In remembrance of those we lost 7 years ago. Where were you when it happened?

I was sleeping. The day before I had been laid off from an ad agency I’d been working at for a few years. Big merger, you know the drill. Anyway, that night, for some odd reason I shut off my cell phone and locked the door to my room. My wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, was trying to call me to tell me that she was ok since she worked in Manhattan. She couldn’t get through to me. I slept while the city was in chaos. I was awoken by the sound of my cousin pounding on my door. When I opened the door she had this look of dread on her face and told me that two planes crashed into the towers and one of the them went down. She said it was an act of terrorism. I imagined the tower falling over like a tree and destroying multiple city blocks. I ran to the TV and saw what had happened. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. I never imagined something like this happening in the city I was born and raised.

At that time I lived in a quite area of Queens. I remember going outside to see if there was chaos on the streets. There wasn’t. It was like any other day. It was such an erie feeling to see all that madness happening on TV, only a few miles away, and then looking out my window to see a warm, sunny, quite day.

It’s a day I will never forget for the rest of my life.        

11 thoughts on “9-11

  1. in addition to design. i am also an airline pilot (though i am planning an exit strategy from that field)…

    that morning i was flying from north carolina to laguardia airport. the approach that they were using that morning is an approach called ‘the expressway visual’. basically from the south, you fly north to maspeth queens. follow the long island expressway. do a turn around shea stadium and land on runway 31 toward the northwest.

    about the time that i was turning around shea stadium the first plane crashed into the tower. i didn’t see it, as i wasn’t looking or facing in that direction. we landed and made it to the gate quickly. from there i went inside and watched the second plane hit on the news, at which point the signal was lost.

    soon after they evacuated the airport and i went and stood on the overpass bridge over the grand central parkway that afforded a clear view of the towers. then they collapsed. i remember thinking, ‘holy shit, 50,000 had to have just died.’ i realize that the loss of life was enormous, but in relation to the scope of two massive buildings collapsing, i think the loss of life was surprisingly small.

    that day almost seems like a dream. the one thing i remember is being almost panicked that my cell phone wouldn’t make a call, because i had so many loved ones interested in making sure i was okay.

    as tragic as that day was, i think it is equally tragic that it handed our president a blank check with which to wage pointless wars and squander even more lives.

  2. I live in Alexandria, VA, about 3 miles from the Pentagon.

    I was three days in to a period between jobs. I was listening to NPR on WAMU and it was the turn of the hour – to 9:00 am when I heard the usually imperturbable Carl Kasell’s voice waver as he shares the news that a plane has hit the World Trade Center.

    I call my family members and tell them the news and then tell them to go home.

    I turn on the television. Mute the audio. It’s NBC. I click through the major MSM channels and decide to stay on ABC for a while. I’m still listening to the radio.

    The news reading ends and Bob Edwards comes on the line and *his* voice is shaky. He begins to recount what he knows. The images are strange. Surreal. Scary. Riveting. Macabre. Then I feel the earth shake. I didn’t think it was an earthquake, but couldn’t think what it could be.

    Then NPR announces that the Pentagon had been hit. OMG. My mother arrives at my door an hour later. She’d left after I had called her at her office and was past the Pentagon when she felt the earth shake.

    We spend the rest of the day dividing our attention between the television and the radio. I need milk and a few groceries. It feels strange to be thinking of the mundane. The impulse and instinct is to stay in out of danger. It’s near 5 p.m. and the street is clear of cars. The news comes all the planes over the US and bound for the US have been grounded.

    I go buy my groceries. The Post has succeeded in producing a late edition. I don’t even think of going online until the next day.

    Later, I learn that my sister-in-law has a cousin who is an air traffic controller and who was at work that day, guiding those thousands of planes out of the sky.

    Don’t get me started on the Bush Administration. I deplore what that administration has done to the Constitution, the standing of America, oh, I won’t go on, for this isn’t the forum to air my unhappiness.

  3. I was working in a small printshop back at that time, about 10 miles outside Bologna, north-east Italy. Few minutes after 15 pm we heard the news on the radio. I can’t really say what was the feeling back then. It’s probably not a nice thing to say, today, that in that very moment I probably didn’t feel shocked at all, for the thing was just too big, too big to understand. I had to check the web again and again, watch the news on TV, to understand that, in the end, those planed really hit. From 6000 km away, please allow me to send you the warmest hug…

  4. i’m a little late on this, i’m a night owl.

    I can’t imagine living in New York when that happened. My creative director was telling me how crazy it was since she lived in DC at the time and that it was crazy there from it all.

    I was living in Michigan, and in highschool (i’m young…) but i remember it so vividly. It happened during our 2nd hour, which i had AP Calculus, but none of us knew what was going on at the time. We had an exam set up that day and although the tv’s turn on automatically for the school’s morning tv thing, we flipped it off quick since we were taking an exam. So it all happened while we sat their quietly for an hour an a half. We got out and went to our next class, which everyone in the school besides us were huddled around the tv’s in each room, and we had no idea what was going on and couldn’t believe it when we saw it on the tv. it just blew me away.

    i don’t like the word “luckily” for this but luckily i didn’t know anyone in new york near it or in the towers. No friends there, no family there, and I am so glad that no one i knew was, but it’s so horrible that so many others were.

