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09/11/2001 Where Were YOU?


By Lesley Moore - Posted on 11 September 2009

Today, 09/11/09, eight years later... I am stopping to remember and pray for all of the families that have lost loved ones, including the brave men & women of our military who are still fighting, because of the vicious, hate-filled attacks on our country. Lives were forever changed that day, even in states far from the east coast. We are ALL Americans; regardless of race, creed, religion or political affiliation.

I thought it would be interesting to start this thread and ask my fellow RFO'ers.... where we you when you found out what was going on on that horrible day??

I was (thankfully) off work that day, woke up, went in the living room and turned on the TV to the "Today Show."  At that point the first plane had already hit the Tower.  I remember standing there in front of the TV thinking that was one horrible, tragic aviation "accident".  But, in an instant, I noticed that the skies were PERFECTLY clear and remember thinking that it was odd for a plane to "accidentally" fly into a building on such a clear, beautiful day with no rain or fog.  I immediately woke my mom and called my sister. 

As I continued to watch the coverage, out of no where the 2nd plane flew into the 2nd Tower.  I honest to God, sat there with my mouth hanging open and was over come with fear.  It was in that second, that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we, as a country, were under attack. 

My biggest "freak out" moment came when news broke about a plane flying over Washington, DC.  When I found out that THE PENTAGON, I became pretty hysterical.  I remember thinking and saying to Mom, "If they can get into the airspace over the Pentagon... they can get ANYWHERE in this country." 

It was so surreal watching the news coverage.  Oh my God, when The Towers fell... my heart crumbled with those buildings.  So many innocent lives lost, in the blink of an eye.  While watching the people literally running for their lives down the streets of New York, all covered with that white/gray dust/soot... it struck me that everyone looked the same; not white, not black, not hispanic, not asian... just people.  AMERICAN PEOPLE.  Oh how I pray that one day we, as a country, can actually live like that, day in and day out.

My heart is heavy today for every single person who has sacraficed because of the events of 09/11.  The people whose final resting place is Ground Zero, the people who lost loved ones that day, the men and women in Afghanistan still fighting because of it, their families back home waiting for them, the men & women of our military who have courageously paid the ultimate price, the people who were injured in the attacks that day, for each and every American.  I'll say it again because I mean it from the bottom of my heart: we were ALL changed that day, and so was our way of life.

I also want to point this out:  this, and things like this, is what can happen when people become so filled with HATE.  Hate filled people often times begin to see people who "don't agree with them" as less than human, as unimportant, as disposable, as pawns in their sick, twisted worlds.  The HATE in our country HAS to stop, and it has to stop now...before something else horrible and tragic beyond words happens. God help us all.

So today, please take a minute to remember 09/11/01.  The firemen who ran INto the buildings when everyone else was try so desperately trying to get OUT.  The men and women of our military.  HEROS.  Every single one of them.  Remember them, honor them...they deserve it.  It is the least we can do.

I pray that the families & friends of everyone lost because of the 09/11 attacks will feel God's amazing  peace and His incredible grace today and every day.  I pray for the souls of the people who lost their lives on 09/11/2001 and in the days since then.  My prayer is that they are at peace in Heaven with a God who loves us all so much.  Amen. 

Never forget. Please, never forget.

I had an audio conference set up with some friends for 9 am that morning, sat on our deck drinking my morning coffee until 10 til… when I got on line people were screaming at me to turn on the tv. That was 9am exactly. I sat there stunned trying to figure out how a pilot could accidentally fly into the tower when at 9:03 the second plane hit and I knew it was no accident. My husband called… he grew up in NY and was having trouble getting through to them, to make sure they were safe, no where near Manhattan. At 9:37 the news flashed about the attack on the Pentagon. Shortly after 10 the first tower collapsed.

I started feeling very claustrophobic and wandered out to the front yard to the cherry tree. The high school had let out and kids were walking solemnly up the hill in ones and twos. One girl (looked about 16/17) who was walking alone stopped and we looked at each other… she “said “my Mom’s not home, she’s gone to find my Dad. He works in the pentagon”. I could think of nothing to say… we turned and walked together to the stoop and sat down. We sat there more than an hour in silence. Then she stood up… gave me a weak smile and returned to her trek up the hill.

