#964 | Tuesday, March 12th 2002
I was sound asleep when the attacks happened. The phone rang about 5 something in the morning, obviously an unusual time... in my mind I was just thinking, oh no, I hope this is not going to be some bad news about any of my family members...When I picked up the phone, my sister's voice sounded so somber and I started thinking that my premonition was true. It was actually a relief when the first thing she said was "turn on the T.V.!" She didn't have to explain anything after that. At first, I felt so numb...it just seemed so "Hollywood"...like it was only a movie or something. When they showed the people running, the fear so evident in their faces, I felt oh so sad... At work that morning, I left the television on all day so the students could witness history in the making. We discussed the history, the root problems of the attack. Unfortunately, it took a tragic event like this to have students in this generation gain a better appreciation and understanding of how history affects all of us....I'll always remember the breathtaking view of New York City at night atop the famous World Trade Center...now a part of history...
Emy Tagama Keola | 35 | Hawaii

#950 | Monday, March 11th 2002
i was at work at scerbo buick in boonton nj when a another worker told me that tower one had been hit by an airplane at first i thought it was a small airplane with mechaical trouble latter he told me a second plane had hit tower two i knew than that this was no accident i went too the tv in the waiting room there was a crowd of emloyees and customers watching the horror of what was happening the real shock came whan the towers collapsed right on tv it's aday i will never forget
louis agresti | 35 | New Jersey

#856 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
I was in my home-office working and my wife, who usually watches some news before getting out of bed around 7am (Colorado time) came up and told me a plane hit the World Trade Center. I blew it off as some beginner that got lost or lost control of a private plane, but still could not believe someone could not MISS the towers.

She turned on the news upstairs and commented that the tower was burning immensely - that was strange, and then she said it was an airliner - she had my attention. I went in the living room just in time to see the second plane hit - but I thought it was a replay of the first plane. When I noticed that one tower was on fire and what I just saw was a tower hit that was not on fire - and a huge explosion. I was in shock -- the second tower was also hit, and intentionally. I told my wife that the planes were hijacked and we were being attacked. The news started in with other events (some true, the Pentagon, others not true - more planes along the Potomac, etc.).

She asked how that many people could hijack two planes and get guns on them. I told her knives or shanks, nothing fancy, just kill the pilots and threaten the passengers. Having lived in the DC area, a Navy brat and with friends that were stationed in the Pentagon at times, I knew that any aircraft nearing DC would be shot down and was really terrified that this was only the beginning.

A cousin flys for US Air and lives in Pennsylvania, not far from another crash -- this one because the heroes on board chose to die rather than be killed and be weapons. We were all worried about him -- but he was safe in Florida, and he could see Air Force One leave for safety.

I was on the phone constantly with relatives - none of us could believe what we saw. It is a memory that is embedded within all of us forever.

How have I felt since? This is what a wrote a few days later...and much of it is still how I feel. I still cry for our heroes -- alive and killed, found and buried, rescuing and rescued.

Pain. Frustration. Shock. These are but a few words that describe how I feel. This attack on the people of our country and what we represent – and therefore the entire free world, is still beyond my comprehension. I am in my home, assuring my wife and daughters that we are safe – and I truly hope we are.

There are many things that have happened and will happen as a direct and indirect result of this attack. We will never know the cost of lives, to businesses or governments – personal and financial. Our financial backbone has been halted, but not destroyed and it will rise again Monday (09/17/2001). Our air travel has been halted and is rising again. Our postal and delivery services have been hindered, but still continues with the delays we will soon become used to again. Our citizens struggle with the death and loss of fellow citizens, co-workers, friends and family. The stories of survival, struggle and heroism are sad and incredible. We are a Phoenix rising from the ashes.

Our strength is in our unity as a nation and world coming together. Some have referred to us as a “Sleeping Giant” – but read that carefully – we have been sleeping, but in many more important and different ways. Our citizens and representative government bicker over differences that are meaningless. Our military has been reduced to dangerous levels. Our freedoms have been under attack – but from the inside as well. During this time of rescuing victims, rebuilding the damage done and restoring our Republic, we must also do this within ourselves. There is more at stake than lives – our freedoms; and not just from outside attack. We must fight enemies to our Republic – both foreign and domestic.

