September 11, 2007

Remembering 9/11

Where were you six years ago?

That morning, I went to work early, as I usually did, to eat breakfast at the office and take my time preparing for my day in the call center. That doesn't usually involve television, and any websurfing I did took place before 7 am CT. By the time the first plane took off from Logan Airport, the normal routine of measurement review and staff meetings had already started for me.

The first time I heard that anything was wrong on that day was a phone call from the First Mate. She told me about the first plane crash, and at first I assumed it had been caused by poor visibility in New York. A co-worker then told me about news of a second crash, and I knew that we had been hit by a terrorist attack.

As I wrote three years ago:

Work came to a halt, at least as much as possible in our line of work. I rushed to check on our clients in the WTC and found out that none of them had arrived at work before the attack, and then spent most of the day watching the TV, seeing the images of people fleeing while New York firefighters and police officers ran into the maelstrom. I remember the disbelief we all felt when the towers collapsed, first one and shortly afterwards the other.

I remember the feeling of utter helplessness, momentarily alleviated when we heard about the heroes of Flight 93 who turned their deaths into the only triumph we had that black day. Rumors of the people who died on the planes; was it really possible that Barbara Olson, who we'd all seen on television, died at the Pentagon? What about the producers of Frasier? How many died in the WTC collapse? Ten thousand? Twenty?

In the days to come, more and more of the story fell into place, the helplessness morphed into anger and determination. Determination that we should never forget, and never surrender to the terror. But not that day. All I felt that day was shock, fear, and horror. The terrorists won that day. And I want to make sure that 9/11 remains the only day they can claim.

Three years later, the terrorists still have not claimed another day. There may come a day that belongs to them, but every morning since 9/11 we have been able to say, Today is not that day. Thanks to the men and women in our armed forces, intelligence, and law-enforcement agencies, we have continued to say that.

What do you remember most about 9/11? How will you remember the anniversary of the worst attack on American soil today?

UPDATE: Gina Cobb and Michelle Malkin have much more.

UPDATE II: BlogTalkRadio has its own remembrance, from CEO (and New Yorker) Alan Levy.

UPDATE III: SeeJaneMom remembers Beslan. The most moving part is the picture of a young mother gently caressing the hair of her dead toddler, and Jane says, "This mother didn't have a "Beslan" to prepare her for the Hell and fury of Islamofacism. You do."

UPDATE IV: Jules Crittenden has an excellent roundup.


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Comments (47)

Posted by Sean B | September 11, 2007 10:10 AM

It will certainly be a day we shall all remember and never forget. Never in my lifetime (21 years) Did I think there would be such an event. I always hear my grandparents discussing where they were during the crash of the stock market, or Pearl Harbor or even my parents discussing how they know everything about the day when JFK was assassinated.

Never did I expect to have such a event to live through and to one day tell my children and their children where I was and hopefully recall every minute at that faithful day.

I'm certainly glad in these 6 years since, we have not been attacked and while the MSM and the left portray this "War on Terror" as a big mistake, the President does not allow politics to interfere and lets amazing leaders like Gen. Petreaus to do his job.

Love the blog, and your 9/11 story is amazing. God Bless

Posted by Jane | September 11, 2007 10:11 AM

I was at Logan airport. Actually I was in the tunnel on my way to Logan Airport when the second plane hit. My secretary had just called and said my flight might be delayed because "a commuter plane" had crashed into the WTC a few minutes before. My flight was originally scheduled for 8:15 that morning - the exact same moment the two planes bound for CA left Logan. The night before, someone from the airline called to tell me my 8:15 flight had been canceled, so could I make the 10:00 flight instead. No one from an airline has done that for me before or since.

As I walked off the commuter bus at the terminal, the last words I heard from the radio were: "Logan is closed". I proceeded through security, noting that I could have smuggled an Uzi through since security was so lax.

At the gate they posted a sign that said: All flights canceled until 6:00PM. A few moments later an announcement asked us to all leave the terminal.

There were thousands of people outside the terminal. We had conversations, something I'd never done there before. When the commuter bus arrived I was the last passenger to make it on. People on the bus were complaining. A pilot had a radio which I strained to hear. There was so much traffic leaving Boston it looked like rush hour.

And so it began...

Posted by Bennett | September 11, 2007 10:19 AM

I was living in Dallas at the time, in my car on the way to work and just pulling into Starbucks for my morning coffee when I heard the radio DJ say something about a twin engine plane had hit one of the WTC towers. I thought to myself, oh the pilot must have had a heart attack, something like that, how terrible.

There was a line in Starbucks and by the time I got back out to the car and turned the radio on the DJ was saying another plane has hit, they were both airliners, this was no accident people.

What I will remember the most about that morning is how pretty it was. I can remember thinking as I drove to work before the reports started coming in, what a nice day this is. How the sky was so blue and it was sunny and the air had a refreshing coolness in it after the heat of a Dallas summer.

It seems like I should remember more and of course I do, our initial reactions in the office, trying to get on the internet and get some news and all the sites being down and one person had a radio and we listened to that and another person had a small mini-tv and we tried watching that for awhile and then went out and found a restaurant and watched the TV there for a bit until finally in the afternoon we were told to go home.

But what I will always remember more than anything is what a pretty day it was.

