#1001 | Wednesday, March 13th 2002
I was going to work on September 11, we were on our way to work at a womans house, on the way we stopped for coffee, they had the television on in this little coffee shop. on the tv, there was a picture of a building on fire, The channel was CNN, under the picture, it said, "small plane crashes into World Trade Center" I thought at first it was a clip from a movie, or something wierd, It took me a minute to comprehend what I was seeing and this was the real thing, so we got our coffee, and were planning on watching the tv to see what was going on when we got to where we were working, on the way we had the radio on, the next thing we heard was that another plane had hit the second tower, and then the next thing we heard was that the pentagon was hit, this was all within a matter of minutes, all i could remember being in the truck was having a real sinking feeling, and that I wanted to go home to my kids, I was real scared, and Im a 36 year old man, I will never forget where i was that day, or the type of day it was , or anything that happened on that day, my heart goes out to all the people who were affected by this horrible act.
Eric | 36 | Connecticut

#888 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
I was asleep when the attack started since it was around 5:45 am from where I live. Coming from Las Vegas, NV, USA, I lived in Pacific Standard time zone that is three hours away from New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. I did not know about the attack until I came to history class that morning. It was around 7:45 am when my history professor notified the class of the attack, and had us listen to the radio. I was in a state of shock and wondered what happened, or if it was real. I thought it was another WTC attack like we heard about in 1993 and when Timothy McVeigh bombed Federal building in April 1995, but it was more serious than that. My professor told us that this was more serious attack than ones in the 1990’s and the nation started to change before the class that morning. She learned about the attack during her meeting earlier in the day. I did not know how serious the attack was until I saw the news on TV after the class.
When I came to work, my supervisor and coworkers told me about the attack, and said it was serious. Have I not been in class that day, they would have been the ones who told me instead of my professor? My supervisor learned about the attack when one of his relatives from Pennsylvania called him earlier in the morning, about 6:30 in PST and 9:30 in EST (Time zone of NYC, Washington DC and Pennsylvania). He had the radio one because people he knew were in middle of the attack and he felt empty. Luckily, his family members, relatives, and friends were left unharmed. The situations after the attack upset him since many laid-off workers in Las Vegas area applied for jobs through his company. I work for a restaurant that does not depend on tourism like many businesses in Las Vegas did.
The situations in Las Vegas became tense because most of our businesses and industries depended on the use of airline industry, and Las Vegas is a city of entertainment, casino, gaming, and tourism industries. All of these industries depended on airline industry to bring in more customers and businesses. Recently, many laid-off workers are running out of luck of finding new jobs to replace the ones that they lost, and there unemployment insurance is running out. I read a newspaper article today that two laid-off workers are living in fears and uncertainties since they did not have luck with finding job, and they are facing with the loss of unemployment insurance, unless if federal government would extend their benefits another 13 weeks. One worker stated that she worked for that same company for 20 years, but it did not save her from getting laid-off.
There had been complaints that older or minority workers had been laid-off in larger number than younger or European-American workers. I never work near the Strip, so I do not know what it is like working down there. My friend in other state lost his job although he gave his loyal services to same company for many years, and he did not tell me about it until a month ago. He was too ashamed to tell me this and did not respond to my Christmas cards and newsletter. His family is stressed out these days because he had harder time finding new job to replace the ones he lost. My coworkers felt the impact of lay-offs and the fears and frustration people had since the attack.
We also blamed Osama bin Laden and his cronies for making our lives harder. I felt angry when I read religious comments that God wanted it to happen to teach us some lessons, or that he wanted us to get down on our knees and ask him what he wanted us to do. Many people complained about religious messages. I am a member of an online group where somebody complained about the religious message I sent one time, because he felt tired of his coworkers pushing religion in his throat for years. When we learned from reading newspaper and watching news on TV that whatever Osama bin Laden and other terrorists did was not for God, we felt relieved. We also felt relieved that Muslim people and people of other religion did not condone whatever these terrorists did on September 11, 2001 and anytime before or after the attack.
I learned to take one day at a time and keep on doing whatever I wanted to do in my life. I also learned that we could not rush in our life achievement, and we could take one day at a time and be proud of our smaller accomplishments rather than waiting for us to finish our bigger accomplishments or waiting for something more significant to come to us. I noticed that other people learned similar lessons. With the support of their families and friends, they adjusted well than expected or thought they would.
I met several people who lost their family members or relatives at WTC. One young man came to bus in tears one night because he learned that one of his cousins had been missing in WTC, and he had not call anyone for more than a week. His relatives were worried and panicked for more than a week, and the rescue workers still looked for people who might be stuck in the wreckage. Unfortunately, the last survivor found in wreckage was found on a Wednesday after the attack (about two days after the attack), and his cousin had been missing for more than a week. I listened to him for more than an hour. He rode bus to visit one of his friends because they wanted to cheer him up and comfort him. I saw him again about two months later, and he was doing fine.
My older friends have relatives and friends in East Coast. They were worried about losing their loved ones at first. When it turned out that everyone they knew were all right, they felt relieved and visited their relatives in Boston for Thanksgiving. My supervisor came to Pittsburgh on October to watch football game and to visit his old friends and relatives. He said that people were fine as usual, bus some people felt more stressed out about the Anthrax attack and that many New Yorkers are out-of-work since the attack. Some businesses took weeks to recover while other lost their businesses altogether due to the attack.
The last six months had been stressful for me. Other people in Las Vegas felt stressed out too. We lived our lives as unusual unless there were big interruptions like being laid-off from our jobs. Job market is not good these days, so I could not find second job with confidence like I could last year. My coworkers tried to get jobs at the new Wal Mart store opening up in few weeks, and they never heard from their personnel office for job interviews. We noticed that many companies tried to give higher priority to laid-off workers before they hire somebody who still have job. I gave up on seeking second job since October, because I noticed that many hiring manager felt stressed out about giving me a second job if laid-off workers had been more desperate for jobs for weeks.
I hope the next six months will be better since we learned our lessons and had chances to recover from our losses. I hope the less six months, more laid-off workers will have jobs, and the economy will get better. I also hope our countries as well as other countries will get more of positive results from our recent war against terrorism.

