#2491 | Friday, September 13th 2002
September 11, 2001 was truly an unfortunate day all Americans will never forget. Two commercial airplanes are guided into the World Trade Center buildings by Middle Eastern kamikaze pilots killing an unspecified amount of Men, Women and Children. This day gave everyone in America, a renewed sense of patriotism. The next day every house in a city block had a flag flying. Then there was the endless supply of T-shirts, hats, buttons, and bumper stickers all declaring America’s stand together.
As a veteran, it upsets me to hear about all the hoopla of 9-11. First of all, President Bush is a coward. With the great possibility that the Middle East is possessing nuclear weapons, American troops should have made the Middle East into parking lot. This tragedy affected every person in such a way that even pacifists wanted retribution. If these people who bear an inconceivable hatred for Americans struck once they will most likely strike again.
Second of all, every war that was ever fought, millions of brave men and women gave their life voluntarily in support of their country. Did you see a flags flying as far as the eye could see? Maybe you saw thousands of war commercials. How about people wearing flag t-shirts and hats? The answer is “NO”. You didn’t see anything resembling America’s support for those in far away lands defending the freedom we take for granite. However one day in Manhattan and in an instant every American’s patriotic spirit is reborn. This is different, because this incident happened right here in our homeland is what people will say. Do you honestly believe that every person that died that day woke up and said “I am going to die a martyr or I’m going to die a hero today.” Most likely not, but those who died in WWI, WWII, Vietnam and even Desert Storm chose to die. They chose to die for all of you who could care less. September 11, 2001 was unfortunate; however don’t let this one day overshadow the sacrifices made by those in days gone by.