The rest is a blur. I remember finding messages on the phone from my sons, making sure my husband wasn’t working in the DC area that day and making sure all his family was safe. The phone range steadily the next 24 hours, a net across the country, family and friends checking in. conversations ran like “have you heard from Joe?”

“Yes, he spoke to Barb; she managed to catch Tina, who spoke to Paul.”

The anger hadn’t started yet; most people were just stunned, simply trying to comprehend the monumentalism of what had happened. Giuliani ordered 30,000 body bags… minds went numb. Heartful stories trickled out, like the boy who made peanut butter sandwiches for people who had slept on the streets, trapped with traffic being shut down… no way off the island.

For me what happened after that is separate. The anger, the hate rhetoric.

I had just landed at O'Hare

I had just landed at O'Hare in Chicago and checked out a rental car on my way to a senior executive communication conference at Motorola University. On my way to the conference, I called my secretary back in Louisville to let her know I had arrived and to check on any messages. She was in shock because the first plane had just hit. I couldn't believe it. While she was talking to me, she yelled, "OMG there's another one! We're under attack!"

By that time I had just pulled into my parking spot at Motorola. I told her to hook me up with our senior executives and that I would call her right back when I got into the building.

When I got into the building, there I was with the senior communication executives with many of our country's Fortune 500 companies, Hewlett Packard, Motorola (of course, since they were hosting), 3M, Pitney Bowes, Owens Corning, Coca Cola, some private utility companies.

We immediately turned the conference room into a situation room and were setting up communication control centers for our companies.

Several had employees in New York, some had offices in the towers.

All of us were tracking down our leadership executives and preparing communications for them to send to our employees, as well as trying to organize on-site counselors and other work to coordinate with our HR teams back at our offices.

I felt like I was back in the Army.

We spent the next two days in that room monitoring the news, working with our executive teams and trying to find ways for many of the attendees to get back home. 

I was one of only two other attendees who had a rental car, and that meant we were one of the few left in the entire city with one! We spent a great deal of time shuttling our companions to alternate transportation venues, the railway, buses etc, so that they could get back to their home towns. Complicating getting around was the fact that a lot of the city was shut down out of fear of being a secondary target.

Motorola had a convoy of trucks and equipment and employees head out across country to New York to help with the disaster and to deal with the employees and the families there who were either hurt or killed.

At the end of the second day, we had all dispersed and it was time for me to head home to Louisville as well. Fortunately for me it's only a 5 or 6 hour drive from Chicago.

I remember as I headed south looking up at the sky, it was just heading into dusk. It was so quiet. It felt surreal.  The colors of the sky, the molten golds, mixed with reds, pinks and blues. But no planes. No "cloud" trails of planes. Just a few birds. I realized I had never actually looked at a sky that did not have some sort of manmade object hanging in it before. 

I watched the semi traffic. Seemed to me that it was much heavier than usual. I was frightened as I passed them wondering, "Do these trucks carry death, too? Is that the next line of attack?"

I cried for a large part of the trip home. For the people who died. For the people who they left behind. For the death of our country's innocence. We would be changed forever and this wasn't a movie that would end in a soaring musical score over a fleeting list of credits. 

Nothing would be the same. And it hasn't been. 

I still watch the skies and wonder about each plane when it passes overhead. 

My heart is still heavy for those who lost loved ones. For all of us, really.

What a beautiful prayer, Lesley.

I doubt any of us will ever forget that day. My experience was very similar to yours.

I was home from work with the flu, and watching the Today Show. I remember clearly when they broke in with the news of the first tower, and I went into complete denial of sorts. For some reason, I was absolutely convinced it was fake - a publicity stunt for some disaster movie that had been widely publicized in the days leading up to 9/11. As they went on, I started getting really angry, and was considering calling NBC to give them a piece of my mind. Then I changed the channel and realized it was for real.

I think I went pretty catatonic when the second tower got hit, making it obvious we were not dealing with an accident. About 5 minutes after that, one of my colleagues called from work, asking about something incredibly trivial, I forget what - it was along the lines of did I have an extra stapler she could borrow from my office. I asked her if they knew what was going on in New York, and she said "Yeah, we have the TV on in the conference room. Creepy." I'm pretty sure I hung up on her. Of course, she was as shocked and horrified as me, only had a strange way of coping with it.

