#1658 | Wednesday, September 4th 2002
That Tuesday will remain quite vivid for me, I had gone to work as usual but unfortunately mid morning I had an epileptic seizure, I remember being taken through the office in my wheelchair and seeing a crowd of people watching the TV, I recall someone saying that the world trade centre had been attacked,it seemed like just a dream at first but suddenly became very real as I was taken home and saw the devastating news on my TV. I didn't move from the screen for several hours as I tried to take in what had happened all those miles away and I hoped and prayed that they would find as many survivors as possible. Talking to my mom on the phone and she was thanked God that I had not been there....you see I was there the year before standing on top of the World Trade centre, and it's only then that you realise the devasting impact of those twin towers coming down.
God bless America and her children.

Paul | 37 | United Kingdom

#1650 | Tuesday, September 3rd 2002
September 11th, 2001, 9-11, A day firmly etched in my mind.

It was my morning to wake up and take care of the needs of our then 15-month-old daughter. As usual, we started out the morning with Teletubbies as she drank on a tippy cup. After Teletubbies I turned the TV over to the news. I saw one of the twin towers in flames. Reports of a plane striking the tower and causing the fire. Knowing some of the history of New York I remembered that back in the ‘30’s a B-17 had flown into the Empire State Building, but that was a foggy day and before radar. It was only one aircraft then, A quick prayer for the passengers and the people in the building. Being a son of a firefighter, a quick prayer to those who would be soon looking to rescue and care for the wounded. My wife was awake now, so I informed her what I had heard up to that point and went to get ready for work.

So much can change in 15 minutes. I emerged from the bathroom and was told the second tower had also been hit. First thought, news reports were wrong. Then I looked @ the TV and both towers were visibly burning. One airplane hitting a tower, a tragic mistake, two airplanes, we’ve been attacked. The thoughts of who would do such a thing didn’t take long in my mind to come up with. Zealots, those who believed that they would reach heaven, nirvana or what ever you want to call it. People willing to overcome the basic human trait of self-preservation. I continued to get ready for work, the news reports got worse, The Pentagon is hit, reports of a plane in Pennsylvania heading to Washington. It was a nightmare unfolding before my eyes. I continued through the motions of getting ready for work. In a daze really, but it was slowly turning to something else. More reports, all the aircraft used were Boeing 767’s. For five years in the early ‘90’s I had worked for Boeing. The first year and a half on the 767 program as a manufacturing engineer. This was starting to get personal for me.

The TV cameras zoom in. People are jumping from the towers. Flash back to the Fire nearly 100 years before in New York, where over 100 women and girls lost their lives, some jumping out of windows to escape the flames. That was 5-6 stories, this was 80 and more. In both cases terminal velocity would be reached, but the thought of a fall that far sends shivers through me.

I drove to work. The usual stop at Seven-Eleven for the morning caffeine rush. I get to work and find out some hadn’t heard about it yet. Radios turn on and I jerry rig an antenna on the TV – VCR combo it the conference room. The picture is fuzzy but you can see the repeated images of the aircraft hitting the towers. One of the Gals upstairs has a brother who works in the north tower. She had called him after the first plane hit and he said he was on his way out of the building. She didn’t here from him again until the following day. Safe – in a hospital, but safe.

Then another blow, the first tower collapses, disbelief at first, then the engineer in me kicks in, burning jet fuel, high temperature, metal becomes almost elastic. Metal that has lost its tensile strength is not good for holding up the building. The pancaking effect is the most disturbing, as 110 stories become 4 stories of ruble. How many people are still in there? Thousands? Reports that up to 50,000 people are in those buildings on any given day. How many could have managed to get out in such a short period of time.

There is not much work getting done today. The collection department works in this building and they only return calls, this is not a day to bug people about their debts. The TV is on, so are some radios. The Internet is there, but most people are using the TV or radio for the news. My Netscape, My Yahoo, MSN or what ever, all they can do is post the headlines, the story details are changing to fast.

The reports come in of an aircraft down in a field in Pennsylvania. Sorrow and relief all at once, sorrow a plane went down, relief that no others in Washington or New York died with it. Another news flash, at least one of the hijacked airliners was build while I worked at Boeing. Anger wells up. The bastards definitely used something I helped build to kill fellow Americans. Further reports, the passengers on flight 93 rose up and attacked the terrorists. Sacrificing themselves to prevent further tragedy on the ground. Refusing to be a party to the terrorists plan. Some later say that this was our first victory in the war on terrorism.

