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2014 NJ Police Training & Schools

 

SEPTEMBER 11TH, 2001

 

Where were you when it happened?

         

 

   

Email us your story
and we will post it below.

Page 1 of 2

 

More Pictures and Comments will
be added throughout the Day and Week

 

I remember sitting in my 8th grade homeroom class. My teacher came in the room and addressed the class. She told us that we would not be going to our different classes that day, at first we were thrilled. She told everyone to be quiet and she turned on the TV. Immediately you see the damage that had been done to the first building. Everyone, including myself was speechless. The feeling went from the hooray of missing classes to the pain and suffering that this country was enduring once that TV turned on. The whole day we spent watching the TV. We did not go to our math class, English class, history class, etc. Students and teachers were in disbelief and jaws were completely opened, tears streaming from everyone's faces. I can remember exactly what I was wearing that day. A green zip up fleece, white t-shirt with blue jeans and Adidas gym shoes. Later that day when more details were to be found my neighbor had come to the school. The school principal and neighbor pulled me into the school office, my brothers were there too. My neighbor was watching my brothers and I while my parents were on vacation. My parents were on American Airlines Flight 11. That day will never be forgotten. Not just because that was the day I had lost both of my parents at age 13 but because of the terrible damage that the country had suffered. To everyone that has lost someone in the horrific event, God bless you. To all of the people who were affected, God bless you. And to everyone else who was shocked, stunned and in horror or any other feeling that day, God bless you. Please take a moment to remember those who lost their lives on the planes, in the buildings and trying to save others. Because of this event I became a firefighter.

Rest in peace to everyone that lost their lives that day.

I love you Mom and Dad. I hope you are proud of me.

-K=

 

I was a ninth grader that year. I was sitting in class when I heard the chaos. There was people scattering all over my school. When we heard the news we turned on the TV to see the horror in Manhattan. Quickly parents came to get there kids from school and the ones who drove left. I was still there seeing as I couldn't drive and my dad working in Atlanta. We had discussed the topic of the CDC center being in Atlanta after the planes had crashed into the Pentagon and Pennsylvania and I remember being terrified. I will never forget that moment and it gives me chills to know what that it happened in my life time. I am fortunate to say that I did not personally know anyone who died that tragic day. God bless all of the people who lost their lives and the families who was affected.

You will never be forgotten.

-Rendi Griffith

 

September 11, 2001....I was an eighteen year old kid, who had just arrived in Boston for his first week of college at Emerson. I had woken up around 8am, and taken a shower. When I got out, my roomate said to me, "Did you hear? Some idiot rammed his plane into the World Trade Center." (thinking it was an accidental impact) I turned on the tv, and saw billowing black smoke, being arced by bright orange flames. At the time, it was plausible that it was just a small plane that had accidentally hit the twin towers. Keeping it in the back of my head, I left for class. In the elevator I could hear the other students all talking about what had happened. I walked to class across Boston Common, arriving at my class to the news that another plane had hit the World Trade Center. It was certain at that point, that this was no accident. My life changed forever at this point. I did not know what to do. Here I was, my first week away from home, and all i thought about was being back with my family. I had an older brother who worked for Cantor Fitzgerald which was in very close proximity to the twin towers. I feared for his safety and kept thinking about what was happening, not knowing what to do. I knew I did not want to sit in my seat any longer, and at that moment, the professor walked very solemnly to the front of the classroom, and announced that we were under attack and that all students were to return to their dorms immediately. This is something I will never forget, because when i walked out of the classroom building, the streets of Boston were in complete chaos. There were people everywhere, running in all directions, frantically making phone calls to loved ones, trying, as I was to make sure they were ok. I remember a girl whom I had never met before approached me, and asked me if I wanted to go with her because her father worked for the government. I thanked her kindly but I was too concerned about my friends and family. I remember finally getting a hold of my father back here in New Jersey and he was on three different phones. He had one son in NYC, one in Boston, and my twin brother in Atlanta. He told the three of us to stay away from all landmarks and government buildings, and that he loved us very much. He then told me to try to make it to Worcester Mass to stay with my aunt and get out of Boston. When i returned to my dorm, they locked us down and would not let us leave. We all sat crowded in the common rooms, watching the utter destruction on television. I vividly remember watching the live news feed, and seeing a person jump from one of the top floors. I could not believe what i was seeing. I finally made it to my Aunts house later that night just in time to see the address from the oval office by President Bush. This day changed my life forever. I was a film major in Boston the day before September 11. I was a criminal justice major and aspiring police officer the day after.

Ptl. Christian Longhitano=

 

That day I was working my last day as a NJ State Park Ranger. I was down in Cape May Point State Park when my wife called me. She was working as a dispatcher for the Rahway City Police. After she told me the news of the first tower getting hit I tuned into the radio and began to listen to the radio news. I remember sitting in my patrol truck, listening as the second tower got hit, realizing that the nation was under attack, and seeing all the people walking along the beach who had no clue what was happening. Then around 10 the call came over the park radio, all State Rangers report to Liberty State Park. So off I went driving all the way up the GSP. As I drove north I remember how funny it was, when normally people took all day to get out of your way with lights and sirens, now they were pulling over a mile ahead. For the next three days I worked at Liberty State Park (directly across from Ground Zero). Then after the weekend I started my new job with the New Jersey Transit Police in Newark's Penn Station, working 12 hour days, 5 days a week.

