Getting ready to pick up relatives at the airport in preparation for our wedding.
How was the airport scene?
Oh, their planes were grounded mid-flight. The wedding was canceled.
I don’t know why , but this is top 3 saddest comments I’ve read. The wedding was cancelled off the back of the attacks ?
Actually, postponed is the proper word. We were married a week later. tl;dr: It was a very different wedding than we had planned.
My parents got married a couple of weeks after 911. Their wedding wasn't cancelled, but the attendance was about half of what they had originally expected, if that
Same here; half the family was missing
In the forest, camping. No radio. No phone. I came back to civilization 5 days later. Everyone had processed what had happened (as much as could be expected). I had not even heard about it so was out of sync with the world. Strange times.
man you must have found a portal out there and accidentally travelled to the bad timeline
Denis Villeneuve should make that film
There's a really good podcast called 9/12 which is all about how we as a society reacted to 9/11, and one of the stories they tell is about people who were on a boat in the middle of the ocean filming some reality show--it sounds like your experience was very similar to those people.
On the R train that has just passed underneath the towers at Cortland Street. The conductor of the R train after mine was instructed to just go straight through and not stop. They disobeyed the order and stopped. Took on as many people as possible and got out of there. That conductor likely saved a lot of lives. There was almost no mention of that anywhere in the news.
Oh my god..that’s crazy..incredibly heroic on their part. I’m glad lives were saved
*Edit: changed pronoun from he to they (my bad tbh, didn’t realize I did that)*
Always look for the helpers.
I like to read the good news network, it puts up positive stories. It really shows how focused the news is on negative things
Sleeping during first plane. Getting ready for work when the second hit. Went to work for three hours with no customers. Called the boss. He said close. Went home. Watched CNN and tried to convince my mom I wasn't about to get drafted.
Same but in HS. Sleeping for the first then waking up to my parents being like what is going on? Saw the 2nd plane hit. Went to school anyway, then spent all day in every class just watching the news. Sitting on the desks, on the floor, pacing around. Just crawling in our own skin. Teachers and students alike. They let us ask questions and express feelings to the best of everyone’s abilities. Lunch period was surreal. Silence. Not a single plane in the sky. Got in the car, turned music on, turned it immediately off. Felt disrespectful. Whatever fast food we got that day was just eaten in silence. So gut wrenching. Remember like it was yesterday
Similar, my brother was a truck driver and happened to be in New York State at the time, he called my Dad at home. I watched the second plane hit live. I did go to school afterwards and it was an odd day. I’m in Canada on the border with NY state so we were glued to cnn. I vaguely remember seeing F18s flying. I remember sitting in the library watching the news just talking about the events. My brother was stranded in the states for a week or so because the border was closed.
How far were the two planes apart? I thought it were only a few minutes
I think 14 minutes for some reason
Close - 16.5 minutes.
Worth noting we weren't chronically online at the time, so the news of all this spread pretty slowly unless you were watching TV or listening to the Radio.
It was the better part of an hour before I heard a second plane hit after hearing about the first in chemistry class. Rumors swirled about other planes targeting anything and everything for a few hours after the events had actually ended.
It just wasn’t whether you were chronically online, cell phones were nowhere near universal. So, many people couldn’t be immediately reached. Also, this was the era where many cell phone plans still charged per sent/received text message.
It was long enough that over here in Australia I had an American friend on the internet mention the first plane hit, prompting me to go turn on the late night news. A few minutes after I started watching, the second plane hit on live TV. Before that, everyone still thought it might have been an accident, but when the second plane hit we all knew what it meant.
Under anesthesia at Boston Children's hospital. I woke up being moved into an elevator on a gurney. They had finished my surgery, but weren't bringing me to the recovery ward. Boston Children's Hospital is a very tall building, and Boston had advised all buildings to evacuate all floors above the tenth floor. So I was moved down to the lobby after my surgery.
Thats got to be wild. Going under in one reality and waking up in another.
much like anytime something happens during the night.
Work nights and you can have this experience several times a year!
Manhattan. Watched the towers fall. Heard the crowds that had gathered all down 5th Ave gasp and scream in unison as the first tower crumbled. Gathered in a packed bar with freaked out coworkers as we first saw the photo of Osama Bin Laden on the TV. Walked home to queens with thousands of other shocked new yorkers in an eerie silence, with the occasional ghostly figure of a downtown worker covered in white dust.
My ex wife was in the second tower*, got out when the first one was hit.
Her brother was in the first tower. Also got out.
She was knocked down by the concussion of the tower falling. Some stranger picked her up by the elbow.
It was her brother.