The rest I may as well copy and paste from your story. When the Pentagon got hit, I became hysterical, and from the moment the first tower fell, I started crying and didn't stop until I fell asleep late that night, thanks to copious amounts of NyQuil.

I was lucky not to have lost any friends or family members in the attacks, and can't imagine how horrifying it must have been for those who did.

I think it changed all of us, in various ways. One positive after-effect was how all of a sudden in the days following the attacks everyone set aside their differences and stuck together. You could just feel a huge amount of unity, from the personal to the global level. We all cared more for eachother.

No point in listing all of the negative changes, which soon overcame that sense of unity. Personally I was shocked to find myself discriminating against others for the first time in my life. While I publicly chastized anyone preaching hate toward Muslims or Arabs, inside I was fighting my own prejudice. I hated the fact that I had suddenly become squeamishly uncomfortable around women wearing scarves on their head, or anyone that looked remotely Middle Eastern, but it took a long time to fight those feelings off. It really scared me to the core to realize that I was capable of profiling like that.

About a week after 9/11, on the first day they resumed Boston-New York flights, I was on one of the first regularly scheduled shuttles to take off from Boston Logan to LaGuardia. I had booked the ticket a few weeks earlier, and decided that if I canceled that booking and drove instead, I might never get on a plane again. Security at both airports was so high they looked like military bases. It was incredibly eerie. There were about five passengers on the flight, myself included, and you could cut the tension with a knife.

As we flew within sight of ground zero, where smoke was still coming up, I broke down a bit again, and had a really hard time holding back tears.

Beautiful post, Lesley.

I was getting ready for work and listening to NPR.  When the reporter said something about a plane in the WTC, I HAD to turn on the TV to see what was going on.  I sat stunned as the second plane hit the other tower, and I knew it was no accident.

Dragged myself to the office, but no one else felt like working either.  My co-workers and I were glued to the TV, listening to the reports one after another: the Pentagon. The crash in the field. The towers falling into heaps.   

I had friends who worked in the WTC.  I had BEEN to the WTC one year prior; I had been up on the observation deck to see NYC in all it's incredible splendor.

As for my friends, it was several days before I knew that they lived through it.  The chaos of everyone being accounted for...  I was able to speak to one of my friends just two weeks afterwards.  His voice still shook with terror.  He worked in the tower that was hit second; security had told them to stay put, but his brother--who worked on the floor of the NYSE and was watching it--called his cell phone and urged him to get the h*ll out of the building.  I cannot write words to describe the terror still in his voice, and the emotion of his experience.  He said there was a thunderstorm the following night, and he was terrified by the sound of thunder, having flashbacks to his 9/11 experience. 

 

I was a college student in a small northwest Nebraska town on 9/11/2001.  It was my final year at Chadron State College and classes for my 7th Semester had only resumed three weeks prior.  On Tuesday morning my first class was Business Ethics and it didn't start until 8am Mountain Time.  Like most college students who lived on campus, I would only rise 15 minutes before class and rush off after putting on deodorant, cologne, sweatpants, a T-shirt, and a hat.  As with most mornings, I didn't turn on the television while I tossed my books and folders into my book bag.  

I remember how beautiful it was that morning.  It was unusually warm for September in that part of Nebraska and the sky seemed clearer than normal (there was usually a lot of cross-country air traffic).  As I walked into the Business Admn. building the department secretary (also my pastor's wife) came running up to me to tell me that one plane had hit the WTC.  It took me a few seconds to realize what the WTC was and I, not having seen the television coverage, scoffed at what she was telling me.  I reminded her that these buildings were designed to survive an aircraft impact and that the authorities would make sure that everyone was evacuated.  I even mentioned how a bomber had struck the Empire State Building shortly after WWII.  She told me that a 747 had hit the building and tried to explain how serious this was, but I was late for class, so I told her not to worry so much that "everything would be OK".  