  5. My girlfriend at the time and I worked and lived in Rockville, MD and for some reason we decided NOT to watch CNN that morning. We drove to work listening to a CD in the car, and when we pulled up to the office didn’t notice the usual amount of smokers outside. Went to my office space and found everywhere was empty. I heard some commotion in the cafeteria so we went there and everyone was fixed to the news. The first plane had hit. We were all, of course, going to keep watching.

    At the time I worked for two divisions of the company, a design company (which no longer exists, but housed some people who went on to do bigger and better things) and a game company (Bethesda Softworks). The design division had meetings at 10AM so they kept calling my desk to see why I wasn’t there at the meeting. They actually all had no clue what was going on at the time. So each time someone was sent down to see where I was, they never came back upstairs to report my tardiness.

    Fortunately my friends in NYC managed to get word to me within a couple of hours that they were all OK, but the black hawk helicopters flying around my work and home the next couple of days didn’t make me feel much better. What I find odd, however, is that there still isn’t much coverage of the other smaller events which went around DC that day…

  6. I wasn’t a graphic designer back then, I was a bike messenger in Copenhagen Denmark, and heard from the radio guy in the messenger headquarters that a plane had accidentally “landed” in one of the buildings. Later it became clearer that it was a terroist-attack, this I first knew when I delivered a package at a big company and all the emplyees where standing around a big round table in the conference room, watching what happened on TV.
    It was all very hard to comprehend, very much like being in a movie, also because I was so far from it, but at the same time it felt very close by..
    All day we were updated over our radios, when the next building were hit, when the buildings fell etc..

  7. After my flight being cancelled 3 times and delayed 2, I made it to Costa Rica thanks to an emergency landing, nothing was meant to be that day. I finally arrived the night of September 10th to my final destination: Denver, Colorado. It was my first time there as an international student from Ecuador sponsored by Rotary Club International, a life which I was about to start.

    The morning of Sept. 11, I was driven to my new school. Then it took my a while before I found the correct classroom. I entered and the the environment seemed odd; an english class watching horror/catastrophe movies? what’s that about!

    It was my first time away from home, first time actually speaking the language, living with an american family, first time at an American school, … first time of seeing “las torres gemelas” going down.

    I didn’t know what was going on. They lady and guy on tv. spoke too fast for me to understand, but the footage was clear. Eventually my counselor reached me and told me I may have to go back home because of threats to FBI government buildings in the area; but that meant taking a plane back.

    I said “no thanks.”

    That year, I felt so much sympathy for everybody. In the end, I learned much more than an exchange program could ever teach me.

  8. I was working on a documentary for the architecture school at University of Cincinnati. When I turned on the TV in the morning, the first plane had hit and they knew nothing… what type of plane it was, etc. It was still being treated as a breaking oddity by the morning shows.

    I walked up to the school, which wasn’t yet in session, to meet with the rest of the team to work on video editing. By the time I got there, the second plane had hit. I was sitting with four architecture professors and some students, all of us shocked, but all of us also thinking about building structure and physics. Based on the designs, there was a sort of consensus that where they hit wouldn’t affect the overall building too much. I went outside to bring a monitor up from someone’s car.

    When I got back, the first tower had collapsed. In a way, I’m very glad that I didn’t see it happen live. I don’t know what I would have felt, seeing it happen like that. I had two friends who worked at the WTC at the time, and had no way to call either of them. They both made it out okay.

    I think the overall feeling we all had was that dreamlike disbelief. We just could not parse the information our eyes gave us.

  9. I will never forget turning on the radio that day and hearing the very first words, I kid you not. The radio broadcaster said, “The World Trade Center is no more.” I had gotten up late that day and just arrived at work and was listening to my CD player when my boss came running up (he rode in on a bike and unlocked the door for us to go in) and he said “Did you hear, did you hear???” I exclaimed “What?!?” And he climbed into the car and we turned on the radio. That was the first thing I heard, and I was incredulous.

    I have since taken a very moving trip to New York City in February of 2008 that was a spiritual pilgrimage. I was personally going through a lot of emotional stuff in 2001 already so, while the full impact wasn’t lost on me, I didn’t fully appreciate it as I should have back then. When the 5-year anniversary rolled around, I was ripe for being impacted. So I planned a trip, and in February of 2008 I visited Ground Zero for the first time. It was absolutely moving. I since came back and made a very moving fundraiser DVD commemmorating my trip as well as the impact of it all through dramatic footage collected together. You can visit the site at http://www.the911tributedvd.com. I hope you’ll consider purchasing this – 75% of the proceeds go to support the building of the 9/11 memorials in Manhattan NY, Arlington VA and Shanksville PA.

    I will never forget 9/11, our generation’s Pearl Harbor.

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