Question of the Day: Where Were You On 9/11?

I’ll never forget sitting in the newsroom early that morning watching as the unthinkable happened from the safety of Midland, TX on Sept. 11, 2001. I saw the first plane hit and watched the whole thing unfold with a mix of dread, horror and confusion. I remember wondering how the firefighters were going to fight a fire so large and so high up and thought the worst about the buildings collapsing on them. And then they did. It was all I watched for days — footage of dust covered people trying to find their way home.

Eight years and two wars later we’re still living with the consequences of that day. We still haven’t caught Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for the carnage. There’s no real justice, as both wars churn on without true ends. Often I wonder what lesson did we learn, or did we learn anything at all. Sure. We take our shoes off at the airport and Washington, D.C. is a quasi police state with barricades around the monuments, but what did we learn besides how to act out in fear and anger? Are we actually safer, or have we created and illusion and named it security?

Where were you when it happened and where are you now mentally eight years later?

33 thoughts on “Question of the Day: Where Were You On 9/11?

  1. I was working in DC at the time, and my husband (at the time) and year old daughter were supposed to be at the Pentagon that morning; I remember all the phone lines being down, and not being able to reach them until hours later. Thankfully they were safe, but every year I’m reminded of how close I came to losing my daughter, and it always makes me think about those who did lose their loved ones, and what sorrow and anguish they must feel.

  2. I was teaching social studies that morning to a sixth grade class….. It will be a day that will live in infamy for me. The really sad thing is although I didn’t lose loved ones on 9/11. That horrible time was the quiet before the storm for me. Not to mention, I almost had a nervous breakdown afterwards. I started having nightmares about what happened and lived in serious fear of what was gonna happen next.

  3. Senior science class. My teacher, started off with " People handle moments of grief differently" then flipped on the TV, we were all usherd into the cafeteria after that, because we thought Boston would be hit next. I just remember thinking, all those people. They dont deserve this. Still haunting.

  4. I was working in a go nowhere government job surrounded by a bunch of go nowhere people. There were at least 20 people huddled around a small, black and white tv to watch this horrible event. Everyone was shocked, upset, and scared. It didn’t make it any better that people were speculating where the next attack would take place. Houston is a major port city so people here thought we would be on the target list. There were so many fears with so little information. All I wanted to do was go home and hold my then 2 year-old son. Mentally, I am a stronger person who doesn’t let fear dictate her actions. I travel and feel safe while doing so. There are too many beautiful places in this world that I just can’t ignore. Fear is what kept me in that dead end job. I left that horrible place and have no regrets. Well, my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. Although I didn’t know anyone who was killed, it’s still difficult to think about what happened that day and not become emotional.

  5. My boyfriend was visiting from the UK, we were in a hotel room and I turned on the news to see the video of the first plane hitting the towers. That was when it was being reported as an accident. We went to the mall where it was rather quiet and ended up talking to one of the salespeople about what was happening. I decided to go pick up my 12 year old nephew from school. We were both in shock, I listened to Howard Stern back then and he stayed on the air until noon talking about what was happening in NY. My mother was having was having her first chemo treatment and we went to her house for a while. We worried about whether my boyfriend would be able to take his scheduled flight back that Friday. He was but that was the first time I couldn’t go past the gate to see him off.Eight years later, my mother lost her battle with cancer 4 years ago and my now husband and I will celebrate our 5th anniversary next month.But this tragedy is still so haunting. I remember seeing the boards of pictures of missing family members.and the pain is overwhelming.

  6. I remember coming into my sixth grade social studies and we watched as the second plane flew into the last tower. It was shocking and I really didn’t know how to feel since it was in a TV screen. But evey year on this date when i see the footage it always feels like the first time I’m seeing in it.

