#2489 | Friday, September 13th, 2002
I was just out of the shower, getting ready to drive the 33 mi from home in suburban Virginia into DC when my wife called me from the bedroom. I sat down beside her on the bed and we watched the North tower burn. And we were still sitting there, transfixed, when the second plane hit the South tower.

I watched for another ten minutes, decided I ought to get to work (I work in data systems for the Washington Post,) so I got dressed and went out to the car. My wife called to me from the front door, saying that the TV was reporting fire from the Executive Office Building. That's about four blocks from my office at the Post. So I came back inside.

And found out that a third plane had hit the Pentagon, and the news station had mistakenly reported the smoke as coming from the EOB.

And then I gave up on getting to work. I sat beside my wife and we watched and watched and watched the coverage.

And then we watched the towers fall.

I was stunned.

367 days later, I am still stunned. I've been to the WTC site, and I've watched the Pentagon being rebuilt butt the image of the falling towers runs through my memory often, and that memory still leaves me feeling shocked and stunned.

I searched for a personal connection to the tragedy, having grown up on Long Island just outside Queens. Couldn't find one. Nine months later, I pulled a business card out of my wallet and realized that the very nice, quiet family man I'd met on an Alaska cruise/tour the past summer had worked on the 98th floor of the north tower. My heart sank when I got on some website and found that this man was confirmed dead.

On the anniversary of the attack, I found a place of worship and offered prayers for this man, his family, and for all the dead, injured, orphaned, widowed, friend-rivven.

Joel Wasserstein | 56 | Virginia

#2490 | Friday, September 13th, 2002
I will always remember where I was September 11th. I was sitting in my Science class at school when a teacher came running in, shouting for us to turn on the news. She ran straight out of the room as soon as she had made sure the TV was on. We sat all day long watching it as we moved from class to class. At lunch I ran into my best friend, who had told me the day before that her dad was going to the Pentagon the next day (on September 11th). She hadn't heard what was going on yet. When I told her the Pentagon had been hit, her eyes got real wide and she ran for the office to call her house. Her dad answered the phone-he hadn't been at the Pentagon when it was hit: he had been on a plane about to take off for home and they made the plane stop and everone get off and go home on a bus (I live about 4 hours from D.C.). She and I started crying with relief to learn that he was ok. The whole time I kept thinking about the school shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado. At the time then I had lived 50 miles away from there, and what happened on Spetember 11th, what I did at school and how I reacted was the same. Then just 2 days ago on September 11, 2002, our school had an assembly. I cried and cried. I will never, ever forget this. I saved the newspaper from the next day. It sits in my time capsule to be opened in 19 years, to remind me of what happened. But I will need no reminder.
Tiffany Lindsey | 16 | West Virginia

#2491 | Friday, September 13th, 2002
September 11, 2001 was truly an unfortunate day all Americans will never forget. Two commercial airplanes are guided into the World Trade Center buildings by Middle Eastern kamikaze pilots killing an unspecified amount of Men, Women and Children. This day gave everyone in America, a renewed sense of patriotism. The next day every house in a city block had a flag flying. Then there was the endless supply of T-shirts, hats, buttons, and bumper stickers all declaring America’s stand together.
As a veteran, it upsets me to hear about all the hoopla of 9-11. First of all, President Bush is a coward. With the great possibility that the Middle East is possessing nuclear weapons, American troops should have made the Middle East into parking lot. This tragedy affected every person in such a way that even pacifists wanted retribution. If these people who bear an inconceivable hatred for Americans struck once they will most likely strike again.
Second of all, every war that was ever fought, millions of brave men and women gave their life voluntarily in support of their country. Did you see a flags flying as far as the eye could see? Maybe you saw thousands of war commercials. How about people wearing flag t-shirts and hats? The answer is “NO”. You didn’t see anything resembling America’s support for those in far away lands defending the freedom we take for granite. However one day in Manhattan and in an instant every American’s patriotic spirit is reborn. This is different, because this incident happened right here in our homeland is what people will say. Do you honestly believe that every person that died that day woke up and said “I am going to die a martyr or I’m going to die a hero today.” Most likely not, but those who died in WWI, WWII, Vietnam and even Desert Storm chose to die. They chose to die for all of you who could care less. September 11, 2001 was unfortunate; however don’t let this one day overshadow the sacrifices made by those in days gone by.

