#473 | Thursday, December 13th 2001
I had a class from 8:00 to 9:30 that morning, and had heard nothing at first. When I walked between classes, everything seemed normal enough, but when I walked into my 9:30 government class, the room was buzzing. I could only catch bits and pieces of various conversations, and finally I turned to a girl next to me and said "I obviously missed something very important." She replied to me that "the Chinese or someone had just flown a couple of planes into the World Trade Center." I was shocked, and figured that the damage was probably light -- most likely fighter aircraft, though I couldn't figure out why the Chinese would try that kind of preemptive strike. Finally, a TV was brought in and the professor asked someone to fetch a cable. As she was gone, he theorized that the terrorists had attacked because of the World Trade Center's symbolic role, and had therefore tried to attack the economic heart of the United States. The cable was brought in, the first images shown -- and a new addition to the headline, the Pentagon had by now been attacked. There was fear of more planes on the way, as well as various other explosions at Grand Central Station, the Justice Department and the State Department. I couldn't believe what I was seeing in front of me. After the media reported concern on what would turn out to be United 93, I couldn't help but pray that it woule all be over. I watched in horror as the towers fell -- the entire thing seemed unreal. I'm not sure if I can still believe that it was.
I wish I had some way to conclude this, but I've found that conclusions are best served if placed at the end.

Gerald | 20 | South Carolina

#393 | Saturday, December 8th 2001
I was online reading e-mail when my next door neighbor called me and told me to turn on CNN. My neighbor said that the WTC had just had a jet fly into it. I said, " you are kidding right?". My neigbhor certainly was not kidding as I watched in horror the scene unfolding live on CNN at approximately 9:35 am.

I sat in my living room with my family stunned into silence as I listened to the news anchors droning on and on about what was going on and what had happened and what was possibly going to happen and so on and so forth.

Then the towers began to fall. One and then the next. It was as if I was in some sort of dream. I really could not believe that those buildings were collapsing right there before millions of people watching all over the globe.

I was horrified as I tried to imagine the pain, sorrow and loss of the many men, women and children who lost their lives on that day. Lives that were terminated in the blinking of an eye with no warning. All the hopes and dreams and goals and aspirations of all those people were forever wiped out never to see the future.

I remember feeling helpless and hopeless all at once. I remember feeling so vulnerable as the reality of our nations vulerability was such a stark reality. I would have never dreamed that anything this horrible could ever happen to a great nation such as ours. I would imagine that the people at Pearl Harbor back in 1941 felt the same way.

September 11, 2001 will stay forever in my mind because our daughter Jessica would have been 11 years old on that date had she not died of a brain tumor on August 5th of this same year. I remember standing in the bank with other customers later that afternoon talking and then suddenly realizing that the horrible events of this day actually overshadowed our daughters date of birth.

Now, our brave men and women are waging war against terrorism and tyrants who have no regard for human life. Americans are standing up for the right to life, freedom and the pursuit of happiness no matter what color, race or religion you choose to follow. The citizens of the United States of America have been dealt a wake up call of the most vivid type. The world will learn that they have awakened a sleeping giant. May God have mercy upon our souls....

James | 40 | South Carolina

#130 | Saturday, September 22nd 2001
i was asleep.
my phone rang.
not more bad news, please.
'sally, you need to go around the hall and make sure everyone's okay.'
sleep-induced haze...'wha?'
'haven't you heard?'
whispers in the sound of silence.

sally | 19 | South Carolina

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