  7. Long time reader, first time commenter.I remember I was in my eighth grade language arts class when our teacher turned on the TV (about 9:30 am) and we saw what was happening. I remember how it felt so surreal at first, like it was some kind of movie or something. But then it finally hit that it was real, and the class was so quiet. A few minutes later, our teacher got an e-mail from the administration telling all the teachers to turn their TVs off because it might be too upsetting for us. Our teacher turned the TV off, but after much protest from the whole class, she turned it back on. I remember my P.E. coach playing patriotic songs during gym and my algebra teacher telling us how to be grateul for each day we have. Unfortunately, once it was released that Osama bin Laden was most likely responsible, I also remember the kids in my class making derogatory comments about Middle Easterners and muslims and how one kid on our bus got harrassed about it. It just made me so mad because I thought, we’re all americans here and in this time of unity and solace, there were still people who chose to fill themselves with hate.

  8. I was in NY at the time and a college student. I was in my first class of the morning when the first plane hit. Someone ran through the hallway telling everyone what was happening. People pulled out their cell phones and tried to call their family members. People were crying. Our professor thought it was a hoax and would not let people use their cell phones in class to call their families. People ran out of class. She screamed after them that they would be using one of their unexcused absences if they left. At the end of class I walked to my dorm and there was a television in the hall. I was in time to see the second plane hit. It was surreal. I called my mom because her office was in lower manhattan but she hadn’t gone work that day. Her boyfriend was a foot messenger and was in the area at that time. He witnessed people jumping from the windows and ended up with PTSD. When I went home for the weekend there were several people from my street who had missing posters up. Their family members had been in the area and had not been seen again and no bodies were found.

  9. I was in DC. I worked for a very large law firm downtown, and I didn’t have to be at work until 9:30. When I came in I realized something was going on, and when I saw an email saying that something had happened at the WTC I immediately thought of the earlier bombing. I could never have imagined the magnitude of what was actually going down. The firm quickly set up TVs in common areas so people could watch the news, but I stayed at my desk, trying to gather what information I could from the internet as most news outlet sites went down. I was supposed to be packing my things to move to a bigger desk the next day. The day was more or less controlled pandemonium–I sat in my quiet cube while rumors were flying left and right via email. It was impossible to know what exactly was going on, or whether we were in danger. We were 4 blocks from the White House and one block from the FBI. We heard that "something" had happened at the Pentagon about an hour after, but no one knew what it was. (I realized from minute by minute reports in the coming days that my Metro had probably just left the Pentagon station as the plane hit the building.) I also recall rumors that there were car bombs at the State Department, that there were fires in Congressional buildings, that the Metro was being shut down for fear of an attack (which meant I was essentially trapped, as I lived out in Alexandria), that the streets were jammed with people fleeing the city. Meanwhile my desk phone kept ringing as friends in other places called to check on me and urge me to leave the city. I had to call my family back home and wake them up to tell them what was going on. It was like a horror movie come to life.At about 2 pm, a co-worker offered me a ride, and she and I ventured back to Northern Virginia. A trip that normally took about 10 minutes took about 2 hours due to all the traffic and roadblocks. When I got home I think I watched the news for the rest of the day. It was then that the magnitude of what had actually happened in New York finally came home–all morning the focus had been more on what might be about to happen to us. I remember the skies were eerily quiet with no planes going to National Airport, only the occasional military plane. Returning to DC the next day, downtown was completely different–concrete barriers everywhere, military police with rifles armed and ready on every corner. It was a frightening time to be in DC.

  10. I was maternity leave from my job as an American Airlines flight attendant (you can’t fly after you’re 6 months pregnant) and sitting in my judge’s chambers working on the first draft of an opinion when my phone started exploding with people, who didn’t know I was on leave making sure I was not flying (I flew both the NY-LA and the DC-LA regularly). I turned on CNN and was horrified. My judge came in to inform us the Courthouse was shut down, but we stayed in the office because the roads in and around DC were a mess. Got through to my loved ones in NYC and abroad to make sure they were okay, and let some know I was okay and went home and cried for my loss friends and co-workers, and those almost lost. eight years later and it is still a very emotional experience for me. I am not yet able to watch movies about it, listen to the phone call recordings etc…. My husband, who was in Italy at the time, missed the birth of our son, born one month later, because although the flight stoppage to and from Europe lifted in time, it was impossible to get tickets home. He didn’t get home until thanksgiving…. I will never forget that day. I took an early retirement package from AA December 12, the day my leave was up. I knew I couldn’t go back, and I weeped silently the first time I got back on an airplane in December. To this day, the first few minutes of every flight I have to talk myself down out of an irrational fear.

