#955 | Monday, March 11th, 2002
I was at home sleeping in. Being on the west coast, it was just before 7am when a friend of mine called from Denver and said, "They have attacked the Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon." As he began to tell me this, I was still somewhat incoherent, but as soon as he mentioned the Pentagon, I sat bolt upright and said, "Holy s***! Were at war!"

I ran into the TV room and watched as just as the President came on with his first announcement. I did not move from the TV for the rest of the day. I watched as both towers collapsed and when the reports of the 4th plane crashing in PA. I could not believe that all of this was happening. I never thought anything like this could occur in our country.

That night I went outside and the sky was clear, there wasn't anything but the stars and a single aircraft in the sky. It was an F-16 flying cover over the Los Angeles area. It was then that it sank in that it wasn't a movie, all of the days events really happened.

We will move on, but we will never forget.

God Bless America
Chris Peak | 31 | California

#956 | Monday, March 11th, 2002
I was asleep in bed, it was 6.30am (Sydney time) when my husband woke me and said “America is under attack”. I was still fast asleep and just couldn’t comprehend in this day and age what that would really mean. “America under attack” impossible! I sat in front of the TV and I just keep seeing footage of the two airlines crashing into the WTC towers. I think it took me about 10 minutes to register what was happening. I just could not believe what I was seeing. I sat glued to the TV but nothing could prepare me when I saw the first tower collapse, I just started crying and shaking and kept thinking, “my God, all those people, my God what is going on”. My 8 week old boy awoke, I ran to his room picked him up and cried, I just kept thinking what kind of a world have I bought this young, innocent child into, a world that will never be the same again. I spent the rest of the day glued to my TV, watching those horrific images over and over again. Even today 6 months following the attack it still saddens me and I feel utter grief for all those families who have lost loved ones in the attacks. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims as well as their families. God bless you all.
Bianca | 29 | Australia

#957 | Monday, March 11th, 2002
I was dozing in my inhumanly early (9 AM) psych class along with about 1000 of my peers. I distinctly remember my proff saying something about being 'at a loss for words' over the tragedy that happened today, yet he never explicitly stated what the issue was, and I, having just started my first wk in uni, was still immersed in the newness of my immediate surroundings and oblivious to events beyond the cul de sac of the U of T campus. It was not until when class was let out did I find out and from the unlikeliest of sources -- my voicemail. It was chock full of messages, mainly from my worried parents back in Hong Kong. I heard about the tragedy detailed chronologically (it was morning in HK when the thing happened). The first msg was remotely calm, about the first crash. The panic upped significantly in the next msg, in which my mom informed me that there was a second crash, and then a third at the pentagon, and that it was suspected that this was an act of terrorism. All the people that left me msgs echoed the same concerns: whether I was safe and to warn me to stay away from all American establisments, esp. embassies, and even McDonalds. Initially I had attributed the panic in my parent's msgs to exaggerated parental concern, but my view soon changed as I pieced together how big a deal this was, purely from the volumn of msgs related to the incident from other ppl. I was walking across the very green King's College Circle at the time. It was a warm and sunny, a nice - almost mundane - day, exemplary of late summer, in downtown Toronto, were it not abruptly uprooted from its normalcy by the information of the attacks on our close neighbours.
Polly | 18 | Canada

#958 | Monday, March 11th, 2002
By the time I woke up on 9/11, everything had already happened. What I saw on TV was a couple of hours in the past. It didn't make it any less immediate for me.

Due to my two jobs, I keep odd sleeping hours. I work at my bookstore from 12-6 or 4-9 and then I work at my computer until 1 am, sometimes later. So I rarely get out of bed before 10 am, usually 11.

I was supposed to work 12-6 on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. I had my alarm set for 11, which would give me enough time to shower, check my e-mail, and grab something to eat.

I woke up at 10:48 am to my phone ringing. I rarely get phone calls during the day at home so I almost ignored it to let the voicemail come on. But something made me get up and stumble over to answer the phone. It was my mother and her first words to me, said in a shaking, disbelieving voice, were, "Terrible things are happening."

She was at the store with no television. Only the radio offered any information and the news was still sketchy and infrequent, too early for all the stations to have switched over to non-stop coverage. All she could tell me was that planes had hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and that there was a car explosion outside the State Department (a rumor that later on turned out to be untrue). A customer had just walked in and I overheard her telling my mother she had heard that another plane had crashed somewhere in Pennsylvania.

I took the phone into the living room and turned on the TV. Between my mother telling me what she was hearing on the radio and what the TV news was saying, I couldn't concentrate. I told my mother I'd find out what I could and call her back later.

I watched the news for about ten minutes, flipping frantically between NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN. I saw the footage of the second plane hitting. I saw the Pentagon surrounded by smoke. I saw first one tower, then the second, collapse into rubble and smoke. I still thought what I was seeing was live, that the planes had just hit and that I was watching the towers collapse live.

I called my mother back and managed to get out what I had seen before I started crying. The radio news was still spotty, so she didn't know about the towers. I learned that they had actually collapsed a little less than an hour and a half hour ago, not while I was watching. It didn't make a difference to me that it had already happened; it had happened, period.

