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Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by James L White, Sep 9, 2003.
911 need I say more. I can't beleive it's been that long.
"Where were you when the world stopped turning
On that September day...?"
- Alan Jackson
Me, I was (oddly) finishing a rant on HTF in the After Hours section about Roger Clemens' 20th win, minutes before the first plane hit only a mere 30 miles away from me; I was driving my car to work, missed my train (because of my lengthy diatribe), and instead decided to drive in to Manhattan as I sometimes did when I was a little late to the client's site, and was on my way up the Garden State Parkway when the news broke. I saw the flames shooting from the tops of the buildings and a HUGE, LONG plume of smoke trailing southward away from the towers from MILES away. As I drove closer and closer to New York I could see things very clearly (especially on the VERY-strangely empty Pulaski Skyway), but after finding both tunnels shut down I instead head to my company's NJ office. From the Pavonia/Newport area; I had only just turned my head away from the towers a second or two just before the north tower collapsed, and witnessed the HUGE mass of smoke and debris spread through lower Manhattan and across the Hudson River...
My good friend was IN the WTC, just coming up to the mall area out of the PATH train escalators when the first plane hit; he described it as utter chaos as people were running trying to find a way out (he did get out safely); after he had made it to his office building a couple blocks further south, he felt and heard the massive rumblings of the first collapse, and minutes later he and several others went out to make their escape from a horribly chaotic Manhattan, only to find to his horror this HUGE cloud of roiling smoke and dust rushing down the street toward him; with an inner "HolySh**!" he and the others rushed back inside his building, with the outside swiftly cut off entirely in darkness...
Another good friend was somewhere in midtown Manhattan trying to reach his wife, who worked on the 90th floor and was in the kitchen of her north-tower office when the first plane hit. She barely escaped, just reaching the lobby as her tower started to fall. A reporter for Time magazine captured her in a famous picture (at that time) as she and her co-workers were stumbling through the dark haze...
Another friend, who had been on the last PATH train to make it to the tower that day, crossed over from the block of the WTC to that little park diagonally across the street (southeast) from the WTC shops (where they played chess in the afternoons), and numbly picked up a piece of debris: a partially-burned plane ticket. He didn't have time to examine it, though, as he heard the screaming sound of the second plane, and turned his head to watch it smash into the south tower...
A co-worker at the time, I found out, lost her fiance; I do not know any further details of her loss, except to know those were extremely sad days, the remainder of my time with that client...
Trying to get in touch with my friend who'd been witness to the first strike was a very nerve-wracking four hours, and finding him in this huge sea of bewildered strangers stuck at Giants Stadium (where the Port Authority had shipped thousands of New Jersians; their only way back across the Hudson had been the ferry)...I must say, with as much time as I put that day on my weary cellphone's battery (mostly retrying through countless "Network Service Unavailable" messages), I'm utterly amazed it lasted all the way up to the point I tracked him down in that parking lot. Both he and my other friend (the one who found the plane ticket) were there, alive and well.
So many emotions that day. They're all etched in fire up here (*knocks on head*) now; if the ravages of time erode my memories, September 11th of 2001 will be one of the last ones to go.
This was a rather emotional day for me. Not only did 9/11 happen but the day before I got laid off from my job. A job I really loved and enjoyed.
I was already very depressed from the job loss and then 9/11 happened throwing me into some major emotional stress. It was pretty serious and I almost had a nervous break down. I could not even sleep for a week. For weeks after it was 2 or 3 hours at best.
To this day I still have not gotten my nerves inline. If I could afford it I would hire a shrink. Lately the natural remedies have been working pretty good. St. Johns Wort and a natural sleep aid called Calms Forte help me get by.
Even after finding a new job a short time later doing what I was doing before and making more money the stress is still with me. It is like a fear a repeat of the past or something and I can't shake it.
I have a feeling so many americans feel the same. First 9/11 happened and then so many lay offs thereafter.
I had a very different experience on that day. I was in Los Angeles attending graduate school and living in a complete sh*thole of an apartment. We received no television or radio signals (no cable and the roof was made out of material that made it very hard to get a TV or radio signal) and I had to rely on listening to my favorite radio station (97.1 the FM talk station) to get my news, as we didn't have the internet up and running yet either. Anyway, I was driving to school listening to Howard Stern and he was talking about the WTC being on fire and something bad happening at the Pentagon. The problem was that he never did a re-cap for people who just tuned in, so I didn't really understand what was happening. Plus, I didn't know if the show was being broadcast live or pre-recorded. Anyway, I got to school and there was a tv by the front desk of one of our buildings and we just all stood there stunned. I went back "home" shortly thereafter and tried to get the best tv signal as possible with my "rabbit ear" antenna with little success. Afterwards, I remember two specific things about the event: First, I felt a HUGE desire to go home and be with my friends and family, which I of course could not. Second, I remember spending many nights driving around the coast listening to the radio to get the latest news. As cheesey as it sounds, I will never forget that day for the rest of my life, and it still pains me to think about it.
