#318 | Saturday, December 8th 2001
September 11th, 2001 was my 24th birthday...

Every year for the last 6 years that I have been out on my own, I have rewarded myself with a day off on my birthday. In 2001, since my birthday landed on a Tuesday, I decided to take Monday off and work on Tuesday.

I returned to the office bright and early Tuesday morning, slightly sunburned from the day my hubby and I spent at Islands of Adventure in the nearby city of Orlando, FL. I was relaxed and cheerful, ready to start my 24th year on this earth.

None of my coworkers knew it was my birthday. I am a private person and hate all the fuss that they make over personal holidays. They just thought that I took a vacation day to relax from a stressful job.

At 8:30 that morning, I entered a departmental meeting that was scheduled to last until almost lunchtime. We were in the middle of the meeting, discussing some trivial company matter, when a coworker opened the door to the conference room door, without knocking, and told us the news in a very hushed voice.

"Just thought you guys should know since you're been stuck in there. A plane just hit one of the World Trade Center towers."

Everyone in the meeting froze and we looked at one another in shock. As you can guess, the meeting ended instantly as coworkers ran to their offices to call relatives. I called home to my husband, who was on vacation from his state job, and told him what happened and to turn on the news.

In the distance, I could hear the TV in the lobby being turned on and the news broadcast, staticy as it was, was turned up for the whole building to hear. As the news spread, a group of people started to gather around the TV, trying to decifer what was going on from the static filled pictures that played before them.

I called my best friend in California on my cell phone as I watched the story unfold before me on the TV screen. We were both shell shocked and we consoled one another for a few moments. Before hanging up....

I sat in one of the chairs in the lobby, watching the TV and shaking my head.

What a way to celebrate my 24th birthday...

God bless America...

Anita Keller | 24 | Florida

#315 | Saturday, December 8th 2001
I was asleep when the phone rang. I rolled over, head under pillow. It was 10 AM. The phone kept ringing and I got up groggily to answer. It must be important. My daughter was calling hysterically. "The babies, how do I keep them safe!!" Huh? From what? Turn on the TV, Mom!

You woke me up to see a stupid movie? NO!! This is real! The fog in the brain took a while to lift and then it started to sink in.

Stay home and off the roads. They don't want you or the babies. Relax and let me absorb this. Then came pure fury! How dare they! Whoever they were!

Never, ever threaten my kith and kin!! The tears, the anger, the rage! It just poured! If any of mine had been there, I swear I would have killed you personally!! My anger was the worst part, the killing rage. I'm so happy the rage has left and it's just a solomn vow to avenge!!

Turk McGee | 55 | Florida

#293 | Monday, November 26th 2001
September 11th will be hard to ever forget. I was at my desk at work. I don't remember what I was doing, but I had Howard Stern's show in the background on the radio. I wasn't paying close attention to it, but at the same time, that I heard him speaking about a plane having hit one of the towers, one of my co-workers rang me on the phone. She said "did you hear what just happened?" She knows that I'm originally from NY and a "New Yorker remains a New Yorker" whereever they go so she thought of phoning me. I tried to sign on to the news sites on the internet and everything was down. At around that time, I heard Howard mention a second plane hitting the towers. Then I called my husband who was still home since he goes to work later in the day. Speaking with him was even more scarier than all I had just heard. He was sobbing on the phone (this from a man I have never seen cry), describing how he had woken up and turned the tv on in time to see the second plane hit and both towers engulfed in flames. I wanted to sob too but being at work I had to hold back my feelings. I didn't have a tv in my office but kept up with the news over the radio until finally the last tower fell. Tears streamed down my cheeks when I realized that the city skyline I had known all of my life was now gone forever. My boss and a few others came out of their offices, everyone with teary eyes. We went down the hall to another office that had television and watched some of the coverage. I finished my day of work at 5 and stopped at my church for their 5:30 mass. It felt like at least I was doing something to help, if only through my prayers. That night I was transfixed in front of the tv, watching that sad night in our history unfold, and knowing that nothing ever will be the same again.
Marlen LaBianco | 39 | Florida

#285 | Sunday, November 25th 2001
I was getting ready for work, running extremely late as usual. Went into the kitchen to get a drink and a bite to eat, and looked at the TV which the news was playing on. While I'm half asleep I see a tall building burning. Hmm..must've been an electrical fire I thought. It wasn't until I got to work and customers kept coming up to me and telling me what had happened. I went home on my lunch and sat glued to the tv, where I was bound to stay for the next month.
Kari | 18 | Florida

#263 | Wednesday, November 21st 2001
I was working when my husband instant messaged me with the news. I immediately thought it was a small private plane. When he told me it was an airliner, I was amazed. I had to leave the office to take my daughter to a doctor's appointment, and arrived home just in time to see the second tower fall on television. I was just numb. After the doctor visit, I returned to work to find that they had sent everyone home. We were all too distracted to get anything productive done anyway. I went home and dug up all the pictures I took from the WTC two years earlier. I still find it hard to believe they're gone.
Katie Howell | 43 | Florida

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