She also had a few other heartwarming tidbits:
As she walked home to brooklyn she had been breaking in new heels), and some dude in a corner store gave her a pair of flip flops. They broke 3 blocks later, giving her her first post 9/11 laugh. she still has them today in her hope chest.
(Edit: she was not in the tower, she was in a smaller building on the same block. Sorry for miss remembering that small detail.)
She also said that people were turning radios to the street so she could get a running commentary about potential other attacks, and others were handing out bottles of water to the newly minted pedestrian commuters.
New Yorkers man; complete assholes if you’re in their way during rush hour, but if you yell “help”, the whole fucking city comes running.
My kind of people.
Corrections: she just texted back (it’s only 5am here; I texted her without even realizing it was still so early. Oops). the concussion didn’t knock her down, she tripped in her heels trying to run, she pulled her shoes off after, hence the flip flops.
He was in the basement taking his series 57 exam. Normally he worked down the street as well.
Taxis left their doors open with the radio on as well, and she stopped to sit in the back seat of a few of them as makeshift benches. She said walking 5 miles in a pencil skirt was taxing in retrospect.
That first bit is fucking wild
Yeah, she never told me about it; he did. I didn’t believe it until she confirmed it years later.
On the New Yorkers part; the subway was packed and everyone seemed to be in the typical morning rush. Some guy passed out and falls over and literally everyone in the side of the train car was checking on him to make sure he was ok. Everything could have been done for him was done. There was no bystander effect on that train car. Was beautiful.
I’ve seen and witnessed more acts of humanity in NYC than anywhere else on the planet.
I’ve also been called an asshole for “being in the way” more in NYC than anywhere else on the planet.
I’d be more afraid of my 9 year old daughter being caught out alone in 90% of my hometown of 100k people than in the city. As my coworker that lives in the city says: “yeah, we have enough shit on our plate, we don’t need to deal with the hassle of raising a stolen kid. Please come get it.”
Again: my kind of people.
I'm from the UK and went it NYC for a trip with my mum and my sister. My mum is 70 but still spry. In my experience travelling in London on the tube with her, people pretty much ignore you if your older and standing and don't offer seats. Thus was also the case when I was pregnant.
In NYC she was ALWAYS offered a seat; men, women, teenagers etc all immediately jumped up to offer her a seat. I was super surprised but also found it really sweet.
They already showed Bin Laden on TV on 9/11?
He was around before 9/11. He came from a rich as fuck Saudi family who started off fighting the soviets in Afghanistan. After that he was linked to a LOOONG list of terrorist plots. . Stirring up local militants in Egypt, Algeria and Sudan. Bombing a hotel in Aden. The Luxor Massacre. Bombing a number of US embassies. The US had enough intel to stop 9/11. But agencies didn't communicate and bin Laden funded so many other plots they lost track of everything.
Bin Laden was already known pre 9/11. He was responsible for the Embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam in 1998 and was put on the FBI’s most wanted list for it
at home on the other side of the world trying to watch cartoons and being annoyed why i couldnt.
I was 8 at the time.
Same thing here, different place and timezone I'm guessing. I was 7, and i understood something bad had happened, just not why.
Yep same. 8 year old Australian me was mad that Pokemon wasn't on that morning... my parents had to sit me down and talk through the tragedy that had happened. I remember feeling sad but also still a little mad about the missing pokemon lol
Definitely next morning. You would have been asleep when the actual impacts happened. I was in my mid-20s at the time and on the internet when a friend in the US told me about the first plane impact. I turned on the "late night CNN feed" Channel 7 used to run instead of infomercials.
I don't remember for sure, but I think it was about 1am Melbourne time. I woke up my wife and told her I just saw the start of World War 3, and she said, "Hmph? What? I'll read about it in the morning," and went back to sleep.
Next morning she woke me up and said, "Holy shit, you were SERIOUS???"
Aussie here and I had the exact same annoyance. My mum didn't talk to me about it though, I think the school might have.
11 here, also annoyed that Cheez TV wasn't on and I was missing Pokemon/DBZ/whatever else was on around that time.
Instead I thought it was some action movie involving a plane crashing into a tower, looked cool. was a good while til I found out that naw this is real life
Same! I was 11 and all I wanted to do was watch Pokémon... Instead I had to watch news about buildings burning
Same, not a American either, couldn't understand why DragonBall was delayed bc of that.
Came home from school (UK) aged 12 with my mum watching it in her office on the 14 inch CRT television/VHS combi. Watched the second one hit. I remember saying "fucking hell" and for once not being told off for it.
