#550 | Thursday, December 20th, 2001
Even though I didnt hear anything about it till 2 days later I was hit and hit hard I had been away from the states I had been in Hawaii but now that I think back I do remeber some people talking about something ike that I remeber when I got back home to look at the news how thats all I saw it scared me I thought it was the start of a war
B.R.Sanders | 25 | Louisiana

#551 | Thursday, December 20th, 2001
I live in Australia, so while the events happened in the early morning in America, it was the late evening here. When it all started, I was at home, sitting at my computer, online as usual, chatting on IRC, reading email and webcomics, generally nothing exciting. A couple of people mentioned the event on IRC, but I didn't think much of it, assuming it just to be a minor accident or similar. It was about 11pm here when someone actually phoned me to turn on the news and have a look, so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I was glued to the TV for the next few hours as events unfolded, discussing it in chat rooms and forums, trying to wrap my mind around it. The whole time, it felt like something out of an action movie, not something that would actually happen in real life.
I watched live as the second plane collided, and then as the towers both collapsed, shocked all the while. That a human being could plan such events sickened me. By about 3am here, things had settled a little, and I headed off for sleep, since that day was the first of a new course I was doing.
I sat in my home on the east coast of Australia and watched events live, talking about them in realtime with people across the world.
Glen Cotterill | 21 | Australia

#552 | Thursday, December 20th, 2001
It was the end of my mods 3-4 class (AP English 12) when our vice principal came running in with a note for the teacher. She read it aloud explaining that two planes had each hit both of the towers. At first I didn't believe it, it couldn't be true. I was just so in shock. We weren't allowed to watch the TV's in school, so there were some pretty wild rumors going around (for example- the west wing of the White House was on fire, and that eight planes were hijacked). i was extremely upset that we weren't allowed to know what was really going on. We had a total of two updates during the school day on what was going on- had we been able to watch the news, these horrible rumors would not have spread. Moving on- Volleyball practice was canceled after school (along with all other extra-curricular activities) and I went home to watch the news. I just stared in disbelief as I kept seeing the image of the once so tall and proud towers come crumbling down, killing thousands. I think the worst image that stuck in my head was when a man jumped from about the 80th floor. I just saw him cartwheeling through the air, and then he disappeared behind a building. That is probably one of the most haunting images I have ever seen, and ever will see. I'm still just in disbelief, but the one good thing that is a product of this tragedy is our strong feeling of nationality. I was driving down the main street of our town on Friday night, and there were hundreds of people, many from my own high school, standing out with lit candles and American flags. We honked at them, cheered with them- it was just a great feeling. I wish this sense of nationality didn't have to come at the price of thousands of people
Lisa | 17 | New Jersey

#553 | Thursday, December 20th, 2001
Where were you the day the world Stopped Turning?
By Jim Alger

November 21, 2001: Christmas is a month away, a time of joy and happiness. September 11th seems so distant. I was asked a question yesterday, "When the buildings fell, how did you feel?" How quickly the pain returns.

Every day that goes by we try to escape the questions, the images, the horror witnessed by millions of people around the world on September 11th. For most of us we watched in utter disbelief as the symbol of a free society, and the icon of the greatest most dynamic city in the world, was reduced to a pile of twisted steel and miles of dust. Most of us watched on TV the rescue workers, Firemen, Police officers and civillians desperately trying to save lives. But this piece isnt about most of us. This piece is about some of us. The some of us who are proud to call ourselves New Yorkers. The some of us who hold the shield of the New York City Fire Department. The some of us who were there.

For anyone who has ever heard the police radio tapes of that day, or was in NY in the weeks following the attacks, it is to surreal. Police officers screaming "Notify the Pentigon central, we're under attack!" "We need air cover central, god damn it we need air cover now!" That marked the beginning of frantic calls on the two way radios of Emergency workers throughout the city. Calls for ambulances, calls for help. Minutes after the second plane struck the tower the calls of "we're getting hit again!" as the sound of even more jets approached. Then the callout "theire ours, their ours central" military air support had arrived and for the first time in our history our military was flying air cover over the United States. But the moments that brought the Citys Emergency Radio system to a complete stop, utter silence, was 2 sentences. "Central, the second tower fell... its gone".

We went to what has been termed "the pile" hoping against all hope that someone, anyone would come out alive. As an EMT we are trained to save lives, that's what we do. Images on TV don't prepare you for the four story high pile of rubble, the distinct smell of death, or how but for one or two decisions you made at some point in your life, that could have been you. Hundreds of ambulances stood by to help any injured that were brought out of the rubble, but not one was used. We are touted as heroes to NY and the world simply because we came to dig. Call it pride, call it survivors guilt, call it respect but none of us feel like heroes. The heroes are who we are here to get. The're flag draped bodies are pulled out almost daily. Husbands, fathers, mothers and wives whos only connection to this conflict is that they answered the call to help and in doing so, made the ultimate sacrifice. Reflection makes us wish we were heroes, that it was us, not them.

When you see the tapes of the towers collapse, can you see the firefighters who are in there trying to save 4,000 workers and tourists? They already evacuated 25,000 others but fate had cards that it didnt want to show as they raced up the stairs, time had run out.

We fly the flag in defiance. On cars, fire escapes, front porches and rooftops accross the country the symbol of our freedom flies while those very freedoms are under attack. We hide under a shroud of security, relinquishing power and our liberties to others in the name of defense. Is that what this country has ever stood for?

So where were you the day the buildings fell? How did it make you feel? Or have you already placed your flag in the closet?
James R. Alger III | 30 | California

#554 | Thursday, December 20th, 2001
I can remember practically everything I did or said on September 11, 2001. It all seemed like a dream to me. Sometimes it still does. Everyday my thoughts are with the victims and their families. I wonder if I will ever stop thinking about them. Hopefully, I will not. I was so angry when I realized the full extent of what had happened. The fact that 20 strange men could kill thousands of innocent people is absolutely horrifying to me. Why would anyone give their life to a coward? I think bin Laden is a coward simply because he can't show his face; only in videos. I hope that America will be a stronger nation. I pray that more people will be more patriotic and more compassionate to one another. I hope we continue to pray, as a nation united by God, for answers we will probably never have and for strength to the victims' families and for the recovery of survivors.
Robin | 20 | Virginia

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