#2416 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I woke up and went to work at 7 as usual that morning. I remember wishing I didn't have to work because even at that time, it was already looking like it was going to be a warm, beautiful day. I started doing my usual morning routine- running my daily reports and counting up my cash drawer. I work in a hotel at the front desk. So that morning my manager was running late I guess, so when she wasn't there at 8 as usaul, I assigned the housekeepers their work for the day and sent them on there way. Then at 9 I think, my boss came in the door, and without even stopping at her office, she went to turn on the tv in the lobby and told me that she heard on the radio that a plane hed crashed into the WTC. I work in an extended-stay hotel, so our lobby is small, theres a couch and a couple chairs...like your living room at home. And some of our guests become friends and "family" temporarily. For the next 10 minutes or so (it seemed an eternity)
myself and a few other co workers who had now come in, watched in sheer disbelief as the first tower burned through the blue sky. Guests were walking through stopping to see what was going on. At that point no one really knew what was going on yet. How could a jetliner just fly into the Trade Center? It must of been an accident, but how could it have been? But just a few short minutes later, we all knew, along with every other American who was glued to the tv at that time, that this was no accident. There were no mistakes. We watched as the second airliner went crashing through the second tower, exploding into a huge ball of black smoke and flames. They flashed images of New Yorkers, stopped dead in their tracks, staring up into the sky. How do you comprehend something like this? Its not happening? To us? On our ground? In the greatest city in the world? Its all so surreal. Even to this day, one year later, I still have trouble believing that this really did happen. We continued to watch the continuing coverage that was on every station, recieving bits and pieces of scattered info as it became available. All planes had been ordered to be grounded. There were reports of other suspicious planes.
So many images of people running around NY. I have never in my life, seen such pain on peoples faces. Not knowing where their family and friends were. Not knowing what would happen next. I felt the pain too. Even though I was not there, and did not know anyone, I felt for all of them. I wanted to know that their loved ones were okay. Just when we all thought it could not get any worse... a third plane has crashed into The Pentagon. The White House is being evacuated. As the news flashed between Washington and New York, everything was chaos. Fire trucks and ambulances rushing in from every direction possible. At that time, I don't think any of us knew how big this would be. Yes, it was huge, and yes, a lot of people have died, but they'll put the fires out. No one expeced that minutes later the first of the two towers would simply fall from the skyline. 112 stories.... diminished to rubble. The images were of people running, innocent people running from a huge cloud of smoke and debris that was flooding the streets of Manhattan. And people jumping from the second towers windows, because as inconcievable as it is, that was better than being trapped and burned inside. Then the news hits that a fourth plane has crashed in rural Pensilvania. And soon later.. the second tower collapsed. All of these events happened in less than two hours... but it seemed like the entire world had stopped. And it had. I called my mom, cause even though I knew she was safe, I had to tell her I love her. It took a while to get through because everyone was using the phones. Carrier cicuits were busy and cell phones too. A few minutes later a guest came down, panicked and with tears, and told me his sister works on the 63rd floor of one of the towers. He hasnt been able to get in touch with her because phones arent working. Everyone just felt so helpless. The rest of the day went by as a daze. Everyone was glued to the tv. We later found out that by some miracle, his sister just happened to be running late for work, and was on the train on her way there when the first plane hit. Unfortunately, 3,000 other people were on time, and had their lives taken from them for just showing up to work. The next few weeks were filled with replays of all the tragic events that took place and with pictures of deceased and missing. And with memorial services and vigils, and a country that was now, more than ever...UNITED. Today, a year later, these pictures are still fresh in my mind, and I will never forget. And neither will you. But our country has opened its eyes now. We have a responsibilty to the victims to make sure that they did not die in vein. And a responsibility to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again. To our armed services- God Bless you... I'm behind you... take those fuckers out!
To firefighters, police, and EMS across the world and in NY especially- you are the difinition of the word hero. You have been and will continue to be for the rest of your lives. Thank You.
And to the victims and your families- I cannot even begin to imagine the pain you have been through over the last year. My thoughts and prayers are with you every day. Be strong. And have faith that we WILL bring the people that did this to us to justice.
Be strong America...
And never forget 9/11/2001

