#1474 | Tuesday, July 16th 2002
September 11th started out as a normal day. I had to work the closing shift at my Kmart store at 1 PM, so I got up relatively late, about 9 AM. After waking up a bit, I decided to kill some time by going online and checking my email, LiveJournal, and such. One of the emails I got was a post to a Yahoo! Group ML that was, as far as I know, dead. Here is the email, verbatim:
[There are some Japanese words in here, since it came from an anime RPG mailing list]

"Giys [sic] the pentagon has been bombed one world trade center has been bombed and collapsed, please pray for everyone this could by [sic] our final hour minna [everyone] just pray that everything is done according to God's will, Amen and arigato [thank you] for listening and this is not something you should take lightly, this is serious business."

My initial reaction was less than stellar -- "Yeah, right..." But in the back of my mind, I was thinking that maybe I should turn on CNN and see what they say about the whole thing. I turned the television on, and the first image I saw was the second plane flying into the World Trade Center. I sat for what seemed like an eternity in utter shock and disbelief.

Then I realized... my friend was supposed to fly back into Columbus that day. I got frantic. I made calls, sent emails, worried, started visibly shaking, and cried. Luckily, my friend's plane had not taken off yet; she would be stuck in LA for a week. It was better than being up in the air at the time of the attack, though.

The attacks affected me at such a deep level, that I couldn't stand being alone in my room. I called work and told them I was coming in early; that I needed something to do to take my mind off the attacks. Of course, the attacks were the topic of conversation all around... at least I was around co-workers and friends, so I could offer support to those who needed it.

The 9/11 attacks have strengthened my interest in the country. Before then, I just went through the motions. I voted, but I never really followed what went on that made our country work. I now have a newfound respect for how our government works. (By no means perfectly, but it could be much worse.) It also ultimately strengthened the bonds between my friends and me.

It will be nearly impossible for anyone to forget what happened on that fateful day, and how it changed their lives, both personally, and in society as a whole.

Dustin Riley | 20 | Ohio

#1461 | Wednesday, July 10th 2002
At the time the first plane hit, I was in class at Kennesaw State University. Totally oblivious to what was happening, I hopped in the truck to go home, expecting to hear the local talk show host who is normally on at that time in the morning. The news of the first plane was just breaking over the air. First reports were coming through that it was apparently a small plane (like a Cessna) and it appeared to be a bad accident. Believe it or not, the station went back to regular programming and said they would keep us posted. I thought nothing of it and put in a CD, listening to music the rest of the 15 minute drive home. When I got there, I flipped on the tv to catch the last hour of the Today Show. Like everybody else in America, I was shocked by what was going on. I called my mom, and best friend who live in a much smaller town than I do, knowing that with me being in Atlanta they would worry about me. They were both at work and had no idea what was going on. I let them know that everything in Atlanta was normal, but I would let them know the second that anything changed. At this point, nobody knew if more attacks on large cities were coming, but (looking back) I did something really stupid and went to downtown Atlanta to try and find my boyfriend. I finally found him on the Georgia Tech campus and let him know what was going on. We spent the afternoon glued to CNN, watching in shock as the events unfolded. We went with his roomie to eat at Ruby Tuesday for dinner, but the mood was pretty rotten, and we watched the tv at the bar, as our lives were changed forever by this senseless tragedy.
The thing that sticks in my head the most that day, was the message on the traffic signs in Atlanta. Usually they give travel times and warnings about wrecks, but today, of course was different. They simply said "National Emergency--ATL Airports Closed." I don't know why I was so moved by these signs, but they brought tears to my eyes to see those words, National Emergency.
My heart goes out to everyone that was affected that day; whether it be those who were lost, those who lost a loved one, or just those like me watching from a distance.
God Bless America

David F | 20 | Georgia

#1459 | Wednesday, July 10th 2002
Where to start, where to start?