Class began promptly at 8am (10am in NYC).  Our professor informed a stunned room of groggy students that a second plane had hit the other WTC tower and this was no longer just a serious accident, but mostly likely terrorism.  He, also, reported that CNN was saying a car/truck bomb had detonated at the Pentagon shortly before class started.  We didn't have televisions in that classroom, so our professor excused himself to get some more information from the television in his office.  The class speculated while he was gone, but none of us yet realized the full scope of what was happening in NYC and Washington D.C.  The professor returned less then five minutes later to tell us that one of the WTC towers had completely collapsed and he was dismissing class for the morning.  

I returned to my room and hopped on MSN Messenger which I used all the time back then to chat with friends.  Only my aunt in Florida was on that morning and when I asked what was happening she told me "Bad Things, Very Bad Things".  Then, I called my mom to tell her what was happening.  Tuesday's were her Saturday's back then and she was, still, sleeping when I called her around 9:25am Central Time.  She yelled at me for waking her so early and I told her to turn on CNN and watch what was happening.  We watched the second tower collapse live on television and were just to stunned to say anything more.  

The rest of the day is mostly a blur.  I know that my girlfriend and I watched the television for the rest of the day as the college had canceled classes until Thursday.  That night an impromptu candlelight remembrance service was held at the college's carillon clock-tower.  Everyone brought candles from Wal-mart and we covered the base of the tower with candles and let them burn all night.  The wax covered the base of the tower for several months.  The carillon had always chimed out cheerful music at the top of every hour, but it was silent for the rest of the month and then only chimed a somber tones until Christmas time when it resumed cheerful carols.  

 

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...Well, for one thing it's easier. When you tell the truth you never have to remember later what you lied about.  - Lwaxana Troi - Star Trek: The Next Generation 5x20 - "Cost of Living

I was at work and I just came back in from having a smoke break, and I walked past our customer waiting room( at the time I worked for a car dealership), where a couple of other employees were standing. They were watching the television, the first plane had hit. At that time no one really knew what was happening. I went to my office which was across the hall and told another girl and my boss, we all went back to watch and that is when the second plane hit and we were all like "this is not an accident".

As the events unfolded, I was back at my desk and Wendy came in and said that they just said another 2 planes were missing, one was headed for the Pentagon(or had hit it) and another was going toward Washington.

At that point I called my husband who was sleeping(he was working nights still and had not been a driver at UPS yet). He didn't pick up, the anwering machine did but I told him, "Honey pick up, we are under attack." He got up and was up all day watching the news, as was I when I could get away from my desk. I remember the whole  week was I was glued to the television.

I will never forget it, I know some are saying we have become forgetful, or that we have returned to a Pre-9/11 mentality, or that we have short memories. That's bull. Sure life goes on, but I will not let myself live in "Fear" of when the next one will occur. Like I said I will never, ever forget it. But I do pray for those that lost their lives and their families, and I pray that nothing like that will ever happen again.

         

I was in Somerset county from 9-10 that morning took my mom to the doctor. Then came home and electric was out from a car hitting a electric pole and only listened to radio till I got to my grandmas house. Spent the rest of the day there watching. Then afterwards remember the days of no planes in the sky, no contrails, just a different feeling that sticks. Could elaborate alot but our thoughts, feelings I am sure were very similar. But from 8 that morning till that night can pretty much remember hour by hour and the days to follow well.

I was up getting ready for work -- it was just before 6am here on the West Coast. I had the TV news on and they switched to national saying that a plane had hit the WTC and were speculating whether it was an accident.

Although I didn't know who or why, after a few minutes I knew that it was no accident. It just wasn't possible.

A few minutes later, even though I should have left for work already, the second plane hit as my wife and I were watching the news and I knew for sure that it was no accident.

I went to work and everyone was kinda quiet, not much talk going on. The rumors were flying, though, based on Internet news reports. At first I couldn't believe it when they said that another plane had hit the Pentagon or the White House.

I called my wife a little bit later and she told me that one of the towers had come down and the disbelief only grew. They let us out of work early that day, just sent us home. By the time I got home the second tower had fallen.

