#2527 | Saturday, September 14th 2002
On September 11th Two thousand one. I was in my class it was 7-512. We were facing the towers. We saw the horrably thing happen And then we say the Twin Towers Crumle to the ground. That day is forever burnt into my heart. Now to that day it will be eaiser to rember when i am older to tell my grand children. After school I spent that day with my dearst friends. Word Up to My special peeps Caitlin Omar Jenifer Monty Giovinna Kelly Deliah Anthony Nichole Dana brittney janessa lizz
Justin jarred dom joanthen charlie johnG tristan n all the other people is 4 got Mail me if you live in the bronx

John | 13 | New York

#2521 | Saturday, September 14th 2002
I woke up unusually late that morning. My sister was home on her vacation. As soon as I got up that morning, my sister yelled to me what had happened. At this point three of the planes had crashed. It didn't make any sense. I felt like I was still dreaming. It wasn't real.

I became engrossed with the television, flipping between network and news stations in search of a reason I never found. At least, a reason I never found acceptable. This wasn't real. I was watching clips from a movie.

I broke away from the television and went to the computer. It never occurred to me that people would be worried or concerned about me. Throughout the day I received emails and instant messages from people making sure I was alright. I was touched but it still didn't feel real.

I could walk outside and see the cloud of smoke from the collapsed buildings. Even then it didn't feel real.

Two days later, September 13, 2001, the wind must have changed direction. I awoke to to a horrid smell I cannot describe. I checked the entire house for something burning. Although, it didn't exactly smell like smoke. I realized the smell was from outside. I, immediately, turned on the television thinking something else happened.

nothing happened.

It was the smell from ground zero. It was a smell I will never ever forget. That was the moment that it all became real.

Julie | 27 | New York

#2504 | Friday, September 13th 2002
I remember I was at work in my office when the clerk next door to me knocked on the door and said that her husband just called and a plane flew into the WTC. She knew right away it was terroism, but I just said "that's too bad" thinking it was just a minor accident. Phone calls from family members were flooding in and it soon appeared that a second plane had hit the second tower. Then a bunch of us turned on a radio and sat around listening to it. Then all of a sudden a ton of information started pouring in: the pentagon hit, more planes in the air, first tower collapses, president in a secret location, second tower collapses...We thought the world was ending. There were even rumors the White House was destroyed and California had been bombed beyond recognition. This was all in the matter of one hour, of which had been preceded by a calm, beautiful morning. We honestly thought the world was ending. When you hear the capital of the US is destroyed, Manhattan is collapsing and the President is in hiding, you know something bad is going on.
Throughout the day all we could do was listen to news, not really knowing fact from fiction, just knowing many, many people died from a terrorist activity.
At the end of the day, I just remember feeling so exhausted and drained from the sadness, the tears and the worry.

Chris | 21 | New York

#2426 | Thursday, September 12th 2002
Today I spent the day at home, and deliberately did not watch TV. I drove out to Long Island on an errand and listened to the radio in the car. NPR had some interesting programs. Tonight I went to a commemorative program at my

The tragedy is never far from my mind, today and every day.

My apartment faces south on Houston Street and from every room I could see
the twin towers. I miss them. Not that I enjoyed the architecture, but I miss
the mood in that neighborhood. I remember walking by the towers every day, at least twice a day, when I worked downtown at different jobs. I remember seeing the rush of people exiting the PATH, subway and express busses. The vendors in the farmer's market, the paintball flyer guys in their flak jackets. I miss the smell of ambition and money in the air.

That day, I was walking the 1.5 miles to work, as usual, but I left a bit
later. Before I got to Canal Street, I looked up and saw a plane directly
overhead. "God, that plane is flying awfully low," I thought to myself. Then
I saw it enter 1 WTC.

I kept walking. Like an automaton. At Canal, I saw the laborers standing and
staring south at the building and the smoke. "I can't believe that building
is still standing," I said to someone near me. I had already seen a fire
truck racing past on Canal Street.

I headed down Church Street, debating "should I go in or go back, go in or go back" and plodding on my route. I worked at 130 Liberty Street, at Deutsche Bank, on the south side of the street of 2 WTC. I was at about Park Place when a crowd of people came rushing toward me, panicky, as if in a movie.

"Go to the park!" someone shouted, so I went east to City Hall Park, thinking
that if a building came down, or there was gunfire, there was more open space
there than on Church or Broadway.

Still I kept walking. Now I could see 2 WTC was on fire. I went to Nassau, to
get away from the crowds on Broadway. Should I call the office? People were
fiddling with their cell phones, but not one was working.

