#651 | Wednesday, January 23rd 2002
i was getting off the subway at the wall street stop, a bit late for a meeting, my second week of a new job. people were crushing up the stairs, as always. i was waiting at the back of the crowd, had injured my knee three months earlier and could only go up stairs one at a time.

all at once, everyone on the stairs turned to come back down. i couldn't hear the noise from where i was, but the second plane had just hit.

being a new yorker, i thought "hey, there must be someone with a gun on the street. or maybe there was a terrible car accident right above."

and, being a new yorker, i was tough enough to not let such things bother me. i thought, ok, can't go up to the street here. i'll use another exit." i turned to walk north on the platform, headed toward where i could enter my building from underneath. i was nearing the entrance when a woman came running toward me, tears streaming down her face, saying that a plane had hit the trade center and that people were jumping out of the building.

life froze for me that moment, and my brain started to work s l o w l y. the only thought that occured to me was: "i h a v e t o g e t h o m e."

i headed toward the underpass to the uptown tracks. i was halfway down the stairs when LOTS of people started running through, all of them screaming "get out of manhattan! go to brooklyn!"

my brain, still slow, scrambled. i knew i needed to go uptown to go home, but there was no way to tell if the uptown train was running.

then i experienced what a leap of faith is really like. my brain/soul/heart decided that the train would come.

once i made it to the uptown platform, which was pretty empty, i sat on the bench to wait. i realized that i had to tell someone that i wouldn't be able to run if something horrible happened. there was a guy on the platform playing back videotape of the burning building. just as i turned to tell the woman next to me that i couldn't run, the train came. it was about 9:20.

we boarded. but the subway conductors DIDN'T KNOW TO TELL PEOPLE NOT TO GET OFF, and people streamed off the train, trying to get to work.

brain still slow, i knew that was a bad thing. so, like a new yorker, i blocked the doors from closing and tried to shout in as calm a way as possible to get back on the train. folks looked at me, a young professional woman, obviously not nuts. and some of them got back on the train.

i was home by 9:45. when i got off the subway in my neighborhood, my friend elizabeth was on my doorstep, panicked that i was trapped downtown. people were lined up on the street, staring down to the view of the burning buildings. arms crossed. mouths hanging open, mouths covered with a silent hand.

i was in my apartment, trying to call my grandfather, when my landlord yelled upstairs that the first tower had fallen.

when i think of that day, that perfect warmish clear september day, i still cannot fully absorb what happened. my heart still breaks at the horror and the loss, and i thank the universe for helping me to get home safely.

lisa | 34 | New York

#378 | Saturday, December 8th 2001
I was off that day, Monday is my day off. I woke up, took a shower then went out to get breakfast. When I got back home I decided to watch CNN to get the morning news. The first image I saw was a close up with the two towers in flames and my first thought was "that looks just like the World Trade Center". After a couple of minutes of listening to whoever was on CNN that morning I called my job to tell them to stay away from downtown Manhattan then I called my boss, who was on his way to work, to tell him to turn around and go home and that's when the first tower collapsed, all I could say for the next few minutes was “Oh my God, oh my God” over and over again. Then the second tower came down and my mind went numb…
Vincent | 34 | New York

#356 | Saturday, December 8th 2001
We were having our normal morning computer meeting when someone who came late said he had just heard of a plane hitting the WTC...we mentioned it must have been a single engine plane but he thought he had heard it was a jumbo jet, the meeting continued thinking he had heard wrong. The meeting was then interrupted by several employees and relayed us the truth of the matter. Suddenly things shifted into perspective, the meeting was over and we went to setup TV's so others could watch. It was one of those things that you just know would be life-changing. We watched the second tower collapse and the room couldn't believe it...something died inside of us...we knew the world had changed.
Clayton | 34 | Canada

#311 | Thursday, December 6th 2001
I was driving to work after having just dropped my daughter off at daycare. We had been listening to her favorite Raffi CD, and when I switched over to the radio, I heard the DJ's talking about the World Trade Center being on fire, and unconfirmed reports of a plane crashing into one of the towers. The DJ's were watching CNN at the station, and had the CNN audio patched into the board so it would broadcast over the radio, and still allow the DJ's to be heard. As the CNN reporter was talking, the DJ's were throwing in their own comments here and there, when suddenly one of the DJ's yelled, "OH MY GOD! ANOTHER PLANE JUST HIT THE TOWER! I SAW IT HAPPEN - THIS JUST HAPPENED LIVE WHILE WE WERE WATCHING!!"

