#1587 | Friday, August 23rd 2002
I woke up around 9 AM and was going to get breakfast when the phone rang. It was my mom, asking if I was watching TV. I said no, and as I was reaching for the On button. She said planes had hit the trade center and they were saying it was a terrorist attack.

"Oh God..." I said. I was otherwise speechless.

After I hung up, the phone rang again, this time it was one of my co-workers. We both were obviously shocked, saying it was like something out of a movie - just incredulous...nothing like this was supposed to happen in "real life". We had planned to meet and build my new computer. I mentioned it, he said he would still come over, to which I replied "I'm just going to sit on my couch now and shake." I was numb.

Andrew | 28 | New York

#1582 | Wednesday, August 21st 2002
My co-worker/friend and I were driving to work at 8:50 AM that morning. We live and worked in Staten Island. I was driving, and we take Front Street, a street on the edge of the water. We worked at the Courthouse, which is on the water and directly across the water is downtown Manhattan. I was driving, and the Towers were on our right. I turned to say something to her, and I noticed that there was an explosion that had just erupted in one of the towers. We both were stunned, but oddly enough, we both thought that because it was early, we were imagining it. We drove a little more, and again, we saw the huge fire. I braked my car in the middle of the street, and began honking my horn and pointing. Other drivers ahead and behind me stopped too. As we drove on, we saw a couple of fire engines going towards the Verrazano Bridge, with their sirens on. It’s sad to think now most of those men never made it back.
When we got to work, none of our other co-workers believed us. We got out a small television and turned it on. As we turned it on, we saw the plane flying, the second plane. Some people across the street said that they actually heard the plane fly overhead as well. I was on the phone with my mother at that exact moment, and she too was watching television. She started saying just as the plane veered towards the second tower, “Oh my god, there is another plane. There is another plane!" It was at this point that another friend and co-worker said, “This is not an accident.” That thought hadn’t crossed my mind.. I thought that what was happening was a fluke, that a plane had gone off course or something.
We all rushed outside and ran across the street toward the water. People were becoming hysterical, many people were crying and becoming very animated. Staten Island is a small place, with a lot of firemen, and a lot of people who work in Manhattan. I was worried about all of my friends who work in Manhattan, and I was just so scared. We began hearing stories that the Pentagon was hit, and some people were saying that the Washington Monument was also hit. I remember thinking: We are under attack. I thought that pretty soon, we were going to start seeing bombs exploding everywhere. I just couldn’t believe it was happening. A court officer said to me, "Dana, today is September 11th, and it certainly is 9-1-1." I realized our national call number for emergencies was indeed today, the 11th day of September. I remember thinking that is beyond ironic, it is too damned eerie.
We saw both towers go down, not on television, but right across the water. It was surreal… people were really losing it at this point. I was with a friend, who at the time was scared his brother was near the area, and we started screaming and hugging. I remember him screaming out his brother's name. The building just seemed to disintegrate. . It was like a horrible dream. People started coming in, hundreds of them, off of the Staten Island Ferry. They were covered in soot, some were bloody and hurt. I remember a woman who collapsed in front of me on the courthouse steps. She needed something to drink, and I had a Diet Coke in my hands. I told her that I had already drank out of it, and she told me that germs were the last things on her mind. I remember saying to myself: How stupid am I? This woman just escaped from a war zone, and I am thinking she would be worried about my germs. I don’t think the enormity of the situation had sunk in yet. I saw a man, who worked the floor of the Stock Exchange wandering around, still with the tickets in his hand. I saw people hysterical, saying that their family members were in one of the towers. People were saying how they saw people jumping out of the windows, that they were landing on the pavement right in front of them. I couldn’t believe that this was really happening. My co-worker was looking for her step-mother, who worked across the street from the WTC, and often shopped there in the morning. She hadn’t heard from her yet, and was extremely worried. She thought maybe she made it to the ferry and hopped on. She hadn’t found her by 1 PM, but she did make it out. She arrived home later that night, with a stranger and her baby, who was also in the area. They were covered with ash and soot, and they saw the whole thing happen.
I spent the rest of the day in a daze. The court system was closed. The bridges and tunnels were closed. I felt so strange. I called my friends and family, and began to find out who was missing and who wasn’t. I remember waking up on the 12th and really and truly believing that I dreamt all of this. To this day, I cannot think of that day without crying. I know this sounds almost corny, but life for me changed that day. And it probably will never be the same.

Dana Cognetta | 26 | New York

#1578 | Tuesday, August 20th 2002
The morning of September 11th started out the same as any other Tuesday. I didn't have to work until 1pm, so I slept in. I woke around 9:30am and turned on the tv. Sportscenter was on ESPN, so I watched that for awhile. There was no word yet of any attack or accident or anything. I decided about ten minutes into the show that I was bored, and I started to flip through the channels. CNN was among the channels I happend to flip through. What I saw I can only describe as mind boggling. I could not believe that I was looking at the World Trade Center towers ablaze. Everything turned to a blur. I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing things down, reports that were being given, images that were being shown, accounts of the events that were being taken. It was a very surreal image, watching the Twin Towers smoking. It seemed almost like a dream that I was going to wake up from when my alarm clock went off. When the first tower collapsed at 9:50am, I stood with my mouth agape. Had I just seen one of the Twin Towers fall? Had it just crumpled like a house of cards? Was this really happening? I really wasn't sure.