Jeremy Lile | 28 | United States

#2492 | Friday, September 13th, 2002
On September 11, 2001, just as the first plane hit the world trade center, i was sitting in my speech and debate classroom, hanging out with friends and watching the news. We saw it happen. Gasps and stifled cries ran through the room. A few 'oh my god's were said, as we ran out to find and tell friends.
I was late to my first class. Walking in, with tears streaming down my face, i was the one who told my class, my teacher, what had happened. We turned on the radio, and sat, and listened. We listened as the other plane hit. A man was interviewing a woman on the radio, right near the towers. Suddenly, a rumble was heard, the radio cut off, then back on, and we could hear her scream 'oh my god. we're going to die.'
That was when the first tower fell. The radio cut off again, leaving us stunned.
As my first class ended, and my second class was to start, i headed to the principal's office. I was one of two students to do the morning announcements every moring. Our principal took us aside, and asked us to sound cheerful, and to act as though nothing was wrong. Most of the student body didn't know anything was out of the ordinary, and they were getting students whose family members worked in the WTC out of class before anything was announced.
It was the hardest thing i ever had to do in my life.
You see, my father was flying home that morning. And we didn't know anything, except that planes were being flown into buildings.
I went to my second class, and called home sobbing. We didn't know anything.
Third class came and went, and our teacher demanded that we work on our classwork, but we'd seen students being taken through the halls, crying. One of my friends had a sister who was interning in the WTC, another, a father who worked there on the weekdays.
Every chance we got, we snagged computers throughout the day, sitting, staring in horror at what had happened. Though a plane had already hit the pentagon, and Flight 93 had gone down, rumours circulated the rest of the day. Were they going to hit the White House? Philadelphia? Baltimore?
Watching the TV, waiting, we all prayed. People would burst into tears in the middle of class at random moments.
And the TVs were on--every one the school had. They had taken the televisions into the cafeteria during lunch. Very few people ate that day. And the halls were dead silent, except for the sounds of people crying, and comforting, and the shuffling of feet and papers. Many people went home early that day, and all activities after school were called off.
My father is okay. His plane was diverted to Houston, and he was stuck for a few days. He drove back home to St. Louis with his boss.
As i drove home after school, i kept the radio on, in fear that something else would be hit.
That night, we went to a prayer service held by our local church.
I had nightmares that night.

The next day, i went early to pick up a paper, and started crying all over again. The number of dead, the senseless terror. I think the most horrible part..was the picture on front of the paper that showed the people leaping from the windows high above where the planes had hit.
Our principal wouldn't allow us to hang up "God Bless America" signs, because of the seperation of church and state. We did anyway, even though they kept getting torn down. I don't really think he cared.
The way that all of New York City changed, they way they cared, and came together, shocked the whole world. I think that in many ways, this attack was a blessing as much as a tragedy. People learned how to give again, how to care. I gave hundreds of dollars the next two weeks. For the Relief funds, Backstoppers, anything and everything. Being terrified of needles, i didn't want to give blood. Giving money, in some ways, was better, more useful.
We organized drives for medicine, clothing, food--anything that would help the efforts in NYC. We adopted a sister school, the NYC High School of Education and Finance. And in the spring, we flew out two of their students for our Academic Pep Assembly, to show them our love and support.
I never was really proud of being an American. Yes, i loved the politics of our country. I liked the opportunities given to me, but i was never really grateful to be an American citizen. I am now. I fly an American flag, and i mean the words when i sing the Star Spangled Banner. And by God, the Pledge of Allegiance should be left alone, the way it was.
I am an American.
Emily VanCourt | 18 | Missouri

#2493 | Friday, September 13th, 2002
I was in Burnley, (Lancashire, UK) when the first plane hit the WTC. I am a Housing Officer for a Housing Association based in Accrington, and I had just finished visiting one of my tenants. I got into my car to drive back to my office about 15 minutes drive away. I set my car radio to ‘seek’ to pick up a music station on my journey, and it picked up a commercial radio station in Halifax, Yorkshire. After a few seconds of music, there was an announcement. It was about 2.10pm I think. ‘We are going to the Newsroom for a news report’. Then silence. Nothing. Minutes passed, then: ‘A light plane has flown into the World Trade Centre. We will bring you more news when we have it’ Then the music recommenced.

Doesn’t make sense? There has to be more to it. Why the long delay?

I was approaching my office in Accrington. ‘We join the Newsroom for an update’. Another pause. ‘A second plane has flown into the World Trade Centre’

Second plane? TWO planes? Nothing makes sense – what are the chances of two accidents like that? TWO? TWO! This must be deliberate – not an accident.

I rush back to my office. Usual office banter as I arrive, Helen and Phil joking as they always are, never working when I arrive!. ‘Have you heard the news – 2 planes have flown into the World Trade Centre’, I said.

Phil and Helen think it’s a joke, and are waiting for the punchline from me. This isn’t a joke, I tell them

(I’m a good few years older than they, and can remember the WTC being built. Helen and Phil haven’t heard of it. I explain – the twin towers in NY. Tallest skyscrapers in the world, thousands – no, tens of thousands – work there.)

Then the awful realisation. Tens of thousands………… how many dead?

We have no radio or television in the office. I try to log onto the web, but the servers cant cope. We get half an image, the top of WTC2 with thick black smoke pouring out. No text, just half an image then it freezes.

The phone rings. My wife is watching it live on BBC. She saw the second hit, live. She is very calm, and tells us what is happening. Two planes hijacked and flown into WTC. Both towers on fire.

Still can’t get onto the web. The phone rings again. The pentagon has been hit, and a fourth plane has crashed.

There are 6 of us in the office now. All work has stopped. We sit in silence, waiting for more news. Accrington is deserted, not a soul on the streets. We feel very lonely, isolated, fearful of what is happening, who is responsible, how will the US react, will Bush retaliate, will it go nuclear?

The phone rings. WTC2 has collapsed.

Later, the phone rings again, and we know before it is answered that WTC1 must have collapsed as well. We close the office and I drive the 65 miles home to Cumbria, the saddest, loneliest, longest journey I have ever made.
Martin | 45 | United Kingdom

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