September 11th 2001 Where Were You When the Planes Went Down

BetteDavisEyes

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I was at home, in the kitchen with the TV on and watching the Today Show. Program was interrupted with *Breaking News* about the first plane hitting. Phone rang - my sister was calling to see if I had seen the news. While we were on the phone, second plane hit. Neither of us could believe what we were watching. Talked to DH a few minutes later. Couldn't concentrate or focus on anything else and was glued to CNN for the remainder of the day.
 

MamaJoJo

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My friend, Ira Zaslow, lost his life on 9/11 when the first plane hit the North Tower. He was in the elevator going down to get his morning coffee. I was planning to see him that week, at the Trade Center, to show off my 6 month old daughter. Luckily, I didn't go that day. He and I worked together for years and he was my holiday party dance partner. Boy, he had some moves!! Every year since the disaster, I listen to the calling of the names, waiting to hear his name read and to see a picture of him again.

That morning was beautiful. The sky was bright blue and there was little to no humidity. A perfect day! I lived in Manhattan and was watching the news report of a "little cessna" hitting the North Tower, wondering how that was possible. My husband said goodbye and went off to work at Rockefeller Center. Ten minutes later, the second plane hit the South Tower. I tried to no avail to get a hold of him to say, "Turn around! Come back!" since we had no idea of what was coming next. Were there going to be plane after plane careening into every tall building in Manhattan? OMG the fear! Life has never been the same since.

The sound of sirens throughout the streets, for months, was deafening. Still, to this day, I panic if I hear a siren. The acrid smell of an electrical fire, coursing throughout the City, for weeks, was awful. Any time there was a thunderstorm, like there was in the early hours of 9/12, I would think we were being bombed. Heck, we even had a small earthquake a few days after 9/11 and the shaking of the building sent me into a panicked state.

Even though I live in another state now and it's been 17 years, I am still brought right back to those events like it was yesterday. I can't bring myself to visit the Trade Center, the Reflection Pools, or the museum. It's too emotional.
 

Hope4More

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Remember the news media commenting on the too few degrees of separation? That every 6th or so American knew someone who had lost/come close to losing a friend or relative or acquaintance on Sept 11, or knew someone who had? I remember that, and remember knowing it was true.

What was also true: answering that overwhelming, continuous, unceasing flood of calls from everywhere, literally BEGGING to help, in any way, no matter how small, even after it became clear--and unbearably so --that there were no survivors requiring donations of blood or clothing or aid of any kind that only the living require.

Does anyone else remember the incredible UNITY that followed 9/11, in so many other ways? I remember driving home from work in the week following, exhausted, after working hours overtime, and seeing on my major highway commute, for the only time before, during or since, every single driver of many thousands on the road, yielding, allowing others in and ahead instead of aggressively trying to cut in or be first.

We knew. We recognized we were part of something larger than ourselves. Even most of those who had never thought of "nation" as something real or something that bound us, not divided us, felt, if only for those too few days, that nation mattered, that consensus mattered, that our internal differences were actually inconsequential and could be, needed to be, and thus would be, overcome.

How fleeting those days were, and the certainty that accompanied them.
 

Spellbound

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I was 21 and had just graduated college in June. I moved back to my home town (NY) and got my first apartment in Brooklyn Heights on August 15th. I was still unemployed by September 11th. I woke up close to 9 am to my Italian landlords panicked yelling. I could tell something was wrong but couldn't understand what they were saying. I ran to my front south facing windows and opened the blinds. It looked like it was snowing outside but it was warm. I opened the door and the smell was something I will never ever forget. Electrical, dusty, it burned the back of your throat and you could taste it. Papers were falling on my front steps with the World Trade Center addresses on them. Bank receipts. 82nd floor. Pages from a law book. I thought maybe someones house was on fire and papers from it were flying around. There was no way my brain would comprehend the gravity on its own. I still heard yelling. I went inside and flipped on the television and watched the second plane hit. I put my converse on and they stayed on for two days. I paced my apartment for what seemed like hours until I needed to get out. I walked the few blocks to the Brooklyn Promenade feeling helpless. I had seen people jumping. I watched the second tower fall then walked back home. I didn't have a cell phone at the time and it took forever to reach anyone on the land line. I still have dreams about watching people jumping. A friend of mine worked on the Stock Exchange and evacuated even as he knew his father was trapped on a floor above the strike zone. That day and the days surrounding is burned into my head. The night before I had gone to see Zoolander. Random things. It fundamentally changed me as a person as i'm sure it did to so many. NYC was a strange place over the next few months.