P/O P. Jackson
NJ Transit

 

On that fateful day I was assigned as a DARE Officer at the Hartford School in Mt. Laurel NJ. I was called into an office to see the tv just after the first plane struck. Once it was determined to be a terrorist attack the school was placed in lockdown like schools all over the action. I was then detailed to the street as as strong police presence on the street was deemed to be important. I remember how strange it seemed to see a military plane fly over after we knew that all civilian aircraft had been grounded. I , like many, mourned brothers and sisters, cops, firefighters, and the large number of civilians, none of whom I knew. To this day I am saddened by the memories of that day.

-Frank Plunkett

 

I was enroute to a golf tournament in Pennsauken NJ, traveling south on parkway. We noticed the horrific smoke as we were crossing the Edison bridge. Upon listening to the radio, and what had just occurred, we subsequently cancelled the tournament. To this day, I cannot believe it.

-Skip Farichild
Tuckerton, NJ

 

I remember on that day for some reason as my wife and I drove to work that day, we were listening to tapes instead of the radio. We reached the Bronx zoo exit on the Bronx river parkway, and were puzzled by all the fire engines, ambulances and police cars heading downtown. As we approached the hospital we worked in, we could hear the sound of loud sirens blaring as we parked the car. I learned later it was the external disaster signal.

I was running late so I entered the building through the Psch emergency room. The television was on, and they were showing pictures of the building burning. I commented to one of the guards, " hey there showing the towering inferno again?" to which he replied, "no a plane crashed into the world trade center".

I worked in the pharmacy, and I was doing the narcotic run that day. The twin towers could be seen from the Operating room. I watched in horror as the buildings fell down. The most vivid memory i have was of all the staff, ambulances, stretchers and nurses and doctors standing outside the emergency room waiting for casualties.

NO ONE CAME

 

I was in the cafeteria, at the Mt Laurel postal annex, getting ready to start another postal day, lol.  Anyway I went in the room to find coworkers staring at the TV, I made the clerk, Eddy, move a little, because she was covering the screen.  At that moment later, I saw the first plane go into the first world trade building. I turned around and another coworker said that it was Ben Laden who caused this. I still didn't comprehend the full effect yet, but knew something very big had just happened, I went on the back dock and told my friend Ron by cell phone  what, just happened, I then went back to my case for a minute and stared at the mail, then went over to who I thought was in charge of the rural letter carriers and was the strongest, Jeff Loring.  He was in his case putting up mail, I told him that a big plane had just hit the world trade center. He asked me, really, I said yes, he then went to the cafeteria to confirm, and came back and said another plane just hit the other tower. Across from my case a subcarrier was listening to his radio, very calmly and with a weird smile on his face-which I guess was nerves--, and like, it seemed one thing after another was happening.  He said the pentagon had just been hit, I thought this all can't be true.  I thought the pentagon was invincible, someone is invading our country, what next?

Then the plane went down in PA, then it seemed to all end. But we were all in shock and disbelief, and still we all went out and delivered our mail that day. not knowing exactly what was going to happen next, just knowing we had to put on a good USA-its OK face, and we did.  And on my route in holiday village, Mt. Laurel, they were sad. bringing me out water.  It was hot that day, but one senior brought me out a water, and said shaking her head did you hear what happened, and scooted back in her house, I could feel they were all scared, so I finished as quickly as possible.

And on 9/11 I can say, I delivered all my mail for my route, for the USPS even though I didn't know what was going to happen next, I almost felt like a robot. that didn't know any better to go home and protect my loved ones in case. It was mindless dedication. and shock. Well, the story goes on, but that's where I was on 09/11/2001.

-Joyce Waddington

 

God Bless America.

Our daughter Emily ( age 4 years at the time ) was admitted to Hackensack Hospital on that day for a routine tonsil removal operation. My wife and I were in the recovery room when we heard one of the nurses crying about her husband a doctor. We also heard at the same time a report that a plane had struck the twin towers. The talk was that a private plane had struck the building and that is why the nurse was crying for fear that her husband who was there might have been injured.

We then learned that the plane was flown into the building on purpose and that both buildings were now on fire.

My wife and several of the nurses went to the roof top parking lot to view the damage to the Twin Towers and then witnessed the one tower collapsing. Not one of us could have ever imagined the loss of life that occurred that day.

Damn the people who want to make us forget the treacherous attack on our homeland and turn this into a political event, such as phone in's, tree plantings and walks in the park. We lost too many good people that day and the day should always be remembered as a solemn day, a day of remembrance.

(Ret) Chief Dominick DOnofrio
Lodi Police, Lodi NJ

 

I can remember that day just like it was yesterday. I was working as a security officer at an alternative school walking the hallways as usual when I was called into a classroom by a teacher. The teacher sounded so frantic and literally gasping for air.

As I entered the classroom the teacher pointed at the TV screen as I turned to look at it I saw the expression on the students faces. It almost seemed as though they had been slapped and were still recovering from the shock. I looked at the TV and realized the horror taking place. I was stunned and froze right where I had been standing when suddenly a student asked me. What do we do miss? Do we go home and hide or what? Once this question was asked all the students started to react and each one just as scared as the last one. I never felt so hopeless and helpless not knowing how to respond and here they were searching my face for an answer. I don't think anyone could have been prepared for such an event and I hope to never feel that way again.

I am now currently a police officer and intend to always help those in need.

-Anonymous

 

Hello

The morning of 9/11 I was getting my daughter ready for school and I took her down to school . On the way back from the school I noticed a plane flying funny in the sky . It was tilted and low . I didn't think to much about it . Then when I got home I saw the news about the attacks . I watched in amazement and then I realized that the plane I saw had to be the one that crashed in Shanksville Pa . We live only an hour away from there and the plane I saw was headed in that direction. After watching for about an hour I decided to take my dogs out for a walk because it was so overwhelming. As I walked my dogs on that day everything seemed so different . Everything I saw looked so different to me then usual . I had a feeling of sadness and change . My mom came down the road in her car and told me about the footage of people jumping out the the trade centers. I knew then that things would never be the same again . Since then I think of that day and remember the weather , the way I felt and every detail of that day .

