September 11: Where were you?

When I heard about the first plane, that’s all I thought it was… just a fluke. I was at the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek, VA. At the time, I was attached to a 10-man search and rescue team in the U.S. Coast Guard, and we were all watching this tragedy unfold. It seemed like no one really understood the gravity of what was happening until we received orders to deploy and provide protection to a Naval armory nearby.  [Evan, Senior Project Manager]

I was on a cross-town bus in lower Manhattan. As the bus slowly made its way across 6th Ave. in heavy morning traffic, we all turned our heads simultaneously, in slow-motion, and saw smoke billowing from one of the towers. Assuming it was simply a fire, I took the subway uptown to my first day of grad school. I was in class when I learned that airplanes had struck both towers, and then soon after, that the towers had collapsed. After the second tower collapsed, the professors finally canceled class. [Jessica, Executive Producer]

I was watching The Today Show when the first plane hit. The TV was just on in the background as I got ready to drive my younger son to pre-school. At first I just assumed it was a bizarre accident. When the second plane hit, I found myself struggling to grasp that this was probably not a coincidence. It was chilling to realize that we were under attack, here in America. I never thought that was a possibility.  I have never felt so unsafe. The world was completely different, in a split second. [Sue, Content Screener]

I was a student at DePaul and was getting ready for work when I heard a couple maintenance guys outside my dorm window talking about an attack at the World Trade Center. I remember thinking it was odd they were talking about the 1993 attack and wondering if it was the anniversary. I stopped at the grocery store on my way to work, and two clerks there told me a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. I asked if it was an accident or on purpose. When they said another had just hit the other tower, I realized it had to be on purpose. Besides the burning towers, the image that has stuck with me from that day, though, is of the always calm, serious and stoic Peter Jennings, the newsman who had delivered every important bit of news in my short life, crying on air later that day as he watched footage from Ground Zero. [Katherine, Human Resources Manager] 

I was working at Legacy.com. At the time, we were on the fifth and top floor of our building, in a border suburb of Chicago. As reports of the destruction on the East Coast poured in, it was impossible not to think about how close we were to a major city. Suddenly even our modest fifth-floor perch seemed very vulnerable. Like so many other people, I spent the day dazed, terrified to hear what news would come next, and worried about my friends and family in New York City (including my sister, who lived in Brooklyn and witnessed the attacks with her own eyes from just a bridge away).  [Linnea, Content Manager]

I moved to Chicago from Kansas just a few short weeks before the 9/11 attacks. A few days before the attacks, my husband drove back to Kansas to clear out the last of our belongings from our home. So on the day of the attacks, I was alone in a new city. No friends, no family. Just me, our two-year-old son, and our two dogs. I remember turning on the television after coming in from taking our dogs for a walk along Lake Michigan. I was horrified by the images on the screen. It was right after the second plane struck the twin towers, and the newscasters were trying to make sense of what was happening. Soon after, I started receiving calls from friends and family telling me that terrorists were attacking tall buildings and that I should stay inside my apartment. Everyone was extremely worried about the fact that I had moved to a big city. Or as they put it, a huge target. I was glued to the television all day with tears streaming down my face. I felt so very sad for the friends and families of the victims. The large number of victims and the mountain of grief from this single day felt overwhelming. I remember turning on the television each morning that week and watching non-stop coverage until I went to bed. I felt almost obligated to watch, as if it was my patriotic duty to honor the lives lost by watching interviews with their families. [Katie, Director of Operations]

The “Remembering 9/11” site includes obituaries, profiles, Guest Books, Moving Tributes and a National Book of Remembrance. To date, more than 6 million people have visited the site, leaving more than 200,000 Guest Book entries.

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