#855 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
On September 11, 2001 I was at work. I work at a telecommunications company that has customers world wide but our customer base is in the U.S. I was talking to some of the members of my team when they started telling me that one of the towers at the World Trade Center had been hit by a plane. They asked me to go to the break room to see if anything was being shown on the TV as the Internet was bogged down and no one could get to any news sites. I walked down to the break room to find several other managers watching a news channel. My former boss, and friend, was standing there watching so I asked if she knew what was going on. She said she had just gotten there herself. As we talked and watched the second tower was hit. We just looked at each other. People on the TV started screaming and running. All I could do was walk away. I knew that if one person started crying I would be useless to my team. There was no doubt in my mind we were under attack. Further proven later by the Pentagon attack and the crash in Pennsylvania.
One of the women that works in my department asked if she could go call her brother who was due to work in one of the WTC buildings. I took her down to the break room to use a phone and that was when the first tower fell. So did she. She collapsed in a crying heap and I didn’t know if I could even begin to help her. We got her on the phone to no avail as all the circuits were already busy from the overload of calls into and out of New York. I left her there to try and call her brother or anyone back in New York.
I decided to go back to my team to see how they were doing. Our call volume had plummeted. It seemed all of America was watching the news. I noticed one of my employees seem more distraught then the rest, we all were by now, so I pulled him into a conference room to talk to him. By this time they had identified one of the United Air Lines planes as having come from Boston that morning. As we talked he informed me that his brother, a United Air Lines pilot, was supposed to fly out of Boston that morning and hadn’t been heard from yet. That was it. He started crying and I couldn’t keep it in any longer. Here was one of my employees crying because his brother could very well be one of the casualties. There is a certain kinship among your employees and times like this were when we came together as one team. I offered to send him home to be with his Father so they could continue to call. He declined as his work number was the only way his Father could contact him. I took him off line and had him call his home every fifteen minutes until something was heard. About an hour after the second tower fell our entire corporation closed and the buildings were emptied. I sent all of my people home with a number to call the next day to see if we were re-opening. I gave my employee my cell phone number to call me when he heard from his brother. I was praying non-stop that he and his family would get a call. They did. His brother was safe and still in Boston. That is one of the happiest calls I have ever received in my life.
When we closed the corporation some of us volunteered to stay and take calls. We support Government, military, and emergency services for their telecommunications systems and had gone to a National Defense/Emergency service only scenario. We changed our incoming message to state our current support stance. Our regular customers were being asked to call back the next day to see if we were operating as normal again. I stayed from 6a.m. to 10 p.m. but only took calls from about 11a.m. to 10 p.m. I should say I was waiting to take calls. None ever came. That was one of the most depressing nights of my life. We never heard from anyone because there was no one left. We moved forward the next day taking care of the complete customer base. People were a little kinder and a lot more sympathetic to each other but it will never be the same.
By the way, the woman who’s brother was to be at the WTC that morning had decided to go to his companies warehouse first that morning and is safe.
People have always seen me as very patriotic but now I think they understand where I was coming from.

Terry E. Browning | 30 | Colorado

#828 | Wednesday, March 6th 2002
I live in Yonkers, NY. Well my day started as usual. Got up, got my 7year old ready for school & then drove off to her school. I work in White Plains, NY I always take the Cross County Parkway to the Hutchinson River Parkway. I remember when I was on the Cross County and looking up at the sky & thinking how beautiful it looked, it was so clear & a beautiful blue. It was such a nice day I had my window rolled down. Once I reached the Hutch the traffic was backed up. I was listen to 103.5 KTU when suddenly it just went out so I switched over to Z100 but I didn't like the song playing so I turned onto 1010 Wins, they were in the middle of the traffic report when they interrupted and said they had a caller on the line stating that a plane crashed into one of the towers. The caller said everything in her apartment was shaking & then she looked out her window & saw a plane flying low & tilted to the left. She later heard a boom & then headed up to her roof top & was shocked to see a gaping hole in the tower & she can clearly see fire bellowing out of the huge hole. The announcer kept asking her if she was certain that it was a plane. It seemed he did not believe her but then some of his collegues called & stated the same thing. I felt horrible for the people in the plane & in the Tower & I just kept wondering how such an accident could have happened? Once I reached the employee parking lot that's when they announced that a second plane hit, I instantly knew there is NO way this was an accident. I walked quickly into the building punched in & went straight to the cafeteria. We always have CNN Headline News on, there were several people already glued to the TV. They showed a live shot & it was hard to believe what I was seeing. I stayed for a few minutes more to find out what's going on but for some reason CNN Headline news were not showing much footage, people were yelling at the TV & trying to change to another channel but I guess CNN were trying to get the story straight before airing anything. So I decided to go down to my desk & everyone was talking about it. We later found out about the Pentegon and the Plane in PA. One of our reservation agents ran down to tell us one of the Towers collapsed. Even though I heard what she said it did not sink in & I just kept working & I called my husband, I had a very difficult time getting through when I finally did I told him to turn the TV on I didn't tell him why but when He did he said "Oh my God what the hell happened!" I told him what I knew but to call me back if he found out anything else. The office that I work in does not have internet & the area we are at we can't get a radio working so we basically depended on anyone who was coming back from the cafeteria. The reservation agent came back down to tell us about the second tower collapsing. I definately felt scared not knowing what more would happen. I was afraid that they would try to crash another plane at the power plant, Indian Point. I left work a little before 5pm I figured the highways might be crazy with everyone trying to get home to their loved ones so I took the back roads back to Yonkers. Then I got on the NYS thruway southbound, there's one point on this thruway that you are able to see the Empire State Building clearly. When I reached that point that Tuesday, all I could see was just thick black smoke from the very last building that collapsed. That's when it sunk in, that's when it dawned on my the hundreds of people who lost their lives that Tuesday. Even after talking about it at work, watching the TV & seeing the news footage it was like my brain was not registering it even when the Reservations agent came down twice to tell us the towers collapsed it was like my brain was not registering what was happening until I could not see the Empire State Building from that black smoke. This is absolutely horrible, i know that wishing someone dead is a sin but I cannot help but hope that they capture Bin Laden and torture him, make him suffer. Killing him instanly would not be satisfying to me i want to see him suffer, I want to see him cry and scream and beg for mercy. I know this is horrible but it's also horrible for a child to grow up without their Mommy or Daddy and for a child not yet born to never meet his/her Daddy. Thank you for your time, I feel a little better after saying what I really felt. My prayers go out to the families of all the victims and to those who witnessed everything. Since that day when I look at the clear blue sky, my stomach gets upset. But I'm sleeping better now. Now when I hear a plane flying overhead I don't freak out...too much! Take care everyone. God Bless America!
Quita | 30 | New York

