we could have gone over there ourselves.

I know that that day changed the way I thought about life. How I lived it, who I wanted in it, who I didn't. I had never learned to drive a car because of fear of getting behind the wheel. That day taught me that life is too short to live in fear of ANYTHING. Two weeks afterward, I started taking lessons and 10 days before Christmas, I got my lisence at the age of 30.

We cannot let terrorists dictate how we live our lives. We cannot let fear of anything stop us from doing what we've always done before. If we do, then they win. We also can't look at everyone who is different from us and just assume that if they are from a Middle East country that they are automatically terrorists. There were Muslims who lost their lives as well on that day WHO WEREN'T TERRORISTS. Hopefully people will remember this the next time they see somone Arabic and automatically want to hate them because of what SOME PEOPLE did to us.

We are a strong nation. We have survived many wars in our country. We have pulled together to get ourselves back on our feet. We will get through this as well. God will not let us down, nor will He let us forget that we are ALL THE SAME, REGARDLESS OF RELIGION. I think it's time that we all looked at life a little differently because of this situation and learn from it.

Melissa Kondrich | 30 | Pennsylvania

#1841 | Monday, September 9th 2002
I was in my first class that I took over when I was student teaching and talking about the nervous system and then people in the hall came in and told us to turn on the television as we did that the second plane was flying right into the other tower it was the scariest and most disturbing moment I had ever seen. Victor P. Exeter, PA
Victor Pac | 23 | Pennsylvania

#1834 | Monday, September 9th 2002
My husband and I along with our daughter, were at a Funeral for a fine young man, who was killed in a freak Motorcycle accident, just days before. The unique thing about this Young man,Danny Stark was his name, is Danny was a very, PROUD MARINE....At his funeral, was a full HONOR GUARD. They were standing outside of the Funeral Home when the Commander got a phone call and he went to the van carrying the Honor Guard, they stood there listening to a radio and we heard what had happened at the WTC, word of what happened traveled fast through the funeral guests and EVERYONE was stunned, and shocked. We all listened to it on our radios and couldn't believe what we were hearing, alot of us were thinking, on this horrible day, we are here burying ONE OF AMERICA'S FINEST. As young as he was, he was a decorated Soldier, and he would have been there to Protect us in a Heart Beat.
Donna-Lynn McHale | 50 | Pennsylvania

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