September 10, 2009

2,974

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The thing I always say - and always will say - about that day is that the sky was a bright blue, possibly the bluest I'd ever seen to that point in my life and I have certainly not seen a bluer or more vibrant sky since.

Things that were built - mined, refined, shaped, crafted and constructed - by man and machines were reduced to chaotic scraps of rubble. The streets were wastelands, emergency workers covered in dust and ash looking like survivors from some sort of science-fiction holocaust. And it was that thought - look how easily and how quickly everything we've built can be destroyed - that humbled me and left me feeling helpless.

Planes were grounded and that blue sky remained untouched. A silence descended over everything. A lone helicopter flew over our neighborhood and everyone came out into yards and onto balconies. We looked like Katrina victims staring up at the sky for rescue. Of course, Katrina hadn't happened yet. Foreshadowing.

Watching TV was like putting all the information in the world into a gigantic flour sifter. After you shook it for 24 hours, you'd wind up with large nuggets of truth while the grains of rumor and misinformation drifted to the floor waiting for someone to sweep them up. The Department of Commerce bombed, the Gannett news building on fire, bridges in and out of DC and New York brought down. None of it true but we didn't know that at the time.

I think it's important that we remember the blue sky. Important that we remember what we were doing, where we were, what thoughts streamed through our minds. Important that we remember the 102 minutes in which the towers fell, the 200 people who assessed their chances of survival and jumped, the 2,974 people who died.

What do you remember?

Posted by Chris at September 10, 2009 5:53 AM
Comments

Ah yes. The skies were that wonderful shade of blue that we seem to only get in the Autumn. The day started out peacefully enough for me. I was showering, getting ready to go to the dentist to have two crowns put on my front teeth (entirely another story). I was rising off when Hubby opened the shower door and said "Honey. Please get out of the shower now. Something has happened." He touched my arm, which was odd.
I got out, grabbed a towel and robe and came into the family room, where they were talking about a plane going into the World Trade Center.
Over the next few hours we watched in horror as events unfolded.
I knew if I canceled going to my dentist I would never go (dental-phobia), so at 11 o'clock I drove the 3 miles to my dentist's office.
Thee were no people on the street. There was not even another car! I was in shock!
I arrived at my dentists and every was crying. They had a small TV and everyone was watching in horror.
I sat getting my crowns put on watching the towers fall.
All the rest of the dental patients canceled that day.
I got home and sat in front of the TV. I cannot tell you how long.
It was one of the longest days of my life.

Posted by: Maribeth at September 10, 2009 6:56 AM

I remember watching it on the little TV we had on the boat we were staying on. It was the middle of our holiday and a glorious week for weather. I remember watching the towers comming down and thinking "Oh no, they've done it now, the Americans'll nuke them back to the stone age and us with them in retaliation!". It was one of the most tense 48 hours of my life, wondering if the Americans would launch a retaliatory strike that would destroy us all. I also remember thinking, "I'm sorry for you lot, but hey, welcome to the world people. The IRA have been doing stuff like this for years while America stands by and aids them or just jeers from the sidelines, here's a dose of reality."

Unfortunately, it's something America cant seem to understand. 95% of the world actively hate America and all it stands for, the other 5% are your allies and they dont like you all that much either, especially when you arrogantly interfere in the policy of a foreign nation to suit your own economic ends. No-one wanted to see the twin towers destroyed, but no-one can deny it brought American foreign policy up short, at least for a little while. There was an amazing sense of solidarity here when it happened, almost every boat was flying the stars and stripes in sympathy. We felt for our allies, but at the same time, we were terribly frightened since it has become apparent that our 'allies' think rather less of us then we were led to believe. One wonders where this alliance is heading and whether it really benefits either country all that much. It seems America has the better deal out of it to the detriment of her friends.

Posted by: Sam Jones at September 10, 2009 7:08 AM

I remember seeing it on the internet news, during a break from training that morning. When I went to tell the rest of the group, our non-American group leader interrupts and says "And they're all dead, right?", almost like she was expecting it.

I remember the lack of planes in the sky, especially since we were in the Detroit Metro airport flight path.

I remember suddenly feeling completely unsafe in the US, for the first time since the end of the cold war.

I remember thinking that our government would unleash something terrible upon the world in vengeance.

Posted by: Jon (was) in Michigan at September 10, 2009 7:16 AM

I was working in a dentist's office at the time. We had a patient that always scheduled his appointments to coincide with his fave CNN show (we had TVs in the ceilings for patient viewing). He started making a gagging sound, and the doc stopped working on him to ask what was wrong-- the patient just pointed at the TV.

That was the first report, and I remember that we were all nervously laughing-- remember, the first accounts coming in were reporting only that "a plane" had "hit the side" of "a building." Here in FL, there are always reports of small privately owned planes going off course with student pilots, so we assumed that it was one of those "oopsy, moron screwed up" times.