I will spend some time today thinking about one of my college classmates who worked for Marsh & McLennan and died in the World Trade Center on this day 6 years ago.

Posted by TheRealSwede | September 11, 2007 10:25 AM

I was working at my desk when I overheard someone say something about a plane hitting the WTC. I then joined a gathering of co-workers in our conference room to watch the events unfold. At some point I remember saying out loud - to no one in particular "this changes everything". Today, I'm sorry to say, many of my co-workers have succeeded in convincing themselves that it changed nothing.

Posted by ZeteBoy | September 11, 2007 10:35 AM

I was at a local cable TV station doing some year end work, when one of the ladies said that a plane had crashed into the Trade Centre. In Halifax we have a building in the center of town called the World Trade and Convention Centre and that's what I thought she was talking about. I was surprised to hear that as planes do not fly over the city. Then we turned on a TV in the office and saw the building that was actually hit. We were all shocked to silence. A truly sad day for civilized people around the world....and then shortly after that, scenes of the palis dancing in the streets of Gaza. The wrong group of people were killed that day.

Posted by RBMN | September 11, 2007 10:37 AM

What I'll never forget is watching a TV reporter speaking live from near the burning towers, and then hearing some sound in the little car crashes...then watching the reporter look behind him, turn around, and look into the camera with a horrified look on his face. Only later did I hear what was making those sounds--falling bodies. The reporter didn't say anything, but it was on his face. I was channel-surfing, so I don't know the network, and didn't recognize the reporter, but I'll never forget his face that moment.

Posted by Steeljaw Scribe | September 11, 2007 10:37 AM

Where was I 6 years ago? I was there... (Pentagon)

09:37:25 EDT 11 Sep 01
'We Remember...'

Posted by Pete | September 11, 2007 10:37 AM

When the first plane hit 6 years ago today i was driving on my way to work, it was a beautiful morning - blue skies all around. When the first reports came in about an "accident" they were saying on the radio that it was probably a small plane, lost in the fog, or something along those lines. I pulled into work and didn't give it a second thought. A short while later people in my office started talking about ANOTHER plane hitting the other World Trade Tower. We were all in disbelief. We all crowded into the conference room, and watched as reports came in about another plane crashing into the pentagon - and reports of other missing planes out there. I remember people saying things like "we're at war", and "What are they going to hit next?". I stayed home from work the next day and sat watching fox news all day, wondering what our world was coming to.

Posted by Sgt. Mom | September 11, 2007 10:40 AM

I was at work, too... opening up the office at a small consulting firm in San Antonio. And it was a beautiful day. I had been listening to the classical music station all the way in, and didn't know a thing had happened, until I began calling my bosses' appointments to confirm them for the day. The first woman I called was in hysterics, telling me that the WTC buildings had been hit, were on fire, and that people were jumping from the top floors.
I remember logging onto a Slate news threads, looking for any sort of news, even speculation, but it was early and it was still pretty quiet. I posted a comment: "Welcome to Pearl Harbor!"
It was so eerie: such a beautiful day, everything perfectly normal on the surface... but people were clustering around televisions and radios, everywhere. We couldn't stop listening.

Posted by Otter | September 11, 2007 10:45 AM

I Was driving home from the Otter Habitat in York Haven, Pennsylvania, when I turned on the radio. The first plane had already hit... just moments after I turned on the radio, the second plane struck. 'This was a terrorist attack' was the first thing out of my mouth.

Up until that time I honestly thought that internal terrorist groups were a bigger threat, that some Christians- even though I am Catholic- were a bigger threat, and that there were the 'Three Abrahamic Faiths.' I was even a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center, though I had already decided to drop that in opposition to their poorly-worded Tolerance pamphlet, which left the words of Christians open to far too much Wrong interpretation.

I have learned a Lot since then. Too bad others posting here at some point are still Stuck On Stupid. To them islamofascist terror is just 'red meat' for the savages they supposedly tower over intellectually, or a conspiracy by 'reconstructionists' to take over America. They Are Neither. A more despicable bunch of people I cannot... no wait, I can, and they all go by the same faith. And it is Not mine.

Posted by CRABBY APPLE MICK LEE | September 11, 2007 11:02 AM

I was at work when the first plane hit was reported over the radio. It seemed like only a minute or two afterward the second plane hit. Suddenly everyone knew it was a terrorist attack. The whole building rushed to a conference room to watch the bad TV picture (no cable) of the towers burning and then...falling down. No one expected they would fall down.

I finished the workday because I didn't know what else to do. When I did go home, I went into the house alone and sat on the edge of my bed. I knew it meant war. I knew it had to be waged. I became very afraid this might mean I would lose my sons. If the time came, I would tell them it was their duty and love of country that they should go. But it was a piece of a piece of the grief in my heart.

Posted by Teresa | September 11, 2007 11:04 AM

I was in a training session in Greenville, SC. Everytime we had a break, we would all rush to the breakroom to watch the TV. Even though it was evident that something was seriously wrong, the trainer kept telling us we needed to go back in the training room and work on our project. At lunch she would not let people talk about it. I later learned she had a daughter studying in D.C. so perhaps she was just too worried. I kept wanting to get home to check on my kids and watch the TV uninterrupted to see what was going on.

