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Blakevich

Where were you?

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Seeing as how the September 11th attacks had such far reaching effects on all of us, I thought we might as well remember it.

 

Ten years ago, I was fourteen. I was sitting in Mrs. Breen's study hall class. Another teacher came in and talked to her. She turned on her small radio and we all listened to the news broadcasts. Our school didn't close early and our English teacher thought it would be good to write about our feelings. By that time we had seen the footage on tv. My friend thought it looked like Bruce Willis should make an appearance at this point and fix things. Of course, he never showed. I thought long and hard. I wanted revenge. I wanted to do something. We had been attacked! I came from a military family and had always wanted to join. On September 11th, I knew I had to join. That was the day the military changed from an idle desire to duty. It influenced me to join the Marines, and to ship out right out of highschool.

As I see these images again and feel those emotions again, it puts me in a strange state of mind. I didn't know anyone there, yet it had a tremendous impact on my life. I feel pain, sadness, anger, pride, and love all at the same time.

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I was in the Army. We had gotten done with P.T. and I stopped by the barracks on the way to the chow hall for breakfast after having showered and gotten changed for work. I stopped by the day room and saw everyone watching the T.V., so I popped in to see what was going on. A few moments later the second plane hit. The room was quiet and tense as we all watched it happen. The only words spoken where "We're going to war". We didn't know with who, exactly, or when, but we all knew we where going. I can't say any of us where scared in that room. It was more of a grim determination and silent resolve to the fact that we where going to war.

 

We got put on alert. As the last open post in the Army, we had to do armed patrols while the engineers knocked out putting up barricades and check point booths. I had to call my pregnant wife and tell her "I'm not sure if I'm coming home", as we had no idea what was going on. I did eventually get home, at about 1 a.m. that night.

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I was sitting in my office at the lumber mill. One of the lumber inspectors can in and told me, "Someone just flew a plane into the World Trade Center. They're talking about it on the news." Not knowing the seriousness of the situation (assuming it was an accident), I replied, "Big deal! I've done it a dozen times in Microsoft Flight Simulator. You take off from JFK, hook a serious left and it's right there." A short while later we had half the guys in the front office and where watching things unravel on the 19" TV in the break room. We got next to nothing done that day at work.

The next day, I heard from my dad that no one had heard from my brother, who had been working at the World Trade Center. It turned out he was working elsewhere that day, but ended up too busy to call as he was helping with things on site. Having been an Army Ranger, he grabbed his crew and they rollerbladed back to ground zero, where he put them to work helping set up communications centers for the first responders and victims. He has some really intense video from that day and the next couple days. Some he took himself; some he traded with other people who were there.

 

I remember hearing a couple days later that a car full of Mid-Landers headed out to help at ground zero. It still stuns me that they put their lives on hold for a few days to go help with a disaster like that. Between them and my brother, it made me really proud to have the friends I have.

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I was thirteen years old and in gym class when a secretary rushed in to hand a memo to my teacher, who turned pale before telling us that a plane had hit the WTC. I didn't even know what they were talking about, then a boy in my class said, "My dad works there." The secretary quickly ushered the kid out. Nobody even knew what to say to him, so nothing was said. At my next class, the news was on and it was reported that the second plane had hit. I didn't know how to make sense of what I was seeing. When I got home, my mom was there and the news was still on, replaying the horrifying footage over and over. I had watched that same footage so manytimes that by the time Hurricane Katrina tore through, I was used to horrifying news footage.

 

Since then, I've had friends go to war, calling me from undisclosed locations only to hang up because gunfire had rained out of nowhere. I've had friends show their loyalty to this country and then suffer from PTSD when violent encounters left their friends dead. The whole event boiled down to utter senselessness for me.

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Sitting in english class in 6th grade, the principal came on the loudspeaker, didn't say what was going on, just instructed all the teachers to NOT turn on the television.

 

Naturally, she did. we spent the rest of the day watching the coverage.

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I was working at Rockford College, in Illinois, and heard the first story on the radio as I drove across the city to work -- they were talking about it as though it were a Cessna, or something. By the time I got to my office, it was real, and we turned on the tv in our library classroom and let people come in and watch. I remember that all the news anchors were talking live to their colleagues in NYC and were calling them by nicknames. It was obvious that they were personally concerned about their friends, and fuck the news -- I'd never heard them "break script" like that before, and something about that detail has always stuck with me. We all broke script that day.

