#995 | Wednesday, March 13th, 2002
Like most people out west, I was sound asleep when the phone rang. A friend informed me that the WTC had been hit by a plane - I said you're crazy. I kept thinking this isn't funny, why would he say that? As we were talking the Pentagon was hit -- He just kept repeating "Turn on the TV, turn on the TV." I did and sat in disbelief for several minutes before I even thought to wake my husband. I was horrified. What we were seeing, there was no way to comprehend it!

I was certainly relieved that my sister, a flight attendant for American Airlines stationed in NY and living in Manhattan, had retired from the Airline that summer and moved permanently to live full time in LA. We have a couple of friends living in NJ, but they work in NJ, so we felt such gratitude that all of our loved ones should be safe.

Around noon (PST) we had a phone call from my mother-in-law informing us that my brother-in-law's fiancee had been in NY, staying at the Marriott at the WTC where she had a presentation scheduled that morning. My poor brother-in-law spent hours not knowing, unable to get ahold of her.

After the first plane hit, the Marriott personnel began evacuation of the hotel. As she was running for her life, the 2nd plane flew directly overhead and hit the 2nd tower. She kept running, nearly getting lost twice. Two different times she was stopped by passing New Yorkers and redirected away from the reckage. She was confused and disoriented by all the smoke and debris and people running. She linked arms with another woman and they ran together through Battery Park, and didn't stop until they reached water. They made it onto one of the last ferrys headed to Staten Island. There she met a nice man who let her come to his house with his wife and 2 college aged daughters. They took her in and kept her safe until she was able to leave the city the next day.

We are so thankful that we have all of our loved ones intact. I spent days crying, unable to believe that there are people out there so horrible that they would do this to innocent people. I didn't feel as angry about the Pentagon. Yes, I was angry, but you can understand the logic behind those madmen going after a military target. But why innocent people? They had to know we would go to war. Which makes it even scarier.

I'm not sure if we're safe any more, but I'm going on with my life. I will not let THEM paralize me with fear. We will all carry on and resume life, because to not do so lets THEM win and that would be yet another sin.

A week before the attack, our neighbor's daughter asked me What being an American means to me. She was doing a paper for social studies. The following is my response:

FREEDOM. Freedom is the first word that comes to mind. Freedom to do and experience things that others are not fortunate enough to even contemplate.

GRATITUDE. Everytime I read or hear about some of the attrocities that occur in other parts of the world (the Taliban in Afghantistan, Ethnic Cleansing of Albanians, the whole Israel-Palestine war), I am so grateful that I am an American.

KNOWLEDGE. I am confident that whatever we need, we can build it, we can create it, we will overcome it with knowledge and technology. We can do anything! We are Americans!

CARING. I know that there are horrible things that happen here that don't happen in other places, but I also know that those things are done by a few crazies and there are alot more caring driven people who want to help make things better, make things work.

As I sit back 6 months after the attack, I still feel so proud and grateful to be an American.
Debbie | 37 | Arizona

#996 | Wednesday, March 13th, 2002
Well, I live in Hawaii, so at about 4 am, my phone kept ringing, and I sort of heard someone saying on the machine that I should turn my tv on, we were getting attacked. By then, the first tower had fallen. I finally got up and turned the TV on and couldn't believe it. Then the phone rang, and it was my buddy in LA, who's Dad and many friends work at the WTC. He was freaking out. I just couldn't believe it. I started crying, and woke up my husband. He was mad that I woke him up so early, until he saw what was happening, and then the news said 50,000 people could be dying. Pretty insane. What is really weird is September 10th, I was talking to a coworker who's daughter was in Israel on vacation. We were talking about the violence there, and I said I couldn't believe that the US had never really been attacked. I said that I felt we were really vulnerable, and I know there are people out there that hate us for who knows what reasons. Then, boom, we were attacked. Scary. I still cannot believe it. It is hard to realize especially living way over here. I am bummed I have never been to NYC, and I never saw the WTC in person. God Bless America. We are the best country in the world. I love being an American!!!!!
Stephanie | 22 | Hawaii

#997 | Wednesday, March 13th, 2002
On the day -9-11-01, I was sleeping when my husband woke me up and told me to look at what is happening on the T.V.
I sat up to see the second plane hitting the building, I asked my husband what he was watching, what movie was it, all he said was that it was not a movie that two planes just crashed into the World Trade Buildings in New York City, I could believe all I could do was sit there in amazement, then I started to cry, I never thought anything like this would ever happen in my lifetime. I still get a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat whenever I see anything on the attack.
My heart goes out to the families who lost someone in the attacks,may God be with you.
I would also like to say how proud I am of the people of America on pulling together and becoming stronger.
WE are united and always will be, forever.
Proud American,
Joleen Nelson
Joleen Nelson | 34 | Nevada

#998 | Wednesday, March 13th, 2002
Where was I on 9/11? I remember waking up and jumping into the shower at around 7:00a.m. like I usually do on Tuesdays getting ready for school. I then turned on my radio and heard what was going on. I couldn't believe what had happened. At first it didn't click at how serious it was. I just remember hearing how a plane had crashed into the world trade center and how another one hit not minutes after. I got ready and went upstairs and my dad was watching T.V. I asked him what exactly was going on because I had no clue. I didn't know whether to believe it or not just like every other American out there. Maybe it wasn't the fact that I didn't know whether to believe it, but the fact whether I wanted to. I left and listened to the radio all the way to school, I am a senior in high school by the way, and went to my first hour. The only thing that anyone could talk about was what was happening in NY. All kinds of stories were going around, everyone was shocked. In my first hour class, which happened to be American History AP with Mr. Roberts, my teacher put on a station and all we did was sit there and watch what was going on. I remember sitting there and watching while the buildings callasped, people were screaming. I remember then hearing about the plane that hit the pentagon, and how a plane crashed in PA. I then remember sitting with some class mates discussing who could have done this? Who would have had enough guts to mess with the lives of so many Americans? I knew at that moment, that something big was going to come out of this and that it would take a while to find who was behind it. For the rest of the day all of my classes were discussing what was going on in our Country. After school, I went home and sat on the couch watching the news stations, flipping back and forth trying to find out more information on what was happening. For the next few days, I did the same thing, watch the news stations and listening to the stories that each individual had to say about what happened in NY. It looked like a war site. I have never seen anything like it before and hope to never see anything like it again.
My hopes and prayers are with everyone!
Danay Powers | 17 | Colorado

#999 | Wednesday, March 13th, 2002
I was sound asleep on Tuesday morning when I was awakened by a phone call from my husband. He was calling me from the road on his way to an interview in Palo Alto. He excitedly told me to go turn on the TV ; "...a plane has hit the WTC!" He said he'd be home asap that his interview had been cancelled as the person he was scheduled to meet with had a son who was working at the WTC. I was shocked and horrified by the sights and sounds on the TV. I watched as the second plane hit and felt glued to the TV. I finally dragged myself away long enough to shower and go to work. At work we all crowded around a radio unsure if we should stay or go home. All we wanted to do was be with our loved ones. I'm a child therapist and I kept thinking about the effect of the coverage on children and teens. In the past 6 mos. we've had a huge increase in suicidal teens in our clinic. My life often feels divided between before and after thoughts. I can sympathize with their anxiety; the world as we knew it has been forever changed. Anything is possible.
Doris | 49 | California

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