#745 | Saturday, February 9th 2002
I was at home getting ready to go to work (late as usual!) in my central New Jersey apartment, with the television on, as it usually is every morning. I wandered into the living room to see on the TV. that one of the World Trade Center towers was on fire, a plane had crashed into it. How horrible, but probably a freak accident, I thought - no pilot would let that happen unless he totally lost control, right?

My next thought was of a girl I knew only as an acquaintance - I knew she worked in one of the towers, but wasn't sure which one. Why I thought of her and no one else is anyone's guess - my husband also has family who work in New York City, and I honestly had no idea where THEIR offices were, so you might assume that my first thoughts should be of them.

On my way out the door, I woke my husband (he works nights) to ask him where his sister and brother-in-law worked, did they work in the trade center. He said no, and asked why, so I told him about the plane crash.

I made the ten-minute drive to my publishing company with a New Jersey radio station on - they were broadcasting eyewitnesses over the phone describing the crash scene. Suddenly one male eyewitness shrieked, "Another plane just hit the other tower!"

At that moment, I - along with the rest of the country, I'm sure - knew this was no accident.

The moment I got to work, amid stunned co-workers asking, "Did you hear?" I made my way to my desk to call my husband and wake him. I told him, "Find out where your family is!" (Not only does he have the one sister and brother-in-law working in the city, but also another brother-in-law is an AP photographer and is in DC on assignment sometimes.) He stayed up the rest of the day watching the news and waiting for word from his family - all were ok.

Meanwhile, at work, I poked my head into my boss's office, and it turned out she and the other editor she had in there with her had no idea what was going on. The other editor said ominously in response to the news, "My brother works in the World Trade Center." We both told him to go call and find his brother, but he said, "No... I think he was supposed to be on vacation this week, I'll call after the meeting." He was incredibly in control for someone who wasn't all that sure... His brother WAS on vacation all that week, but still, if it were me and I wasn't sure, I would have had to leave the meeting and call. Don't know how he stayed so calm...

Somehow amid all this I did manage to get some work done throughout the day, but every time I finished editing a set of pages, I took another minute to e-mail my brother's wife and other people, to find out how and where everyone was. I was able to get in touch with another friend who works in NYC, having no idea where she actually worked... she wasn't in the WTC area at all, but she was understandably shaken, and she had very few options to get out of the city by the end of the day.

The assistant to my company's CEO put the news on in the conference room, and we were all free to come in and watch as we pleased. The news of the Pentagon attack was broadcast, as well as the crash in Pennsylvania, and we all thought, "My God... what next?"

Early on, when no one was sure where those hijacked planes had taken off from, I realized I also had two friends who were supposed to be flying home from Florida that day. Then of course my brother's wife had to mention the rumor that there were allegedly eight hijacked planes in the air. That didn't help. I was afraid to call the families of these guys - I almost didn't want to know - so I e-mailed one of them. By midday we knew there were no more hijacked planes, and where the original planes took off from, so I knew they were probably ok... but I was still glad to get an answer back from one friend's wife that they were fine, just would have to drive home.

I saw one of the towers fall - I can't remember which - when I stopped into the conference room to watch the news on a break. And when I got home, my husband had been taping everything he could all day... We just sat and watched the news, playing the same clips over and over again, both of us crying. In the end, our family and friends were all ok, if very shaken... but we cried anyway, for the sheer horror of it all, and for those people who were not so lucky.

But... the acquaintance I thought of when the first plane crashed - well, she worked on the 89th floor of one of the towers, and she did not survive. What really upsets me is that I KNOW I have thoughts like that sometimes, unexplained thoughts out of the blue that are probably some kind of eerie psychic thing - and I ignored it. Sometimes I think I should have found a number for her company (I at least knew the name of her company and her last name, I could have gotten to her) to call, to tell her to get out....

Maryann Treppiedi Jacobs | 32 | New Jersey

#721 | Sunday, February 3rd 2002
The attacks on September 11 occurred at around 10pm here in Brisbane, Australia. I was asleep in a tent on my Mum's verandah (I was living cheaply, being between jobs and having just completed a 9 week solo kayaking expedition, so my cash reserves were low), when a friend called me on my mobile (cell) phone and said "you aren't going to believe this ... go turn on a TV and you will see".

I raced inside, turned on the TV and sat there totally stunned by what I was seeing. I woke my Mum up, called all my friends, and then continued to sit transfixed. I remained that way in front of the TV for well over 24 hours continuously. I couldn't sleep, my mind was reeling, I was in a state of shock and grief, and I felt a sense of tremendous foreboding about the world which was changing dramatically in front of my eyes.

Andrew | 32 | Australia

#653 | Thursday, January 24th 2002
I was at work in Stockholm, Sweden (I live in Oslo, Norway) when I was browsing the net, and messages began to pop-up about airplanes hitting the WTC. I followed the news for a couple of minutes, and told my collegues what had happened. Everybody basically dropped what they did, and started surfing the net. It got to the point that the company's server colapsed and we couldn't keep updated.

