#1129 | Thursday, March 28th 2002
I'm 17, and go to a private high school in Alabama. I went to my second period class (8:50 AM) and was shocked to see another student, who was in his car for the past hour, slowly walk in. "The World Trade Centers have been hit by planes." The class stopped in silence. Without access to media, we were stuck guessing. Fighter jets? Twin-engine Cessna's on a suicide mission? Never would we have imagined what happened. I was the only student (among 40+ teachers) stuck in the teacher's workroom minutes later, listening in to the small radio, trying to find updates. What we heard was mind-blowing. Twin Towers - gone. Pentagon - damaged. Washington Monument - gone. Capitol - gone. White House - badly damaged. To this day, I still don't how those false reports leaked.
But the most vivid memory of 9-11 was later that day. I drove home listening to eerily patriotic music on most every FM station. I stopped my car, and looked up. Even though I'm over 1200 miles from NYC, there was a huge difference. People were crying in the streets, glued to the television.. and there were no airplanes flying. And then the song lyrics came, and it was scary.. "..The Lord is coming, coming to America. Can you feel the fire? Can you see the flames? It's coming to, coming to America again.." ®1997
Thanks for reading.

Wryn | 17 | Alabama

#1094 | Friday, March 22nd 2002
This was written on September 12th for a friend's website. The numbers proved to be wrong, but it's what was being said at the time.

I was running late for work Tuesday, September 11. I was catching the very end of the CBS Early Show. In Birmingham, AL. They were coming out of a commercial when the first image popped up. Live on TV.

The upper floors of the first of the twin towers of the World Trade Center was on fire. There was speculation at that moment that maybe a small commuter or personal aircraft, maybe a helicopter lost control or accidentally hit the building. Then they switched angles to the street level. You could see from the shot the silhouette exact angle the plane penetrated the building. A big plane. I described it as the way a cat goes through a wall in a cartoon. Bryant Gumbel was speaking to a woman who was watching from the Chelsea area, when I watched the second plane, obviously a twin engine commercial style jet enter the second tower, and emerge as a fireball. Live on TV.

With a visceral stun, I realized, this was not an accident, and I just watched a hundred people die. Live on TV.

Almost immediately, these journalists, trained for years in dealing with live TV, unpredictable guests and technical difficulties, faltered. There was great caution not to call it a terrorist attack, but anyone who knew about the second plane had to believe that something was terribly wrong. A clear blue sky. A bright Summer morning. Live on TV.

I have worked in the media, radio specifically, and I know the journalistic instincts. It was about 9:20am at this point. There were no confirmations of anything, and reports coming in about Camp David, The State Dept, the White House and other buildings. All this while, not knowing if this was an ongoing threat, all of the network news services were in harm's way, most headquartered within just a couple of miles from the World Trade Center. Trying to report what they had while looking over their shoulder, and not panic the nation. Live on TV.

Then the pentagon was hit. Then the word of the other plane going down in Pennsylvania. Were there more? Some reported 4 more planes, no, 8 more, then 2. I cried when the first tower collapsed. I went numb when the second one fell. Live on TV.

24 hours later, my mind cannot wrap itself around the number of lives I fear may be lost. 200 firefighters and paramedics. 30 or more police officers. Civilians, who resisted the most natural urge to run away, and instead ran in to help. I'm thankful I was numb by the time they started showing people falling from the 80th floor. Plus anywhere up to 50,000 people who could have been in those buildings, the subway, the plazas, and the sidewalks of Manhattan trapped by tons of concrete and hit by metal and glass from above, covered in soot, dust, and strewn paper. Ambulances report rolling over bodies covered in the debris. And however how you may feel about the military, up to 800 dead at the Pentagon. These are not numbers. These are Humans. Husbands, Wives, Brothers, Sisters, Mothers, Fathers. Thousands of souls. It still almost doesn't seem real. When my wife's Grandmother died, that was real. When my Grandfather died, it hurt, but it was real. I keep waiting for Bruce Willis to deliver a line. Live on TV.

I get the feeling that retribution will be swift and decisive. My only hope is, that since America seems to have such bloodlust right now, (a snap poll last night shows that something like 90+% of Americans are willing to go to war over this) that we get it right. Calm, careful deliberations and investigations are necessary. Let's make sure we know exactly who did this, before these 90+% of Americans demand we bomb the hell out of whoever is found to be responsible. Live on TV.

John | 34 | Alabama

#1069 | Tuesday, March 19th 2002
I was in the science lab at the time doing a Biology assignment when the teacher came in and told us what had happened the whole class went silent we didn't believe what had happened we were amazed at what had happened as well. When I went home i stayed glued to the t.v set the whole night.
Roger | 15 | Alabama

#895 | Monday, March 11th 2002
At 4:35 in the morning on Sept. 11, 2001, my phone rang waking me from a deep sleep. It was my father. My mother had passed away. I couldn't believe it as it was very unexpected. I live in Alabama and my parents lived in Florida, 100 miles away. My dad was having my mom buried in West Virginia. I was having some problems with my car that I needed to get fixed before making the drive to Florida, then north to WV. I arrived at the Auto Shop at 7:45 central time. I went into the waiting area and there on TV it showed the first Tower burning, saying a plane hit the WTC Tower. As I continued to watch, a second plane hit. I was in shock. As a result of the attacks, it became a problem getting my mother's body transported to WV from Florida since the airlines were shut down. Finally on Friday, it was decided that they would have to drive her body to WV. I will never forget 9/11/2001. As I was driving down to Florida that morning, listening to the radio and hearing that the Pentagon also got hit, I said aloud, "Heaven's Gates will be busy today. The world has many more angels to watch over us."
Tammy | 41 | Alabama

#812 | Sunday, March 3rd 2002
I am a college student in Alabama, and on 09-11 I was in class. In between classes, someone told me that the WTC had been hit. I didn't think anything about it at first because no one had any details about what was going on. I thought that maybe it was just a minor crash into the WTC. When I got home that day after my 1100 class, I turned on the television and they just kept showing the images over and over of the 2nd plane hitting the WTC. At first I was just in disbelief and shock. I was like "Could this really be happening to America, the great America?" And sure enough I wasn't dreaming, it was real. After seeing so much horror, I just started crying my eyes out. I thought about the thousands of people that were in the WTC, and the lives that were lost. I cried for days thinking that it was all a dream and any minute I would wake up. I personally did not lose anyone in the attacks, but I sympathsize with the thousands of families who have lost loved ones. My thoughts and prayers are with all the families who have had to deal with the tragedies of 09-11, especially the heroes...the firefighters and police officers. I am graduating from college in April and I will also be a police officer. I have a great appreciation for the heroes of this tragedy who risked their lives to save others because it's their job. I just hate it that it took such a horrible tragedy to make people realize the kind of job that both firefighters and police officers have to do. They should be appreciated all the time because this is their job and they do this everyday, not just in horrible tragedies such as this one. This is one day in my mind that will never be forgotten until the day I die. I pray that the country can remain as united as we are now because unity makes our country stronger. God Bless America!
Cori | 23 | Alabama

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