I have a similar story. I was 8 and also in the UK at the time. I used to go to a friend’s house after school and get picked up by my mum after she finished work. I distinctly remember getting in trouble for calling the pilot a “silly bastard” for flying a plane into a building. I don’t think any one understood the magnitude of the situation at that point.
Yeah that's what I thought when the first plane hit.
Some stupid bastard approaching the airport far too low.
Then "oh god this is deliberate" when the 2nd plane hit.
Then news of the OTHER planes and was like "Is the US being invaded?"
"Fucking hell" is one thing that America should adopt from Britain. I got a Brummie friend and have adopted it
Do Americans not say "fucking hell"? Fucking hell.
I say fucking hell all the fucking time
You gotta say it as "fuckin' 'ell" or it doesn't count
I was in the restaurant business at the time, woke up to start getting ready to go to a wine tasting at Windows of the World at 1:00 PM (top floor of the north tower) then I turned on the TV.
I had taken the evening class about 6 months earlier. If you worked at WOW, I’m sorry for the loss of your coworkers. Heather was an amazing pastry chef.
Wow, this imparts a strange feeling. For you to know and share the name of someone who passed away as a result of the attacks, it immediately humanizes it and make it more personal instead of a "thing that happened".
Interesting feeling, thank you for your humanity.
A couple of college classmates worked in the towers. Knew them only in passing -- not really 'friends', per se.
Father Mychal Judge -- the Franciscan Fire Chaplain -- I met him a few times while I was a student at college (the same one); he came to the school a few times in the late 80's since he was an alum, and the school was run by the same order of Friars.
Thank God nobody changed the time of that meeting to the morning
Wine tasting at 8 AM, let's gooo
holy crap you dodged a tank round there my friend.
My wife and I were in Manhattan two weeks before 9/11. We did a lot of tourist things but missed going up the World Trade Center. I told her "Don't worry, we'll go next time".
EDIT: We got married two months after 9/11 because the world seemed to be falling apart. We are still together. That was the best decision I ever made.
I was in Toronto a week earlier. Didn't go up on the "Space Needle" because I thought, oh, that's just a long and rather slim tower, isn't that unsafe? I'll go up on the World Trade Center then, once Michael has left. That would have been on the 12th or the 13th.
Instead, I went up on the Empire State Building on the 15th, just to spite the terrorists! Zero lines, and there were not many people up there. Maybe 20 or 30. When I walked out of the elevator and left, one of the staff said to me, "thank you for visiting the Empire State Building today." I just looked at him. I felt as if I had just visited a graveyard.
>I was in Toronto a week earlier. Didn't go up on the "Space Needle"
"How to piss off both Toronto and Seattle in two sentences"
Actually he dodged a plane.
Tank round? But bigger than that.
Bet That was one plane they're glad they missed
3rd day of high school. Long Island. Every TV was turned on around 8:50am. My fourth period global teacher ran out of the class when the first tower fell.
Sequential II math teacher still gave us the quiz that day. Kid behind me was crying the whole time. His parents worked at the WTC. Never saw him again following that day.
The following day they sent the freshman class on a “retreat” to meet their fellow classmates, as was previously planned. It was quite the time.
Edit for some extra info for everyone. I don’t remember the kid’s name but am pretty sure he lost both parents that day and *already knew* they were gone *and* had told the math teacher, who was Mrs. Kline. So yes, she gave us the quiz *and* him with possible knowledge of the parents being gone.
My high school locked down and wouldn't tell us what happened until much later in the day. It was a strange day.
Mine also locked down. I was 1 week into 10th grade studying in math class. That teacher said f that this is history and WHEELED the TV you the center of the board and turned it on. I started in that class for the next 3 periods (I often squatted in his room with some other people) until i got picked up. He still goes down as my favorite teacher.
Edit to add, I am from upstate NY and I think we locked down because there are 2 large co panties that each make separate, very specific, things for the military. We also had 2 state prisons in my area. We all had to be picked up from school specifically, with no walking or bus schedule.
That math teacher is an absolute psychopath.
I was in college and my art history professor gave us a test that day. It was at 11:00 am and all I remember is all of us sitting there just blinking and looking around.
I was a sophomore and someone asked our anthropology professor to turn on the tv (that was already in the classroom) so we could try to understand what was going on. She refused, but none if us really understood what was happening at that point.
I had watched the second plane hit while having breakfast at the main cafeteria a bit earlier. The tv there was smallish and attached to the wall where it met the ceiling, and it was always on mute.
I remember that no one could get cell phone service all day. Aside from the usual contingent of future hipsters most of the student body had a cell phone, but they weren’t at all a means to rapidly disseminate information the way they are now.
Man. I’m old.
I had the same thought but maybe he was in shock and thought it would be the most “normal” thing to do, to give the kids some normalcy in what was going on around him, but man….
