#2505 | Friday, September 13th 2002
That morning I was at work getting ready to go into a meeting. Someone said a plane had just crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings. While I was concerned about the lives of the people in the building, like everyone else, I thought somebody really screwed up. We turned on the televisions to watch the horror. Being the wife of a retired Marine, the one thing that I did think about was the fact that my husband always said that one day, when we'd least expect it, something would happen here. Other countries live with this kind of terror every day and the American people don't have a clue of what it's like because nothing bad ever happens here. He always said we (the United States) wouldn't be ready for it. Just this one time, I wish he would have been wrong.
JoAnne | 45 | Illinois

#2493 | Friday, September 13th 2002
I was in Burnley, (Lancashire, UK) when the first plane hit the WTC. I am a Housing Officer for a Housing Association based in Accrington, and I had just finished visiting one of my tenants. I got into my car to drive back to my office about 15 minutes drive away. I set my car radio to ‘seek’ to pick up a music station on my journey, and it picked up a commercial radio station in Halifax, Yorkshire. After a few seconds of music, there was an announcement. It was about 2.10pm I think. ‘We are going to the Newsroom for a news report’. Then silence. Nothing. Minutes passed, then: ‘A light plane has flown into the World Trade Centre. We will bring you more news when we have it’ Then the music recommenced.

Doesn’t make sense? There has to be more to it. Why the long delay?

I was approaching my office in Accrington. ‘We join the Newsroom for an update’. Another pause. ‘A second plane has flown into the World Trade Centre’

Second plane? TWO planes? Nothing makes sense – what are the chances of two accidents like that? TWO? TWO! This must be deliberate – not an accident.

I rush back to my office. Usual office banter as I arrive, Helen and Phil joking as they always are, never working when I arrive!. ‘Have you heard the news – 2 planes have flown into the World Trade Centre’, I said.

Phil and Helen think it’s a joke, and are waiting for the punchline from me. This isn’t a joke, I tell them

(I’m a good few years older than they, and can remember the WTC being built. Helen and Phil haven’t heard of it. I explain – the twin towers in NY. Tallest skyscrapers in the world, thousands – no, tens of thousands – work there.)

Then the awful realisation. Tens of thousands………… how many dead?

We have no radio or television in the office. I try to log onto the web, but the servers cant cope. We get half an image, the top of WTC2 with thick black smoke pouring out. No text, just half an image then it freezes.

The phone rings. My wife is watching it live on BBC. She saw the second hit, live. She is very calm, and tells us what is happening. Two planes hijacked and flown into WTC. Both towers on fire.

Still can’t get onto the web. The phone rings again. The pentagon has been hit, and a fourth plane has crashed.

There are 6 of us in the office now. All work has stopped. We sit in silence, waiting for more news. Accrington is deserted, not a soul on the streets. We feel very lonely, isolated, fearful of what is happening, who is responsible, how will the US react, will Bush retaliate, will it go nuclear?

The phone rings. WTC2 has collapsed.

Later, the phone rings again, and we know before it is answered that WTC1 must have collapsed as well. We close the office and I drive the 65 miles home to Cumbria, the saddest, loneliest, longest journey I have ever made.

Martin | 45 | United Kingdom

#2401 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I had come home from a very busy night at work, geriatric medicine, 42
patients. I was exhausted, and just
wanted to catch some morning news before
I fell asleep.
Turned on the tv at home, and to my
disbelief, the WTC tower was on fire!
I did not know what had happened, nor did CNN at the time. Then, I saw out the
corner of my eye a large plane fast
approaching and then hitting the other
tower with such force...and I just could
not believe I was seeing this happen live in my livingroom on tv.
I was stunned, and unable to piece
together what had just happened, nor
could I feel anything but disbelief at
the time. I sat there, staring at the
tube and kept saying ,"No. It can't be
real". "It can't be really happening".
I will never forget that I watched it
happen....
I was just married 9 days before.

Laurel McCulloch | 45 | Canada

#2091 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I had just flown through Newark on Monday 9/10 on my way to Bermuda to visit an account. My time was occupied by conversation with a very lovely and interesting lady that was a corporate executive in the WTC. We never introduced ourselves, but I vividly recall her moans of how much work she had to do and that she would probably be sleeping on the sofa in her office, on the 86th floor. My flight from Newark to Bermuda was rather exciting however, nothing could brace me for the next morning. On Tuesday, I was at my account when they called me aside to tell me of the news. My first thought, and my continuing prayers are for the lady of the WTC. Many days I recall being stranded on the island and feeling so helpless, but I always think of the families that lost loved ones, and the lady of the WTC.
Paul West | 45 | Tennessee

#1893 | Tuesday, September 10th 2002
I was in Chicago enroute to O'Hare to board a flight that was scheduled to leave that morning after seeing my son graduate from Naval Boot Camp. As I turned on the radio to check traffic conditions as I approached the airport, I came in on the middle of the news broadcast reporting just after the first plane hit the Towers. It sounded like the "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast. I searched the skies of Chicago looking for dark smoke thinking a plane hit the Sears Tower in Chicago. I couldn't see any smoke on the horizon then the announcer reported the 2nd plane hit the Tower and reality hit me in the stomach as the announcer said another plane hit the other tower of the Trade Center in New York. The next few moments driving in the car seemed like a nightmare as I heard of the the plane hitting the Pentagon, heard that flights would be delayed, and as I pulled in to return the car to the rental car drop point was told that all flights were cancelled until further notice. Since I started a new job the next day, I opted to keep my rental car and drive the six hours home from Chicago. As I renegotiated my contract for the extra leg of this journey, I heard on the radio the news of the final plane crash in Pennsylvania.

As I started my journey north, I did not have the benefit of seeing the actual pictures of the attack. I only had the verbal pictures provided by radio. My mind could not possibly imagine what my eyes actually witnessed later that evening when I sat down in our living room and for the first time saw what happened earlier that morning just before President Bush's address to the nation. Enroute from Chicago to Grand Rapids, I was able to find a christian radio station that turned all of their programming over to the wishes of the listening audience. No commercial programming was played that day and if the listeners wanted to share about loved ones they knew in the area of the attack, request prayer, or dedicate a song to someone, the radio station allowed them to dictate what was done on their radio programming. The station also cut in when new developments occurred. I was able to carry that station only that day up to Kalamazoo. After returning home, our son called us from Chicago. Assured us that he was safe and when asked whether he regretted his decision to join the Navy in light of the recent attack, he said, "No. I signed on to defend my country and I'm not afraid to serve and defend my country." I'm so proud of his commitment and dedication to defending his country.

A year later, I can report that our son is safe and stationed in WA. Memories still bring tears on occasion. I will never forget what I was doing the day before and the day of 9/11. God was faithful in protecting me during my drive home from Chicago and provided me with a station that could minister to me and give me comfort as I drove by myself. That station helped me keep my emotions in control so that I could safely travel and stay alert.

Connie Plank | 45 | Michigan

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