-Darlene Wilt
-Duncansville Pa

My wife ran into the bedroom scared to death! She grabbed me and we both ran to see what was going on. It took only a few seconds and F-14 fighters flew from our local base and circled the area. I started putting my uniform on as I watched TV. The phone rang and it was my Lt. He needed us all down town ASAP. I was scared to death. As I scrambled to get my gear and head out the door, my wife says "honey, ook at them all, their jumping. Tears in my eyes I went to work and tried, tried hard to find good news, someone lived, they found the firefighters and cops but, the hope soon passed. I will never forget. I hope that my children will never have to suffer threw a coward attack that may very well change America again. Me personally, I stand ready and strong. I will be here when my country needs me. Today may be good but, tomorrow will be better. To my brothers and sisters in blue who fell that day. My heart, my soul, I honor you. For your sacrifice will live as a example of what Americas finest truly are. Rest easy for your watch is done. For family, time will slowly heal but, for America, we will not falter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Anonymous

I live in Australia and remember September 11 like it was yesterday. I was woken up by the phone ringing at 6.30am and as everyone else was getting ready for work and at the other end of the house, I got up to answer it. It was my mum calling from work telling me to turn on the TV. Still half asleep, I did and saw what I thought was movie. I actually shrugged my shoulders not comprehending why she would want me to watch it and went back to bed. Five minutes later I heard my sister say ‘Oh My GOD!’. By now I was more awake and came into the lounge to see what was happening. We both stared at the TV in absolute horror. The feeling is still with me every time I see or hear that date mentioned.

In 2004, I actually visited NYC and went to Ground Zero. It’s the one place in the world where I just couldn’t speak. The feeling of utter helplessness was immense and I couldn’t even begin to imagine how New Yorkers would have felt that day watching their city being attacked. It was such a quiet spiritual place and I don’t want to see anything built on the site as I think we all need a place to visit to remember those who died regardless of whether we knew them or not.

-Kate

On the morning of September 11, 2001 at about 7:50 Central time/8:50 Eastern I gathered my things to walk out the door for my 40 minute commute into Austin, Texas where I was on my way to my first full time job since finishing college. I had been there several months and things were starting to settle down from the transitional phase. The new century and my the new era of my life marked much hope and promise. I got in my truck and was going to listen to some music on the stereo but then after a few seconds ejected it to listen to my morning program JB and Sany of Austin's MIX 94.7. I could tell they were listening to something "piped in" and I heard a man say, "the last time a plane hit a building in Manhattan was in the 30's...the building being the Empire State Building." I thought to myself, that is a strange story for the morning program to have on when it is generally a light hearted program. The next thing I hear Katie Kouric asking some questions and then my local DJ Sandy says that a plane has hit one of the twin towers. I said "oh my GOD." A few minutes passed and I hear from the piped in Today Show "a second plane has just hit." I said "Oh wow---- they really must have the radar screwed up today" in shock and disbelief. I called my mother and said "are you watching this?" She didn't have to clarify and said "yes, it's just awful. I was watching about the first tower and you just saw a plane fly into the other building." My imagination turned to complete horror when I arrived at work and saw the tragedy unfolding several thousand miles across the country. I prayed for the situation, but was always under the impression the fire would eventually be fought, die out, and there would be a skeleton on top but that the bottom portions of the building would remain. I turned to a co-worker who came in behind me and just shook my head. Some time passed with us glued--- no one could do anything but stare. As soon as I saw rubble start falling I knew. I looked at my co-worker again to see if she had any reaction, maybe I was seeing things. Tom Brokow clarified what the caller had said and then everything went silent. Well, as they say the rest is history.

           -Anonymous

September 11th by the Numbers

The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out.

  • Total number killed in attacks (official figure as of 9/5/02): 2,819

  • Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343

  • Number of NYPD officers: 23

  • Number of Port Authority police officers: 37

  • Number of WTC companies that lost people: 60

  • Number of employees who died in Tower One: 1,402

  • Number of employees who died in Tower Two: 614

  • Number of employees lost at Cantor Fitzgerald: 658

  • Number of U.S. troops killed in Operation Enduring Freedom: 22

  • Number of nations whose citizens were killed in attacks: 115

  • Ratio of men to women who died: 3:1

  • Age of the greatest number who died: between 35 and 39

  • Bodies found "intact": 289

  • Body parts found: 19,858

  • Number of families who got no remains: 1,717

  • Estimated units of blood donated to the New York Blood Center: 36,000

  • Total units of donated blood actually used: 258

  • Number of people who lost a spouse or partner in the attacks: 1,609

  • Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051

  • Percentage of Americans who knew someone hurt or killed in the attacks: 20

  • FDNY retirements, January–July 2001: 274

  • FDNY retirements, January–July 2002: 661

  • Number of firefighters on leave for respiratory problems by January 2002: 300

  • Number of funerals attended by Rudy Giuliani in 2001: 200

  • Number of FDNY vehicles destroyed: 98

  • Tons of debris removed from site: 1,506,124

  • Days fires continued to burn after the attack: 99

  • Jobs lost in New York owing to the attacks: 146,100

  • Days the New York Stock Exchange was closed: 6

  • Point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average when the NYSE reopened: 684.81

  • Days after 9/11 that the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan: 26

  • Total number of hate crimes reported to the Council on American-Islamic Relations nationwide since 9/11: 1,714

