#429 | Monday, December 10th, 2001
My wife, two children, and myself were at my wife's families abandoned cabin (shack) in the hills of West Virginia. Being from Iowa, it was unusual for us to be so near the East Coast, and ironically we were no more than 60 miles from the crash site in southern Pennsylvania.

The "shack" has electricity, but we rarely have the radio or television that we bring with us turned on. Reception is non-existent. We were beginning our return trip home, and decided to stop by Tygart Dam, 80 miles south of Pittsburgh. The place was deserted. I assumed that because it was off-season we missed our opportunity to visit the museum. That was when the Ranger from the State Park informed us that the park was closed due to terrorist threats, and that we needed to leave.

It was surreal – this very sane looking man, in a position of authority was telling us the World Trade Towers had been struck by airliners. I thought it was a joke… I laughed, and explained that we had been back in the mountains and hadn’t heard any news in several days. He told us all air traffic had been grounded. Not possible – never been done – COULDN’T be done!

Why would this man of authority be joking around like this? What was REALLY happening? Did he tell me the towers had COLLAPSED??? I MUST have misunderstood. I KNEW it was not possible! We turned on the radio, and as reality began to sink in, I could think of nothing but driving the 1,000 miles home to… safety? What did that mean – what does that mean anymore?

Not a day goes by in this mess when I don’t give thanks that I live in rural Iowa. I have many friends on the East Coast, and I often wish they would give up life in the fast lane and move to a “safer” location. It seems like the terrorist attacks happened years ago. Life has changed, and yet it goes on much the same.
Ray H. | 37 | Iowa

#430 | Monday, December 10th, 2001
I was at the Travis Street Grill in Sherman, TX when I first heard about the world trade centers being attacked. I saw it on a television there in the diner at around 8:45. Everyone was standing around just looking at the screen. Hardly anyone at my office got any work done that day just because we were all constantly checking the internet for more news. Everyone was afraid of another possible attack.
Tommy Chapin | 18 | Texas

#431 | Monday, December 10th, 2001
Waking up late started the day bad enough. I was getting ready for the day when the radio station announced that a plane had hit the WTC. At first I thought of a small private plane. I ran to the tv to see what the news was offering. When I switched it on, I witnessed the second plane hitting the second tower. I could not believe what I was seeing. I called my husband at work to let him know. He was very quiet and calm. He knew what had happened. He reasured me that we were ok and not to worry. On my way to work it was announced that the Pentagon was also hit. The only thing that crossed my mind was for the first time I understand what people felt the day Pearl Harbor was bombed.
Denise Kaptain | 41 | Illinois

#432 | Monday, December 10th, 2001
I was driving to get my hair cut when the radio announced that a small plane had apparently crashed into the first WTC tower. Upon arriving at the barber shop, I asked them to change the channel on the shop's TV (which was showing an old Western) so we could see what was happening.

Three minutes later, we saw the second plane hit. In an instant, we all knew that this wasn't an accident, and that we were going to be dealing with this for a very long time.
Julian Bragg | 28 | Georgia

#433 | Monday, December 10th, 2001
I was leaving my office to go home. It was my oldest son's first day of pre-school, so my wife and I were going with him. As I stepped out of my office, the guy across the hall told me that a plane had hit one of the towers, and that they weren't sure if it was an accident or terrorists. He had a photo from CNN.com loaded and I saw it and then left.

When I got in my car I tuned to WBZ in Boston and heard that there was another plane that hit the Pentagon. My first thought was, "Oh my God, the country's under attack!" My mind started to wander too far and I thought about Washington being attacked and then LA and how any center of power would be a target.

When I got to my house, my wife and my mother (who had come to watch our other 2 sons) were there with very distressed looks on their faces. We didn't say anything because we didn't want to alarm the kids in any way, but our faces spoke volumes.

I ran upstairs to try to get some info from CNN on the television in the bedroom, and I saw the video of the tower collapsing. I've never been to NYC and have never seen the towers in person, but it sent chills down my spine to see that huge building fall to the ground.

The car ride to pre-school was very quiet, and luckily we had Raffi playing, so we didn't talk about it. It was a very unfortunate event to associate with my first son's first day of pre-school. The image of that tower going down is forever etched in my mind.
Joe Traverso | 33 | Massachusetts

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