#2069 | Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
I was on board Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to Los Angeles with my husband for my honeymoon when the WTC was attacked.

I will never forget the moment when the Pilot came over the speaking saying 'Ladies and Gentleman, I have some very bad news. The US has closed it's airspace, and we have been ordered to turn the plane around and return to Dublin. As soon as we have any further information, we will let you know.' The stewards and captain came around the plane speaking to the passengers, but were saying very little about what had actually happened. They said that some planes had been hijacked and had dive bombed the Pentagon. It wasn't until 4 hours later (7pm GMT) when we landed back at Dublin that the captain announced what had really happened. Quite rightly in my opinion, they had kept quiet about the full extent of the atroticites until we were back on the ground otherwise there could have been a panic.

It didn't sink in for me until a few hours later, when we finally found somewhere to stay for the night. I turned the TV on and just stood dumbfounded. it was like watching a disaster movie. I cried and cried like I hadn't done for years.

My heart and prayers go out to everyone who lost someone on that dreadful day. I will never forget it.
Emma | 26 | United Kingdom

#2070 | Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
I was working as interpreter for the deaf, hard of hearing and speech disabled with our relay service. We were doing training, and when we first heard the news, we thought it was just a drill. Two of our coworkers were here from D.C. and one of them had a sister at the Pentagon. About 50 of us at first, then close to 200, just stood and cried as we heard the details. At 26, there's not really been too many tragedies that I can personally remember, except the Challenger incident. As a former police officer, I was so proud of the boys in blue, and the support of the American people for them, and the work of all the emergency personnel. But it also hit me personally, as though I had actually lost part of my own family in the tragedy. Everyone knew someone, or was linked in someway, to what happened. It was so terrible, to hear of all this, and not know where the terrorists would strike next. It was also very difficult to have to continue working, listening to other Americans deal with the tragedy. I was impressed though, at the committment I heard from my peers- everyone, young and old, poor and wealthy, even Gen X, we were all willing to fight for our country, and what we believe in. The days following 9/11 became an opportunity for togetherness for Americans, regardless of religion, race or creed. God has blessed America, and sometimes it takes the "Refiner's Fire" to bring us closer to Him.
S.R. Griggs | 27 | Tennessee

#2071 | Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
I am an American living in the Netherlands. Born in NYC and raised in North Carolina.
At the time of that most horrific event, I was working in Duesseldorf,Germany. It was my last week there and was to return home on Friday. The office was very quiet on that day and it was very dreary out. It had rained a bit. A customer came into the showroom. This was around 3 in the after noon our time here. He said there was a big fire in NY. We were somewhat confused. One of the others turned on the t.v. and there it was. I was motionless, speechless. Of course everyone turned their attention to me because I'm American. We watched for more then an hour. At the close of business I was on my way to my appartment. I turned on the radio to see If I could learn more. Then the DJ played John Lennon's "Imagine". I broke down. I was glued to CNN for most of the evening, only going for dinner. The streets in Duesseldorf were quiet. Everyone was home. I'll never forget. My boss called me into hos office the next day and talked with me about my feelings. He let me take the rest of the day off.
Andrea Konings-Carpenter | 36 | Netherlands

#2072 | Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
Sept. 11, 2001 I was in St. Paul, Minn.
I woke up late, and was late getting to work. I was taking it easy that day, kind of feeling depressed about some events in my life. Usually, i got up at 7 and turned on NPR, but that morning, no radio. When i was half-way to work, i turned on a local music station, thinking maybe some tunes would lift my spirits. But there were no tunes. Just some strange talk about planes hitting buildings. I thought "This must be one of those wacked extreme radio... wait a minute, this is for real!!!" I was stunned beyond belief. I parked my car in the parking lot and sat there for a half-hour, listening to the accounts of events. Finally, i went into the office and called my usual coffee-buddy. We went down to the cafeteria and watched the TV there, with about 50 other people who couldn't bear to sit at their desks. We saw the towers collapse, live.
I spent the whole day checking on the news. I didn't do any work for about 3 days. I couldn't. I couldn't put on any makeup or even look in the mirror. Nothing i was so concerned about was even important anymore. I prayed with my friends, lit a lot of candles, and cried for many days.
A year later, my life has changed a lot. I moved to another country, where every day i mentally compare the pros and cons of the USA vs. other countries. I think i have changed, in that i have this idea in the back of my mind that life is fragile, and that the stupid things i'm concerned about today are really not that important in light of the fact that lives can be altered in a matter of minutes, anyday, anywhere.
Rachel | 27 | Italy

#2073 | Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
I was one of the lucky ones.

Commuting into the city was hard enough before Sept 11th, I never expected to have to worry about my life.
The Path had stopped. A few seconds after I stepped out of the train, I heard and felt a 'boom' and some of the fire retardant material covering the beams fell in front of me. I looked around and people were milling and walking around as usual, not disturbed by the sound. I started smelling oil. I looked back and thought 'should I jump back into the train?' The last thing I wanted was to be trapped in a train car somewhere between NY and NJ; second only to that was to be trapped underground. I decided that I was going to make a run for it (to the street) and alert people as I left.

