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+4 votes
74 views

What do you remember about this day? 

   For me, I remember as if it were yesterday, the way I got the news form another teacher, the disbelief I felt when the first tower fell, and all the people I know who were affected by it in one way or another. I remember the rush we had at the school I worked in, when we hurried to get those students whose parents had come to get them. THE PA system was on all morning soon after the knowledge of what was going on. The secretary who lost her nephew, whom I saw go into an empty room with a look of horror on her face. The incinerator smell across the school, which was across NYC and somehow reached us. And then the eerie, quiet night we spent because no planes were flying after that. 

in In the News by (1,102,560 points)

6 Answers

+2 votes

Doesn't seem like 20 years. I remember all the idiots burning the American flag. This world is fucked up.

by (4,075,441 points)
+2 votes

My neighbour told me there had been a terrible accident in NY, a plane had crashed into a building, come in and see. I got there in time to see the 2nd plane and knew it was no accident.

I remember thinking , if they can do that there they can do it anywhere. America getting attacked was mind blowing really.

by (3,037,750 points)
+2 votes

On the 10th I flew back to the west coast from Portland, Maine with my uncle; my mom had just completed an AIDS bike ride and we went out there to see her finish, then after she and her boyfriend went on what was supposed to be just a few days' vacation in Canada while me and my uncle flew back home and I stayed with him. The next morning my uncle woke me up for school by barging into my room and saying "planes have crashed into the Twin Towers!" and walked out. Half awake and also too young to even know what those buildings were, I just thought the man was crazy. I ate breakfast in front of a tiny TV in the kitchen and watched repeat after repeat of the first tower collapse, then suddenly live footage of the second tower collapse. My uncle was in complete disbelief, and I had no idea what I was seeing. My uncle then said "well, guess I better get to work" and then left. So, I thought I guess I better get to school and left to go catch the bus. Only, I got to school and it was closed, they weren't letting anyone in. I walked down the street a couple blocks to the nearest pay phone and tried to call my dad who lived an hour away, but his cell phone always gave me the busy signal (I later found out this was very common for cell calls on this day?). I decided to call my best friend's house line because I didn't know where she was, I didn't know where to go, and I didn't know what to do. She was at home, and she and her parents told me to go there and stay with them, so I got back on the bus and went to her house.

The rest of the day itself isn't very memorable, but when I did get back to school (the next day?) I found out my English teacher's son was on one of the planes. I'll never forget her grief. And also, my mom and her now husband were stuck in Canada for a few weeks. They ended up catching a cross country train from Montreal to Vancouver to get to the west coast and then eventually flights opened back up and they were able to get back into the country. And my dad was pretty absent during the whole thing (which really pissed off my mom) so I stayed with my friend until my mom was able to get back into town.

by (16,090 points)
0

Thanks for sharing! Lots of sad memories there. 

+1

Yes I was too young to make much sense of it at the time. It's only in the later retelling and reflecting am I able to recognize the gravity and emotional weight of the entirety of the events that unfolded that day, both for my childhood self, my immediate community, those who were directly affected, and the country overall. 

+2 votes

I was working in Colorado Springs.  I had gone to the spa/gym to work out.  The TVs were on to distract us from the pain of working out and the woman with the nice but on the bike in the next row.  Suddenly they broke into the program to say that one of the twin towers had been hit with an airplane.  The immediate assumption was that it was a horrible accident.  The TV talking heads were discussing that when you could see the second plane run into the other tower.  It was obviously done on purpose.  Everyone in the place was in shock and just watching the TV.  Then somehow they showed footage that I have never seen again of a plane just a few feet off of the ground going into the pentagon.  Panic ensued.

There was a report of another plane coming.  They were talking of scrambling interceptor jets.  But no one was sure that anyone had the authority to order them to shoot down a civilian plane with passengers.  Then it crashed and they didn't have to resolve the issue.

I went back to work, someone brought a TV in, and we all watched it.  Transfixed.  The VP was in the bunker, Bush was on Airforce one somewhere.  The Secretary of defence announced he was in charge.  Not true, but someone needed to be.I

We were getting no work done so I went home and watched TV with the wife.

It would have been better if I had not seen the whole thing live on TV.  People jumping, towers collapsing, etc.

by (1,554,070 points)
0

I remember seeing bodies coming down. So tragic!  

+1

Yes.  I try to forget the terrible choice.  Burn or die jumping.  Idk. 

+2 votes

I was teaching a journalism class with 9th and 10th graders when the principal announced that a plane had flown into the World Trade Tower.  I turned on our classroom television and we watched the morning unfold there.  All classes were in semi-lockdown: remain in the classroom where you are now until we give an "all clear."

