#2416 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I woke up and went to work at 7 as usual that morning. I remember wishing I didn't have to work because even at that time, it was already looking like it was going to be a warm, beautiful day. I started doing my usual morning routine- running my daily reports and counting up my cash drawer. I work in a hotel at the front desk. So that morning my manager was running late I guess, so when she wasn't there at 8 as usaul, I assigned the housekeepers their work for the day and sent them on there way. Then at 9 I think, my boss came in the door, and without even stopping at her office, she went to turn on the tv in the lobby and told me that she heard on the radio that a plane hed crashed into the WTC. I work in an extended-stay hotel, so our lobby is small, theres a couch and a couple chairs...like your living room at home. And some of our guests become friends and "family" temporarily. For the next 10 minutes or so (it seemed an eternity)
myself and a few other co workers who had now come in, watched in sheer disbelief as the first tower burned through the blue sky. Guests were walking through stopping to see what was going on. At that point no one really knew what was going on yet. How could a jetliner just fly into the Trade Center? It must of been an accident, but how could it have been? But just a few short minutes later, we all knew, along with every other American who was glued to the tv at that time, that this was no accident. There were no mistakes. We watched as the second airliner went crashing through the second tower, exploding into a huge ball of black smoke and flames. They flashed images of New Yorkers, stopped dead in their tracks, staring up into the sky. How do you comprehend something like this? Its not happening? To us? On our ground? In the greatest city in the world? Its all so surreal. Even to this day, one year later, I still have trouble believing that this really did happen. We continued to watch the continuing coverage that was on every station, recieving bits and pieces of scattered info as it became available. All planes had been ordered to be grounded. There were reports of other suspicious planes.
So many images of people running around NY. I have never in my life, seen such pain on peoples faces. Not knowing where their family and friends were. Not knowing what would happen next. I felt the pain too. Even though I was not there, and did not know anyone, I felt for all of them. I wanted to know that their loved ones were okay. Just when we all thought it could not get any worse... a third plane has crashed into The Pentagon. The White House is being evacuated. As the news flashed between Washington and New York, everything was chaos. Fire trucks and ambulances rushing in from every direction possible. At that time, I don't think any of us knew how big this would be. Yes, it was huge, and yes, a lot of people have died, but they'll put the fires out. No one expeced that minutes later the first of the two towers would simply fall from the skyline. 112 stories.... diminished to rubble. The images were of people running, innocent people running from a huge cloud of smoke and debris that was flooding the streets of Manhattan. And people jumping from the second towers windows, because as inconcievable as it is, that was better than being trapped and burned inside. Then the news hits that a fourth plane has crashed in rural Pensilvania. And soon later.. the second tower collapsed. All of these events happened in less than two hours... but it seemed like the entire world had stopped. And it had. I called my mom, cause even though I knew she was safe, I had to tell her I love her. It took a while to get through because everyone was using the phones. Carrier cicuits were busy and cell phones too. A few minutes later a guest came down, panicked and with tears, and told me his sister works on the 63rd floor of one of the towers. He hasnt been able to get in touch with her because phones arent working. Everyone just felt so helpless. The rest of the day went by as a daze. Everyone was glued to the tv. We later found out that by some miracle, his sister just happened to be running late for work, and was on the train on her way there when the first plane hit. Unfortunately, 3,000 other people were on time, and had their lives taken from them for just showing up to work. The next few weeks were filled with replays of all the tragic events that took place and with pictures of deceased and missing. And with memorial services and vigils, and a country that was now, more than ever...UNITED. Today, a year later, these pictures are still fresh in my mind, and I will never forget. And neither will you. But our country has opened its eyes now. We have a responsibilty to the victims to make sure that they did not die in vein. And a responsibility to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again. To our armed services- God Bless you... I'm behind you... take those fuckers out!
To firefighters, police, and EMS across the world and in NY especially- you are the difinition of the word hero. You have been and will continue to be for the rest of your lives. Thank You.
And to the victims and your families- I cannot even begin to imagine the pain you have been through over the last year. My thoughts and prayers are with you every day. Be strong. And have faith that we WILL bring the people that did this to us to justice.
Be strong America...
And never forget 9/11/2001

Gina | 18 | New Hampshire

#2390 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I was just arriving at my office when I heard the news of the first plane hitting the WTC on the radio. When I got inside, there was already a TV turned on to the news.