  • Economic loss to New York in month following the attacks: $105 billion

  • Estimated cost of cleanup: $600 million

  • Total FEMA money spent on the emergency: $970 million

  • Estimated amount donated to 9/11 charities: $1.4 billion

  • Estimated amount of insurance paid worldwide related to 9/11: $40.2 billion

  • Estimated amount of money needed to overhaul lower-Manhattan subways: $7.5 billion

  • Amount of money recently granted by U.S. government to overhaul lower-Manhattan subways: $4.55 billion

  • Estimated amount of money raised for funds dedicated to NYPD and FDNY families: $500 million

  • Percentage of total charity money raised going to FDNY and NYPD families: 25

  • Average benefit already received by each FDNY and NYPD widow: $1 million

  • Percentage increase in law-school applications from 2001 to 2002: 17.9

  • Percentage increase in Peace Corps applications from 2001 to 2002: 40

  • Percentage increase in CIA applications from 2001 to 2002: 50

  • Number of songs Clear Channel Radio considered "inappropriate" to play after 9/11: 150

  • Number of mentions of 9/11 at the Oscars: 26

  • Apartments in lower Manhattan eligible for asbestos cleanup: 30,000

  • Number of apartments whose residents have requested cleanup and testing: 4,110

  • Number of Americans who changed their 2001 holiday-travel plans from plane to train or car: 1.4 million

  • Estimated number of New Yorkers suffering from post-traumatic-stress disorder as a result of 9/11: 422,000

Sept 11 2001 was such a crystal clear day I was telling my coworker on how beautiful the day was, we was transporting a garbage truck from NYC to NJ, we dump the truck and on the way back on 95 north we saw all of these cars pulling off to the shoulder of the highway talking on cell phones, I knew some had happened but didn't know what, so I ask one of the drivers what was going on, he told me that two planes hit the WTC and knocked them down, I had a hard time believing that because it sounded so un realistic, I had to ask some one else what had happened they told me the same thing, I was in total shock but I wasn't thinking terrorist I was thinking accident then when one of my coworkers that was behind me in a truck told me that the Pentagon was hit then terrorist attack popped in my head I said this is bad real bad, I told my partner we was stuck right next to the George Washington bridge trying to get back to NYC but it was a state of emergency and no one was crossing the bridge the cops said, so we was stuck in Fort lee NJ for 6 hours, we can see the smoke coming up from across the Hudson River, I wasn't afraid I was just shocked , I tried to call my family members but of course the phones was flooded with calls and I couldn't get thur but finally they let us cross with the trucks and when we got back to NYC it was a different world every one was crying, its a day I will never forget.

           -Anonymous

On September 11, 2001 I was in seventh grade. I was eleven years old and in South Plainfield Middle School. The entire day seemed so normal. My friends and I had noticed that a few teachers looked a little distressed, and more children than usual were being picked up early, but there was nothing so unusual as to create any worry in our young hearts.

Then around lunch time, I was sitting in the cafeteria with a few of my friends, when the lunch aid called my name. All of my friends did the customary "Ooooh you're in trouble" that we had all grown to love. I had no idea how much my life was going to change in the next few moments. The lunch aid took me into the hall and told me I was going home early. I hadn't the slightest idea why I was leaving, but I smiled as I walked to my locker and down to the main office.

I walked in and the woman behind the desk looked at me knowingly. "Going home?" she asked. I nodded. "Take a seat." I sat down, and as I noticed a woman standing against the wall by me. She was crying. As I studied her, she looked at me and said "You have no idea what is going on, do you?" I shook my head. That's when she told me. There had been a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. Someone had flown one plane into each tower.

I had no idea what to do. My mother showed up a few minutes later, with my brother and sister already in the car, and we went home. We walked in the door of the house and I entered my room just in time to see to see the first tower fall. I didn't know what to do. My aunt worked close to the city so we called her. She was alright. My grandmother lived in south Jersey near a power plant, so we made sure she was okay. After that we just stared at the television in horror, with no words to express how we were feeling or what was going on. The next few days at school were even worse than the vision of the towers that kept playing in my mind. So many of my friends and acquaintances lost their parents, relatives, or other family members in the World Trade Center that day. About a month later, with the event still fresh in my mind, my father and I went to Washington Rock, a lookout post in the Watchung Mountains of north Jersey. Even though it had been a month, looking out towards the New York skyline we could still see the smoke from the burning towers. Even now, five years later, I cry as I look at the pictures. September eleventh is my topic for a research report in my history class, and it is so hard for me to look at the pictures and read the stories. I never thought I'd ever read about anything so tragic in my history book, especially not something I'd lived through. Telling my story now seems like a fictional tale you'd read in school. I remember every detail of where I was when my history book became a part of my life. I hope everyone remembers where they were as well. God bless the families who lost loved ones and all of the people affected by September 11.

           -Anonymous

343 NY Firefighters Killed
View the Fallen Firefighters

I was stationed at Fort Bragg, NC as a Military Policeman.  My roommate and I had worked the mid-shift (11pm-7am) as law enforcement patrols on September 10/11.  We got back to our apartment around 7:30 and fell asleep with the television on.  I heard him say "What're they talking about the World Trade Center for?".  I replied that I didn't know, turned off the television, and went to my bedroom.  I got the call to come into the unit at about 9am.  I asked why, and they told me that the WTC had been attacked, to get my law enforcement gear, and hurry in.  When I arrived, I was told I would be going out to help close roads, and to ID and search every car trying to gain access.  I would do this from 10am Sep. 11 until 3 am Sep.12.  I still hadn't seen any footage of the attacks.  When I was relieved from duties, I was told to report to the Sergeant Major. 

That's when I saw for the first time what had happened.  While he thanked me for putting in so many hours, I just watched the events unfold.

