#2234 | Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
I was driving back to work to pick up a delivery I had left behind. I was at the end of the street with Radio 1 on listening to Mark and Lard. The rest of the show had an obvious yet uncharactaristic somber air to it. It felt strange. I didn't know really what to make of it. I told them all at work about it and called a few friends to tell them to keep me posted on the events as I would be driving around all day and be in and out the car all day.
J. A. McGregor | 23 | United Kingdom

#2235 | Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
I work for the corporate parent of a hospital system, in a small office building in a small Massachusetts city. I was coming back into my department’s suite from some busy little errand, and our secretary met me at the door to tell me a plane had crashed into the WTC. I assumed it was an accident, and was curious, but not worried. A few minutes later I heard someone say there was a TV on in Administration (we rarely use TVs here but there are a couple around the building). I went and looked at the one tower on fire, was horrified, but still thought it was just a fire.

A short time later I passed our secretary again, who is in the Air Civil Patrol. She was putting down the phone and told me tensely that a second plane had hit. Her patrol was getting organized. By that time about a dozen of my coworkers had gathered in a conference room watching a TV with some people from another department. I stood in the back and watched two anchors filling air time, basically saying nobody knew what was happening. There was a picture of the flaming towers behind them, which they couldn’t see, and they were talking via cell phone to a reporter who was stuck in a stairwell in one of the towers. I’ve always wondered about that guy. He was telling them exactly where he was and saying that his way both up and down was blocked, so could they get some help to him. He was very calm and in fact said that families of workers in the WTC shouldn’t worry because the evacuation was going smoothly and everybody was fine. I actually feel angry at the guy for saying that. He didn’t know the full picture: he was just making up something reassuring to say. It wasn’t news, and it wasn’t true. I guess he was just reassuring himself.

The call ended and the news anchors kept talking, apparently without seeing the image of the towers, because the side of one of the towers behind them suddenly blew out, and then the image was just smoke and dust, and we couldn’t see anything on the screen behind them, and they kept talking on and on. Finally someone must have alerted them that something had happened, because after a delay they said “something just happened, we don’t know what.” My coworker Hugh and I were the first people in the room to realize what had happened, and we both said at the same time, “That tower just collapsed.” I have regretted saying what I did next. I said, “Oh my God, it’s just like the end of the movie ‘Fight Club’, where all the buildings collapse.” It was such a trivial observation; I’m still embarrassed that I said it out loud.

There are two other little things I remember vividly from that morning. One was that my officious boss kept sticking her head into the conference room and stiffly telling us that we really should get back to work, while we all ignored her. I’ll bet she regrets that, like I regret my reaction when the first tower fell.

The other thing I remember was the people I immediately tried to contact. When I couldn’t stand to watch the TV images any more, I went back to my desk, searched out the e-mail address of my best friend in high school – a New Yorker whom I haven’t seen in 15 years – and send him a one-sentence e-mail: “tell me you’re OK”. Ten minutes later I got a brief reply: “shaken, not stirred.” Since then we’ve mended some fences over the internet but haven’t gotten together because I won’t go to NYC and he won’t leave. I sent the same e-mail to a friend who works in Chicago but whose home office is/was in WTC 2. It kept getting bounced back to me, and finally I got through to his wife. He was stuck in a Kansas airport, and his company’s server was in the basement of WTC 2, and he’d lost a number of his coworkers, but he was safe. It took him 3 days to drive home in a rental moving van with 5 other stranded travelers. We went to business school together and we both knew that we’d probably lost a number of our classmates. As it turned out, we only lost 3, plus there were 5 from my undergraduate college. I was surprised it was so few, but it didn’t relieve my grief for all those strangers who got killed so fantastically, so unexpectedly, so gruesomely.

On this first anniversary I sat in my office building’s stairwell and thought about that guy stuck in the stairwell, and all the people who didn’t get out of the stairwells in time, and all the people like me who were probably just doing some busy little errand when their lives ended so dramatically. Requiem eternam, dona eis domine.
Annie | 44 | Massachusetts

#2236 | Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
Just a few days before 9/11, my friends and I were attacked in our car, coming home from a restaurant. The attackers were looking for someone to torment (maybe an initiation of some sort). They threw cement bricks through our windshield. We were scared to death, but only had scratches. I lived through that violent experience, and was thousands of miles from NYC, DC, and Pennsylvania on 9/11, yet the September 11th attacks scared me more. I grieve for the victims' families. A year later it's still too much to bear.

The morning of 9/11 we were in shock over the 2 planes hitting the WTC. When the Pentagon was hit, I called my boyfriend who was at work and to this day, I can't believe I uttered the words, "they hit the Pentagon." I didn't know anything about a "they"! I just knew, like everyone else, that something terrible was happening. Coming from a military family, I envisioned the scene in the Pentagon; our country's leaders taught to react quickly and under pressure, but what shock they must have been in. My Mom sometimes works at the Pentagon, and I called to make sure this wasn't one of those days. She waited anxiously until late that night to hear from her best friend, who was not injured, but her office destroyed. In March of 2002 we visited DC and she gave my boyfriend and I a private tour of the Pentagon late on a Sunday night. There were so many messages from school children posted on the walls; it was heart-breaking. But, we never felt so proud.

The US may not always do everything justly in terms of foreign affairs, but I believe that we really do try to make this a better world. I get sick watching clips of our "enemies" rejoicing over these attacks. We would never respond that way to the loss of life.
Amy | 30 | Washington

#2237 | Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
I was at work at the time of the attacks. I am a receptionist at a manufacturing facility. A co-worker had come by my desk and said that his wife just called and told him that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. My first thought was that it was a small plane and I didn't think too much about it. I went on answering the phone and he came back by and said his wife just phoned again and that there were now two planes that had hit. So, I got onto the internet to see what was going on. It took a good 15 minutes to find a news site that I could get into and by then there were pictures posted of the planes flying into the buildings. A couple of minutes later one of the towers collapsed. By that time there was a crowd of people around my desk watching as this horror unfolded. I do not know how I or anyone else in the building continued to work. At that point I believe we were all on automatic. We watched the internet and listened to radios the rest of the day. I was in such a state of shock, I couldn't even cry for those lost. That came later after I got home and turned on the tv set. My 15-year old son refused to watch any more. He said they had watched all day at school and he didn't care to watch people dying over and over again. Since 9/11/01 I have over and over again remembered the numb and shocked feeling that was with me that day and pray to God that it will not be repeated. I cannot imagine the courage it must have taken for the passengers on the flight which crashed in PA, not realizing what was planned or what was happening at the time, when they overcame the terrorists and gave their lives. I hope everyone remembers this day always and prays for the families and friends of the victims of this terrible tragedy.
Sheila Eddy | 33 | United States

#2238 | Wednesday, September 11th, 2002
i was at home in Hertfordshire in the uk! Watching a video with my son when my mum called me from work to ask if i had heard about what had happened. I turned off the film and was watching what was happening on the news. As i was watching the 2nd plane hit. I didnt know anyone that was there but the thought of all those people that were there when i saw it, it felt like a bullet through my heart. All those people on the planes and in the buildings. Men, Women, and children. All those live's just taken. knowing their fate!
My mum did the New York marathon in 1999 a long time before but just to think that she cud have been there. i wud be devestated if i lost ANY of my family my mum, my dad, my husband, my son, my daughter! i cant even imagine what any of those families are going through now but my heart really does go out to them.

love and thoughts

Susan Hodgson
susan hodgson | 21 | United Kingdom

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