On that fateful morning when four teams of terrorists decided to take on the role of the four horsemen and make passenger jets their steeds of the apocalypse, I watched in horror with the rest of the world. I saw the second plane hit the south tower more than a dozen times and from multiple views. I watched the towers fall in real time, then over and over again during the course of the next couple of weeks. With the fall of the north tower, I turned and walked away unable to take any more.

I was so full of shock and despair that I thought I would break down and cry right there in front of my coworkers. With tears filling my eyes I walked away, trying not to be noticed as I made my escape from the crowd gathered around the television. Then when safely out of view, I wiped the tears and found that I was unable to do anything more.

I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t scream in anger, I couldn’t even gather the motivation to go back to work. I called my dad. We talked and afterwards I went back to my desk and managed to go back to work. But my mind and my heart were not with me in the office. They were about 10 stories up looking through the lens of a video camera watching the scenes of the morning replay repeatedly.

I kept coming back to the point of tears, but could not cry. A couple of tears on the cheek and a brief shutter, and that was all. At first I thought it was simply because I was in the office I wouldn’t allow myself the luxury. I even wrote in an email that I couldn’t believe the effort I was putting into not crying. I didn’t realize until much later, when I wanted to cry and move on, that I couldn’t.

For the rest of the day, and for several days afterwards, I was full of pain, sorrow, and anger. Being a displaced New Yorker made the pain more intense. I started thinking of old friends who never left New York and called a couple. They were fine, but shook up like I was. More so since they didn’t need a TV to see the scene.

It was six months before I was finally able to cry. I don’t just mean about the attacks but about everything. September 11, 2001 bereft me of all tears. Even for my fathers sudden passing that December. I’m better now.

David | 42 | New Hampshire

#2301 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
September 11th. It started out like any other day. Wake up early and go to school half asleep. I was doing my presentation in school when Mr. Rogers, our principal, gave an announcement. I didnt really understand what was going on. When I got home, as usual, I called my mom to tell her that I had gotten home. She asked me if I had heard what happened. I said no and she told me that the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon had been hit. I turned on the news and that is when it hit me. We had been attacked. I just sat in shock, staring at the tv. I was lucky because nor I or anyone that I knew was hurt physicaly, but everyone was hurt emotionaly.
Dezie | 13 | New Hampshire

#2148 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I had just dropped my Jeep off for servicing when someone came into the garage annoucing a plane had struck one of the towers. Assuming it was a small plane we all headed into the office to take a look. After about 30 seconds of watching the news we saw the second plane hit live. Instantly everyone's jaws dropped and we all said in a soft low voice "terrorists".
The day only got worse from that point on but I will never forget the horror in watching the second plane hit that morning. My parents have always remembered where they were and what they were doing when they learned about the assassination of JFK Jr. and now as history moves forward I can feel their pain.
God Bless America!!! My thoughts and prayers are with those who lost a loved one on this tragic day.

Scottie | 25 | New Hampshire

#2028 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
It is 200am on sept.11.2002 and I am awake just like I was last year.My best friend eddie was leaving for colorado in about an hour.I stayed awake the entire night after he left for some strange reason.I watched it all go down live and continued to watch for the next 5 hours.
Later that day all of my good friends showed up at my house.WE were all talking about everything we were feeling.I can't remember who had the idea but it was a good one.The idea was to go up to the top of a local mountain and have a vigil(gatherig of friends).
It didn't change what had happened but it made all of us feel alot better.
I am sitting awake tonight the same way I was a year ago.The only difference tonight is I am prepared for septmber 11 this year.

NATHAN | 22 | New Hampshire

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