For many years we have become secretly and gradually ashamed of our patriotism and any reflection of that. Today we now openly and proudly shout and display our patriotism. That must never fade away again, as our freedoms must not ever fade away – we must not succumb to surrendering our civil liberties and freedoms for any reason. Once lost, as with the lives of this attack, we will not have them again. We are uniting to support our President, not Mr. Bush – our President and Commander-In-Chief. Only a short time ago our population and leaders were divided in support and criticism. Our leaders must support us and we must support them.

Our Nation has been the “Melting Pot” and was founded by those not indigent to the land. Our Nation, as it is today, has existed for about half of the nearly 500 years since the first permanent settlements were founded. Many came to this country for a new life and new freedoms, and since our Declaration of Independence, we have been a free people and symbol of the world. We are the strongest – in spirit, financially and with force, than any other country. We must use that strength to preserve and persevere. We have freedoms and liberties that other countries do not, and do not want there people to realize. Terrorists that lead and conquer by fear and intimidation have attacked us. We must overcome and win by the strength and unity within ourselves.

Our “Pot” is “Melting” – from the inside. Let this be a time to realize our short-falls, to strengthen our resolve and unity. Our borders are open, and we are being asked to excuse those who have trespassed against us – but at what continued cost? Our infrastructure has become weakened, as was our unity. Let us restrengthen our infrastructure with the unity we shout of today. Our ancestors came to this country to find opportunity and leave oppression. They had laws to abide and procedures to follow – to protect them and the growing population, they have taught us to abide the laws we create and ask for. Why, then, do we allow lawbreakers to enter and stay, only to take away from us without returning our generosity? Do not get me wrong, we cannot be the country we are without the influences and refugees of other countries.

In the interim we are going to rebuild many things. Let us rebuild who we are and protect ourselves. We need to close the borders – allowing movement across the borders, but legal movement. This is for our protection and to rebuild where we have failed in our policies. We need to allow civilians, our citizens, to secure themselves and protect each other. We need to assure that benefits and liberties of all kinds are preserved and made available to those that yearn to be our fellow citizens, and not for those that skirt the procedures, yet drain the resources of our infrastructure.

The support offered from other nations, both citizens and leaders, has been overwhelming. These countries deserve our support and the support we have provided them. For once our country is being aided in our time of need – what goes around comes around. However, we must cease supporting those opposed to us and our way of life – our freedoms. As has been said – this was an attack on all freedom loving people and countries of the world, and this will be a war against those that do not embrace this position forced upon us. Our enemies are many, our allies are greater.

While we prepare to fight, and we will, by land, sea and air – we must fight within to preserve all that is America. We must not fight with our guns, fists or words – but our actions and beliefs. Those that are not citizens and are here illegally must be deported. Those that are opposed or do not support the country they live in must leave or be deported. If you are not eligible to vote and are not eager to adopt this country, please leave. With this we must cease sharing our education, military strategy and technology with those that are not beside us at all times, peace or war.

In our schools they try to change history, or not teach it all together. I now spend time with my daughters – one recently graduated from high school and the other a senior in high school – teaching them about our government, civics and other things. I talk to them and listen, but I am listening to how their teachers have told untruths as facts, scared them and even discouraged them. At only 34 years old, my generation is not experienced with war – a true war. The generation of my parents experienced a Cold War and several conflicts – none of which had the patriotic support deserved and seen today. The generation of my grandparents, quickly passing, fought alongside many countries to oppose the same enemy we are preparing for today – those that oppress their people and oppose our freedoms. The next generation is confused and scared, and I understand why. We must comfort them and prepare them, for everything changed on September 11, 2001, but that is only the beginning.

I have cried every day and night since this attack on innocent citizens and our country, oftentimes alone. I have cried in pain, confusion and frustration. I have saluted our President, as a former member of the military and military family. I have saluted the rescue workers, the fallen and our heroes. I have cried for all of them.

I have been angry every day and night. We have been willing to surrender our rights and freedoms – the same we want others to have – for our safety. We have reduced our military and succumbed to the desire to have less, but at a great cost. Let us come together and fight for our way of life – Let Freedom Ring!

