9/11 Open Thread

I remember as vividly as if it happened yesterday what my day was like on 9/11? Do you remember your day? If you do, and if you’d like to share it here, this open thread is for you.

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  • Gringo

    I was at work  in a highrise office building. There was a TV in the office, so I and others spent some time watching it. A coworker remarked that this was “a gift from Allah,”  which made sense to me, considering what had gone down in Yemen the year before. As I recall,  the day was fairly productive for me, with maybe 30 minutes spent watching TV. 

  • Caped Crusader

    Just leaving the endodontist after the last visit  for a root canal. Got home and saw the second plane hit and thought where will it end. Is this only the beginning of a day long series of attacks? if there had been 50-100 attacks all over the country what would have been our response, and would we still have been assured Islam is a religion of peace and how many Muslims would have been massacred that day, and would there have been detention camps to protect them from reprisals? I saw it only once, but a Japanese lady visiting a war memorial in D.C. was interviewed and she said, “I never understood why people felt the way they did about Japanese, but i do now”.

  • Mike Devx

    I was software consulting at Southwest Airlines, and driving in to work late.  On the radio was news of a plane hitting the World Trade Center.  Between pulling into the parking lot and walking into our work area, the second plane had hit, and everyone was huddled around one TV or another.  It was clear at that point that terrorist attacks were underway.  We continued to watch as, eventually, the towers collapsed.

    Since we were working within the airline industry, you can imagine how, as the entire national airport system was grounded, very little or nothing normal was accomplished that day.  As the hours passed, I was wondering just how extensive the attack was going to be.  Ten planes?  Twenty?  A hundred?  How many planes?  How many cities?  No one knew…

    I lived at that time in an apartment within a mile of Dallas’ Love Field airport.  The silence throughout the evening was unnerving.  I wasn’t able to get to sleep because of that new silence.  (Planes usually flew low overhead until midnight, and you fell asleep to the noise.)  It would be like living on a quiet farm when suddenly countless horns are honking out on the road an entire night – you can’t adjust to the difference, not on the first night.

    I had been in the habit of romanticizing other cultures before 9-11.  As it became clear that there were foreign cultures and civilizations that truly wished to murder us all, my worldview shattered and reformed to what it is today.  I no longer romanticize any foreign culture.  Not one.  And in particular my opinion on any Muslim belief that includes enforcing Sharia law upon an entire country, including non-believers, or that advocates death for the Muslim apostate – or any form of punishment for one who abandons any religion… my opinion could never be printed in any family-friendly newspaper.  I do not consider myself the enemy of Muslims per se, but I am the unapologetic, utterly committed and fierce enemy of Shariah Law.

  • Charles Martel

    I had just gotten up; it was about 7 a.m. My son, in high school, had turned on the TV and said, “Dad, you’d better come see this.” I hadn’t put my contacts in yet, so had to get very close to the TV. What I saw was a fuzzy aerial shot of the north tower burning. I was very familiar with the New York skyline, so understood right away what building I was looking at and that something bad had happened to it. What I didn’t realize is that the south tower had already collapsed—which is why I muttered to myself, “Something’s wrong with this picture. Where’s the other tower?”

  • kidkaroo

    I can’t believe it was a decade since that fateful day. I came home, switched on TV, saw the attacks and didn’t leave for many hours. Although I was sitting thousands of miles away in Africa I was changed by the events. In the days after the attacks I started looking at the media with a more critical eye, horrified by how quickly much of the international MSM went from faux sympathy to Shadenfreude. Hearing the jubilation expressed by local Muslims amongst themselves at the same time as officially denouncing the attacks piqued my interested in the belief system behind their religion. This led me to read the Koran and then the Hadith, anyone who has read these books and says Islam is a religion of peace is either lying about reading them or is a politically correct apologist. Somewhere on my “quest for the truth” I happened upon the blogosphere and Cathy’s World (of the late, great Cathy Seipp fame) from there it was a few clicks to NRO, LGF (in the days before he went mad) and eventually here. 

  • Old Buckeye

    My son and I went to the grand opening of our local library’s new wing. It had a lounge area with several TVs on the walls. We saw everyone crowded around watching the TV–the first tower had just been hit. I asked, “What happened? Was it an accident?” and one man replied, “This was no accident!” About that time the second tower was hit.  I grabbed my son and went directly to our church just a couple of blocks away, where I knelt down and prayed. It was the only thing I could think to do in a world gone mad.