Posted by mozemoose | September 11, 2007 11:06 AM

I was doing dam inspections at a mid-size eastern city. We had just finished a relatively small dam when we heard reports about the attacks from the Owner's people who were coming and going from the site. A much larger dam was scheduled to be next. On the drive over, we heard the radio news accounts. It got a little hairy when we heard the approach of a helicopter after we had heard news reports about all air traffic being grounded. Turned out to be a news chopper beating a hasty retreat to his home base. A remember thinking a whole bunch of innocent people are going to die as a result of this, and was scared by the feeling that the notion didn't bother me.

Posted by Crash72 | September 11, 2007 11:11 AM

I was on the other side of the Pentagon on the first floor D-ring. Found out we were attacked when a friend called from her cell phone in her car in Vicksburg, MS. She heard a radio report that said the Pentagon was hit. Small world. She wanted to know why I was still there. Just then the building alarms went off and we evacuated. Here today. Nice services and ceremonies. Somber but busy as you might imagine. God bless.

Posted by filistro | September 11, 2007 11:12 AM

I was at my summer place in western Canada, near the Montana border, as I am every year at this time. Canadians watched in shock, horror and anguish as events unfolded. My most vivid memory is the utterly surreal feeling of going hiking among the river coulees the next day and seeing a blue, blue, silent sky... no jet trails at all. No planes flying in the wide prairie sky. Apart from that week following 9/11, it was a sight I've never seen before or since.

In the weeks following the attack, western Canada went into mourning. You could drive into any small prairie town and see the American and Canadian flags flying side by side from old brick hotels, front porches and rodeo grounds. Canadian farm boys climbed down from their tractors, left the hay in the fields and drove their pickup trucks to the city, wanting to know how they could volunteer to go somewhere and fight for America. Approval of the neighbours to the south was at an all-time, historic high.

That was 6 years ago, and since then we've had Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo. Canadian affection for the US has now dipped to its lowest level ever. George Bush is loathed and mocked everywhere in Canada, even here in an area where if you're not a rancher, you're likely an oilman.

It's been very sad to watch.

Posted by Otter | September 11, 2007 11:20 AM

And so Expected, fillistro, that you would drag out things like gitmo and abu graib. *spit*

Posted by cirby | September 11, 2007 11:21 AM

I was working at the Peabody Hotel in Orlando, setting up a large video screen for a corporate meeting scheduled for the next day. One of the housemen mentioned that a small plane had hit the WTC, so I dragged a TV set into the ballroom to watch. I could tell it wasn't a "small" plane from the video, and the news people were starting to catch on, too.

It was on for only a couple of minutes when the second plane hit - and I knew what was happening, right then and there. I had the big screen almost ready, so I fired up the projector for everyone else to see.

A couple of dozen people watched the rest of that morning's events on a 14 foot wide screen. There was a meeting already going on next door, and they switched over from their agenda to watching the news, too. One CNN, one NBC, and we switched from time to time.

One of the guys there for the other meeting freaked out a bit - the previous week, he'd been in the WTC at about 9 AM, looking for some new office space, right about where the plane hit the second building.

At about noon, my boss came in and told us to tear everything down - no meetings tomorrow. Or for the next two months, as it turned out.

Posted by kidsbright | September 11, 2007 11:21 AM

I live on the West Coast; and since in our house we don't turn on tv or radio in the morning, I started that day without a clue as to what had already happened. I noticed that the school bus driver who picked up my son had a grim expression, but gave that little thought at the time. Then, driving to work, I got it all on the radio -- first, that there'd been a plane crash in Pennsylvania and it was unclear as to whether it was connected to "the others." What others? I started changing channels and literally could not believe it when someone said the Twin Towers were no more.

I continued on to work but accomplished nothing that day, other than following the news and reactions to it on my computer. Compounding the horror of it was the surprising number of people posting comments arguing that somehow the U.S. deserved this. One said we'd provoked the Muslims just as we'd provoked the Japanese into attacking us in 1941. When I asked, it turned out the author didn't know about Japan's prior aggressions against China and had no theory as to how other nations might also have gotten on Japan's bad side. Another fool said that death is no big deal. People die every day. Why get so excited about a few more thousand when this is the human condition? I told him he might be talking about the "zebra condition," in which predators feast on fallen animals while others graze nearby; but that being human meant a response was necessary.

I think 9/11 and what we have done since then has flushed a lot of really ugly, sick stuff in our society out into daylight. I continue to hope that continued exposure to scrutiny will cause their poisonous ideas to wither and die away. I'm not often optimistic about that.

Posted by whereswaldo | September 11, 2007 11:24 AM

I was working at an Air National Guard base that day, network manager for the base. It was a beautiful day so I decided to walk to the fire department to fix a malfunctioning Ethernet switch, I also took a long a new person to show them how to diagnose the switch. We entered the living area of the fire department personnel and they were glued to the TV watching the first plane hit the towers. I concluded a bunch of fire fighters loves this type of stuff so no biggy, it must have been a small private plane. It was only on our way back through the bay, after fixing the switch, when we saw the second plane hit. I realized then it was no small private plane but a terrorist attack. I told the individual with me we had to get back to the communications building quickly. Rest of that day and the next two days were a blur. During that time, I saw my family for about 5 hours.

It was such a beautiful day, blue skies white puffy clouds, nice fall morning.

