#1898 | Tuesday, September 10th 2002
I work in Newark, NJ and work on the 8th floor of our building, with a perfect view of the city. That morning was so clear, the sky was just an amazing blue and there was no haze which you can normally see hanging over the city. Everyone who works in this city had a bird’s eye view that day.
I came to work at about 7:30 in the morning, and the guy who sits next to me, Eddie, told me a short time later that there was a bad fire in one of the towers, I said "are you kidding me?" and he said "no, go look out the window". Well, needless to say when I walked to the window the first words out of my mouth were "holy s**t you're not kidding!" For some unknown reason I went to out equipment closet and got out the digital camera and started to take pictures, something I would never normally do.
At first we thought it was just a fire, then we heard on the radio that a plane had crashed into the tower, I remember thinking to myself how could a plane crash into the tower on such a clear day? And then we watched the second plane crash into the second tower, and we all knew someone was trying to do it on purpose.
Everyone was stacked up against the window watching it happen, it was horrible to see, it had a surreal quality to it as there was no sound through the thick glass window, it was like watching a silent horror movie. We could see everything. Some people here were crying and a few were close to losing it. Eddie’s brother in law worked at Cantor Fitzgerald, and once he realized that people were trapped above were the planes crashed and couldn’t get out, he started to break down, he basically witnessed the death of his brother in law but didn’t realize it at the time.
Then the unthinkable happened, the first tower went down, someone here had turned the radio on to hear what was happening, and when the tower went down the DJ went silent and we could here the horrible sound through the radio while we watched it, people were crying and running around, we just could not believe what had just happened, your mind just could not comprehend it. We all realized then that the second tower might come down, and when it did, everyone started to leave the office for home, it was just too much to take.
I tried to get on the train at Penn Station Newark, but right before the train arrived they cancelled all train service for fear of something else happening, everyone was stranded. I happened to walk pass a customer service representative from the railroad and asked him how I could get back home on a bus as they were running, and by chance the next bus leaving was heading down to an area close to my home.
What should normally take 10 minutes to go from Penn Station Newark to the NJ Turnpike took over 1-1/2 hours due to the traffic jams. People were actually walking along the highway towards Newark coming from the direction of the city, but to this day I don’t know why or where they were coming from. When the bus finally got out to the Turnpike we were probably no more that a mile or so in a straight line from the city, and the cloud of smoke was still unbelievable, some people on the bus had not seen anything from their offices and didn’t really have a grasp on what happened, but when we got onto the Turnpike and they could see, they were saying “oh my god, oh my god!” The smoke still seemed to cover the whole city. I went home and turned on the TV, and watched everything happen up close and personal all over again.
It is without a doubt the most horrible thing I have ever witnessed. But I went to work the next day, what happened didn’t make me fear, it made me “white hot” angry, and it will never change the way I live, in Freedom.

Roy Dowd
Matawan, NJ

Roy Dowd | 38 | New Jersey

#1865 | Monday, September 9th 2002
I was busy taking patients to their exam rooms and other tasks in a doctor's office. I'm a nurse there. The doctors are from India. Our office is in Michigan.

We have a radio that we were allowed to have on as long as the volume is very low. I was standing at the nursing station with the other nurses and staff bustling around me. There was still music playing when the phone rand and it was another nurse's husband. He just told her that the World Trade Center had just been hit. My husband also called. We changed the station immediately and found a new station (a news station). We couldn't believe what we were hearing. Then we listened to the chain of events unfold. Other husbands called and calls were made as the unfolding took place. It wasn't long before ALL the radio stations were filled with the days new.

I attempted to tell our doctor what was happening...what we were hearing. From the World Trade Center to the other planes crashing. It was as if he didn't understand what we were saying. I think he thought we were listening to nonsense on the radio. Or maybe he thought we would scare the patients. We will never know. Then, he made us turn off the radio! We were all in shock that he would make us turn off our link to what was happening to our country! A few of us became quietly angry and you could sense the anxiety in the office. Then HIS son called. The look on the doctor's face was one of literal shock. His mouth hung open and he was silent for quite some time. It was obvious he was getting the news from a source he finally believed.