I will never forget that day either. I have a bumber sticker on my truck comemorating it. I woke up between the first and second plane crashing into the towers. I don't think I have watched that much TV in a single stretch as I did that day and the next 2 after that. I'm sertainly happy I didn't have my current job then.
911 - "We will never forget"
It was two or three weeks into my first year in college, I had waken up around 8, no class until 11. I was a subscriber to CNN Breaking News E-mail at the time and I had Outlook Express open when the first e-mail came shortly before 9, saying that a small commuter plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I was 18 years old at the time, and had never really known about the World Trade Center buildings until then, even though I had been to New York once before in the summer of 1997.
The e-mails started pouring in. CNN Breaking News E-mail after CNN Breaking News E-mail. Neither my roommate nor I had brought a TV, so we had to settle for my CD clock radio, and listened to the audio of the ABC News coverage. I started up a thread about the attacks in the Off Topic section of a forum for the movie We Were Soldiers.
11 o'clock, and I realized that I had a class scheduled then, so I went. I arrived 20 minutes late, the last to arrive. Everyone's minds had to be on the attack, how we possibly focus on anything else? At 10 minutes before class was supposed to end, the professor let us go, "given the circumstances". Next up was choir at 12:30, but I just couldn't go. I had Calculus at 4 and English at 5. The English professor e-mailed the class to cancel class. Since the Calculus professor didn't have our e-mails, I went to class just in case since the shock had worn down a bit by then, and the students that made it tried to learn. I can still remember the expression on the professor's face, "let's try and get through this."
That night, an acquaintance I made in my dorm named Jon invited me to come along with him to get gas for his truck. As expected, the lines were long, but the manager of the station hadn't risen the prices yet. We waited. Jon was one of the last people able to get gas before the station ran out. While we were waiting, I went inside and bought 10 dollars worth of food and drinks, junk food and pop, not stuff I'd stock up on for emergencies. I still remember the small TV, the shelves, the cases of beer in the fridge, and the counter in the station mart.
Jon filled up his tank. I hadn't eaten dinner yet, so I asked him if we could stop by KFC on the way back, he said yes. I ordered my meal, and at the drive-thru window, Jon updated the lady at the window of the gas station situation. I paid, we left.
I can't believe I remember all of these petty details so vividly.
"I'm just glad to be alive" - Julian Coryell
I remember waking up to the pounding of doors and shouting in hallways through my fraternity house. I got up and everyone said turn on the news. We all watched it. My frat bros who were from NY were desperately trying to call their families. We were all calling friends living in downtown LA to get the F*CK outta there. All classes were cancelled. EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE on the entire USC campus was on their cell phones telling their friends. Everyone was glued to the TV the next week or more.
I was sitting at my desk when my buddy from Hong Kong called me to say that a plane just hit the WTC. He was watching the evening news when the first word broke. I walked around over to my boss and mentioned it casually thinking it was just some freak accident involving a Cessna or something. Then he called back. Then my mom called. We couldn't access the regular Internet news sites so my friend actually e-mailed me a digital photo of his TV screen.
An hour and a half later, my girlfriend and I joied a mass exodus of people walking out of downtown Boston. The rest of the day was spent in front of CNN and MS-NBC while trying to contact all of our friends in Manhattan. Fortunately, all, even the ones working in or near the WTC, were OK.
Some of you know, most of you don't, that I work in Radio news. I work a morning show. Do the math.
The studio I was working in that morning did not have a television, so when we first got a brief over the AP wire that a plane had crashed into the WTC, we laughed it off. When I got off the air, playing a song, I wandered back into my office where I have three TVs on CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC. I was stunned by what I saw. I literally couldn't move for a minute while I took it all in. I put a page over the building to send all programming to CBS news, and we just let it all unfold.
At the end of the day, around 6pm CST, I realized we couldn't do anything more, and left our stations on national coverage. By that time, some of us had been there for 14 hours, and we were emotionally and physically exahusted. I remember vividly, a morning-show host I respect and admire, breaking down for the first time, with a stutter in his voice, announcing what was going on. He turned off the microphone, and had tears in his eyes as he turned to me, and just said "I don't know what came over me." I understood, believe it or not.
I went home, sat in my favorite chair, and just watched that TV for the rest of the day until I fell asleep there. My wife covered me with a blanket and turned on my alarm for 4am, my normal wakeup call, and the next day we tried to make sense of it all.
i had no work that day, and slept in a little. my alarm clock was still on though, 104.1 wbcn in boston, with howard stern on in the mornings. obviously he was talking about the incident when it happened, but i didnt wake up, i had howard talking in my ear about it from my alarm clock, but i was still sleeping. this caused me to have a VERY vivid dream about what was actually happening. after a while, i woke up, turned off the alarm clock, relieved that my horrible nightmare was 'only a dream' i turned on the tv, and realized that it was real.
