#2479 | Friday, September 13th, 2002
I was getting off the bus on the corner of Broadway and Rector. I heard a huge
crash and looked up. I saw explosions and saw flying papers and fiberglass
flying in my direction.

Like a moth to flame I went towards the towers. I stopped at the area across
the buildings, in front of Century 21 (not a real estate company). I looked up
at the towers and I saw everything going on.

I was thinkin how nice outside it was. how clear it was. It seemed improbable
that this was an accident.

I saw people jumping. So many people jumping rather tahn burning up. I could
hear the contact of each one, it was a loud noise with a thud that could only
be described as the sound of a watermelon hitting concrete. I will never be
able to get those images and sounds.

Suddenly there was another loud explosion, and the south tower was in flames.
I could feel the heat from the explosion. I was pushed back from the sonic
blast of the noise and the explosion.

Immediately a ran away from the buildings, and went to my place of work
3 .5 blocks away. I watched the news in the Board room on these huge plasma screens.

When the first tower went down, it was like an earth quake. I felt it, before
the TV signal could be transmitted.

The emergency alarm went off in the building. We were stuck in the stairs for
about 10 minutes waiting for the building managers to unlock the emergency
escape doors.

Nobody knew what to expect. Would there be fire? Poisonous gas?

We finally got outside to what looked like the aftermath of Mount St Helens.
The particles in the air were like big snowflakes. The dust on the ground was
about 2-3" deep.

A group of us walked towards South Street SeaPort. We were on Platt Street in
what was the most surreal event. I could hear jet engines overhead. I had no
idea if they were more commercial planes, or if they were millitary. There was
a homeless man singing Christmas music.

We got on Water Street and I could see the numbness in everyones faces. Some
people were covered in dust to the point you could not tell if they were black,
white, or otherwise. Some people were bloody.

It was like we were all walking on the same path to the afterlife. All souls
walking towards the light.

As a result, I cannot go 5 minutes without thinking about that day, what
happened to the city I work in, and what happened to those people who were in
the towers, and what happened to me and the way I view humanity and interact
with it.

People think so many of us have post traumatic stress syndrome. Some of us are
still waiting for the trauma to end.
Rick | 33 | New Jersey