#776 | Tuesday, February 19th 2002
I'm in the military and I was off the day of the attacks...I made a brief run to the grocery store, after dropping the kids off at school. When I got back into the car, I turned the radio on to the Tom Joyner morning show...they said that a plane had hit the pentagon and that 2 planes hit the World Trade Centers, and that it was a terrorists attack...I thought, "What the hell is going on..." So, I drove home as fast as I could, and when I got in the door, I ran upstairs and turned on the T.V. That's when I saw the World Trade Center, with it's smoke billowing out of that big black hole, I just sat there with my mouth open...It seemed like a movie to me...and when the first building fell, I just felt so dead inside...I will never forget this image: I remember seeing the people trapped, sticking themselves out of the windows for air and help, a gentleman had his white shirt off, waving it out the window as a helicopter flew around them all...those are the things I remember, and I won't EVER forget them...I hope Bin laden and his network are all brought to justice, he's a coward and he dosen't stand a chance when we get a hold of him...God bless the friends and families for their lost loved ones and God bless this great nation.
Maureen Black | 30 | Texas

#722 | Monday, February 4th 2002
I was watching the final episode in the second season of 'The West Wing' at around 10:10pm when a news flash came on during an ad break. 'Two planes have crashed into the World Trade Centre'. It was suprising, but I was admittedly not shocked. Perhaps to Channel Nine's regret,the rest of The West Wing was shown, and for about half an hour I was under the impression this was not too serious.

Two planes crashing ? Must be light aircraft. After all, as I commented on a chat room as the show finished, wasn't there some plane that crashed into the Empire State Building in 1945 ? The power of television makes stories appear more overwhelming than they should be if the visuals look dramatic.

Then the web connection appeared to lag, and I could not get access to some news websites. A few comments appeared on a chat site about planes crashing in Pennysalvania and Washington DC - still uncertain of the veracity of the news reports I thought this was some bad humour. I even rejoined in with some other disbelievers, jokingly announcing that other targets (such as my gazebo) had been hit. After all, Princess Diana jokes had made me giggle.

But a few seconds later the real news confirmed that, yes, a plane had hit the Pentagon and another a field in Pennysalvania, and that (falsely) a bomb went off near the State Department. And we are not dealing with wayward Cessnas, but fully fuelled wide bodies that were believed to have been hijacked and used as instruments of mass destruction.

Suffice to say, any self-indulgent sense of sardonic coolness instantly evaporated. It was just unbelieveable - the methods, the motives, and the setting.

I made contact with my mum, who contacted her sister as my cousin was in New York (safe, but definitely shocked).
I spent the rest of the night until 5.30am watching the news (on all five television channels).

In the morning, the disbelief had gone, replaced with a deep feeling of sadness. Depressed and groggy, and too aware that what had happened was real, I went to work.

Eugene McCabe | 30 | Australia

#683 | Sunday, January 27th 2002
I heard about the first attack when my fiancee called from the gym, where she had seen the initial news flash on television. We live in Boerum Hill, a neighborhood in Brooklyn between one and two miles (as the crow flies) from lower Manhattan. The highlight of the tour of our one bedroom apartment had always been the postcard-perfect view of the WTC from our west-facing windows.

When she called, I instinctively flipped on CNN, but then I also opened the window shades. I felt like I was watching a tennis match, whipping my head from side to side to see the live shot on television and then comparing it to the same picture outside of my window.

Iíve always been something of an airline nut. Living where we live, with unobstructed south and west views, was especially fun for me, since we were directly under one of the Laguardia landing paths and I could watch them line up three or four deep as they prepared to land. On a clear day, I could even see the planes taking off and landing on the horizon over at Newark.

So I know where the planes are supposed to be on any given day, and Iíd had nightmares over the years about them being in the wrong place and crashing into the ground. Iíd never had a vivid enough imagination, however, to think that one might crash into the World Trade Center, let alone two. So I had trouble processing it all that morning when I spotted a fast-moving, low-flying plane heading north over New York harbor. I remember wondering to myself, "Havenít they closed this airspace yet because of the accident?" Then I realized what was going on: "Oh, itís the tanker plane coming to dump a load of water on the burning building." Then, that plane hit the tower too, and I realized in a flash that the first crash had not been accident.

ron lieber | 30 | New York

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