Thank you for sharing your experience. I never, ever want the memories to slide away. Even though I was far away from the scenes and knew no one personally affected, this is one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. It is good to have people like you who can share what "being there" really meant.

(((Soft hug)))
 

Jilly56

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I live on the West Coast and my husband woke me up to watch TV. I was stunned and shocked! I was attending Cal State San Bernardino at the time and when I went to my classes that day not a single Professor mentioned, talked about or discussed the tragedy that was unfolding. I found that added to the surreal events of the day.
 
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Spellbound

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My friend, Ira Zaslow, lost his life on 9/11 when the first plane hit the North Tower. He was in the elevator going down to get his morning coffee. I was planning to see him that week, at the Trade Center, to show off my 6 month old daughter. Luckily, I didn't go that day. He and I worked together for years and he was my holiday party dance partner. Boy, he had some moves!! Every year since the disaster, I listen to the calling of the names, waiting to hear his name read and to see a picture of him again.

That morning was beautiful. The sky was bright blue and there was little to no humidity. A perfect day! I lived in Manhattan and was watching the news report of a "little cessna" hitting the North Tower, wondering how that was possible. My husband said goodbye and went off to work at Rockefeller Center. Ten minutes later, the second plane hit the South Tower. I tried to no avail to get a hold of him to say, "Turn around! Come back!" since we had no idea of what was coming next. Were there going to be plane after plane careening into every tall building in Manhattan? OMG the fear! Life has never been the same since.

The sound of sirens throughout the streets, for months, was deafening. Still, to this day, I panic if I hear a siren. The acrid smell of an electrical fire, coursing throughout the City, for weeks, was awful. Any time there was a thunderstorm, like there was in the early hours of 9/12, I would think we were being bombed. Heck, we even had a small earthquake a few days after 9/11 and the shaking of the building sent me into a panicked state.

Even though I live in another state now and it's been 17 years, I am still brought right back to those events like it was yesterday. I can't bring myself to visit the Trade Center, the Reflection Pools, or the museum. It's too emotional.

Thank you for this, MamaJoJo. :(
Your friend, Ira Zaslow, lives on with your memories being shared. I am glad you were able to share a little about what a dear friend he was, and loved by many.
 

dyannaON

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My memory is abit selfish. I was working when it happened and we had CNN on our TVs. I picked my son up from kindergarten and he asked some questions. I was in shock I think even though I live in Canada. I kept trying to reach my sons father as he moved to a new city to start a life for us there. When I finally reached him we had a argument. On September 15th I got a call that Ian passed away. He never woke up. Suspected drug use is was the cause but no official COD. 9/11 has a whole new meaning to me. My world stopped that week. I wanted to shout selfishly but Ian died too.
My heart hurts for all the lives lost. I still miss Ian.
 

Ms. Fletcher

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I had been out out work for a couple weeks and was headed into a class at an unemployment office that morning. When I arrived everyone was staring intently at a TV in the lobby. The first plane had hit and everyone still thought it to be an unfortunate accident. Our class began and we were oblivious to what happened in the next hour. When we exited the classroom into the lobby it was eerily deserted. Even the employees in the office had left. The only sound was the tv overhead. We were all in shock. I drove straight to the gas station to fill up, to an ATM to withdraw cash, and then home and remained glued to the TV hoping and praying they would find survivors.

I remember in the days and weeks following, American flags were everywhere. It seemed every house had one out. They were on cars, businesses, everywhere you looked. They were sold out in every store. I finally found a painted wooden version in a local antiques store. It hung on our front porch for as long as we lived in that house.
 

EmmaRose

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My memory is abit selfish. I was working when it happened and we had CNN on our TVs. I picked my son up from kindergarten and he asked some questions. I was in shock I think even though I live in Canada. I kept trying to reach my sons father as he moved to a new city to start a life for us there. When I finally reached him we had a argument. On September 15th I got a call that Ian passed away. He never woke up. Suspected drug use is was the cause but no official COD. 9/11 has a whole new meaning to me. My world stopped that week. I wanted to shout selfishly but Ian died too.
My heart hurts for all the lives lost. I still miss Ian.

I am so sorry. Hugs to you.
 

Bravo

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I live on the West Coast and my husband woke me up to watch TV. I was stunned and shocked! I was attending Cal State San Bernardino at the time and when I went to my classes that day not a single Professor mentioned, talked about, discussed the tragedy that was unfolding that day. I found that added to the surreal events of the day.
Welcome to WS
 

gregjrichards

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I was at school here in Scotland when the attacks happened. I got a text from my best friend saying planes had hit the twin towers which left me confused as I walked out the school building to go home. I remember the parents sitting in their cars looking in a state of shock, some with their head in their hands and others were crying. It was very, very strange and unusual what was happening.