Laughter turned to silence as the details emerged... and the towers fell.

We closed up early. Driving home, I remember a guy standing on the corner of a major intersection near my home. He was waving a huge American flag.

Posted by: leslie at September 10, 2009 7:32 AM

I remember dropping the kids off at school (it was only 8am here) and hearing on the radio that they had reports of a plane hitting one of the towers. In my mind I thought small, single engine type plane. When I went in and saw the t.v. I was stunned and I knew this was no accident.

I went to a friends house and we watched and cried. Stunned as the next two planes went down. It felt like the world has turned upside down.

My husband works in the oil & gas industry. They were sent home immediately due to fears they would be hit next.

It was eerie how quiet everything was.

Posted by: Debbie at September 10, 2009 7:37 AM

I was at work, and I had the radio on and remember the DJ's reporting about a plane that flew into the World Trade Center, no one knew how bad it was about it get at that point. I went upstairs to the office with the tv and asked them to put on CNN to see if we could get anymore information....and we all stood there in shock by what we saw.....we didn't move for hours. No work was done that day.

Posted by: Lisa at September 10, 2009 7:53 AM

I was at work, so no tv or radios. The bosses mother came in and informed us of the first plane, we were all in shock thinking it was just some weird freak accident, then we turned on radios and when the second plane hit, that sinking feeling hit all our stomachs probably at the same time. The day was kind of a fog I won't lie, drifting through the work day, and then trying to calm one of my best friends, who was frantically trying to find her sister who was interning at the Pentagon.

I would have to say, that feeling of drifting through the days, seemed to take a long time to get out of, just that profound sense of loss.

Posted by: Dee at September 10, 2009 8:05 AM

I had flown home from San Diego the day before. My times were still a little off, so around 8 am, my boys came running into the room.

"Mommy! Mommy! Wake up!! The TV is broken. The channels won't change!!!"

My daughter was at school. So the boys hopped into the bed with me and I turned on the TV. I watched in horror as the events unfolded.

I got on the computer to see if I could find out what was going on, but every news site in the world was unable to load due to heavy traffic.

I took the boys to my parents and went to get Morgan from school. If this was, in actuality, the last day before war broke out on our turf, I was going to spend it with my family.

The skies in Baton Rouge were also beautifully clear that day. I still remember the smell of that early fall day. The temperature was perfect. And it all felt wrong. It was wrong to have such a beautiful day while the whole world watched in horror.

I spent most of that day watching the news with my parents. I stayed up till about midnight. At which point I said to myself "Stop watching it and live. While you have this time, use it to be with your family."

After that, I don't think I turned the TV on for 3 months.

Posted by: Holly Reynolds at September 10, 2009 8:06 AM

I remember sitting at the front desk at my school library checking books in. The librarian came out and said her husband called and said a plane hit the World Trade Center and it's bad. I thought she was crazy. Then he called again and we got more information. I was at school til around 1pm so we were just getting information passed around. It wasn't until I went home that I was able to see what happened. It was mind numbing and I couldn't stop watching.

Posted by: NancyJ at September 10, 2009 8:15 AM

I mourn those lost, but like the Murrah bombing in Oklahoma City I try to not remember the day. I just...continue...

Posted by: daisy at September 10, 2009 8:26 AM

It was six am and was getting ready to go to my church's high school breakfast (I will always remember it was a Tuesday). I got out of the shower and my mom called me into the living room to show me the news. When I got to church, nobody really had a full grasp of what had happened, and it was a very somber meal. Our youth pastor led a prayer that day that I still pray every year. All of us walked to school together in locked arms not wanting to break up.

Posted by: Tess at September 10, 2009 8:29 AM

I was on a canoe trip in northern Ontario, there was one other group in the area we were in. Suddenly a float plane landed and picked up one of the members of the other group and took off again. The rest of the group paddled over and told us what was going on - the guy that got picked up was a high up in the anti-terrorist intellegence wing of the FBI. The amazing thing was that he was picked up less than an hour after the first plane hit.

Posted by: Brian at September 10, 2009 8:31 AM

I, too, remember that sky. It was the same on 9/11 the next year, too, and for some reason, that alone resulted in my sitting on the side of the freeway crying like a baby that morning.

I still cry for all those people--and for the ones they left behind.

Posted by: Elise at September 10, 2009 8:54 AM

I remember most that brilliant blue sky as well and the horrible guilt when I realized my parents didn't yet know I was ok. When I heard my father tried to turn his car around to go into the city to rescue me, because I had not yet been able to reach him. Hearing about how my Uncle tried to calm my mother down as he told her what was happening. Guilt that I was alive and physically well and not understanding why I was chosen for that privilege.
Thank you for remembering and talking about it, I fear that people are forgetting.