Posted by ERNurse | September 11, 2007 11:25 AM

I was laid off from work on 9/10/01. When I learned about the true scope and magnitude of the attacks and loss of life, my personal worries suddenly became small and trivial.

I vividly remember walking in the park with my son later that afternoon. It was eerily quiet out. Suddenly, an F-15 appeared overhead at about 5,000 feet. My son and I watched it loiter overhead for a few minutes. Then the fighter lit the burners and tore off, headed north, with a roar. We wondered if it was going after a target.

I visit the NYC area from time to time. I look at the skyline and where the towers used to be. And it still feels beyond belief. And I am filled with renewed resolve to do whatever I can to utterly destroy the people who think nothing of doing this to innocent people- and of destroying those who rejoice over it.

Posted by kingronjo | September 11, 2007 11:29 AM

looks like I'm the first person to post who was actually there. Lucky me.

Tuesday, 9/11/01 was primary day in NY. It was pretty big in NYC cuz Mayor Giuliani was term limited and the winner of the Dem primary was widely expected to be the next mayor. The vote was canceled and redone two weeks later. Mark Green won and Bloomberg bought the Republican nomination. Green led in all the polls until Giuliani, by then a national hero, endorsed Bloomy at the eleventh hour and that was it.

Anyway, I had voted at the local PS so I was running a little late. I took the subway and got off at the Brooklyn Bridge station and saw everyone looking up. I couldn't believe it. Since my office was further downtown I started walking TOWARDS the WTC and saw with my own eyes the second plane hit it. I was one of the people who by the end of the day had dust on their clothes and walked over the Brooklyn Bridge. I never cleaned that suit and it hangs in my closet still.

As a sidenote, I now live in Sarasota, FL not too far from where Pres Bush was on that day.

Posted by quickjustice | September 11, 2007 11:33 AM

I was driving into Manhattan late that morning. The cops turned us all around, and I never made it to the island. At home, I was calling neighbors, and hearing about the kids who were being pulled out of the high school because their parents worked in the Towers.

Twelve of my friends and neighbors died that day, including one NYC firefighter, Joe Leavey, a NYFD lieutenant who was off-duty at the time of the attacks, but who jumped in his car and drove into the city to join his men.

The tapes of the fire department radio transmissions, later published in the N.Y. Times, disclosed that Lieutenant Joe Leavey radioed in a report that he was on the 79th Floor, leading his men up the stairs to the Sky Lobby of the WTC, where there were wounded people lying helpless and unattended. Then the building collapsed.

God bless those heroic men and women.

Posted by docjim505 | September 11, 2007 11:43 AM

I was home sick. Saw on the internet that a plane had hit the WTC; figured it was just an accident, some damned fool in a Cessna.

Woke up a few hours later, flipped on the TV and learned the truth. Cleaned up and immediately headed for the Red Cross to donate blood. It was one of the best sights I've ever seen: people were BEGGING to give blood. Donate money. Food. ANYTHING. The Red Cross had to turn people away because they didn't have the facilities to take that many donors at one time. I was full of rage, but I also felt good to be an American.

Posted by kingronjo | September 11, 2007 11:45 AM

You're right quickjustice, I've embarrassed myself by not mentioning my friends, former classmates and neighbors who were killed at work and in the line of service.

Every day for months, in probably every town in commuting distance from NYC there were funerals and memorial services for a victim. The reason for the delays? The services were given as body parts, yes body parts, were found. And by then ex-Mayor Giuliani attended most of them. And don't forget that the Mayor was almost killed that day too. Giuliani was asked by one woman to escort her down the aisle at her wedding because all the male members of her family were in the FDNY and killed that day. Horrific stories like that were in all the papers. I dont know how many went national amid all the carnage.

I attended 7 services and not quite sure how many more I missed. My HS and college had memorials for the killed alumni. I appreciate the sadness the rest of the country feels over this but when thinking of that day I still get numb and misty eyed. I am sure a lot of NYers feel the same way. Why have they forgotten what we are fighting for?

Posted by Eric | September 11, 2007 11:48 AM

I remember 9/11/01 very well. I was living in Ohio, in a suburb on the far east side of Cleveland. I was working second shift, so I was asleep when the first plane hit. My neighbor and good friend called me and woke me up and told me I had to turn on the TV. I turned the TV on in my bedroom and watched for a few minutes. Seeing what was happening, I put on some cloths and went next door to talk to my neighbor.

It was such a beautiful day – just like today in Florida. As I walked between the houses, I saw a jet flying lower than normal, but not really low, and it was making a U-turn (I later realized that it was flight 11.)

I got into his house and we saw the second plane, then the first collapse and then the second collapse.

I’m sure it was actually the planes that caused the problem (or rather, those who piloted them.) Not anything to do with the government. I don’t fault our government for not preventing it – I don’t think anyone could have believed it was possible.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. All air-traffic in the US was shut down. All night long, fighter jets flew over my house – I’ll never forget the sound that they made. My stomach hurt for a week following 9/11 and when nobody is around, on days like this, I still cry about what I saw.

