#1736 | Saturday, September 7th 2002
It's funny how you can commit every detail about a specific day to your memory, isn't it?

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was a senior in college in DC, living in an off-campus apartment close to the zoo. My 3 roommates and I were in the process of getting ready for work and classes; one of us had already headed to an internship on Capitol Hill. I had just sat down with my Lucky Charms when my roommate got up without a word and turned on the TV - she had gotten an IM from a friend that something was going on in NYC.

It took us a couple of minutes to realize what we were watching wasn't a movie, and a few more minutes for it to sink in that this was no accident. Confused, we started making phone calls - home, to friends in New York, you name it. I still could kick myself for making the offhand comment to my mom that "at least it's not DC." We sat glued to the TV, half-attempting to keep getting ready and debating whether we should even bother.

Another roommate had just left to go to work - blocks from the White House - when reports started coming in that there was a fire at the Pentagon. My remaining roommate & I just stared at eachother - and grabbed phones again. "Mom," I had to say, "they hit DC..."

I knew that obviously, our puny apartment building wasn't a target - but I sat there terrified, listening to (what turned out to be false) CNN reports that a car bomb had gone off outside the State Department, and that there were fires on the National Mall. Worst of all, we began hearing that there was another plane headed for DC. They didn't know where it would hit, but kept saying it was coming. I can honestly say I never felt so insignificant in my life: no matter what I did, I had no control over what was going on. I would watch the tv, then watch the window, half-expecting to see a plane come hurtling down. Had Flight 93 made it to DC (as I believe it was intended to) I know my roommates would have been in a horrible situation: that plane would have hit either somewhere on Capitol Hill or the White House.

As they began evacuating downtown DC, and things still looked completely uncertain, we tried to track down our roommates while friends, classmates & every family member from here to Florida started calling our apartment. It was a mess - the lines were jammed, there was no signal, it was pointless. We were all fine, fortunately. My one roommate was taken from Capitol Hill to Maryland with co-workers; the other walked most of the way home from the White House after they closed Metro stops. I never made it anywhere, after I called work and was told to avoid the Metro at all costs.

By late afternoon, we were all back in the apartment and trying to figure out what to do with ourselves. We ended up on the rooftop of our building, watching the Pentagon burn - some of the blackest smoke I've ever seen. It was almost surreal, hearing sirens and seeing nothing but military helicopters flying above. The streets were dead, all of the businesses and restaurants shut down with little signs: "God Bless America."

We alternated between cleaning and eating, flipping stations to make sure we weren't missing a thing. It got to a point where I couldn't watch any more, but I was too nervous to sleep. I wonder sometimes if people realize how tense it was in DC for weeks ... we were warned about gas attacks on the Metro, car bombs, suspicious trucks, you name it. Arab governments (the UAE in particular) sent government planes to fly their students home - one guy got pulled out of my Cross Cultural Communications class in the middle of the afternoon. It was nerve-wracking for awhile.

Forget 9/11? I don't need television specials to remind me. I'll never forget.


Jen | 22 | Ohio

#1735 | Saturday, September 7th 2002
i believe that it is not right that we had to have something bad happen to our country to unite like we did. Dont get me wrong i believe in the support of families but in some way we all think that it is wrong.
Robin Britton | 14 | Ohio

#1720 | Saturday, September 7th 2002
I didn't lose anyone in the September 11th attacks, but they still affected me deeply because I am an American.

I was going to my college classes normally that day when I saw someone in the hall crying. I didn't know what was wrong (and still don't), but to this day, I believe she had already heard about the attacks. After class, I went to work when my friend asked me if I knew what had happened. I replied a casual "no", thinking that someone had broken up with someone else. When she told me about the planes hitting the WTC towers and the Pentagon, I literally lost my balance and fell into a chair. I wanted to cry and be somewhere safe, but that was impossible at that moment in time.

The plane that crashed in Pennsylvania came later. The town where this plane crashed was not far from my college; rumors began that the city of Pittsburgh was under attack also. Pretty soon, our college told us there was a serious bomb threat and we were evacuated. As I was walking down the stairs, I remember someone saying, "This is going to be just like when President Kennedy was shot. People are always going to ask: where were you when you heard about the terrorist attacks?" Thinking of my response was the last thing from my mind. As soon as I reached my car, I called my Mom to let her know that I was okay. Scared, but okay.

When I got home, the first thing I did was hug my father. As I entered the house, I began crying again as I watched the news. I just couldn't believe something so terrible had happened. I prayed that the people would be alive and also asked God "Why?" My little and newest kitten, Coco, tried to comfort me. There was no way I could tell her what happened so I just held her close and told her I loved her.

In fact, I couldn't express my feelings to anyone...except the immense sadness. To borrow a line from Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)", I felt "guilty because I was a survivor".

Julie | 23 | Ohio

#1655 | Wednesday, September 4th 2002
I had just got back from my father-in law's house when my Dad called and told me to turn on the news. I just stared at the TV, thinking it was a joke. I never thought it could happen. Part of me will never believe, I guess. I just sat there and cried. I handled it the only way I knew how, and that was to write. I've been writing poetry since I was 9 (I'm 28 now) and I decided to start sending poetry to different websites for the families. To anyone that wants to check out the site I made, please e-mail me and I'll get it to you. It's almost finished.
Sherry Mann | 28 | Ohio

#1652 | Tuesday, September 3rd 2002
I was in my Ameircan History Class. The teacher came rushing into the room saying "A plane has hit the World Trade Center!" We turned on the TV and saw the disturbing image. Then as we were watching a second plane hit the other tower, everyone was very scared right now. Cell phones were not allowed in my school but just about everyone had one, I called my dad who works in the Federal Building in Cleveland and told him the news, he could not believe it. I was still on the phone with him when we heard reports that Flight 93 was in our area and I heard someone tell him that they were evacuating his building so he told me he would call me back. We also got evacuated. Thank God the plane did not crash into anything in Cleveland. I am still feeling the pain I felt on that day. I could not fall asleep. I was crying all night long, I was online talking to people, trying to find comfort.It was a very sad day, I hope that I never have to deal with anything like that again. There is still a hole in my heart. I was thinking a couple days ago,before the teacher came in, it was all OK, I didn't know about the attacks and as far as I knew, we were safe, we were America, you didn't mess with us! That all changed though, I love America, and I always will.
Josh Puterbaugh | 14 | Ohio

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