Posted by: diane at September 10, 2009 8:55 AM

It's been 8 years now and it's still, in some ways, like yesterday. We never forget where we were and what we were doing.

It was just after dawn on the west coast and I had begun getting the great-granddaughters ready for school when I heard the first report. It didn't seem that serious - they said it was a small plane. A few minutes later we all knew what was happening. I called my sons (oldest in Army National Guard) and continued watching it become more unreal. By then I'd decided to keep the girls out of school for the day. It wasn't fear as much as it was wanting them close.

I don't think there was anyone who wasn't affected in some way. The company I retired from (sort of - it was bought after I retired by a larger company located in the WTC) lost over 300 people.

And it's trivial compared to the deaths and the destruction but it was the day my then 6 year old great-granddaughter became afraid of the planes she'd previously loved. She's over most of it but still cringes once in a while.

I thought I'd lived through the worst with the assassinations and attempted assassinations of the 60's and 70's. Events have proved me wrong.

Posted by: Ann Adams at September 10, 2009 8:57 AM

I got to work early that day. I was in the lab totally insulated from the world playing with DNA. I remember thinking that it was unusually quiet in that too few people seemed to be in the other labs. Then, my boss's boss came in and asked if everyone was glued to the tv. I told him I did not know and asked why. When he told me, I remember laughing and saying "You're kidding, right?" It took less than a second for me to realize that he wasn't. I wrapped up what I was doing and went looking for the tv. The events after that are mostly a blur except I remember that I had to go to my immunology class later on and we had the quiz anyway (I don't think anyone did very well on it) and the professor said "If we let this take over our lives, then the terrorists win. So we'll go on business as usual." That made me mad at the time, but in retrospect was quite wise. I was overly traumatized by the event, but I still don't know why it affected me so: I didn't know anyone directly involved or have any ties whatsoever. I still don't watch the video from that day and I almost never talk about it. I do know that my relationship with my eventual husband (who is British) almost didn't survive the event because of disagreements that ensued. The disagreements remind me of what was said by Sam Jones above, which may have truth to them but are somewhat heartless - I'm sorry you suffered, but does that make it any more right that we did too? Do you have the same attitude about the events that unfolded in India last year? They deserved it too? Sorry, sore spot still. I'll stop now because I'm upset.

Posted by: Elizabeth at September 10, 2009 9:00 AM

I remember simply being paralyzed as I watched the news and saw the second plane hit. I remember not realizing that I had two little girls in the room until it was too late and one asked if that was a person jumping from that building. I remember knowing that my life would never be the same, that my kids would never feel safe like I once did.

And then I try not to remember the horror, but the victims, the reasons...

Posted by: Theresa at September 10, 2009 9:06 AM

I don't think anyone I know personally could've written about their memory of this any better than my wife.

http://schadenfreudette.vox.com/library/post/09-10-01.html

Posted by: CK Lunchbox at September 10, 2009 9:37 AM

I remember my husband calling my cell phone to tell me what happened as I was driving away after dropping our daughter at preschool.

I remember learning that our building in downtown Dallas was being evacuated, so I didn't go in to work and was able to watch the news unfold. I remember watching the second tower fall live.

I remember worrying about what would be hit next...the water supply? The food supply? I remember filling my car up with gas, buying canned food, and a manual can opener.

I remember the people on the roads who were driving around - like me - looking for a copy of the special edition of the newspaper...and we all finally found some at Wal-Mart.

I remember the blue sky and the silence.

Posted by: Teresa at September 10, 2009 9:47 AM

It was my senior year of college and the only day classes ever were canceled (not even snow days in upstate NY!). My roommates and I were glued to the television all day. My school was primarily made up of students from New York, with many from the city, Long Island, or the Jersey suburbs. One thing I surprisingly remember is the number of people who should have been in the towers at that point, but weren't... doctors appointments, oversleeping, missed trains. I heard many more of those stories about my fellow classmates' family, friends and neighbors than tragedies, thankfully. My parents' neighbor is a fireman for the first unit on the scene, which lost nearly everyone... he's most likely alive because he had a doctor's appointment that morning.

I'm actually going up to NYC tomorrow. It'll be the first time I'll have been in New York on September 11 since 2001. Living in DC for all the years in between, it's still kind of surreal to me that there was this "other" experience down here.

Posted by: stephanie at September 10, 2009 9:56 AM

I was living in California at the time, so I was asleep when it started. A few of my roommates were up getting ready for work and the phone rang, which was odd for so early in the morning. It was someone telling us to turn on the TV because something bad was happening in New York. We got to the TV about 10 minutes before the first tower fell. What I remember most about that day was actually that night (and the nights following), when we left the house to go to a prayer meeting. It was quiet. In a bustling city full of people, it was quiet. No planes overhead, no cars on the street. It was terrifying. At one point, a plane did fly overhead. Obviously some sort of government aircraft, but it was scary.

