#454 | Monday, December 10th 2001
I was in between jobs on that awful day, and not having to go to work, I woke up and turned on the TV in my apartment, expecting to see a rerun of "Little House on the Prairie." My TV came on tuned to WPSD, our local NBC station, and the first image I saw was of both WTC towers on fire. At first I thought it was old footage and I asked myself why they were replaying video from the 1992 WTC bombing, then I saw the word "LIVE" on my screen. About that time, Katie Couric from the "Today" show asked if the network could replay the airplane slamming into the second tower. They did replay it, as I watched in horror. The next thing I did was call my friend, probably because I wanted someone to tell me that I was dreaming. I woke her up, so my call was the first she heard of the attacks. I got dressed and went over to her apartment, and we watched the coverage together for a few minutes. During that time, the 3rd plane hit the Pentagon, and as the news about the Pentagon crash began to trickle in, we both began to realize the scope of what was happening. We held hands and prayed for several minutes, and then tried to distract ourselves by going out for breakfast. We turned on the radio on the way to the restaraunt, but of course nearly all of the local stations had broken into regular programming to cover the breaking news. I will always remember our exact location when the news announcer said that the first World Trade Center tower had collapsed, because my first thought was, "Yeah right. Skyscrapers don't collapse!" Later on in the day, I had a meeting with a former professor of mine, and we watched together as ABC replayed the tape of both towers as they fell to the ground. Like most other people, I stayed glued to my TV and radio that day, in disbelief. The pictures looked like a war zone half a world away, but this was my own country. Later that night, I attended two non-denominational prayer services, and on the way to the first, the local country music station played a version of "My Heart Will Go On," with sound clips from the news coverage of the day. The song stirred up so much emotion in me that I nearly had to pull the car over to cry on two separate occasions. Thankfully, I do not know anyone who was killed or injured in the attacks, although a friend of mine was at home in his new apartment just across the river from the Pentagon at the moment it was hit. Also, the local news interviewed a lady from Cape Girardeau whose brother was supposed to be the pilot on one of the airliners that slammed into the World Trade Center, but his schedule was changed the day before.

My heart goes out to the New York City Police and Fire Departments who lost so many in this tragedy, as well as all of the other victims and their families. Osama and his cronies hurt our country badly, but they did not and will not destroy our American pride or my faith in the Lord. The attacks left us all stunned, sad and angry, but they also united our people more than ever before. After seeing how our country has reacted to September 11, I am prouder than ever to be an American.

***September 11, 2001***
***World Trade Center, New York, NY***
***The Pentagon, Washington D.C.****
***Flight 93, Somerset County, PA***

Mark Beck | 23 | Missouri

#384 | Saturday, December 8th 2001
I had just arrived at work and we were gathering for our morning office meeting; it was around 8:30 Central. One of our student workers came in and said, "The US is being bombed!" and at first we laughed because the idea was so absurd that we didn't believe it. But he was persistent. So we tried to find out online, but CNN, CBC, etc, were all swamped. I finally was able to get into a site with an article and picture. I was horrified. We immediately checked on the little tv in our office, and ended up being glued to the tv for the rest of the day. As a Canadian, I felt sick. I just kept thinking, "oh, all those people!"

I work for a Christian college, and we have a significant number of American students. So the college president called a school-wide prayer time, and provided counselling for any students who needed it. They also provided phone lines for any students who needed to call home. The air was solemn and heavy for the whole day, as people gathered around the public televisions to watch the happenings. We went through all the feelings of shock, horror, and fear. It was surreal, watching the towers come down. It seemed like a movie, not real life. Then I would think, "oh, but it's real, and all those people!" We cried and prayed, and I was so sad for days. We worried about how the US would retaliate, and Canada's role in that. Nothing is quite the same since, and my perspectives on world events have shifted significantly.

Even two months later, I feel sick to see the footage.

May God have mercy on us, and may we all turn to Him for comfort and guidance.