I was to go to Pittsburgh to see my girlfriend (now wife), at the end of September.  I was giving permission to take leave, and while I was there the bombing campaign started.  I called my unit and they said we were getting ready to leave for Afghanistan.

Christmas Eve, 2001 I was flying to Afghanistan to destroy those that did this to us.  I ended up eventually running a prison camp of Al-Qeda and Taliban fighters at Khadahar Air Base.

Everyday, I knew I was there because of what they had done to the innocent people on September 11th.

          -SGT James, Brad

 

I was 11 years old on September 11th, 2001. I was in the 6th grade and we were calmly taking on with our normal sceduled activities. A knock on the door was followed by a bleary-eyed teacher entering the room. She told my teacher to switch on the television and that the World Trade Center had been 'bombed.' Upon the news screen, I saw the burning towers, the smoke unfurling into the sky. And before my very eyes, I saw the first tower collapse. It was horrifying. A bell rang somewhere in the school, yet no movement was made by anyone. An entire school of elementary children was transfixed by the screen. When the second tower fell 20 minutes later, as the antenna was smothered by the grey clouds, my teacher collapsed and sobbed. One of the strongest women of my childhood, had collapsed with the tower. And the silence that followed was deafening. And in all of this, I had remembered a quote by a Titanic survivor by the name of Jack Thayer.

"There was peace and the world had an even tenor to it's way. Nothing was revealed in the morning the trend of which was not known the night before. It seems to me that the disaster about to occur was the event that not only made the world rub it's eyes and awake but woke it with a start keeping it moving at a rapidly accelerating pace ever since with less and less peace, satisfaction and happiness. To my mind the world of today awoke April 15th, 1912."

That date became a historical monument. It was then that I realized, that the events of September 11th, 2001, was history in the making. This was no simple collapse of a building, this was pure, determined human action. It was men behind this, not a hurricane or a tsunami. Before the day was out, it was obvious, that the world was and never would be the same. A darkness had settled over Manhattan, Washington DC and Shanksville. And a darkness had settled over our hearts.

-Cliff Johnson

 

On September 10th, my parents were in New York City on a business trip, staying only a few blocks from the World Trade Center. They were scheduled to fly back the morning of the 11th, but left the day before to get back to work. My dad drove me to school the next morning at 7:00am (9:00am Eastern Time). In the middle of class, a nearby teacher ran to the door and yelled at our teachers to turn on the television, a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. My first thought was, "what's the World Trade Center?" As an ignorant 9th grader, I didn't realize the severity of the situation. Ms. Lawson turned on the television and we saw black smoke billowing out of the first tower. Because I was in the middle of completing a lesson, I didn't look back until I finished. Through the news reports, I learned what the World Trade Center was and where it was located. At the bell, I ran out the door to meet my classmates and we bolted to our next class. We pulled a TV from the corner and placed it in front of our teacher's desk, pulled chairs around, and watched the second tower explode into flames and the next plane crashed into it. The room fell silent as the first tower collapsed. . . . . . . time stopped. I don't remember breathing; all I remember is the sound of sirens and reporters talking on the TV. Even our teacher (who watched the tragedy begin from the teacher's lounge) sat quietly with us by the TV. Then the second tower fell. We also found out about the Pentagon and Pennsylvania crashings. I spent the rest of the day watching the flames and press conferences on TV in each class. I didn't feel like I was awake. It was like my body went on autopilot while I sat back and tried to take it all in, crying when I swallowed it too quickly. That day, I lost a bit of innocence and naivety that I had gained living in a thriving and seemingly safe country. I'll never forget where I was or how I felt that day. I'm sure if and when I have children, they'll ask me where I was that day when they read about it in text books. It's even in newer textbooks, as I saw two years ago in a US History class. Seeing photos of the burning towers was so surreal, much like I assume reading about WWII would be for a veteran. But we don't have to read about it in text books...we'll remember it forever.

          -Anonymous

 

Lord what a day. I was at work with Coca Cola.  I was on my way in the company van and heard it on the radio. I was on my way thru a small town called New Brockton, Alabama to set a new account up with Coca Cola. It was a small Church ran restaurant. I stopped in and they were watching live on Fox news. I stayed for 4 hours there with the black family that was running the restaurant. We cried for hours. I have a uncle in
Manhattan and called to make sure he was ok. And we cried more and more and more. My husband is a fireman and my brother and father are police officers, I have worked with the volunteer fire dept in my small home town growing up and still do some now. I new no one from New York. But that day My husband, father and brother and I feel even myself lost a lot of family.. God bless everyone that was involved my god ride on your shoulders forever.

          -Tracey Collins
          -Dothan, AL

 

I was getting ready for work, as a member of the Special Operations Section of the Arlington County Police Department. I had the television on and saw the first strike in NY. Bush was due to land at the heliport at the Pentagon about noon, and we were to provide an escort. Realizing that he might get back to the DC area early, I hurriedly dressed and headed to the office. I made it as far as the Pentagon, which is in Arlington, and went to work. My daughter, who was at college in PA couldn’t contact me and thought the worst. We later made phone contact through intermediaries. I learned that she had sorority sisters who had lost family in NY. With her safe, I continued our task. In the days ahead, I became numb, until I was called to a perimeter post 4 days later and a widow said to me, where is my husband, he was on the plane. She then asked me, “What do I tell my children, they’re 8 and 5?” And we cried together. I can never forget. My prayers are to all who lost a loved one and all the first-responders.

