#947 | Monday, March 11th 2002
I was at Illinois Central College in buisness math class. My professor came in and said my God children were at war. "Anything I am going to teach you can wait." "Go to a tv, radio, or get on the internet and watch this and learn what has happened." I remember a tight feeling in my chest because the school was warned by officials that colleges were a possible target.
I watched as friends and strangers stood in tears and hugging anyone that we could get a hold of. The entire day just seemed like everyhting stopped. That night we were glued to every news station that would give us some possible hope.
I remember skipping homework because I was just to stressed out. The teachers who experienced Pearl Harbor were just as stressed. We all thought that the world as we knew it was coming to an end.
The super power of the world had just been attacked by our own planes. My God have mercy.

Joe Bignell | 22 | Illinois

#945 | Monday, March 11th 2002
That morning I was in gym class and afterwards we went to the commons area of our school where the TV was turned to CNN and just as we got there the second plane hit. It changed me a lot when I saw that.
Since then i have been more patriotic and kinder to others. There is a place in my heart for those lost in that horrific event and I will never forget it.

Justin Booth | 17 | Illinois

#944 | Monday, March 11th 2002
I was in my first hour class when it happend and I heard teachers talking about it but i didnt really know what was going on. But when i got to my second hour class they had the T.V. on and it showed what happend and we watched it that whole hour and all i could do was cry. I guess it kinda opend my eyes to what can happen to the US. Stuff i never thought could or would ever happen. But i am so proud to be an american. I still 6months later cry to think about it and all the children who went home to find there parents or family members had died. I cant imagine how they felt but it is still hard to still think it happend. This is probably the hardest thing for me to deal w/ and i know i will remeber it for the rest of my life, and probably still feel all this pain i feel now. Its just hard to relize how much can change in so little time!
Nicole Hodge | 14 | Illinois

#933 | Monday, March 11th 2002
I was getting ready for work when our phone rang just around 8 a.m. (CST). My sister came into my room and said it was our mom on the phone at that the WTC had been hit by an airplane. She had the TV on in her room. She was on her way out the door, and I went into her room and watched TV for a few minutes. I couldn't believe it, and it sounded like it was an accident, a smaller plane at first.

I left and finished getting ready and went to work. On my bus, two women that got on a few stops after mine were talking about it and I heard one say that two planes had hit the WTC and that it was a terrorist attack. I was shocked and once I got off the bus and started walking to work, I called my boyfriend who was on his way to a job interview in the suburbs. I asked him if he had heard and he confirmed what the two women said and told me to be careful, since I work a few blocks from the John Hancock building in Chicago.
He said he was still going out to his interview, since he was halfway there.

I got to my building and took the elevator up to my floor. Another woman who works near our department was coming from the stairwell and turned around when she saw me. She asked me if I had heard the news, and I said "Yes, about the WTC being hit". She then said, "No, the Pentagon has been hit too!" I was so stunned as I walked down the hall in disbelief. I passed by our director's office, and she asked me if I knew what had happened, and I told her that the Pentagon just got hit as well. She didn't believe me and said, "No, I think you have it mixed up with the WTC". Well, she found out soon enough that it did get hit.

A few people had radios and we were trying to listen to what was going on. I kept on trying to access the news sites on my PC, but they were too busy. A coworker then told us that the towers were collapsing, at which point I had a hard time trying to stay composed. I kept thinking about a business trip I took to NYC the year before, and walking past the WTC towers - they were so big and tall it seemed impossible to believe they were gone.

Our director gathered our department soon after and told us that we could go home for the day. I decided to walk home, since I'm about 2 1/2 miles away and noticed several other people on Michigan Avenue leaving the buildings.

I walked through Lincoln Park, and it was strange because there were other professionals like myself walking through the park in our business clothes and briefcases at 10 a.m. in the morning going out of the downtown area. The buses were packed going to the north side of town, full of people going home. I thought of the Sears Tower, and the Hancock Building, wondering if they were targets. I also thought of my dad, who was on a business trip in Florida, and how and when he would get home to my mom and other sister in Iowa (he ended up renting a car and driving with a co-worker).

I was so glad to see my sister when I got home, my brother and my sister's boyfriend came over. We called my mom and other family and sat and watched the news, and there were false reports circulating around Chicago that a fifth hijacked airplane was headed for the city. The mayor got on the TV and denied that and stated the city was in crisis communications mode. My boyfriend came over a few hours later and said that he still had the interview, but that people were watching the news and the expressways were empty. We stood outside and noticed how quiet it was, except for the sound of military jets high up patrolling the skies.

Alexis | 27 | Illinois

#882 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
I was at work in Chicago; I had started my new job as an attorney only a week earlier. I heard a rumbling outside my office about a plane hitting a building. I tried to load an internet website but couldn't. Cursing what I thought was our firm's bad internet connection, I went to work. Soon later, I heard a gasp outside, and went to a nearby partner's office who had a small TV. It was there I watched the replay of the second plane hitting Tower 2. And there I saw Tower 2 collapse.

Soon after, I left work and went home, trying to call my family along the way. I finally was able to reach everyone in my immediate family, while watching the news on TV. I finally got to talk to my sister and it was then I broke down. I work on the 33rd floor of a 40 story building owned by a local media corporation. What if they had come to Chicago? What if they had hit my building? I couldn't stop crying for a good 20 minutes.

Our lives are changed, but we here in America are realizing how lucky we are to be Americans -- especially those of us in the younger generation who mumbled through the Pledge of Allegiance in school, and never quite realized how lucky we were. It's brought us closer to our family and friends, and taught us more about the world, and the violence around the world. We've learned to treasure our allies who stand for democracy in the world, and stand strong even in the face of their own terrorists and suicide bombers. And we've become stronger as a country.

G-d bless the USA.

Michael Massing | 27 | Illinois

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