Holly Vipond | 23 | Canada

#288 | Monday, November 26th 2001
I grew up on Long Island but was in Atlanta working when the WTC was attacked. I woke up after the first plane had already hit and watched the second one crash into the tower. My knees got weak and my mind had a hard time accepting that this had really happened. Before 9/11, if I had seen the attacks in a movie, I would have thought it too impossible to believe.
My father was in Charlotte, supposedly flying to NY that morning. We got in touch and decided to drive up the next day. What a surreal drive. We talked about it and listened to the radio a bunch until I could not handle it anymore and I had to put some music on. We arrived in NJ at 3 AM and first saw the sad skyline from a train on the way into the city. My eye kept roaming the city buildings, looking for that downtown focal point of the majestic towers that no longer existed, save for a huge pile of rubble.
New York, the greatest city in the world, was not the same, still is not the same. No one is the same. I love this city more than ever. When we first arrived, I had trouble looking downtown, I did not want to go to Union Square until I had gotten over a little of the shock. After the first time I stopped by there, signed my name on a banner along with an I Love NY inscription, I could not stay away. Every night I would wander over to the memorial to see what was going on.
A friend of mine from high school worked on the floor where the second plane crashed into, but luckily, he was downstairs smoking a cigarette. Two of my uncles are NYC firefighters but they are both still with us. I give thanks for that everyday and I give thanks for the fact that I did not personally know anyone who was killed.
At first, I was overwhelmed by all of the missing posters everywhere, but I soon changed my mind and decided to stop and look at each one and read the names, sort of my way of honoring the lost souls.
This city should be proud. It stepped up, jutted out its collective chin, and showed the world that you can try to knock us around, but you canít ever keep us down. We will continue to get up and stand up straight and proud. I am so incredibly happy to be a New Yorker, to be connected to such a wonderful city. We will never forget what happened but we will continue to live in freedom and prosper as a city, a country, and a people. We can not and should not try to get back to how life was before the attacks, because life is not like that anymore. We must try to live our lives with more love and more awareness of our differences, and why they donít matter.
My personal goal is to have everyone who I come into contact with be better off for having met me. This is the first time I have written down all of these thoughts and experiences and I hope I got my feelings correctly translated into words. I also hope that this helps everyone who reads it. God Bless Us All.
Willie Melia/ 23/ writing from NYC

Willie Melia | 23 | New York

#278 | Friday, November 23rd 2001
I'd been laid off on September 10th, and had spent the early morning hours of the 11th bitter and angry. I was awoken around 10:30 AM by a phone call from my aunt, who breathlessly said, "Did you hear?"

"No, what?"

"A plane struck the World Trade Center."

She then went on about some computer problem she was having, but I didn't really hear her. All I could think about was getting online, checking the news sites, seeing what had happened. After I helped my aunt with her computer problem, I logged on, and tried to find information. Details were sketchy at best -- all the large sites were down. I turned on the TV to CNN, and watched the images, over and over. I couldn't look away, but at the same time, I couldn't bear to watch.

I spent most of that day talking to friends on AIM and reading what news I could. My own troubles paled in comparison to what was going on. I cried a lot that day, for the people who had died and the people who had lost someone they loved. I realized that day how lucky (and happy) I was that I was alive, with everyone I loved safe and sound. It wasn't that way for a lot of people. To this day I'm almost thankful that it happened, because it brought a nation together and made a lot of us realize how fragile life is.

Jeni Grant | 23 | North Carolina

#261 | Wednesday, November 21st 2001
As I was driving to work at 8:00 AM central time I was listening to the same old radio station I always do in the mornings. The DJ broke in with the news of a plane flying into the WTC. My first reaction was, "Dumbass Pilot!" Then shortly after news of the second plane broke in and I found myself driving a little faster to work. As I arrived at work I could tell from the expressions of fear, amazment, wonder, and suprise on the faces of my co-workers. I spent the rest of the morning and most of the day watching as New York City slowly and painfully died.
Nick Sacy | 23 | Texas

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