#609 | Friday, January 4th 2002
September 11th, 2001 I was in my car driving to the hospital anticipating the birth of my best friends second child. I am 30 years old with an adopted daughter, and having never given birth myself, my friend invited me to share in her experience. During my drive, my only thoughts were how beautiful the day was, the sky was blue and perfect, the sun was shining, I was elated. It was 8:50am when the broadcast interrupted a song on the radio, A plane had crashed into the world trade center...I admit my first thought was that this was a terrible accident. I changed the radio station and the same information was broadcasting on each channel. I stopped at a red light and looked around me as I saw people pulled off to the side of the road, listening to the same news, my eyes locked with a man sitting in his car next to mine, and it hit me...as I said a silent prayer, this was no accident. With a chill up my spine and tears in my eyes I began to drive again. Arriving at the hospital, my friend was in her room, in labor. I phoned my husband and as I was discussing the event with him, we all watched the smoke billowing from the first tower, broadcasting live on tv..suddenly there was a second plane, right before our eyes, crashing into the second tower, within minutes, amongst great confusion, there were pictures of the Pentagon on fire, yet a third plane down. We live in Pennsylvania, and soon there were local broacasts of a fourth plane, way to close to home. I was in total shock as I calmly asked my husband to please pick up our daughter in school, while at the exact same moment I saw a man and woman on the tv screen, holding hands as they jumped together from the flaming twin towers. I would be home as soon as my friend had her baby, I was not going to leave her until then, I explained. For the next eleven hours, I stayed by my friends side while listening to accounts of the world news from the doctors and nurses coming in and out of her room. Thousands lost. At 8pm, September 11th, 2001 I witnessed the most amazing gift ever, a beautiful baby boy, born by cesarean. Even the doctor had tears in his eyes during the birth. There were 11 baby boys born in that hospital that day. As I stood and watched them all in the nursery, I could hear the tv playing in the waiting room next door...still acounting the devastation of the day. I can not put my emotions, from that moment, into words. It all came full circle, because I knew then, that for every life lost, there was a soul born. We will go on, and we WILL prevail.
Erica Klinger | 30 | Pennsylvania

#553 | Thursday, December 20th 2001
Where were you the day the world Stopped Turning?
By Jim Alger

November 21, 2001: Christmas is a month away, a time of joy and happiness. September 11th seems so distant. I was asked a question yesterday, "When the buildings fell, how did you feel?" How quickly the pain returns.

Every day that goes by we try to escape the questions, the images, the horror witnessed by millions of people around the world on September 11th. For most of us we watched in utter disbelief as the symbol of a free society, and the icon of the greatest most dynamic city in the world, was reduced to a pile of twisted steel and miles of dust. Most of us watched on TV the rescue workers, Firemen, Police officers and civillians desperately trying to save lives. But this piece isnt about most of us. This piece is about some of us. The some of us who are proud to call ourselves New Yorkers. The some of us who hold the shield of the New York City Fire Department. The some of us who were there.

For anyone who has ever heard the police radio tapes of that day, or was in NY in the weeks following the attacks, it is to surreal. Police officers screaming "Notify the Pentigon central, we're under attack!" "We need air cover central, god damn it we need air cover now!" That marked the beginning of frantic calls on the two way radios of Emergency workers throughout the city. Calls for ambulances, calls for help. Minutes after the second plane struck the tower the calls of "we're getting hit again!" as the sound of even more jets approached. Then the callout "theire ours, their ours central" military air support had arrived and for the first time in our history our military was flying air cover over the United States. But the moments that brought the Citys Emergency Radio system to a complete stop, utter silence, was 2 sentences. "Central, the second tower fell... its gone".

We went to what has been termed "the pile" hoping against all hope that someone, anyone would come out alive. As an EMT we are trained to save lives, that's what we do. Images on TV don't prepare you for the four story high pile of rubble, the distinct smell of death, or how but for one or two decisions you made at some point in your life, that could have been you. Hundreds of ambulances stood by to help any injured that were brought out of the rubble, but not one was used. We are touted as heroes to NY and the world simply because we came to dig. Call it pride, call it survivors guilt, call it respect but none of us feel like heroes. The heroes are who we are here to get. The're flag draped bodies are pulled out almost daily. Husbands, fathers, mothers and wives whos only connection to this conflict is that they answered the call to help and in doing so, made the ultimate sacrifice. Reflection makes us wish we were heroes, that it was us, not them.