  11. I like this site. I found it by accident as my husband and I searched for Obama WH 8:46 9/11 Ceremony. We could only find images and stories about the George Bush WH recognition. Strange. On the morning of 9/11, 8 years ago, my husband and I was on a delayed honeymoon travellng by car all over Spain after landing in Madrid t14 days earlier. We were deciding how much longer we could, would or should stay in the country. On this day, we hurriedly finished a hearty Spanish breakfast, returned to the room and dressed in our best city hiking clothes for the day because we had decided this would be city shopping day. We were in a very nice men’s store where my husband was being fitted for a tailored suit, fully attired with accessories, etc. when suddenly the shopkeeper rushed towards us loudly shouting "you are Americans, don’t you know what is happening, your country is under attack, – you must go at once back to your hotel and follow instructions for your safety" and pointing to a TV which has not be obvious to us. We froze in our steps after seeing the planes hit and towers going down and all the chaos. I began to cry softly and my husband consolted me and said we should go but first we tried to call our son, who is a Manhattan attorney with an office in Time Square. We could not reach him or any of our friends via telephone – all circuits were busy. Once back to the hotel, we went to CNN and got on the Internet. A hotel worker knocked on our door and the front desk called and said there would be a meting with all Americans and provided the details. They wanted us to know how sorry they were and that they were totally prepared to keep us safe but wanted us to limit our activities on the outside because there might be those who would use this opportunity to attack innocent Americans for no reason on the street. We met with concierge to review airline ticket and plans to return to America. Suddenly we panicked after hearing airports closing, travel would have to be delayed until the world/America were sure it was ok to resume air travel. Today, it seems that day is not far away. I travel a lot and think about it 9/11 often. However, the incident was terrifying, we continue to live our lives traveling and praying for those who lost their lives and trusting that God will continue to be our greatest weapon against terrorist acts at home and abroad. .

  12. At school. I was in the 6th grade.(Yes I’m young.) I didn’t know until one of the teachers had it on the TV screen.

  13. I was 5 months into my job as a university library assistant. Outside taking a break, I saw a co-worker walking toward the entrance when one of her friends came speeding up in a car and pulled next to her. I thought it was typical chit-chat, but something was odd as the lady in the car turned up the radio. I couldn’t tell what was being said and I wasn’t personal enough with either person to just walk up and ask what the deal was. I decided to log on to the Internet after my break to calm down my little paranoia. Slow to no loading got me a little more suspicous, but I waved it off as bad connections or traffic overload. While delivering materials to another department, another co-worker said of some plane crashing into WTC. I thought it was some small plane whose pilot was clueless (Golden Palace charade or something)…no worries, until she added that one of the buildings might collapse. I was like sure, typical sensationalism of some fool in a cessna. I finally got the Internet to load to see the situation. That’s when I started seeing folks running from dept to dept turning on tvs and such. About an hour or so later they closed down the university for the day. Got to my apt all jittery when I recalled a 20/20 report from a few years prior talking of this exact same scenario. It reminded me of when the Challenger disaster occurred when I was a kid. I just got myself prepped for the sh!tstorm to arrive in the following weeks/months/years…SMH!!!