  • bizcor

    I too remember like it was yesterday. I had just left a job and was starting up a new business. Back then I didn’t fire up the internet first thing in the morning. It was a dial up connection and if you remember was slower than molasses. So I got on the phone and began making phone calls but the calls weren’t going through. It wasn’t a busy signal it was simply nothing. It was very frustrating. I decided to run some errands and maybe the phone would have gotten back to order when I returned. When I started my truck the radio came on and my music station wasn’t playing music. They were talking to one another using words like murder and mayhem. In the 2 mile drive to and from the post office it was became apparent a plane had crashed in the one of the towers but it wasn’t until I got home and turned on the TV that I saw just bad the situation was. I like most of the world I was glued to the TV. I saw the second plane hit the second tower live. It was surreal. At the time I was single and living alone. I just sat in front of the TV for the rest of the day. I do remember thinking thank God we just elected George Bush and not Al Gore.
    I knew the world had just changed forever. In those first weeks and months everyone was united. We promised each other we would never forget. Ten years later many have forgotten. I promise you I never will.

  • Michael Adams

    I remember where I was, but I can’t remember why.   I was headed westward, on Riverside Drive, when my wife called from her classroom in the South Austin Penal Academy, a.k.a. Travis High School. Our daughter was at school, but our son, a junior in high school, was just getting up. She told me about the first hit, and i got home just after the second one.   The newscasters were droning on, and, when the first tower collapsed, they got less excited than they would for a touchdown. Son and I watched for while, and then I drove him to school.  I told him to get a ride home with someone, and not to take the bus, just in case.
    Austin generally had pretty cordial Black/White relations in those days. Still, it was noteworthy in the next two weeks that, when I made eye contact with anyone, including Black people, there was a sense of being part of the same people, that the Arabs were equal opportunity haters.  I learned then that the divisions between us were artificially created. It took many months to build back the dividing walls.
    Tomorrow, at 07:46 CDT, (the time that the plane struck)I am playing the Star Spangled Banner on loudspeakers on my front porch, and putting the flag out, a memorial, an act of devotion to our country, a one-fingered salute of defiance.

  • dianemadeline

    Tuesday, September 11, 2001 marked one week working at my new job, a middle school in Fairfax County. I was so happy to have this job after working a year at a tech company in DC. The sky was a beautiful blue, the clouds a brilliant white, and I played Joan Jett on the cd player as I drove into work.
    The library secretary’s husband was retired Air Force. He called after the first plane hit. J rolled out a tv from the equipment room, turned it on and told me and the other librarian that a plane flew into one of the twin towers. We were stunned. We left the tv on because we didn’t have any students in the library at the time. Not long after J told us about the first plane, we watched the second one hit – and couldn’t believe what we just saw happen.
    A teacher had arranged for me to videotape her class, and since no announcements had been made, I couldn’t not do my job, so I grabbed a video camera, and videotaped the class. I could barely hold the camera I was shaking and sniffling so much. I told the teacher what had happened, and she told me that the administration was going classroom to classroom telling teachers about the attack. I finished and got back to the library moments before the principal came over the loudspeaker and told the students what was happening.
    The rest of the work day is a bit of a blur. There were a lot of scared and crying students. The Pentagon was hit, and there were many military families at our school, giving students something immediate to fear. Then parents started coming and picking up their children. It was a bit chaotic. I spent time between class changes – yes, we continued w/ our school schedule – speaking w/ students and then class time in the library’s news studio watching the news and trying to get in touch w/ family in NY. Phones weren’t getting thru, but thankfully, just before I left work for the day, I had heard from everyone via email.
    I drove north to Arlington to get home. I felt like I was going the wrong way, but wanted to be home. I was grateful I wasn’t still working my former job, which was around the corner from the White House. I would have been one of those people walking home from the city. My apartment wasn’t very comforting. I lived w/in miles of the Pentagon, and the sound of the low flying helicopters is burned in my memory. Every plane and helicopter sound was an alert that danger was near, and the sound seemed constant.
    I spent the rest of the day watching FoxNews and listening to the local radio station’s coverage of the attack. I brought the radio into the living room and slept on the couch w/ all the lights on, and the tv and radio playing.  The next morning, was silence, except for the military craft flying overhead. School was canceled and no one went outside. I spent the day w/ the tv and radio again.
    I cried a lot from the events of that day thru the president speaking at National Cathedral. I can’t read about or listen to anything about 9/11 without choking up. Every year, one tall building in Arlington hangs a very large flag on the side of the building. This year, all the surrounding buildings did too. Instant sobbing. All those people who died so bravely and horribly. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things to survive and help others survive. All those firemen. That priest. I could go on.
    This is why “never forget” makes me angry. I remember.

