#453 | Monday, December 10th 2001
On the morning of September 11, 2001, I first found out about the attacks when I arrived at Bandera High School in Bandera Texas for another lazy Bandera day of being a Senior. A good friend of mine came up to me with a frantic look on his face, saying that he had seen on the news before coming to school that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. I figured little more of it than just another TWA-style incident; mechanical failure in a really bad location.

It was no more than a half hour later before I was in my second period class and the principal came over the PA system, asking teachers to turn on their in-class televisions, and he explained the situation as it appeared around 8:45 a.m. CST. An apparent terrorist attack had occured...after these words, everything went into slow motion; emotions rose up, shock was on everyone's face, and nary a single person could speak a word. We just sat and stared at the television, entranced by the horror that we had yet the time to fully grasp.

I thought about how every one of our meager 740 students were all watching this as well; as well as every other student in every other public high school across the nation. It was an overwhelming consideration, but no less overwhelming than the reality that was unfolding as each second ticked on the clock.

I need not speak of the tears, the anger, the confusion, or the testing of simple emotional cohesion that occured during these minutes, hours, days, or weeks. We all know it too well.

This is my story of where I was on the morning of September 11, 2001.

James Taylor | 18 | Texas

#445 | Monday, December 10th 2001
I was in the bathroom, washing my hands, when one of the girls that lives on my dorm floor looked into my half-closed eyes (I had just woken up)and asked "if I had heard." I still am shocked by the redundancy of that statement, as if she were asking "if I had heard" some ridiculous rumor. But it was against that backdrop of expectation that I heard the words "Someone just bombed the World Trade Center a few minutes ago." I stood there, in shock, swimming in disbelief. I thought, "Oklahoma City" and ran back to my room and stayed glued to the TV for the rest of the day. I watched in horror as the second building was struck; watched as the buildings crumbled down on everyone who were risking their lives to save those they could. I could hear people screaming in the background, see people running. It was so surreal.
But as horrible as the events were, the unity and love that resulted from them still amazes me and always will. The weekend following the events, I went to visit a friend of mine who attends Indiana State University in Terre, Haute, IN. He's in their marching band and they were going to be performing at a local candle-lit vigil. Old and young, rich and poor, brown, black and white--the make-up of the crowd was amazing. As he warmed up with the band, I sat in the audience as volunteers went through the throng of people handing out flags, ribbons and asking for volunteers to donate blood. Two little girls in front of me, with their arms around eachother, wildly waved their flags and sang the loudest of anyone through the whole program. While the whole service was inspiring, it was the end that still flushes me full of pride and fills my eyes with tears when I remember it. The lights had been dimmed and the sun had just set, everyone was turning to their neighbors and lighting their candles. There was a moment of silence (even the little girls in front of me bowed their heads respectfully). Then the ISU marching band began their strictly instrumental rendition of "God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood. I have never heard the song sound more beautiful. My heart was pounding wildly as the song crescendoed and I was crying freely along with the woman next to me. Softly and slowly, people began to sing, until by the last chorus, it sounded like a full-fledged, patriotic choir. The conductor was moving his arms wildly, and the band responded. My friend later told me that they were all crying by the end of the song, especially the conductor. But perhaps the MOST amazing thing was the end of the program. It ended officially with the playing of the National Anthem. But as the host said his good-byes to dismiss the crowd, there were grumbles and no one moved. Confused, I looked around wondering how such a united crowd could possibly bicker mere seconds after the end of such a beautiful program. Then a gentleman next to me shouted, "We didn't say the Pledge of Allegiance!!" Shouts of agreement were heard all around and those in our general area stubbornly turned towards the flag behind us before the hosts could find their microphone. The man started, "I pledge allegiance.." and others quickly joined in until the end was nearly in a shout, "...with liberty and justice for all." I have never felt more pride for myself or my country than in that single moment, shouting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Kristen Branch | 18 | Indiana

#430 | Monday, December 10th 2001
I was at the Travis Street Grill in Sherman, TX when I first heard about the world trade centers being attacked. I saw it on a television there in the diner at around 8:45. Everyone was standing around just looking at the screen. Hardly anyone at my office got any work done that day just because we were all constantly checking the internet for more news. Everyone was afraid of another possible attack.
Tommy Chapin | 18 | Texas

#416 | Sunday, December 9th 2001
I don't remember exactly where I was when the first plane struck. Probably sitting in my college's cafeteria, finishing the remnants of a stale bagel and complaining about a huge reading assignment for my 9 a.m. American History class. When the second plane struck, I was sitting in that class with other freshmen, arguing about the causes of the Civil War. Just before the first tower fell, I was hurrying across the strangely quiet campus to check my mail before my 10:30 class. That was when I first realized that something was wrong.

There were a hundred silent people clustered into one half of the college center, just in front of the rows of mailboxes. Someone had found a radio and had turned the volume all the way up so everyone could hear the news report. The announcer wasn't making any sense. She was saying that something had happened. Planes were missing. Planes had crashed. I stood there near the back of the crowd, looking to other students' faces when the radio provided no answers. Finally something began to get through. Something catastrophic had happened in New York. I think maybe someone I knew hugged me. I don't remember. I just stumbled back to my class, where I saw the same horror and stunned silence repeated on different faces over and over. My teacher dismissed class. She had to. None of us could think about the past just then.

I learned the details later. I tried to sit in front of the TV and watch CNN, but I couldn't. They showed the same pictures over and over. So I stumbled up to my room and talking with my roommate until it was time for my practice. I think maybe twenty girls came to practice when there should have been twice as many. They were clinging to anything normal. They wanted to forget, just like I did. Maybe we did forget for a few hours, when all that mattered was carrying the boats from the boathouse to the dock and wrestling the oars. But then we were back on campus, back in the real world, and life went on. It had to.

Later I tried to comfort friends with missing family and friends. Later I took a white armband, wrote "Peace" in block letters and colored it red, white and blue. Later still I was called a traitor to my country and told that peaceful patriot was an oxymoron. But that was later. Just then I was united with everyone else on my campus, no matter what nationality they were and no matter where they came from. We weren't all Americans, but we were all human beings. What had happened was unthinkable. We all mourned. And, finally, reality began to sink in.

Anna | 18 | New York

#412 | Sunday, December 9th 2001
When I heard about the first attack (about 2pm GMT) I was sitting in the Sixth Form common room at my school. Everyone was reading, or doing some work, or talking etc, when my friend Charlotte (who had her Walkman on) said "A plane's been flown into the World Trade Centre". Everyone just laughed at her, and told her to get real, it wasn't April Fools. No one was able to realise that it was true, because it seems so absurd.
I only realised it was real, when my parents phoned me to ask me to e-mail my aunt in NH to ask if she and her friends were all OK.
The next day was my 18th birthday, but I will probably remember where I was at 2pm on the 11th instead of what I did on the 12th.

Hayles | 18 | United Kingdom

<< | < | showing 86-90 of 128 | >| >>
search again

view / browse

link us

website: wherewereyou.org | contact: wwyproject@yahoo.com
All entries are copyright their original authors.