I had to sit thru a lecture on matrix algebra on 9-11.
Probably was as shell shocked as anyone and numb. Or thought normalcy would be good. Or just didn’t know what else to do because no one trains you to deal with something like that. They handled it poorly; they’re also human too. Everyone deserve grace for that day
The same thing happened in my high school math class when John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
My heart is broken for that kid in your math class
My grade 9 Science teacher made us do our work as well because the event had nothing to do with science. 🙄
What’s the temperature that can melt steel beams? What’s the highest temperature jet fuel can get to ? Tinfoil hat on during this exam. 😂
That whole argument is dumb as shit. Do those people think blacksmiths are wizards for being able to work steel with *charcoal*?
My Home Ec teacher to us we “weren’t going to focus on the events of the day, we have work to do.” I’ll never forget the girl in front of me sobbing. I’m glad kids today have more empathetic teachers (for the most part).
I want to hope that was just that teacher's attempt at distracting the kids
> Kid behind me was crying the whole time. His parents worked at the WTC. Never saw him again following that day.
Did you find out if his parents survived?
I used to live in British Columbia, Canada. Started my second week of Grade 8, I was coming home from Secondary School (Canadian High School for my neighbours down south of the boarder) and lived in a fairly rural area, so I didn't hear what had happened until I arrived home at around 3:40-ish. My mum's boyfriend at the time was watching the news, and he told me to watch the footage. I saw said footage of the World Trade Centre towers collapsing, and I stood there dumbstruck. I couldn't sleep that evening, and it made it even harder to focus on my homework that night, let alone for the rest of that month.
The scary thing was my mum and her ex went to visit New York during August, and had originally considered staying until mid-September, but had to leave because of being unable to get that amount of time off. If their original plans had stayed per-course, there would've been a good chance that they could have died, as they stayed at a hotel near the WTC, which was eviscerated from the falling debris.
I was at the World Trade Center on 9/11 because I worked across the street. I was at the base of the South Tower when I saw the second plane go into the building and ran away toward the South street seaport. It had a huge impact on my life and still does - but I met the love of my life because of it and now have a son. I was thinking about it today because NY Magazine did a profile on us on Valentine's Day 2002 called "Love After 9/11" - I'll see if I can find a scan of the mag article and post it as an edit.
There was a lot of coverage after 9/11 of how many surviving firefighters ended up leaving their wives for the widows of their dead colleagues in the years after. Basically they’d be consoling these widows and form a bond over their shared grief.
Strange effects of a terrible day.
Article from CBS
On a plane halfway over the Atlantic from Germany going back to the US. The plane had to turn around and go back to Germany.
I was 10 months old.
I still have the passport with the 9/11/01 stamp on it.
Wow, there's an amazing documentary about the emergency landings that had to take place at an airport in Canada because of the hijackings. It's an interesting story, but I'm glad your family was able to just go back instead of having to deal with that.
I was working downtown Ottawa (Canada) in a skyscraper when it came on the news after the first plane hit. I remember at first the news saying they thought it was a news helicopter that accidentally hit one of the towers. I went to one of our boardrooms and saw the second tower get hit on live TV on our massive projector screen. We were told to go home at some point after the news of other planes started coming in. Leaving our building and travelling through downtown was intense. We knew planes were being diverted, we didn't know if we were under attack too, I was one block from Parliament Hill and the streets were filled with military and heavily armed police and vehicles. I also saw the people jumping and the towers fall while it was being recorded live. Even though I wasn't in NYC, it was still an event experienced in real time. Some years, on Sept 11, it hits me harder for whatever reason.
The people jumping is always what hit me the hardest. I can't imagine what that must have been like for them.
In Newfoundland! The musical Come From Away is based on it.
Thank you Newfoundland for taking care of all those people! Ya'll showed amazing hospitality. Thank you!
It was all of Canada. USA closed all their airspace, and any flights going to America, were immediately diverted to Canada, Mexico, or simply told to go back.
I have some friends who had to emergency land in Vancouver, and never left. Applied for PR status after their baby was born, got citizenship and just never went home.
Vancouver Airport started filling up with aircraft diversions and within a few hours every spare foot of the apron was in use for parking aircraft. Lots of ramp staff have stories about opening the doors to the planes after they sat for hours waiting for airstairs and buses and having to explain or confirm the event to the flight attendants onboard. Lots of tears and hugs. Weird few days at YVR and many other airports in Canada.
“Welcome to the rock” first musical I saw in NY
There is a book called “the day the world came to town” about that. A lovely feel good story about people helping people.
