#2211 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I was in my classroom trying to show another teacher how to use GradeSpeed. The radio was playing in the background when we heard about a plane crashing into the first tower. Later we started hearing that we were being attacked. Anxious to learn more about what was going on, I ran home and turned on my TV. A few minutes later I saw as the second plane hit the second tower. Terrified I ran back to school and reported the events. Everyone was in tears and we began to pray. What followed is history. I will never forget this day.
Viola Calderon | 51 | Texas

#1680 | Friday, September 6th 2002
I'm not an American, I don't live in America and (think Kyoto here), I don't always agree with the stance America takes. However, on that fateful day last September, now almost a year ago yet still indelibly etched into my memory, I felt about as American as I ever will. Along with hundreds of millions of others I reeled in the horror of what these brutal monsters had perpetrated. I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first heard the news: I was sitting at my desk editing a piece of magazine. Like most people, I was doing something very unremarkable, but the point is, like most people, I remember exactly what it was, down to the smallest detail – I still have a vivid picture of what was going on around me and I can still replay the scene in my mind.
The memories of the rest of that evening (it was late afternoon for us here in the Netherlands when the news broke) will also stay with me for a long time to come. The long drive home with the BBC World Service a constant reminder that all this really had happened. I remember looking at other drivers – most of them grim-faced, staring ahead, ostensibly absorbed in the rush-hour traffic – and wondering whether the same things were also going through their minds. And greeting my wife when she returned from a fun day out with our son and our neighbors’ two young daughters, blissfully unaware that horrific events had taken place that day. Then the emotion that was released when I shared with her and the girls’ mother the realization that so many had perished and the sheer incomprehension that people could contemplate doing such a thing to so many other, innocent people. Of course, being so far away none of us knew any of these people. We had no personal reason to grieve; but we did all the same.
Disgust was another emotion. Disgust and shame that misguided young Moslem youths, here on the streets of Holland, could openly celebrate the loss of life they had been indoctrinated to believe was at odds with their own. But of course living in a free country, like Holland and the US, misguided as these individuals were, they had every right to do as they did.
Yes, I remember where I was and what I was doing when the tragic events of 9/11 first began to unfold. Mine is a quite unremarkable account of how it affected me and my immediate environment and as such it’s insignificant. But multiply my account by hundreds of millions of similar ones and perhaps it’s not quite so insignificant after all.


John Widen | 51 | Netherlands

#1224 | Sunday, April 28th 2002
I live in California. I had the TV on; it was about quarter to 6. I had been vaguely listening to it when the voices became very serious and started talking not in their prepared way but in the it's happening right now tone. I watched the footage in horror as the 2nd plane hit. When the reports came in of the attack on Washington, my only thought was "It's the end of the world."
Mary | 51 | California

#1123 | Wednesday, March 27th 2002
On the morning of the 11th of September, 2001, we have just arrived at our older daughter's house in Minot, North Dakota. We have traveled there from Olympia, Washington, about 1,300 miles away. My wife Suki, and I, my sister Eva, my wife's brother Song Yim and my mother-in-law took this trip together to vist our daughter, Shirley, her husband Beau, and their recently born son, Benjamin Cole.

This was to be a very historic occasion because my mother-in-law and my wife's brother traveled here from Korea to visit us and our children for the first time in 24 years. The last time my mother-in-law saw my older daughter was when she was 18 months old. The was also the first time for all of us (except for my wife) to see Benjamin Cole, our first grandson.

The reunion between my daughter and her grandmother was a 'significant emotinal event' as it could be expected and of course we all marveled at our grandson. All of us were at a heightened emotional state when the phone rang and our younger daughter, Michelle was on the phone. Michelle lives in Los Angeles and at first we thought she just wanted to connect with us and vicariously be a part of a very happy occasion. But as soon as Beau picked up the phone, she immediately asked him if we have heard what happened. Beau had no idea what was she talking about and so Michelle told him to turn on the TV immediately.

As soon as Beau turned on the TV, we have learned what those diabolic creeps have done to our country and about the very high number of casualties. All of us were numb at the sight of all that destruction done by these releigious fanatics. We were glued to the TV and just could not believe what a lethal combination of evil and ignorance can produce. We have also learned about multiple acts of heroism and found those stories most inspiring.

Little more than six months have gone by since the 11th of September. Our fervent hope is that so much godd will and actions will come out of that tragedy that the good results will outweigh the the pain and suffering caused by the events of 11 September. Our great military forces have already destroyed thousands of very bad people in Afghanistan and thereby effectively prevented them from doing more bad things. We have replaced an oppressive and brutal regime with a much more civilized regime. We have witnessed countless acts of kindness and heroism and the country as a whole had come together like we always do in times of crisis. And this is just the beginning.

The US was sucker punched and as any fighter knows, that can be painful. The first round started pretty good for the bad guys. This is going to be a long fight. The bad guys will use every illegal punch, every trick in the books and some that have not even made it to the books. Some of the countries in the crowd will root for our enemies. Some of the countries will act as if they are rooting for us when in fact, they will be helping the enemy and will root for them. Most of the civilized countries will rally behind us and will root for us. On the long run, we will prevail. We would like to think that good will overcome evil but that is not always the case (see Holocaust for example). Our perseverance, economic might, technical superiority and ingenuity however WILL prevail and the terrorists will be defeated!

Paul Hardy | 51 | Washington

#1078 | Wednesday, March 20th 2002
My husband called me from his office at about 8 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,
more than 2 hours after the first plane
had hit the WTC #1 tower. I was reading
the paper, getting ready to leave for my job, and he told me to turn on the TV
because terrorists had attacked BOTH WTC's and the Pentagon. I found it difficult to believe what my eyes were seeing. Our 21-year-old son was still home for the summer from college, and just getting up to go to his summer job. I told him briefly what had happened, and sat on his bed as we both watched the shot of the 2nd jet hitting the 2nd tower. I asked him, "Is that a reenactment, or something?" because I just couldn't mentally accept that such a diabolical event could have happened in our free United States. He assured me that it was real, and we both sat there unable to comprehend the massive loss of life, terror, unspeakable evil, and loss of innocence that many of us as Americans had been feeling for a long time up to that point. I was 12 years old and in junior high when the news of President John F. Kennedy's assassination was announced, and can remember the horror, shock, and fear I felt at that time. This time, it was even worse, as I am now the mother of 2 young adults, and I wonder about the future of the USA as they experience their adult lives. I went to work at the medical clinic where I am a certified diabetes nurse educator, but many people didn't show up for their appointments. I kept the radio in my office on at low volume all day. At lunchtime, I drove to my church and said a prayer along with my pastor and a few other people, for the victims, the future of our country, the perpetrators of the violence and hatred, and our future generations. I cried off and on for most of that week. I turned 51 on the 6 month anniversary of the attack, and will never feel as safe as I used to. I have flown halfway across the country twice since the attacks, and will continue to do so. My condolences and prayers go to the families hurt by this devastation. God has and will continue to bless America.

Sydney Bush | 51 | California

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