My Dad arrived to pick me up and he explained terrorists had attacked the United States and flown planes into the Twin Towers and there possibly more terrorists in planes about to crash. We listened to the radio as we drove to my Grandmother's house and they were discussing the attack. I did not fully comprehend what was happening until we got to my Gran's house and I saw the full horror of what was happening on television. I remember the news banner at the bottom of the screen saying up to 50,000 people were possibly dead. We were in a state of disbelief.

I watched the news constantly for days after 9/11 to try and fully understand what had happened. The world changed that horrendous day. My innocence was gone and I now knew that there was evil in the world and what terrorism was.

I'm thinking of all the 2,977 people who died 17 years ago today, and everyone who was injured and all the people still suffering from the terrible serious conditions from the rubble of the buildings.
 

Bravo

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I remember the weeks/months following. I have many Family members in Michigan. Every time we crossed into the U.S. there was National Guard going in, over (and under) every vehicle. My first trip to N.Y. was when I was 19 yrs. old with gal pals. I had a photo of the towers. Many, many years later I lost a photo album containing so many memories of travel in a basement flood. I was always so upset I lost that treasure. After 9/11 the only photo I cared about then and to this day is the one of the towers.
 
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Jinkasaurus

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I was asleep on the west coast when my alarm went off.

Within 30 seconds or so, I realized something was unusual. The alarm clock was set to classical music, but this time, people were talking. I must have heard some details and then immediately turned on the TV. And then like many people, spent the whole day watching, feeling sick and horrified.

I had a friend who lived in Brooklyn at the time and I remember trying to call her but the call wouldn't go through.

I was able to go visit the towers in 1994 and went up to the observation deck. I still have my ticket stub. Its very surreal to remember how high up it felt up there and think about what happened on 9/11.
 

worldwatcher

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I was home when I heard the news by 3 PM (here)
I immediately phoned my friend, who had just returned from New York, after working for the Dutch Embassy...could not believe what was happening and what I saw on tv.
17 years ago...,already?? Images engraved, on my retina, seems,
like it was yesterday...
Must be hard for all,who lost..everything!
 

whitelilac

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I live in LA, California. I was just up, preparing breakfast, and didn't know anything until after dropping my daughter off at school. My neighbor was outside next door, with a look of shock on his face. I asked if he was ok...he was as white as a sheet. He said the towers collapsed. I didn't know what he was talking about. He said turn on the TV. I did and didn't comprehend what I was seeing, it was beyond nightmarish. Horrific. After the airspace was shut down, and there were no aircraft landing/taking off from LAX which I could normally see from where I live on top of the peninsula, and LA was on full alert....there was this horrible quiet eeriness. I called the school, I wanted to go pick my daughter. Principal said we want to keep everything as normal as possible. Teachers are aware and talking to the kids.

All those people, I was in tears for days. The images were surreal and ghastly.
Only later did I learn that a friend was on flight 175.

Certain images are etched in my mind. People jumping out of the buildings. The lady who was covered in ash from head to toe wandering on the streets below still haunts me as well....I learned she died a few years ago.

Everything changed that horrible day.......
 

MKZoo

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I was driving to work in Alexandria, VA. I was listening to the news on the radio and simply stopped my car on the parking ramp to keep listening because I would lose signal in the garage.

By the time I got up to my office, it was becoming chaotic. Rumors were flying that State Department had been bombed and maybe the White House. I called my boyfriend (now husband) who worked a few blocks from the White House to make sure he was okay. Then a friend who worked down the street came running in crying. She told us the Pentagon was hit. We went up to the roof of our building where we saw a huge amount of smoke coming from across the river.

Our boss was married to an administration official and we had no idea where she was. The family was moved to secure location. We then went to a coworker’s house nearby. Stopped to get gas just in case we had to flee. It was so crazy and we had no idea what was going to happen.

I managed to call my family and then stared at the tv while drinking wine at like 11 am. Later, I went to my boyfriends house. It was about three blocks from the Pentagon so we listened to fire trucks screaming in from West Virginia and Ohio all night.

I have hyper recall everything that day. I can still easily put myself back there. And every time there is a beautiful perfectly clear day in early fall, I think of 9-11.
 

Anicole

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There are certain things I remember in my 48 years: When I heard on the news that Elvis had died; what I was doing the day President Reagan was shot; being home, sick on the couch when the space shuttle exploded; OKC bombing and 9/11.

