I asked some people in a chat a while ago about what they were doing on 9/11 when it went down. Only one person (Ttiw Kram) responded at length but feel free to add your stories below in the comments or whatever.
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.
Thanks Ma…Kram for sharing.
I was going to school Tuesday morning and my dad was watching the news when they talked about a plane hitting one of the Towers. I thought it was one of those Cessnas who hit the building again because I swear that happened all the time. I saw it was a big plane but I drove to school because you can’t skip school and on the way there, I was listening to updates on KISS FM ‘cause I wanted to know more about what was going on. Kidd Kraddick got some guy who was there in New York to call and give his play-by-play and the guy was getting graphic about people jumping and he quickly cut him off the air right after that. Not sure what happened next on the radio or my drive but I ended up in the parking lot and walking onto campus.
School? That’s UT-Arlington. I walked in and headed over to the University Center (UC) where there was a big screen back when big screen TVs were expensive and everyone was watching the replay and people kept wondering if classes were still on or not. I went to Business Law (BLAW) class and that instructor didn’t even mention anything that was going on. It was hard to concentrate because me and whoever I was sitting next to wanted to get out and catch the news but class proceeded as normal and then we got the hell out of there. Our next class ended up being canceled so i was texting my buddies and we all went to Cici’s pizza to watch how the rest of the day unfold.
After pizza I went home and watched TV, got on AOL, and eventually I had to mow the lawn. Turns out our lawnmower died so I went to the Home Depot with my mom to buy a new one (the shit you remember) and then I got gas. I remember hearing about there being people gouging you on gas prices that day but I never saw it. Mowed the lawn, showered, then went to work at UPS that night to load trucks.
Since all the flights were canceled we ended up loading extra trailers for a 3-4 hours more that night. The world ends and keeps going just the same.
For me, it didn’t really hit home until a week later when we saw boxes being returned from NYC with a yellow sticker that said something like “address no longer exists.”
So it’s not about Kram or me but I remember in 6th grade my social studies teacher Mrs…Sievers (sp?) telling a story about growing up in the 60s and when JFK was assassinated, her dad pointed to all the kids and said they’d remember everything about that day. Well, this was just as traumatic an event on the country and I remember the above details but not what I was wearing or anything super detailed but here we are.
I don’t think about it often but I think about it like once a year. Mostly when I’m watching Saving Private Ryan and Tom Hanks tells Jason Bourne to ‘earn it.’
Am I living a life worthy of those who have sacrificed, both civilian and military? There are so many stories of heroism and my ass is out here trying to stay awake so I can read posts of people arguing with other people on the Internet. I’m 37 and I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. I should probably figure it out because right now I’m sure that’s not living a life worthy of someone’s sacrifice. I guess all there is to do is keep living and don’t take anything for granted. Unless one of you people have some good advice I will ignore for a few years and then maybe follow up on it and claim it as my own.