Jeremy Lile | 28 | United States

#2480 | Friday, September 13th 2002
On the morning of September 11,2001, i arrived late to work at about 8:45 am...the attacks had just begun & i was hearing about them immediately, but none of us really knew what was going on. i worked at a Christian bookstore, & every morning, before opening the store at 10am, we had a prayer/staff meeting. That morning, our meeting took place a lot sooner.
Those of us who were there went immediately to our Children's area, where we usually met, & got on our knees to pray. Pretty soon after that, someone said the Pentagon had been "bombed", & i froze instantly with panic-my cousin & his wife work there in the Air Force section-i was afraid for them, & just began to pray for their safety, for God to protect them, & cause them to know His love for them...that was the most important thing for me-for them to know that...i felt numb...shock...disbelief...
At this point, we'd heard about the planes hitting the Towers, but it just seemed so surreal, it couldn't be true, & i felt like i was waiting to hear the "real" story. i felt like i was in a dreamworld, & was desperately hoping that it wasn't as serious as it was sounding...
Finally, our Acting Manager, Cindy, went home to get her portable TV, & plugged it in at the front counter...we could not believe our eyes!!!...Dan Rather was broadcasting as we watched the Towers burn, & then eventually collapse...the worst part was watching the people jumping from the windows, & the helplessness i felt watching....i know, as a Christian, i can pray. i know God hears me, & He answers in His own way...but what do you pray at a moment like that?....i felt too frozen to collect a full thought....it was not hard to just stand there, with our eyes glued to the TV....i know at some point, i was in the music section of our store, & a couple of us stood in a circle with some of our customers, & prayed about everything that was going on, for the people who were suffering, & their families & loved ones, for our nation, & our President;we prayed for comfort, mercy, justice, peace, & for God to somehow redeem all of this...one thing we knew: God is still in control, & He's got some purpose in this-there's something good He's gonna do here-something good He's gonna bring out of this!...we didn't know how or what it was supposed to look like...just that it was true...(still is!)....
eventually, we ended up turning the TV off-it was just too much & too overwhelming...we put on some quiet music for the day, & took heed as Cindy continuously made the rounds she'd begun earlier encouraging us to keep praying-it seemed that as the attacks continued, & as we prayed, the damage & the loss of life was lessening-this looked like God's hand moving somehow to stop what was going on to us & so we kept it up, also desperately praying for survivors amongst other things...
Throughout the day, i would wonder if my cousin & his wife were OK, & i remember as i prayed about it, God reassured me they were "out of danger." eventually, i accepted this, as God's omniscient, so, of course He'd know!(& as i found out later on, He was right!)...i did call them, only able to leave a message & tell them that i loved them, that God loved them, please call back, etc....(i heard of them through the "family grapevine" via my cousin's mom-they were too emotionally drained, & overwhelmed, to call everyone themselves....)
Another strange thing occurred as i walked through my day...i felt like i couldn't grieve what was going on...almost like i wasn't allowed to...i kept thinking of a figure i'd heard of from the Old Testament who was not allowed to mourn his wife's death-i felt like him, which angered me! i wanted to cry, & i couldn't! And while Jesus taught us to love & pray for our enemies, which i'm totally all for, there is also a kind of justice that God brings, allows, even demands in situations like this, (which i'm also all for, because there's a time & a place for everything. Ecclesiastes says there is "A time for war, And a time for peace."...it's the mercy of God that we have the kind of President we've got in office at this time, because he's going for it-he's going to get the "bad guys". Who can't get behind that?) i felt so frustratingly angry at the men who used those planes & passengers to make "living bombs"-a regular bomb is bad enough, but in a situation like this, you'd expect it(with terrorism, i mean); what makes it worse is the manner in which it was done...i won't go on, as it's been covered, & it's frustrating still to think about...so my thoughts vacillated a lot between different feelings, emotions, & responses all through the day...And as these thoughts ran through my head, God kept reminding me of the Scripture passage He had given me approximately 1 hour before the attacks began-it was Isaiah 61:1-11:
"'The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the
brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those
who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the
Lord,...
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of
heaviness;
That they may be called trees of
righteousness,
The planting of the Lord,
that He may be glorified.'
And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former
desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations...
i will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
my soul shall be joyful in my God;...
For as the earth brings forth its bud,
As the garden causes the things that are
sown in it to spring forth,
So the Lord God will cause righteousness
and praise to spring forth before all the nations." -Isaiah 61:1,2,3-4,10,11
this passage primarily describes the ministry of Jesus while He walked this earth, & the ministry He's passed on to His church, which He Himself conducts through us, & also directly through His Holy Spirit...basically, this is what God does for us, when we let Him..."He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up all their wounds."-Psalm 147:3...i can't pretend to understand why God let this happen, & i'm not going to give some "pat," textbook answer for it; i don't understand this-why DID God let this happen?...i don't know...i just know that He gives us choices-those men who hijacked the planes had a choice, they chose death; but by the same token, those firemen in the Towers had a choice, too, & they chose life....
despite the anger, confusion, & shocked numbness, i had a lot of hope & faith in the God i love that flew up in the face of all of this as well-i felt like i was being called upon by God to rejoice in the hope He gives, in what He would do with this-that He can take something so tragic, & bring forth beauty from the ashes(that's the main thought i have when i think of this...beauty from the ashes...)...while at the same time, acknowledging the loss & pain somehow through my prayers, if not my tears...i've often wondered, & still do, what that's all about...i don't understand why God would have me do such a thing, why i can't seem to cry, even today-it seems like a cruel slap in the face-it's not that the weight of this is lost on me, maybe it hasn't fully hit me yet...on some level, i still feel numb, & this still doesn't feel real to me-every time i see the images on TV, it feels like some horrific movie...maybe that's why it's easier for me to jump to that other side & just, hope....although recently, i saw a photo in a magazine at Wal-Mart that got me started-it was a close-up shot of people hanging out of the windows of one of the Towers-you could see the blood & looks of terror on their faces...somehow, actually seeing the people...it's just different-i stood behind a pillar in the aisle, stifling sobs....i can't even imagine.....

sara | 28 | Maryland

#2477 | Friday, September 13th 2002
I live in the UK and flew back from vacation in Europe on the morning of September 11th. I had just walked into my house and switched on the TV when the horrific pictures from New York came onto the screen. The scenes were live and I cried as I watched the second plane hit and one by one the towers collapsed. I can never imagine the pain that the people of America went through and still go through today but please be assured that my thoughts and prayers are with you always.
Danni | 28 | United Kingdom

#2456 | Thursday, September 12th 2002
On the 11-9-01,I was getting ready to pick my two daughters up from school.I was numb,angry,upset,worried lots of angry feelings inside of me when I seen the t.v,I just kept thinking why,I knew nobody in America but I still cryed like I never cried before.Even now when I see a picture or something to do with that day my heart sinks.That is a school run I will never forget,no calling at the shop for sweet's,no talking at the school gates,or slow walking home,I just needed to be infront of the t.v.Still I am very lucky I can pick my daughters up,there is children without mams and dads as a result of that day that is something I can be thankful for,now writing this wipeing the tears that still roll down my face putting it in to words I will pray for all those poor people whose lovedones have gone.
victoria | 28 | United Kingdom

#2452 | Thursday, September 12th 2002
September 11th, 2001-
I was working as a bookseller at Borders at the time, and I was working an 'open'- a 7:30 am to 4:30 pm shift. The store opens at 9 am, and I was stuck with the register. (As a bookseller, you rotate from the register to the information desk.)...