I’ll do anything to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Posted by Cindy | September 11, 2007 11:52 AM

I had just pulled into the parking lot at work when reports that the first plane had hit. About 20 minutes later, a co-worker came running into the office saying that a jumbo jet had crashed into the tower. We crammed into her bosses office (he had a small black & white TV in his office) and he turned it on just in time to see the second plane hit! Five minutes later, IT had jury-rigged the training room TV so that we could use the building as an antenna so that we could watch in the training room. Then came the Pentagon and then the rumors started about Flight 93 - some said it was heading to Chicago (I have family in Chicago) then we heard that it had crashed south of Pittsburgh where my husband has family.

I still remember how eerie it was not to see any airplanes in the sky for the two days after the 9-11 attacks.....


Posted by Theresa, MSgt (ret), USAF | September 11, 2007 12:03 PM

I was still on active duty stationed at RAF Mildenhall. I was, ironically, working with my counterpart from RAF Lakenheath, a devote muslim SSgt, on developing a "network bridge" from the RAF Lakenheath Security Forces law enforcement desk to my unit, 100 Security Forces Squadron law enforcement desk, to share information. The SSgt had just left the supply hangar where my office was, when our vehicle NCO, came running in screaming that we had been attacked. Myself and my co-workers all told him to shut up and stop messing around. He insisted, so I tried to log into CNN. Our network was down, but we finally got a link and saw the second plane hit. We all went into shock. The base responded by going into Threatcon Delta. I managed to call my mother in Conroe, Texas to find out where my younger brother, full time ANG, was. He had been at the Pentagon earlier that week. He was back home thank God. For the next couple of weeks, we were locked down, no school for kids, 14 hours' days, 6 on 1 off. I would get home, feed my kids, and then sit on the couch and cry while watching the news. I will say that the Brits were amazing. There were more American flags flying in the towns around the bases than not. People were bringing flowers and condolence cards to the front gate and leaving them as a show of support. It was extremely moving. I was also amazed at the show of force by the Ministry of Defense. We had black suited MOD with Uzis posted at our gates and I had never in the 5 years of living there seen so many police patrols in the local villages. They were standing side by side with us. It was awesome. I wish those who have forgotten the sheer horror of this day 6 years ago could be made to watch the videos over and over again. If we don't stop it now, 9/11 will happen over and over again until the enemy wins.

Posted by lexhamfox | September 11, 2007 12:05 PM

I was on the phone in CA with some bankers at World Trade Center No.5 when the first plane hit. We continued our conference until I saw the first TV reports and told them that one of the towers was on fire. We broke the conference and I asked them to fax over a very important document which did get through. The time stamp on the fax is 9.05am. I spent the rest of the morning calling various friends I used to work with at Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter trying to see if they were OK. It turned out our CEO was booked on 93 to return to CA but missed the flight. As soon as flights resumed we went out to attend funerals and look after friends in NYC.

Posted by tomg | September 11, 2007 12:26 PM

I was in a meeting at a PDVSA (oil)office in Venezuela. One attendee left for a call, and came back noting the first plane crash. After the second plane crashed, we were interrupted and I was called to a corner office with a TV on. As the only American, I was somehow expected to be able to explain. The first tower collapsed almost immediately. All I could say was I felt sorry for whomever did this. Followed by I expect we'll release Israel upon them. Weird that's what I thought of.
I flew to another city in Venezuela that afternoon. Ducked into a lit up and packed Catholic church on my way to the hotel. BTW, I speak and understand almost no Spanish.
Had about four days of desperately trying to understand CNN en Espanol. I would hear the first four words of a speaker at the National Cathedral in English, and then the voice-over would kick in. Unbelievably frustrating.
I wanted to DO SOMETHING. Anything.
The Venezuelan people could not have been more supportive and helpful. I'll be forever grateful to them.
It was the first time my wife didn't want me to hurry home.
Took about four days to escape via Aero Postale to Miami (no, not the clothing company). At 3AM was actually able to call (land-line) and get a reservation that stuck to get me home (thanks Delta!!!!). Then spent hours making coffee runs, buying food, watching bags, and so on for all the stranded and exhausted travelers in vague lines I could help.

Posted by glasshopper | September 11, 2007 12:38 PM

One of the things I will personally always remember is seeing Aaron Brown's face absolutely drain of all color that day when he turned to look at his monitor and saw the second plane flying into the south (?) tower (back when I still watched CNN, heh)... I also remember a beautiful cloudless blue sky, and how weird it was driving by the local airport seeing American and state flags on the property at half-staff about noon.. and realizing at that point there were no contrails.

Posted by Immolate | September 11, 2007 12:55 PM

I was at work in Lake Mary, Florida, one building over and two floors up from where I'm sitting now. We had monitors scattered about the building for company news and announcements. They were usually off. Suddenly, the monitor near the window at the end of my cube-row lit up and the news came on - CNN. My friend Charlie reached up and turned the volume on to see why there was smoke coming out of one of the WTC towers. You all know how it went from there.

I am slow to anger and quick to forgive, but I felt something in my heart snap that day. I will never be the same, although I knew nobody in the towers or the Pentagon or on the planes, or anyone who was family of those people. Nothing had ever hit me that hard before, and nothing has since. God bless the dead and those they left behind. Let us be worthy of their memory.

Posted by Charles D. Quarles | September 11, 2007 1:08 PM

It is raining here today, unlike the brilliant blue skies 6 years ago.