When you see the tapes of the towers collapse, can you see the firefighters who are in there trying to save 4,000 workers and tourists? They already evacuated 25,000 others but fate had cards that it didnt want to show as they raced up the stairs, time had run out.

We fly the flag in defiance. On cars, fire escapes, front porches and rooftops accross the country the symbol of our freedom flies while those very freedoms are under attack. We hide under a shroud of security, relinquishing power and our liberties to others in the name of defense. Is that what this country has ever stood for?

So where were you the day the buildings fell? How did it make you feel? Or have you already placed your flag in the closet?

James R. Alger III | 30 | California

#543 | Wednesday, December 19th 2001
Where were you the day the world Stopped Turning?
By Jim Alger

November 21, 2001: Christmas is a month away, a time of joy and happiness. September 11th seems so distant. I was asked a question yesterday, "When the buildings fell, how did you feel?" How quickly the pain returns.

Every day that goes by we try to escape the questions, the images, the horror witnessed by millions of people around the world on September 11th. For most of us we watched in utter disbelief as the symbol of a free society, and the icon of the greatest most dynamic city in the world, was reduced to a pile of twisted steel and miles of dust. Most of us watched on TV the rescue workers, Firemen, Police officers and civillians desperately trying to save lives. But this piece isnt about most of us. This piece is about some of us. The some of us who are proud to call ourselves New Yorkers. The some of us who hold the shield of the New York City Fire Department. The some of us who were there.

For anyone who has ever heard the police radio tapes of that day, or was in NY in the weeks following the attacks, it is to surreal. Police officers screaming "Notify the Pentigon central, we're under attack!" "We need air cover central, god damn it we need air cover now!" That marked the beginning of frantic calls on the two way radios of Emergency workers throughout the city. Calls for ambulances, calls for help. Minutes after the second plane struck the tower the calls of "we're getting hit again!" as the sound of even more jets approached. Then the callout "theire ours, their ours central" military air support had arrived and for the first time in our history our military was flying air cover over the United States. But the moments that brought the Citys Emergency Radio system to a complete stop, utter silence, was 2 sentences. "Central, the second tower fell... its gone".

We went to what has been termed "the pile" hoping against all hope that someone, anyone would come out alive. As an EMT we are trained to save lives, that's what we do. Images on TV don't prepare you for the four story high pile of rubble, the distinct smell of death, or how but for one or two decisions you made at some point in your life, that could have been you. Hundreds of ambulances stood by to help any injured that were brought out of the rubble, but not one was used. We are touted as heroes to NY and the world simply because we came to dig. Call it pride, call it survivors guilt, call it respect but none of us feel like heroes. The heroes are who we are here to get. The're flag draped bodies are pulled out almost daily. Husbands, fathers, mothers and wives whos only connection to this conflict is that they answered the call to help and in doing so, made the ultimate sacrifice. Reflection makes us wish we were heroes, that it was us, not them.

When you see the tapes of the towers collapse, can you see the firefighters who are in there trying to save 4,000 workers and tourists? They already evacuated 25,000 others but fate had cards that it didnt want to show as they raced up the stairs, time had run out.

We fly the flag in defiance. On cars, fire escapes, front porches and rooftops accross the country the symbol of our freedom flies while those very freedoms are under attack. We hide under a shroud of security, relinquishing power and our liberties to others in the name of defense. Is that what this country has ever stood for?

So where were you the day the buildings fell? How did it make you feel? Or have you already placed your flag in the closet?