Everything else is fuzzy confusion, the need of my mother to get in touch with my brother and I, just to hear our voices even though we were thousands of miles from DC and NYC. An inability to tear myself away from the television. An inability to comprehend.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at September 10, 2009 10:08 AM

Three things I remember that day...1) the beautiful day - it was just plain beautiful 2) the shock - horror didn't enter the picture until later, it was just too shocking that this was actually happening 3) the quiet - driving home early from work, I had actually left later than most due to my work duties, and there was no one on the road. There were no planes in the sky. It was an absolutely beautiful, warm day and it felt like I was the only one on the face of the earth and it was scary lonely. That was when the horror hit. Life as we know it in this Country changed on that day.

Posted by: cyndy at September 10, 2009 10:09 AM

I was sleeping when my phone rang, and my best friend at the time said, "Get up and turn the TV on. I'm coming over." Because she knew I'd be a wreck worrying about my sister. And I was. And she sat with me all day - through the screaming calls from my mother telling me to STOP TRYING TO CALL HER. IF ANYONE GETS THROUGH TO HER, IT WILL BE ME.

And when I finally found out she was safe (but definitely not okay. None of were.) and wandered over to the church I worked for? I was done. Completely and totally done with organized religion. And I'm a better person for it.

I will never see a street lined with flags in the same way again. Never. Ever.

Posted by: k8 at September 10, 2009 10:32 AM

I remember it was getting chilly here in KC and I wore something warm to work. Even though I was warm, I had the chills so bad from watching the towers fall, I was shivering.

Posted by: Brad at September 10, 2009 10:34 AM

I remember getting off the ferry and making my 5 block trek from the World Financial Building to my office, with headphones on listening to U2's Actung Baby. I was by the big ball fountian in between the buildings when I heard an airplane. Man it was loud, man it must be low, I though "I have to see how low this thing is..hey wow that is way too low"...BAM..holy shit.. run!!

Yup, I witnessed the first plane hitting the building, an image scared into my brain. It's kind of ironic I was listening to Actung Baby because this certainly grabbed my Actung...I haven't listened to that CD since...can't..won't

Posted by: Darren at September 10, 2009 10:43 AM

I was at school, finishing an assignment when a friend emailed that I should check CNN.com or a TV. I didn't believe her and kept working and then people's families kept calling (we were in a study room) telling us what was happening. We went to one of the classrooms and turned the TV on the big screen and it was just silent in the room. I called my now husband to tell him to turn the TV on (he was home sleeping). Classes were canceled so I headed home. We weren't sure what to do but he didn't want to watch TV anymore (I couldn't tear myself away all week). We went to lunch and to the post office. It was just surreal to be doing anything "normal" but we didn't know what else to do. The gas stations had crazy lines and super high prices. Back to school the next day but it was just surreal. Waiting to hear if family, friends and alumni were OK. Hearing various stories from those who were there. I watched that concert/benefit on TV that Friday night and cried for hours. Husband's cousin got married that Friday and I can't even imagine how bizarre that must have been for her. So many stories about people using all kinds of means to get home from wherever they had been. Every year I just get sad all over again. I am thankful that no one I know was lost, but so many were impacted in other ways.

Posted by: Laura at September 10, 2009 10:49 AM

It was the second week of my second year of law school. I had my first big interview-it was with the firm I had wanted to work with my whole life, and I never thought I'd have a chance to even get in the door.

The entire 2nd year class was in the building--we were split into 2 classes meeting on opposite ends of the building and we all had an hour break between our civil procedure and tax classes. It had to be just after 9 when my class walked down to the student lounge to fritter away our free hour.

One of our buddies met us at the door telling us that a plane had hit the towers, they thought it was a small one. Somewhere in all of this the second plane hit and we all knew it was much worse. I sat down on a coffee table--the only seat I could find--and we watched the news unfold on CNN.

Suddenly a bulletin flashed along the bottom--"Mall on fire." My best friend was the assistant to the secretary of the Smithsonian. I was one year removed from working on the Hill; many of my former co-workers were West Wing employees. The rest worked in or around the Capitol or at the Department of Energy. My former roommate works at an ad agency in Arlington and drives by the Pentagon in her commute from DuPont.

All I wanted in that moment was to be with them. Even in the face of all that was happening, in the face of the incredible fear, I wanted to be back in that city I so dearly love.

Posted by: Mandee at September 10, 2009 11:03 AM

My husband flies all over the US on a weekly basis.....that particular day, we had both stayed home from work and were sleeping in to celebrate - we had decided to try and have a baby.

