This date means many things to us Americans. A day of tragedy, of heroism, of resolve.
At the time I was only 12, but as many, I remember that day 10 years ago as though it was yesterday. I was at middle school in my math class when rumors spread that a small plane had crashed into the WTC. Not 30 minutes passed before many students began being called out of the class by loud speaker for dismissal. All while loud speaker announcements repeated messages telling teachers not to turn on the tv-overhead projectors. Many teachers didn't listen and as a result I watched the second the second tower collapse, live.
About an hour after the rumors I was called down to the main office where my mom picked me up and brought me home. The rest of the day was spent infront of the TV and listening to my mom attempt to call friends and family who worked in the towers or in the immediate area.
I was young and shock by what I saw, but did not realize the true devastation and impact of that for sometime later.
Living relatively close to the area and with much family living in north Jersey, I knew many people deeply effected by the events. Family and family friends on both sides of the family have deep roots in city, be it working in the towers, knowing people who worked in them, first responders, and simply those who provided aid; both my father and uncle, as fire fighters, spent 1-2 weeks at ground zero - I had helped collect and load supplies at my father fire station.
Besides the acts of those directly involved, the resolve of the American people was astonishing. Our local FD had set up a relief drop off and I had helped collect and load items into waiting trucks. This local operation almost ran 24-7 with locals coming in almost constantly dropping off medical supplies, shoves, fresh water, gloves, respirators, etc. So much had been collected by our station and others, that the Red Cross was turning them down. It is something I'll never forget.
Political differences aside, we are a great people.
The point... I'd personally like to hear your stories. Where you were, what you were doing, how you felt. I'd also like to hear from those not living within the US and hear your stories and reactions. 9/11 was a blow to America but how did those of you living abroad respond to it/what did you witness.
Even the thought of 9 11 beings me near tears every time. I was unprepared for this type of attack on our country, never expecting it could happen.
I was on the road for work, performing hearing tests at a major factory. Trapped in my hearing truck, things were slow so I decided to listen to AM radio and political talk. Rarely did I get opportunities to listen to the radio on the road, so this was a complete fluke.
I tuned in right as the reports started coming in that a plane had hit the first tower. It sounded bad, but I had no clue that things were about to escalate. Folks slowly trickled in, and in between every test I would turn the news back on.
When the first, and then the second tower fell I was in complete shock. I wanted to rush home and be with my family.
My work day ended about 11 AM (early start at 2 AM), and I rushed home and sat in front of the TV. I remained there for 2 days, confused, in shock, and silently crying more than a few times. The images of people jumping out of the buildings, and the thought of the brave individuals putting their life on the line...it was just all too much.
This was an era in my life when I was just starting to grow up as a person. I was learning what it mean to be unselfish, and as the parent of a 2 year old, what it meant to be a dad.
When I was thinking back about 9 11 today as I was cutting the lawn, I was reminded of my duty to protect those that I have been entrusted to care for. There is no greater, or more important responsibility. I always want my wife and children to feel that no matter what happens, that I will be there to rescue and protect them.
This also reminds me of my country, and what I love about it. We love our freedom, and we value the freedom of others. We want everyone to feel safe, and to live free. We have our flaws, but at the end of the day, we would lay our life down to protect those that we love.
These are the people I live with and the America I love. And no act of violence will ever change our hearts, or this passion. Terrorists can rattle us, but they underestimate who we are. They are blinded by their own stereotypes and have never looked into the true heart of the average American. This is their flaw, and will be their undoing.
9 11 reminded me of what my life was about. Since that time I have worked hard to place others first. I surely am no saint, and don't want to be overly-dramatic, but it was a day that helped me grow up and learn priorities.
There are few moments in my life that linger on as potent as 9 11.
Well said Steve, well said.
Like most all of you , my emotions were all over the place that day. I remember feeling numb, spending a lot of time on the phone checking on friends and family and spending a lot of time crying. To date, I can't see film of that day without tears coming to my eyes. Even now I sit here with tears welling up before the Jet - Cowboys game. The pipes playing Amazing Grace are not helping ( they make me cry every time!).
After the fact I found my sister had been in the towers, days before, producing a tv program. My brother had been helping (with a legal issue) a Navy officer at the pentagon who just minutes before the plane's impact had gone to the opposite side of the building to check on his child in the nursery. The plane went through his office. My sister, the TV producer, was a volunteer for the Arlington PD, could not get home from the Learning Channel after the crash and ended up helping with traffic control at the pentagon. This was the beginning of her brief career in law enforcement. She made me proud in the days following 9-11.
Growing up in the military and living in the home of the World's largest Military installation, I have never been so proud of our military men and women. They give in ways we sometimes could not imagine. I mourn with the families over every loss and rejoice over every victory. Our community seems to get hit hard every time there is a major operation or chopper crash. I thank our military men and women, our police and fire men and women every chance I get.
Sorry for the ramble, but feels good to ramble.
Almost everyone on this site was at least a 10 and could remember what happened pretty easy. I was only 6, but I still remember somethings.
I'm sure this affected you guys a lot more then me, all I remember was sitting in my kindergarden class and the intercom came on and started calling kids out my class.
By about noon I was one of the only kids left in class so they let us go outside and play. When school ended my mom came to pick me up like she normally would execpt she was silent.