Lisa | 36 | Nevada

#857 | Sunday, March 10th 2002
Here is an essay from my collection of Sept. 11, 2001-inspired essays, poems and meditations published at http://www.geocities.com./inspirationpress/cupofinspiration.html

Temporary Troubles, Eternal Glory: Do Not Lose Faith

Christmas time is the time to be together with loved ones and with those who matter to us a lot. This year’s Christmas season will be more meaningful for many of us in this country and around the world. It’s a time when we can truly count our blessings in light of all the conflicts, acts of violence, diseases, the terrorist spread of anthrax in our mail system.

The tragedy of Sept. 11 is still fresh on our collective minds. There is no way we can’t forget those who laid their lives at the great altar of service. The first celebration of Christmas after those horrible acts finds us more meditative and mindful of our position in the larger community. We are the keepers of our brothers and sisters. We become more united than ever before despite all the things that existed out there to divide us. The enemies might have tried to divide us, but we did not get into their traps. We stood tall and united in the midst of our calamities and tribulations.

The temporary troubles of our lives are nothing in comparison with the eternal glory we are called to have in the Father of all comfort. (2 Corinthians 2:3-4). In these days of tremendous pain, it is good to go back to the things that bring us comfort, the things we are familiar with. Family, friendship, religion, strong sense of community, flag and patriotism are all the things that become important in our lives since Sept. 11. This is why our officials encouraged us to go back to our normal routine despite all the changes that suddenly became part of our world. Our world changed on 9-11.

No matter how much change we have lately witnessed, we want to stick to the constant points of our life. There is no doubt that we were truly shaken by the anthrax scare. We knew that we had to be careful with something that has become part of our lives. For far too long, we have taken our snail mail for granted. When we saw that our mail men and women start becoming victims of the terrorist acts, we knew that those changes would affect us personally. This is why we need to be more appreciative and thankful for these people in our lives. How many times have we taken the time to purposefully say a few words of thanks to these brave men and women who deliver our mail to us in good and bad times? How many times have we personally thanked our dry cleaner workers? How about the men in uniform, the firefighters, rescue workers, police officers, emergency medical workers and even the rescue dogs? It makes sense that these people did not think twice to rush to the burning towers to help, guide, comfort others who were facing certain death? They rushed in to humanize and diminish the suffering of complete strangers. They REACHED out to them. They did something to alleviate their excruciating pain. As a grateful society, we respond by recognizing their heroic acts. In a matter of minutes, days and months, they have reclaimed the title that surely belongs to them.

