#286 | Sunday, November 25th, 2001
I am 15 and in the 10th grade of high school. I walked into my second period class on the morning of September 11th. A friend told me a plane had just crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. I thought he was joking, or, if he wasn't joking, it had to be an accident. We took our seats and turned on CNN after the teacher said he had heard the same thing. The rest of the day was a blur for me. Watching the tv set in each classroom, discussing it at lunch, and waiting for the reality of the situation to sink in. I was in a state of depression that night. I had been overloaded with information and terrible pictures that day. I cried that night for the first time in years. The next few days were more of the same at school. We watched CNN all day to see if there were any new developments. I went to give blood but was turned away by a lady who said that they had enough and would ask for blood from teenagers if there was a shortage.At school they set up a collection for the Red Cross. I donated $25. Now, months later, I can see everything in perspective. I agree with President Bush's "War on Terrorism" as long as every effort to save civilian lives is made in the process. These views are shared by few of my classmates. The shallow, ignorant fucks say "Nuke the whole country!" and "That whole country is full of terrorists!" It makes me angry to see how some "patriots" act in times like these. This does NOT make me proud to be an American. I hope that the United States can recover from this catastrophe and rise as a stronger, wiser nation.
Steve | 15 | Georgia

#287 | Sunday, November 25th, 2001
My husband and I were in Park City Utah. He was on the internet. "A plane crashed into the World Trade Center!" "Must be some nut in a rented plane," I said believing it.

Several minutes later, it became clear that this was more than some misguided joy stick jockey. This was planned.

We spent the next week glued to the television. I am an artist. The next morning (9/12/01) I woke up and had a dream of the catastrophe. I painted it. http://www.fabiennechristenson.com/hands.html

Neither my husband or I will ever be the same. Sad. To look back on that pre-9/11 time is to see those happier spoiled and pampered people that we were, receeding in the rear view mirror. It has made us love and value our country more than ever. I am very proud of our armed forces and intellegence forces.
Fabienne | 109 | Ohio

#288 | Monday, November 26th, 2001
I grew up on Long Island but was in Atlanta working when the WTC was attacked. I woke up after the first plane had already hit and watched the second one crash into the tower. My knees got weak and my mind had a hard time accepting that this had really happened. Before 9/11, if I had seen the attacks in a movie, I would have thought it too impossible to believe.
My father was in Charlotte, supposedly flying to NY that morning. We got in touch and decided to drive up the next day. What a surreal drive. We talked about it and listened to the radio a bunch until I could not handle it anymore and I had to put some music on. We arrived in NJ at 3 AM and first saw the sad skyline from a train on the way into the city. My eye kept roaming the city buildings, looking for that downtown focal point of the majestic towers that no longer existed, save for a huge pile of rubble.
New York, the greatest city in the world, was not the same, still is not the same. No one is the same. I love this city more than ever. When we first arrived, I had trouble looking downtown, I did not want to go to Union Square until I had gotten over a little of the shock. After the first time I stopped by there, signed my name on a banner along with an I Love NY inscription, I could not stay away. Every night I would wander over to the memorial to see what was going on.
A friend of mine from high school worked on the floor where the second plane crashed into, but luckily, he was downstairs smoking a cigarette. Two of my uncles are NYC firefighters but they are both still with us. I give thanks for that everyday and I give thanks for the fact that I did not personally know anyone who was killed.
At first, I was overwhelmed by all of the missing posters everywhere, but I soon changed my mind and decided to stop and look at each one and read the names, sort of my way of honoring the lost souls.
This city should be proud. It stepped up, jutted out its collective chin, and showed the world that you can try to knock us around, but you canít ever keep us down. We will continue to get up and stand up straight and proud. I am so incredibly happy to be a New Yorker, to be connected to such a wonderful city. We will never forget what happened but we will continue to live in freedom and prosper as a city, a country, and a people. We can not and should not try to get back to how life was before the attacks, because life is not like that anymore. We must try to live our lives with more love and more awareness of our differences, and why they donít matter.
My personal goal is to have everyone who I come into contact with be better off for having met me. This is the first time I have written down all of these thoughts and experiences and I hope I got my feelings correctly translated into words. I also hope that this helps everyone who reads it. God Bless Us All.
Willie Melia/ 23/ writing from NYC
Willie Melia | 23 | New York

#289 | Monday, November 26th, 2001
I was sitting at a Chili's restaurant at the airport in Charlotte, NC, eating huevos rancheros, drinking coffee, reading the USA Today and waiting to get on the 9:50 US Airways flight to LaGuardia Airport. I was going home to the Big Apple.
My cell phone rang and it was my good friend and business associate Bob from Atlanta. My son Willie was staying at his house and he said to me, "I just turned on the TV and a plane hit the World Trade Center."
I figured like most people, a small plane, maybe a stunt gone bad, when he exclaimed, "Ohmigod! Another plane hit the other tower!" and I knew it was terrorism.
I was stunned and immediately mad.
I hung up, rushed over to the bar where a young man was getting ready for another normal Tuesday and I barked orders to turn the channel from ESPN to CNN ... "Why?" he asked and I said, "We've been attacked by terrorists."