I was also in college and late for class that day, but still living at home. I woke up, flicked on the light and the bulb burnt out. Went downstairs to get a new one and said “hey mom. The light bulb burnt out” and she said “this is honestly the worst thing I’ve ever seen or heard.” I was like “don’t worry, I’m changing it now.” Ten minutes later, idiot me figured out what she meant. Saw the second plane hit. I remember, for years, waiting for things to settle down and get back to normal and it just….never did.
So this is a genuine question: I was born in 2002, and I always hear people say that things never went back to normal after 9/11, but what changed? I realize airport security is very different now, but beyond that I’ve never been able to grasp what people are talking about.
Was it similar to the pandemic where there was just a fundamental culture shift that can’t really be articulated or was it something more tangible than that?
This is the opinion of GenXer(1967)
There was this aura of invincibility. The U.S. takes the fight to you and no one ever came into our house and picked a fight with America. The closest thing was Pearl Harbor and you saw how things turned out for Japan. So don’t even think about it.
In that one act America was no longer invincible. Also, it wasn’t a country who did it, but a group of secretive extremists. We were attacked by a ghost. The U.S was vulnerable to a rag tag group of misfits. What if a country with resources wanted to do us harm, we’re fucked. This sense of and projection of invincibility has never returned.
I was taught in school the U.S. Is a melting pot of individuals. We’re all different individuals, but you come to America, asimílate, and melt into our big happy family called America. Middle easterners who immigrated to America were perceived as rejecting of their country’s cultures and ideologies in favor of becoming more westernized. That mindset of welcoming and acceptance of foreigners flipped immediately The hijackers, who were foreigners, lived among us for months and years. Immediately there was a huge distrust of any middle-easterners. This has not changed for a lot of Americans and has given rise to this plague of Nationalism you see now.
Also, the heightened airport security and U.S. government’s surveillance of its citizens in the name of national security flies in the face of this notion “America is the freest country on earth”. Additionally, there was this huge amount of propaganda that said as a patriotic American “if you see something suspicious, say something to the authorities”. This sense of true freedom has never returned and we all on the lookout to report anything suspicious. I believe this has morphed into “Karens” reporting suspicious people(minorities) in their neighborhoods.
There’s probably more. These are the big changes I’ve seen from 9/11 and there no denying a ripple effect of 9/11.
> Immediately there was a huge distrust of any middle-easterners.
I had a coworker who was Lebanese. He and his wife had immigrated and become American citizens. Their kids were naturally born Americans.
After 9/11 their *Orthodox Christian* church received death threats. Not that that makes it any better or worse, it just shows the fervent slobbering madness of the reactionary hatred.
He was a big business Republican. Came to the U.S. to earn a living and prosper, just wanted the government to stay out of his way. About a year after 9/11, they packed up and all moved back to Lebanon. It was deemed a safer place to raise their family.
I'll add the pointless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The aura of living in the US changed - It was really the end of an era. It's hard to describe, but things started to feel more oppressive after that.
I'm going to sound like a conspiracy kook, but, the government's ability to do once illegal things, was all of a sudden legal. They could track your phone without permission, had almost blanket authority to read texts, emails, cell phone logs, call history. You name it.
That is not a conspiracy. The patriot act is a real thing that enabled the US government to do exactly that.
Sadness on a level not felt for generations (maybe just a generation), yes the security thing.. but overall just sadness that really ramped up fear in people and just a giant shift in most Americans(I'm Canadian and I'd add our country to this) ideologies.
Look up the Patriot Act. Your rights changed. Mass surveillance, unconstitutional search and seizure, detention, among other things.
It was a shift in how we saw ourselves as Americans, and how we saw the world. It was also a tectonic shift in how the world would see America. We went on a war binge, we wanted and felt we needed to exact revenge for the lives lost and damage done. Think of it like this. As a child, you are carefree. You get into high school, and you are Mr. Popular, star of the football team, dating the head cheerleader, parents are well to do, acceptance letters to good schools with scholarships await, life looks good. Then suddenly something happens - you are disowned. Shunned at school by most students. Living on the streets. Scholarships withdrawn. You make it through that horrible thing, get a job, and you are Ok, but you aren't really ok. You are now aware of what a cruel world it can be. You are wary of everyone and everything. Others look at you and snicker over your downfall, while also being afraid of what you might do. That thing that happened is always in the back of your mind. It has permanently altered the trajectory of your entire life.
