#872 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
I live in Norhern California. I was watching the New York channel waiting for Regis and Kelly to come on. The local news from NY was covering the mayorial election that was to be held that day (I think). I was preparing for work, making my lunch. I heard the newsman say "oh my God!" and looke up to see an airplane hitting the first tower. I watched in shocked. I knew it was not an accident even though the newspersons were trying very hard to convince the viewers it was. My brother called from San Antonio, Texas and we were watching and talking when the second plane hit. I was in complete shock. My brother was screaming thru the phone "What was that?" I told him it was another plane. I was very upset but I had to go to work. I knew my boss wouldn't let me stay home because of things happening in NY. I went on to work but neither myself or my co-workers accomplished much that day. I just wanted to go home. We had the radio on so we were able to hear what was going on all day. I was scared but then I got mad. I didn't know who to be mad at but I was mad just the same. I think this has awakened a new sense of patriotism in me. I have a flag on my car, my desk, my house, and my envelopes all carry a flag. I cry when I hear the national anthem. I am very proud to be an American. I thank God everyday for just giving me another day.
Gaylene Henderson | 32 | California

#861 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
I was sitting in my livingroom watching the Today show. The first tower had already been hit and was burning, this sort of serene lacey black smoke. Matt Lauer and Katie Couric making speculations in a seemingly unfazed manner, muttering it almost seemed, but almost instantaneously the mood changed. I had gotten my infant son latched on to my breast so he could nurse when the second plane appeared from the lower right-hand corner. I think I heard them screaming before they hit, and then silence. The impact of the plane hitting the tower seemed unreal, the shower of sparks, the black flame and then orange starbursts, it seemed like a really well-done action sequence from a film. I was in such an intimate, private moment with my baby in the livingroom of my home in Colorado and just had just witnessed the violent annihilation of hundreds of innocent lives. The incongruity of the scene could not escape my attention.

But I knew it wasn't a movie when I heard Matt Lauer groan on the television. That is a sound that for as long as I live will never forget. The guttural, grey, horrified sound of breath yanked out of person's body, without intent. Our body's manner of self-preservation, of comprehension of the incomprehensible. That sound of shared humanity and shared disbelief. I thought at first, oh the plane got lost in the smoke, how can that have happened two times in such a short period of time? Even then I knew it was improbable. But then either Couric or Lauer said, I think we can assume now that this was no accident.

My husband had just left for work. He saw the first plane's aftermath, but had left shortly before the second tower was hit. Like I did I am certain he did not comprehend the gravity of the situation. I called him incessantly on the phone, Dan there was another plane, Dan there was a plane that hit the Pentagon, Dan there was a plane...Dan the tower just collapsed...

Taking my daughter to pre-school that day, the sun was so brilliantly bright, and the mood was so bleak. Radio stations were all on newscasts and I will never forget, driving south on Lemay Ave. I passed a red sedan with a blonde woman behind the wheel, thick frizzy blonde hair. Her right hand was stuck tangled in her hair and her mouth was agape, her eyes wide. In the instant that I passed her on my way to school, she epitomized the way I was feeling but couldn't express. I don't know who she was but she is now a sister in this experience. She is a human who was rationally upset at such irrational events.

Calling Dan on the phone, his response of "Oh man", "Have they gotten the White House?"....he didn't have access to a television so he wasn't witnessing the horror as I was in living violent color. His responses were inappropriate, I felt. That evening, the sky was this gray color. We had huge grass fires in our county two summers back and the sky was this same sort of hazy grey. But there was no forest fire that day. Could it be that the fires and bloodshed and horror were to much for one state in our blessed union to handle, and God broke the bounds of weather and winds to create an atmosphere of servanthood. We must help carry the burden of these poor incapacitated cities. It was too much for Washington and Pennsylvania and NEw York to handle alone.

Dan, so excited to play softball that evening. Fuming, insisting he had to stay home and watch the news, to get a grip on what had been taking place in our nation that fateful day. "Honey, our nation is at war". Sitting on the couch yet again that evening with him at my feet, and finally his quiet response "Now I understand, I didn't know it before, but now I understand". Both of us teary-eyed at the sight of our leader telling us what we had already known and speaking words of encouragement, righteous anger and finally, hope.

God bless our nation.

Kim S. Olsen | 32 | Colorado

#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

#790 | Tuesday, February 26th 2002
I was grocery shopping and got a text message on my cell phone..."turn on CNN WTC Twrs NY hit by planes". Here in text message-mad SE Asia you hear of the headlines on your cell phone before you turn on the TV. We're 12 hours ahead of US East Coast time, so it was after 9 in the evening. So I got home and all I could think about was how if Muslims did this, and if the Prophet Muhammad (I'm Muslim) had been alive he would have been disappointed. He would have asked "What happened to my followers? Why didn't they look at my example and never attack innocent civilians?" And I thought (selfishly, in retrospct) about how people would look at me suspiciously in the days to come because of my veil. And I thought about how, yes, the American government attacks Muslim civilians in Iraq and Palestine, but by not distinguishing between US civilians and US leaders who formulate foreign policy, the people who did this were stooping just as low as the US government who they claim to hate.
anon | 32 | Hong Kong

#774 | Tuesday, February 19th 2002
As I sit here looking back on the events of September 11, I am heartbroken, angry, and scared. Who of us knows if and when it may occur again? We pray that day never comes, but as you said in the welcome page about Pearl Harbor, we may never rest easy. I am sad in my heart for families who lost loved ones. I am angry at the cowardly way all of this was carried out. If you cannot attack us directly, face to face, then do not do it!
My prayers are always with our forces fighting over seas. My love to all of America. Russell W. Kradel

Russell W. Kradel | 32 | Pennsylvania

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