#123 | Friday, September 21st, 2001
I was biking around Austin with a group of friends from work. When we pulled into the parking lot, a fellow biker who was not riding that morning told us that two planes had hit the World Trade Center and that he had just heard on the radio that the Pentagon had been attacked as well -- at that point I think the rumor was that it had been bombed. Of course we hardly knew what to think: we hadn't seen any pictures or heard any actual news coverage at that point. We just wanted to get back onto our bikes and return to our normal, peaceful, pre-8:45am (Austin time) life.

As we showered and dressed, we talked a lot about how inevitable something like this was -- although I later began to feel that the terrorists must have been amazed at their success, because although we agreed that some sort of attack was bound to happen sometime, I don't think any of us thought it would be so destructive.

I went to the cafeteria for breakfast as I usually do after a morning ride. The televisions were all on CNN. I watched the towers burn for a long time until I realized that they might collapse, which is when I stopped watching and tried to work. I did not want to see them fall, at least not live, and I was in my cube when my boss (from Brooklyn) came and told me that they were gone.

Of course, I followed the news throughout the day on the 'net (mostly via the BBC, which was the only reliable news source that wasn't swamped), radio, and sometimes TV.

I spent all of Tuesday and Wednesday choked up. I cried twice thinking about one particular story about rescue workers tearing down scaffolding to make stretchers. Fortunately, the second time, my girlfriend was there to cry on.

So far, everyone I know is accounted for.
Scot | 26 | Texas

#124 | Friday, September 21st, 2001
on september eleventh, two thousand and one i was sitting in math class. the principal of our school came onto the loud speaker and made an announcement about the attack. at that very moment i walked out of my math class with a terrible feeling.

*my dad might be on that plane*

i am sure you have all heard about the seven associates of tj maxx. well, my father is one of the assistant managers of tj maxx and those women worked for him. he takes that flight to los angeles almost every two or three weeks to the tj maxx base in la. i had never been more scared in my entire life not knowing if my father was on that plane or not.

thirty two people called my house that day petrified that my father was on the plane. it was wonderful to know that so many people cared, but so horrifying to know that he could have easily been on it.
i will be thankful everyday for the rest of my life.
gina | 18 | Massachusetts

#125 | Friday, September 21st, 2001
My dad woke me up at 6:30am PST and told me "747's have just crashed into the World Trade Center! They were hijacked!" In my morning grogginess I interpreted this to mean 2 military planes had been hijacked, but as I stumbled into the TV room and saw the two gaping maws in the sides of the twin towers, and watched the replays of the commercial planes hitting the buildings, I became instantly alert, and shivered like mad, though it was not cold.

For the entire day I was glued to the TV, watching in horror as the Pentagon was hit, and then as the first, then the other tower crumbled to the ground - the impossible unfolding before my eyes. The enormity of the amount of lives lost in those instances weighed on me tremendously. My patriotism increased tenfold, and as I drove around that day and the following day, the sight of US flags waving from many porches and car antennas and flagpoles was more moving than I could have imagined.

I admit I fear for the future. Will it be WWIII? A light scuffle? A drawn-out, secret war? I am unsure, but the possibilities don't look promising.
Courtney | 22 | United States

#126 | Friday, September 21st, 2001
My girlfriend and I awoke extra early that morning (around 8am est) and decided we had enough time before class to grab breakfast at the local bakery. Our bakery is about 2 blocks from the fishing pier, which happens to overlook the NYC skyline. We had gone there too many times to count... day, night, rain, shine... the view was always magnificant. When we arrived at the pier that morning all was calm. The sky was clear, the view even clearer. We admired the twin towers and actually spoke about how beautiful they looked that morning; nothing but blue sky surrounded them (sometimes early in the morning the tops were surrounded by fog, but on that particular morning they were as luminous as ever). Neither of us knew that would be the last time we'd have that view. After what seemed like hours of gazing we walked up to the bakery. Inside we purchased pastries, chatted for a bit, and left a few minutes later, only to enter a completely different world.

The pier was suddenly packed with people and in the distance we could see smoke. We ran towards the water to find out what had happened. A boating accident perhaps? Not quite. Apparently a plane had hit one of the towers. That in itself was a terrifying thought, but I think we both assumed they would put out the fire, patch up the building, and all would be well. Nothing could have prepared us for the scene we were to witness a few moments later: a second plane was flying directly into the other tower. The crowd of people gasped, then got quiet as everyone wondered what was going on. "Surely that couldn't be real" we all thought. Perhaps a movie was being filmed on location and from our angle it just LOOKED like the twin towers were ablaze. Shortly thereafter all our hopes were put to rest as police officers arrived at the pier to control was what becoming a very large crowd. Word of what was happening spread quickly as people driving by parked along the water with their radios turned up. It all started to sink in. This wasn't a movie.

Moments later the first building fell. Along with it fell most of the people on the pier, dropping to their knees choked with tears. It wasn't long after that that the 2nd building fell. At that point it looked as if the whole island of Manhattan was swallowed by an enormous cloud of smoke. Not a single building could be seen, just a rising cloud unlike anything any of us had ever seen before. When some of the smoke finally cleared neither of the twin towers could be seen. It didn't seem possible, but they were gone. Word began to spread amongst the crowd that the Pentagon had also been attacked, and that other hijacked planes were en route to other locations throughout the country. My girlfriend and I decided that we had better head home because it might not be safe to be outside (and because we had already witnessed more destruction in those 2 hours than anyone should ever have to see in a lifetime).

Nowadays when we go to the pier there is a giant hole in the skyline where the towers once stood. Blank-faced people gather there daily to weep and share stories. The people of this country have become one giant family, bound by not only the terror that we all witnessed, but also the inability to believe that the two towers so tall and strong that once stood there in the distance were reduced to dust on a perfect, sunny morning.
Mike | 21 | New Jersey

#127 | Friday, September 21st, 2001
I was sitting in sportswriting class when they collapsed. We were writing stories about the season finale for the New Haven Ravens (minor-league baseball). So one of my classmates leaves, then pokes her head back in and says the towers collapsed. I had seen people crowding around the TVs in the building on my way in to class (around 9:30), but I was late and missed that class too many times already.

I sort of staggered around the rest of the day, skipping my third class of four that day at 2:00. As soon as I got back from my second class, I immediately tried to get a hold of my best friend, who lives in NYC. She would have been there and died if she hadn't overslept that morning.
Jason | 20 | Connecticut

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