I was pretty angry and resolute. Not against any race or religion but against the enemies who did this to us. Despite being out of the military for several years, a week or two later I decided to join the National Guard to do whatever I could do. I had to lose a few pounds but by the beginning of November I was back in the military again, and the people in the know knew we were going to be doing something within the next few years.

And we did.

Somewhat related, a guy who also deployed with my Guard Unit to Kuwait and Iraq even though I didn't really know him then, I didn't really meet him until our annual training in 2005 and then our little trip to New Orleans for hurricane relief, well, I got to know him pretty well.

After I got out after Katrina, he volunteered to go to Afghanistan. He was killed on September 9, 2006. He was a far better man that I'll ever be.

Anyway, that's all. 

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." -- Douglas Adams

He was a far better man that I'll ever be.

No, you both are/were equally awesome and heroic.  You'll just get extra time to perfect your work on those skills, whereas his work was finished far  to early.  

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...Well, for one thing it's easier. When you tell the truth you never have to remember later what you lied about.  - Lwaxana Troi - Star Trek: The Next Generation 5x20 - "Cost of Living"
 

Maybe. Maybe we're just different, though. I dunno.

I mainly remember that he was the Battalion Commander's driver and I was the commo guy, and I had to always make sure that his radios were working tip top shape. And we bummed smokes from one another.

But he did other stuff in his civilian life that I'm never gonna do -- like coach softball and stuff like that. That's really what I meant. 

But that's neither here nor there. Thanks for the kind words. 

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." -- Douglas Adams

Oops, Double Post! 
 

I remember where I was 9/11, like you.  I remember waking up to the phone ringing, my friend's dad leaving a message as I'm coming to- HEY!  TURN ON THE NEWS!

Shock was an understatement...................

Okay, my turn.

I was sleeping in the futon/couch of a minuscule "TV room" that adjoined the dining room of a fraternity house (just read it slowly). Someone had walked in and turned on the TV as I slept, and as I woke up, I saw through bleary eyes the TV news of the first tower on fire. I thought I was dreaming... then the second tower was hit. It took well over half the day for me to get over the shock.

----

It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

I was a sophomore in High School. I was going to homeroom that morning (homeroom is after 1st period) and there was a little bit of a buzz in the hallway and when I got to homerun the TV was on, with the images of the smoking building. I initially thought it was a single engine plane that made a mistake or something close to that. Obviously we were way wrong. We all continued the day and the TV was on the whole second period of World History (TVs were on in the school all day, most rooms had a tv). During second period,  it was tuned to The Today show's coverage and as they were talking to someone from the Pentagon about what happened -  the plane hit that building, causing panic about it being a bomb. I even remember him saying "I think a bomb just went off on the building".

We kept tabs on what was going on throughout the school day. I think the second building fell when I was in Drafting class. The details and times are kind of blurry as far as when the specific events occurred because it was mixed with the memories of the school day.

I remember quite a bit from that day, but at the same time I forget more than I thought I would; I had a dermatologist appointment and went to my friend's house like normal. It was just odd and no one knew what exactly to think or had they processed just what happened. Very eerie to reflect over because the day carried such emotion, confusion, shock and sadness; when you think about what we know now and what we didn't know at different times during that day, it's hard to really put a handle on it. 

It hit a lot closer for my parents emotionally (maybe more than I knew) because they are from New York/New Jersey.

I was not going into work until 10:00 central time, so had just turned of my alarm clock.  Lesley came running into my room talking about NYC, a plane and the WTC.  I turned on the TV in the bedroom, and as I watched, I decided to go to the living room and watch with Lesley.  Soon after getting in there, the second tower was hit!  Standing in my living room, I felt the first surge of fear added to the horror.  When the Pentagon was hit, I had a feeling of impending doom...We were under attack from an unknown enemy. By this time, Lane, Lesley's little boy who was two at the time, had come in, and I held Lesley as she held Lane.  I kept talking to Lauren, just to know that she and her boys were safe.

I don't remember exactly what time I finally made it into work, but it was noon or later.  Everyone was stunned, and all we could do was hug each other and cry off and on.  When we could, we watched the TV in the break room, and kept radios on everywhere else.  One of my employees had a son that worked in the Trade Center, and we all called his numbers repeatedly, not able to get through.  She refused to leave work...terrified of being alone.  It was the next day before we learned he had stayed home because he was sick.

