#803 | Saturday, March 2nd 2002
I was on my front porch waiting for my youngest brother, Jimmy, to drop off his 6 year old daughter Autumn (who was out of school sick) so I could babysit her. My mom had called my cellphone a few minutes earlier, so I took a moment to call her. Then she said those words "I already know" - Know what mom? "Terrorists attacked the World Trade Center - Daddy, Matt and I are going to Debbie's - Aunt Liz is picking us up". With my heart in my throat, I ran back into the house and tried to turn on the tv with shaking hands - and finally screamed to my boyfriend 'Marc! make this thing work!'. He did - we got Channel 2 (CBS/NY) and I saw the towers burning and started shaking from head to toe - because my younger brother Tom was on the 104th floor of Tower 1 (North Tower). He was on the phone with a client when the plane hit and said 'They bombed us again, I have to go' (he was there in 93 - his first week at Cantor Fitzgerald). That is the last we ever heard of my beautiful brother, Thomas H. Bowden, Jr., age 36.

Tommy, we miss you and will remember you always. We will make sure Sara and Alyson know what a wonderful, kind, loving man their Daddy was.

Kathy Bowden | 37 | New Jersey

#753 | Monday, February 11th 2002
I was on my way to work. Driving on Rt. 3 west in Secaucus NJ. It was my daughters first day at work, so we were speaking of what would be expected of her in her new roll, receptionist. I looked at the skyline (like I had done every day of my life living in Jersey City it's an easy thing to do)I noticed white clouds surounding the trade center, Isn't that unusual I said to Erin. I turned on the radio and heard the news, I thought what a terrible accident,then I thought of terrorists. As I rounded the turn for the Hospital where we work, the reporters on the radio were confused one said another plane had crashed into the towers and the other said no that's the building collapsing. I knew then life would never be the same.
Rita Fallon | 45 | New Jersey

#745 | Saturday, February 9th 2002
I was at home getting ready to go to work (late as usual!) in my central New Jersey apartment, with the television on, as it usually is every morning. I wandered into the living room to see on the TV. that one of the World Trade Center towers was on fire, a plane had crashed into it. How horrible, but probably a freak accident, I thought - no pilot would let that happen unless he totally lost control, right?

My next thought was of a girl I knew only as an acquaintance - I knew she worked in one of the towers, but wasn't sure which one. Why I thought of her and no one else is anyone's guess - my husband also has family who work in New York City, and I honestly had no idea where THEIR offices were, so you might assume that my first thoughts should be of them.

On my way out the door, I woke my husband (he works nights) to ask him where his sister and brother-in-law worked, did they work in the trade center. He said no, and asked why, so I told him about the plane crash.

I made the ten-minute drive to my publishing company with a New Jersey radio station on - they were broadcasting eyewitnesses over the phone describing the crash scene. Suddenly one male eyewitness shrieked, "Another plane just hit the other tower!"

At that moment, I - along with the rest of the country, I'm sure - knew this was no accident.

The moment I got to work, amid stunned co-workers asking, "Did you hear?" I made my way to my desk to call my husband and wake him. I told him, "Find out where your family is!" (Not only does he have the one sister and brother-in-law working in the city, but also another brother-in-law is an AP photographer and is in DC on assignment sometimes.) He stayed up the rest of the day watching the news and waiting for word from his family - all were ok.

Meanwhile, at work, I poked my head into my boss's office, and it turned out she and the other editor she had in there with her had no idea what was going on. The other editor said ominously in response to the news, "My brother works in the World Trade Center." We both told him to go call and find his brother, but he said, "No... I think he was supposed to be on vacation this week, I'll call after the meeting." He was incredibly in control for someone who wasn't all that sure... His brother WAS on vacation all that week, but still, if it were me and I wasn't sure, I would have had to leave the meeting and call. Don't know how he stayed so calm...

Somehow amid all this I did manage to get some work done throughout the day, but every time I finished editing a set of pages, I took another minute to e-mail my brother's wife and other people, to find out how and where everyone was. I was able to get in touch with another friend who works in NYC, having no idea where she actually worked... she wasn't in the WTC area at all, but she was understandably shaken, and she had very few options to get out of the city by the end of the day.

The assistant to my company's CEO put the news on in the conference room, and we were all free to come in and watch as we pleased. The news of the Pentagon attack was broadcast, as well as the crash in Pennsylvania, and we all thought, "My God... what next?"

Early on, when no one was sure where those hijacked planes had taken off from, I realized I also had two friends who were supposed to be flying home from Florida that day. Then of course my brother's wife had to mention the rumor that there were allegedly eight hijacked planes in the air. That didn't help. I was afraid to call the families of these guys - I almost didn't want to know - so I e-mailed one of them. By midday we knew there were no more hijacked planes, and where the original planes took off from, so I knew they were probably ok... but I was still glad to get an answer back from one friend's wife that they were fine, just would have to drive home.