I remember getting a call from a co-worker that bolted me out of bed. She was screaming at me asking where my husband was flying to today. I was so confused from just being woken up that I yelled back that he was right here beside me and could she please call back later since I was trying to sleep in on my day off! She started sobbing and told me to turn on the tv. For the next 20 hours, my husband and I sat in that bed, our eyes glued to the television. He would not have been on either of those flights that day even if he hadn't taken a "sick" day, but he would have been in the air when it did happen.

Now, every year, he doesn't fly on Sept. 11th. And we did end up trying to have that baby and were successful the following month.

Last month, when my 7 yr old daughter and I visited New York, we went to the NYFD Museum. When we stepped into the room that was a 9/11 memorial, I lost all composure. The photos and walled-off crushed firefighter gear in that room brought it all back....I felt like I was still sitting in bed, curled up next to my husband, my heart breaking for all those families searching for their missing loved ones, fearing what else was to come.

Posted by: Jen at September 10, 2009 11:19 AM

It was around 6:30 am our time and I was getting ready for work. I had the TV on and while they were talking about the first plane crash I saw the second crash into the towers. I was so confused. I thought it was an accident at first until I saw the second fly right in. I then went to work (I was a high school teacher) and was just in a haze the rest of the day, trying to make sense out of it myself and also console, explain, assure, etc. class after class of students. One of my students actually lost a family member and they called into my class to notify me. Waiting for counselors come to get him and tell him was awful.

Posted by: Sarah at September 10, 2009 11:32 AM

I was in gerontology college class. The teacher was wringing her hands, she kept starting to talk and then she would stop. Then she just blurted out "I'm turning on the TV, class is over but if you aren't aware of what is going on, I suggest you stay and watch and if you are at all religious, I suggest you pray". So we did. Then people started running out of the room. I was 38 weeks pregnant. I called my husband (then fiance) who was working down by STRATCOM (Offut AF base here in Omaha, NE) and he said there were fighter planes in the air. The base was sealed shut and soldiers with heavy duty machine guns were posted in tanks at the entrances. Air Force one was touching down when I got off the phone with him. I hadn't eaten yet, and I was really hungry, so I headed for my car. It was about 6 blocks to my car and on the way, I remember it was a gorgeous day, people were standing around tv's everywhere, dialing phones, crying...it was all surreal. I went through the Burger King drive thru, got a chicken sandwich and an ice water. Then I went home and called everyone I loved and told them so as I sat in fear of what kind of world my baby girl would be born into in just 2 weeks.

Posted by: Kristin at September 10, 2009 11:53 AM

Saw it on tv and went to work anyhow. Was working at a law school and we all huddled around the tv in the dean's office until someone shouted that a water main had broken in the library and we spent the morning saving books from the flood. A totally surreal day. I was happy to get home and watch the empty sky. Taught a composition class that night where my students and I spent the hours discussing it. Sent an email to check on a former student of mine, an active Muslim (the only one I have ever known here out West), to make sure he was safe from the hysteria of closed minds. Spent the week wacthing the empty sky. Wondered how on earth we could bring children into such an unstable world but I'm certainly glad we have since then.

Posted by: rebecca at September 10, 2009 11:54 AM

I worked just outside a large military base and when we realized what was happening, I let the fear and speculation overtake me. I rushed home to get my son from school. When I arrived a group of teachers had been talking in front of the students, not to them, but in front of them. In their own panic to figure out what was happening they had completely lost all their good sense. My six year old child was terrified. He was smart enough to understand what they were saying and it changed him. Permanently. I believe that's the day he learned about hate for the first time. We spent a long afternoon and night talking about things that you should never have to explain to a baby boy of six. I've never since that day forgotten that you can never assume that grown ups are all responsible or that children are unable to understand the big picture. It's become all about the big picture for us. It taught us that no matter how comfortable our life is, the world is a bigger place than we can truly ever understand and that it is important for us to try and live outside of ourselves, outside of our very comfortable American lives. Never lose sight of the big picture, the world beyond us. So that we can fix what's fixable and be as prepared as possible for what is not. And just to be clear, I'm talking about educating our children not building more bombs.

Posted by: Sara at September 10, 2009 12:04 PM

Beautiful day, driving to my grandfathers funeral,when I started catching bits and pieces on the radio. Called my BF to find out what was happening, but she didn't have the news on. She turned it on and gasped. Got home from funeral and just dropped in front of the tv, and waited for my husband to get back from getting his mother from work since she worked at the state capital and they had closed all the building and sent the workers home. A daze of news all day till my kids got home from school and at that point I turned it off. I talked to my children, but didn't want them to watch the horrendous images on the television.

Posted by: Angelia at September 10, 2009 12:10 PM

I also remember driving home from that funeral and not seeing any planes in the sky, and how there were no planes in the skys or jet trails in the sky for days. So weird to look up and see a pure blue sky with nothing but natures creatures in it. I had never seen that before and probably never will.

