#1211 | Friday, April 26th 2002
I was sitting in the school library- second carrol from the back of the east wing- when I heard 7th graders giggling about the white house burning up, which i figured was a stupid joke. Then, at the end of the class period, i gathered up my book to go to Art. I turned a corner, and saw a somber group of four librarians and history teachers looking at two of the computers. On one monitor, a video loop of the first plane was playing. Mrs. Guild was at the other one, saying "I can't get anything on the Pentagon!" It felt like a battle command center. I gave up on classes, and found my friend Giselle, who had a discman/radio, and we each listened through a headphone to CNN. When one of the towers fell, we realized that this wasn't a fun story anymore. I went downstairs to find my best friend, whose mother was working at a hospital in New York, and because of the state of emergency, who wouldn't be allowed to leave until early the next morning. Other girls were crying because of parents whose NY location was unknown, NY friends, or relatives on airplanes. My friend Tara, who has Iranian family, was sobbing because of the rumors that middle eastern citizens had flown the planes. "We won't be able to go back to Iran anymore!" she wailed. ABout an hour before lunch, the administration gathered the entire high school together so we could ask question and watch the news. In the middle of a silent moment, a sophomore's mother came in to take her home. Her friend had been on one of the planes to hit the WTC. I sat between my two calmest acquaintances, who debated miltary reactions over my head. After the FAA had called all planes out of the sky, we heard rumors that one was left, and heading for Philadelphia. I'll look at airplanes quite so innocently again.
Rachel S. Aronson | 16 | Pennsylvania

#1193 | Friday, April 19th 2002
I am a Philadelphia Police Officer. I am married with a wonderful son. On September 11th, I (like most of my fellow Americans) witnessed the senseless slaughter of human life. The department was put on high alert and our tours of duty were extended. With the exception of a scant five minutes to change my uniform of the day, I did not see my wife and son until later that evening.

My squad was deployed to the hotels near the Philadelphia International Airport. In each and every hotel we checked we saw the faces of travelers, many of them American, change from distraught to a significance of hope.

People walked up to us and thanked us for being there. We were just doing our job. We were asked our feelings for fallen brothers and sisters in New York. I could only respond that it was horrible, seeing no need to raise their already heightened anxiety.

I felt the pulse of the true America was still beating. I witnessed strangers offering to pay for dinner, a room, or share a taxi.

When I returned home, I kissed my wife and hugged her. I went upstairs to kiss my son who should have been already asleep. Being the son of a Philadelphia police officer myself, I could not be angry with my six-year-old for waiting up and feigning sleep for my return. I too had done the same during the turbulence of the late sixties and early seventies.

My son, Timothy, sat up in his bed, and asked me, "Did you and your partners catch the bad guys that hurt those people with the bomb and airplanes?"

"No," I said. I choked back a sob. "We didn't. Not today."

Timothy leaned closer to me. For the first time in my son's life, he was witnessing me crying. He held my face.

"Don't cry daddy." He put on a brave face. "All those police and firefighters that died when the buildings fell on them will be replaced by their sons."

I began to cry heavier. My son just held me and said, "It's gonna be OK."

My six-year-old, perhaps oblivious to the true magnitude of the tragedy, was comforting me with his simple wisdom. I only pray my son will not take up my choice of career, and find his own path because he had shown me that night that he has the soul of the BRAVEST. He wants to be a firefighter/detective, in other words, a fire marshal.

My only regret is that I am duty bound to Philadelphia, and wish to have been there to at least bring our brothers and sisters out to let them rest in peace.

Martin Connors
Philadelphia, PA

Martin Connors | 37 | Pennsylvania

#1167 | Monday, April 8th 2002
my name is nicole condos i just got up a nd that and isaw the building on fire but i feel like i could cry and that but i was sad for the people and that so i give all my love and my soul too too the people that died i pray too them every night
nicole condos | 28 | Pennsylvania

#1166 | Monday, April 8th 2002
Well, My name is Christina Siceloff and I was in 10th grade at the time this happened. I go to a school in Pennsylvania so it kind of hit close to home when the one plane crashed in Pennsylvania. Well I was in the nurses office of the school when I saw the plane hit the first tower and second and the first tower that fell had fallen. A girl was sitting in the office crying watching it on the tv. I thought it was all just a movie. It wasn't it was real life. I felt so bad. I cryed at some points. But that is where i was on September 11, 2001. God Bless you all.

Christina Siceloff | 16 | Pennsylvania

#1127 | Thursday, March 28th 2002
I am a firefighter that was called to our local airport for standby on 9-11-01. I have never been so scared in my life. I thought it was te end. As I was leaving my house as the pager was just about to go off...I heard the fire and ems getting dispatched for an aircraft down in shanksville. As i entered the firehall and heard all the radio traffic...i thought to myself...What the hell am i doing here? I should be home with my family! My day ended about 7 oclock.I left the hall and went straight home, still trying to put the puzzle together and realize what just happened. All of my crew on the engine will never forget 9-11 and those who lost there lives.
Jason | 20 | Pennsylvania

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