 

I worried most of the day about my friends in DC, one of whom worked at the FTC just off the Mall. They were all safe, but several of them ended up walking miles through the city trying to get to somewhere that they could feel safe, be with friends, get away from the chaos. My father called me, and though he'd spent my entire life telling me we lived in a crappy part of the country in an even crappier city and I should never have come back after I got away for college, the thing he said over and over that day was "I'm glad we live in the middle of a cornfield."

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I was 9 years old and in the 4th grade. I didn't really understand what was going on when I first heard about the attack. When I came home from school that day my parents sat me down and tried to explain what happened. I also recall watching coverage of the attack on TV and truly realizing how devastating the attack was actually seeing the damages done. Looking back now makes me greatly respect all the men and women who serve in the US millitary and are willing to risk their lives to defend our great nation against future attacks.

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On September 11th, I was 9 days away from my due date. We were stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas; so I was asleep when my grandmother called to tell me that the first tower had been hit. I thought I was dreaming and tried to go back to sleep; when that failed, I turned on the TV right before the the second plane hit. A few minutes later, Phil called to tell me that he didn't know if he was coming home. Those words still bring me to tears. There I was standing in my living room telling him, you mean you don't know when you're coming home and him telling me again that he didn't know if he was coming home. All I remember before we hung up was me telling him that I wasn't having this baby without him so he better come home.

 

The next week was a crazy blur; Phil worked alternating shifts of 24 hours on duty and 24 hours off. My pregnant best friend's husband's unit was on "gate" guard while the engineers built actual gates. Our car was searched for bombs whenever we went on post. My last doctor's appointment before Daniel was born, the taxi cab had the wrong insurance card so they wouldn't let him on post. He had to drop me off at the gate to wait for my best friend to take me to Phil; who was still pulling 24 hour shifts when I had Daniel 8 days after Sept 11th. Luckily his co let him off duty 6 hours early so he could get a few hours sleep before he took me to the hospital.

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Ten years ago, I was 25 years old. That morning, I signed into my AOL (at the time, it worked for me) and saw all the pictures and the story of how the towers had been hit by planes. I honestly thought that America Online had been hacked, that the whole thing was a fake. There was no way that could just happen. It kind of made me laugh, and I continued my morning as usual.

 

An hour later, I arrived at work, ready to tell my amusing story of how AOL's server got hacked. There was a very somber look on my friend/coworker's face. He just looked me and said, "The twin towers are GONE, dude." At that point the whole thing hit me, realizing that it was NOT a hoax. His brother had been there only days before, on a trip to NYC to fulfill one of his dreams of standing on top of the twin towers.

 

The rest of the day was very quiet. We got updates throughout the day from customers, but there was very little in the way of small talk.

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Playing Basketball in the school gym when the gym teacher came on the court to tell us that all schedules were cancelled and we were to go park ourselves in front of a TV with a teacher of our choice.

 

Now I spend my class breaks reading novels in front of MVCC's 9/11 dedication and remembering how much it hurt to grow up a lot in only a few hours.

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I was in 6th grade. Sitting in ELA class, when another teacher came in... My ELA teacher immediately began to cry. The loud speaker came on, and our principal informed us that we would be going home. I arrived home just as the 2nd plane had crashed into the towers. I was only 10, yet it was a sight I'll never forget.

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I was sitting in my private room at Strong Memorial Hospital after I had been readmitted from complication or my kidney transplant surgery 7 days before that. I was eating my breakfast watching a pregnancy fashion show on good morning america. Suddenly Peter Jennings came on and said that a plane had crashed into one of the twin towers and they were saying it was a cessnia at first. My mother said to fill her in and went to grab breakfast from the hospital cafeteria. I watched and ate wondering what kind of accident had happened on the little plane, when I heard Peter pause in what he was saying to his on the sight correspondent and say "Oh my God" I looked up from my food just in time to watch the other plane fly into the second tower. I sat in terror watching the smoke and a normally calm news host just lose all composure. My mother walked in the room and all I could say to her crying was "We're under attack!".

