#918 | Monday, March 11th 2002
Thirteen years before 9/11, I had experienced a natural gas explosion in a furnace room two floors above where I was working. As the concussion hit, my instantaneous thought was that an airplane had stuck our building. Then I thought it had only broken the sound barrier just above us. Then we heard the thunder of footsteps and screaming in the stairwell outside our area. On 9/11, when I finally realized what I was hearing on the radio was real news, I was instantly "there", only instead of several dozen people running down, it was thousands. Instead of only two men burned, but still alive and recovered, thousands were dead. In a very small way, I was connected to that vast horror.
Linda | 53 | Washington

#863 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
I was in NYC with a group composed almost entirely of senior citizens, sponsored by the Tacoma (Washington) Musical Playhouse, a theater company. We were beginning a New England theater tour with three nights in NYC, with tickets for The Producers, 42nd Street and The Full Monty, and then on to several nearby states for regional theater productions. We were to leave the morning of September 13th, following a tour of the World Trade Center. On the morning of the 11th, as we were about to board our bus for a harbor tour, someone heard on the radio that a plane had hit the WTC. We all remembered the time that one of our bombers hit the Empire State Building during WW II and what a horrible accident that had been. We were sorry to hear of it happening again but headed for New York Harbor. Enroute, we passed within ½ to ¾ mile of the WTC as the 2nd plane hit. We knew immediately then that it was a terrorist attack. The sky was filling with roiling gray smoke. By the time we reached the harbor a few minutes later, we were told that all watercraft had been commandeered for evacuation and for bringing in equipment and supplies. We altered our plans then and headed north to Harlem, with a stop at Central Park for lunch. Of course, there was no place open to eat but we did find a coffee and sandwich shop busily trying to keep up with orders near the cathedral in Harlem. Leaving the park, the streets and sidewalks were clogged with people and vehicles, all heading north. All the bridges, tunnels and tracks had been closed except for outgoing traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. We spent that and the next day visiting various churches, praying. All the theaters, of course, canceled their performances. Times Square was a ghost town. All night on the 11th and all day on the 12th one could stand in the middle of the street and not see a vehicle in either direction for a mile. Only stranded tourists and a smattering of policemen were on the street. About the only things moving on the streets were emergency vehicles, with sirens blaring. It was hard to find a place to eat but there were two or three places open in the Broadway Theater District. We passed by a fire station near our hotel. Flowers and other mementoes were piling up there by early afternoon, as people began to express their grief and their thanks to emergency personnel and acknowledging the heroic actions of the firefighters and police. By the time we found St. Vincent’s Hospital, they were no longer taking blood, so there was little we could do but pray. We got out of NYC on schedule and continued our tour, coming back to Long Island a few days later. We were able to fly out of JFK on the first nonstop flight to SeaTac, as scheduled. The terminal was chaotic but none of us had any fear of flying home, though one of our number took Amtrak because of family fears for her. This is another period that shall live forever in infamy!
Bob Reilly | 66 | Washington

#853 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
I was one of the lucky ones. I had been to the Michael Jackson Tribute Concert the night before Sept 11. I had an early flight back to Seattle the next morning-at the time I wanted a later flight, but now I am so grateful it was early, my friends and I took seperate rides to various NY airports(none of us could get on the same flight for various reasons) me being at JFK. The time frame is such a blur to me now, having just switched my watch back to Pacific time that I'm not sure when exactly everything happened, but my flight(American Airlines 265) left New York about 8:50 am or so. Being hard of hearing, there was an announcement made over the intercom but I didn't understand it so I asked the gentleman in the seat next to me what the pilot was saying since it was a long message. He was shaking his head slowly as if he wasn't sure himself, "Something's wrong with the radio communications West of Chicago?" he said uncertainly, "apparently it's never happened before, we may have to stop in O'Hare." 'No problem,' I thought, my connecting flight doesn't leave Seattle for 8 hours and I've never been to Chicago.' We ended up in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I remember a flight attendant being a little jittery having had my arm splashed with a little hot water but everything seemed normal-except for this stop in 'Chicago.' I was very upset when I got off the plane but only because I wasn't going home right away. A nice man named Jack Nash(thank you Jack, wherevewr you are) helped me find my luggage and shared a cab with me as we found our hotel rooms-no small feet since I was in a wheelchair and I also was toting a box of one dozen Krispy-Kreme donuts with me to surprise my friends at home. Waiting at the ticket counter at the Toronto Airport I was surprised to learn that there would be no flights out until Thursday. "Why so long?" I remember asking the ticket clerk, I don't remember her words to me but she had a look on her face I now recognize as the realization that I hadn't been told yet. I asked her to call my parents at home for me since I was hard of hearing and she did. Turns out it was a good thing she did, my parents had been woken up with the radio broadcast of the events of New York and Wash.DC and had no idea what to do. I ended up at a hotel in Toronto (thank you, Toronto) where I turned on the TV to see what I thought was a promo for some Schwarzennegger-type film but as I turned the channels, realized the same thing was being shown over and over. I think I just whimpered in front of the set "I was just there" over and over until I was practically screaming. To try to sum this up, I avoided the TV as much as I could for the remainder of my stay- 5 days- and took a lot of baths. I even snuck a cucumber slice out of my salad for my tired puffy eyes. Well that's it basically, like I said I was one of the lucky ones, except for being so lonely.
Sunny Inge | 32 | Washington

#669 | Friday, January 25th 2002
I was being picked up by the Bus to got to my school. The bus driver ( a woman ), was crying as she told us what happened. I was suprised whe she told us and I first thought she was lying. Once I got to school all the TV's where on showing the WTC..
Ian | 13 | Washington

#607 | Thursday, January 3rd 2002
I had just woken up about an hour before I had to attend a class and my roommate had turned on the television to CNN and they started to show some footage from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. I didn't have any reaction but shock at first because I wanted to find out all of the details. It wasn't until the day was over that it all sank in.

I felt bad for the lives of the families of the lives of the workers that were lost in the bombings. What I am more angry about is the fact that the United States is so egotistical. We are all about ourselves and most of everything we do is for selfish means. These terrorist attacks were perhaps a wake up call to us, letting us know that there are other people in this world with needs that need to be tended to as well.

I have seen many people with flags either hanging on the mirrors of their cars, sticking to the back of them, or hanging from their porches. I think it is uncanny how many people didn't truely feel patriotic until the attacks happened. I have always felt patriotic but I think after it has happened I will be more charitable and think more about the other person more. I didn't purchase a flag because just because a person has one doesn't mean that that person is more patriotic. People that have flags want most people to think that is the reason why them have them.

I hope that these attacks have changed the way that each of us as well as our president handles things such as our dealing with other people. I hope this causes us to be less ignorant and put the concerns of others before our own.

Reggie Oliver | 21 | Washington

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