I told myself "don't look back- If it is a false alarm, I'll get some excersize, otherwise I'll find out what happened on the news after I am away from here." As I was proceeding out quickly telling everyone to get out, one person who was standing around asked me 'should I be leaving?'.

I was amazed that more people didn't start walking fast/running/etc. When I was near the exit, I briefly looked right down a corridor and saw smoke and people running. At that point, I knew something had happened; I wasn't sure what (bomb/internal explosion). As I left the building, I saw debris of all sorts falling and a gallery of people staring up. Seeing papers, briefcases, and other small items falling all around me, I started running to get around all the people who were stopped and staring at the mayhem. As I was running through the empty spaces without people to get to the street, I started screaming at them to run away from the building. I again was amazed that they were so stunned. My new goal was to get far away from the site - the staten island ferry seemed to be the furtherest point away from the site, where I might be able to get off of the island (Manhattan is an Island off the coast of NJ). I had to weave in and around people who were unaware what just happened. When I finally arrived around ten minutes later at the ferry, I tried to call my wife on my mobile phone, the line was dead. I ran to a phone booth and tried calling-the line was busy. Then I talked to the people at the ferry to see if I could leave-no luck. I was told that an airplane had hit the WTC. I thought to myself 'wha are the chances of that happening', just like in the story 'The world according to Garp'. Since I was stuck on the island, I decided to head immediately to where I worked (An Investment firm), to see if I could be of any use.

When I arrived, everyone was OUTSIDE the building. I was told, since the plane could have been caused by terrorism, our building was the largest on the waterfront. After a few minutes, we saw the second plane fly straight for the WTC. At that point we realized it was an act of terrorism. I thought 'what would happen if they had biological weapons on-board?' After a few minutes discussing our emegency procedures, we saw the top of the WTC fall over. It looked like it was in a movie. I thought for a second, and said "uh-oh. We have a problem, who is following me!" I was asked why, and replied "take a look, the smoke and whatever is inside is heading our way, we can't be outside. I'm leaving in 10 seconds whoever wants to follow is more than welcome". After 10 Seconds, I stated I was on my way and headed toward the water, another co-worker followed' While I was sprinting, my cell phone rang! Still running, I answered it-my brother. I politely told him I that I was ok, but currently running for my life (not knowing what was in the plume of smoke heading our way). Upon reaching the water, We saw a multitude of people trying to cross the bridge. Thinking it was ludicrous to cross and be stuck in the middle of the bridge,just to get smoke inhalation, We decided to duck into the DTC (Depository Trust Corporation-where they hold peoples securities certificates), which had double doors.

Before getting inside the DTC, we couldn't breath because of the smoke. We put our shirts over our mouths and quickly made it in the doors of the DTC.

Within minutes, the smoke engulfed everything. It became dark, and strangely cold. Now THIS made me worried. I didn't know what chemicals I breathed in, but the deed was done. I felt terrible for the large number of people who were on the bridge, not being able to breathe, and I didn't have any equipment to help them- All I could do is wait and let people use my phone to let people know they were OK.
One of the workers had a radio, so we turned it on and listened to the news. We couldn't see outside because of the smoke.

I called my wife to let her know I was OK. She was hysterical and told me she was going to find a way to get me off the island. I tried to convice her to stay put, but once she has decided something, it is impossible to change her mind.

When the smoke started clearing a few hours later, we found out that emergency ferry services were transporting people to the red cross. So all the people who needed to go to NJ, decided to walk to the ferry services together. We were amazed how quickly police and military were deployed around the area. I helped people over the road divider to get to the area the ferries were docked. Unfortunately, one of the more portly women was a little too heavy and fell on me, which threw my back out. Luckily the woman was OK and the last one. I hobbled over to the ferry and was taked across the water to the Red cross center. It took several hours for me to contact my wife and find an appropriate meeting place. As the hours went by, my back started hurting me more and more, but there were many others who really needed help from the emergency teams.

My wife had driven to Jersey city upon hanging up the phone. She tried to buy a boat to cross the river, but couldn't. It took several phone calls, each with a heightening frustration level until I knew where should could meet me.
I was ecstatic to finally see my wife. She had been terribly worried for me.
All the roads were closed, so getting home was difficult.
I was very glad to get home to my loving wife.

Every day, for weeks, The air smelled acrid and the military was everywhere.
Every day, my wife worried about the chemicals I was inhaling, just being in manhattan.
Every day, my wife worried there would be more attacks, since there were many unpublicized bomb threats in buildings, the docks, and subways.
Every day, my wife worried about the commuting, which took 3+ hours each way.
Every day, my wife worried about hearing about which of our friends were just missing or dead.
I finally found a way to ease my wife's worry - we moved.

I feel terrible for all the families and friends which were affected by not only attack, but by the great demands placed on the many people who helped get everyone affected back on their feet again.

I am also in debt to all those people in the public service for their continued dedication and help.

I can only state, I am one of the lucky ones.

Daniel Rosengarten | 35 | New York

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