#479 | Friday, December 14th 2001
I had just gotten to work at a jail I work at, and while I waited for “roll call” I could see many fellow Officers watching the television intently, I looked up and watched “live” as fire was coming from one of the Trade center towers, everyone was saying a plane had hit the building but I could not figure how a plane could be so off line on such as beautiful day. While we all speculated as to what must have happened the announcer became frantic as a plane came from the distance and struck the second tower… at this point I knew we were at war. As I looked around I watched fellow Officers Officer’s and civilian staff in total shock.

After “roll call” we all went to work, but I found every opportunity to find a TV to see what was happening, later when I heard one or more of the towers had fallen I could only say ”My God… they’re filling heaven”

Glenn | 43 | Washington

#263 | Wednesday, November 21st 2001
I was working when my husband instant messaged me with the news. I immediately thought it was a small private plane. When he told me it was an airliner, I was amazed. I had to leave the office to take my daughter to a doctor's appointment, and arrived home just in time to see the second tower fall on television. I was just numb. After the doctor visit, I returned to work to find that they had sent everyone home. We were all too distracted to get anything productive done anyway. I went home and dug up all the pictures I took from the WTC two years earlier. I still find it hard to believe they're gone.
Katie | 43 | Florida

#245 | Saturday, November 10th 2001
Like most weekdays, September 11th started with the radio alarm clock sounding off at 4:30 AM. After hitting the “snooze” several times I listened, for a while, to the 5:00 news. In the shower and out and dressed by 6:AM, I like to leave for work no later than 6:15 AM. I first heard the news at about ten past six, on the radio “… an airplane has just flown into the World Trade Center (WTC).” This news flash caught my attention. My Dad works in Manhattan. Rather than head out the back door to the garage, I went into the living room and turned on the television to the Fox News Channel. Thoughts entered my head of the B-25 “Mitchell” Bomber that had, tragically and accidentally flown into the empire state building on July 28th, 1945. What I envisioned paled, however, in comparison to what eventually filled the screen.
The radio account I had been listening to referred to a “small” airplane. When I saw the smoke and flames I knew this had been no small airplane. I went back into the bedroom, turned on the second television, woke my wife and told her to look. A plane had just crashed into the WTC. As she was rubbing the sleep from her eyes I could barely believe what I was watching. Just as the bedroom television was coming into focus I saw a plane fly into the second tower of the WTC. My first fleeting thought was “this is an instant replay.” Quickly, however, I realized the first tower was smoking and burning as I witnessed the second crash. Again the reporters said “…Small plane.” Again, I knew better. I know airplanes and I got a look at this one. What I saw was, at least the size of a Boeing 737 or A-320 Airbus, neither of which can be classified as small. Both of which are long-range, commercial passenger liners. I was horrified, but I was also behind schedule.
I left the house and was listening to the car radio when I called my Dad at his Manhattan office. He made a semi-tasteless remark about the “…worlds two biggest birthday candles” and we discussed what type of aircraft it might have been and the cause. I was still in denial, I guess, thinking “Major ATC malfunction…” when the news of the Pentagon crash came on the radio. There was no denying it; at that point, we were under attack. America, land of the free and the home of the brave, is under attack.
I was fighting back the tears as I told him “another one just crashed into the Pentagon,” and rhetorically ask my Dad, “…what is going on?” We talked for a few minutes till he got word to evacuate his building, 15 blocks up-town from what is now commonly referred to as “ground zero.” I told him I would call him when I got home from work. The last thing I remember him saying was “life as we know it in this country has just ended. We’re going to wake up in a different country tomorrow.” He could not have been more correct. Many things have, indeed, changed.
I have been driving onto this California Military Installation almost every day since 1975. Typically, there will be one or two military guards checking the cars for a valid sticker issued by the military police. These stickers expire when a person’s contract expires, and generally, suffice to get as many passengers through the checkpoint as happen to be in the vehicle. Military exercises, from time-to-time, will present a minor inconvenience. Rather than simply checking the cars, the GI’s will post a sign announcing the exercise is in progress and the level of security to which the exercise has elevated the facility. There will also be a second posting that reads “ID Check in Progress.” This is the inconvenient part. Each passenger must now show a photo ID to the guard. Sometimes the guard will be required to touch the ID. In an effort to minimize the inconvenience, the number of guards is often doubled. Today, in the wake of the 9/11 attack, I leave thirty (30) minutes earlier for work.
The delays today can be long. In addition to the six (6) to eight (8) military guards now checking ID’s, there is an armored hum-vee or tank with a 60MM machine gun and eighteen year old operators conspicuously parked near the gatehouse. Everyone, in every vehicle, must stop and show the full battle dressed guard two (2) forms of photo identification. Those who do not pass the scrutiny of the hands on ID check, are directed to pull into a previously seldom used, parking area. Six to eight additional armed guards provide special assistance for those in need of a temporary vehicle pass or directions on how to get back where they came from.
During my 35-90 minute drive to work I no longer listen to the same radio station as before September 11th. I find myself constantly switching between NPR and any other talk/news station reporting on the military action or politics of the day. Home television is likely to be on one of the news network stations these days, and the kids are sometimes sent to Mom and Dad’s room to watch a video while the sometimes-graphic news plays in the living room. Since September 11th television reports have brought about many changes in my life. I was at work when I heard the TV outside my office door report the unthinkable. One of the towers had what? I thought I heard words like “collapsed,” “gone,” “fallen.” I will never forget the thoughts I had upon hearing this. Sensationalism, exaggeration, lies, inaccuracy, disbelief, I got mad at the news reporter who was speaking. Collapse? No! I thought. They don’t mean collapse. They mean glass is falling. Gone? No! They don’t mean gone, they mean hidden behind a dust/smoke cloud. Fallen? They mean a chunk of the building has fallen. I wish these reporters could get it right, I thought.
I now know there is not a list of unthinkable happenings. Anything can happen and this truth has changed the way I live my daily life. I stop strangers at work and ask them to display their ID badge. I listen to different radio stations. I watch different TV programs. I drive different routes to work. I spend more time on the floor with my two (2) year old and my seven (7) year old, often jumping on my back. I have had long term plans to eventually move back to Canada. With each anthrax report these plans become more firm and less distant.
Yes, the events of September 11th have changed many things for me and my family. The prayers I have are that these changes will, somehow, be for the better.

Rick | 43 | California

#225 | Monday, October 29th 2001
September 11th 2001 caused a complete deadstop of my thinking. My son was sitting and eating a big pile of spaghetti pointing to the TV-set when I entered the room. It took about a second to realize that there would be a before the 11th of September and an after from then on. I said half to myself half to my son that nothing would be the same anymore now. This was too big for a babyboomer like me to have answers for to give to my kids.
Rainer | 43 | Germany

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