My husband and I were in an IEP meeting at school, for my son who was six. The principal, SpEd teacher, husband and I were in the room and our attorney was on speaker phone. About 25 minutes in to the meeting, our attorney stopped speaking, mid-sentence, and then said, “I’m sorry. This meeting needs to be over. My daughter lives in DC and the US is under attack.”

I remember thinking to myself, “Like Pearl Harbor?!” I’m an average IQ gal. Nothing special, just … regular, run-of-the-mill intelligence. For some strange reason, my mind couldn’t seem to grasp what “under attack” meant. It was like telling a computer that it had to use 2s and 3s for communication instead of zeroes and 1s.

We got in the car to go to the house and head on to work, respectively, listening to the radio on the way. My husband picked up his car and went to work. I stopped at a local gas station and when I went in, the loop was playing of the second tower being hit.

I ran the office for a couple of retired firemen who owned a sales and service lot for heavy equipment. Everyone was glued to the television. I remember watching and listening to all the horror. I kept asking, “How are they going to get out of those buildings? That many people? How do they … ? What do they …” and they looked at each other and then looked at me and said, in unison,

“They won’t.”
 

PowMom01

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I was 20 years old, 7 months pregnant with my first son and sitting at my desk at work when my husband called to tell me. I was in disbelief for the entire day. I honestly can't remember when it felt "real". I was so young and had a baby coming into the world soon, "what kind of world?" It was so scary and so uncertain. It seems like a lifetime ago but yet the memories are so clear.
 

Hope4More

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Both things were true: that the horror of that day united us, and that the horror of that day shortly afterwards brought out our home-grown crazies.

At the Red Cross, what crazies- come-out meant was that within a week of 9/11, our headquarters received a letter saying that anthrax was enclosed. Remember the anthrax scares immediately afterwards?

For us, it meant that the FBI & whomever else descended immediately, in full hazmat suits, which was absolutely terrifying, because no one doubted that the threat was real and that we all might have been exposed already.

The bottom and top floors of our building were evacuated, but we on the middle floor couldn't be, as the letter had been opened and the powder spilled just a few hundred feet away from the door to our Holocaust center. We took turns peeking out the one window we had, into that room beyond us, me and more than a dozen Holocaust survivors, watching as the hazmat suited responders moved from desk to desk, so slowly, like they were divers underwater.

We were not allowed out until the responders had determined the powder wasn't anthrax. It had been sent by a crazy, feeding off the craziness of those days of panic and disbelief.

I've posted before of having to fly within a few of 9/11, for the job, from DC into Dallas. I didn't want to go, my DH begged me not to go, but I didn't have a choice. So I flew, but first came walking through an airport literally lined with troops holding assault rifles, with not a small number of them accompanied by canines. It felt like a war zone. It was terrifying.

And then, after landing in Dallas, going to my hotel,leaving briefly to pick up supper to take back to to my room, not being able to get back in because the whole hotel had been evacuated due to a bomb scare.

When we were allowed back in, and I turned on CNN to listen to as I ate my cold food, the news of the day was of more anthrax scares and bomb threats and the world turned upside down and inside out.

I very actively chose to turn the channel, to watch instead the first mindless and numbing piece of entertainment I came across. Craziness was everywhere, but so too was normalcy, just underneath, stronger and more real, and waiting to be remembered.
 

Bravo

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There are certain things I remember in my 48 years: When I heard on the news that Elvis had died; what I was doing the day President Reagan was shot; being home, sick on the couch when the space shuttle exploded; OKC bombing and 9/11.

My husband and I were in an IEP meeting at school, for my son who was six. The principal, SpEd teacher, husband and I were in the room and our attorney was on speaker phone. About 25 minutes in to the meeting, our attorney stopped speaking, mid-sentence, and then said, “I’m sorry. This meeting needs to be over. My daughter lives in DC and the US is under attack.”

I remember thinking to myself, “Like Pearl Harbor?!” I’m an average IQ gal. Nothing special, just … regular, run-of-the-mill intelligence. For some strange reason, my mind couldn’t seem to grasp what “under attack” meant. It was like telling a computer that it had to use 2s and 3s for communication instead of zeroes and 1s.

We got in the car to go to the house and head on to work, respectively, listening to the radio on the way. My husband picked up his car and went to work. I stopped at a local gas station and when I went in, the loop was playing of the second tower being hit.

I ran the office for a couple of retired firemen who owned a sales and service lot for heavy equipment. Everyone was glued to the television. I remember watching and listening to all the horror. I kept asking, “How are they going to get out of those buildings? That many people? How do they … ? What do they …” and they looked at each other and then looked at me and said, in unison,

“They won’t.”
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