The rest of the day was a blur; everyone seemed to be going through the motions of work. Stopping @ the store everyone had a glazed look in their eyes. Disbelief in what had happened that day. But you could see the anger starting to form. As Admiral Yamamoto was reported to say after the attack on Pearl Harbor nearly 60 years before “ I fear all we have done is awakened a sleeping dragon and filled it with a terrible resolve”. The dragon is awake and looking for those responsible. They will be found, time is on our side.

I listened to the radio through lunch and the afternoon. It was enough to hear it. I didn’t need to see it over and over again at that time. I put up the flag at home during lunch. I saw others doing the same. Lee Greenwood's song “God Bless the USA” came on the radio and almost brought tears to my eyes.

I had a Habitat for Humanity affiliate board meeting that night. We all took time from the meeting to pray for those missing and those doing the rescue work. Later that night I sat watching the news coverage, in awe as to the simplicity of the attack and the magnitude of the destruction.

My wife was talking to a friend of hers the next day and she had to turn off her TV when her daughter asked why all the planes were crashing. Each replay, in her mind, was another plane hitting another building. I wonder how many other children thought the same thing.

In January our town lost one of our own in Afghanistan. A 21-year-old Marine perished in a plane crash. Flags in our community were again @ half-mast, were they have been all too often this past year. The high school auditorium were he had graduated 2 ½ years before now held a service to honor his service to this country.

I visited New York City for the very first time on business in March of 2002. I took part of a day and went to Ground Zero as it is called now. From street level all that was visible were construction vans. A huge Old Glory hung from a building to the south. Buildings all around still showed signs of damage from the collapse. The most moving of all was the fence surrounding St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was adorned with wishes from around the country and the world. Also moving were the pictures of fellow Americans lost in this attack.

Glenn | 37 | Oregon

#1633 | Saturday, August 31st 2002
September 11th,2001 9-11 a day that I will never forget. I was working, cooking at a retirement home. One of the cna's came and ask me "Lena did you hear the news the World Trade Center was attacked and they think it was terroist." I will never forget the look on her face and the horrier I felt in my heart. We ran to the tv room and watched as the mass destuction unfolded. We were all silent and I felt the heat of the tears in my eyes falling down my checks. This had to be the most devestating thing in my life. I have a son,my oldest son who had just turned 18 on the 5th and I was so scared he would be going to war and that scared me to death. Over the next few weeks all I watched on tv was the news and up dates on the people who was affected by this awfull day. You know its unbeliveable how it has touched and affected every single person in the world. I keep all in my prayers each and every night. I just pray God to keep us all safe. Lena
Lena | 37 | Texas

#1493 | Tuesday, July 23rd 2002
Ten months later, and still can't seem to "go on" in the same way I did before 9/11/01. For many in the New York and New Jersey area, this event will always be personal as well as a global event. For many of us, friends and loved ones were lost on that day. For many of us, more than one... in fact many.

So, even ten months later, I fear being misunderstood when reflecting on the events with people who live far away. Long distance friends view these events as events from history (to quote a 6th grade teacher of mine "the story of Man = history"), but for myself and many others they are personal history. As a teacher.

I was in New Jersey, at mass with my 5th grade class, when the silence was broken by a stream of cell phones ringing in church, people rushing toward the rear exit doors, doors slamming and the sound of their screams from outside. The impending feeling of doom entered my soul at that moment. Having to keep a state of calm amongst our students, teachers ushered the children back to class as mass ended and we received the news through hand-covered whispers from one teacher to another in the halls. I wanted to just fall down to my knees and wail.