The State Department rumor was laid to rest. Then speculations about the plane down in Pennsylvania started being passed around - where was it headed? was it part of the attack or just a "regular" crash that happened to occur at the worst time? Nobody knew anything. All the planes were being landed, sent to the closest airports around the country and in Canada. Rumors about more hijacked planes, possibly heading to Los Angeles, Chicago, DC again, were running rampant. The president was being whisked away to a secret, secure location. Nobody knew where the vice-president was. This was all on the news.

How could I not be scared when the newscasters were obviously panicked and utterly shaken?

I told my mother to close up the store for the day, that nobody would be out shopping and she should go home. She told me the customers who had come in the first time she called were still there, listening to the radio with her. She had to tell them she was closing up and call Andrew, our employee, to tell him to stay home. She hung up and promised to call me before she left to go home.

I continued to watch the news, unsurprised to see that almost every single channel had tapped into one or another of the national news feeds. And of the stations that weren't showing the news, they had ceased their programming entirely, putting up a notice explaining the events of the day and offering their prayers. It was surreal.

My mother called back and told me Andrew had called as soon as she had hung up, asking what to do. She told him to stay home, and she told me she was closing up and on her way home. I told her to call me as soon as she arrived.

Since the news was saying the same things over and over, repeatedly showing the footage of the plane hitting and the towers collapsing, I decided to check the internet and see if I could find out any more information. The situation was essentially the same, but I did take the time to e-mail friends I knew in New York and DC to ask them to check in. I also e-mailed friends I knew weren't anywhere near those two places, just because I felt a driving need to connect with people. Mailing lists were filled with posts asking for people to check in and let everyone know they were all right. Message boards were the same. I went to MBTV (now TWoP) and found a thread about the attacks with already over 1000 posts. I read the entire thing, desperately seeking information and connection. I smiled every time a name I knew posted to say they were okay. I cried when I heard accounts from New Yorkers who had witnessed everything. I never posted on that thread, but I silently offered my wishes and prayers to everyone.

By this time, my mother had gotten home, so I decided to go to her house since I didn't want to be alone anymore. On the drive, I noticed how shell-shocked and distracted the other drivers looked. I imagined I looked very much the same. I saw a group of people gathered around a car in a grocery store parking lot, most likely listening to the radio. Cars were already lining up at gas stations, and I felt lucky that I had just filled up the day before.

I arrived at my mother's house, where she informed me that my uncle, who works in a local government building, was essentially in lockdown. Many government buildings had been evacuated, but even more, especially local ones, had been directed to keep everyone there until given permission to leave. They were each allowed to make one brief phone call to someone to let them know they were safe.

My mother also reminded me that I had a cousin in the Army who worked at the Pentagon. She also said she knew many people from her days in the insurance business who worked in the WTC. The day, horrifying enough already, had become a personal tragedy for me and my family.

We watched the news throughout the day into the early evening. My uncle was eventually released and immediately came over. We talked about what was happening, the possible death toll, how it must have felt for those people on the planes, if this was just the beginning and if we'd wake up to more attacks the next day, how buildings with such structural integrity as the WTC could just collapse like they were made of cardboard, the gutwrenching horror of seeing people jump to their deaths, who was behind the attacks, whether the government had knowledge of these attacks beforehand, what really happened on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania, how Bush would handle this, why something like this happened.

Why.

That was the biggest question. And on that day, nobody had any answers.

All throughout the afternoon and evening, the phone rang. Family members, friends, people we hadn't talked with in years. Everyone was calling everyone to reach out, connect, reassure each other that they were physically okay. Nobody was emotionally okay.

Finally, I decided to go home. My mother and I made the decision to close again the next day, saying it would be pointless to be open since nobody would be shopping. In truth, we weren't ready to deal with the mundane world of book sales, not yet.

Once home, I turned the TV on and got back on the computer. I sought out as many people as I could, wanting to just talk and connect. I breathed a huge sigh of relief every time I heard from someone I knew that was from NYC or DC, or even knew someone there. Not all the messages were good, however. Several acquaintances were still missing. Friends of friends hadn't been heard from. I stayed up until past 3 in the morning, just talking with friends and listening to the news and still trying to face the terrible reality of the day.

Sheer exhaustion sent me to bed, although I struggled against it. I didn't want to wake up to an irrevocably changed world. I didn't want to wake up to a gorgeous, sunny fall day and then have the memories of the previous day come crashing back. I didn't want to wake up and have my cousin and my friends still missing.

But most of all, I didn't want to go to sleep because I didn't want to not wake up. And on the night of 9/11, that was a very real, very frightening possibility.

Annie | 29 | Virginia

#959 | Monday, March 11th, 2002
i was on my way to work and i was listening to howard stern tell of the events unfolding live from ny city.i pulled over n called my husband and i was crying n asking is this true?i never made it to work.i couldnt believe once i saw it on tv.i still cry every time i see anything on the wtc.......
kim | 37 | California

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