#718 | Sunday, February 3rd, 2002
September 11, 2001 was like any other Tuesday in my life. I am a sophomore at a near by high school in Westchester County. The day was going just fine. 8:48am, it passed like any other minute on the clock. I was in my 3rd period study hall at around 10:00 and my principal walked in and said, “Ok guys, now listen up. If any of your parents work in the city, please go down to the main office and try and call them.” I sort of looked at him in a weird way and was thinking, “Why?” Then he told us. He said that two airplanes had crashed into the World Trade Center. He continued to go on and said that one of towers was crumbled and the other was still standing, but on fire. I began to think if my father went to the city that morning. He works in Stamford, but sometimes goes to the city. I didn’t think he had gone so I had just gone on without thinking of it. Then my twin sister came into the room crying and said that he was in the city. I ran out of the classroom. I didn’t know what to do. She said that they shut down the city and that daddy would have to stay overnight. I began to panic. My teacher tried to comfort me but it was no use. I called my mother on the telephone and she told me that the Trade Towers were gone and that she saw it live. She assured me that my father was no where near them and on the other side of the city, which he was. I came that day and it hit me like a blot of lighting. I sat there in my living room and watched what my mom had seen earlier. I saw the first plane hit. Then, I saw the second. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The then showed footage of them crumbling to the ground. It was an eerie sight that I will never forget for as long as I live. I said to myself, “This doesn’t happen in America! These people can’t do this to us!” I remember seeing a humungous cloud of smoke engulfing the entire southern most tip of Manhattan. It looked like a war zone on the streets as well and I thought I was watching something in the Middle East. Inches and Inches of dust a debris covered streets and cars. All the while, I was in awe. I couldn’t begin to think all the people that were dead or injured. In the days following the attack, I gathered many newspapers and articles. I have the first one that came off the press on the night of the attack, all the way to the first paper that says were begun to attack Afghanistan. In all of them I see people uniting together and helping each other out. That is what America is all about. These people, these disgusting terrorist thought that could break the American people, the Economy and our way of life. Boy, where they ever wrong. We are one nation, under god, indivisible, full of liberty and justice and freedom for all. No one can ever take that away. Freedom will be defended and we will prevail.
Nick Coperine | 16 | New York

#719 | Sunday, February 3rd, 2002
I had just arrived for work. My friend has a radio in her office, and she told me she'd heard it on Power 99 (here in Philly). I thought it was some joke, but when the second plane hit, I realized it wasn't, and I knew terrorists were behind it. How else could something like this be explained? My boss had Howard Stern on in his office, and he and his crew were giving an account of what they right outside their windows in New York City.
No work was done that day. We all stood around talking and listening, or at our desks trying to access overloaded news websites or reach family and friends via phone. I took stock of everyone I knew, trying to think if there was anyone at great risk.
One thing many of us realized was that we needed to see it on TV. At least it was in real time, and we needed to connect what we were hearing and seeing in still photos with live images. A group of us walked a few blocks to our local CBS affiliate, where there was a television set up outside, and people were already gathered. We all stood in silence for awhile, then walked back to the office.
I couldn't wait to go home. We were finally told to leave at 10:45. When I got home, I sat on the floor and hugged my dog, and broke down.
Rachel | 27 | Pennsylvania

#720 | Sunday, February 3rd, 2002
I was at the local Dunkin Donuts in Middle Village, Queens when my husband called me from his office building at 120 Broadway, which is approximately 1&1/2 blocks from the World Trade Center. He told me about the first plane and I honestly thought it must be an accident. He's telling me what he sees- papers flying everywhere and the unbelievable sight of people jumping from the burning building. Then he yelled out "OH God" and I hear a loud crash over the phone, and hes says another plane hit the other tower. At that point I yell for him to get out right away and he hangs up. People were asking me if I was ok because at that point noone knew what was going on. Some people sounded like they didnt believe me- like I was crazy enough to make it up. I ran home to watch the news and to call my husband cell phone to no avail. The lines were completely dead. I had a sick feeling in my stomach. I watched out my window and could see the plumes of smoke moving towards the east. I was frantic to talk to my husband I needed to know he was alright. I didnt hear from him until 12:30 that afternoon and I hugged him as tight as I could. My heart goes out to all those who were not as fortunate as I was to have their loved ones return home safely from that horrible tragedy.
Colleen | 27 | United States

#721 | Sunday, February 3rd, 2002
The attacks on September 11 occurred at around 10pm here in Brisbane, Australia. I was asleep in a tent on my Mum's verandah (I was living cheaply, being between jobs and having just completed a 9 week solo kayaking expedition, so my cash reserves were low), when a friend called me on my mobile (cell) phone and said "you aren't going to believe this ... go turn on a TV and you will see".

I raced inside, turned on the TV and sat there totally stunned by what I was seeing. I woke my Mum up, called all my friends, and then continued to sit transfixed. I remained that way in front of the TV for well over 24 hours continuously. I couldn't sleep, my mind was reeling, I was in a state of shock and grief, and I felt a sense of tremendous foreboding about the world which was changing dramatically in front of my eyes.
Andrew | 32 | Australia

#722 | Monday, February 4th, 2002
I was watching the final episode in the second season of 'The West Wing' at around 10:10pm when a news flash came on during an ad break. 'Two planes have crashed into the World Trade Centre'. It was suprising, but I was admittedly not shocked. Perhaps to Channel Nine's regret,the rest of The West Wing was shown, and for about half an hour I was under the impression this was not too serious.

Two planes crashing ? Must be light aircraft. After all, as I commented on a chat room as the show finished, wasn't there some plane that crashed into the Empire State Building in 1945 ? The power of television makes stories appear more overwhelming than they should be if the visuals look dramatic.

Then the web connection appeared to lag, and I could not get access to some news websites. A few comments appeared on a chat site about planes crashing in Pennysalvania and Washington DC - still uncertain of the veracity of the news reports I thought this was some bad humour. I even rejoined in with some other disbelievers, jokingly announcing that other targets (such as my gazebo) had been hit. After all, Princess Diana jokes had made me giggle.

But a few seconds later the real news confirmed that, yes, a plane had hit the Pentagon and another a field in Pennysalvania, and that (falsely) a bomb went off near the State Department. And we are not dealing with wayward Cessnas, but fully fuelled wide bodies that were believed to have been hijacked and used as instruments of mass destruction.

Suffice to say, any self-indulgent sense of sardonic coolness instantly evaporated. It was just unbelieveable - the methods, the motives, and the setting.

I made contact with my mum, who contacted her sister as my cousin was in New York (safe, but definitely shocked).
I spent the rest of the night until 5.30am watching the news (on all five television channels).

In the morning, the disbelief had gone, replaced with a deep feeling of sadness. Depressed and groggy, and too aware that what had happened was real, I went to work.
Eugene McCabe | 30 | Australia

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