#924 | Monday, March 11th 2002
I was on the road, driving from Columbus
to Upper Sandusky OH. My dad was on a
plane to NY, they made an emergency
landing. He tried to go standby on the
one before it, if so he would have been
in Manhattan right when it happened.
My wife works at the Columbus Airport,
she called me crying to say that they
couldn't make any more calls- she was
leaving to go to her mom's house until
I was back in town.
My brother was on a train from NJ to DC-
they were forced to get off in NJ. His
wife was trying to drive from Bethesda
MD into DC to take their dog to the vet.
She saw the explosion from far away,
turned around and went home.
I was so scared, and unsure- I just
wanted everyone back at my house...
The Today Show made me cry this morning,
I pray for everyone who is suffering-
I want to see someone pay for all this
pain.

Ian | 28 | Ohio

#920 | Monday, March 11th 2002
From my journal: I wanted to record some things about Tragic Tuesday. It was a morning for all mornings – Tuesday, September 11, 2001. It was a beautiful late-summer morning in Northeast Ohio, with a stunning sunrise and blue skies with a few white puffy clouds. I started the day like any other mundane workday. I took some extra time in the morning with the kids and my wife. I left for work about 8:40, a few minutes later than normal. I turned on the radio to 1100 am WTAM to hear the news and the traffic report and set off east down route 303 in Brunswick. When I neared the freeway, the radio broke away to report that an airplane had crashed into one of the towers at the World Trade Center. I was simply stunned. I thought of all of the passengers on the plane and all those that were in the building. Not knowing the full events, it was reported that it might have been a small airplane.

My initial thought were “How could this happen? How could a pilot hit the tower? Something must have gone wrong with the airplane.” I continued on to work in my dad’s 1996 Chevy Lumina. The regular radio broadcast went to a national broadcast from ABC news. They were interviewing a gentleman who worked a few blocks from the World Trade Center and he was telling what he saw of the plane crash, when all of a sudden he exclaimed, “The second tower just exploded! I can feel the heat through my office windows!” This was amazing. Then the newscaster said that another plane had crashed into the second tower. The witness indicated that he did not see the plane but he must have had a different view. I was simply beside myself. I could not wait to see the news and to talk to somebody. After the second plane hit, I felt that either someone at air traffic control was making some horrible mistakes or that it was a terrorist attack.

When I parked the car in downtown Cleveland, I asked the parking attendant if he had heard what was going on. He didn’t so I told him and he could not believe it. When I got to work, everyone was huddled around the television in the workout room watching the news. The first image I saw was the Pentagon on fire. An airplane had also hit the Pentagon. “O my!” I said. This was definitely a terrorist attack. But how? Then I saw the two towers spewing smoke and ablaze. What a horrible sight. We heard reports that people were jumping from the top floors. An incomprehensible thought of what the situation was for someone to decide to jump from a 110-story high window to the street below. As if that wasn’t enough, I then saw the second tower to get hit collapse on live television. A few minutes later, the first tower to get hit collapsed right in front of my eyes. This was devastating. It was an absolutely horrible feeling. I felt like I could hear all of the cries and screams of those who died at that moment. One blow after another, would it ever end?

We then got wind that a plane was hijacked over Cleveland and one plane was on the ground at Cleveland Hopkins Airport with a suspected bomb on it. At this point I turned to our vice president and asked if we should evacuate. We then heard that a fourth plane crashed only minutes away (flying time) in nearby Pennsylvania. Our office was then evacuated.

Before I left, I called my wife to try to tell her about what was happening and for her to get my son out of school. But she was not home. She was at the school board getting trained on how to do ear and eye testing. So I left a message on the answering machine and left my office. My two other children were being watched by a neighbor who lives up the street from us. I ran down E. 9th street to my car and drove home to get my son from Towslee Elementary School. When I got to school, I was hoping that they had already taken the kids home already but they hadn’t. I then wondered if I was over reacting. But I went into the office and asked if they were going to close the school. They said that they weren’t but I could check out my son if I wanted. They said a few other parents had done so already. I said that I would like to take my son home. They were very friendly and asked who he was. When I told them it was Mitchell Taylor, everyone in the office said “Oh, Mitchell! We love Mitchell! He is so awesome!” I was a very proud parent at that point. They then called down to Mrs. Young’s room and said that Mitchell’s dad was here to pick him up. A few minutes later, my dear Mitchell came walking into the office, smiling, where I gave him a big hug. I signed him out and left.