  • 11B40


    I was living in the San Francisco Bay area and for some forgotten reason had the day off from work. I was planning to sleep late, maybe 9am, or so, but woke up around 7 and flicked on the TV before rolling over. The first plane had already hit, but then I saw the second one roll in. 

    I had two second cousins who worked in lower Manhattan’s financial district so I wasted some time trying to get through to them to tell them to get outta Dodge quick like a bunny. The phone lines were pretty much impenetrable until mid-afternoon when I reached their mother who said everyone was alive and well.

    My father had come to this country in 1927 from his native Ireland. He had spent his work life in New York’s construction industry. Early on, he worked on the Empire State Building. Towards his retirement, he worked on the World Trade Center and, after it opened to the public, we spent an afternoon together doing the observation deck thing and my father’s version of the three-martini lunch. It was a brilliant New York afternoon, much like 9-11, no ceiling and unlimited visibility as they would say in flight school. When I stood close to the windows on the observation deck, I felt like the building was leaning over, a much different experience than the observation deck on the Empire State Building. My other impression of the Trade Center was the volume thing. It doesn’t always come across in pictures or film, but the sheer volume of the two towers was almost beyond belief.

    There’s a peculiar aspect to a lot of the workers in New York’s construction industry, especially on the really large or famous projects. A kind of relationship develops between the workmen and their creations, like somehow they and the building were parts of each other, then and forever. It was concept that I really didn’t understand until much later when I learned that I was a printer and that my printing was both by me and of me.

    When the two towers finished collapsing, I was left with two unpleasant thoughts in my mind. One, I was glad that my father had gone on to his well earned reward and didn’t have to live to see it. The other was why the hell did I ever give back that M-16. 

  • sactosteve

    My partner and i were at the river, checking on some fisherman, when the talkshow guy on the cars radio started talking about a plane hitting the WTC .  Info was real sketchy at first.  Then it came over that it was an airliner. Due to my training I knew it was most likely a terror attack.  We drove back to the office and watched the whole thing on TV.  I was angry, and said we are at war and we (the USA) need to make alot of people DEAD. As far as Im concerned we still havent made enough of them dead. I’ d always thought that our goverments response to prior terror attacks had been tepid and weak, we paid the price for it on 9/11.
    Later on I remember seeing all the airliners flying around waiting to land.
     Crime in the city came to a halt. In the weeks that followed the city paid OT to the police to guard the local mosques

  • Libby

    I was at work in Fairfax, VA, heading into a meeting when I heard about the first plane crashing into the WTC. By the time I emerged from the meeting, news of the second tower crash went around the office. Everyone was trying to get more information, but only a few could access the internet (the connections were busy). Then news got out that the Pentagon had been hit. At this point, things got a bit chaotic, because a lot of my colleagues had friends or family in DC – one had a husband who was in the Secret Service, another had a girlfriend who worked for the Fox News DC bureau and she had been sent to the National Mall to report what was happening, etc. My husband had been at a job interview in DC and I couldn’t reach him because the cell towers were busy. I headed home to Arlington, VA, praying that my husband was not trapped in DC, wondering if I was heading into danger. Despite heavy traffic on rt66, I made it home about 10 min before it was shut down. My husband and I lived in a high rise, on the 17th floor, facing DC. Our usually dramatic view of the Capital building and the Washington Monument was marred by the smoke rising from the Pentagon off to the right (South) and the repeated trips of helicopters carrying out the injured. The combination of fear and sadness was overwhelming.
    We spent the rest of the day glued to the couch, alternating between the TV coverage and the DC skyline. I couldn’t help but keep an eye out for the next strike – would it be the White House? The Capitol? Would we witness it live? Later in the day we watched Bush’s helicopter bring him from Andrews AFB to the White House, escorted closely by 8 other helicopters. Being just north of Alexandria, we were used to seeing planes flying in and out of Reagan National airport. Instead, there was silence, occasionally interrupted by the sound of sirens. By nightfall, the F-16 started patrolling the DC airspace. We never saw them but we heard them for months after the attacks. I really hated the silence caused by the absence of passenger planes for months after the attacks. And for months I’d catch myself gazing at at the DC skyline, half-expecting to see and explosion or plane crash.
    After that day, it seemed like we were constantly on alert. There were the anthrax attacks, the heightened terror alerts on every holiday for the next 3+ years, and the DC snipers. We had loved living in, and then later, near DC since 1998. But we were in the terrorist’s prime target area and each major decision we made was influenced by the potential for another attack. I was so relieved when we finally left the DC area.

