Where were you on 9/11?
I asked some friends yesterday over Messenger and they were kind enough to tell me about that moment.
I changed their names up so you can’t figure out who they are. Don’t CSI their names though.
I woke up and was listening to the radio while I showered. The news break talked about the mall and some other places being closed, and I was trying to figure out why. Momentarily thought it was winter. Went upstairs, and my brother told me the World Trade Center blew up. I thought he was watching the History Channel. A week earlier he’d been watching ESPN classic and was telling me they were playing a game in the snow. So it’s not that I’m crazy.”
You set the nickname for Zom to crazyZom.
It was supposed to be the first day of a night class I had, so when I found out what was happening, I emailed my prof to see if we were still on. He said he didn’t expect we were in any danger. Later that morning they shut the whole campus down.I spent that evening getting drunk with my buddy and marveling at how there were no aircraft in the skies.
I was in 6th grade.
WTF? Damned kids.
We were doing a project where we had to record the temperature every day. So my teacher turned on the TV to get to the Weather Channel
and the news was on.
Hey, we did the same project! Weather Channel best channel.
She said “oh, guess there’s a fire in NY” and changed the channel (she knew). Nobody told us.
Can’t freak out the childrens.
Then kids started getting checked out of school. I didn’t find out until later when my mom told me.
Any reaction? I mean sixth grade I wasnt worried about anything but recess
I didn’t really understand. Obviously. But my elementary school spent recess for the next year making little red white and blue pins to sell for charity.
I was leaving the fist meeting for the first large scale project I was in charge of. I get a text as I’m waiting for an elevator about a plane hitting the WTC. I assumed it was a small Cessna accident. A few seconds after another person waiting for the elevator also got a text, then another, and another and so on. By the time I made it back to my office I was starting to feel the scope. Was glued to CNN.com for the rest of the morning. As false reports of secondary attacks started to come in started trying to get hold of family and friends that worked at those. WTC, Capitol Building, Pentagon, and a bunch of other places.
A lot of people gravitated into my office to see the news reports I had up on the large monitor. At a point there were around 10 of them there and one asks about who would carry out such an act. I mentioned that if I had to venture a guess it would be UBL and AQ based on the then recent African Embassies bombings. No one had a clue of who I was talking about.
Where was I?
Because of my course load, Tuesday mornings were my hardest during my senior year at Lynchburg College. My normal routine was to get up and get out of bed, hurry to the dining hall, gulp down some food and head to Organic Chemistry Lecture. After O Chem, I would rush over to Genetics Lecture, eat lunch and then get my lab hours in for my senior research project before heading over to the track for practice. After practice I would go back to the dining hall for dinner then start on whatever assignments I had due. After being in the routine for a few weeks, things got…well…they got routine. This particular Tuesday would turn out to be anything but routine, in fact this particular Tuesday everything changed…
After class I realized I forgot my research project journal back at my house. While walking across campus one of my housemates (who was a known prankster) ran up to me in a panic telling me that we were under attack. In the fog after the Trade Centers were struck, rumors were running rampant. I was told that New York was bombed as was Washington DC and a plane was shot down in PA. I dismissed what I heard from my friend and walked back to our house. I walked in the door and the others that lived there were piled on a couch glued to the TV. I looked and saw the towers collapsing. It was so surreal I couldn’t believe it. I remember early estimates of the death toll could reach 25-30K. Classes were cancelled for a few days. Some of my classmates went home finding out that their loved ones were lost in the attacks. Some returned to school, more didn’t.
I called my girlfriend (now wife) and she was trying to reach her father who was on a business trip out in Oregon due to fly home that morning. A few hours later she finally got in touch with him. We watched the news for hours. I remember feeling angry. I remember feeling vulnerable. I remember feeling sad for the families whose loved ones were taken too early. Things started to change. I started seeing the rescue efforts and feeling proud of every day people helping. A wave of patriotism washed over the country emanating from New York, Washington DC, and Shanksville, PA. We came together as Americans. People were a little more understanding, nicer, and interestingly enough a bit more trusting.
And for me, Tuesday mornings took on a new perspective.
3 years ago, Jenks and I went to NYC to remember the fallen. We flew on 9/11 with nearly every other seat empty. I’m glad we did the event as we were able to interact with people who were directly affected by the attacks. It was moving to hear why one of our teammates in the class who stepped up to do the Challenge to honor his father. He had recently lost his father from his work during 9/11 (that’s a whole other issue there) and wanted to represent him.
For me, I assume I woke up late but this part where I’m thinking “damn it I have to go to Business Law” but that was an every Tuesday/Thursday thing. I went out into the living room and my dad was watching the news and I only thought “Oh another Cessna hit the tower again.” I drove to school and was listening to Kidd Kraddick in the Morning and someone being interviewed said they were there were watching people jump out of the towers and he cut them off because man, that’s real life shit. I got to school and went to where a TV was and there were like 30 people crowded around that big screen in the UC at UTA. Class was about to start but nobody wanted to go so we all left eventually. I got into class and the professor didn’t say a thing about the events that morning. Everyone in my row (back row cool row) and around us were like “uhhhh really?” but eventually class was over and everyone learned that school was canceled for the rest of the day.
I met up Gerald and Tecno and some other peeps and having nothing else to do, we went to Cici’s Pizza to crush cheap pizza and watch the news for a couple of hours. Sitting around there’s not much to do but speculate so went home. Turns out the lawn needing mowing and our mower was broken so I bought a lawn mower and then mowed the lawn. That was followed up with hoping that work wasn’t canceled but it wasn’t, then went to work at UPS. That night, we worked like 4 hours of overtime at UPS ’cause all of the planes were grounded so we loaded up all the trucks and sent ’em over to Louisville.
Reading everyone’s stories, it’s interesting to see how others were affected. Some got angry. Some cried. Some just went on about their day. I reckon I’m firmly in that last camp. I don’t get angry much or cry (actually, I do this often) – I guess I just exist. It didn’t really hit home until a few weeks later when we started to get boxes shipped back through UPS with stickers saying “address no longer exists” or something to that effect. I got some chills then.
“Sharing helps to remember.” – Wark Mitt
16 years is a long time. Let’s see what the next 16 have in store.