Our Constitution is not just a document – it is the backbone of our way of life. I think it ironic that Barbara Olson, a Constitutional attorney whose opinions I respected, died in the plane that was used against the Pentagon, the symbol and backbone of the military that defends the Constitution. It is under attack, and has been. While we fight to regain the losses recently experienced, and prevent future losses – let us include our Constitution. Let us not give our freedom away – to anyone. We must, as I do, value each freedom and right we have – even if we disagree or do not exercise that right individually, as they are for us all as a whole.

I will die fighting for your right to say anything you want – whether I agree or disagree. I will die fighting for your right to practice your religion in a country of many religions – although I practice none. I will carry a firearm to protect you – even if you do not want to. I will vote for leaders – even if you do not. I will support our leaders, even if I voted differently then the outcome. I will do anything to preserve our – your – freedoms. We are all Americans – not hyphenated Americans. Being Republican or Democrat, Catholic or Jewish, White or Blue collar – it does not matter to me and should not matter to others.

This attack on America has brought forth many comparisons to past wars and events. There are many similarities – but not necessarily for the reasons supposed. This attack was another Pearl Harbor, only because we were attacked on our land. The enemy of today is much like the enemies of the past wars – they oppress people and find our freedoms to be dangerous, as their people would revolt. The enemy of today is but a small representation of an overall group – not all Japanese were evil, not all Germans were evil and not all Muslims are evil, but we cannot easily recognize friend from foe and must be restrained enough to not bring terror to our own brethren. This attack, upon New York City, has temporarily crippled our day-to-day lives. This simply because NYC is a vital element to our financial and national/international interests. Adolph Hitler, whom I would compare both Sadam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden with, targeted NYC and had prototypes of a stealth flying wing designed to bomb NYC, and was simply waiting on the full development of an atomic bomb. Our invasion and liberation of France was necessary to end this theater of the war, just as our use of the only two existing atomic weapons on Japan was necessary to end that theater of the war. Most importantly, WWII was the last era of patriotic unity for the United States of America, and that time has come again for the very same reasons. With that, we must expect to experience much of the same excitement, fear and change in lifestyle that our parents and grandparents did – and with that we will experience the same victory.

Finally, I want to somehow thank the countless heroes – firefighters, medical personnel, police officers, volunteers and donors. I also want to share my deepest sympathy for those that were victims. Even the victims that were heroes – those that valiantly fought to control a plane, and saved many lives; or those that helplessly called relatives for comfort.

We are an “Angry Giant”! Freedom must and will prevail, but not at any cost to those freedoms!

Dean A. Beers
Sunday, September 15, 2001

Dean A. Beers | 35 | Colorado

#832 | Friday, March 8th 2002
I'll never forget standing in front of the bathroom mirror and hearing my seven year old son saying a plane is flying at the building. Having watched the speculation regarding the burning first tower my husband and I were horrified to realize this was intentional. My husband, at first, couldn't grasp what I was gasping out- he came running out of the bathroom and we sat, stunned, and watched our nation lose its innocence. I jumped into the car to head to the highschool where I teach and was amazed to find that all of the radio stations were covering the story. After dropping off my 2 children, and trying to explain, without feeling like I really could, to my seven year old what he had seen ( and what I wished I could erase) I literally ran into my class to set up my TV. I had woken my mother earlier to tell her to turn on her TV and she now called me to tell me about the pentagon. Just as I got my TV adjusted I heard screams from the neighboring room, the first tower had fallen. I vividly remember thinking "OH SWEET JESUS, all of those people are gone!" I sat and wept while the shocked students began to file into class. We watched all week and tried to come to grips with what had happened to all of us. Stories began to come through, even in Moriarty, NM people had lost friends and relatives in NY and Washington. As a teacher I watched unprecedented honor be given to our flag but at what a cost. I guarded my three year old as carefully as I could and yet just last month ( February) I told him we were going to take a fun plane ride to go to Disney World, he stunned me by saying that planes crashed and he didn't want to ride on one; I was once again gripped by agony at the thought of the true loss of all our innocence.
Katherine McCarty | 35 | New Mexico

#814 | Sunday, March 3rd 2002
I was driving to my girlfriends when I turned on the radio to catch the 9 a.m news and found out about the plane crashes. All I could do was cry when I saw it on the news and would hear the American National anthem or God Bless America. All week I cried and tried to explain to my 3 older children what was going on. It was really devastating to all in North America.
Susan Caperchione | 35 | Canada

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