  • Tonestaple

    I have absolutely no idea where I was when Kennedy was shot.  Not a clue.  Logically, I would have to assume I was in school, but being 6 years old, it just didn’t make an impression on me.  I vaguely remember watching the funeral procession – I guess school was closed that day.

    But on 9-11-01, I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning so I was going to sit around and go in to work later.  I still had TV back then so I was watching the local news broadcast on the NBC affiliate.  I still remember that because I liked their morning people best and one of the anchors just didn’t take being an anchor as seriously and self-importantly as they usually do.  I even remember he was wearing his glasses instead of contacts that morning.  Shortly before the top of the hour, they interrupted with an announcement that a plan had crashed into the World Trade Center.

    They put a feed in the upper right corner of the screen while saying they had no further information and there was some confusion between New York and Seattle and then very soon they switched to the national feed and the picture from a helicopter in New York was taking up the full screen.  I don’t know why, maybe because we didn’t know what was going on yet, but the scale of the impact marks on the building didn’t really register and so I, like so many others, was thinking “small plane piloted by an amateur.” Minutes passed while most the country, I expect, sat around trying to figure out what was going on.

    Then, NBC had someone with a camera over at a park with a good view of the towers.  Could have been Battery Park except the view was across the water.  More likely it was Brooklyn Bridge Park or Liberty State Park in New Jersey.  The camera is picking up random conversations and it lands on a couple of men, one of who says, “It’s terrorism.  It’s got to be terrorism.”  I looked at him and said, “I think that’s jumping to a bit of a conclusion.”  And maybe it was seconds, maybe a few minutes, but the second plane hit the south tower, and I looked back at those men and said, “Ok, it’s terrorism.”

    At the time the buildings went down, I was on my way to the doctor and he’s the one who told me they weren’t there any more.

    This still didn’t make as much of an impression on me as perhaps it should have because I was assuming we would talk about bringing the perpetrators to justice, blah, blah, blippety blah, and treat it like a police matter again.  Fortunately, someone different was in charge and once we knew who had done it, it was and endless chorus of “Faster, please” and “Let’s roll.”

    I spent the rest of 9-11 on the phone with friends and family.  My brother-in-law in DC could not reach his mother in NY to tell her he and his brother were home safe, so he asked me to call her and I got right through.  Interestingly enough, she immediately speculated that Saddam Hussein was behind it.

    I woke up the next day and had to take up my usual routine, go to work, etc., but I kept waiting for a suicide bomber in a park downtown or something worse.  It still hasn’t happened, and I’m still mildly surprised by that.

  • Charles Martel

    The last airliner to reach the Pacific Coast that day was coming into to San Francisco from Thailand. I remember the roar of a fighter jet from Travis Air Force Base over our house as it flew out to sea to find the airliner and escort it in—under threat of death if the pilot did not exactly obey the war jet’s orders.

    Later that afternoon we would hear the occasional thundering sound of a warplane overhead, on patrol. I told my wife that for the next two days, every jet we heard over our house would be a weapon on the prowl for an enemy to kill.

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  • JKB

    I was in my office on the north side of DC.  It wasn’t long after the attack that they started flushing the buildings.   Problem was they stopped the trains running out of DC even as they kept the Metro running.  I wasn’t looking forward to traveling packed like sardines, underground past the two primary targets in the whole world.  I was real concerned about a ground attack of suicide bombers.  But the Metro really didn’t solve the problem as the Metro didn’t go to the train stops.  In the end, a woman in the office who drove took me to my train station, I picked up 4 coworkers who rode around on the Metro and took them to one of their cars who then drove the other to there stop further out.  

    It was surreal, very quiet except for the air cap flying low overhead.  