Doctor then let us turn the radio back on. We were very glad because for a moment there, ugly thoughts crept into our minds...such as, what if doctor is part of it? Talk about crazy thinking. Our imaginations can easily run away. He was feeling the same things we did, only dealt with it differently. Even though most of our physicians are from India, they are ALSO American. We felt bad for them and concerned for their well-being in the days following the attacks.

The atmosphere in the office was that of shock, sadness, and even fear. In the days that followed, you could sense apparent anger and pain and fear in all of us. It was as if our country was the mother and she just watched some stranger hurt her children. It was that kind of anger. All our hearts were hurting terribly.

Days after the attack, our doctors also suffered fear because they now had people "looking" at them when they went in stores or just driving down the road. I had patients make comments or question me about their origin. I would reassure the patients that would as such things and found myself gently and quietly coming to our physicians' defense.

On Sept. 11, 2001 during my lunch, I drove to get ribbons of red, white, and blue. I affixed a frilly bow of those colors with streamers coming off my car antenna, right there in the store parking lot. I had a tear in my eye driving back to work. I was so filled with love and sorrow for our country and the victims of this terrible day.

It was also my sister's birthday. She says from that day forward, she will live on in infamy.

I had a cousin who worked at the World Trade Center, but had been transferred to Sweden only a short time before. Another cousin worked at the Pentagon but was not hurt. That really hit home with our family. You could feel the pain of the families who weren't so lucky.

You could look at the people around you no matter where you went and feel the patriotism welling.
Everyone was ready to fight for this land. Except for a select few who liked to make anti-American comments...feelings toward those folks is another matter entirely.

I've never seen everyone feel so close. People were more friendly. More open.
It was the drawing together of a nation...UNITED WE STAND.

Teri | 38 | Michigan

#1854 | Monday, September 9th 2002
I had woke up early on the morning of September 11 because the sun was shining in through the blinds into my eyes. I looked outside to see that it was such a beautiful blue sky with hardly a cloud in the sky. I sat down to watch TV while my then 3-year-old daughter continued to sleep. I had finished watching one program and was getting ready to watch another when the local news broke in with a special report. The local news transferred immediately to NBC in New York and I saw the first tower already in flames with black smoke marring that beautiful blue sky. I sat there in shock, never taking my eyes off of the screen, as the second plane hit the second tower. Due to angle of the news camera lens, I did not realize that this plane had literally flew INTO the building and I started wondering "Isn't anyone concerned with where this plane went?" It wasn't until I changed channels and noticed why nobody was concerned where the remainder of the plane was. Tears were rolling down my face as I sat there watching this with unbelieving eyes. Never in my life had I just sat in front of a TV watching history unfold in front of me than I did on September 11. After they halted all flights, it has never been so silent around my house (near the airport.) I had never understood the meaning of the phrase 'Deafening silence' until then. I hugged my daughter close to my chest as, together, we watched the death of the World Trade Center towers.

My family and I will be attending a memorial service on Wednesday evening to commemorate the lives lost one year ago and pray that this will never, ever happen again.

Alicia Swofford | 38 | North Carolina

#1784 | Sunday, September 8th 2002
I am a teacher and was with my students. A school volunteer came in the classroom and told me what happened.
Jane | 38 | Iowa

#1717 | Saturday, September 7th 2002
My husband & I slept late that morning so the towers were already down when we heard. We were both upset but tried to continue with our days. A dear friend of mine lost close friends that day, a husband & wife who both worked in one of the towers.
But through tragedy we gain strength.

I am more proud that I was born an American.

I find Canada is different now, more patriotic instead of apathetic.

I am more afraid whenever a jet flys over on a training mission.

I see many more Canadian flags flying than ever before (except on Canada Day) and people are not ashamed to show their feelings for our American neighbours as many also fly (or only fly) American flags.

It was impossible to buy an American flag right after 9/11, we had to go on a waiting list.

God Bless America

Our thoughts and prayers are (and have been for the past year) with the survivors, the victims and their families.

Pam Webster | 38 | Canada

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