#204 | Sunday, October 14th 2001
I was logging onto my computer at 8:40 AM on 9/11/2001. As a wholesale provider of insurance products, we had extensive interaction with Empire Healthcare, Marsh, AON, Hartford, American General, and many others in and around the World Trade Center complex. When I got on the intercom to my boss about a pending case, I'll never forget the total disbelief and shock in his voice when he said "A plane has just flown into the World Trade Center." I walked to the President's office where about 15 people were gathered and, for the next hour, we just stood in total silence and disbelief has the horror unfolded. Then reality hit that many of the people we dealt with daily were in those buildings. We are still in shock.
Tom | 51 | New Jersey

#177 | Saturday, September 29th 2001
I'm a journalist, and I'm recovering from a bout last year with a potentially deadly disease. So I'm back living at home, but I live in a seperate apartment from my family, so no one bothers me and I generally have all of the privacy I need.

On Tuesday morning, my mother ran into my room. "I know you're a news buff... I think you need to see this." Now, I have games with many of my media friends -- games where we'll Instant Message or email each other, with subject lines like "NEWSFLASH!" and such. In the desperate search to out-do each other over the years, the NEWSFLASHES had ranged from the mundane to the impossible. The Concorde crashed? Oh my God. David Wells was traded? Big deal.

My mother had never done this to me before. And since she lived through VietNam and men walking on the moon and Kennedy being killed, I knew it was serious.

The news started off by saying "something must've gone wrong with the navigation systems." No, no way, man. I've lived in New Jersey all my life, and everyone just KNOWS... planes don't fly that low, that close to the city.

So where was I? In bed, feeling unbelievably numb, holding on to my pillow and praying to God that everyone would live. It was a stark change from the past year's worth of my praying -- hoping that *I* would just live.

I've been numb ever since. Somebody stole my friends, my freedom and my skyline. And America will never be the same again.

Jon | 28 | New Jersey

#148 | Monday, September 24th 2001
we were having a get-to-know-each other group discussion during my first day of anthropology class at my new college.

i suppose sometime between nine and nine thirty a.m. a boy in my group had left to use the rest room. he came back and told my group that he heard on a t.v. in the lobby that a plane and a helicopter crashed into the world trade center. no one really thought much of it - at the time we assumed it was just one of those single engine private planes and a news helicopter or something to that effect.

about an hour later, passing professors kept knocking on our door and opening it asking our professor if "he knew what happened" and that classes were cancelled for the remainder of the day ... our concern started growing as we knew something serious had taken place in the world.

we were all growing antsy, but our professor wanted to finish up. we took about another ten minutes to wrap things up, and our professor told us that two planes had hit the world trade center and that the pentagon was on fire. we were dismissed early from class, and it was like a mad rush to the parking lots. people were still somewhat oblivious to what was going on. i got in my car and turned on 710 am i think it was, and i heard what was going on. i started to get really upset. i had a friend visiting NYC from san fransisco at the time. i was concerned that perhaps she had chosen september 11th as the day she would go sightseeing. i raced home down route 18 south in nj, where i live. i went right to my mother's work, choking back tears of concern for my friends. i was still listening to the radio trying to piece together what was going on...

i had seen a work van on my drive home from class, with a sign in the back that said something about osama bin laden and how we should unite to wipe the scum off the face of the earth. i had no clue what that meant.

i got to my mother's work and listened to the radio there. still only a few short hours after the events, details were scarce and rumours were flying. i bought two small american flags from her worked and taped one to my car antena. i spent the remainder of the day worried about my friends and family. i have relatives in pittsburgh and friends in nyc who i could not reach for days due to lack of cell phone service and what not.

what happened still hasn't hit me. perhaps because i haven't been to the city or near it since two days before the attack on the twin towers. i had spent thursday through sunday before the event in the city with friends. shopping, drinking, going to shows, etc. it scares me to think that i was there less than 48 hours before what happened...

that night i had work. reluctantly, i went in. oddly, it was busy. (i am a waitress in a coffee house.) i suppose in times of crisis people prefer to get away from it all and be together. after my shift, i went to get some cigarettes. the local paper had an extra for the first time in god knows how many years... and, for the first time that day, i saw more than what was splashed all over the t.v. i saw more than burning buildings and a smoke filled city horizon. i saw pictures of civilians like you and i, covered in soot and ash and dirt. i saw injured victims of this horrible crime. i saw tear stained cheeks and i saw mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives breaking down. the pictures were stomach churning. i saw rescue workers erecting in a gray scene the american flag, which boldly stood out with it's red, white and blue color scheme.

i saw america uniting.