  • http://furtheradventuresofindigored.blogspot.com/ Indigo Red

    My alarm radio was set to go off at the exact moment the NPR hourly news started on Morning Edition. First thing I heard Tuesday morning was that a small plane, possibly a business jet, had crashed into one of the Worlrd Trade Towers. The story went on for several minutes when normally other stories would have been covered. Quickly, I went to the living room, turned on the TV and stood there in my shorts wondering how any pilot could not see that big tower and run into it accidentally. Then the second plane hit and I said aloud, “Oh, my god. We are at war.”

    The rest of the day past in a fog of routine and disbelief. That night, about 2AM, a small plane flew over my apartment fracturing the absolute silence, an unknown quantity beneath the flight path of John Wayne Airport. Within seconds, two military jet fighters slashed through the silent night, setting off car alarms, frightening pets, and shaking windows in hot pursuit of the errant small plane that should never have been in the air after so many hours of warning. And then silence. Again, the silence…

  • Lauren K.

    I remember everything about that day.
    I’m on the west coast so I was just getting up. The first thing I heard that morning was the KRXQ DJ (Rob) announce, “the FAA has ground all flights in the United States.” I was snoozing but the fear and alarm in his voice scared me so I scrambled out of bed and turned on the news. The barbarity of the attacks was just mind-blowing.
    CNN kept looping their footage so it was difficult to know what was real time and what was tape. I remember Paula Zahn was anchoring that day and she was trying to handle things the best she could.
    Later in the day I headed home and I remember hearing a loud boom and I looked up into the sky to see two military jets patrolling the skies of Nor Cal.
    To this day I cannot watch the Towers collapse with all those innocent people inside. I thank George W. Bush for having the courage to engage these terrorists. I shudder to think about what Al Gore might have done. Thank you SEAL Team 6 for taking out Bin Laden.
    God bless America.  

