#886 | Sunday, March 10th, 2002
I woke up at approximately 7:15 am Pacific Time on the morning of September 11th, before my alarm went off, in my apartment in San Francisco. I went out of my room to go to the bathroom, and I heard the sound of the radio in the living room down the hall. It seemed odd to me that my roommate would be listening to the radio in the living room early in the morning. When my roommate heard me in the hallway, she called out: "Turn on your television!" At that time there was a TV only in my room and not in the living room. She and I went into my room (I was still in my boxer shorts) and I turned on the TV. Immediately I saw the image of one of the two World Trade Center buildings on fire (I found out soon from the commentary the first one had already collapsed). About ten minutes later, the second tower collapsed live on television. I believe we were listening to Peter Jennings.

I could not believe what I was watching, and sat there stunned. I called my boyfriend and my mother. The commentary said that the Pentagon had also been hit and that there was a car bomb at the State Department (which turned out not to be true). My roommate and I watched TV for over an hour. Her co-workers called and told her they weren't going to work, and she shouldn't either.

Eventually I drove to my job at Stanford University, listening to the radio the whole way and driving on a boulevard rather than the freeway for some of the way because I felt too emotional to drive in freeway traffic. When I got to work, I was told the library might be shutting down and that I didn't have to stay at work. The bookstore had already closed. I went to my father and stepmother's house, and the three of us watched the news for the rest of the day and into the night. I spent the night at their house because I couldn't face driving home that night.

A few days later, I found out that a distant acquaintance of mine (who I hadn't seen in five years) had died in the tragedy, on the 101st floor of the first tower hit.
Brett McKeon | 31 | California

#887 | Sunday, March 10th, 2002
I woke up about 10 minutes before the first tower collapse. I walked out of my room just as my roommate was coming in from classes. He had a very shocked look on his face and he immediately started repeating over and over "it's hit! it's hit! the world trade center was hit with a plane!" I was still in a sleepy state and couldn't comprehend what he was saying until he turned on the TV. I don't think I have ever had a worse awakening in my life. I eventually tore myself away from the television and went to class. Not a single person in class could concentrate on anything, but we went through the motions. The shock was tremendous. Thankfully they canceled classes for the rest of the day, and I went home and spent time with friends and struggled to deal with the tragedy.... Never forget!
Tristan Jones | 20 | Michigan

#888 | Sunday, March 10th, 2002
I was asleep when the attack started since it was around 5:45 am from where I live. Coming from Las Vegas, NV, USA, I lived in Pacific Standard time zone that is three hours away from New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. I did not know about the attack until I came to history class that morning. It was around 7:45 am when my history professor notified the class of the attack, and had us listen to the radio. I was in a state of shock and wondered what happened, or if it was real. I thought it was another WTC attack like we heard about in 1993 and when Timothy McVeigh bombed Federal building in April 1995, but it was more serious than that. My professor told us that this was more serious attack than ones in the 1990ís and the nation started to change before the class that morning. She learned about the attack during her meeting earlier in the day. I did not know how serious the attack was until I saw the news on TV after the class.
When I came to work, my supervisor and coworkers told me about the attack, and said it was serious. Have I not been in class that day, they would have been the ones who told me instead of my professor? My supervisor learned about the attack when one of his relatives from Pennsylvania called him earlier in the morning, about 6:30 in PST and 9:30 in EST (Time zone of NYC, Washington DC and Pennsylvania). He had the radio one because people he knew were in middle of the attack and he felt empty. Luckily, his family members, relatives, and friends were left unharmed. The situations after the attack upset him since many laid-off workers in Las Vegas area applied for jobs through his company. I work for a restaurant that does not depend on tourism like many businesses in Las Vegas did.
The situations in Las Vegas became tense because most of our businesses and industries depended on the use of airline industry, and Las Vegas is a city of entertainment, casino, gaming, and tourism industries. All of these industries depended on airline industry to bring in more customers and businesses. Recently, many laid-off workers are running out of luck of finding new jobs to replace the ones that they lost, and there unemployment insurance is running out. I read a newspaper article today that two laid-off workers are living in fears and uncertainties since they did not have luck with finding job, and they are facing with the loss of unemployment insurance, unless if federal government would extend their benefits another 13 weeks. One worker stated that she worked for that same company for 20 years, but it did not save her from getting laid-off.
There had been complaints that older or minority workers had been laid-off in larger number than younger or European-American workers. I never work near the Strip, so I do not know what it is like working down there. My friend in other state lost his job although he gave his loyal services to same company for many years, and he did not tell me about it until a month ago. He was too ashamed to tell me this and did not respond to my Christmas cards and newsletter. His family is stressed out these days because he had harder time finding new job to replace the ones he lost. My coworkers felt the impact of lay-offs and the fears and frustration people had since the attack.
We also blamed Osama bin Laden and his cronies for making our lives harder. I felt angry when I read religious comments that God wanted it to happen to teach us some lessons, or that he wanted us to get down on our knees and ask him what he wanted us to do. Many people complained about religious messages. I am a member of an online group where somebody complained about the religious message I sent one time, because he felt tired of his coworkers pushing religion in his throat for years. When we learned from reading newspaper and watching news on TV that whatever Osama bin Laden and other terrorists did was not for God, we felt relieved. We also felt relieved that Muslim people and people of other religion did not condone whatever these terrorists did on September 11, 2001 and anytime before or after the attack.
I learned to take one day at a time and keep on doing whatever I wanted to do in my life. I also learned that we could not rush in our life achievement, and we could take one day at a time and be proud of our smaller accomplishments rather than waiting for us to finish our bigger accomplishments or waiting for something more significant to come to us. I noticed that other people learned similar lessons. With the support of their families and friends, they adjusted well than expected or thought they would.
I met several people who lost their family members or relatives at WTC. One young man came to bus in tears one night because he learned that one of his cousins had been missing in WTC, and he had not call anyone for more than a week. His relatives were worried and panicked for more than a week, and the rescue workers still looked for people who might be stuck in the wreckage. Unfortunately, the last survivor found in wreckage was found on a Wednesday after the attack (about two days after the attack), and his cousin had been missing for more than a week. I listened to him for more than an hour. He rode bus to visit one of his friends because they wanted to cheer him up and comfort him. I saw him again about two months later, and he was doing fine.
My older friends have relatives and friends in East Coast. They were worried about losing their loved ones at first. When it turned out that everyone they knew were all right, they felt relieved and visited their relatives in Boston for Thanksgiving. My supervisor came to Pittsburgh on October to watch football game and to visit his old friends and relatives. He said that people were fine as usual, bus some people felt more stressed out about the Anthrax attack and that many New Yorkers are out-of-work since the attack. Some businesses took weeks to recover while other lost their businesses altogether due to the attack.
The last six months had been stressful for me. Other people in Las Vegas felt stressed out too. We lived our lives as unusual unless there were big interruptions like being laid-off from our jobs. Job market is not good these days, so I could not find second job with confidence like I could last year. My coworkers tried to get jobs at the new Wal Mart store opening up in few weeks, and they never heard from their personnel office for job interviews. We noticed that many companies tried to give higher priority to laid-off workers before they hire somebody who still have job. I gave up on seeking second job since October, because I noticed that many hiring manager felt stressed out about giving me a second job if laid-off workers had been more desperate for jobs for weeks.
I hope the next six months will be better since we learned our lessons and had chances to recover from our losses. I hope the less six months, more laid-off workers will have jobs, and the economy will get better. I also hope our countries as well as other countries will get more of positive results from our recent war against terrorism.
Lisa Bailey | 36 | Nevada