That is what happened. America changed. We weren't the innocent, happy go lucky country everyone else wished they could live in too. Danger came home to our own shores. Never before had we been attacked like this. We had been sheltered and safe - an ocean away from the chaos and wars that others experienced. We were safe. Then we weren't. We weren't prepared for that harsh reality. So we overreacted. We lashed out. We engaged in war, then war again with Iraq. We went drones out all over he place. Killing. And killing. And then killing some more. No plan to end anything. We elected presidents that promised an end, but even presidents couldn't end it once they were in the Oval. Not until Trump made his agreement with the Taliban and Afghan govt that tied Joe Biden's hands, who then bravely shut down the Afghan war. Other countries don't trust us anymore. Our national honor has been permanently tarnished in the world's eyes. Abroad everyone talks of the marked similarities between the fall of the Roman Empire and the decline of the United States and believe history is repeating itself. This is what has changed.
This was……remarkably well said. Bravo.
Thank you. I just tried to think, to put my finger on what changed. I hadn't really thought much before of what someone born after would think about this vector. As someone who is endlessly fascinated with the world around us and foreign relations, and lived abroad for a decade, I see most of the change in the terms I stated in my comment. Others I am sure have very different ideas - also valid - about what has changed. But this is what I see and feel, and read daily in the news published from around the world.
I was in college 2. Both Towers had already been hit as well as the Pentagon but I had it on Comedy Central for the past hour while I was slowly getting ready for my on campus job. I finally get a call from my friend and she's crying and is saying everyone is dead. I then change it from Weekend at Bernies 2 to I think ABC and see flames coming from the Pentagon.
Just woke up, turned on the radio, heard the DJs talking about the first plane hitting, then watched the second plane hit live on TV
This is word by word my answer
Working in a bakery listening to it on the radio. I was 21.
It reminded me of the war of the worlds broadcast I learned in history class. I still wasn't sure it was real until I got home, and saw for myself.
In French class - the teacher got a call and said to one of the students "Girl, go up to the assistant principal's office, I dunno, a plane flew into the World Trade Center?"
Turns out, her father perished in the attacks. The teacher was a bit of a wise ass but I'm sure he still thinks of how he delivered the news that would eventually become "dad's not coming home."
edit - was 16 at the time
Driving to Rutgers University about 30 miles from NYC. Seeing giant plume of smoke coming up and not realizing what it was till I got to campus and was told classes are cancelled and we are under attack.
In school at a volleyball game, got hit in the face and the whole school erupted into laughter. Thought that would be the big news of the day
Later “man that was crazy what happened on Tuesday”
“Yeah man nypplepyg got WRECKED in volleyball hahaha
“Hahaha hell yeah, also the towers”
In a later askreddit thread: *Where were you when Nypplepyg got wrecked in volleyball?*
Just came home from school. Dad picked me up, which was odd. Got in and mum was glued to the TV. I remember seeing the towers burning, didn't really understand what was going on. I remember my mum trying to shield my eyes as they showed the first tower fall
I was in Fifth grade, 5th floor math class looking out the window like usual at the Manhattan skyline from our school in Queens. We didnt see the first plane hit but we did see the smoke and when we pointed it out the teacher said it must be some kind of fire. I remember thinking how the heck were the firemen going to spray water all the way to the top. Teacher next door came in and told our math teacher to turn on the radio. When the second plane hit the radio went off and soon after we were all called to the lunchroom. Some of the kids names were called and they were pulled to go to the principals office afterwards I found out their parents worked at the towers. It was very surreal not knowing what was going on and the teachers all huddled together whispering amongst themselves. After a few hours they let us go home and I ran home across the street and made it to our fifth floor apartment and asked my mom what was going on and if I could go to the roof and look at the skyline. I went up there by myself and it was the weirdest view I’ve seen, the towers weren’t there. I stayed there for what seemed like the rest of the day just looking at the smoke and fighter jets fly above me towards Manhattan.
School days for the next few months were weird. We were in like a limbo where all we would do is have positive talk about America and make “United we Stand Divided We Fall” posters to hang around town, but there was always an underlined feeling of hurt and sadness. Some strange days those were.
Celebrating my 17th birthday. This was in Colorado so the news broke right after I left for school. I got flowers and cards from friends and we hung out before class started, then I went to first period. We had a sub and she opened class with the news. She let us watch the news, and by that point both towers had been hit. I was half-assing the assignment and checking the TV. I distinctly remember looking up after the first tower collapsed and said, dumbfounded, “where’s the other one?”
Every class had the news on and we obviously didn’t do anything else that day. Then I went home & we didn’t really know what to do. Nobody felt like celebrating but my grandparents were there so I decided to at least open gifts. At the time, shirts with cityscapes were trendy; they were black with the skyline in silver glitter. I had pointed out one or two and mentioned they could be cool birthday gifts. I open one box and staring back at me was one of the shirts I liked. It was the World Trade Center. We all stared in horrified silence, and I just put it down and sat there for a moment.