The rest of the day is a blur of images and the fear in peoples faces. I remember seeing the sad and stunned faces of Congress as they stood together on the steps and sang.

I closed early, as everyone wanted to be home with their families.  All I could think of was that I wanted to do was gather my family around me, praying that I could somehow keep them safe.  Because I had been recently widowed, my heart ached for the families of those who had died, and for those who didn't know the fate of their loved ones.  Family became my only focus.

Like Alina, I became frightened of anyone that appeared to be Middle Eastern, and felt guilty for feeling that way. It was a strange and frightening time.

Two things that stand out in my mind in the days that immediately followed.  As we watched the constant replays of days events, Lane (who had been oddly quiet for a two year old)  burst into tears and said "NO MORE FIRE!".  It brought home to me how badly children were being impacted, even when they didn't say anything.

The second thing was that we were right in the flight path for the fighter planes that patrolled our borders.  The sight and sounds of those planes are burned in my mind, as each one brought a fresh wave of fear.

 As I remember all of this, I want to share my facebook posting this morning:

Today, I am praying not only for the victims and their families of that horrid day, not only for the firefighters, police and military who answered the call to service, but also for each and every American.  May we find again within ourselves the spirit that pervaded our country following that fateful day. We were not different races, regions or political parties. We were Americans, and we were united

I was in the shower when my wife turned on the morning news.  (I'm in WA state.)  With my towel wrapped around my waist, I watched as the second plane flew into the 2nd tower.  I turned and said, "we are under attack."  I went and got my kids out of school and we were watching when the towers fell.
I was at the bus stop waiting for the express line to Sacramento to take me to my morning classes at Sacramento State.  I was listening to NPR as usual as were a few others waiting at my stop.  I had heard that a plane had flown into one of the towers and initially, thinking it was a Cessna single engine type plane, I joked about it to myself thinking that the guy needed to go back to flying school.  I heard a couple of others talking about it and I guess they thought the same thing I did as some initially smiled and cracked a couple of jokes.  As I got nearer to campus, it was finally made clear to me that this wasn't a Cessna but a passenger plane that crashed into one of the towers.  I made it to my piano class and after the prof walked in, we discussed what was going on.  I remember one girl crying as she described what had happened.  Our piano instructor didn't know what to make of it.  She doesn't watch the news in the morning and was completely clueless to what was going on.  We heard nothing from the administration so we made it through our morning piano lessons.  After class, I went downstairs and the news of the collapse of both towers had made its way around the department.  I began to hear rumors about all classes being cancelled.  I went to my composition professor's office to find out if that was true.  He confirmed that it was and after talking a bit with a couple of my classmates, I prepared to go home.  I heard what I thought was a TV set, and I headed there out of curiousity.  Sure enough, a TV set was set up in the orchestra rehearsal room and a few of my classmates and a couple faculty members were glued to the TV set watching the drama unfold in NYC (it was roughly 9:30a PT at the time).  I ducked out and caught the next bus to downtown Sacramento, got off at my stop and waited for the next bus that would take me home to Davis some 20 miles away.  I remember how surreal the whole thing felt as I waited at my stop.  I got the sense that downtown was in the process of totally shutting down.  Buses from all transit systems were running off schedule trying to get people out of downtown to their homes as quickly as possible.  What happened after I boarded the bus, I do not recall.  I felt no sadness.  Just a sense of how strange and weird this whole morning had become.  It wasn't until much later that I realized the gravity of what had happened.  A day, like the rest of you, I will never forget what I was doing at the time of this tragedy.

I join Lesley in remembering and praying for the innocent victims of 9/11. Yes, 9/11 changed our collective outlook. It was a defining and sad moment. But I would also like to urge my fellow RFOs to look at 9/12 and beyond - i.e. Bush's response. We abandoned the good fight in Afghanistan, went to Iraq for no credible reason, alienated moderate Muslims and squandered the goodwill the world had for America.

We must not forget 9/11 - nor our response to it. Both changed our future - the former the result of Al Qaeda terrorists and the latter the result of neocon policies gone wrong.

Well said Pradeep.  Welcome to RFO.

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