  14. I used to work for USA Today. Our old building was in Rosslyn which is a stones throw away from the Pentagon. I remember arriving at work and doing my usual, talking with co-workers, toasting a bagel, reading the newspaper. My co-worker in the cubicle next to me was on the phone talking to her mother. I wasn’t paying any attention until I heard her say,"A plane has hit the World Trade Center?!?" I got up and walked over to her cubicle. She got off the phone and said we’re going to go to one of the floors where there’s a TV. What we saw was unbelievable. We had just turned on NBC as the 2nd plane was hitting the second tower. I knew it wasn’t an accident. My next thought was I wanted to go home. I don’t want to be here. Our building was one of the tallest ones around. And we’re close to Reagan Natl Airport. We go back to our floor. I’m still in shock and thinking how are we supposed to get work done when we are under attack? About 10-15 minutes later I hear a boom and feel the building shake. At the same time one of my co-workers says "The Pentagon has been hit!". I turned around in my chair and looked out the window and there was a huge cloud of black smoke and fire coming out of the Pentagon. I looked at my co-worker, she looked at me and we both said we’re leaving. I called my husband and let him know what’s going on. He worked in DC. I then called my mom who works for one of the 3 letter govt agencies. At first she didn’t believe me. But then she started to really hear me, hear my voice. I was in a state of panic and shock. She said she was going to leave work and to call her when I made it home. I didn’t get home until 4pm because I was too scared to ride the metro. So me and 2 co-workers walked into DC and waited out the chaos. I’d never been so happy in my entire life when I walked through my front door.

  15. It was a bright and promising I believe Tuesday morning in Cedar Hill, Tx. I was a sophmore in high school when the tragedy struck during my 2nd period Math class and it was just as any other morning in high school but even before the news retrospect, the equilibrium in the atmosphere just seemed shifted, my classmates weren’t as talkative the teacher wasn’t as close to calm sanity than what i had seen before. Then a thin young blonde student had stepped into our door amidst the noise of the classroom and everyone fell silent and stared at her in anticipation of something as it is almost a reflex that tends to happen with a classroom of mostly african american students and in the most mortified tone i had ever heard said: ‘the principle said turn on the tv’the principle telling us to turn on the tv?? Of all things? What the hell?The tv station was on news 11 of all channels and it was just about the time the plane was going into the second tower live I could hear some people crying and yelling ‘Oh MY GOD’ as it was being filmed from across the bridge. My first thought was is this a movie, is this something being made up? Then I realized it wasn’t as the first tower collapsed.. it was simply unfuckingbelievable. The entire day wasn’t the same, teachers had put aside their lesson plans for the day and we assembled to the cafeteria where all the students had congregated by grade level. I remember my class especially being more than scared pissed off and standing on top of tables bustin out rhymes of going to war and even then you could feel that something was about to change and never be the same ever again..we were all to some degree traumatized.i called my mom and asked her if she was okay, did she see what happened, and that i was scared, and quite naturally, got the book of revelation thrown at me via cell phone as young lady, after class had reconviened was talking about how annoyed she was at other students asking her ‘did you see the war on tv’ i guess in her mind she was upset but was facing some denial that this was going toward the inevitable event of war or just plain fear.the thing i mostly remember however is being glad to see my family safe at home that day, and how quiet the night sky was as Bush had ordered that there be no more planes to be flown that day. and from then on I’ve yet to see even one plane being flown on 9\11.

  16. I lived in the DC area at the time and I was working at National Public Radio (NPR). I heard the news on the radio but at first thought a small private plane had hit the World Trade Center. I even remember what I was wearing, too!

  17. I was still in college in NY at the time, just walking into one of my engineering classes when everyone’s phones started going crazy. Life was never the same for some of us after that moment in time.Later on in the day I got the calls that some people I knew were missing but we were still holding on to a higher power that they would be ok. As the days went by and reality set in, we had to come to grips that some of our loved ones were gone. Going home back to NJ for memorial services was extremely emotional. I still remember the feeling of emptiness when I accompanied my friends to the WTC site right after the attacks as they were trying to find some sort of answer to what happened to their loved ones.

  18. I was getting dressed for work as my girlfriend was in bed watching the news. She called to me and I said immediately that it wasn’t an accident. As I continued to dress, she said another plane hit the tower. I said no, that it was just the video being rewounded. It wasn’t.