These ordinary men and women did not become our heroes because of their excellent beauty (even though most of them are beautiful), they became our heroes for their unselfish, altruistic acts on behalf of thousands. Even on earth, their recognition and rewards are greater than most others.

From the smoldering rubbles rose goodness. It’s true that the hearts of many people in this country and all over the world ache, they have become witnesses of history. It has been history in the making ever since these tragic, horrific days befell our country. Goodness surely germinated and rose from the ruins of such major losses of lives and property. Grief took over our mind. The level of atrocity is unimaginable. Men have become their own fiercest enemies. They are bent on destroying themselves for each time a man dies, a part of another man also dies. If anything, the heinous acts of Sept. 11 make us realize the value of being connected to our community and the value of interdependence.

All over the world, prayer vigils were held. Churches saw an upsurge in attendance. Neighbors who never said hi to each other finally realized that they had so much to share. They are talking. Even major cities’ crime rates decline for the few days after the tragedy. Once for all, people matter. Relationships matter. It’s ok to grieve. It’s ok to look for public comfort and inspirational or spiritual matters. The stock market becomes less relevant. Our materialistic ambitions are set aside for a while. Our selfish ways become the antithesis to this kind of 1-for-all sense of community.

Compassion becomes more than a simple word. Seize the day. Live today and forget the past and even the future. How many of us wouldn’t like to sustain this kind of spirit of America at its best? Even on busy streets, complete strangers take time to say hi. They don’t seem to be peering down your throats without even nodding your way or recognizing you are around. Our hearts become open to the needs of our neighbors. That’s how it should have been all along! We may have finally realized that we are all on the same boat of life.

Life is too short for us to waste it. Let’s use it to contribute to our world and matter to others. Our life is like a flower. Job 14:2. No matter what may have come our way, we know that victory, glory awaits in the near future. 2 Corinthians 4:1, 7-8, 17-18;

Please meditate over this passage: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea..” Psalm 46: 1-2.

Let’s sustain the spirit of America at its best! We are a nation of strong faith, conviction and determination.

If you have any comments and feedback, contact us.

Joseph | 36 | California

#476 | Thursday, December 13th 2001
I was at work. At around 9:15am, my mother phoned me very upset, she told me that the World Trade Center had been hit by 2 planes. My whole chest felt as if it had caved in. One of my closest and dearest friends worked for Cantor-Fitzgerald. He had been there during the 1993 bombing. He was there on Sept 11th as well, just returned from vacation the week before as a matter of fact. I was planning on calling him during lunch to see how it had gone. His marriage was not going well at all, and I was hoping he had had a good time, made some progress...I could barely speak when I heard the news.

I snapped on all the radios in the office. Everyone gathered around as we listened to what was happening. I work for a construction company, so a lot of the guys were trying to make light of it. But when the third plane hit the Pentagon...all nervous humor ended abruptly.

I tried calling my friend, Steve, on his cell...of course I could not get through. I needed to know something. I could not call his wife, she did not know of our friendship. We had been friends for over 20 years and he didn't think she would understand, so his wish was not to tell her (yes, I disagreed), but it was his way of protecting our relationship...we were very close and had survived a lifetime of changes. But because of his choice here, I had no one to call. Then out of nowhere, I remembered the address where he grew up. His mother still lived there. I quickly dialed information, got her number and called her immediately.

She knew right away who I was, and though I hadn't seen her in 18 years, it was like we just spoke yesterday. She had heard nothing. I asked if I could call her later and if she would let me know if she hears anything...I gave her my number and I let her go in case someone was trying to call her.

Then, glued to the radio, it was announced that the towers were collapsing. That was it, I crumbled, knowing there was no way in hell anyone could survive that. I didn't have to see it on the television...I knew...it was done and Steve was gone. He was on the 103rd floor. Back in 1993, he told me it took him 3 hours to get out of that building. The girls in the office came running in, knowing I had a close friend that worked there. They just kept holding me and stuffing tissues in my hand. It was awful. I was not comfortable there, I didn't know my co-workers very well.