When we got home she told me what had happened. She answerd all my questions, like why did they do it? She would just say she didn't know.
We sat there the whole night watching the news, the only part she didn't let me watch was the flight 93 crash site because she hadn't seen it yet.
I wasn't old enough to really understand what had happened, but I will always remember me and my mom watching the news. I didn't go through what you guys did, about wanting to be with my family or worrying about where my friends were. That was just my experience from that day.
Appreciate the responses. A decade has passed, but the memory and impact lives on, rightfully so.
Just about a week before the attacks, my mother, brother, grandmother and I visited NY. While most of our visit was trival the two things that I remember most and still have to this day are three photos: 2 new york skyline photos from liberity island with the WTC towers deadcenter and another taken of one of the towers. I stood at the base of the tower and looking up snapped a picture.
I too got a little emotion during the Jet - Cowboys game. The bag pipes, the 100-yard American flag and the strong chant of USA, USA, USA. I thought a few times in my head "this is why I love America."
Living in the UK I was not as directly affected as this by many of you I am sure, but something changed in me that day...
I was in the Barbers having a hair cut when I heard on the radio that there had been a terrible accident and a plane had somehow hit one of the towers. As I finished my hair cut I went out on to the town centre (normally a busy place) and it was all but deserted, except for the electrical stores. I wandered over to see what was happoenng only to watch the second tower get hit live on CNN.
At this point I realised that the first (or second) plane were not accidents, but acts of pure cowardness and that is when something changed.
I went home and literally spent the rest of the day, and night, watching the live streaming on the news, several time being moved to tears, both of sadness and dispair, but alos of anger and a feeling of hoplessness, that there was NOTHING I could do.
Pictures of people jumping from the tower, rather taking their chances of falling a thousand feet, than being burnt alive still haunt me now. The complete heroism of the people that went to help, the visuals of ordinary New Yorkers making make shift stretchers to help carry tho wounded (which unfortunaltely there wasnt any as most just perished in the towers), and the sickening video of a middle eastern street party celebrating it, all still live withme now 10 years on.
At the time I was 26, as selfish as they come, with little or no responsibility, I cheated on my ex, stayed out drinking ALL THE TIME and had little repect for anyone, incluing myself. Like I say, something changed around that time, call it coincidence, i dont know. But within the year. I had me my now wife (who had two beautiful babies), had become a father, bought a home and had grown up.
I feel sick to the core imagining the hurt and anger that not just the people directly affected, but the whole of America must have felt. I went to the States for a HOliday in 2003 and the sense of nervousness in the airports, the overwhelming security and the almost tangible feel of paranoia in the air was terrible. The way that America as a country and a people picked themselves up from this attrocity upon their soil is a testament to every single one of them. I am proud that the UK are great friends with America and like has already been said politics aside, they are a GREAT people. Even i well up when I see crowds of Americans chanting USA, USA... We went to SeaWorld on that holiday and they saluted all the fallen and the people in the Armed Forces, both American and British, and that to me is why America (or Britain) will never be beaten down, we are just too strong.
I was going to say this in the other thread, but decided I didn't feel like discussing it. However, this thread has prompted me to share my opinions on 9/11...
The saddest thing about 9/11 to me is that it took such an unfortunate disaster to bring the people together, and get them to care about each other. Day after day, I see people grow more and more self-involved. They don't care who they step on that day; if only to get ahead.
Personally, it frustrates me to an unbelievable state when I actually sit down and think about it. The complete disregard for the fellow man, let alone countryman is almost enough to bring me to tears; a man who hardly cried at his own father's funeral.
Its a shame that it takes catastrophic devastations to bring us together and understand the value in life. And its a bigger shame that once the dust settles, we're back to our cut-throat ways...
One of the things I remember about the day was how the initial reports were wildly inaccurate. The first information I got, from a work colleague, was that New York was on fire after a massive plane accident, and that over 30,000 people had been killed. I was very sceptical, and thought it must be a hoax, especially when she told me that the WTC had collapsed. I had been to the observation deck there a few years before and I didn't think it was possible that a building that massive could collapse.
I drove home and watched mesmerised at the footage of the planes hitting the towers. The reports of the falling bodies was just ghastly.
Growing up in the UK in the 1970s, it seemed like there were terrorist bombings and shootings every week (mainly connected to the IRA). And of course, globally, there are terrorist atrocities on a vast scale every year. Yet 9/11 did feel different to me; I guess my main reaction was one of apprehension as to what was going to happen next. We had a 17 year old Russian student stopping with us at the time; quite presciently, he pointed out that it was going to be treated like an act of war rather than act of criminality.
Appreciate the responses and different perspectives Tannhauser and Carl.
In non-threatening times (at least in the homeland) we did appear to lose some of our unity to trival things. But thats just it... most of these matters are unimportant in the scheme of things. When shit hits the fan, I believe, as we saw on 9/11, the people will let forget the BS and selfishness in favor of going the right thing, the good thing. This to me is what is important.
When the time calls for it, we as a people quickly put aside our differences. Its a trait that has always been there, under a deceivingly thin surface.
Yes there are extreme cases of carelessness and selfishness. This is inevitable with any group of people no matter how large or small. But it also doesn't represent the whole of the country.
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