#189 | Saturday, October 6th, 2001
It was a little after seven in the morning when the phone rang. I remember it only because I was jolted out of my dream-like state. I didn't make an effort to answer it since I figured my roommate would, which he did, since it only rang once. I attempted to roll over and go back to sleep, but knowing that my alarm was due to go off at any minute kept that from happening. I decided to get up, wandering around the apartment as I usually did every morning. My roommate had left, leaving no phone message, so I assumed the phone call had been a wrong number or something.

I wandered back into my bedroom and flipped on the television, again, out of habit, only instead of seeing the smiling faces of Katie Couric and Matt Lauer, I saw the World Trade Center with smoke billowing out of each tower. I was in a daze, my brain still not completely awake. I tried desperately to process what I was seeing. I was transfixed by the images, even more horrified when one of the towers fell. Then I heard, although barely, since I was in such shock, the words of the newscasters. Two planes had crashed into the towers and there was word that another had crashed into the Pentagon in Washington D.C. It was then that my heart stopped. My parents and brother were supposed to fly back from Washington D.C. that day.

My cell phone rang and I answered it with trembling hands. It was my roommate, asking me if I'd heard from my parents yet. He kept telling me to turn on the TV. I could only manage to choke out that I had. He told me over and over to call them. I hung up with him and attempted to make that call, not succeeding at first due to tied up phone lines. When I finally got through, I was instantly put through to the voicemail on my parents' cell phone. I hung up, praying. I paced the apartment, praying. I went through my daily morning routine, praying . . . until my phone finally rang. My family was safe. I cried with relief.

The rest of the day was a blur. I pass LAX every day to get to school. It was strange to see no life at all at the airport, every plane grounded. It was also strange to drive to school and see police cars as far as the eye could see. We were all on edge that day, not sure if the attack was over, not sure if we would somehow be attacked on the West Coast.

In the weeks since September 11th, life has pretty much returned to "normal," although I know that "normal" will never be what it once was. I have the utmost faith that we will pull together and get through this, but at the same time, I can't help but be afraid of what the future holds.
Sara | 21 | California

#190 | Saturday, October 6th, 2001
I have my alarm clock set up to wake me up via the radio. I was planning to wake up around 5am to work on homework, but I decided to sleep through it. I reset for 6:20am and fell back to sleep.
I woke up to a sound byte of George W. Bush, noting a "terrorist attack on our country". Still asleep, I didn't really understand or pay attention to what was going on, but I kept an ear on the radio as I got up and got ready for school.
Soon thereafter, the radio deejays came back on the air, and explained what was going on: two airplanes had crashed into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.
I didn't get it yet.
I went downstairs for breakfast, where my mom and my sister were having cereal. I sat down at the table to eat. "Did you know the World Trade Center has been hit by a plane?" I asked. They didn't know. My mom went into the next room and turned on the television to see what was going on.
Just then, the first tower fell. It fell. I saw it live, sitting there in my den at 7 in the morning. Live broadcast.
I went upstairs to brush my teeth.
Soon my carpool driver arrived to take me to school. He's my age. I got in the car, and he asked "Have you heard?" "Yup." He had the news on. Usually he had a rock station on, but today it was the news.
On our way to school, the second tower fell. "We've just gotten news that the second tower of the World Trade Center has fallen." I whispered "Oh my God" and tears began to stream down my face. Until then, I had been thinking, 'Wow, it'll be weird now that there's only one WTC tower. I wonder what it'll look like when I go back to NYC?' And now there were none.
At school, we had an impromptu assembly, where our headmaster talked. About what, I don't remember. I was crying, worried about my friends in New York, freshman college students going to NYU and Columbia. I was also worried about possible attacks on my city of Los Angeles.
Some classes tried to put it aside. In chorus, we sang. In science, we had lectures. But in english, we had a freewrite on what we were feeling. In math, we watched the news for the entire period. And in history, we talked about the political and economical aspects of it all.
"This is the defining moment of your generation," my history teacher said. "Most goings-on in the next few decades will be an effect of what happened today. Today's newspaper will be the last 'normal' one [without Sept. 11 coverage] for a long time. This is your Pearl Harbor."
Once I was home after school, I was constantly online. It would be hours before the first newspaper had any information on what was going on, so I checked CNN.com over and over, and there was something new almost every time I checked. I felt so informed and in the know.
New York is my favorite city in the world. When I see pictures of its streets covered in soot and debris, I choke up. It looks like a third world city, not sophisticated and stylish like it usually is. And to think that innocent businessmen and women burned alive, were crushed in the falling buildings, or fell to their death from the towers ... it's a feeling I can't describe. Sorrow doesn't begin to cover it.

America was something we took for granted, but now we appreciate it as if every day were our first as an american citizen. I wear an american flag pin every day. I also get mad when I see people disrespecting the flag by wearing skirts or carrying bags that are made of an american flag pattern.
I get the most mad when people descriminate against Arab Americans or other minorities as a result of this. This is a time to band together, not fall apart. America is not just a country of white christians.
We must also accept and embrace those countries who offer their help and friendship. International amnesty is more important now than ever, for our government and for our social morale.

Even now, words escape me. It sounds trite, but words cannot express what I feel in the wake of this. Surely in 30 years, I will feel the same way, for this is a life-altering event.
My generation's grandparents had Pearl Harbor. Our parents had Vietnam.

We have this.
Helen Gruner | 15 | California

#191 | Sunday, October 7th, 2001
'a planes hit one of the world trade centres' my brother shouted up the stairs. i immediatly thought it would be a small aircraft which would leave nothing but a dent. absolutly nothing to be worrying about. how naive could i have been?! eventually i poddled down the stairs with my friend, who was staying over for the day, to see what the fuss was about and just as we entered into the living room the second plane hit. we just stood in simple disbelief. this could be no coincidence. the following scenes did nothing but scar me for life...and there was nothing we could do but watch as the buildings burnt, people fled, and then each of the trade centres fell.
we watched the US mourn and the people of britain mourned with them. i didn't lose anyone that day, thank god, but a part of me was lost. everyday i look from my window at my brilliant view of london and canary wharf and every morning i wonder if it'll all still be there. every plane that passes over head sends shivers through my body. i've lost alot of trust. i don't trust those i don't know.
may those that perished rest in peace.
may those that live on find courage.
and may those that committed this vile act be found. and rot in hell.

katie milbank | 17 | United Kingdom

#192 | Sunday, October 7th, 2001
I was in my English class, doing a timeline of my life. When we heard of the attacks, the tv was turned on. Some people were treating it lightly, but others, including me, were shocked. I will never forget my teacher, standing there, with her face in her hands, shaking her head with disbelief. And, suddenly, I was more scared than I had been in a long time.
Anastasia | 14 | Ohio

#193 | Sunday, October 7th, 2001
I was in Homeroom when I first saw the footage of the first building that was hit. The teachers weren't allowed to tell us what was going on or something, so we all just thought there had been a small fire. Then the second plane hit but nobody saw it. All they saw was fire. When I went to first hour, they didn't show anything else because they thought the younger kids would be scared, and some of them were crying by the end of the day.
Nicole R. | 13 | Georgia

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