#801 | Friday, March 1st, 2002
It was the begining of a week's worth of vacation for me. I was wide awake and had been all night as I was working on a redesign for a website. The TV was off and the sun was just starting to creep through the blinds of my Florida apartment. Exhausted and frustrated with my web work I clicked off my computer and turned on the television, figuring I'd have a quick cigarette and a look at the perky morning news stations before finally going to sleep. The channel was set to NBC for no reason, the Morning Show with Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. There was a very interesting interview with a man who had written a book on Howard Hughes being broadcasted, stubbing out my spent cigarette I lit another one as I was actually engrossed in this man's tales. Suddenly the camera panned away from the entertaining author to a somewhat shocked looking Lauer who interrupted for 'breaking news' only to speed away immediately for commercial breaks as they lost their camera connection to the 'breaking news'. Curiously I din't automatically go to CNN or MSNBC, I flipped up a few channels to Good Morning America. There we had Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer and a camera angle to the WTC, one tower was burning and debris was litering the air. There was talk of a small plane hitting the building, but even I in my ignorance of the *size* of the building knew it had to be something larger. I knew it was a passenger jet. I still wasn't sure what happened, as most of us weren't. My first instinct was to call my mom, which I did, waking her from her sleep. My first question was...'Where's dad?'. I knew he was meant to be flying off somewhere for business and often leaves from the New York for Egypt(at this point we didn't know where the planes had taken off from), luckily he was in Atlanta and had arrived there late the night before. So for the next few minutes me and my mother watched the burning tower and swarming helicopters on the television, commenting ocassionally until the second plane hit. 'Another plane just hit the other tower' my mother shouted across the phone line. 'No way.' I said, 'It must be footage from the first plane hitting'. We all sooned learned the truth. A strange numbing feeling, not quite panic, enveloped me and I hung up the phone. I figured I wouldn't be sleeping anytime soon and was down to my last few cigarettes. I got in my car and traveled the short trek across the street to the store taking in the morning commute of people heading to work. Did they know? I wondered.


Inside the store a tiny black and white TV was playing, the clerk was crying, saying she knew people who worked there, knew people who had died in Oklahoma. Emotions were begining to show and even change on the few customers in the store. 'It's terrorism.' Someone said quietly. 'It's gotta' be terrorism.' Someone said angrily, louder. I said nothing and left with my cigarettes and looked again at the packed highway, 'Do they know?'



A few minutes later I opened the door of my apartment, the news station still blaring on my TV and the image I encountered was far more frightening than even seeing the tower hit on live television. It was the image of a smoke filled Washington DC. The Pentagon was burning. The Pentagon. Then all the various rumors of bombs began leaking to to the press and the camera showed Bush on television here in Florida and as awful as it sounds I was hoping he'd hurry up and leave the state, like his presence was a target.

Then there was panic, here for me, in the relative safety of my surburban Orlando home, because there was The Kennedy Space Center and Lockheed-Martin, Andrews Air Force Base, Disney World...



With in an hour after the first attack I was showered and heading down a nearly deserted highway my eyes constantly taking in the sky for the shadow of aircraft, the FAA had already grounded the planes. My car couldn't drive fast enough and when I passed other vehicles I still wondered, 'Did they know? Why are they driving so slowly?'

Finally I reached my mothers house and for whatever reason felt safe by the fact that I was with people. We watched the news stations, and we watched the towers fall. The towers falling didn't really seem to affect me, I was fed on adrenalin and it was just numbing. I remember distracted conversations, my mother telling my father, who was staying in a hotel at Atlanta's Hartfield airport(one of the busiest airports in the country)to find a car and get out of there, to come home.

Over and over again the towers fell, then 7 world trade center plummeted to the ground. Bush was on TV from underground bunkers and the dust people were everywhere on every screen, looking distracted, ghostly, not at all real.

Sleep still alluded me and I left the confines of my mothers house for a few hours only to return to the images of fighting in Afghanistan, which everyone wrongly assumed was an attack launched by the US. I had heard about Mossood(sp?)assasination a few days before, how little I knew then that the Taliban or Afghanistan would invade my life.

Eventually the night ended, and I still didn't sleep. I watched the towers fall some more. I remembered watching Behind The Veil a few days before, it was media images and newsclips and when the sun crept through the blinds I finally fell to sleep.