As we left the school, there many more parents coming in to pick up their children. I was still concerned about getting a hold of my wife. Luckily, I ran into a neighbor and she called the neighbor that was watching my other children to see if my wife was there. She wasn’t, but I told her to tell her that I picked up Mitchell and I was on my way to pick up the other children. Mitchell and I then drove around the school grounds near the school board and high school looking for my wife's car. I was going to go get her, but we could not find her car so we assumed that she had left already. When we got to our neighbor's house, my wife was there and we all gave each other a big hug. We were all relieved that we were together and safe, a blessing and luxury that many families did not have that day – or ever again. It was about 11:30 a.m. at that point. We stayed there for a while marveling at the day’s events so far but being cautious not to alarm the children.

When my wife was at her training, they interrupted it to watch the news and events. She said she was OK until Cleveland’s mayor Michael White had a press conference and talked about the hijacked plane over Cleveland and the plane at Hopkins that was on the ground. She then got very worried about me and tried to call me, but I had left the office already. She then was really hysterical and called my dad in a panic. He assured her that he was working as usual in his downtown office. Which is surprising because most of Cleveland was evacuated already. It began with the terminal tower and the federal buildings. He assured her that I was OK. When she got to my neighbor's house and my neighbor told her that I had picked up Mitchell and that I was on my way over, she was very relieved. She was very worried about me.

The country was stunned. It was bad enough that any one of these events happened. All of the planes were hijacked. My thoughts were that this was a malicious and well-planned attack. If only the towers did not collapse, it would have been so much better. But we lost so many when they collapsed. – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, policemen, firemen, and heroes. It was kicking the country when we were down. This was not in some far away land. All of this destruction and death occurred on mainland America. I remarked to my wife that if the events of the day were in a movie, I would have said that the movie was too far-fetched and too unrealistic. Think of it! Four planes were hijacked with plastic knives and box cutters. Not one, not two, not even three, but four planes were hijacked! Too unreal. Not only that, all four of them crashed. Once again, completely unreal. Not only that, but two were crashed into the World Trade Center towers and one into the Pentagon. Unbelievable. I would have left the movie at this point because it would be too fake. Then, just out of nowhere, both towers collapse in an awesome display of smoke and fire. What are the chances? Even the most creative, money-hungry minds in Hollywood would not write such a far-fetched script. No way.

To celebrate our togetherness and life, we treated ourselves to Wendy’s for lunch. We went through the drive through, came home and ate it as a family. We put the kids down for a nap. Then my wife and I turned on the news and watched it until the children woke up. We played with the kids and enjoyed them when they were awake. But we watched it again after they were asleep for the night. The whole country stopped and watched. There were no commercials for two days, just continuing news coverage.

Thus ended this beautiful of all Tuesdays –the darkest day in the history of America, 9-11-01. A day I will never forget. The day that changed the world forever. May God continue to bless the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Brigham John Taylor | 29 | Ohio

#838 | Saturday, March 9th 2002
I am a 7th grade student. I can say one thing September 11th changed my life forever. I woke up that day and did what I usually did, got ready for school. I remember turning on the news that morning and the newscaster had said "Today is National Emergency Day..911" It kind of gave me a weird feeling. I never would have guessed that 9-11-01 would be such a horrific, tragic, unspeakable day. The time I got the news I was sitting in my 4th period class. I was shocked. The rest of the day I was upset and speechless. Classes were pretty much cancelled, we didn't do any of our real work. I had heard so many different things and I didnt think any of them were true. Finally, the school day was over. I got off my bus and walked as fast I could down my driveway to my house. For once in my life I was scared of being outside and walking to my house. I immediately turned on the TV. Every channel had the terrible, horrifying images. I saw more and more, I cried. I was so scared. How could someone do that? How? Why? Every minute those thoughts ran through my head. Ever since September 11th I have displayed anger, sadness, and pride. As a teenager, I was deeply affected by these tragic events. I will never forget it and I will NEVER take the people who were saving people for granted again! GOD BLESS AMERICA!
Linsee | 13 | Ohio

#821 | Tuesday, March 5th 2002
I'm not sure about the rest of the United States of America, but I know that 9-11-2001 has altered my reality. Unfortunately, I don't have cable, which means I don't get to watch much television, but my boyfriend showed up early at my house that day. I still had my bath towel wrapped around my head and my eyeliner pencil in my hand when I opened the door for him.