  19. I was still a sophmore in highschool when it all happened. I was just walking into my morning biology class when I noticed that the teacher had the news on. My first thought was "this can’t be real…" but reality started to sink in when that second plane hit. Some of my classmates thought it was the end of the world! I’ll never forget right after I came home that day how angry my father was…not only that my brother was serving in the Marine Corps then, and our family knew it was only a matter of time before they had ship him off to Iraq. I was so scared for him, I even cried! I didn’t want him to go, but he was a Marine it was his duty. But thankfully he came back home safe and sound.

  20. I was just getting into work about an hour ahead of the plane that hit the Pentagon. The road directly in front of the crash site was my daily route to work.Had I followed the thought earlier that morning to run a personal errand, I would’ve been @ the Pentagon as the plane hit.

  21. I was at a resort in Litchfield Park, Arizona attending a training. I was supposed to meet some colleagues that morning and saw the planes hit the towers in real time as I dressed for the meeting. I remember being in shock. I talked to my colleagues who were rather rude when I inquired about our meeting. It just hadn’t sunk in…at all. An Airforce base was nearby and fighter jets patroled the area. It was so unsettling to hear them overhead. I was stuck out there for a week. The airports were in confusion. There were not standard procedures from airport to airport. Everyone said how lucky I was to be stuck in a four star desert resort, but all I wanted was to be back home and close to the people I loved in the Southeast. Phone circuits were busy and communication to elderly parents was not easy. I cried every night and prayed. We never knew when the airports would open and far from being relaxing, every day we went to the airport with bags packed and stayed for hours, just hoping that that day would be the day when flights would be cleared.Today, I am very clear about what and who is important. To quote Bey "Some call it arrogance…" I just have a really low threshold for bullshit. Since then, I’ve had a near fatal accident that solidified this attitude. Life is short, and I believe that everything should be a step towards fulfilling our purpose.

  22. Where i am now: Forever conscious of a belief system I never knew existed until 8 years ago. I used to feel a sense of safety working in financial district areas in lower and midtown Manhattan. Now when I walk past armed militia guarding investment banks on Wall Street I wonder if there are any suicide bombers walking near me who don’t give a damn about guards with rifles.

  23. It was a bright and sunny day; and I was in my kitchen; my phone rang sometime around 8:55am [?] … and my best friend told me to turn on the television. I said "what ?… [why must I turn the TV on?] When I turned it on, I saw the first tower in flames and heavy smoke; I think I screamed "oh my God"; and shortly after I watched in horror when the second tower was hit. My friend and I watched in disbelief and every now and then we spoke, feeling like this whole thing wasn’t really happening … too surreal. We stayed "glued to the TV", and witnessed the story unfold in front of our eyes. I thought about my brother who lived in NYC. Where was he? … Was he alright? Didn’t my mother say she and my sister-in-law were driving down to NYC? We speculated that this was a terrorist attack. … heard stories about a plane aimed at the White House … and the Pentagon actually being hit. Later we watched the unbelievable … the towers collapse. [one then two].. like accordions.All sorts of things went through my mind … anger … who had done such a thing? … my friend and I immediately felt like we were at war … more anger … and then I saw the ghostlike eery black smoke move in almost snowball fashion down the street … people running and covered with soot. Later, I learned that one plane was heading our way but had turned around. Yes, I remember exactly where I was on 9/11.Go here to read about the attacks and the exact times:

  24. On September 11, 2001 I was on my way to work. I lived in NYC and I worked in Newark, New Jersey. Getting to work required me to go through the World Trade Center to board a train that went directly to my job. I was in the World Trade Center roughly an hour and a half before the planes hit. We couldn’t see the Twin Towers from where I worked, but we could see the smoke from the Building 2. We heard on the radio that Building 1 had been hit as well. That’s when my boss said we needed to get out of there. I can remember watching the towers fall on a TV at a bar in the building where I worked. I also remembered seeing people returning from NYC from the Wall St. area. Their clothes were covered with ash. I couldn’t contact my family to let them know I was OK. I didn’t leave Newark until 9PM that night and didn’t make it home until 11PM. I didn’t go into work the next day because I had no idea how I was going to get there.While everyone chooses to remember 9/11 I have gone the route that I’d rather forget that day.