#889 | Monday, March 11th, 2002
That day for me was a school day since my first class wasn't until 12:00, you know I was sleeping in. My alarm woke me about 10:00 and I remember Sen. Maxine Waters was speaking to the DJ's on the radio assesing what was happening (I live in So.California). I knew something had happened by the tones and urgency of their voices but I thought we had just had another earthquake because we had had little ones in the previous days. I jumped in the shower and felt nervous there'd be one while I was in there so I quickly finished. As I brushed out my hair, my skin just didn't feel right so I went in to the living room and asked my mom what was wrong and she just said the towers were on fire. She didn't have to finish her sentence for I already saw the TV screen. I just sank. I was heart-broken, that building it was a representation of who we are, those people. My God those people! What was happening...6 mos. later and I can't even clearly execute my feelings. I am just so sorry...
Godbless the victims and the heroes of that tragic day.
A. Calderon | 23 | California

#890 | Monday, March 11th, 2002
I was a student at the Sorbonne, in Paris, and was waiting outside the building for my friends after the last class of the day. We had all just flown over from the U.S. the week before, as the semester had just begun. I saw my friends and we started to leave when a girl came up to us and asked us if we were American. When we said yes, she told us that a plane had just flown into the WTC and that the Pentagon had been bombed. I asked, "This must be a joke, right?", but no one answered. I was serious; I really didn't think that it had actually happened.
We ran anxiously to the cafe next door, which had a big TV by the bar. I couldn't understand most of what the newscaster was saying in rapid French, but I saw the second plane slam into the south tower and tears came into my eyes. Then the south tower collapsed as I gasped in complete horror. "My God, those people. All those people just died," I repeated, crying. The camera zoomed in on people jumping to their deaths from the other tower.
The other cafe patrons just looked at we Americans detachedly. In that one moment, we felt so isolated, so helpless, and so full of sorrow. Later, my friend from Scotland made a jab about how patriotic Americans were. "What do you mean?" I asked. "Well, you said that you cried when you heard about the World Trade Center." I could not even reply. In a foreign country, we felt as if no one understood that we were not crying for our country; we were crying for the loss of innocence and human life. We were crying about the existence of such hatred in the world. Our mourning was not nationalistic.
Since September 11th, my whole view of politics has changed. My naivete was lost. I never realized the animosity that other cultures harbored towards Americans held a root in history. Seeing my confusion after the attacks, my European friends finally sat me down at dinner and told me why they and their respective countries hated America. I was confused and hurt by the anger in their voices as they spoke of American oppression. Worse, I could not even defend my country against so many others all at once. It was impossible to do so, and they didn't want to believe me. These were my friends; how could they say that they hated Americans? I could understand if they had said that they hated our foreign policy, or a certain political or economic stance, but how could one hate a country and it's citizens?
The American Embassy in Paris warned us not to look or act too American, which confused us even further. Weren't we supposed to be proud to be Americans? Did they want us to hide? We ignored the advice and went on speaking English amongst ourselves and wearing little flag pins. We wouldn't have blended in anyway.
I was pleased by the immediate support of other nations worldwide, but disappointed by individual reactions to the September 11 attacks. People need to remember that we are all one human race, and that we all suffer from such acts of hatred. Terrorism stikes everywhere, and we all have to fight it together.
Olivia | 26 | Hawaii

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