  • jj

    Weird day.  I was home, cleaning up a newspaper column, and had turned on the TV shortly after the first hit.  My wife was off at the gym, and she called to make sure I was tuned in.  At that point it seemed like an accident, so I told her yes, I was watching, and I watched.
    Now, you have to understand – which most people didn’t, and probably don’t to this day – how organized New York City emergency services are.  The NYC fire department, unusually for most union operations, never worried about the ‘paid guys vs. volunteers’ controversy – there has never been such a controversy with the city and the communities surrounding the city.  Most of the fire departments on Long Island (east of the city) and in Westchester (north) are volunteer departments – and they all have NYFD personnel as members, volunteering in the communities where they live.  (We had four, one NYFD firefighter, two NYFD lieutenants, and one NYFD  captain.  The captain, you might be interested to know, was Bobby Morris, who took over as Captain of Rescue 1 when Terry Hatton was killed in the South Tower collapse.  Captain of Rescue 1 in NYC means that Bobby is – quite literally – probably one of the three or four best and most accomplished firefighters in the country.)  By pure good fortune, none of our four NYFD guys were on duty.  One was away on vacation, one was recovering from an injury, the other two were off duty when the planes hit – and headed for the city.
    The emergency plan is simple: when things go wrong badly enough in the city, everybody sucks in toward the problem.  City houses in northern Manhattan and the Bronx go south; houses in Brooklyn and Queens go west.  You can’t leave those houses empty and the neighborhoods they serve unprotected, so volunteer departments in Westchester send apparatus and crews south to cover them, and the long Island departments send guys and trucks west, to man the empty houses – and nobody in NYC gives a thought to the fact that these houses are now being manned by volunteers from the suburbs.
    So, ten minutes after I got off the phone with the Iron Butterfly, the second plane hits, it’s obvious what’s going on – and my pager goes off, just as the phone rings again.  I answer the phone, and it’s our chief.  At the time, I was the District Chair, and he’s asking me for permission to send a truck out of town.  (Okay – for those of you who don’t know, a volunteer fire department is a two-headed beast, consisting of the Fire District, and the actual Fire Department.  The Commissioners – the District – owns the firehouse, all the trucks, and all the equipment – including all the gear for the personnel: the turnout gear, the air bottles and SCBA stuff, the tools, etc.  The District also provides all the insurance, and, theoretically, when a truck leaves its district go on mutual aid to another district, permission should be sought from the people in ultimate charge: one of the commissioners.  {In practice, permission’s pretty much a given: a neighboring town needs help, we go.}  The Fire Department is the manpower.  District:stuff/Department: people.  So he’s on the phone saying County Control is mustering assets at the training center/fire headquarters in Valhalla for possible re-assignment south.  I said yeah, what do you want?  The usual mutual aid engine.  OK, I’ll be there (at the firehouse) in a minute.  Called Herself, she said ‘you’re going?’ (she’s well-trained), I said ‘yup, 113’s going south, I’ll call you when I can.’  So off I go.
    At the firehouse everybody’s watching TV, and we’re putting together a crew to head south.  We had a membership at the time of, I think, 48 people.  There were 12 of us qualified to drive and engineer all six trucks.  (We tried to have older, calmer guys drive and engineer the trucks.  All the kids want to drive, naturally, but you try to avoid situations where you pull up to a burning house with a 20 year old running the truck, while five guys of an age to be headed for their first coronary are gearing up to go in and fight the fire – which happens!  We tried not to have anybody under about 30 running the apparatus, and let the young horses go in, find the fire, and put it out.  The kids are also susceptible to being flustered when guys are on the radios screaming ‘where’s the water!’ or something.  The trucks cannot be rushed, step A has to come first, then step B, then step C, then D – and you can’t rush them, and you can’t skip a step.  Older guys are calmer, and won’t react to the radio, [except to mutter, ‘oh, keep your hair on’] and will stay focused and do what needs to be done.)
    So, here I am, driving the engine, with a crew of five, down to Valhalla, not watching TV, not knowing what the hell’s going on.  We got about two-thirds of the way to County, and they diverted us by radio to a NYFD house on the Fordham Road in the Bronx.  We got there, I backed in, and in about ten minutes we were on the road again, going further south, headed to a house in Harlem.  Which is where we spent the rest of the day.  The trucks that lived in that house had sucked down to someplace on the upper east side to cover for guys who’d gone south, and we were in their house.
    So, being busy driving, I completely missed the towers coming down as we were nowhere near a TV – though we could certainly see the smoke for the last half-hour while on the road.  We had a NYFD firefighter who worked at that firehouse there to tell me where the hell to go if an alarm came in – and we sat, watching TV and listening to the insanity on the radios – which was beyond belief.  And, as has been remarked-upon, the house we were in usually gets 20 runs day (18 of them false alarms, kids pulling alarm boxes, etc.), and for the next thirteen hours, while we were there: nothing.  Not one run.
    I was – peripherally, at least – involved in it, around the edges, and I probably saw less of it than any of the usual gang here! 
    Got back to our firehouse around 1:00 AM the 12th, to find two of my fellow commissioners sleeping on cots, because there had been a notification from the state via the FBI that emergency vehicles should be guarded, so they couldn’t be stolen by terrorists and used in another attack of some sort.  Our town’s police chief had his cars (all three of them – it’s not a big town) at the firehouse, and one of his guys was there, too.  I gave ’em all my love, and went home to say hi to my wife.  Next night I was one of the guys who slept at the firehouse – that went on for a week.
    Strange day, but we were busy the whole time.  So, somewhat counter-intuitively, missed a lot of it.

  • Danny Lemieux

    It was a crystal clear autumn day in the Midwest. I was getting ready to visit my seriously hospitalized father on my last day of my visit before heading back home to Chicagoland. I turned on the TV, saw what was happening, and immediately called my mother at her home and told her to postpone the visit and turn on her TV. I spent most of that morning in the hotel lobby watching the towers collapse in the company of a country western star and her manager. I remember thinking that they appeared more upset about their concert being cancelled than about what was happening in NYC. Maybe I am being unfair, but that was my distinct impression.

    Later, as I was driving back and, in passing through Indianapolis, it occurred to me that a) the main toll ways through Chicago were probably blocked and b) I would need to get gas. I could see lines as long as a mile at all the gas stations by the freeway. I also noticed that there were no planes in the sky – weird! Especially by the airport. So, I decided to drive the back roads to Chicago and found gas at a local crossroads. Fortunately, I had gas, because the credit card machines were down. 

    Driving north, I spotted a huge set of jet contrails, moving east to west. It was spooky, there were so many. I already knew from the radio that all flights had been grounded, so it had to be military. I figured out later that this to be the President and his entourage flying to North Dakota. God bless him. 