The next two hours flew by as I ignored my already-cold breakfast. In the meantime, there had been reports of another plane crash in Pennsylvania, and the second tower had collapsed. I tried to pry myself from the tv, but I couldn't. I was somehow drawn to this tragedy, wanting to know more, wanting to hear more, wanting to see more.

When I got to work, which is WGNY, a radio station in Newburgh, NY, there was nobody upstairs. Everyone had retreated to the basement, where updates and information was being released every few minutes on the AP News Wire. A brave few were crowded around the boss's small tv, watching the events unfold in New York City, a short 45 minute drive from our very doorstep. When the report came across that one of the planes had apparently flown over Stewart Air National Guard Airbase, we all froze and stared at each other in horror. We see planes take off and land at Stewart Airbase everyday; it is located about two miles from where we work.

September 11th was quite possibly the sadest day of my life. Fellow New Yorkers, many of whom live within 20 miles of me, were victims of these horrific attacks. That day will remain in my mind as the day the world changed.

President Bush, if you read this, I want you to know that I support you one-hundred percent in your efforts to rid the world of terrorism. Please, for God's sake, do not allow this to happen again. Not here, not in Europe, not in the Middle East, not anywhere. We will never forget this day. Not ever.

Tom Morel | 20 | New York

#1576 | Tuesday, August 20th 2002
tuesday september 11th, started out as an ordinary day. it was my third day of school in the new school year, my junior year. first period was normal, math, same old crap. next period was morallity class, during the class, another teacher came in and said that two planes had hit to world trade center. he said that the thought the first was an accident and then they knew it was terrorism when the second plane hit. i thought it was a small plane, like a piper. during homeroom, they talked about what had happend. we didnt talk about it during spanish, because i dont know, i didnt listen to my teacher the whole period, i just thought to myself, most of my family works in that area.

the next period went by fast. then came lunch, thats when i learned about how big the planes were. i was freaked out. i went and talked to another teacher about what happend and he said one tower was collapsing. it was about 3 hours after both collapsed. in all my other classes we talked about it. when i got off my bus, i ran home, and stopped at my friends house, his dad was outside and i was talking to them about what had happend. they told me. and i saw my mom was home, so i ran to my house. i was talking to my mom, she was upset, as was i. i got a call from my dad after my mom said she had to get out of the house. he said he heard the second plane crash and all the buildings shook down there. he was in the second cloud. he took a ferry across the river to brooklyn and took the train home. i talked to other people in my family. my uncle was telling me what my aunt told him, that my aunt works in a building right across from the wtc. she saw people jumping and the planes crash. they put them into the basement in fear of that there was nuclear stuff on the planes. and she thought that she was gonna die. she said the best thing that she saw was when the marines came in and got them out.

i was hooked to the news for a long time. i still am to the this day. my life is changed forever. i dont think i can ever forgive the people who did thi. i believe anyone who believes that we should believe in peace is living in a pipe dream. the only way to end terrorism is to annialate those who were responsible for this. and for those who say innocent civilians would die, about 3000+ did on 9-11-01. we did nothing for this and i support the united states 100% in our war against terror. and saddam hussein must be taking out of office.

Matt | 16 | New York

#1566 | Monday, August 19th 2002
I was sitting at my desk in the Chase Plaza building, two blocks away from the World Trade Center, when I felt and heard the first explosion. I remember thinking that it was too sunny out for it to have been thunder (we had a bad storm last night). A few minutes later, several people came over to my desk and said that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, and they tried to
look out my window. All we could see out of the window was smoke and loads of papers flying all over. We went to our break room/pantry, and were standing around watching the news coverage of the first crash when the second plane hit. We felt the second explosion as we watched the second plane hit the other tower. That's when we realized this was no accident.

We were told by our managers to leave the building. Once down in our office lobby, it looked like everyone else in the building had the same idea. Someone from the building's Fire Safety staff was announcing that our building was not being evacuated, that it was secure, and that they were encouraging people to return to their floors. The manager who had instructed us to leave our office said that was the dumbest announcement he ever heard. Three of us watched the smoke pouring out of the hole in the South Tower, and the full reality of it had yet to sink in. We stayed that way for a few more minutes, trying our cell phones in the hopes of calling family members to let them know we were okay, but cell phones were useless. So, I and one of our visitors from our Virginia office went down into the lower level of our building to find a pay phone, and to catch a subway train uptown. I was amazed by how orderly people were at the phone bank in our lower lobby. I was able to get my younger sister on the phone, and let her know that I was alright and on my way home. Fortunately, we were able to get a train fairly easily, and I had no problems catching a Queens-bound train at Times Square, so I was well on my way home and out of the area when the Towers collapsed.

I was on the #7 Flushing-bound train near the Courthouse Square station when I learned that the first tower had collapsed. I didn't learn that the second tower had collapsed until after reaching the Woodside Station, when they discontinued all subway service in all directions. I somehow managed to get my local car service to come pick me up to take me the rest of the way home, and to get through to my mother on my cell phone. She wanted me to come to her house instead of going back to my apartment, and it was on the television in her livingroom where I first saw the news footage of the Towers collapsing. As I watched them collapsing, I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach.

Carol Martzinek | 39 | New York

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