suzanne | 19 | New Jersey

#147 | Monday, September 24th 2001
i work in a record shop.
i have no tv or radio to amuse me, only the internet.
on the morning of september 11th i had woken up for work a lil' bt earlier than normal. i normally leave work at about 9:00 to get to work on time.
this morning, i was ready for work at about 8:40, so i decided to watch a lil' tv before i left.
i was flipping around the morning news shows from about 8:40 to 8:45 before i stumbled upon weekend at bernies 2 on comedy central. i ended up watching that piece of shit movie until about 9:05, and then left for work.
i live in new jersey, about 20 miles or some from downtown manhattan.
have you ever driven behind a filled-up dump-trunk, and felt the pebbles and rocks hit your windshield, but never seen them? i felt and heard them hit on the way to work, down i-78 to work, but didn't see any trucks.
i had arrived at work around 9:30 to the phone ringing. it was jay, one of my best friends. "jim, did you hear what happened," he asked. "no," surely this was another one of jay's pointless jokes and/or quips we normally exchange while working. "a plane just crashed into the world trade center." my heart fucking sank. was this a horrible accident? by the time i logged onto the internet to go to msnbc.com, another plane had crashed into the other tower. i started to shake and grew cold. what was going on, and what was to happen? i kept refreshing the browser to find more info, and a plane had crashed into the pentagon. the fucking pentagon? what the fuck? was this a total invasion of america, or armageddon, or a cruel nightmare? apparently, it was a lil' of all three. anyways, i spent half of the 5.5 hours i worked over at radio shack watching tv there, in shock and sickness.
i remember the bombing a few years ago, a few of the bombers had been living in my town. a friend of mine, alex had seen the fbi pull up and rush into a house, on his way to school. this totally brought me back. total fucking scary shit.
what makes me really fucking sick though, is that these douche-bag kids were coming in looking for the new jay-z cd all day, like nothing happened! show some damn respect! and all these old guys kept coming in for the new bob dylan. who knew if the attacks were to continue? where cd's more important than their family and friends?
i left work early, and other folk i work with preferred to stay.
i don't get it.
my dad was on his way to 12th street in the city to make a delivery/pick-up. thank god there was an accident on the turnpike, which held him up enough to keep him from the city, (the holland tunnel, which he would've taken, was closed down." if i found out my dad was stranded in the city all night, i totally would've flipped-out. i would've swum across the river to get him out.
thank god for fate.
i spent most of my day getting in touch with people i knwo that live/work in the city. my cousin was trapped ovenight. my friend anthony was about 2 blocks away, on the street, when the first tower came down; he ran for his life. he thought the tower was falling over, not coming straight down.
by the end of the night, i had gotten in touch with all my friends and family, and all were safe. i know a lot of people can't say the same, and stil don't even know how/where their family is. my heart goes out to all of you.
i'm absolutely speechless.
i always condemned christianity for it's strict rules, but now i look at these extremists, and i realize, jesus might not be so bad, he doesn't make you kill innocent people.
well, i live under the flight pattern of newark, laguardia, and jfk airports, and let me say, the once monotonous roars of engines, and the rattling of windows, now fill me with fright and wonder. what will happen? anything? nothing? who knows? i sure as hell don't.
i must leave now, but i hope everyone is well, and i hope i haven't bored anyone with my story.
be well.....

jim | 23 | New Jersey

#126 | Friday, September 21st 2001
My girlfriend and I awoke extra early that morning (around 8am est) and decided we had enough time before class to grab breakfast at the local bakery. Our bakery is about 2 blocks from the fishing pier, which happens to overlook the NYC skyline. We had gone there too many times to count... day, night, rain, shine... the view was always magnificant. When we arrived at the pier that morning all was calm. The sky was clear, the view even clearer. We admired the twin towers and actually spoke about how beautiful they looked that morning; nothing but blue sky surrounded them (sometimes early in the morning the tops were surrounded by fog, but on that particular morning they were as luminous as ever). Neither of us knew that would be the last time we'd have that view. After what seemed like hours of gazing we walked up to the bakery. Inside we purchased pastries, chatted for a bit, and left a few minutes later, only to enter a completely different world.

The pier was suddenly packed with people and in the distance we could see smoke. We ran towards the water to find out what had happened. A boating accident perhaps? Not quite. Apparently a plane had hit one of the towers. That in itself was a terrifying thought, but I think we both assumed they would put out the fire, patch up the building, and all would be well. Nothing could have prepared us for the scene we were to witness a few moments later: a second plane was flying directly into the other tower. The crowd of people gasped, then got quiet as everyone wondered what was going on. "Surely that couldn't be real" we all thought. Perhaps a movie was being filmed on location and from our angle it just LOOKED like the twin towers were ablaze. Shortly thereafter all our hopes were put to rest as police officers arrived at the pier to control was what becoming a very large crowd. Word of what was happening spread quickly as people driving by parked along the water with their radios turned up. It all started to sink in. This wasn't a movie.

Moments later the first building fell. Along with it fell most of the people on the pier, dropping to their knees choked with tears. It wasn't long after that that the 2nd building fell. At that point it looked as if the whole island of Manhattan was swallowed by an enormous cloud of smoke. Not a single building could be seen, just a rising cloud unlike anything any of us had ever seen before. When some of the smoke finally cleared neither of the twin towers could be seen. It didn't seem possible, but they were gone. Word began to spread amongst the crowd that the Pentagon had also been attacked, and that other hijacked planes were en route to other locations throughout the country. My girlfriend and I decided that we had better head home because it might not be safe to be outside (and because we had already witnessed more destruction in those 2 hours than anyone should ever have to see in a lifetime).

Nowadays when we go to the pier there is a giant hole in the skyline where the towers once stood. Blank-faced people gather there daily to weep and share stories. The people of this country have become one giant family, bound by not only the terror that we all witnessed, but also the inability to believe that the two towers so tall and strong that once stood there in the distance were reduced to dust on a perfect, sunny morning.

Mike | 21 | New Jersey

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