    We live not too far from several airports, so we always here some jet activity around the house. I remember how strange it was to sit on our deck in the evening, in total silence except for the occasional fighter jet cruising high overhead. Our neighbors and we were in state of shock for days. Mostly, I remember the silence and the endless running through my head of possible scenarios for continued terrorism. 

    When the attack happened, a woman in my martial arts school who was married to an Egyptian-turned-Jihadi told us that her husband had disappeared with several of his friends. A fellow instructor, a lawyer, helped her to get a divorce pro bono and arrangements were made to protect her and her children. She blurted out that they had been living in terror of her husband for months. I had met him once (well before 9/11). He smelled of death. A Pakistani family that operated a local 7-Eleven gave away the game because they could not conceal their glee in their eyes, nor their hostility to their customers. They were soon gone. Other Muslims in the neighborhood hunkered down, afraid of hostility, but I never saw any such hostility expressed to any Muslim. Quite the opposite. There was a lot of outreach extended to a local (Bosnian) mosque located in a very Jewish neighborhood to let them know that the community was looking out after them.

    We should never forget this day, because it isn’t over yet. The “war on terror” will likely last the rest of my life time and beyond. Complacency could kill us.

  • Duchess of Austin

    Where was I on 9/11? It was a Tuesday morning and I was awake, drinking my morning coffee, watching Matt Lauer and Katie Couric on the Today show as was my usual morning routine. Suddenly, there was a commotion offscreen, and they broke away from their story to tell us, the viewing public, that there had been an explosion at the North Tower.
    The picture changed to a view of the smoking north tower. Of course, at first blush, everyone watching thought it was nothing more than a horrible, tragic accident. After all, nobody would purposely fly an airplane into one of the Towers, would they? As I stood there, eyes glued to the television, watching the tower smoke and burn, coffee forgotten in my hand, a second plane flew into the second tower and hell erruped right there on my TV! Live!!
    Oh horror of horrors! Another one! Hard on the heels of this came the reports of the Shanksville crash and the Pentagon. What was going on?? Who would do this? Why did they do it? Nobody knew. I continued to watch the horror from my living room as the scenes played out 1500 miles away in Manhattan, with the occasional cuts to Washington and Shanksville in an unending loop of death, wondering, as did we all, how many more would explode before it was all over….of course, the scenes playing out right before my eyes were nothing more than a bad B-movie plot until it happened.
    Imagine blowing up the World Trade Center! What an idea…. The evidence was right there….in front of my disbelieving eyes. Somebody had attacked the twin towers of the World Trade Center with commercial airplanes, as well as the Pentagon and a fourth plane meant either for the Capitol or the White House, which was successfully defended by the brave passengers of that flight, ending in the crash in Shanksville, PA. Using commercial airliners as guided missiles. Who’da thunk it? And who knew that the buildings, crippled by the heat of jet fueled fires melting the infrastructure, would then collapse in such a disasterous way? I confess, the way the buildings collapsed was strangely beautiful, sort of like 2 concrete and steel prima ballerinas doing their ballet of death for all the world to see.
    To say that I was stunned would be an understatement. The world was stunned. And when we found out who was responsible, we Americans were stunned and angry. Especially when we found out who and what was responsible for these horrific acts, and why. What religion encourages its adherants to kill? What sort of God wishes for people to die or kill in His name? The answer is: NONE. No real God asks that of anybody, but the God that does thirst for blood is Allah, that is, according to his prophet on earth, Muhammed. Consult any given copy of the Quran and the Hadith (the immortalization of Mohammed’s exhortations to his flock) and you will find very few chapters or quotations that refer to Allah’s mercy. Most of what you will find are exhortations to lie, cheat, steal and murder, as Islam isn’t so much a religion as it is a manifesto for war, or Holy War (Jihad), as the Muslims call it.
    I sat glued to the television for the next 2 days, watching that unending loop of death and destruction on every television station (I could afford cable back then, so I had like, 50 channels). I barely moved off the couch. I didn’t bathe. I didn’t even change out of my pyjamas. I cried alot, and grieved, and wondered what was going to change in my life. And like millions of other Americans, I swore I would not forget this day.