Posted by: Angelia at September 10, 2009 12:13 PM

It was 6:30 AM on this left coast when my husband ran into our room and told me some planes had been hijacked. I was sleepy; I didn't understand they were our planes, our people.

We had moved into our house three days earlier; we didn't have TV or internet. We had radio. Around noon I remembered what my husband had said and thought I'd see what was on the radio.

The rock radio station in LA was not playing rock. They were talking in mellow tones. They were not laughing or interviewing strippers. They talked about what had happened: the planes hijacked and flown into buildings. The buildings burned, collapsed. So very many lives lost. I pulled my 1-year-and-51-week-old daughter into my lap and cried. I couldn't wrap my head around it.

Later we went to lunch with my husband. He had TV and internet at the college. I watched on the web, watched the planes impact, the people jumping, the buildings crumpling like so much aluminum foil and people fleeing from the advancing cloud of dust. Awful, horrifying.

The next day, the cable guy came to hook up the TV. He got it going and we sat side by side on the couch without speaking, watching the images again. He said, is it OK for your kid to see this and I said, she won't remember. Thank God, she won't remember.

Two things: "September 12", a book written by school children in Virginia, I think, about the hope that came when the sun rose on September 12. Life goes on, even after loss. Also, "The Names", a poem by then-poet laureate Billy Collins. When I read it, I went, "Exactly."

I can't think of that day without tears. This week, on the lawn of my college campus, Pepperdine, a flag will be placed for each of the lives lost on 9/11. They did this last year and it's beautiful and heartbreaking all at once.

Posted by: Brooke at September 10, 2009 12:19 PM

I remember sitting there pregnant with our second child thinking, "This is my generations 'Kennedy has been shot', our'Pearl Harbor has been bombed',
our moment of history that we will never forget exactly where we were when we first heard the news. My generation now has a moment that our grandchildren will ask us about and wonder at the absolute horror that filled everyone at the same time.
I was in the grocery store when I heard and could only stand and stare with everyone else at the lady holding the phone in her hand, disbelief on her face. No one had any words. Nobody could begin to fathom the end results until the towers fell as people jumped from the top floors. Our moment of atrocity was here, may God hold us close.

Posted by: Becki at September 10, 2009 12:23 PM

There was so much I remember. At the time I worked for Countrywide home loans. People called me asking if I could find their loved ones not realizing that Albany, NY is 3 hours from NYC. Friends searching for their husbands, brothers, fathers.... People couldn't call into NYC if they lived outside NY State. One of the planes was over Albany. Friends remembered it flying so close to our Corning Tower that they could read the words on the side of the plane. It must have been a tempting target as the Corning Tower is the tallest building in NYS north of NYC.

Fly your flags and never forget....

Posted by: Rose Winters at September 10, 2009 12:33 PM

Being on the West Coast, we are 3 hours behind. We had fallen asleep with the tv on so we woke up to see the most surreal images on the television. I awoke to see the towers falling and thought it was a movie...
You are so right - we must remember the blue skys, how good and innocent everything was and remember to always appreciate what we have because it can be taken in the blink of an eye.
We should all light a candle tomorrow for the direct victims and their families.

Posted by: laineyDid at September 10, 2009 12:35 PM

In Michigan, our skies were not blue. At least not blue in a way I would remember.

I remember I was in first period. Yearbook. We were at the end of a long hall, so we had no idea what was going on. When we left to get to second period, it was... crazy. People were running around crying, looking for phones to call people they know in the areas affected. I got to my math class, and everyone was glued to the TV. I remember watching planes hit the second tower over, and over, and over, and over. That's how we stayed. I remember having to go back to that teacher where we didn't know anything for fourth period, and her refusal to put on TV and her vain attempts to teach about some book that no one really cared about. I remember a lot of people leaving class, upset about that. I remember driving to lunch with my friend, eating Chinese in her car and feeling vaguely terrified by the fact that every minute of my life could be the very end of it, if something like that could happen. I remember my friend telling me to shut up and eat my beef and broccoli. I remember calling my boyfriend, who was a freshman at a college far away, and getting yelled at for asking him if he could be drafted if we went to war. I remember people spreading rumors that we were doomed because of the Dow Chemical plant in Midland, MI, because obviously that was going to be hit and we were all going to explode.

Then I remember going home and hiding under my covers while my parents continued to track everything, like the amazingly grown up 16 year old I was.

Posted by: caleal at September 10, 2009 12:53 PM

I remember the overwhelming sadness and grief from watching the Towers fall and thinking that this just couldn't be happening. The gravity of the situation/loss was mind boggling. The aftermath of loosing all those people at once and knowing nothing would ever be the same.

Watching the loved one's frantic searches for days and weeks later is what I remember the most.