Gina | 18 | New Hampshire

#2396 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
When I heard about the attacks on the World Trade Centers, I had just happen to be in my U.S. History class, and watching our history change right before my very eyes. I didn't know what to think, I mean nothing has ever happened to my generation in this kind of magnatude. I couldn't begin to think of what changes in our freedom were unfolding in only a few short hours. When all those people that last there lives either were trying to get out of the building, saving others, or even giving up their lives to save a whole nother building that could have added to the mass numbers that all ready lost their lives. I can't really imagine what to feel for those that lost their loved ones but I do know that I am right beside them when it comes to their freedom and mine that was pushed to the limit on one morning that I will never forget. The people that I did not get to meet will always be in my heart along with their families.
Andrew | 18 | Kansas

#2363 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I live in Glendale, California, on the other side of the country from the tragic attacks. I woke up uncharacteristically late on September 11th, 2001, because it was Election Day in Los Angeles and I was working on a local election at the time. I left my home around 6 am to pick up a friend/co-worker, still without knowledge of the attacks. It was around 9am in New York. I remember waiting several minutes for my friend, and when she finally came down she said "Oh, I'm sorry, I was passing by the TV on my way out and my brother was watching the news... there was a building on fire." We thought nothing of it, and drove on.
I drove to another co-worker's home so that he could follow me to our office. The friend in my car went into his, and we proceeded to drive to the center of L.A., the early morning drive was without too much traffic. I flipped on the radio, and I recall very clearly the first words I heard: "...it is thought at this time to be a terrorist attack." I remember dialing up the volume and listening closely, pinpricks of fear beginning to spread. "An airplane flew into the World Trade Center this morning." I remember fumbling through my purse, grabbing my cell phone, and calling my co-workers in the car behind me, frantic. We were listening to the same station, and it was then that we realized that the burning building my friend has seen on television was no mere fire, but the result of a horrific attack. I remember calling my father in his office, and telling him of the attacks. I told him to be careful, and, just in case, I told him that I loved my mother and him very much. There was no way of knowing whether we would be attacked on the West coast as well… and there was no way of knowing whether I would see either of them again.
When we reached the office, we were frightened and anxious. We peered up at the buildings that stood tall above Los Angeles, and tried to imagine an airplane flying into them. We wondered if the attack in New York was just a prelude to more attacks to come, a possibility on this coast of the U.S. Unfortunately, our office did not have a television, and we tuned into the news on the radio. We attempted to find more news on the Internet, but we were not the only ones trying to do this, and were not able to combat the heavy traffic on the 'net. Awaiting our candidate, searching for news of the attacks, we could only imagine the worst in the hours to come. We did not know where we were safe. We received phone calls from friends of the company who lived in New York, and were grateful to hear that they were all right. It dawned on me that we might be one of the few to hear such reassuring news.
As we tried to maintain a normal day, we began our preparations to "get out the vote" for our candidate. We could not comprehend contacting voters in the area attempting to solicit votes on such a tragic day. We realized that if we did not go on with our lives and did not continue to participate in the electoral process, which is the very essence of our nation's democracy and what makes us truly the "Land of the Free," then we would be letting the terrorists win. And so, we pressed on with our day amidst the tragedy, never feeling more patriotic as we asked L.A. citizens to "please get out to the polls and vote."

Jeannine | 18 | California

#2345 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
September 11, 2002

When the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were hit last year I was in my 1st period English class but I heard about it in my 2nd period Choir class. I was only a Junior last year in High School and now I'm a Senior in High School and I still have trouble believing that this actually happened to our country again. I wasn't born when Pearl Harbor was attack but like they said then about the "sleeping giant being woke up". I guess you could say that they woke us up again. Please never forget about that horrible day in September because I know I won't ever forget.

Larissa | 18 | Texas

#2311 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I remember I was in English class, Mrs. Dorsey’s period two. My high school principal came over the loud speaker and announced that teachers may want to turn on their televisions because there was something happening. Mrs. Dorsey had one of the taller boys in class reach up to turn on the wall-mounted set and as the image clicked into place my fellow students and I drew in a collective breath. Looking back on it now I cannot recall thinking anything, my mind just turned off and let the terrible, shocking images unfold before my eyes. I do remember telling one of my friends at lunch that I was waiting for someone to come on the CNN coverage and declare that the entire thing was a joke, a well thought out hoax, like the Martian stunt pulled over the radio years and years ago. But it never happened this was real. I didn’t cry or even have an urge to cry until my dad came home from work that night. The moment he stepped into the door I realized I had been holding my breath since the TV had come on at 8:50am that morning and when I finally exhaled a flood of tears followed
Anna | 18 | Ohio

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