It was 9:30 and I was at Sym's on Trinity, a bit south of my office. I met two women from my department who told me the building was evacuated. (Amazing that I could meet anyone I knew in that crowd and chaos.)

"OK. That's it. You saw me here. I'm going home. Anyone want to come with me? I live a half-hour away." "No thanks, we'll wait it out here and see what to do." (They took the ferry to Staten Island and spent the night there at a colleague's house.)

I took the non-Broadway route back until I got to Worth Street. As I headed north on Broadway to Canal, I saw cars stopped in the street. Their doors were open, their windows were down. Their radios were blasting the all-news stations so everyone in the street could hear. People waited patiently in line at the phone booths. (How were they working?) Many, many people were heading uptown. At Canal, a policeman said the subways were working north of Canal, but by then I was 8 minutes from home.

When I entered the lobby of my apartment building, it was 10:00. Someone said the WTC had fallen. I walked out and looked. Sure enough, there was only one tower there.

At home, I had no phone service. I went to my computer and copied the email
addresses of my family members. I went to the library, logged on and sent an
email to my parents, siblings, husband and daughter at college: Subject "I'm
OK from Janet."

I told them in detail what I had seen. I waited for replies. After a while, I
received an email from my daughter. She had once visited my office and knew
exactly how close it was to the WTC. Then I heard from my sister. She called
my mother, who was talking to my brother, who worked on Hudson below Canal and somehow had cell phone service. The magic of call waiting united the three of them. They knew I was safe.

I gave my sister my husband's phone. I didn't know which would reach him
first, email or voice mail, since he goes in and out of the office when
teaching classes. Eventually, our daughter in high school got through to him and learned I was OK.

That night, 20 large dump trucks were parked on Houston Street near my
building. They were waiting for instructions. It was clear where they were headed.

In the morning, they were gone. I saw three workers in hard hats walking
south. "Are you going down there?" I asked. I didn't have to say where
"there" was. We all knew. They ondded. "Be careful."

What do I do differently?
Whenever I talk to my daughters at college on the phone, I tell them I love them before I hang up. You never know.

Janet | 49 | New York

#2385 | Wednesday, September 11th 2002
I was teaching a computer class in midtown Manhattan, on 45th street. The class started at 9:00 am. I walked there from another building about 10 minutes to 9, unaware of what was already happening. The class started, and the door was closed. At 10:40 or so, having had a continuous session, I said: "Let's take a break," and opened the door. Immediately, people came in in a flurry. I work in a bank that had just gone through a merger, so there had been ongoing rumors of staff reductions, so when one guy came in, breathless, and asked: "Did you hear what happened?" I said no. He repeated the question, so I replied, with a little edge: "What, another round of layoffs?" And then he said: "No, the World Trade Center towers are gone."

I couldn't believe it, and we couldn't get any other information, but then I thought: I'm in a room with 40 computers all wired to the Internet! So someone found a site. For some reason, it was www.bbc.com, the British news organization. Already, it had 5 or 6 small digital pictures of the second plane going in, and the dust of the collapse. It was staggering.

The rest of the class got cancelled. And the rest of the day was just a lot of shock and bewilderment, and figuring out how to get home on the commuter railway.

The next day, I stayed home. Thursday, we came in again, but there was a bomb scare at noon, so I went home. On Friday, I felt ill and out of sorts, and stayed home.

I am Chinese, born in Indonesia, a naturalized US citizen since 1987. I have lived in different places, different cities. Until 9/11, I would not have gone out of my way to say I was a New Yorker (even though I have lived for 20 years here) or that I was "American": being a US citizen was an intellectual feeling, really. I was in Hong Kong for three years from 1992 and traveled around Asia on a US passport, but I looked at it as more of a convenience, not a nationality.

After 9/11, I found myself feeling strongly that New York was my home, and I started looking at the American flag a different way. I became "American" in heart. When the flag flutters on a flagpole, it is a beautiful sight. Really, if you look at the flags of other countries, none comes close to the beauty of the American flag, how the elements complement together. This is not a boring flag: the 50 offset stars that fit exactly together, the stripes, the colors, and the meaning of those elements. It really represents something to me now -- a way of life, a piece of earth, a philosophy of government, an economic system, a culture, my home. For someone who all his life has been apolitical and not at all patriotic (I had not felt connected to Indonesia or China at all), this new feeling is wondrous, and not a little humbling. It's sad, of course, that it took something like 9/11 to make me see the blessings of this country.

It still bugs me a little, though, that nobody interrupted my class that day to let me know what was happening as it happened.

John | 49 | New York

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