I approached this the only way I could think of: we looked at the incident as an unfolding news story.  I told the students, "You are living in a remarkable moment in history.  This is what you have heard your grandparents talking about when they remember where they were on December 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was bombed. THIS is your generation's 'Pearl Harbor' moment."  We proceeded to watch, and I asked them as we watched, "From your notes, what elements of newsworthiness are included in this story?  Which of the '5 W's + H' can we answer now (who, what, where, when, why, and how)?  What will the news stations cover next?  Why do you think so?"  And so forth as events progressed.  The kids were remarkable. Here were 14- and 15-year olds grappling with the deepest event in their lives, and they were analyzing everything as "journalists."  They, on their own, determined that the stations would keep running and re-running the footage of the planes hitting the towers; the scenes of panic as the crowds ran away from the site; and the efforts of first responders as they arrived on the scene.  They decided that as soon as possible, reporters would flood the area and would interview eye witnesses.  When I asked them "What will come next in the coverage?  Not today, necessarily, but in the days and weeks to come?  What questions will be pursued?"  They said, "Blame.  They will want to find blame.  They want to find who to blame for the attacks, and they want to find out who to blame for allowing the attacks to happen.  Then they will want to figure out how not to allow this to happen again, and they will decide on a strategy for how to punish the people who did it."

I don't know exactly what made me turn the moment into a "live news story," but I think mostly it was a way that I could focus their emotions, direct their attention, and make them think logically without becoming fearful themselves.  It was my way of protecting them from the raw fear, the tragic horror, and the unthinkable tragedy that was occurring.  It worked.  Once the lockdown was released and kids went on to other classes, I watched as my senior English students walked in, dazed and afraid.  My journalism students had left the room with a sense of understanding and purpose because they had been given a framework into which to judge the day.  The seniors came in without any such framework.  There was no teaching them about Beowulf on that day.  They needed to have time to talk; time to express their emotions as they were developing; and a calm adult who would listen and give them a sense of "you're safe."  So I listened and we talked and I listened some more.  

What was difficult on a personal note was that my youngest son was off to his first year at college in Ohio. He heard that "a plane crashed just south of Pittsburgh..." and immediately thought of us.  Our home is in the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh.  He tried over and over and over to call my cell phone, to call our home phone, but the phone service across the nation was a complete snarl until mid-afternoon or later.  It was with great relief that he finally reached me in my classroom at about 2:30 and found we were safe.

My oldest son was in Philadelphia, and he was supposed to be flying home that morning.  One very early report held that there was a fifth plan unaccounted for, perhaps out of Philadelphia, and it may have been hijacked as well.  I was unable to reach him until early evening.  His flight had been canceled, and he and another law intern had rented a car to drive back to Pittsburgh.  Whew.

It was two weeks later, on a Saturday morning, that I realized that I had not shed a tear yet.  And at that moment, all of the tears that hadn't been shed came flowing over me.  The tears for our country; for the safety of our sons; for the emotional trauma of the kids at my school; for the families and friends of those lost in the Towers; for the certainty that some of my former students were on the front lines in the disaster, either as up-close observers or as victims (a number of them had moved to New York to build their futures); and for those who had to try the impossible tasks of sorting out what had happened.  My shoulders shook and I sobbed uncontrollably for about half an hour.  There were spurts of tears later in the day, and it would all well up inside me again and come out in 15-second bursts.  And then it was over.  My soul, my spirit, my emotions, had faced it and had dealt with it, finally.

And that's what I remember.

by (832,960 points)
+1

Heartfelt! 

0
You were clever to make such a horrible event into a learning experience and lesson for your students. I’m sure they will remember your lesson that day and thank you for helping them deal with what was happening. Believe it or not,  we were told not to say anything to our students, and to keep things quiet until the following days. I don’t think classes were held until some days later. But some kids who had spoken to parents on cell phones did manage to spread word about what was happening, and a student asked me what was going on much later. I told her that something serious had happened in NY and she would see more details about it when she got home.  I think being that some students might have had relatives working there and the principal didn’t want them to panic was the reason we were told to keep quiet. 

+1

I think that was probably the best thing to do  when the schools are in the NYC area.

+1 vote

I was initially asleep and awaken by the local radio news caster announcing the first plane hit the tower. While still groggy from partying the night before, I went back asleep. As I woke up a second time (and stayed up), both towers were burning and the first fell soon after. 

It's a sight to see in the hood when two fighter jets are patrolling the sky as if we were in a perpetual state of war. That was a formal introduction to "terrorism", yet the Muslim profile and face were very unfamiliar. To me, it favorably resembled the many gas station and corner store workers dispersed within the poor neighborhoods. I talked with associates that day and we all agreed the target shifted from Black people to Middle Eastern folk in terms of blatant racism and discrimination by this country against a group of people based on ethnicity and religious preference.

There was panic and uncertainty moving forward. All schools let out after a half day of classes. Kids were scared thinking their parents had to strap up with weapons in preparation to defend the home front. Hell, I hoped some kind of random draft hadn't begun and my name drawn to go overseas. 

20 years? Sheesh.

by (1,199,140 points)
0

Yes, its been that long.  You're right about the racism that began then. Everyone that was from the Middle East was considered a terrorist, targeted everywhere they went, and they were denied entrance back into the country. Very similar to how Asians were (and still are) being treated for the pandemic being their fault. Very sad, how many people think. 

+1

When 45 labeled COVID-19 as the "Chinese virus"..... it began full swing. Debate the origins of a lab cooked organism or transferred from raw bat consumption all you want..... America was built on racism. 

0

And still primarily profits off of it too.

0

Of course it does

0

King, you mean the “Chiner” virus? I think that’s how he pronounced it, and you’re right. That only goes to show what words can do to people. :( 

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