  • MorowbieJukes

    I was living in Singapore at the time of the attack.  I got a call from a friend and colleague who was also staying in Singapore at 9 pm, local time.  He told me on the phone that one of the twin towers had been hit by an airplane and that it was assumed to be an air traffic control error.  My reply to it being an air traffic control error was “BS!” and then a few seconds later while we were still on the phone he said the second tower had been hit.
    I rushed to the TV and then spent the rest of the night watching the disaster unfold.  I finally had to leave at around 7 am the next morning.  ALL news websites were unreachable because of the traffic and remained so for around 48 hours or so.  I also tried calling the USA but all telephone circuits were jammed. It took around 2 days before I could get a phone call through.
    My brother at that time was flying to Hong Kong and about two hours from arrival the pilot announced over the PA that there had been an incident in the United States and that they should immediately go to TV terminals when they landed.  The aircraft crew would not say specifically what happened so everyone got to wonder and speculate for the next two hours.  My brother’s assumption and fear was that there had been a nuclear attack.
    The home I was staying in was directly across the street from the Israeli embassy and within a short time Singapore special forces had flooded Dalvey Rd and had closed both ends of the street.  Mossad agents also showed up and were standing at various points in front of  the entrance.  The Mossad agents remained for the duration of my stay in Singapore and I ended-up on a nodding acquaintance basis with them.  I can only imagine the surveillance I had undergone given my location.
    The next day I had received word that we American expats were to avoid the Malay (i.e., Muslim) areas of Singapore.  I was also instructed by the client in the US a few days later to not return to Indonesia and I didn’t for two months. I did have to venture into some of those parts of town over the next few days and I confess I was nervous.  At that time everyone was wondering what would come next.
    I had been making a commute between Jakarta and Singapore on an almost weekly basis that year.  I had flown in the Thursday prior from Jakarta and was a nervous wreck every minute of the flight and could not wait until we had finally landed.  I am not a nervous flyer at all and had made that particular commute many times.  But that night I felt something was very wrong and was never happier when we landed.  Those feelings of dread suggestive of precognition to this thoroughly non-psychic agnostic still bother me to this day. 

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    We saw it on the tv in the class room. The teachers kept looking at it, while most of the students paid it little attention and talked amongst ourselves. Interestingly enough, it was only afterwards while watching the news of the event and the invasion, that I figured out what the D and the R behind people’s names meant.


  • heather

    My husband showed up for a job interview to find everyone in the office crowded around TVs.  They finally broke away to do his interview, but naturally it did not go very well.  He did not get the job.

  • http://bookwormroom.com Bookworm

    The stand-out memory for me starts like a bad joke.  “So this one construction worker says to the other….”  But that’s exactly what happened.

    We were literally living in the living room at the time, as our house was being remodeled.  I remember clambering over the couch to answer the phone a little after 7 a.m.  It was a neighbor calling to find out if I was still planning to send my kids to their little local preschool.  “Why?” I asked.  “Turn on the TV,” she said.  We turned it on in time to see the second plane hit.  We knew it was terrorism from the git-go.

    I did send the kids to school because I saw no reason to disrupt their schedule.  Then, with nothing to do myself, and a desperate need to be around other people, I headed off to my favorite client (that would be DQ’s office, incidentally). 

    When I arrived at the building, I saw a construction worker along the side of the building fussing with the paneling.  As I walked by him, one of his co-workers walked up and said to him, “Did you hear that there was a big attack in New York, and that thousands of people are dead?” 

    He responded appropriately:  “C’mon, man!  That’s a really bad joke.  How stupid do you think I am?”  

    “No, really,” said the co-worker.  “These planes crashed into the building.”

    Again, the construction worker expressed disbelief.  I, a complete stranger, chimed in.  “It’s true.  They hit the Pentagon, too.  Thousands of people are dead.”

    The construction worker looked at his co-worker, looked at me, buried his face into his hands, and started moaning, “No, no, no, no!” 

    When I went into the office, we didn’t work.  We just hung out together, taking comfort in our common humanity.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    What Book wrote perfectly expresses the human ability to make snap judgments based upon what is or isn’t true. When it is one person saying a thing, it is hard to believe right off the bat. When it is two completely different people, independent of each other, saying the same thing, the human mind now finds it much easier to believe. And if 1000 people around them all say the same thing, imagine the pressure that would place on the guy to believe.

    Belief, however, is not so easily true just because a human decides that something is worth believing in. I usually require 3 independent confirmations of something before I believe it to be true. A crowd all saying the same thing, is often times listed by me as “one source, dependent on the others”.