Aw, I’m sorry :(
Canadian here. I was just dropping my GF off to class and I heard about it on CBC. I got home to see the replay of the second plane hit. I was driving on South street by the Dal residence in Halifax when I heard it. I will never forget that day or moment. I thought it was a joke.
I thought it was a joke too… I was in grade 4 at the time? As I remember it, it was just a normal day, nothing odd going on at school in the morning. A classmate (her mom babysat me at the time) went home for lunch. When she came back to school she said something about how planes hit a tower in the US. I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary that afternoon at school, but all I could think about is how outrageous of a story that is. I didn’t like her much, she lied all the time too. I remember after my dad came to pick me up to take me home, I put on the tv, getting ready to watch the Simpsons and wait for dinner. But the Simpsons were not on, all it was on almost every channel was news about what had happened and had a moment of omg she wasn’t lying this is serious. Was still mad the Simpsons weren’t on but I didn’t end up sleeping that night.
Holding and feeding my 4-month old son while staring at the TV.
My sibling and I were both under 3 and at home with our mom, I have never heard her sound more upset then describing how terrifying it was to watch alone with her babies
Woke up to the first building burning on TV. Normally the TV was on ESPN at the time but for some odd reason it was on ABC. I watched the second plane hit while I was drinking coffee I then went to work at RadioShack (oh yeah! I was a cellphones and capacitors salesman!) And watched the building collapse.
The whole day was surreal with that being the only thing people could talk about all day.
The next day I read the best peace of writing on the day...on ESPN page 2. Hunter S Thompson in the twilight of his career, nailing what will happen.
Heading down to Manhattan as a rookie first responder scared as shit . When we got there it looked and felt something out of a Godzilla movie .
I started my first job as an editor/designer at a newspaper on 9/4/01. Exactly one week into my newspaper career I woke up and flipped on the TV to CNN, saw the 2nd tower fall about 30 seconds after I turned it on. My fiance, now wife, who also had started at the same newspaper, doing the same job, was sleeping upstairs.
I yelled up the stairs, "HONEY! GET UP! WE GOTTA GO TO WORK RIGHT NOW!"
We were out the door in 15 minutes. The paper was one of the few evening daily newspapers left in the US. Meaning it went to press around 11am. We pushed deadline back and spent a furious hour or so completely re-working the entire front section.
I designed 4 pages for that edition, including a photo spread. I pushed hard and we were one of the few US papers to publish the famous "Falling Man" photo.
After deadline, I spent several hours going through the hundreds of photos on the AP wire and helped pick out many of the photos that ran in the next days paper, which was entirely devoted to 9/11.
I still have a full copy of that newspaper. I also have a full copy of the metro edition of the NY Times. The front page is hanging on my wall now. Along with several other famous front pages of newspapers I've collected.
Which paper? I didn't realize there were still any evening papers left at that point. I'm also a former newspaper guy - Boston Herald in the late 80s.
The Bulletin in Bend, Ore.
The picture is just crazy, first time I had ever seen it. Thanks for sharing
5th Grade English class. Illinois. I remember everyone feeling bad for my teacher as she was from NY and had a relative that worked in the South Tower.
Just sitting to eat a Philly cheesesteak sandwich and looking at the tv wondering what movie is playing on the tv. Normally they have the news on, and the owner turns on the volume and tells everyone the tower had been hit. Then the second plane comes on the screen….
Everyone in the place had been working and no one knew anything about the crashes until then.
Where in the world were you though? That’s pretty early in the morning for a cheesesteak.
its never too early for a philly cheesesteak(i have never tried a cheesesteak)
you're damn right though
Getting my braces check up. I saw the news and thought "oh great, this is going to be my generation's Kennedy assassination and I'm going to remember being at the dentist until I die."
I woke up to Peter Jennings, he was talking about how a plane had it the World Trade Center. (I had fallen asleep with the tv on) I didn't think much of it as I was running late to pick up my friend at the airport that day with her mom. Then, as I was getting dressed, I heard what he was saying.. It wasn't some small one seater that hit, and that is when I saw the second plane hit the building. My mind kind of broke thinking I was watching my best friend slam into a building like that.. Not sure what kind of attack this was, as it was clearly an attack of some kind. I ran around town securing people, my best friends wife and her unborn girl (my future god daughter). My grandfather, family and then i collected a big group of my friends and we all went to one persons apt. Where I started searching to find out of the planes (four at this point) were the one I was spoze to pick up that day.. it wasn't, my friend's plane was turned back. However, after a day's worth of frantic searching for one friend I had completely forgotten a good friend of mine who had just started a sales job at the world trade center.
