#2046 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I was at work, as many of us were, when my supervisor / manager came in and said "A plane's hit the world trade centre! Another one's crashed into the sea and a third is heading for Washington but they don't know where it is..."

This was 3:05pm, 10:05 in NYC.

After some initial confusion, he explained that all three jets had been hijacked but I had some difficulty in believing it all. "There's no way they'd let a plane even get close to Washington," I said "Because they'd shoot it down."

Anyway, my Mum is retired so I knew there was a fair chance she was at home. I called her up and could hear the TV in the background. I just asked if it was true and she said "yes, I was sitting here watching TV when they interrupted the broadcast and they're showing it live."

More than anything, I remember feeling the blood drain from my face. Shock doesn't even come close to describing it.

As Mum explained what had happened, I repeated the details out loud... one by one I could see people coming off the phones and just listening to me. There were about thirty people in the room at the time. I was working in a teacher supply agency at the time and 3-4pm is a critical time for sales since school will often rebook a teacher at this time. No one was interested though.

At that time, Mum had said one of the towers had collapsed but the other was still standing. This is my memory of it. She said no plane had crashed into the sea, two had hit the WTC and one had hit the Pentagon, which stunned me - I remember saying "but it must be the most heavily protected military installation in the world."

She also confirmed that one plane was still in the air but that they didn't seem to know where it was.

I came off the phone and must have told everyone in the room about three times what my Mum had told me... each time someone came off the phone I said it again. One of the guys sitting on another table came off the phone and called me over. Once again, I told him what had happened. He seemed interested in the Pentagon... about half an hour later I noticed he wasn't at his desk and I asked someone where he'd gone. That's when I found out his father was American and was in the US Navy - he worked in the Pentagon. He hadn't seen him in years. Fortunately, they confirmed a few days later that he was okay.

I had a 20 minute break at about 3:30pm. I went outside and sat in the car with the radio on. The rest of the day was surreal. We carried on with our work as normal, but all the time there was this awful feeling, a sense of shock, a thought at the back of your mind telling you that somehow it must all be a horrible and dreadful mistake. It just didn't seem to be happening.

Many times I thought of my friend, Susan Corso, who lives in New York. I wondered where she was, if she was okay. I knew I probably wouldn't be able to find out for days.

I drove home that evening with the radio on... I got home close to 6pm and switched the TV on and that's when the full horror of it all hit me. And I mean it hit me. I'm not ashamed to say I wept at the thought of what had happened, the sheer brutality of it all. I still weep now. I was apalled, sickened and stunned. I watched it all unfold in morbid, horrified fascination. I felt ashamed to be watching, as though I were some sick voyeur.

I sent emails to my friends in the US... my surrogate sister, Tomi, in Milwaukee, told me they had locked down the building, that no one was allowed in. People were allowed to go home if they wished to, but Tomi said she couldn't bear the thought of being at home with nothing to do and the TV showing nothing but the attacks. Her friend Michelle was pregnant and Tomi was worried for her as she refused to hear anything about it, afraid that it would reach the baby's ears.

I sent a simple, one line email to Susan - "Are you okay?" - a few days later, I got a brief reply confirming her safety and thanking me for my concern.

I remember talking on the phone to my Mum, honestly believing that we could be facing a third world war.

Later that night, I was in my regular chat room when a kid I knew in the UK came on. Not one for sensitivity and tact, he almost caused more bloodshed by saying it looked "cool" when the towers collapsed, like something out of a movie. I remember completely losing my cool and ranting "Maybe when you grow up you'll realise that up to 50,000 people may have died today."

I woke the next morning and had to remind myself of the previous day's events. It seemed like a dream, a nightmare. It just didn't seem possible that it had happened.

Around Halloween I spoke to Susan on the phone and she told me of the the deep effect it's had on the psyche of the city. People were afraid. Each time a plane flew quite low overhead, people panicked and cried. Susan lives just a few blocks from ground zero and she said when the wind blows, she had to have the air conditioning on. Each time she looked at the skyline, it was like being punched in the stomach.

Even now, I can't explain why it affected me so deeply. I didn't lose anyone in the attacks, I've never been to NYC and I can't say I have a special connection in any way to either that city, the World Trade Centre or Washington.

People say we should move on and of course we should. I think ahead to the future and I wonder where we're going. I believe that history will look back on the 20th and 21st centuries with a sense of stunned wonder at the harm we caused one another. People will read about our part in history and will be completely unable to comprehend all that has happened.

I hope, by that time, the human race will have learnt to embrace our differences, to celebrate the diversity of life on Earth, and not seek to destroy it.

The alternative does not bear thinking about.

Richard J Bartlett | 31 | United Kingdom

#2044 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
On Sept 11th 2001, i was in work, my colleague came in and said "the twin towers have been hit", i couldnt believe it, i turned the radio on, it was on every station, every channel on t.v, then the 2nd plane hit, in my mind i thought why and who would do something like this", to this day now, i believe that everyone all over the world will never forget this horrific day and that the people held responsible for all this pain and anguish will be brought down. I cannot help but feel for those who lost their loved ones and to the fire fighters who didnt sleep, eat or rest, also to the troops who have suffered and suffering the peace keeping, u will come home.
RIP all those who have fought for their countries, RIP America!

Kate Stevens | 21 | United Kingdom

#2042 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
On 9/11 I was at work sitting at my w/p with several other colleagues when our supervisor came in and told us a plane had flown into the WTC, her son, a journalist had got reports through work and had 'phoned her with the news. Shock and disbelief was the first reaction, followed by a phone call to my daughter to switch on the tv and tell us what was happening.

Words cannot express how sorry I was at what happened and to all those brave people who helped those poor souls inside the building.

Having visited New York just before the occurrence and having visited the WTC to admire the building and views, it now seems incredible that it no longer exists.

My thoughts, along with many others go with everybody concerned.

Linda Hayes | 48 | United Kingdom

#2038 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I was at home in England watching a movie when of a sudden the a news flash came up saying a plane has crash into the twin tower my heart was thumping really hard and then i saw the second one hit that when i realise this was no accident i had tears to my eyes and said why would anyone want to hurt so many people, i watched then news and i was so upset to see many people killed. My heart goes out to the families and
i pray for them may the victims rest in peace. This is the day that will never be forgotten in the 21st century for a such tradegy to happen.

god bless you America

rena | 30 | United Kingdom

#2037 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I remember my mum came to visit me that fateful day (is it really a year ago already?). I just could not believe what I was seeing - I feel the USA is like a second home to me, I've visited many times and want to return in future. Until then, my love and prayers go out to you all out there....let's hope nothing like that will ever be allowed to happen again and that Bush and Blair know what they're doing. Jane, Shoreham by Sea, England (Janeshoreham@yahoo.co.uk).
Jane Bird | 43 | United Kingdom

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