#2035 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I am a former New Yorker who now lives in Jerusalem, Israel.

When I found out about the attacks, I was in a friend's storeroom (which she had turned into a haircutting salon) and my five-year-old was getting her hair cut. It was around 4:30 p.m. local time.

The phone in the salon rang, and my friend, who usually does not take calls while she's working, picked up the call because it was her husband, who INSISTED on talking to her.

Of course, I could only hear her end of the conversation, which consisted of "Oh my God!" and "I don't believe this!" and "What? WHAT?" and so on. We were one year into the latest "intifada" and I thought for sure there had been another suicide bombing.

She finally hung up the phone, and I took a deep breath before I asked "It was another pigua (attack), right?"

And she laughed strangely and said "Yeah. But not here!"

It turned out her husband, who had been downtown, saw the attacks on the World Trade Center playing out on televisions in some appliance store. Like others on the street, he had at first thought it was a movie, until he realized there were too many people gathered watching this "movie" and had stopped to find out what was happening.

And my friend finished cutting my (rather confused) daughter's hair.

When I left the salon, I hadn't yet heard that the towers had fallen. I remember leaving the place feeling strangely uplifted for a few minutes, thinking that this had to be a major step towards the eventual arrival of the Messiah.

As a religious person, I had often wondered how we would know he was really coming. To me, this seemed to be a pretty clear message that the world was going to change in a fundamental fashion, and that Messiah's arrival would be the last step.

Only later, when I got home and started seeing on the Internet the videos of the incredible destruction did I start to feel terribly depressed. By then we knew that no members of our families in NY had been anywhere near there, but the sorrow was deep and hard to shake for many weeks.

The funny thing is that a couple of months later the daughter who was having her hair cut that day started badgering me to let her hair grow out so she could have a ponytail "like all her friends."

I had kept my older girls' hair short until I was sure they could take care of it themselves, but for some reason I agreed to let her grow it, and I haven't cut it since.

And now, every time I struggle to get her still-wispy side hairs into the ponytail, I remember.




surie ackerman | 42 | Israel

#2021 | Tuesday, September 10th 2002
My husband and I were both on vacation. We had slept in and Jim was fixing pancakes for breakfast. I turned on the TV so we could watch "The Price is Right" and there was the World Trade Center in flames. At first I didn't realize where it was and then I thought it was just on fire. I can't even describe how I felt when I realized it was a terrorist attack. Sick, scared, I don't have the words. Later that day cars started to line up in the street in front of our house. They were waiting to get gas. I turned the scanner on and found out that it was that way all over town. The police had to come out and direct traffic. We went to visit my mother-in-law in the nursing home where she was recuperating from knee surgery and as we sat in the garden and looked at the clear blue sky with not a jet trail in sight that is when I made up my mind not to be scared. If we change the way we live if we allow them to frighten us into not living a normal life then they have won. My heart goes out to all those who lost their lives and all those who lost loved ones in these horrendous attacks. I will always remember but I will not be afraid.
Loretta Breasaw | 42 | Illinois

#1868 | Monday, September 9th 2002
I was working for a Local Retail Store in Erie Pa, in the Electronic Section for the day.
The Store Security officer asked around 8:32am, why I didn't have the Display TVs on yet. We talk for a few moments, then proceeded to turn all of the displays on. The first news broadcast of the first tower was breaking in. A fellow Firefighter friend of mine called me right away, to tell me that the WTC was on fire. As the Security Officer & I stood there and watched, everything then un-folded, the 2nd plane hit!
By this time, almost all the employees (working at that time) were calling me on the internal phone system, asking what is going on. I then noticed almost all the customers in the store, are now standing in the Electronics Dept. (Over 100 of them) Friends & Family started by now calling our store, telling us to turn the TVs on, something terrible had happened.
I received a phone call from my wife (who is also a Firefighter), she told me to be ready, because Erie County was now on a Status 1 Alert (meaning all fire/ems/police personnel are on standby) At this time, the 3rd plane had hit the Pentagon, and the reports were coming over the news, that there was a possible 4th plane & no one was quite sure where it was, nor where it was going. Cleveland Airport reported, they lost a plane from their radar area, and was possibly headed towards the Pittsburgh Area.
Everyone in the store started to cry, some were screaming, just everyone was in complete disbelief of what they had just witnessed. Our Store manager made the decision to close the store down, and if the customers wanted to stay, they were more than welcome too.
At 4pm, all the employess of our store, along with around approx. 50 customers or so, we held a candle light vigil outside for all the victims.
My wife was called in to her work & placed on emergency status (she worked for Verizon at the time). The Northwestern Pa Verizon team had by this time, started to 'field' all calls coming out of New York City & the surrounding areas. My wife was at her work for 22 hrs to help field the calls, since Building 7 in the WTC Plaza was the Verizon Building and had collapsed also.
As I arrived home, my phone was now ringing with family members & friends checking in & so forth. All of my friends are all Firefighters/Emts aong with my family. Everyone was checking to see who might be going where & doing what, in case our Respective Depts may be needed, in either New York, Washington DC or Shanksville Pa.
I stopped at my wife's work later that evening, to give her a hug, asking her to be careful & tell her that I love her.

Dave Lightner | 42 | Pennsylvania

#1857 | Monday, September 9th 2002
I remember the shock and disbelief of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. My staff members in a surgical ICU told me of the first plane's collision and they all watched the terror unfold on patient's TVs. My day became hectic as I planned for the anticipated arrival of many burn patients into our unit. (They never came.) I spent hours moving among patients and family members trying to console them, allay fear and provide basic information that would make them feel safe for the moment. I finally sat down in the hospital auditorium around 2pm to hear the common information and plans from the management team. On the projection screen used as a backdrop was CNN live, but mute. The simple image of the air-traffic controller's screen presented the horror of the west-bound plane's sudden change of direction over Cleveland at the will of the hijackers. I then felt the true impact of the tragedy and the day. I felt the victims' and my own powerlessness as we were all commandeered by terrorists.
Barbara R. | 42 | Ohio

#1791 | Monday, September 9th 2002
I was on vacation in England. At the time I was at a mall in Manchester, UK with my friend Ed who got a phone on his cell phone. After he got off the phone he just calmly said we had to get to a tv. I just thought nothing of it...perhaps something funny was on tv. And I didn't press the issue cause I thought he was trying to surprise me. As we were walking into a certain section of the city he got another call and by then I had a hunch something was up. I asked him what was going on and he told me that the Twin Towers were attacked and that perhaps up to 50,000 people were dead. Ice ran through my blood as we headed to a bar to find a tv. I was just stunned on what was going on. I felt shocked and numb. I felt at a disadvantage not being on home turf and wondered if I would get back to L.A. on schedule a week later (I did). I must say the British people were very sweet and supportive. When people found out I was American they gave condolences and were very kind. Obviously it is a time in life I will never forget.
Rich | 42 | California

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