I was on my way to work in the local ER. I had just dropped my youngest son off at school. I had WMOX on (local talk radio station) when the host had ABC radio news break in with the news of the first WTC hit. The report was so garbled that I turned on Fox News and saw the second WTC hit. The ER was relatively slow that day, so I saw the Pentagon hit and heard news of United 93 going down.

Heck, I still remember the bombing of the 16th St. Baptist Church in Birmingham and the assassination of President Kennedy (I was 4 and in kindergarten and the events were announced over the PA system), then the later assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King (I was 9 and the event was announced over the school PA system). I do not remember the assassination of Bobby Kennedy quite as clearly (school was out).

Posted by flenser | September 11, 2007 1:32 PM

I'm shocked to discover that filistro is not an American.

Ok, I'm not really shocked. I've noticed that a disproportionate number of lefty trolls on the blogs tend to be from Canada.

Posted by seejanemom | September 11, 2007 1:39 PM


If more people will tune into Glenn Beck tonight at 7 and 9pm on CNN to have BESLAN refreshed in their memory, I might not have to BECOME that mom.

And yes, it IS that bad.

xoxoxoxo janie

Posted by Count to 10 | September 11, 2007 1:43 PM

I was waiting for a phone call to tell me if I was to show up for jury duty later that day. To kill some time, I turned on the TV to start up a video game, but, before stitching to the video channel, I left the room. When I came back, there were the twin towers, billowing black smoke. It took me a while to remember to turn the game off: I clearly wasn't going to play it. The jury duty was eventually canceled, as all the courts were shut down. I have a hard time remembering how I felt--actually, I always have a hard time remembering how I feel about things, but this especially--but I do remember watching what was happening on TV for the rest of the day. I guess I was probably in shock of some kind.

Funny, I remember a lot of details, but not what game I was going to play. I suppose reality can kind of trump fantasy that way.

Posted by Dave | September 11, 2007 1:47 PM

I was at work. We were watching TV in the lounge area. We all watched in silence, except for one guy. Unfortunately his comments became a permanent part of my 9/11 memories. Just after the first tower collapsed, a TV commentator mentioned that President Bush was being flown to a safe site. The co-worker said "Why are they bothering to protect that dummy ? He shouldn't even be President. They should just let him die." Someone then wondered where Cheney was. The guy said "They should kill that right-wing Fascist bastard too." I will never forget those words as long as I live. I've never been so stunned in my life. It struck me then that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong with politics in this country. Fellow Ameericans were literally dying before our eyes and his only concern was his political hatred.

Posted by OregonGuy | September 11, 2007 1:51 PM

Here was my day.

Thanks for your post.

Posted by Pho | September 11, 2007 2:00 PM

I was driving in to work when I heard the first report on the radio. A simple statement that a plane had crashed into one of the WTC towers. Like docjim505 I assumed it was some idiot in a small plane, like had happend some time previously in another town, on a smaller building. I can't remember where, and couldn't remember then either.

I got into the office to see upset people in the office, and we spun up a TV just in time to see the 2nd plane hit the tower. I don't think I could form a full thought for several minutes, I was so stunned to realize what was actually happening.

As it happens... "the boss" came by less than a couple of minutes to see the 4-5 of us horrified at the explosion we'd just seen to comment something to the effect of "that's not important enough for you to be watching... get back to work...".

I couldn't put my mind back together at that time to express the rage that went through my mind when he did that. Particular later that day when I was told I had a cousin who'd been working in a nearby shopping center. She turned out to be ok, and got away safely thankfully.

Posted by Stephen J. | September 11, 2007 2:03 PM

I'm a Canadian who lives in Toronto, and I remember most vividly walking up to my office building under a bright blue sky... I'd left the house before 8:45 a.m. and didn't get to the office until after 9:15, so I was out of touch (no mobile phone or wireless laptop) and didn't hear anything until I'd gotten into the office.

When I'd heard what was going on, I think my first thought was, "Oh, s**t, did they get this idea from Tom Clancy?" Because at the end of Clancy's novel Debt of Honor a Japanese 747 pilot kamikazes a jetliner into the White House, and ever since I'd read that book I'd been afraid somebody was going to use the idea....

I remember calling my parents to make sure they were OK, even though they live in Mississauga and had no call to be in New York that I knew of. I remember nothing happening while we watched the news. I remember seeing the towers come down on the staticky screen, and watching the smoke clouds boil down the streets, and thinking to myself, "I will never be able to watch a disaster movie again."

That proved wrong, of course; I wonder if I should be ashamed of looking forward to J.J. Abram's "Cloverfield" movie. But I suppose as long as one remembers the difference between movies and reality you're OK.

My wife, who had been covering the Toronto International Film Festival, told me that she'd been standing next to an American in the bar, who'd said simply, "Right now, I just want to nuke Mecca." I remember the terror some of my friends expressed that the Bush administration would strike back in some equally destructive or nutty manner. The fact that nobody has nuked Mecca speaks for itself, I think.

And I remember the speed with which Canadian towns and homes took in the American travellers stranded abroad by the flight lockdown. I think that's what I prefer to recall more than anything else.