James R. Alger III | 30 | California

#491 | Tuesday, December 18th 2001
I live less than a mile away from the World Trade Center in Greenwich Village New York City but I was informed by a friend calling from D.C. so I watched the confused news anchor people look at the first burning WTC tower, then saw the second plane hit on the news on TV then ran up to my roof five floors up and could clearly see the burning towers. I was crying in disbelief but I thought that they would be able to put out those fires. On Sixth Avenue and Bleecker Street we were all standing looking up at the towers we look at every single day, now smoking. Two girls who are my neighbors decided to leave town right away, they asked me to come with them but I still had a doctor's appointment. Only one subway was open out of the usual seven or so. On the subway I met two women who had been in the second building that got hit, but they had decided to run home shortly after the plane hit the first building, which was why they were alive. In the doctor's office they had musack on, I guess so patients would not get hysterical, but another patient told me that the Washington Monument had been blown up and the Pentagon too. I was crying because my parents and friends all live near there and DC used to be my home before NY. It turned out that the Pentagon was hit which is right by my friend's house who called me to tell me about the World Trade Center, but nothing had happened to the Washington Monument. When I came out of the doctor's office they searched me and made me show ID and on the street everyone was crying and trying to use their cell phones but none would work and there were lines at payphones on every street. I realized with absolute horror that the buildings had both collapsed and they were just not there any more where I had looked up and seen them every day and I did not know how to process that information. No subways, buses or trains were running at all so every one was just walking and crying, walking and crying, but every one was really nice to eachother. and there were policemen on every corner telling people how they would have to walk home over the Brooklyn Bridge or wherever they had to go. There were no cabs, which never happens in New York. I had to walk very far to get home, like everyone else, totally stunned and dazed. On the way I stopped for health food and used a bank card and it would not work because the phone lines were all messed up. My home telephone would not call out and people said they had to try 150 times before they got through and my phone rang finally. Almost everyone I know called me over the next two weeks, all with great difficulty, to see if I was alive. All my neighborhood was closed at least all week, it is usually full of people at all hours. I could smell burning flesh mixed with cement and chemicals the next weeks when the wind changed and blew the smell into the city (instead of away from the city like it had luckily on the first day). It was the smell of war, I will never forget it as long as I live. I would go outside for five or ten minutes and come back inside and the smell of war covered me so that I had to shower. We had candlelight vigils and prayed for the people who might still be alive in the wreckage and the firemen and policemen trying to pull them out. I held hands and sang and prayed with total strangers in parks and in the street. Posters of over six thousand missing people were all over the city, faces of real people who never got out, everywhere, like wallpaper. A girl I work with lost her fiancee in the buildings. Flags popped up everywhere, people became so very nice to one another. I do not know if I will ever be able to fly in an airplane again. I want to be able to, but I don't know how long it will take before I will. I can only watch the news for a little while at a time now when they talk about the war, it is just a little bit too real. I went down to "Ground Zero" and saw the absolute devastation and cried like a baby. So many people's entire lives are ruined or forever altered besides all the people who died and all who lost precious loved ones. It feels like nothing will ever be the same. My boyfriend and I ate out at a lot of restaurants downtown because they had lost so much business when they had to close and nobody was out much. They were turning blood donors away because so many people had given blood, so eating at the restaurants is one thing we thought to help. I still can not really comprehend the total impact of this destruction, even though it is three months later as i write this, it still seems like yesterday, and every day I hear more bad news resulting from the terrorist attacks. But we are very strong, to be able to survive this and go forward and grow stronger as a result.
sky cappelletti | 30 | New York

#464 | Tuesday, December 11th 2001
It is exactly 3 months since these horrible attacks on America, and I remember exactly what I was doing. I was sleeping, when my husband woke me up and mumbling turned on the T.V.
We sat and watched in disbelief one tower in flames. Many questions were running in our heads. A few minutes later we saw the second plane crashing into the second tower. Thatís when I was feeling scared and vulnerable. My husband went to work. I had the day off. So I sat glued to the TV and watched all the events unfold. Not wanting to be alone, I went to my momís house. There we watched the Spanish news and we saw some pictures and videos of some people desperately hanging outside their windows trying to breath fresh air and some of them jumping off the towers. I would never forget those images and the awful feelings I was experiencing. The rest of that week I sat pretty much glued to the TV. I didnít want to miss anything. Even at work we had one of the TVís on in a patients room to watch CNN. I do have to say that after one week, my husband and I tried to go on in our daily lives, we werenít going to let the terrorist instill fear in us.
Even though the events of 9-11 destroyed our innocence I am glad to see that this country pulled together and became united. :-)


Martie Tapley | 30 | California

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