#2480 | Friday, September 13th, 2002
On the morning of September 11,2001, i arrived late to work at about 8:45 am...the attacks had just begun & i was hearing about them immediately, but none of us really knew what was going on. i worked at a Christian bookstore, & every morning, before opening the store at 10am, we had a prayer/staff meeting. That morning, our meeting took place a lot sooner.
Those of us who were there went immediately to our Children's area, where we usually met, & got on our knees to pray. Pretty soon after that, someone said the Pentagon had been "bombed", & i froze instantly with panic-my cousin & his wife work there in the Air Force section-i was afraid for them, & just began to pray for their safety, for God to protect them, & cause them to know His love for them...that was the most important thing for me-for them to know that...i felt numb...shock...disbelief...
At this point, we'd heard about the planes hitting the Towers, but it just seemed so surreal, it couldn't be true, & i felt like i was waiting to hear the "real" story. i felt like i was in a dreamworld, & was desperately hoping that it wasn't as serious as it was sounding...
Finally, our Acting Manager, Cindy, went home to get her portable TV, & plugged it in at the front counter...we could not believe our eyes!!!...Dan Rather was broadcasting as we watched the Towers burn, & then eventually collapse...the worst part was watching the people jumping from the windows, & the helplessness i felt watching....i know, as a Christian, i can pray. i know God hears me, & He answers in His own way...but what do you pray at a moment like that?....i felt too frozen to collect a full thought....it was not hard to just stand there, with our eyes glued to the TV....i know at some point, i was in the music section of our store, & a couple of us stood in a circle with some of our customers, & prayed about everything that was going on, for the people who were suffering, & their families & loved ones, for our nation, & our President;we prayed for comfort, mercy, justice, peace, & for God to somehow redeem all of this...one thing we knew: God is still in control, & He's got some purpose in this-there's something good He's gonna do here-something good He's gonna bring out of this!...we didn't know how or what it was supposed to look like...just that it was true...(still is!)....
eventually, we ended up turning the TV off-it was just too much & too overwhelming...we put on some quiet music for the day, & took heed as Cindy continuously made the rounds she'd begun earlier encouraging us to keep praying-it seemed that as the attacks continued, & as we prayed, the damage & the loss of life was lessening-this looked like God's hand moving somehow to stop what was going on to us & so we kept it up, also desperately praying for survivors amongst other things...
Throughout the day, i would wonder if my cousin & his wife were OK, & i remember as i prayed about it, God reassured me they were "out of danger." eventually, i accepted this, as God's omniscient, so, of course He'd know!(& as i found out later on, He was right!)...i did call them, only able to leave a message & tell them that i loved them, that God loved them, please call back, etc....(i heard of them through the "family grapevine" via my cousin's mom-they were too emotionally drained, & overwhelmed, to call everyone themselves....)
Another strange thing occurred as i walked through my day...i felt like i couldn't grieve what was going on...almost like i wasn't allowed to...i kept thinking of a figure i'd heard of from the Old Testament who was not allowed to mourn his wife's death-i felt like him, which angered me! i wanted to cry, & i couldn't! And while Jesus taught us to love & pray for our enemies, which i'm totally all for, there is also a kind of justice that God brings, allows, even demands in situations like this, (which i'm also all for, because there's a time & a place for everything. Ecclesiastes says there is "A time for war, And a time for peace."...it's the mercy of God that we have the kind of President we've got in office at this time, because he's going for it-he's going to get the "bad guys". Who can't get behind that?) i felt so frustratingly angry at the men who used those planes & passengers to make "living bombs"-a regular bomb is bad enough, but in a situation like this, you'd expect it(with terrorism, i mean); what makes it worse is the manner in which it was done...i won't go on, as it's been covered, & it's frustrating still to think about...so my thoughts vacillated a lot between different feelings, emotions, & responses all through the day...And as these thoughts ran through my head, God kept reminding me of the Scripture passage He had given me approximately 1 hour before the attacks began-it was Isaiah 61:1-11:
"'The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the
brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those
who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the
Lord,...
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of
heaviness;
That they may be called trees of
righteousness,
The planting of the Lord,
that He may be glorified.'
And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former
desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations...
i will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my soul shall be joyful in my God;...
For as the earth brings forth its bud,
As the garden causes the things that are
sown in it to spring forth,
So the Lord God will cause righteousness
and praise to spring forth before all the nations." -Isaiah 61:1,2,3-4,10,11
this passage primarily describes the ministry of Jesus while He walked this earth, & the ministry He's passed on to His church, which He Himself conducts through us, & also directly through His Holy Spirit...basically, this is what God does for us, when we let Him..."He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up all their wounds."-Psalm 147:3...i can't pretend to understand why God let this happen, & i'm not going to give some "pat," textbook answer for it; i don't understand this-why DID God let this happen?...i don't know...i just know that He gives us choices-those men who hijacked the planes had a choice, they chose death; but by the same token, those firemen in the Towers had a choice, too, & they chose life....
despite the anger, confusion, & shocked numbness, i had a lot of hope & faith in the God i love that flew up in the face of all of this as well-i felt like i was being called upon by God to rejoice in the hope He gives, in what He would do with this-that He can take something so tragic, & bring forth beauty from the ashes(that's the main thought i have when i think of this...beauty from the ashes...)...while at the same time, acknowledging the loss & pain somehow through my prayers, if not my tears...i've often wondered, & still do, what that's all about...i don't understand why God would have me do such a thing, why i can't seem to cry, even today-it seems like a cruel slap in the face-it's not that the weight of this is lost on me, maybe it hasn't fully hit me yet...on some level, i still feel numb, & this still doesn't feel real to me-every time i see the images on TV, it feels like some horrific movie...maybe that's why it's easier for me to jump to that other side & just, hope....although recently, i saw a photo in a magazine at Wal-Mart that got me started-it was a close-up shot of people hanging out of the windows of one of the Towers-you could see the blood & looks of terror on their faces...somehow, actually seeing the people...it's just different-i stood behind a pillar in the aisle, stifling sobs....i can't even imagine.....
sara | 28 | Maryland