Posted by cold pizza | September 11, 2007 2:06 PM

It was 3:00 in the morning at Hickam AFB in Hawaii. My wife was up, getting ready for work, and caught the initial reports of the first plane hitting. She woke me up and we watched the live video as the second plane slammed into the other tower. As soon as I saw the second hit, I KNEW it wasn’t an accident—this was an act of war against the United States. We didn’t have any details as to who was attacking or what would be the next target, or how many locations would be hit, but I knew as I pulled on my BDUs (in lieu of the normal AF blue shirt) and laced up my boots (instead of the normal black leather “low quarters”) that I had to get to work early.

Although I was in the USAF, I worked at a nearby USMC base. If the U.S. was under attack, we would have been a logical target (the command center for all US forces in the Pacific). Even going in 2 hours early, there was a long line of cars snaking down hill waiting to enter the single open gate. Marine guards were thoroughly inspecting each vehicle and once on base, we were directed to park over ON the baseball field, well away from any buildings.

Work was eerie. We saw the footage of the Pentagon. We all knew people there. Many of the folks I worked with had either been there or were projected to go there once their current assignments were up. There was a steel-edged certainty that we would find the agencies responsible for attacking our defenseless civilians and we would MAKE. THEM. PAY.

We were sheepdogs, and wolves had gotten among the flock.

We saw fighter planes from Hickam flying cover. Young Marine privates and corporals set up security zones both inside and outside the fence. We stayed late that day, and for quite a few days after 9/11. On one of the main hallways, an impromptu “shrine” went up of all the editorial cartoons expressing both grief at the loss of innocent life and resolve to get the bastards behind the attacks.

When the fecal matter hits the oscillating air circulator, there’s no better people to have between you and the forces of barbarism than the citizen soldiers of the U.S. military.

“And thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand, between their loved homes and the war’s desolation. Blessed with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation. Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, and this be out motto ‘In God is our Trust.’” You know how the rest goes. -cp

Posted by Tim | September 11, 2007 2:09 PM

I had just gotten back from work when I got the call to come back to set up a live feed for the Auditorium at work. I was finishing the connections as the second plane hit and I remember the hush in Auditorium as we later watched the towers fall and heard the news of the Pentagon attack. Have come so far now that other news outlets ask are we remembering 9/11 too much??? I say, Never forget!!

Posted by Tim W | September 11, 2007 2:33 PM

I remember exacty where I was when I heard the news. I was in my car at the corner of 5th and Downing St. in Denver, CO when I turned on the radio and heard Bush speaking about an apparant terrorist attack on the WTC and the Pentagon. I immeadiately pulled over and called my wife and told her to turn on the TV as my brother worked on the 89th floor of the WTC. She was silent for a while then started weeping and couldn't really speak. Right at that moment, I knew that my brother was dead.

For some bizzare reason I drove to work in shock. Everyone was crowded around a TV and someone mentioned that one of the towers just collapsed. I asked to no one in particular which tower just collapsed and no one answered. I finally raised my voice a bit and someone said Tower two. I went back to my office and closed the door and loooked for my brothers business card. Unable to find it, I called his wife who was hysterical because she had just been talking with him before the tower collapsed and knew he was still in the building at his desk. At that point I left the office and told my assistant that I was going to Connecticut and that I will be gone for a few weeks. I drove home and was watching the news with my wife in disbelief. My wife's neice and two friends were staying at our house and were sleeping and I had my wife wake them up as they needed to see this. We needed to get them a car as they were supposed to fly home that day so we worked on that a while. My wife finally located a car and took them to pick it up and I took my one year old son to the park. That was the first time I cried watching him play knowing that the world had just changed. The rest of the day was spent packing for the trip back east. We left September 12th at 6:00 am and got to Connecticut on the 14th. I went down to NYC that day and went to the family center at the 24th street Armory. I could not beleive all of the pictures of missing loved ones and almost vomited from the sheer magnitude of it all. I did a short scan of the hospital lists to no avail. Knowing that my brother was on the 89th floor, I never had any hope so I was just going through the motions. That was the worst day of my life.

The memorial service was two weeks later

Posted by grubner | September 11, 2007 3:21 PM

We had recently moved out of the city to NJ. That day my wife went to work in the city pregnant, by the next day she wasn’t. Every town in the area I live has a memorial with the names of the town’s dead. I walk down the street with my 4 year old and see names of a few people I knew on one of these memorials. There is one name that I always look for first and when I see it, it invokes great sadness. Ironically I didn’t know this person and had never met him but I knew a bit about him. He had protected my wife when I wasn’t yet there. When she was a young first year wall streeter, at Lehman, a lot of the traders behaved shabbily towards her. This guy was the only one who stood up and said that nobody was going to treat any woman that way around him on the desk. I won’t go into why and how rare that is on a Wall Street trading floor. To be honest I doubt that I would have stood up like he did. When we moved to NJ my wife and this guy became aquatinted again on the ferry ride into the city. Both were now more senior Wall Streeters. My wife used to tease him that he might have to be her protector again because they would joke that if the ferry went down there would be no cooperation among a bunch of Wall Streeters on a sinking ship. He used to tell her not to worry because he would save her from “the meanies” yet again. If the boat sank the plan was she would grab onto his shirt and he would run through the crowd and onto the life raft. If I remember the story correctly, he had been a college lineman. They sat together often on the ferry and talked. On September 11 when my wife finally made it onto the homeward ferry he was not there. As she got off at home, the first thing she saw was a completely naked man being decontaminated by a Hazmat team. Next to him was a pile of dusty chalk white cloths and a perfectly clean leather brief case, she wondered if it was him but didn’t want to embarrass the guy by staring at him. It was not him and Dave Bauer never made it home that day.