Eight years earlier I had been sitting at my computer downtown Manhattan when my wife called from Louisville, Kentucky where she was performing in a play. "Is everyone okay? Is Daniele okay?" Dani is our daughter. Back in '93 she was 7 years old and went to PS 234, at Chambers and Greenwich, three blocks north of the WTC.
In one moment I knew we had not taken that terrorist act seriously enough. My anger and my sadness combined. I felt personally responsible for not having the insight and the courage and the will to have stopped this threat back then.

Quickly word of the new attacks spread through the airport and quickly would-be passengers assembled in restaurants and lounges in front of TV's everywhere.

I called my daughter Daniele, now a junior in high school at the Lab School on 17th Street. I got her voice mail and left a message. My phone rang. It was my son Luke who lives on 18th Street and works at oxygen media around the corner.
He knew I was coming to New York and he was relieved to hear I was still on the ground.
My next call went to my sister who runs an ad agency near Penn Station. She was in tears and mine were rolling down my cheeks as we spoke. Two of our brothers are among New York's Bravest and she assured me that one of them was off in Pennsylvania playing golf. The other, a lieutenant was working in Brooklyn (not a good sign I knew because last time - in '93 - he was working Brooklyn and managed to make it all the way to the 85th floor of one of the Towers.)
My phone rang and it was my precious daughter and my voice cracked as we spoke and she shared how scared she was and how one of her frineds who lived in Battery Park had not made it to school that day. I told her that I had spoken to Luke and he promised he would come by and we hung up.
Next I called my Mom in Florida. She and my Dad, a retired NYC Deputy Chief, moved there back in the late 70's. She had just returned from Mass and my Dad had taken the car in for service. She had not heard the news and I told her, but it didn't register fully. I knew it would sink in once she watched the TV and we signed off.
Everybody but brother Tom the lieutenant was accounted for. I was worried.
I went to a restaurant and ordered an Irish cofffee, breaking my own "No alcohol before noon" rule. I had two and then went back to the bar at Chili's because my cell phone didn't work in the other restaurant.
I got to plug it in because by this time the Chili's bartender and I were old buddies.
I received 43 phone calls between 9 am and 11:30. I watched in fascinated dread and spoke briefly with friends and business associates who all knew I was heading for New York. At 12:15 the bartender announced that he got the word to stop alcohol sales - the management fearing that stranded travelers would get unruly.
I decided to get out of the airport and called Mollie, my girlfriend and business associate.
I headed back to her house after stocking up on some supplies and I hooked into the DSL line at her home to continue touching base and getting updates.
I spent most of the day in front of the computer or the TV. It wasn't until four pm that I got through to my brother Tommy's house and his son Tim told me that his Dad was safe. I prayed a prayer of gratitude.
That night our company, Prepaid Legal Services, had a business presentation scheduled in Charlotte and my business associate Corey Muhammed called me and asked if I thought we should keep the event scheduled. I thought we should. It would give everyone a chance to get with each other.
That night in the lobby of the hotel while the sales presentation was going on I read a caption across the bottom of the TV that said over 75 police officers and over 250 firemen were missing presumed dead. I lost it. The stark reality of the situation came crashing down and I slipped out of the hotel into the night to hide my tears and to be alone.
After a few minutes I called my son Willie who was in Atlanta and instructed him to get a good night's rest and get up early and come and pick me up in Charlotte so we could get home to New York.
The story went on from there. I couldn't sleep that night and didn't get another solid night's sleep for over three weeks.
I spent the next three weeks in NYC. New York was amazing. I was never so proud to be a New Yorker and to be an American. The people responded with a depth of spirit, a love and a generosity that speaks volumes.
I am fortunate to be part of a great nation and part of a great family. I will never again take our freedoms for granted or fail to appreciate the wonders of this creation.
God Bless America and all Freedom loving Citizens of the World.
Let us continue to remember the families who lost their loved ones and let us help them in every way possible.
Mike Melia | 49 | New York

#290 | Monday, November 26th, 2001
I was at work in my local hospital in Elgin,Scotland when a cry came out of our switchboard room. I rushed to find out what had happened and I stood and watched as the news headlines replayed the of the doomed aircraft crash into one of the twin towers. No-one could speak. The tiny room was soon filled with people craning to see the t.v set. If that wasn't shocking enough we stood gobsmacked as the second plane careered into the other tower. When news of the pentagon hit came through tears were rolling down our shocked faces as the full reality of what we were witnessing set in.
No words can express the utter desolation people around the world are feeling for your city, but i know for me it is a moment in time that will never leave me.
I offer you all my prayers and wishes for a brighter future that U.S and British Forces are putting their lives on the line for.
take care and god bless you one and all.

Elgin, Scotland
Emma Daley | 25 | United Kingdom

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