#2481 | Friday, September 13th, 2002
I am a senior in high school. On September11,2001, I was in parenting and thought it was all a joke. Then afterwards I went to my J.R.O.T.C class and found out it was all true. Imediatley I busted into tears. All I could think was
Melissa Atkisson | 17 | Kentucky

#2482 | Friday, September 13th, 2002
My father had the news on while I was in the other room getting ready for work when he called me in. I came running in to watch while the first tower was burning and then we both saw the second plane hit and the first tower go down. He informed me that another plane had hit the Pentagon and a third plane was headed for the White House (flight 93). I remember turning to him and choking out, "Is this the end, Papa?" My knees were quaking and I ran to the phone to call my fiance, my brother and my neighbor. I had to connect with those closest to me. In the days that followed, I remember going through a variety of emotions; fear, anxiety, intense sadness and then intense anger. I wanted to be in New York digging through the rubble, I wanted to fight with our brave men and women of the military. I wanted to be everywhere, helping and fighting. I donated blood, flew the flag and played patriotic songs. I grew up with horror stories of what my parents went through during WWII (they were both resistance fighters with the Underground) but I never thought that I would be participating in our own war on our homefront.
But I will do whatever it takes to preserve our country.
Sandra Skoda-Whipple | 42 | California

#2483 | Friday, September 13th, 2002
I was in my car, following my husband to the repair shop where we were dropping his car off. I heard on the FM morning show I listen to every morning that they had some reports that a small prop plane had crashed into the one of the WTC towers. Amazed, I resolved to tell my husband when we got there. As always, I forgot, and we went into the repair shop to do our business. It was at that moment that the second plane hit the South tower, because when we walked in there was pandemonium in the repair shop. We all watched in horror as the footage was replayed, over and over. He dropped me off at home and I watched the news coverage all day, and chatted on Battlenet (not a url, please leave in, as it is vital to the account), an international gaming network. There, with people from all over the US and the world, we discussed what was going on. I remember the big debate on whether or not the towers would collapse. Everyone was alternately horrified and angry; the general consensus was that whoever had done this was incredibly stupid to rouse the anger of the United States. When the plane hit the Pentagon, I was watching NBC news and they were speaking to a man IN the Pentagon, Tim Olshevsky (sp), their Pentagon correspondent. You could see the room shake, even where he was, and he calmly said he didn't want to alarm anyone but that there had been what appeared to be an explosion there. I thought he was very professional, not blurting out assumptions that would scare relatives and friends but to give what information he did have. Then, when I heard that a plane had hit near Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, I was completely terrified. I live in Pittsburgh, and have MANY family members scattered throughout western and central Pa. I remember feeling humbled at that moment, realizing that I couldn't possibly have understood the pain and fear that family members felt hearing the news of WTC and the Pentagon, but now I had a taste of it. Later, we on the chat debated fiercely whether or not the plane in Shanksville had been shot down. Personally, I believed from the beginning that the passengers had taken back control of the plane and, tragically, couldn't stabilize it,and crashed. I am still haunted by nightmares of those final moments on Flight 93, the perhaps glorious feeling of success soon overshadowed by horror at the knowledge that, despite everything, they were still going to die.

Overall, the feeling of that day was twofold--complete and utter horror that anyone could do such a thing, and amazement at their stupidity for thinking that ANYTHING could break the American spirit...
Jessica Smith | 23 | Pennsylvania

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