 

We sat and watched for hours, the nurses crowded into patients rooms watching as well. The hospital administration had to get on the loud speakers and ask people to stop using the phones because it was blocking up the lines for the doctors trying to communicate around the hospital, and they said people could use their cell phones instead.

 

What really got me that day, was when a news host was interviewing a women on the street and she was talking about the people falling from the building and the women couldn't continue because she was crying so hard, and the host actually dropped his mike and held her, to see someone who is supposed to keep his emotion at bay drop everything to comfort another person really showed the good of humanity in such a dark time.

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I was in college, here in Philadelphia. I went to my morning class, but left early to dry off after "falling" into a fountain during my life drawing class. I wasn't feeling well, so I shed the wet stuff, and took a nap. I had some friends down from home, and I woke up to my buddy's wife shaking me awake. "Something's wrong, come quick." I thought Jimmy was just trying to play some stupid joke to wake me up, but I walked into the living room and saw him glued to the tv, watching the smoke our out from the first tower. Before I could ask what was going on, I saw the second plane hit. That became our day. People in Philadelphia were freaking out, as we also have twin towers here on the east coast. Shortly after, there were shuttle busses available from city hall to the sports stadiums for those who wished to put some distance between themselves and those buildings.

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I was just starting my senior year of Highschool, sitting in musical theater class. We already had the TV in front of us, since we watched musicals like the whole year.

 

I also thought it was just a little propjob when i heard about it. "Oh, some moron couldn't find the runway, ha".

 

And then the whole school got ushered into the auditorium. Then we watched the second tower fall. I don't think I've ever heard a huge room full of kids be so quiet.

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was in myh senior year of high school. just got off the bus at boces for my criminbal justice class. one of the students who drove there came runnin g in and told us that a plane crashed into the first tower. my teacher turned on the tv and we caught the broadcast shortly before the second plane hit. we watched everything till it was time to head back to our own schools. the bus had the radio on the whole time back to school. spent the rest of the day glued to the tv.

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I had just started my sophomore year in college. I had all late classes, so I was still in bed. One of the girls in my suite came in and shook me awake and told me I needed to come to the lounge; something important was happening. The first plane had already hit and we watched as the second one hit too. I remember my friend asking if the towers would fall and someone said there was no way; they'd been attacked before and hadn't fallen. When the first tower fell, I think we all knew that the world had just changed. There was stunned silence, tears, muttered prayers.

 

And then there was the fear.

 

I think we all went into some sort of hyper-alert mode that day. I went to school in Potsdam. There's nothing up there except for colleges and cows, but rumors were flying that there was a power grid station in Malone or Massena (I can't remember) that provided 90% of the power to NYC and it was going to be hit. It wasn't, obviously, but our perception of what was and what was not possible had just been completely and forever altered.

 

 

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Guest Elrohir Amandil

I was in high school. 2001 would have made me a junior. I remember walking into the wrong classroom since I wasn't supposed to be at my study hall yet. Didn't matter much, we spent a couple of hours glued to the TV but it was a pretty normal school day beyond that. We were in Orange County, New York so it was merely an hour and a half away from NYC. I knew some dads that were fire fighters down there. The ones I knew lived, thankfully.

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I was on my honeymoon in Toronto. We got married on 8 September 2001.

 

David already said that we were on our honeymoon. When we went down for breakfast I thought everyone was watching footage of some famous old buildings being demolished. We found out the truth when we went back to our room and I thought I should probably turn on the TV. It's odd perhaps, but since we were in Canada, we never had the feeling that we weren't safe. Our parents couldn't imagine why we didn't call them to let them know we were ok. We never thought they would be concerned, since we weren't, and neither were very many of the Canadians. Although they were very sympathetic and apologetic.

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I was working in GA at the time, secluded in the back offices alone when one of my colleagues popped back and mentioned something about setting up a TV to watch the news. What followed was one of the most surreal experiences of my life to date: While the attacks and collapse were brutal to watch, it was seeing the Georgians shrug and go on with their day that was the eerie part. It was just spectacle for them on some level. Nothing had ever made me feel like a *NYer* until that moment.

 

Lost a college friend in the attack -- and ultimately it was the reason I moved back to NY in 2002.

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