#519 | Tuesday, December 18th, 2001
I am an Australian and was completing the last year of my high school education when America was attacked.It was late at night here in Australia when America was attacked in the early hours of the day.I had just gone to bed before the attacks started and I woke to find the world had suddenly changed.While getting ready for school my eyes were glued to the television and the horrible scenes that were before me. At school every conversation was about the terrorism attacks in America and our school lessons were filled with discussion about it. In many classes we were allowed to listen to the radio for the continuing news of the attacks and to President Bush's address to the world. At lunch time, those of us that had drove to school turned on the radios in the cars for all of the seniors to crowd around the car and listin to the heartbreaking events which were happening.
For days after the events the tv showed nothing else and lessons were changed to involve the terrorism in America. My school friends and I were greatly affected by the news of what was happening on the other side of the world as all of us here in Australia feel very connected to the American way of life which was under threat. The American way of life is similar to our way of life and therefor Australians everywhere prayed for the terror to stop. Our hearts go out to all who were affected.

Shannon Hilton | 18 | Australia

#520 | Tuesday, December 18th, 2001
The morning of September 11th, 2001 began much like any other Tuesday morning for me. As a Catholic school teacher, I started the day wondering, "How are my students today?" "Are we having any assemblies that I forgot about?" "Will the kids like the lesson I've planned?" Normal Tuesday morning musings for me.
Little did I know what was happening that very morning. A bit more than halfway through my first English class of the day, my 8th grade students were happily involved in a group project that was going quite well. It seemed to be a good day.

That's when the PA system came on, and we all listened quietly as the principal delivered a confusing message about two plane crashes and the World Trade Center and asked us to say a prayer for the victims. Thinking nothing more than, "How sad, two plane crashes in one day," and "What's the World Trade Center got to do with that?" My students and I said a heartfelt prayer and then continued working.

Then the parents began to show up. I wondered what could have happened, realizing now that a hallway full of parents didn't show up to pull their kids out of school for no good reason. Then a copier repairman asked me if I'd heard the news. I said no, I hadn't; I'd been teaching all morning. That's when he filled me in on what had been happening that morning: four planes had been hijacked; two had crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City; one had gone down into the Pentagon.

No wonder the principal had chosen to leave out some of that information in her address over the PA system. In a K-8 school, maybe the older students would understand, but the younger ones, if they even knew what the word "hijack" meant, would be terrified. The way I now was.

The announcement came around 11:00: Those students who went home for lunch were to stay there. The rest would be dismissed at noon.

The inevitable questions followed: "Why?" "What happened?" "Is this about those planes?" "Are we at war?" "Is this going to happen again?" I had no answers to give them then. I still don't have all the answers.

It was a surreal car ride home. Even the traffic, though heavy, was eerily quiet. No honking, no revving of engines, no big rush. Just an odd sort of uneasy peace as everyone drove home on that bright sunny September day, tuned in to KYW and any other stations that were broadcasting the news. I listened as an alarmed-sounding newscaster described scenes of utter devastation in New York City. Even though I hadn't seen a thing yet, the simple description of the chaos and the unnerved sound of the newscaster's voice brought tears to my eyes.

It was close to 1:00 by the time I got home and dropped my schoolbag on the kitchen floor. I asked my father and brother if they'd heard anything about what happened. Of course they had; even as the words left my lips I knew that it was a stupid question. The whole nation now knew what had happened here on the East Coast. Most of the world probably knew by now. I looked at the television screen as a news station cut to a view of New York City's skyline and only one thought flashed through my mind, silencing all of the others: "Where are the Twin Towers?"

The Twin Towers, of course, were gone by that time, as was a good portion of the Pentagon, in the worst terrorist attack our country has ever seen. Since then, I've watched helplessly as families wandered the streets of New York, begging anyone who knew the whereabouts of their loved ones to please call them. I've watched police officers and firefighters cry as they look at the mountains of rubble before them, knowing that thousands of innocent people had lost their lives in those buildings.

But I've watched America unite like never before. I've watched Congress stand together to sing "God Bless America." I've watched blood donors line up for hours to give. I've seen more American flags flying at homes, businesses, and schools than ever before.

And I think we've all realized something. We're a bit less quick to honk our horns if the person in front of us drives a little too slowly. We're more likely to look people in the eye when we talk to them. We finish projects we've been putting off for months. We say "I love you" a little more often.

Maybe that's all we really need to be happy. A little bit more tolerance. A little bit more patience. A little bit more love. The realization that we need to stop looking for something that could be right under our noses.

So that's the thought I leave you with now. Try to do something nice for someone today. Call a family member, reconcile with an old friend, tell someone how much they mean to you, because the sad fact of the matter is we don't know when it'll be too late to do the things we keep putting off until "tomorrow".

God Bless America.
God bless the victims and their families. May they find comfort in the fact that our thoughts and prayers are with each and every one of them.
Freda | 23 | Pennsylvania

#521 | Tuesday, December 18th, 2001
I had just gone on morning break. One of my co-workers always gets in his car and turns ont the radio (we are the "smokers"). When he told us of the 1st crash I thought it was a small plane with a malfuntion. Later I found myself funtioning through a haze the rest of the day.
Yesterday, I began to question "UNITED WE STAND" while waiting for the bus home and seeing the people driving (as usual) crazily, honking, screeching tires.
Looks like we're UNITED until we get behind the wheel.. Then it's every man/woman for themselves. Life's too short for road rage or any other kind of HATE!!!!!!!
Donna Jones | 52 | Florida

#522 | Tuesday, December 18th, 2001
i was going outside to work in my roses and put my radio headset as usual to listen to bill handell on kfi.he was going on about the first plane crash i thought he was doing a radio drama like war of the worlds.after hearing that the first tower had fallen it occurred to me that there had been no commericals and it wasn`t until the second tower fell i realized this over the top occurance wasn`t a radio drama but true.as i sit here now i am covered in goose bumps and crying remembering that moment and even today dec 18th it still isn`t fully real.where i live i usually hear some high flying jets but working outside as is my usual every hour or so it would occur to me in a flash that i had not heard a plane and the full horror of the falling buildings flooded in.i still am looking into an abyss trying to fathom this horror and trying to believe the hatred that drove these men to do what they did.i have never hated anything bad enough to do more than avoid the catalyst.the mind recoils in horror at such black hatred totally numbed in shock.and yes my feelings toward my country has changed.being born to the manor as it were i never realized how great it is.the flag i ignored and just grumbled about taxes.now i love seeing my flag flying and if i wern`t too old i`d join in doing military duty for my country.yes,i have finally realized i love and honor my home,my country the united states of america, asa
asa walker | 55 | California

#523 | Tuesday, December 18th, 2001
This atrocity has not changed my patriotism, except to intensify it. I have and have had American Flag oriented T-shirts commemorating varuious National Holidays for some time before this "popular" tragedy befell our nation.
DSJones | 52 | Florida

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