That night we were so jittery that we didn’t know what to do, but we did not want to be at home alone so we went to a local restaurant. The waitress broke down and started to cry after she heard of my wife’s escape from the city. I took her arm and told her to sit with us for a bit. She was originally from this area but now commuted out here from Brooklyn. Her boyfriend of some 10 years was an NYC fireman and she hadn’t heard from him and now that it was getting dark she was getting really worried. She was afraid of going home and waiting alone in the apartment for him to return. She never heard from him again.

For almost two weeks the funeral bells of the church around the corner from my house rang twice a day. On one of those days it just became too much for me. There was an old oak tree that had been cut down in the spring and I had the guys cut it up into sections but it had not yet been split. I went out to the back yard and on a gorgeous fall day with the funeral bells ringing, I split wood until my hands blistered. I kept splitting until the blisters broke. I kept crying, chopping and pounding the wedge into the logs until all of that oak tree became a pile of split fire wood. Blood ran down my hands and arms. My shirt and face were covered with sweat, blood and tears. That was when I first realized how much I had been hurt on that awful day.

There were others that I knew but never heard from again. My little area in NJ lost 44 people that day. Sometimes I wonder if our baby makes it one more.

Posted by Ken Oglesby | September 11, 2007 4:06 PM

I was enroute to Oconomowoc,WI when the first plane went in,but I was at the Target DC with my tv set up when the second plane went in.
Of all the memories of that day the one that stuck in my mind and will always is ABC anchor Peter Jennings saying upon learning that President Bush's exact location was unknown that " some presidents could handle a disaster of this magnitude and some couldn't.
Of course it had already been stated that the Secret Service had ordered the President taken to a place of safety until it could be determined if this was a single attack or the beginning of a series of attacks.
But,he said it anyway.
He always denied saying it,but I heard him and and anyone paying attention heard him.
That is my most enduring memory of that day.
That along with the incredible heroism of the New York city police and fire departments.

Posted by sherlock | September 11, 2007 7:16 PM

I had taken the day off on 9/11 to go to a doctor's appointment in the afternoon, so I saw the whole thing from home on television.

The next morning as usual I rode the Washington State Ferries route across Puget Sound to Seattle. I don't know if I am now only imagining it or if my memory is accurate, but it seems like the lights on the ferry were dimmed, as was the Seattle skyline.

I was among a number of people on deck looking out over the waters in the predawn gloom. As the ferry moved rapidly toward Seattle at 20+ knots, out of the darkness emerged the silouette of a large ship, sitting still in the water, or perhaps barely moving. It was soon clear to me that it was a warship.

I recognized it as a guided missile destroyer, and noted that it was not only completely blacked out, but the anti-aircraft missile launchers at each end were both loaded and elevated to firing position. I think the ferry Captain must have received permission to pass closs to it as a message of reassurnace to the passengers, and there were numerous murmurs of awe and appreciation from those around me.

One passenger was not impressed. She asked me what kind of ship that was, and on being told, she exclaimed "Oh why do they have to bring such horrible things here at time like this?!"

As this is a family-oriented blog, I will refrain from repeating what several dozen passengers said to her at once, but it was not complimentary, and involved both suggestions that she was the mother of multiple illegitimate children and that she should indulge in a sexual act that would be demonstrably impossible to perform on her own.

The poor woman fled into the passenger cabin in tears, and I could not help but feel sorry for the her, given the delusional world that she obviously still inhabited, but which had roughly ejected the rest of us.

On the other hand, she was probably simply ahead of her time, because today she would have been cheered.

Posted by j howard | September 11, 2007 11:04 PM

I was bound for LA from Singapore on the second deck of a Malaysian Airlines 747.We boarded about 4.5 hrs before zero hour. We were about 1 hour east of Taiwan when the pilots announced 'there had been an accident' and US air space was closed and we were returning to Taiwan. I put down my copy of Blackhawk Down I was reading and we talked amongst ourselves in the cabin about what it meant...we knew it was unprecedented.
I called a friend on the skyphone and he told me BOTH twin towers had collapsed as a result of hijacked airplanes and that the pentagon was also hit. I went cold and explained to the passengers what I was just told.It set off a slew of other calls and some of us started wondering if our flight was secure.
When we landed in Taipei, there was a bt of a stand-off when Taiwanese authorities wanted us to surrrender our passports, since we had no entry visa. It took about 10 hours to sort it out, but we were the lucky ones. We were horrified to watch the news in a Taipei hotel...surreal. I pray for the souls we lost that day and honor the courage of the first responders and those who stood up to the terrorists that day.

Posted by MARK | September 11, 2007 11:14 PM

i was like 7 yrs old when it happen and i was getting ready for school that day like right when i walked out of my door i saw a big shadow like fly so fast right over my house and then i herd a big boom then i started running down the street with my dad the we saw the big gaping whole from the world trade center. then we turned on the tv and my mom started to say its not going to collapse then like 5 minutes later it did. i lost my grandmother,my aunt,and my uncle.GOD BLESS EVERYBODY WHO LOST THERE LIVES ON SEPTEMBER 11TH 2001.

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