I remember that the majority of the world stood with us in our sadness and grief.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at September 10, 2009 1:09 PM

I remember the sound of the first plane hitting WTC1. I remember the shock of watching people jump to their death. I remember waiting to see if the Empire State Building was next. I remember watching in horror as a second plane crashed into the other tower. I remember thinking: "This is intentional." And yes - I remember that sky. That gorgeous blue sky. That seemingly perfect September Day which was sadly snatched from us. How can you forget?

Posted by: Country Girl at September 10, 2009 1:33 PM

I drove to school (college) blaring Marvin Gaye and singing along. It was a clear, utterly gorgeous day, and I was on top of the world. And yes, the sky was bluer than blue. (And I am in Pittsburgh. Was the sky that blue everywhere?!)

I got to school and someone said their mother had called them and there was some terrible accident in NYC. A plane had crashed into a building.

I relayed that bit of information to the guy in my class sitting on the other side of me, who said, in Beavis and Butthead style, "Heh heheh, that's cool." I was very pissed.

My professor arrived and briefed us on the seriousness of what was happening (he actually knew who Osama bin Laden was before 9:00AM on 9/11/01, go figure) and sent us home. And the rest is history. Like most, I suppose, I watched in horror as the towers fell. I drove to my parents'. I cried.

Several years later, I managed to get married and I even decided to bring children into this fucked up world. Life goes on, I guess, even when it irrevocably changes.

Posted by: Sabrina at September 10, 2009 2:00 PM

I was at work, and we like a lot of people laughed when we heard about the first plane, thinking it was a small plane and silly mistake. Then we noticed how few emails we were getting, and that no one was paging or calling, and started to get curious. We wandered down to one of the lounges, and found a group of people glued to the TV watching ( I don't remember if the second plane had hit at that point ).

I remember looking around the room and thinking, "Everyone, everywhere is doing this", and then thinking, "This would be the perfect time for a cyber attack, because no one is watching." So we pulled our Internet connection from the switch. Paranoid, but I think it made me feel like we were doing something. Later that day someone we worked with asked us to plug back in so that he could try and get a status update about his brother, who worked in the Pentagon ( he was OK ).

I watched the TV on and off through the day, and one thing I caught that has always stuck with me is watching coverage from DC, and they were interviewing someone who said "I was watching the F15's fly combat patrols over the capital, and then they just hauled ass out of here." A few minutes later we found out about the fourth plane.

I remember our HR director's birthday was that day, and we were in a small conference room watching the coverage, and absentmindedly saying "Happy Birthday"; the irony has always stuck with me.

I remember sitting in my office, with wide glass panes, and trying to imagine the plane hitting.

I remember how quiet it was outside; never realized how much background noise several thousand planes in the sky generate.

That night, we went over to our couple friend's house, and ate a wonderful dinner while the kids played, and barely spoke of the events of the day at all. I've always been so glad of that.

I remember searching through the photos of the missing, looking to see if I recognized someone I went to college with who I knew was from NY ( silly, but I couldn't stop until I checked them all ).

Posted by: metawizard at September 10, 2009 3:24 PM

The thing I always say is that the first thing I heard that morning was the host of the morning show I listen to saying "It's a nightmare out there" and thinking he was talking about the commute. I remember the empty sky as I came down the hill on Hwy 92 in San Mateo, CA- the road that has a clear view of the flight paths into San Francisco International. I remember breaking one of the biggest rules at my job and firing up an online version of AIM, messaging a friend and saying "I know things are crazy, but please just let me know that you're okay."

Being in CA for it I felt so disconnected from it all, so helpless. But what I remember most in the aftermath was how we pulled together as a country in the days that followed, we talked to our neighbors and strangers in line at the grocery store. Flags we everywhere. We were strong.

Posted by: Judy at September 10, 2009 3:29 PM

I remember so many things about that day. So many things.

But mostly, I remember Peter Jennings crying.

Posted by: Mindy at September 10, 2009 4:15 PM

Doing laundry at a laundromat in Florence, Italy, just 2 weeks into my 10 month stay there. An Italian roommate told me in broken English what happened when I got home, then I had to call my dad California to find out what really happened. Our school put up a huge projector and got CNN running for us... I sat and listened for hours. The Europeans were very caring. There were tons of candle services, and even a special mass was put together for that night for the U.S. Storefronts started sporting the American Flag and handing out little business card things supporting the U.S. It was definitely an interesting time to be an American in a foreign country during these events.

Posted by: Laura at September 10, 2009 6:13 PM

I remember waking up early that day. 2 days before my husband asked for a divorce, so I wasn't sleeping well.

I woke up early and turned on the tv and there it was. I cried, I called my mom. He called me.

My babies and I sat in bed all day. I was in such shock. That day was the beginning of a period of a lot of death and loss in my family.