  25. i was at a trade show in coventry here in england.. it was the middle of the day.. i was in the back office getting more packs for our customers….. we all sat down to watch.. for me it was like a disaster movie.. unreal… surreal… the show stopped for a couple hours…the gala dinner and awards in the evening went ahead after a minutes silence…during days after it was on over the telly and over again, the politicians blatantly using the tragedy for their own gain and i became immune to the on screen tragedy but wanted to know how were the people doing..i watch it now if it comes on as a piece of footage – much like something from world war 2… i never remember it is 9/11 as we say 11/9.. am quite detached from it… i find am more affected by stories about people affected directly by the event… the human aspect…. people who lost loved ones.. people who still suffer from smoke/dust inhalation.. how your government has side-stepped these people for profit… i just read a piece on why there is still a ground zero over at huff… and i do ask myself why…. that area should have been rebuilt by now.. why keep the scar?what would have been the typical british reaction??i arrived at work just as the bombings were going off in the city of london on 11/7.. 11 july…. and was trapped in my building for the rest of the day.. i worked right next to the ‘gherkin’… comms were down.. work colleagues were trapped underground.. our exec office ordered lunch in.. we sat watching the news for developments and figured out ways of getting out of the building for a quick cigarette… i walked all the way home that evening.. there was a sense of camaraderie on the streets.. the pubs were full of people along the way… we stopped and chatted to friends made sure ‘our people’ were accounted for and had a ‘sharpener’ for the journey home.. at home tv’s were on and texts sent with updates on who we lost… and we mourned them in the days to come..we all had a collective ‘it’s all going to be ok..’ ‘what could we do?’ & we counted the ‘human cost’ rather than the financial cost – that’s the governments job… the terrorists were on our transport system and attacked that way.. via buses, and trains.. we all know there was really nothing we personally could have done to prevent the disaster…maybe it’s because we, historically, have had our share of terrorist attacks on the british mainland due to the ira bombings and are used to bombings up and down the land.. – yes reminders are here from all sorts of ‘disasters’… for instance we still no longer have rubbish bins on our underground transport system.. and now there are cameras on every bus and in most train carriages (i have had my bag tracked by central office on the tube system when i accidentally left it on there and was able to successfully retrieve it)..maybe it’s also because england was severely bombed in w w 2 that we can dust off, do our mourning, get on with the rebuild and move on whilst not forgetting… my thoughts…..rebuild ground zero and heal yourselves in doing so..

  26. I was a Sophomore in high school. I live in Queens, and I remember trying to run through all the relatives I have that worked in the city. I lost my uncle, Farrell, who worked in the towers as a trader and my cousin, Tommy, who had just started his first stint with the FDNY. Farrell was 37 and had two kids; Tommy was 23. I come from a big Irish Catholic family who have been in Flushing, Queens since the 40’s, so we’re pretty involved in the NYPD and the FDNY. Nothing pisses me off more than the politicization of this day. Farrell was a bleeding heart liberal, and Tommy was always welcoming of his gay cousin and my boyfriend. When I hear people talk of "real America" and such, it makes my head spin. I’m pretty sure that when bin Laden was deciding where to attack to destroy the symbols of American freedom, democracy, and tolerance, he didn’t pick Wasilla or any of the fly over states. He picked NYC. I just came back from a big family party/wake (what do you expect, we’re Irish) at my aunt’s pub and may be a bit intoxicated, but 9/11 always makes me punchy. As far as I know, many/most of the dead would be disgusted by the shitty youtube videos, the crying eagle/Jesus/angel b.s. and the craven manipulation by so many who have no idea what it is like to see those towers go down and actually see something other than death porn.Thank you, Danielle, for your tasteful coverage of a day that is often so draining for those of us left.