At this point I called my father in Rochester, NY. He was out in the garden and had not heard the news. He immideately turned on the TV, and he said it was not in NYC but in DC. I said no - the news were clearly sating that it was the WTC. He said no, they were showing pictures from DC on the TV. That's when i realized that someplace in DC had been hit too. It was a strange feeling.

I went to my hotel room, and turned to CNN. I called friends and family in the US, and was releived to find out that everybody was OK. My thought and prayers went out to those killed, and I still have flashbacks and thoughts about the incident that makes my heart skip a beat.

GSY | 32 | Norway

#469 | Wednesday, December 12th 2001
My name is Racquel K. Kelley and I work for Department of Defense in the Pentagon. I was sitting at my desk in 1D520 when all of a sudden there was a loud BOOM!!!!!!! At first I thought damn they have messed up somewhere cause they were doing renovations in the new corridors. I was pinned against my desk with debris, smoke and fire all around me. I called out to my coworkers but no one answered. Something fell from out of the sky and hit me in the back of my head. I then thought “I GOT TO GO. I CAN’T DIE I JUST HAD BABY!!! I then somehow got free from my desk and dove under my desk. I reached my hand into my cabinet and grabbed my purse. While under my desk, I kicked the back of my desk out and crawled through only to meet with more falling debris, smoke and fire. Two of my coworkers, Janice Jackson and Doug Knickerbocker pulled me out from under the debris. We ran and crawled over bodies, parts of bodies and total destruction until we reached what used to be the E ring and a big hole. There were people on the other side helping us get through. The hole that you saw with the smoke coming out of it on television, that is the hole that we came out of. I was sitting on the grass just staring at the Pentagon still unaware of what had happened. I ended up in the Washington Hospital Center ICU unit with burns on my hands, arms and hair, cuts on my feet and severe smoke inhalation. I was in the hospital for a week and a half; spending four days on a respirator. I was the first Pentagon survivor to go home. It felt strange leaving the hospital and returning home because at the hospital I felt safe, here out in the world I DO NOT!!! I still have nightmares. I do not like loud sudden noises. I watch the planes and helicopters fly overhead hoping they don’t fall on me. Mentally I’m a wreck!!! I cry a lot for friends, coworkers and myself that perished that day. I am still ANGRY, HURT, CONFUSED, and FEARFUL.
Racquel K. Kelley | 32 | District of Columbia

#297 | Wednesday, November 28th 2001
I was in a high risk building only a few blocks away when it happened. I heard the first plane hit when I was in a store in the lobby of the building. I stood still for a few seconds in case my building started crumbling. I'd run to the exit quick. It did not, so I returned to my office. Someone non-chalantly tells me that a plane flew into the Trade Center. From the way she said it, it seemed like a one-man do-it-yourself plane flew into one of the windows. Someone pulled out a tv from under her desk and we were shocked to see the vision. I was so hurt for not only the people who were instantly gone, but for the people who were stuck on the floors above, if they were still alive. What a way to spend the last 10 minutes of life!

I went to my office and cried. I cried for the people who were stuck. Trapped. Thinking about what they should have done during their short lives. Who they should have hugged or kissed more. What they should have eaten, where they should have traveled, and what money they should have spent.

I heard the next impact and couldn't move for a few seconds. I thought their building exploded. Isn't that what happens in the Die Hard movies? Impact, then explosion. Then someone comes and saves the day.

My sister called and told me that two planes hit the Trade Center, they think it was deliberate and get out of that building now. That's all I needed to know! I put my sneakers on, and flew out of the building. Ran up north. I was on Survival Mode. I surprised myself. I had no time to chat, or hold hands or coax anyone into leaving. If my co-workers didn't want to act quickly, then they were on their own. After all, we could have been next. WE COULD HAVE BEEN NEXT.

I was far up north by the time the buildings collapsed. When I found out, I cried. What else could you do? I shopped there, took the E train to Chambers, right underneath the building - and I even passed by people every morning who were going into that building to work. How many of them were gone?

Since then I've realized that nothing is too expensive for my budget. My wish is my command. I am alive for a reason. I refused to wake another morning dreading the day, hating my life during the hours I spent in the office. For almost 10 years I hated Monday through Friday. Sundays were getting bad, too, since they lead into Mondays. I left my position as a paper pusher at an inept agency that treats hard-working employees poorly. I began my own home- based business and am doing well. I have no more psychosomatic problems - disgestive problems, headaches, insomnia. I'm waiting for my arthritis to disappear,as well!

So many people lost their lives. I decided to live my life to its fullest not only in honor of them, but because I'm thankful for this special gift! The Gift of Life!

A. | 32 | New York

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