#1611 | Tuesday, August 27th 2002
I was 7 months pregnant and ordered to complete bedrest, and on the morning of 9/11 my mom called me and told my husband and I to turn on the TV. She sounded upset and was talking about some "plane crash" at the WTC.
I was shocked when I saw the live coverage of the towers burning, and then later the Pentagon. I remember I couldn't stop shaking, I felt very saddened and scared by the fact that I would soon be bringing our baby into a world of violence.
My husband was sent home from his job shortly after arriving there at 9:00. He's a telemarketer, and had been calling New York selling digital cable. He said he felt terrible trying to make a sales pitch to distraught and angry customers, and was glad when management let him go home for the day.
We withdrew all the money from our savings account because I was afraid of how well America's economy would hold through this tragedy. The next day I stocked up on canned foods, diapers, formula, bottled water and hid the rest of our money. I was too paranoid at the time to think straight!
I never knew anyone that worked in the WTC or Pentagon, but not a day passes when I don't think of the victims and their families and pray that they will find peace. I can't imagine going through what they have, it has shattered my image of us living in a "safe" country.
Our beautiful daughter was born the day after Thanksgiving, and I feel that 9/11 has taught me to be even more thankful for the family and friends I have. When she is older, I will show her magazines and newspapers portraying the events of 9/11 and tell her that horrible day has taught me to appreciate and love her more. God Bless.

Martha O. | 22 | Wisconsin

#1586 | Friday, August 23rd 2002
September 11, 2001. A day etched in memory for life.
My day began as usual, in to work around 7am. This particular Tuesday we had a department meeting at 9am. During the meeting one of the presenters came in with the news that two planes struck the WTC. The meeting continued to go on as normal as possible. No one imagened the enormity of the situation. The meeting was still going on when that same individual reported back that "one of the towers has fallen". I immediately thought "My God, those towers are so giagantic, what would happen when one falls? (I had the fortunate oportunity to visit the towers when I was about 10)" Since I had no other idea I really thought that the tower tipped over rather than fell on itself, and that thought reminded me of the movie Armagedon. Everyone's attention span in the meeting quickly drifted to other thoughts, yet this meeting continued to go on. Finally when the meeting ended around 11am, I remember quickly getting back to my desk and going online to CBSnews, ABCnews, CNN, MSnbc, but everyone of them was completely bogged down. In the generally quiet office people had radios on listening to the events as they unfolded. My first idea of what really happened was when the company set up some temporary TV's in our cafe. At this point both towers had fallen. With my first glance my mouth dropped open, I felt so helpless, so sad, and still not really believing that these two great towers could be smoldering on the ground. The rest of the day was a blurr finding out about the Pentagon and the PA crash. I remember that getting any kind of information was very slow the first day, everything was tied up. Prices at the gas stations went sky high and lines were long. There was an erie silence in the sky. Everything was quieter and everyone knew what everyone else was thinking.

This entire event was extremely hard for me to handle as I'm sure it was for everyone. I still think about the attacks daily, the images...the horror of seeing people jumping from a 110 story building, the total destruction. However through it all I am proud to say that I'm an American! I proudly display a flag from my apartment balcony and whenever I am going about my daily routine I remind myself that we are all American's. And in a bigger realm, we are all members of God's family. Who can forget that not only American's but the entire world we call Earth mourned with us and continues to fight for freedom and peace. I find myself more now than ever continually thinking about the great freedoms we have in this great land, the United States of America. I still feel the grief, I think I always will, I hope and pray that all the people that lost a loved one will feel God's love and seek his strength. We indeed will never forget that horrible day and those who died in our continued fight for life, liberty and the pursut of happiness. God Bless!

Andy Croke | 25 | Wisconsin

#1565 | Sunday, August 18th 2002
It is, to this date, a difficult thing for me to describe. Being one time zone behind the Eastern Seaboard, I suppose I was in the car on my way to school at exactly 7:45 A.M. local time when the first plane hit. Looking back, I think the most chilling part was that this day couldn't have been more ordinary.

After my first class, I spent the passing time talking to friends in the hallway, the way I always did. Amidst the typical daily conversations, rumors were beginning to filter throughout the school that something had happened somewhere in the world. Something big. Confusion and misinformation quickly flooded the hallways, and I remember the first report I heard involved President Bush being killed somehow. At first, I thought it was a joke, but the tone throughout the voices of my friends told me that something wasn't quite right.

Obviously, the information regarding the safety of our president turned out to be false.

In my second class of the day, I spent a good portion of the time watching my history teacher fumble with an old, school issued television that showed nothing but static. I had no idea what was going on, until about 9:30 local time (10:30 in New York City), when an image started appearing amid all the static on the screen. The first thing I made out was the "Breaking News," bulletin. The second thing was the Statue of Liberty.

Then, I gasped in horror when I realized what I saw. New York City was gone. It just didn't exist. In it's place rested a giant curtain of whitish smoke, encasing everything for what must've been miles.

The first thought that came to my head was, "It's a nuclear explosion. Some kind of nuclear blast just leveled New York City..." I would later discover that this was the debris from the collapse of the twin towers, but at the time, on the fuzzy television, there seemed to be no other explanation.

In a dramatic fashioned that seemed like a scene from a movie, the static on the television took over, it was the last of the footage I saw until my next class. During the half hour until that happened, I just stared at the blank screen, not knowing what to think.

English class came eventually, and thank God my teacher finally had the information I sought. Her words to us students, to the best of my memory, were, "I don't feel much like talking about [our current subject] today. Hijackers have crashed two planes into the buildings of the World Trade Center. They're gone. They're no longer standing. They took another plane and crashed it into the Pentagon. They drove a truck bomb into the State Department and blew it up. It just makes me sick to my stomach. So, instead of our usual lesson today, we're going into the next room to witness these events."