My boss, another long-time friend of mine wasn't in the office. She called in, a few minutes later in a panic, just finding out herself. She knew Steve as well. I had taken her to his house years ago when we were in college together. She was a wreck.

We left work early and I went home to watch the whole thing on the news. I just couldn't believe my eyes...the devastation, the immense loss...the absolute terror all those thousands of people must have felt. So many. I just sat there numb, not really believing what I was seeing...it was like a movie, so surreal. Seeing this in this country was something I never thought would happen. Each replay of the attack felt like I was being shot in the heart.

I checked in with Steve's mother every day. On Thursday, 2 days after the attack...I cracked, I wasn't ready to mourn, I wasn't ready to let go of hope yet. I couldn't fight it anymore. This man who had been an intregal part of more than half my life was gone...this man I cherished more than I even knew, was gone. I crashed heavily. I almost couldn't bear the pain. And even then, I would continuously check the survivor sites, to see if he would pop up. And out of nowhere, there was his name...loud and clear on a site people were using without confirmation...like someone saw him wandering around and submitted his name to say he was okay.

I was completely ELATED. I immediately phoned his mother...no one answered. Naturally, I felt they had heard and were off to NYC to get him. So, I waited, and watched the news...hearing more and more how Cantor-Fitzgerald was the hardest hit, how some of the survivor sites could not be trusted. I began to get nervous. I tried calling her again and a friend of hers answered, they had heard nothing...and saw his name as well on the list. My heart plunged again. I was done...and exhausted. From that point on, I was leveled out. I couldn't rock n roll like that anymore.

For the next few weeks, I mourned my dear friend slowly, little by little...lighting candles for him, talking to him at night before bed...remembering all he meant to me, writing, drawing...working the pain away. I spoke to his mother, who is a Saint, she validated me...listened and shared with me. My admiration of her goes beyond words. My heart goes out to his daughter, she will never know the pure soul of her father...his laugh, or his smile...the things that made him bigger than life, though I'm sure he passed them on to her.

I attended his memorial service. There were at least 1000 people there that he had touched in his life. And I was there knowing that there were hundreds of services going on for all of the people lost that day...so many souls taken in an instant. So many people mourning the loss, frightened about the future, furious over the cowardice and selfishness of the perpetrators of this vicious crime on humanity.

I will never forget that day...I feel it all the time, every time I see a photo of the Twin Towers, every time I think of him, see his phone number and email address that I can't seem to erase or delete, every time I see a Motorcross race on television, every time I think of my last moment with him. We hugged for a very long time...saying nothing...just holding eachother, knowing we'd be there for one another during the rough times and the good times till we grew old. We knew that, probably more than most married people know that...it was a unique relationship very few men and women have, though probably should. It was the purest I had ever known and probably will never have again.

He told me once the next lifetime would be ours...and that we won't pass it by again. I wonder about this often, and feel that when I face my own death, it will give me comfort to know he will be there for me, as he always had been throughout my life...and me for him. He has always been my Light.

Peace, Steve ~ I Love you, all ways.

Danielle | 36 | New Jersey

#442 | Monday, December 10th 2001
I was at my work early. I always listen to my favorite radio NPR morning news. At around 9.50 am, I heard the first report of a plane crashing into one of the World Trade Towers. The news did not sound any sense of tragic proportions and I might have reacted with any seriousness. If this was very tragic then the NPR station whould have gone into high gear bringing us the latest events. Not so, all i heard was music. Slowly, I began to hear from folks at work, how a plane had crashed into the tower. They sounded more alaramed. AT this time I wanted to get the facts, and I turned to internet. I guess all my favorite News site were pounded and I just could not get any facts. NPR was still blaring music. I now called my wife at home who was blissfully unaware of all these tragic events going on. I did not try to explain anything to her and just screamed at her to switch on the TV and tell me what's going on. She kind of caught my urgency and knew some thing was not right. She then started to tell me everyting on the TV.
By now NPR had switched to reporting the events and also how other planes were crasing into other buildings. I just wanted to get home, but since I work for the utility company, I had to stay put.
This was the Biggest most Tagic event in my life.

Suresh | 36 | Michigan

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