I remember at that point going numb. I managed to drive to work, but I don't remember anything about the drive. I do remember switching the radio station several times, trying to get as much information as possible. I called my office, and they'd already heard about it. I told them to get the TV out of the supply closet and set it up so we could keep the news reports on all day.

We were pretty much glued to the television at the office. I remember having horrible daydreams about the towers falling or collapsing because of the planes crashing into them. Our shock grew deeper and deeper as we heard about the Pentagon attack, and then the crash in Pennsylvania.

Then, to my great horror, the first tower collapsed before our eyes. When the second tower collapsed, I remember feeling this incredible sense of helplessness - I wanted to be in New York to help pull people out of the building. I wanted to scream "RUN!!!" but knew that the only people who would hear were those standing around me.

September 11th has had a profound impact upon my life. I was fortunate enough that I did not personally know anyone who died in the attacks. However, I felt, and continue to feel, a deep hurt for those who did, even though I didn't know them. Suddenly, firefighters and police officers are heroes, even those who are not affiliated with New York City. Suddenly, life has extra meaning. I am more patriotic and have a deeper love for my country now than I ever have before. The sight of our flag makes me at once proud and, at the same time, tearful. Before September 11th, my feelings of patriotism were lukewarm at best. As much as I opposed our president before, I support him more now.

I have started a scrapbook of the events of September 11th. It includes images, stories, and personal writings describing my feelings and the things going on around us. When my daughter is old enough to understand, I will show it to her, talk to her about the horrible events, and hopefully ensure that this day is never forgotten.

Bob | 34 | Georgia

#246 | Saturday, November 10th 2001
My diary entry -- Sept 12, 2001

Just like billions of others worldwide, I saw it all on TV here on Tuesday night as it was happening. I'd not long stepped out of the bath, and was thinking of getting back online when 'something' made me decide to put on the TV instead at around 11:30pm [0930 NYC time]. First impressions made me think there had been an accident. Had a plane struck one of the World Trade Center towers en route to one of the airports? Then I listened closely to the ensuing report, and felt my breath catch in my throat, my chest tighten in a panic when I learned both towers were ablaze due to a terrorist attack. Then, more news was broadcast about another hijacked plane had deliberately crashed on the Pentagon, and yet another commercial plane had been hijacked and crashed in the Pittsburgh vicinity, en route from Newark to San Francisco.

Before my mind had time to fully digest the entire magnitude of the catastrophe, I witnessed both World Trade Center buildings collapse one after the other. It seemed so surreal. As if I was watching an early morning horror movie. The World Trade Center gone?! NO, it can't be! I sat mesmerised in front of the TV, rocking to and fro in my chair, hands to my mouth, watching the chaos unfolding at a steady pace, feeling tears flood my eyes every few minutes, until about 3am when I could not take it anymore. Three and a half hours had somehow passed by in a space that had felt like only 30 minutes.

I haven't slept much since, and in the fitful sleep I've had, I've experienced nightmares. Woken up today with the hope that it's all been just a bad dream. Then, I walk out into the kitchen to see the newspaper sprawled out on the table with the giant black headlines and horrific photos covering the front page. Feeling my heart suddenly sink again. Switching on the TV to see the live news updates on CNN. There's no escaping this has really happened.

I am feeling stunned as the ongoing reports are leaked by various media forms, and my hands are shaking as I type this now. The complexity of this attack's planning and the enormity of its devastation is so hard to believe, let alone comprehend. Be assured; despite the fact we're literally on the other side of the world, it has not lessened the attack's impact on Australians.

I cannot imagine how the people there -- in New York City, Washington DC, and all across the USA -- who are experiencing it first hand are coping right now. My prayers, thoughts and sympathies are with those who have lost their innocent lives, with those who have lost loved ones, and with all of my American friends who are living through this modern day hell.

Leonie | 34 | Australia

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