  27. @marci,The most embarrassing thing about the aptly named "scar" at Ground Zero is that it has not been rebuilt due to greed on the part of the construction companies and red tape. Isn’t it ridiculous that 8 years later, there is still a gaping scar on the face of Manhattan? Apart from the still raging and wholly misguided wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this is probably my most constant reminded of Bush’s complete failure in keeping our country safe and our citizens and soldiers alive.Love and Hugs,Homo

  28. I was in labor wondering why people where running up and down the hallway of the hospital. I was literally pushing my first born son out into this world. The nurse was insistant that the TV be on on my delivery room. I demanded that it be shut off. The three days that I spent in the hospital, the TV remainded off. I never got the full impact if what happened and most likely never will. He saved me from the emotional pain they many people faces because of these events and so every year I’m just thankful to share another birthday with him.

  29. I was in college, in a class when it happened. A classmate was getting news updates on his phone and said out loud, "A plane has hit the WTC in NY." We turned on the TV in the classroom. As it became apparent what was happening, the buzz of people’s voices grew louder. Class was dismissed. People poured out into the hallways from other classrooms. People left. Went home. My school was downtown, and it was jammed with traffic of other people leaving work to go home. People were confused and scared. Houston is a space, energy, and medical hub in this country. Could we be in danger too? The rest was a blur; I just remembered being glued to the TV once I got home. My thoughts are with the people who experienced this first-hand and/or lost someone. The fact that so much was caught on video still astounds me.

  30. There is much to much to tell about that day. As a matter of statiscal anomaly I don’t think it could ever happen again. I don’t believe we are any safer though I defintely believe other plans have been disrupted.the most significant image I have of it and I have heard too many stories from people whom were there is the one you posted. I love the two beams of light going into the sky saying a double fuck you.

  31. I am a middle school media specialist in Maryland. I was watching the TV in the TV studio in our school and saw the first plane go it and watched TV the rest of the day. We kept TVs off in the classrooms and kept the kids as the school would be where they would be evacuated to in a disaster. My stepkids in elementary school stayed in all day and had no clue. My Aunt works for DEA next to Pentagon and I called my Mother to see if she was alright. She heard the boom, got her pocketbook and kittycat totebag and left without delay. It took her hours to get home as the Metro was closed. At work, we had to calm the reading specialist down as her mother lived in NYC and she couldn’t reach her and was almost hysterical. The Assistant Principal’s brother goes through the Twin Towers on the way to work. He finally reached him at home, he didn’t go in that day. A science teacher’s husband had a meeting at the Pentagon, he got a call at 7:30 (when we had to be at work) changing the location to Crystal City, Va. I was stunned, but really had to focus on being calm for the kids and my co-workers. I later found out a Poet friend’s wife died in the plane crash in the Pentagon. I drove home with ease. My husband had to go many different routes from Annapolis as two main roads were closed because they run next to Ft. Meade and NSA (National Security Agency). My Dad picked up the kids and we watched the replays of the planes. My stepson thought it was a movie until I told him it was real. They were shocked when they saw the people jumping out of the Towers. My daughter said, Mommy we need to pray for those people don’t we? I am tearing up now writing this. I told her yes and we held hands and prayed. I then explained about people who hurt others for the wrong reasons and sent them upstairs to get away from it. The streets were silent and empty.Today, I do not live in fear, but I have formed greater friendships with colleagues and dancers who are Muslim. I have been an advocate for them in the aftermath. I have been more active in religious coalition building and working with those who want to prevent extremism in all religions. But I cry and my spirit aches for those souls whose lives were lost. I was not a very patriotic person, but am more so now because my country and my people were attacked. I know more black people in the military and when they are deployed I pray for them and know they represent America. Whether you agree with the policy or not, when its my friends son right out of college or the single mom I know whom we helped her daughter graduate while Mom was gone. These are real people who are loved and need us to support them, their families and their work. America is not a nebulous concept, it is us, it our parents who served in Vietnam, Korea, Germany, it is our grandparents and great grandparents who were Pullman porters, and slaves and free blacks and those who survived. All all our people have been through, I’ll be damned if I am going to give it up over some ideological dissent. Yes, I know our foreign policy created bin laden, but he killed other Muslims. That is not the teaching of Koran, I know that and I am Christian. Closing, every year I try to honor those who died and build another relationship to make us all stronger.PeaceMichelle