I remember that it was the second customer who told me about the first plane hitting the WTC. I was incredulous, and had a sudden flashback to college, when I'd found out about the first attack on the WTC from a message left on the whiteboard on somebody's door ("WTC is on fire") and had dismissed it as a joke-- only later to find out it had really happened. Of course, initially, I thought it had to be an accident...

Every other customer filled me in on what was happening. (For some reason, everybody was doing returns that day. That detail sticks in my mind.) Next I heard that the second plane had hit, and it was terrorists. "What is this, Terrorism Day?" I remember saying. I very much wanted to leave the register, leave the store, and go home and turn on CNN. But I couldn't leave the register!

Then a customer told me the first tower had fallen. It couldn't be! But it was. I was in shock. I never thought those towers would fall down. I didn't think they could. I believe the very next customer after that told me that the other one had gone down too. My very first reaction was anger. They can't go down! I haven't visited them yet! And now I never can. Later, when I began to get information from actual news and not word-of-mouth, the loss of life began to hit me. But I remember the delayed reaction to that. First I had to believe it had really happened. But to get to actual news I had to leave the damn register!

After that I remember news coming in one thing after another. The Pentagon's been hit. There's a bomb at the State Department. (That one later turned out not to be true, thank God.) Federal workers just got sent home. (From the store I imagine my dad, stuck in traffic.) A plane went down in Pennsylvania, that was probably aimed at DC...

At this point I'm frantic. Is somewhere else going to get hit? What is going on? Get me to CNN!

I got off for lunch at 11. I went to the back and listened to the radio, which was talking about the terrorist attacks, of course. There's a lot of "This just in" type of stuff. I don't eat lunch. I just listen...

At noon, when I would have had to get back to the store, we are all sent home. We are all very quiet. There are no customers. The parking lot is deserted, but the streets are full...

I drive to my parents house (I was living in a townhouse at the time) because they have cable and I don't. I turn on CNN. I finally see what I've been hearing about, and it's utterly mind-boggling...

My dad comes home first, then, later, my mom. We all watch cable news, the same images, over and over. I never saw the people jumping from the buildings though- by 12:30 pm, when I started watching, they had edited that stuff out...

I was there until about 9:30 or 10, just watching cable news all day long. I never do this. I remember trying to process it, trying to grasp how many people were killed. I remember Giuliani saying on TV that the number would be more than we could bear. I remember the TV reports estimating 6,000, 10,000 dead. (When the number finally got whittled down to 3,000-odd it was almost a relief, after that. Now, it looks big again.) I kept thinking, maybe the people in the second tower had a chance. I knew, even then, that it was those in the upper floors that had it the worst...

Stories of heroism came later. Then, it was destruction, desecration, and death. The firefighters came in, and the rescue dogs. But there was nobody to rescue, hardly, at all; and nobody at all after the first week. I had a feeling it would be so (110 stories coming down!), but I still hoped against hope. You had to hope...

I get back to my townhouse around 10:30 or so. I watch some more TV...

The next day I attempted to watch TV, then realized I had had enough. I couldn't watch anymore. That day I was on the internet a lot though. I got my news that way, the day after. I had the day off on Wed. the 12th. Probably a good thing...

What is it about Tuesdays? The Depression-starting stock market crash was Black Tuesday, wasn't it? Constantinople fell to the Turks on a Tuesday. And Sept. 11th, a Tuesday. Not my favorite day of the week...

The next time I watched TV was Letterman's first show back. The one where Dan Rather cried. It was all so surreal...

Flags appeared everywhere, including on my car. I wanted to see more of them, they made me feel better somehow. It seemed almost a travesty for life to go back to normal, for flags to go up from half-mast. I wanted them kept at half-mast longer. How dare we come out of mourning? Apparently, others were ready before I was....

I was not- Before- the kind of person who'd put flags on my car, who considered myself very patriotic. Now I have four flag stickers on my car (if you count the "God bless America" which has a flag on it) and flags at my cubicle. And now, unlike Before, I do consider myself a patriot. My country ain't perfect, but by God, it's still my country! And nobody, but nobody, has the right to attack innocent civilians who have done nothing more than go to work. I hope the armed forces can get al Qaeda and bin Laden and give them what's coming to them.

It's a year later now, and it still boggles the mind. My heart goes out to all the widows, widowers, and orphans; those who lost family members, boyfriends, girlfriends, or just somebody they knew. May the Lord have mercy on them, comfort and heal them. May the Lord have mercy on us all. And for all the victims of that evil day, I pray, May their memory be eternal.

God bless America.

Michelle Bahumian | 28 | Virginia

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