          -Terence P. Murray
          -Lieutenant / Watch Commander
          -Arlington County Police

 

I was on the parkway looking over at the first tower struck and I seen what to me was a fire on the top of the towers. I was not listening to the radio at this time I was listening to a cd so I was unaware of the reason why this was happening. Being a firefighter myself I just said no big deal F.D.N.Y. are the best of the best and they'll have it under control in no time. I continued on my trip. I was called by the friend I was headed to see in the hospital in Hackensack and her mother told me that a plane struck the World Trade Centers. I was shocked and turned the radio on, it didn't get much better. The second plane struck when I didn't have a clean view of the skyline of N.Y.C. and by the time I had a perfect view of the towers the first one fell, I wasn't near the scene but I witnessed the first towers fall, and my first reaction was to the firefighters I knew where in those buildings. Maybe I should have thought of the workers first but, brotherhood was first to me. I thought about heading to N.Y.C. to help since the radio stations where saying that all and any emergency workers that could get to the city would be greatly appreciated, I decided to see my friend in the hospital and go home to my family and just be with them. 9/11 no matter who was at fault changed the way I thought about everything government, family, my job as a cop and it still is in my thoughts.

-Ernest Freestone, NJ

I was sitting on a plane half asleep from having to get up early to get to the airport in New York city for the flight home to San Francisco, when all of a sudden the captain came on the intercom and told us that he has turned on the fasten seat belt sign and asked all the passengers and flight attendants to prepare to land. Everyone thought there was something wrong with the plane and my dad asked me what it could be and what they would do about it, I told him I wasn’t sure. Then the captain came back on and said that there was no problem with our aircraft but the ground has asked us to divert and land at Indianapolis airport. He assured us that we and the aircraft were safe and that nothing was wrong. It wasn’t until we were on the ground and safe and the aircraft it’s self couldn’t be taken over that the captain came back on the intercom and told us that we had been grounded by the FAA because 2 aircraft had been hijacked and diverted to crash in to the word trade center towers and that a third was not responding to controllers.

As we all pushed and shoved to get off the plane the flight attendants asked us to please be calm and exit the pain in an orderly fashion. When we got into the terminal all the TV’s were on the news and everyone was glued to them, a few were on cell phones and pay phones, but when the announcement went out over the airport intercom that all air traffic had been grounded by FAA till further notice that changed, everyone was on a phone talking to someone about what I’m sure was how they were getting home. And I looked at the flight screens to see all the flights change from times in and out to “canceled”. Luckily my dad and I we were forced to land in a city that we where not only from but still had friends and family there, so getting a ride form the airport and having a place to stay was easy, the hard part was getting a phone line to California to tell my mom that we were ok and going to grandma’s house because when I called it would always say “all circuits are busy, please try your call again later”. So we sat there and waited for my uncle to drive up from the farm (an hours drive away) and watched everything unfold on the TV in one of the bars at the airport were for the first time I’ve ever known it to be quiet enough to actually hear the TV.

-Anonymous

Americans trapped in England gather outside Buckingham Palace and weep.  The Queen of England Ordered her Royal Guard to Play the American National Anthem instead of God Save the Queen.  Watch the Video.

I was 11 at the time and it was my sisters 16th birthday the day of September 11th. I remember I was in school and one class had just gotten out when a teacher rushed us into a room and started telling us what had happened. I remember it not setting in at first because it was so...unbelievable. The rest of the day was a blur and I remember hearing everyone talking about it. I couldn't believe something like that had happened. I am now 16 and still can't believe it. I don't think I ever will. My heart goes out to everyone who was hurt by that day.

-I knew where I was

 

I'm Canadian.
I remember getting stuck with the only work truck with an AM radio. I went to my first work location of the day, listened to live footage of a man in his apartment talking about the first plane hitting the building. I'll never forget when he screamed "Oh my GOD, there is another plane!" I was terrified. I called everyone I could that was sleeping and made them turn on a television. I called my boss and let him know I wasn't finishing the day. I dropped off the truck. He was nearly in tears as was I.

I still remember watching the TV with a friend jaw dropped in shock, awe and horror and wishing I could do more. I will still never forget, the arcs of jet contrails over our border city, as planes were called down.

And in the following weeks, the streets were empty of cars and people as everyone was glued to the TV, still in shock

           -Anonymous

I live in the UK, and I was watching the news with my mother, we watched in disbelief, as the first plane went into the trade centre, reporters were saying that it was an aviation disaster. We then watched in complete horror as the second plane went into the second tower, reports were coming in that the pentagon had been targeted to, and that a plane had been shot down in Pennsylvania. Chills ran up my spine, and I knew this was start of something very terrifying. A terror organization who would stop. at nothing, and would strike fear into every decent human being

My heart goes out to all who lost loved ones. You are our dear friends from across the water, and we stand with you to stop this evil.

Now four years on I can only imagine that for most Americans that the images of that terrible day are as if they happened yesterday. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

God bless you all.

          -Kathryn Banner.
          -Tividale. UK.

Where was I on September 11? It was the begin of my 6th grade school year, we all where sitting quietly in class I remember seeing teachers scurrying through the halls, everyone was confuse but they just thought it was something the teachers had to do and forgot about it. About a half an hour later their was a call to my classroom. Them my teacher came over to me and told me to pack my things I was going home. I walked down the stares and to the lobby I saw my mom standing there. She said to me that we are going home and she would tell me why when we got in the car. She explained everything that had happened in the car and showed me the news when we got home. That whole night I was in tears thinking about all the terrible losses, and how could people do such a rotten thing.

           -Anonymous~

I had just dropped off my youngest son at pre school. a mother there was talking about the first plane to hit. I simply thought it was an accident, NOT! I left and was on my way to the gym when my wife called, asking if I heard the news. being the optimist that I am, I reassured her that nothing was wrong and that it must have been an accident. I got to the gym only to find everyone glued to the televisions. some were crying, saying how relatives worked in the wtc. then boom, a second plane, then the pentagon then the one in Somerset, pa. I didn't know what to think.