Well, I woke up in the morning to my mother yelling at me from her room across the hall. "Jeremy, Jeremy wake up! A plane just hit the World Trade Center."
In my drousy state I managed to respond, "your kidding, right?"
Needless to say, she wasn't kidding! I jumped out of bed and the first thing I saw when I walked into her room was the picture of the first tower that had been struck. It may sound terrible, but it was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen. The hole was gigantic. I noticed you could see the outline of the wing tips on each side.
We started to talk about what could have happened. Glide scope problems? Problem with the hydrolics on the plane? Pilots drunk or incapacitated in some way? Pilot error? But on a bright sunny day? I told myself it was a freak accident and then began to walk out of the room. Just as I got to the doorway I heard a person who the news station was interviewing start to yell, "Wait a minute it looks like another plane is coming. Another plane just hit the other tower!" Right then and there it became all to apparent what was happening. One plane could have been an accident, but two planes had to be intentional. We moved to the livingroom to watch the bigger TV, and to call my dad. We listened to the President's remarks from the Florida Elementary School. I'll never forget the gasps of the crowd when he announced that this was "an apparent terrorist attack on our country".
I had to pick up my brother at around 7:30am and I was getting dressed when I heard a report about a fire at the Pentagon. Still in my state of denial I told my mother not to worry, it was probably just some small isolated fire that was being blown out of proportion because of the days events. Then I saw the first pictures, and I realized that I couldn't have been more wrong. My only thought at that moment was 'My God'! Then reports started coming in from all over the place. Another fire on the Washington Mall, all planes believed to be hijacked, many more possibly in the air, an explosion at the state department, another plane headed toward Washington, air force fighters scrambled, a plane crash reported in Pennsylvania, White House and the Capitol being evacuated, Pres. Bush being evacuated to a secure undisclosed location, all US airspace had been closed. Luckily many of these turned out not to be true, but sadly many were true.
Out of all these two really struck me. First, US Navy ships were being deployed all across the country, and then the military was orderded to stand up to Threat-con Delta. That is when I realized the sevarity of the situation. The military only goes to Threat-con Delta when we are at war. Basically as far as the military was concerned, as of that morning the US was at war with someone. I got a real idea of the true sadness of the nation when I went to the local Fred Meyer grocery store and heard nothing but complete silence. It seem silly to notice something so irrelevant, but in a store where normally people are chatting away, and you can hear the humm of people discussing various topics the silence stuck out like a sore thumb.
I think Sen. John Warner put it best that day when he said, "This has indeed been the most tragic hour in our nations history, but I think it can be out finest." As painful as that day was, look what came out of it. I have never in my short life seen such patriotism, and national pride. For a short time everyone forgot about all racial, or cultural barriers. For that short time we were all simply Americans. We were all one family. It was amazing to see kids on the side of the road waving flags, and see people from all nationalities immaginable turning out for rallies, and memorials. And another thing that I never expected was the world reaction. Even with as many faults this great nation has (as does any nation) the world rallied around us. For one moment the entire free world stood as one, shoulder to shoulder. As arrogant as we may sound to you, I don't think anyone will ever understand how much that support meant to America. Something as simple as playing the American National Anthem at Buckingham palace moved many Americans to tears.

Thank you for letting me ramble on like this. Keep this site running!

Jeremy | 20 | Washington

#1432 | Tuesday, July 2nd 2002
I was in my college dorm, letting myself wake up slowly like I usually do. I was partially dressed, sitting at the computer with VH1 on the television in the background for 'noise'. When I heard a break in the music I turned and saw that they were reporting on a plane crash to the WTC. I remember switching over to CNN in a daze and actually seeing the second plane crash into the tower. By this time I had to leave for class so I picked up my walkman and turned it on. My favorite music station had been replaced by CNN radio and it was in the middle of class that I heard about the second tower's collapse. I had to work that night, and I remember how all the televisions in the store were turned to the news, and that it was virtually empty. I didn't sleep that night, just watched the television until class at eight that next morning. It was horrible. I never cried, but I could feel my heart break.
Shannon | 20 | Texas

#1426 | Saturday, June 29th 2002
I had my alarm set for 9 am. I was going to start classes in college the next morning and the alarm went off... I heard Howard Stern and the people in their show yelling hysterically about planes crashing and "Pearl Harbor" and news... it took me a while until I realized that there had been an attack. I ran down in my pajamas to the common room and found about 30 people crowded around the tv... all that was left was the North Tower on fire... and then I saw it fall a few minutes later. Everyone was silent... all you could hear was people crying. I'll never forget that morning...
Ricky | 20 | Massachusetts

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