I was at the bottom of WTC (north tower, I believe) at 8:28am (bought a path train ticket with WTC 09/11 08:28am timestamp), on my way to Jersey City for a meeting. The train I was on ran extremely fast and extremely loud and I was thinking:...terrorists? Right after the meeting was over (we were right across the river on the shore) the first plane hit (I didn't hear it at all. Everyone thought it was an accident). I kept chatting with someone for a while when some one ran in yelling: everyone, get the f*** outa here! right now!!! I can never forget the panic tone, I thought someone was shooting in the office. I guess that was when the second one hit and everyone realized it was an attack. I was luck, walked to a path train station and it took me to 34th street, walked to 42nd and was able to get on the first metro north train and was at home in CT at 1:30pm.
I was on my way to work when Howard Stern mentioned a plane hitting the tower. Being Howard Stern I thought it was a joke. After turning to another station I knew it was no joke.
As soon as I got to work the phone was ringing off the hook. One I did alot alotraveling for work at the time and also my dad Worked for AA( American Airlines) and when I did Travel (for pleasure) it was on AA. Everyone was making sure that I was OK.
Here is the really scary part.
Every since my sister moved out to LA in 85 there was not ONE time EVER that I did not take flight 11 out there which was at least twice a year.
To me, it feels like a long time ago... I think because so much has changed in my life since then.
I was on my way to work and listening to an AM sports radio station which I rarely do. They gave a quick mention of a plane hitting the WTC, and I remember rolling my eyes and thinking some idiot crashed another Cessna into the building.
When I got to work they had set up a TV in the conference room and I stood there with my mouth open watching the smoldering towers. The magnitude of what was happening didn't really hit me until probably days later.
I live in California so by the time I heard about it, it was already after noon in NY.
I was just leaving for work and I noticed that there was a message on our machine. I listened to it and it was my wife seeing if I was still home. She said she would talk to me when I got to work. I then grabbed my cell and noticed that she had tried to call me four times. I was concerned and so I called her immediately. She told me to turn on the news, that planes were crashing into buildings and that some had collapsed. Having remembered the early news reports when we had the earthquake back in 1989, saying that the bay bridge had collapsed, I figured this was just some mistake. I ran and turned on the news and just stood there. I couldn't really comprehend what was happening. It was like a terrible nightmare. I drove to work and wondered looking at the people in the cars around me if they knew what had happened. When I got to work I tried to get busy so I wouldn't think about what was happening. I couldn't really concentrate though and a few minutes later my boss called and said to go home. I called my wife and she was also coming home. We watched the news for awhile but it was so depressing that we left and went to the store. The thing I remember very clearly was how quiet it seemed. There were no planes flying. With three major airports in the area, it was just so eerie.
I talked to a friend that lives back east and she said that the news showed people jumping. I am glad that the news coverage that I saw stopped showing that.
Since I have never been to NYC and had never seen the Towers in person, I will never feel the pain as deeply as New Yorkers. Still, I will never forget that day.
My employee and I had just gotten to our jobsite, and began setting up our equipment. We turned on the radio, and Howard Stern was talking about kissing Pam Anderson, and was being goofed on by the other members of the show, for not scoring with her.
As he was talking, at some point he casually mentioned that a plane had crashed into the WTC. My employee and I starting saying "How could you be so stupid, to crash into the WTC??" We, much like everyone else, assumed it was a small Cessna type plane.
Stern went back to talking about Pam, and shortly thereafter, someone came in and said that another plane had hit the second tower. He turned on his monitor, and yelled something like "WHOA!!!" We're under attack!!! That was a passenger plane!!!, This is no accident."
After that information came fast and furious (and alot of it was thankfully erroneous). The Pentagon, reports of bombs going off a the capital building, and reports of the Mall in D.C. being on fire.
To top it all off, some moron in the vicinity of our jobsite began shooting off an automatic firearm.
We thought a full out attack was going down.
As silly as it sounds now, we grabbed Paslode gas nailers, and claw hammers, and made our way to the van, preparing to possibly defend our lives.
I called my wife from the van, and told her that I was coming to meet her at her work, and would follow her home, so we could go get our kids from school.
When I finally got to my house, my brother in law who works for me out of my home, was watching it all go down on TV. As we walked in, the second tower was falling.
I will never forget how I felt at that moment.
I hear alot of people talk about this today as if it's something that we should have moved on from.
I have no words to express how foolish and arrogant that I think that mindset is.
How can you forget this tragedy?
I'm 32 years old, but I'm already that old guy that says "I'll never forget that day."
For those who've started to forget how it felt that day, this tribute puts it all back into perspective.