I called in to work to see if our pd was going to mobilize, but the chief at the time was spineless and said it didn't affect us. Go figure!!

Time passed and in mid December I went with the PBA to man the relief trailer which we had set up at ground zero. what a sight!

I didn't know anyone who worked in the wtc, pentagon or Somerset, pa., but my heart goes out to those who suffer through there hard times. God Bless You.

          -Patrolman Steven W. Schiller (Ret.)
          -Peapack-Gladstone, NJ P.D.
          -PBA. Local # 139

Unselfish, brave, thoughtful, devoted, and honorable are just a couple of words that come to mind from that day.

          -Anonymous

It was my day off....When I got up I went online for a few minutes where I saw that a plane had hit the WTC... thinking it was probably just a small prop plane I didn't think much of it....I then got into my truck and was driving in to Atlantic City to have breakfast with my wife when I turned on Howard Stern and started to get the full story

I don't particularly like Stern but to his credit he did a good job of reportage that morning...I met with wifey and we ate in the same restaurant we always do and made a few calls to family...she went back to work and I walked down the boardwalk stopping at each TV that was on in the stores and casinos..there was a growing crowd at each one...the mood was shocked silence...one of the street musicians was playing patriotic music on his saxophone....two F-15's from the 177th went out on patrol at high altitude and there were A-10's slowly moving down the coast. I called into my station and learned that my Dept. had already gotten several volunteers together to head north ...I told them I'd be in...they were loading up the vehicle when they were ordered to stand-down by the Chief...I reported for duty the next day and everywhere I went in my small shore town smelled of burnt wiring from ground zero which is about 110 miles away.

When I was 14 years old I worked with my uncle on a truck that delivered electrical supplies all over Manhattan including the World Trade Center which I recall as just being a 100' hole in the ground when we first went there...It occurred to me that the same materials that we delivered were now smoldering in the wreckage. Sept.11, 2001 was the first shot in a war that has yet to end...only pray that it ends in victory before my son and daughter are called. fortes fortuna adiuvat.....

          -Anonymous

 

Here we go, four long years later. It seems like a blur from last week to me.

I lost two people I knew. One socially, one professionally in the attacks on the World Trade Center. I later found out I nearly lost at least six others that nearly didn't make it out or called in sick, was on vacation. What a thought.

I am sure everybody will have a their own dose of 9-11 today with it plastered on TV, the news, etc. (As it should). Here is a short movie

I just can't do it anymore. I make my pilgrimage to the site in other months. I try not to get too caught up in the grief. It is such a significant date that changed so many people's lives in different ways. We each did something that day in response to the attacks. Even those that didn't make it down to City- we each helped in our own way. It was very powerful how the world seemed to come together.

While we can never forget it is time to pull ahead. Many more disasters will come our way. Many more times of mourning unfortunately will effect this country. But today, if nothing else, just take a moment to remember what the victims of 9-11 had placed on their plate.

Children who lost parents, parents who lost children. Say a prayer (if you pray) that it never happens again. Come together to make sure nothing like this ever is allowed to happen again. Learn from this experience.

-Anonymous-

 

On 9/11 I had just woke up around 8am after being up all night sick. My wife was in the kitchen fixing breakfast for my daughter who was 4 at the time. I sat on the couch trying to figure out what movie my wife would be watching so early in the morning. When I asked what movie it was, my wife said it was the WTC. I thought she was joking, until I heard and saw the 2nd plane hit. I couldn't believe what I had just seen!! My heart sank and I became sick again. After a few minutes of my wife and I being glued to the TV, my mom called and asked if we had heard. When I told her that we had, she started crying, because two of my cousin's were in NY on vacation and 9/11 was the day they were supposed to be going to the WTC! I started crying and my wife fell to the floor! After watching those images that day, I couldn't function, not only out of fear for my cousins, but for all the people both Emergency personnel and innocent people that had perished!

To this day, I still think and pray for all the victims and their families, that one day they may find peace! The next day, we heard from my cousins! They were alright, and had decided to wait on seeing the towers until the next day for some reason! For all who perished, gave the ultimate sacrifice and all who helped the injured, YOU ARE ALL HEROES in my book!!!!!!! YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!!

-Anonymous-

In the early summer of 2001 I was going to move to Florida from New Rochelle in Westchester County. All my stuff got there right away. My parents are divorced so my father forced the court to have me move back because he thought he wasn't going to see me (he had to get a lawyer). So I lived there for 2 weeks and came right back. I am happy I moved back. I had surgery on my nose and it wasn't 100 percent perfect so my parents sued them 22 thousand dollars. My bank account now has 25 grand and would have only had 3 grand if that incident didn't happen so I am happy because I could buy a car with only 20 thousand and still have 5 thousand which is more than I would have got even if the surgery didn't  happen.  That ruined my birthday party because David (my father) wouldn't let me go to the party and it was planning to be the biggest party. My father forced me to put on sunscreen. He was annoying (who could live with him). After I came back from the vacation in Florida. Me and My mother had to rent a house in Scarsdale in August 2001. My cousins Mitch and Lauren saw the place. They said I like Dimples (nickname for Clarice) other place better. I was 11 years old. was going to the Scarsdale middle school. On September 11 at my school the teacher was announcing it at lunch but I missed the whole announcement because I was late for lunch so I had no idea it happened until I got home. My mother told me she found out the world trade got blown up from listening to Howard Stern on the radio but she thought he was just joking. My TV and most of my stuff was still in the moving truck. I could see it on the news so I had no idea any of this happened for a long time. I'm glad I don't know anyone that was in the world trade center.

