#148 | Monday, September 24th, 2001
we were having a get-to-know-each other group discussion during my first day of anthropology class at my new college.

i suppose sometime between nine and nine thirty a.m. a boy in my group had left to use the rest room. he came back and told my group that he heard on a t.v. in the lobby that a plane and a helicopter crashed into the world trade center. no one really thought much of it - at the time we assumed it was just one of those single engine private planes and a news helicopter or something to that effect.

about an hour later, passing professors kept knocking on our door and opening it asking our professor if "he knew what happened" and that classes were cancelled for the remainder of the day ... our concern started growing as we knew something serious had taken place in the world.

we were all growing antsy, but our professor wanted to finish up. we took about another ten minutes to wrap things up, and our professor told us that two planes had hit the world trade center and that the pentagon was on fire. we were dismissed early from class, and it was like a mad rush to the parking lots. people were still somewhat oblivious to what was going on. i got in my car and turned on 710 am i think it was, and i heard what was going on. i started to get really upset. i had a friend visiting NYC from san fransisco at the time. i was concerned that perhaps she had chosen september 11th as the day she would go sightseeing. i raced home down route 18 south in nj, where i live. i went right to my mother's work, choking back tears of concern for my friends. i was still listening to the radio trying to piece together what was going on...

i had seen a work van on my drive home from class, with a sign in the back that said something about osama bin laden and how we should unite to wipe the scum off the face of the earth. i had no clue what that meant.

i got to my mother's work and listened to the radio there. still only a few short hours after the events, details were scarce and rumours were flying. i bought two small american flags from her worked and taped one to my car antena. i spent the remainder of the day worried about my friends and family. i have relatives in pittsburgh and friends in nyc who i could not reach for days due to lack of cell phone service and what not.

what happened still hasn't hit me. perhaps because i haven't been to the city or near it since two days before the attack on the twin towers. i had spent thursday through sunday before the event in the city with friends. shopping, drinking, going to shows, etc. it scares me to think that i was there less than 48 hours before what happened...

that night i had work. reluctantly, i went in. oddly, it was busy. (i am a waitress in a coffee house.) i suppose in times of crisis people prefer to get away from it all and be together. after my shift, i went to get some cigarettes. the local paper had an extra for the first time in god knows how many years... and, for the first time that day, i saw more than what was splashed all over the t.v. i saw more than burning buildings and a smoke filled city horizon. i saw pictures of civilians like you and i, covered in soot and ash and dirt. i saw injured victims of this horrible crime. i saw tear stained cheeks and i saw mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives breaking down. the pictures were stomach churning. i saw rescue workers erecting in a gray scene the american flag, which boldly stood out with it's red, white and blue color scheme.

i saw america uniting.
suzanne | 19 | New Jersey

#149 | Monday, September 24th, 2001
I woke up on Tuesday, September 11th TOTALLY nervous about a group presentation I had to give in my Western Traditions Class at 11:00. This was my first class, so I was just waking up when the World Trade Towers were being hit. I listen to CD's while I'm getting ready, and my dad was trying to get a new program installed on my computer, so we didn't have the news on at all. I drove the 45 minute commute to school thinking what a beautiful day it was, and how happy I was that fall was coming, and listened to CD's AGAIN, so I was still totally oblivious to the destruction and tragedy going on just hours from me. My first indication that something was wrong was when I walked into the main classroom building and noticed a bunch of secretaries/office workers huddling in the hall. I heard one of them telling the rest that the World Trade Towers had been bombed and so had the Pentagon and supposedly more buildings were targeted. At that point I thought it was just a crazy rumor until I turned the corner and saw about 50 people standing in front of the t.v. in the lobby. Many of them were crying. I stood staring at the t.v. in a state of shock, watching the images but still not comprehending that the day I had naively never believed would come was finally here. Suddenly the stupid group presentation ceased to matter in my mind, and classes were cancelled and the campus closed shortly thereafter. I drove back home, this time in a state of shock and watching the sky expecting a plane to fall on my head at any given moment. Something changed inside of me that day, something I know will never be quite the same again.
Andrea | 23 | Pennsylvania

#150 | Monday, September 24th, 2001
My brother and I were in Ireland, trouing in a town called Kilkenny, just finished with a tour of the amazing castle there, and shipped some souvenirs back to the states for our friends and family. We were tossing back and forth whether or not to stay in Kilkenny another night, or to mozy on down to Blarney. At 2:05 PM Ireland time, we hopped in the rental car to drive to Blarney, and the first thing we heard was "a plane has crashed into one of the twin towers in New York". My brother and I just looked at one another, and kept driving. About 3 minutes down the road, the announcer comes back on stating that a second plane hit the World Trade Center, and that several more planes were considered hijacked. At this point, bro and I decided to pull off the motorway, and find a place to watch CNN. We stopped at the closest town, in the closest pub, and walked in just in time to see the first replay of the second plane hitting the twin towers. We sat in this pub for over 3 hours, crying with the Irish owners and regulars of this tiny pub- in complete disbelief of what was unfolding. As a sidenote, the Irish are wonderful, welcoming people- they didn't just have a 'day of mourning' or a 'moment of silence'- on September 14th, the entire Republic of Ireland closed down for the day. All petrol stations, pubs, stores, etc. closed down for the whole day- there were multiple masses and church sessions held all day long- I never once felt like my brother and I were alone in the tragedy, even being overseas.
-Renee LaBarge
Renee | 25 | California