I knew my husband was safe,instantly my thoughts went to the friends and colleagues we left behind in the towers and financial center. Just a year ago, I left 4 WTC and before that, my husband took a job in Midtown. As it turns out, our friends from the CEC at 4WTC who went onto growing firms at 1 WTC and 2 WTC were trapped from floors 72-106. Dread filled me and has still not left. Knowing what the aftermath of a bombing was like, having been in the concourse in 1994 when the WTC was first attacked, I started to relive the smells, heat, ashened air, sudden darkness, running, pushing of bodies, screams and chaos that followed that attack. Only, when I saw the first images on TV, I knew this was worse than anything I could imagine. The day was filled with attempts to contact anyone I could from the towers and financial center. All lines were dead. My husband received the last call one of his friends was able to make before his death. It was on a cell, from Tower 1 and he described how the floors around them had collapsed and the smoke and fire was going to kill them. He told him they were under the desks now because the halls were collapsing and then the words my husband is unable to stop hearing in his head "we're all going to burn to death, we're gonna die here". He has since not been able to tell any of this man's relatives that HE was the last one to speak to him, since his call was so filled with suffering and fear. I pray for him daily. None of our other friends who perished were able to MAKE a last phone call, so we will never know just how they died. In the months following Sept. 11th, the days were filled with phone calls, desparate attempts to find out if ANYONE had seen our friends after the planes hit,no success. The days and months were filled with attending memorials and masses for our lost friends, the few and the many. No one could seem to make any sense of this massive loss of young vibrant, successful, ambitious, God loving people we loved. Weeks would go by with no news and then months later we would hear of recovered tissue remains being confirmed as belonging to a friend we honored months before. Again the questions arose to all friends and family of exactly HOW he died. Did he jump, burn, suffocate, get blown apart, fall to his death with the force of explosion? All gory, all possible ways your peer left this earth. Vanished from his tiny children's lives. From his young wife's bed at night, from his parents arms. So young, you don't expect to have the bulk of your young friends taken from life in one instant at the age of 35. Those whose tissue remains were being recovered months later were believed to have been the ones who jumped or fell before the towers collapsed. Imagine being the young wife or child of this man to recieve this news and have to go through the steps to authorize it's disposal or burial after going through a memorial with no remains months earlier, trying to go on with your life to keep your children safe and calm. Nothing can describe having to say goodbye to the "missing". Parents of abducted and murdered children may know this feeling. You can't. These events have been compared to Pearl Harbor. Yes the massive death and sneak attack is a corrolation, but nothing else. These people didn't go to work that morning knowing there was a risk of being killed at work. They were not military, fighting a war against an enemy. They kissed their kids goodbye and took the train to work. They just finished their morning coffee or closed the door to the conference roon when death appeared at the door. I sound angry, I try not to be. I am a christian and a forgiver. I am just sad. Today, almost a year later, I still cry in the car, and hate to look up at planes flying across the sky.

We know peace because of our faith, but we have constant sorrow and unanswered questions, since the DOERS will never be brought to justice. What is the appropriate punishment for those who anhialate so many innocent civilians? Is there one WE could live with? None that I know. Hope is our only destiny now, hope that the WORLD has learned from these events and that LOVE will come back into our GLOBAL society. That people will STOP thinking only about themselved and be more self-LESS. The more I ponder what I could do to honor the memory of my friends the more it points to DOING, sharing of myself and my time and daily tolerance of ALL other human life.

Can you do that for them? It's not hard at all.

Those towers were a part of my life. They were erected during my early school years, an architectural success that I watched emerge from a muddy waters edge to a center of commerce which became my life as an adult. I was in awe of them always and regarded them like you would artifacts to be revered and preserved. I never dreamed as a child that I would come to work within their steel walls someday. You see, I spent most of my career in Futures working Downtown NYC until just last year. My husband and I worked together at 4 WTC for a time and I worked at 1 WTC for a time. Our adult lives revolved around the Commodities exchange business and clients within the downtown area for the last 10 years. We met and spent our first dates eating hotdogs outside the WTC, shopping the Concourse and commuting through the WTC daily whether we worked there or not.

God bless the thousands who perished that day and the millions who were left behind to mourn them. Let us carry the torch for them to the end of OUR lives, finish what they started, continue our society in a peaceful manner, with respect and love for human life. Please don't let this be over like a sad movie that you can walk out of and say "so sad for them". We are THEM, let us not forget, WE got the GIFT of life that day when the terrorists CHOSE NOT to crash into the building WE were in. Remember it could have been any of us. All of us.

Peace. Love.

Mama | 37 | New Jersey

#1434 | Wednesday, July 3rd 2002
September the 11th 2001. I was at work tending to a patient. The television was on and I heard the commotion first. Ilooked up and saw the first plane going into the building. It was like a movie and it never really registered at first. The patient next door said watch the television there's an attack on the Americans. At this point 2 consultants were passing and we stood horrified watching the story unfold.....
Diane | 37 | United Kingdom

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