"You have no clue what's going on, do you?" he pushed past me.

"No," I said. "Why, what happened?"

"I can't even explain it to you. You have to see it."

He put a video tape in my VCR, which isn't exactly out of the ordinary since he is a professional audio/video editor and producer. I watched the first tower burning and heard the jumbled voices of news anchors telling the story. Then the second plane. Then the Pentagon.

"Is this real?"

"This is happening as we speak," he answered.

"Who would do such a thing?"

We went to his house, because he has cable. Our friends came over and we sat to watch it together. And I swore, when the towers collapsed, that it was a scene from a movie. The actors panting and screaming as they stretched to outrun a dark cloud. And we watched. We watched bombs falling in Afghanistan. It didn't make any sense and I was convinced that it wasn't real. I was crying because Hollywood made it seem real, right?

All of those people....

All of those lives....

I knew that some of them would never be found, their bodies disintegrated by the heat. All that lost for what? As you can imagine, the anger set in...the total disgust at what humankind has become...fear that everything I thought was, was no more. It's like waking up and suddenly the grass is blue and the sky is green. What the hell? Was I really so naive? Was I still living my life as a little girl, trapped in some fairy tale or hope that the world was more like one?

I still have no resolve. I don't have any answers. But I can tell you that, after watching "The Wall", I never thought I'd see a war in my lifetime. "The Wall" painted a picture of what war is good for -- leaving children without fathers, mothers without sons, wives without husbands, staining the streets with blood, fear, devestation, hate...am I leaving anything out? I thought the world had realized that war does more harm than good. I was naive.

And, here we are, dead smack in the middle of a war. People are still dying, blood is still staining the streets. There is a child who will never know her father (Daniel Pearl), there are thousands and thousands of Americans and Middle Easterners who have lost because all we have learned is how to hate.

Joanna M. | 24 | Ohio

#749 | Sunday, February 10th 2002
it was my day off work and i was sleeping in.i got up to go to the bathroom and was headed straight back to bed,when i heard my boyfriend call to me from downstairs-he yelled come down here and i yelled i am not done sleeping and he said yes you are come down here and look at the tv-i remember being angry this was my only day off and i love to sleep in. so i went downstairs to tell him off and he said look and pointed at the tv. i saw the second plane hit the tower as he is telling me one already hit the first tower. my first thought was "oh my god"
then shock i was rooted to the spot i was standing in and could not move.
then they was saying that all planes were ordered to land,then they came back and said two planes were in the air and refused to land,then the pentagon was hit and the other plane was over cleveland,ohio and i live 30 minutes from there in akron,ohio.
they were saying that the people in the control towers in cleveland could hear screaming coming from flight 93 and they were turning around and heading for washington. i cried thinking about those poor people and what they must be going through. i was terrified thinking how many planes do they have and what else are they going to hit.i watched with helplessness for hours. they just kept showing the same thing on every channel,those first two planes going into the towers over and over and over again and no matter how many times i saw it i was shocked every single time.
i was thinking who would do this to our country,who could hate us that much.
i always felt safe in america,where i was born and raised.i never even thought about this happening to our country.i am so proud of those people on flight 93 for fighting the hijackers,
even though they knew from all the cell calls they made,that they were going to die they fought anyway. (the true spirit of americans) they saved more destruction from happening and they will always be heros to me,they did not die in vain.the scene in new york was terrible it really did look like a movie,kinda unreal,but then you see the faces,thousands and thousands of faces
running for their lives,and you know it's real. that was the day a billion tears fell all across america and four months later there are still tears.
i don't know if they will ever stop for the people that lost loved ones and my heart bleeds for them and to think i was angry just because i couldn't sleep in longer,i fell ashamed of myself.
america will never be the same but when the firefighters raised the flag that was in the rubble i thought about our national anthem and the words (our flag was still there)and i was proud to be an american.

carol greathouse | 33 | Ohio

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