The report of a truck bomb destroying the State Department did turn out to be false, but having witnessed the destruction left in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, it was the report that scared me the most at the time.

When I finally received a clear picture of the events of September 11th on the T.V. screen in the next room, the first image was of some sort of law enforcement official holding a gun and urging people to, "Run! Get down into the f---ing subway! Move!" All the while, an expanding cloud of debris enveloped the city in the background. I distinctly remember hearing someone giggle slightly, and I remember being within a half second of walking over and punching this kid in the face. It angered me to no end that someone could laugh at such a situation.

Right after that is when I first saw the first footage of the planes hitting the World Trade Center, as well as the collapse of the buildings. It all just seemed like a slap in the face: The picture of a fire in the Pentagon... The masses of people running through the streets... Listening to respected newscasters like Tom Brokaw breaking down on screen... People jumping from the 110th floor of the North Tower... It all melted together in a mass of swirling emotions that I wouldn't make sense of until later that night.

I distinctly remember, however, one feeling that churned its way out of my gut. One feeling that stood out above all others. That thought which stood in my head for so long was, "Who did this? I want someone to find out, and kill that person. That's all I want." I was, very much, angry above all other things.

I heard a news anchor issue a report that even though all flights had been grounded, there was still an unresponsive fifth plane up in the air somewhere over Ohio, and heading westward. I immediately thought Chicago, and the Sears Tower. I know people in Chicago. I started becoming worried. Fortunately, the plane landed, citing a communication problem as the reason behind its unresponsiveness. It was a breath of fresh air.



One of my teachers, later in the day, said, "I did have what I thought was a fairly important lesson plan for today. I didn't expect that twenty, thirty thousand people were going to die in New York."

To which one of my classmates responded, "Is that how many they think it is?"

"Oh, at least," he replied.



When I got home, I did nothing for the rest of the night than watch the news channels. President Bush's earlier words of, "Freedom itself was attacked today by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended," stuck in my head above all others. And his address to the nation in the evening comforted me, telling me everything I wanted to hear at that point. People can criticize Bush all they want, but September 11th was a day I was proud to call him my president.

I've often said that I witnessed over a million people die on September 11th. Sure, only 2,823 actually died at the World Trade Center, but the footage of those planes barreling into the buildings, and the towers collapsing in a heap of rubble, was shown hundreds of times that day. I saw that plane hit the second tower dozens of times from every conceivable angle, and every time, it was like watching those people die all over again. The same goes for the collapses of the towers, and the people buried on the streets, and the people opted to jump off the buildings rather than wait for them to collapse. I saw all those people die hundreds and hundreds of times. Each time, my heart sank a little bit more.

In the days following the attacks, all I did was wait for a U.S. retaliation. I would come home from school and ask my father, "Are we bombing anyone yet? Are we killing those murdering f---'s yet? I was bloodthirsty for revenge. It's not something I'm necessarily proud of, but at the time I wanted nothing more than to see Bin Laden's head on a stick. I wanted to see the United States military light up the scoreboard. When that happened on October 7th, I was overcome with relief. Now, the ball was in our court.



To this date, I watch the footage of the plane hitting the World Trade Center every chance I get. Why? It took me a long time to figure that out for myself, but now I think I understand. I want to remember. I want to remember what the best of America is all about, and I want to be reminded of the bravery of our finest on that dark day in history. I want to make sure I don't forget the sacrifices that have been made for the freedoms I enjoy today.

I've promised myself that I'll never forget why America struggles so ceaselessly for freedom. The horrifying footage recorded on September 11th should be witnessed by all school children for generations to come, lest we forget why we fight for the freedom we have.

God bless every one of you. Never forget why we fight. Never.

Anonymous | 16 | Wisconsin

#1488 | Thursday, July 18th 2002
I was on a business trip in Stockholm, Sweden. I had a meeting at 1:30PM (8:30AM EST). At the conclusion of the meeting, about 3:30PM, I got in a Taxi and headed for the airport. In broken English the cab driver said, “ it is a bad day.” I said, “I am sorry to hear that.” He didn’t respond, rather listen intently to his radio (I thought he was waiting for a soccer score). Then 5 minutes into the ride he said, “I hope you aren’t flying to the US today.” I asked what is wrong with the US? He told me that a plan has crashed and a lot of people have died. I asked him what plane crashed and where did it happen. He said, “ no, no, I mean planes, many planes, have crashed. Thoroughly confused I had to assume his English was wrong. Then he said, “it means WAR with America, are you American?” Not sure how to respond in that context and after thinking I did say yes. To this day I get a cold shiver down my spin when I think of his next comment. With tears in his eyes, he said, “I very sorry for you loss… I must give sincere condolences to you and your family and the US country for this terrible day.” At this point I am still not clear on what has happen and why it affects me. However, one thing was clear a taxi cab driver in Sweden felt it was necessary to offer his condolences to me because I am an American. Without knowing any more details, my body seemed to go cold. After twenty minutes of silence we arrived at the airport. I saw the military blockade and felt sick. Inside the airport I finally realized what the driver was trying to tell me.
Nathan Foster | 30 | Wisconsin

#1449 | Sunday, July 7th 2002
I had just dropped my Daughter off at daycare and was heading into the office. I was listening to the Bob And Tom Show on the radio when the first plane hit the tower. It was Tom that said something off-hand about a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center, that he caught it out of the corner of his eye on the studio TV...

I got to work about 3 minutes later to find a hushed, pallor atmosphere. Some people were crying and others talking a mile-a-minute trying to make sense of the events unfolding before our eyes and ears.....

DSJ | 35 | Wisconsin

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