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Where were you on September 11, 2001?

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On September 11, 2001 … I was a junior in high school. That morning I had stayed home sick… along with my mom. Instead of sleeping in, we both stayed up and decided to eat breakfast. My mom turned on the small TV on in the kitchen, getting ready to make pancakes when we watched a plane crash into the 2nd twin tower, live on The Today Show. We both looked at each other in confusion, wondering what movie this was promoting. To our horror, we both realized that we were both seeing was for real. For the rest of the day our eyes stayed glued on the television, and in prayer for our nation as more planes went down at the Pentagon and in the field in Pennsylvania.

It is odd to think that something that happened in my generation’s time will be something my kids (when I have them) will study about in school. Like Pearl Harbor. JFK. Vietnam. They’ll ask me about it, be assigned history reports, and sit in class bored when their teachers explain it. It’s quite surreal to think I lived through something and experienced something on scale that will forever be remembered, not just by myself, but discussed and taught about for years and years to come.

There are times when I think back to that day and the weeks after and it still doesn’t seem real. The tragedy of that day brought us together in a way recent generations had never seen. So, let’s not forget that day. A day when we remembered how to love each other — despite our differences.


  1. jennifer

    i just remember being at home with my family and the rest of it seems like a blur. it doesn't seem real even now.2001 was a horrible year for me . my brother was murdered that year and then september 11 happened not too long after that.

  2. I was 13 at the time and in my first year of highschool. The terrible events of that day happened quite late at night Australian time. I was already in bed because i had to be up early for school band rehearsal the next morning. I stumbled out of bed early the next morning to be greeted by my mom telling me the news. She looked really tired so at first i thought it was just another of her crazy dreams. I turned on the TV to find out it was true. Couldn't watch for long because i had to get to the band rehearsal. I was horrified to find that even though people had only heard about it a very short time ago and noone really knew what was happening that people at the rehearsal were already saying horrible racist things about Arab people. In some of the classes that day teachers allowed us to talk about what had happened. Some persisted with the planned lessons. After such a monumental event it seemed absurd to be talking about rain forests or whatever else we were meant to be studying at the time.

  3. Choir practice and the mini-after party that followed every week was done, so I got home and put on the TV to get ready to sleep. I thought I was watching a bad movie for a moment…the 2nd impact happened a few minutes later, and I realised this was real life.

    At the time, Diane and I had been courting-via-interwebs for around 3 months, and I'd already spent 4 weeks in Ireland. For various reasons, at that moment it seemed a whole lot easier to say 'we' were never going to happen…the logistics to be conquered seemed too big. But ultimately, this tragedy was one of a number of things that confirmed how much we loved each other.

    We flew out on our honeymoon on the 1 yr anniversary of the attack. Now, that was weird.

  4. that day is the only day i can remember all of america (and other nations) coming together as ONE… as people… as humanity. it wasn't about republicans vs. democrats… it was just americans being americans… being human.

  5. I was traveling from one school site to another when I 1st heard 'a plane has hit one of the towers'…at first they thought it was an accident. A little while later I was traveling again and the reality of terrorism was hitting…at that moment the info of the pentagon and the plane in PA was announced. It was a feeling of fear, disbelief, helplessness, and 'what's next?' Walking into the preschool, no one else had heard what was going on–we immediately turned on a tv and just all stood in total disbelief and fear as the events unfolded. I was working at my kids school district also and I went there…I just needed to be there. I remember the space shuttle exploding and even remember watching Neil Armstrong land on the moon (I was very young, but I can still picture it on our black & white tv)…those don't compare to the feelings of 9/11…such a gut feeling. Then to hear of friends of friends who died…and my brothers' company's office (where he had turned down the location position)…wow. Really hit home.

  6. I was teaching music at a small rural elementary school out here in Oregon. I spent much of the day explaining what was going on to the bigger kids, and reassuring the smaller ones that we were going to be ok. Thing is, I wasn't 100% certain of either one.

  7. I was 12 and home schooled at the time. I remember my father coming home and hurrying us to turn on the television. "Cool, a break from school," I remember thinking. Until I began to understand.

    I saw the second plane crash… live. The horror of the moment didn't sink in. Until my father started crying.

    Still, the entire day felt surreal. It still does.

  8. Peter

    I haven't thought of it that way, but it is odd to think that our children will read about it in history books and we will be recalling where we were at that exact moment.

    I was a freshman in college. I had seen the Towers for the first time in my life only two days prior. I was walking down the hallway and could see an overflow of people standing in horror as they watched the images on the tv. And I remember seeing a girl, who thought her father was on the flight but it turned out he wasn't, collapse to the ground in tears.

    I'll never forget that.

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