#151 | Monday, September 24th, 2001
I grew up in DC, but I'm currently living in Dallas, TX. On September 11, 2001, I was making a sandwich when my roommate called me into her bedroom, where she had just turned on the news. The Pentagon was burning. The World Trade Center looked like a bad special effect. The two of us stood there, with our hands clapped over our mouths, unable to even fathom what was going on. We could only utter quiet statements of, "oh my God". I couldn't even tear myself away from the TV to go call my friends and family who had worked in both buildings. I'm still waiting to hear from some of them... Our third roommate, Kat, stumbled in a few minutes later, curious as to what was going on. The three of us were glued to the small television in Beth's bedroom, even though the larger TV was only one room away. We couldn't break ourselves away from the barrage of media. Kat turned to me and asked if I had gotten ahold of my parents. I ran out of the room and picked up the phone. No good. I tried another number. No good. All the phone lines were choked with people trying to contact their loved ones. I called my girlfriend, Trixie, in North Carolina, and we swapped pieces of news that we'd heard as she watched MSNBC and I flipped between CNN and ABC's affiliate in Dallas--news Channel 8. I called home again, and then I heard my mom's voice. I wasn't worried about my parents. Neither of them work in the Pentagon or anywhere near it, but it was so good to hear the voice from someone at home. It was so good to -know- that they were safe. Some of my friends' mothers and father were not so lucky. Some of my friends were not so lucky.

Jessica Faulkner | 21 | Texas

#152 | Monday, September 24th, 2001
No one will ever forget September 11th. Here is how I remember it. It was my sisters birthday. When I woke up I wished her a happy birthday, ate breakfast, and went to check my e-mail. I was in my room and my sister was in the living room watchng tv. She went to put on "The Ananda Lewis Show" but instead it was breaking news. I heard the new announcer say, "A plane apparently crashed into it just moments ago." Then I heard my sister say, "Oh my God." I asked, "Where did that happen?" She said, "The Twin Towers." I ran into the living room just as the second plane hit the building. We live right in Queens and have a perfect view of the Manhatten skyline. So we walked to my dads job to see it from there. He told us that one of the customers said that it looked like smoke was coming from one of the Twin Towers. My uncle said that maybe it was from another bulding. But then they saw a mushroom of smoke as the other plane hit. My sister and I wanted to see the buildings better so we went home to get binoculars. While we were walking home some guy said, "They hit the Pentagon." We were like, "The Pentagon? What's he talking about? They hit the Towers." After we got the binoculars and started walking back to my dads job we ran into an older lady. She said that "it's a shame what happend, they just hit the Pentagon too." As we were walking through the parking lot to my dads job I looked towards the skyline. I said to my sister, "It looks like one of them fell." because there was so much smoke. Then all of a sudden these people come out saying, "Building 2 just fell!." When we got to my dads job we tried to see the other building with the binoculars, but there was too much smoke. After a while there I went to call my sister-in-law from a pay phone. As I was walking there two women came running out of a store yelling, "The other building just collapsed!." A group of people were just standing there looking towards Manhatten. Then I remember a woman had to stop her car and get out. She stood there with us and was crying, she said over and over again, "I can't believe they're gone." When I called my sister-in-law she told me that something happened in Pennsylvania too. I remember how everyone was trying to use their cell phones, or make collect calls but they couldn't. Nothing like that was working right. When I went back to my dads job I heard the first fighter jet go over. It was the first of many. Later on at home, when no planes besides military planes were supposed to be flying, I heard a little propellered plane going over and right behind it were those fighter jets. My brother got some show though. They watched the fighter jets flying in the sky and saw when they hit their turbo buttons, the fire coming from the back and the ground rumbling even though they were so high up. They heard a plane going over and it sounded like a regular plane. They were looking for it but couldn't see where it was. My sister-in-law said that she looked at the houses across the street and saw headlights shining off of them. Then all of a sudden an American Airlines plane flew right above their heads with two fighter jets right on it's tail. People started calling into the police and news about it. We found out on the news that it was carrying military people on it. For a while we saw all the warships in the ocean. I remember the night we had a candle light vigil on my block. Everyone was staring out at the ships. And everytime a plane went over everyone looked up. And then while my friend was ending the speech she wrote, two army helicopters flew over. It was perfect timing and that gave eveyone chills. But the warships all left to do what they were ordered to do. Later on in the night there was a firefighter that found out that his friend, John Moran, was in one of the buildings when it collapsed. My sister-in-law told me that he couldn't read the number he was trying to call because he was crying so much, so she read it off for him. I asked him if he wanted to light a candle. Then we just stayed up on the boardwalk with him and his friend for a while. It was sad to see our heroes the way they were that night. Last night, September 23, there was another candle light vigil. This one bigger, this one sadder. Sadder because we now know how many people from our area are gone. Rockaway lost about 90 people. That's the most out of any other community. The mayor was there. There was donations for a permanent Rockaway Memorial. And there was a big picture in memory of the lives lost. Everyone left their handprint on the picture and I think it's going to be suspended from the Marine Park Bridge. Thats how I remember everything. And that's how I will always remember everything.
Crystal Sava | 17 | New York

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