I saw one of the towers fall - I can't remember which - when I stopped into the conference room to watch the news on a break. And when I got home, my husband had been taping everything he could all day... We just sat and watched the news, playing the same clips over and over again, both of us crying. In the end, our family and friends were all ok, if very shaken... but we cried anyway, for the sheer horror of it all, and for those people who were not so lucky.

But... the acquaintance I thought of when the first plane crashed - well, she worked on the 89th floor of one of the towers, and she did not survive. What really upsets me is that I KNOW I have thoughts like that sometimes, unexplained thoughts out of the blue that are probably some kind of eerie psychic thing - and I ignored it. Sometimes I think I should have found a number for her company (I at least knew the name of her company and her last name, I could have gotten to her) to call, to tell her to get out....

Maryann Treppiedi Jacobs | 32 | New Jersey

#696 | Tuesday, January 29th 2002
September 11, 2001

I had spent a night at my best friends house the night before and I was actually still in a deep sleep. I was wondering why there was so much commotion coming from downstairs but before I could get up to see what was going on my best friend came in the room and put the tv on. At first I just thought it was an accident because at that time it was only the first plane that hit, but to my horror it was then when I witnessed along with the rest of the world as the second plane hit. Then I knew this wasn't any accident it was a well thought out plan to attack our country. I couldn't believe what I was seeing it looked like something out of a movie, I didn't want it to be real. From then on I was speechless I couldn't stop thinking about all those innocent people that got up that morning and went to work as they normally would, or the people who got up to catch their flights or whom where just living life as they normally would and they lost their lives. Honestly I didn't feel safe at all. I thought America our country would never have to live in fear. I never doubt anything anymore because you truly never know what could happen. I mean I refuse to let anyone make me live in fear for the rest of my life but on that day every american all over the world lived in fear.

Donna | 22 | New Jersey

#678 | Sunday, January 27th 2002
On the morning of 9/11, I was in my office getting ready to start the day. I had just gotten my two children off to school and I remember it was one of those beautiful September days that I wished I was home in my garden instead of at work.

I had just gotten settled at my desk when one of the men I work with came in saying he had heard on the radio that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Of course, everyone was upset and tried getting on the web to see if we could find any news. No one could get through.

Luckily, one of our conference rooms has a tv and the entire office went in to watch the news. As we were sitting there transfixed by all we saw, we heard about the 2nd tower and the Pentagon; a few people had tears in their eyes and most were just speechless; hardly anyone said a word and if so, it was done in a whisper.
Being a child during the late 50's, early 60's, the first thought seemed to be that all those air raid drills and bomb shelter nightmares were coming true.

My husband had just started a new job at a high rise hotel and office complex and I had no way of getting in touch with him. All I could think about was him and my children and if we were going to see each other again. I think it had to be the most horrifying feeling I have ever had in my life.

I also have friends and relatives that work in lower Manhattan and I kept praying that none of them were involved.

Eventually, we returned to our desks and fortunately my husband was able to get through to me. He had been up on the 16th floor and saw the 2nd plane hit. After that he helped to secure the building and after seeing that everyone left safely, he would be coming home.

I then called my children's schools and was told that they hadn't told the children in the middle school anything and that the middle school and high school was going on as normal til 3 pm.

Our company closed at 11 am and I think the ride home was the longest it has ever been. Knowing that my husband and children were safe helped quite a bit, but from Rt 287 you could see the smoke pouring up over the city and the horror and fear I felt for everyone in NYC stayed with me.

I remember walking into my home and turning on the tv - then the tears finally hit. Eventually, the calls started and luckily we had no one directly connected to this tragedy; although so many from our area did.

President Kennedy's assasination, then Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, the Challenger explosion, Lockerbie and Oklahoma City Bombing (just to name a few) and now the World Trade Center...all senseless. Lives lost and familys ripped apart; for what?

The first few days after were surreal. We got up, did the laundry, made dinner, kids went to school, people went to work, trying to bring some normalcy back to our lives. Unfortunately, however, our lives have been changed forever.

A few nights later, I took my daughter to a store on a local highway. We were coming out of the parking lot and there were people lined up on the highway with candles and flags and it continued all the way home. When we got back to our town we rode through the main street and there were people lined up there as well. It was one of the most beautiful sights to see. We had once again, come together as a nation and the feeling of patriotic pride was overwhelming. I hope that this trend continues. Although no one wants a war, we must stop madmen from destroying the world and the world we want for our children and future generations. I think the following says it best, even though it was written over 200 years ago, it is even now more appropriate:
"It is our duty still to endeavor to avoid war; but if it shall actually take place, no matter by whom brought on, we must defend ourselves. If our house be on fire... we must try to extinguish it."
-Thomas Jefferson

Jean | 46 | New Jersey

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