  32. On the morning of 9/11 I had just gotten off of the #2 train at Wall street just after the first plane had hit. I could smell smoke and looked up to find a stream of paper and debris flowing through the air down Wall St. and an eerie coating of soot on cars parked along Wall Street. My first thoughts were I hope its not Trinity Church on fire. As I headed up Exchange Pl to avoid the debris I could see the panicked faces of traders running out of the New York Stock Exchange on Broad Street. I kept asking people what happened but no one would say anything. As I hit Broadway I could see a crowd of people at the corner of Broadway and Rector all of whom were looking up and I panicked. A woman walked directly up to me with tears in her eyes. She reached out for me as if to contain herself and she said "a helicopter just hit the World Trade Center". My first thought was "dear god some poor group of tourist were killed." Little did I know.I went into the building where I worked, 65 Bway. After just a few seconds in the elevator I was thrown around as the building shook violently. After the elevator reoriented itself and took me back to the first floor silly me went back upstairs. That must have been when the second plan hit. The phone was ringing off the hook but I wouldn’t answer it. And then my mother called and told me the most horrible news. Her colleagues while on a conference call with her saw a plane fly into one of the towers from MetroTech in Brooklyn. She told me to meet her downstairs we were leaving Manhattan. She worked across the street at 52 Bway when Chase still occupied the building. But security asked us to stay. That it would be dangerous. Anyway as grown as I am, I listen to my Momma. So after making a few more calls, myself and 3 of my colleagues left work. Mom found me and we made our way to the Brooklyn Bridge. Everyone I encountered walked in hurried silence. I have never seen anything like it. By the time we made it to the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge a loud snap crackle sound startled everyone. This must have been when the south tower fell. Making my way onto the on ramp from Pearl St. we knocked on car windows begging for a ride across. But that was to no avail because in seconds a cloud of silt and smoke was barreling towards us. We ran to get away but still suffered a considerable dusting.We were urged to make our way to the Manhattan Bridge. The only folks with cell service seemed to be Nextel people. And it was through a fellow "escapee" with Nextel that we all heard the Pentagon had been attacked. My knees got all wobbly. I swore something was going to attack the bridges. I grabbed my mother’s hand and she looked straight at me and said "we are going across no matter what". Like if we die we die. If its our time then it is and we’re together. It was when we made it 1/2 way across the Manhattan Bridge that our attention was again summoned by another loud crashing sound that reverberated. In one slow motion we all turned to the right and watched as the North Tower fell perfectly onto itself. I screamed and everyone around me was doing the same, sobbing weeping uncontrollably. I don’t know what it’s like to describe watching countless people die but I can tell you I never want to see that again or wish that on anyone.To this day I have only been able to watch one documentary about that day. I still can not bring myself to watch any movie. And when a ceremony commemorates it, I can’t watch without crying. When I returned to work (I worked at the American Stock Exchange) 2 weeks later we learned that 9 of our members died in the Trade Center. Additionally two floors of our building were damaged. I was lucky to be working in a satellite office at the time because workers at 86 Trinity were locked in and could not leave until the first tower had fallen and was overwhelmed by the disgusting poisoned air caused by the collapse. For days after people were happy to see another face. I’d walk down the street and people were saying hello. To me it was like an "I love you" I love humanity. We are connected now. Please connect with me. 8 years later that is far gone. My birthday is always 4 days after and I was pissed at bin Laden for messing up my day that year because I was suppose to be in California on business and an extended holiday. Silly I know. Then I learned he purposely used planes traveling that far and thought what if?

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