One of the most profound things, my Uncle Doc who was 87 and fought in WWII, said if the president would let him, he would go to war for the future for me and my kids. He died 6 months later from a very fast moving cancer. He said he would have rather been able to give his life for us. God, how I miss him.

Thank you all to everyone for sharing.

Posted by: debb at September 10, 2009 7:23 PM

I remember that blue sky. I didn't even know what was happening that warm September morning. I was 4 months pregnant with my third child, running a daycare out of my home and teaching a preschool lesson to two of the cutest four year old boys. Then the phone rang, it was my husband. "Turn on the TV - something terrible has happened."

I turned on the TV and watched in horror as they rebroadcast the planes crashing into the twin towers over and over and over. I turned off the TV quickly because I didn't want all those little eyes to see that and start asking me questions I felt were best answered by their own parents.

When the kids were safely down for their naps I watched TV and I cried and cried. Cried for all of the people that died, all of their families and for my own children. I couldn't stop thinking "What am I doing bringing a child into this world that's falling apart?"

I remember the eerie quiet like the world stopped for a day. I remember the occasional sound of the fighter jet flying overhead. I remember being scared. I remember holding my husband closer and hugging my children tighter. I remember it took a very long time to feel like things were back to some semblance of normal again.

Posted by: Jules at September 10, 2009 9:21 PM

I remember that day well...I had just returned to work from a 3-day beach weekend and was thinking how incredibly beatiful a day it had been. Heard the morning DJs talking about a plane hitting the WTC and as they were watching TV -they saw the 2nd plane and then everything changed. DC was weird and awful that day. Metro was shut down and my husband worked over by the Capitol. Even though I couldn't get him on any phone - somehow I knew he was walking from his office to mine so I waited out the gridlock. 2 hours later as they were getting ready to kick everyone out of the building - he showed up on my floor. There was no traffic by then so the police were letting people pull over on 395 for a few seconds to look at the Pentagon. I couldn't tear myself away from the coverage though - it seemed too incredible for comprehension.

A month later - we flew the 2nd day Reagan airport reopened. That was before the shoe bomber - I should have appreciated leaving my shoes on more - but we were searched on every leg of our trip.

Posted by: Sue R at September 11, 2009 12:44 PM

I remember crowding around a small black and white TV in our office for the news. Later, being out on the road and seeing all the LONG lines for gas (and waiting in one)
I remember how quiet it was - I live directly under the flight path of an airport here in Michigan... it's funny, I don't notice the planes at all, but I notice when they're NOT there.
I remember crying a lot and turning off the TV for a long time.

Posted by: Kim at September 11, 2009 2:20 PM

So glad that so many other people remember just how heartbreakingly gorgeous the sky was on that September day. Living near a major airport, that beauty was accentuated by the absence of planes. As someone else pointed out, I wasn't even aware of how many planes fly over my house until they weren't there.

I didn't watch TV all day, and I'm glad. What would have been the point? I'd run over to a neighbor's house for a quick update (I had small children at home) and then go back home, saddened but determined to protect the kids as long as I could from knowledge of what was happening. My husband, overseas at the time, finally reached me on the phone, frantic. "Are you all right?" he asked. "Believe it or not," I told him, "this is the most beautiful fall day I've ever seen. Awful, but beautiful..." I didn't want him worrying, either.

He chose not to tell me then that the office hit in the Pentagon was where he did his once-a-month Navy drill and where he'd often stop in on a weekday if he happened to be in the building. 6 people he knew were killed instantly. I only figured it out reading the paper a few days later.

Posted by: suburbancorrespondent at September 13, 2009 9:55 AM

I always remember knowing our lives were changed forever, acknowledging the sense of security I'd previously taken completely for granted, how the Jersey shore surf was tumultuous for the next 5 days as it had enveloped our distress, how work shut down with the electricity out and so many of our co-employees off to the city with their volunteer First Aid and Fire companies, the shocked looks on our faces, mass anger at the opportunists selling American flags for self-profit.

Posted by: Karen at September 13, 2009 9:58 AM

And since I didn't have cable (intentionally) and had no TV reception- ergo no TV at home- picking up the Daily News on my way home from work - by bicycle that week- and unfolding it on the floor in the living room as soon as I got home.

Posted by: Karen at September 13, 2009 10:11 AM

Mom and I were in Rehoboth Beach, DE. We just came out of Lingos with our coffee & pastries, and a girl on roller blades stopped in the middle of the street and yelled "Oh my God, a plane just flew into the World Trade Center!" We went back to the hotel and sat on the edge of our beds and watched the horror unfold. Eventually we went to the beach, which was mostly deserted, and we didn't speak. Just sat and watched the waves. The jets were scrambled out of Dover AFB, and they kept flying over the beach, really low and fast. It still makes me queasy to think about that day. (Every year we're in Rehoboth at the same time)

Posted by: Amy at September 14, 2009 3:10 PM


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