          -Scott (still alive)
         
-Pound Ridge, NY

I was nine years old at the time, when the sun shone on my peach school desk during the afternoon, getting closer to the end of the day. I was relaxed in my 4th grade classroom when Mrs. Plasse made a solemn announcement that we had to go home now. Confused, everybody did. We were told the next day by Mrs. Plasse. I was too young to really realize what I was told. Thankfully, no one I know what injured or killed.

          - Kim, New York

When the United States was attacked on September 11th of 2001, I was sitting in a middle school science classroom in Indiana. None of the students in my class knew that there was anything going on. When the bell rang we were all talking to our friends in the hallway, I was catching up on that day's gossip, with out any major cares in the world. Then, I went into my next class. All I could think about was how boring it was going to be, and how much I couldn't wait for the volleyball game after school. Once I got into my classroom, the teacher appeared distraught. She had the TV on which she never does. I look up on the TV and I see part of the Pentagon on fire. I was wondering what was going on. Then, they started showing images of the World Trade Centers being hit by planes, and people running in complete horror from them. It was all just so confusing. None of us could really grasp what had happened. Well, the teacher tried to maintain her classroom and began to teach. She said that she would keep the TV, and that we could watch it as long as we were quiet. (Usually this is impossible.) There was almost complete silence! No one said anything, or even listened to the teacher. We all just sat there watching the TV.

After lunch, at this time I was in a different classroom, the teacher announced that the Superintendent of the school system requested that all TVs stay off. He did not want the students to be anymore scared than what they already were. We started to complain and question what the teacher said, but the TV remained off. We did talk a little bit about how we felt and what was going on. Then, the teacher tried to continue with class, most likely worrying about their families the whole time. The school say continued on with teachers trying to teach and keep the students calm. A lot of us were scared, and we wanted to see our families.

After my mom picked me up from school, since all of the after school activities were cancelled including my volleyball game, she asked if I knew what had happened. I told her that yes I had. At this point in time I was not really able to grasp how much of a tragedy this was, and what all had happened. After we got home, my mom went back to bed, since she worked third shift as a police dispatcher. I sat in front of CNN for a few hours all alone just watching the horrible scenes over and over again.

That is where I was when the world stopped turning.

          -Anonymous

 

I was on my way to school when my friends mom turned on the radio and said that the first plane just hit the first World Trade Center.  My friend knew what the Trade centers were because they visited them 1 week before the tragedy, but I didn't.  They explained it to me.  By the time I got to school it was on the school monitor.  They second plane had crashed.  The teachers were shocked.  When i got home that night my mom and dad wouldn't stop talking about it.  I knew that something bad happened that turned our country upside down. ( It was weird because a week before September 11th my family and I watched The Patriot and I asked my parents if there would ever be another war.  They said probably not when I'm living. and a week later it happened.  Our country was going to war.) I was really scared that something might happen again.  But I knew that our president would do something about it.  That day I lost my moms best friend and a close family member. It was one of the days that I will remember and tell my children in the future.

          -Anonymous

 

I clearly remember 9/11/01 as confusing and terrible. It was the second day of my sophomore year at DePaul; I was 19 years old. I had overslept, and therefore neglected to turn on the news while I got ready for class, as I usual did.

In my rush to eat breakfast, I dropped my bowl of cereal on the ground, shattering the bowl, and spilling milk all over the kitchen floor. Frantically, I began mopping up the soggy mess, and glanced at the clock. I had missed the 10:12 bus to campus, so I would certainly be late. As I crossed the kitchen to throw away my clump of dirty, milk-soaked paper towels before I left, my cell phone rang. It was my best friend Crystal, telling me to turn on the news, that America was under attack.

All classes were canceled indefinitely, because at that time, Chicago was in a panic that it would be "next."

I camped out in front of the TV all day, watching news coverage. At one point, I developed some mild cabin fever, and I decided to go get a cup of coffee. The scene outside was heartbreaking. There wasn't a single person on the sidewalks, but the streets were a blur of yellow cabs. All public transportation had halted, so the only way out of or to any other part of the city was via taxi. All the shops were dark, with hastily-written signs in the windows: "Closed due to National Emergency."

My roommate did not come home that night, because the L wasn't running, or it was being rushed by hoards of frantic people, I can't remember which. I do remember sitting in my apartment for hours, in a state of panic. My mom had called several times asking me to come home to the suburbs, but the
Metra trains were packed and on irregular schedules--they stopped running in and out of the city at 2 PM, and I had no way to get to the station anyway. With no way to get home, where my mother was delirious with worry, and with my roommate stranded on campus, I just sat on the floor, semi-conscious of the nightmare unfolding on TV, and painted in my sketchbook. There was really nothing else I could do, and that terrified me.

So many little things are still clear in my mind from that day. I remember the pattern of milk on the floor, from the spilled cereal that delayed me just long enough to receive that phone call. I remember the eerily-vacant streets, and the way the "closed" signs in storefronts ruffled in the warm September wind. I even remember the way the telephone keys glowed as I
called my friends at Boston University and Brown University, to make sure they were okay in the northeast.

And now, my tiny sliver of personal experience regarding the 9/11 tragedy can be chalked up to spilled milk and oversleeping. But this is a story I will tell my kids, and their kids, and maybe even their kids' kids. It's the seemingly-trivial stories like mine that personalize such horrible tragedies. These stories mark, for every person experiencing them, a clear point at which the old way of things is abruptly halted, and a new state of being must begin. These memories are precious.

~Shannon Beck, 23, Chicago

 

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