Six months later and I still think about 9/11 every single day.
lanie | 26 | Florida

#802 | Saturday, March 2nd, 2002
I was home from school with a bad cold my dad was at work and all of my friends at school. I was watching tv when my mum came running into the room
"Quick put CNN on" She said "A plane has hit the twin towers in New York" So i put CNN on and surley enough there was one of the towers with smoke bellowing from around the 100th Floor
we sat there watching and listening to how all of the reporters were saying what a terrible accident it had been... Then all i heard was one of the reporters "Oh my god theres another plane what's that plane doing" then all we saw was the plane dissapear behind the tower and then the biggest explosion i have ever seen. We watched for hours, both towers, victims and speeches we were sat there for 6 hours just watching My mum found out a Few weeks later that one of her colleagues for an internet based group had been killed in the tradgedy
Rob | 14 | United Kingdom

#803 | Saturday, March 2nd, 2002
I was on my front porch waiting for my youngest brother, Jimmy, to drop off his 6 year old daughter Autumn (who was out of school sick) so I could babysit her. My mom had called my cellphone a few minutes earlier, so I took a moment to call her. Then she said those words "I already know" - Know what mom? "Terrorists attacked the World Trade Center - Daddy, Matt and I are going to Debbie's - Aunt Liz is picking us up". With my heart in my throat, I ran back into the house and tried to turn on the tv with shaking hands - and finally screamed to my boyfriend 'Marc! make this thing work!'. He did - we got Channel 2 (CBS/NY) and I saw the towers burning and started shaking from head to toe - because my younger brother Tom was on the 104th floor of Tower 1 (North Tower). He was on the phone with a client when the plane hit and said 'They bombed us again, I have to go' (he was there in 93 - his first week at Cantor Fitzgerald). That is the last we ever heard of my beautiful brother, Thomas H. Bowden, Jr., age 36.

Tommy, we miss you and will remember you always. We will make sure Sara and Alyson know what a wonderful, kind, loving man their Daddy was.
Kathy Bowden | 37 | New Jersey

#804 | Saturday, March 2nd, 2002
September 11th I was in school. The halls seemed unusally quiet but being new and knowing very few people, I was used to the quiet. I didn't even know what was going on until last period when our principal made an announcement on the loud speakers. She told us that there had been acts of violence along the East Coast but that we were not to worry. My dad worked in NYC and we had just moved from Boston so with so very information to go on I immediately burst into tears. But no one knew anything. Our teachers weren't allowed to talk with us about it so we just had to wait until the end of the day. When my boyfriend picked me up and I saw the tears in his eyes I knew that it was pretty bad. I couldn't get in touch with my parents but I went to my boyfriends house and I cried and cried. It wasn't until I finally got in touch with my dad that I realized everything would be ok. It would be tough. September 11th will stay in all our hearts forever.
Michele | 15 | Pennsylvania

#805 | Saturday, March 2nd, 2002
I woke up only when my ride called me at 6:45 am to ask me why I wasn't answering the doorbell. Oops. So I got ready in the quickest three minutes ever and sleepily stumbled into her car mumbling a good morning along with an apology. Her reply?? "The World Trade Centers have been attacked!" Man did THAT wake me up. We were listening to the radio so intently.
That whole day at school, every teacher touched a little if not a lot on the tragedy. Before second period I listened to the radio for a few minutes and was shocked to hear that two MORE planes had crashed. Some teachers let us get on the internet and look up more information so that we could comfirm facts from plenty of rumors that students claimed were true. (i.e. That Hollywood has been hit too, etc)
When i got home from school, all i could do was watch the TV and a thousand prayers went through my head. I was so glad that everyone I knew was safe, but I still couldn't help but cry for the thousands of people who weren't. We had two family friends make it out of there alive. But then I found out that my neighbor had been on the flight that crashed into the Pentagon. Then it made me think: All those flights were en route to LA... maybe everyone i know ISN'T safe. A lot of San Diegans fly via LAX.
That day and the weeks following, I cried so much more than I ever thought I would. It's a day I'll never forget and in a way, i think that's a good thing.
Shreya | 16 | California

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