I once had to sit in jury duty and the lawyer asked me if I could recall what I wore on that day. I can, I can recall every moment I told her. She didn't believe me and I recited everything in more detail than I did here. When I got to this point I stopped. I told them I found my friends plane, and Later the next morning (about six am) I got to talk to her.
My other friend, who's wedding in Las Vegas I helped set up, who was so excited to get his new job in sales in New York. I am still looking.
6th grade social studies class.
They pulled all of us into the rooms with projectors that also had an aux with cable. We watched with a couple other nearby classes.
My social studies teacher was a Canadian immigrant and it was her whole personality, but she was weeping the most.
Our government teacher was trying to explain to those of us actually watching what was happening. After coverage mostly devolved into panic they started lunch rotations and we all started leaving for home after lunch.
School never felt safe again.
My 8th grade teacher and aunt told me they were in class together when the plane that crashed in Somerset was going through PA. We're about an hour and a half away from the crash. My teacher told us they watched the live feed in school and were told over the intercom system to hide under their desks.
I was on my way to school for 6th grade that morning. Right when I got to school my teacher rolled out the TV and said she wanted to show us something that she feels we have the right to know and turned on the news. Now that I think about it that teacher risked a lot just to tell us the truth.
Nah. She’d be risking a lot to do something like that in 2023. In 2001, it was the perfectly appropriate. I’m about the same age as you and my teacher did the same.
Happy that I took the 4 train that day instead of the E. I worked on 60 Wall st.
If enough people want I’ll tell you my story.
I worked in Midtown (34th and Park) but lived in Brooklyn. Always took the F to Broadway and Lafayette and went upstairs to cross Broadway to get the uptown 6.
That morning, I was crossing the street and looked down Broadway (towards lower Manhattan) and you could see a huge plume of smoke.
Didn’t think too much of it and went back into the subway. Got on the train and overheard someone saying a small plane had hit one of the Towers. Kinda internally went “well that sucks” and put on my headphones.
When we pulled into Union Square, though, a couple people got on and were gesticulating wildly so I shut my music off and heard them saying a second plane had just hit the other tower.
Got to 33rd and went upstairs and watched the whole thing unfold on the TV in my bosses office.
I had just remarked to a coworker about how difficult it would be to repair the buildings that high up, when one fell.
Crazy day… most people left, but my friend and I stayed for awhile (until 5-6PM, I think) until the subway started running again.
It was jam packed, super quiet, and everyone was sorta shell shocked.
My friend and I got off at Jay St and walked the rest of the way to my apartment in Red Hook. We passed by the Promenade (across the river from Manhattan), and there were crowds viewing the spectacle. It being NYC (and before cell phone cameras), there were a few opportunist “vendors” selling disposable cameras at high markups, but I kinda found that gross.
Papers were still fluttering out of the sky from time to time… I snagged a partially burned one out of the air as it fell… some boring memo about a new client. (I actually held on to it for some years as a memento, but it got lost in one of my moves).
We made it to my apartment, and everything was covered in fine dust, as I had left a window open.
The thing I remember most though, was the *smell.*
A super strong… smoky, acrid tang which hovered over lower Manhattan and my apartment in Brooklyn for weeks. You’d think it was gone, and then the wind would change and it would come roaring back.
I’ll definitely never forget that odor… I can still smell it just thinking about it.
Yeah, that smell was so strong you could taste it indoors in western Queens too.
> there were a few opportunist “vendors” selling disposable cameras at high markups, but I kinda found that gross.
It's gross... but it's also weird to think that buying one, even at that markup, would have probably ended up being an insane investment given how "high demand" photos and video of the day ended up being all this time later.
Did you see it happen?
I was there.
I worked two blocks away at JP Morgan in 60 Wall street.
I left my house at about 8:30am and I live in Queens, so I’d take the E train to the WTC stop, then walk to work.
That day I decided to take the local to the 4/5 at 59th and Lex.
The first sign I knew something was up is when the train skipped the Fulton street station, which is a big subway junction. Platform empty and all, when it’s usually jammed.
I get off at the next stop, Wall st, get out the station and see people just in the middle of the streets looking up, with papers flying everywhere.
I asked a person what happened, and they said that a plane hit the towers.
Now I though nothing of it because planes have hit building before, so I’m thinking it’s a Cessna or something small.
I get to my office, and the front desk secretary just gets up and hugs me. I said what up, she’s like omg I know you take the e train and a plane hit the towers.
I said I heard about that, but she’s like no no, an airliner, and it was two/
Wtf…….and then suddenly you heard the rumbling…then you saw the running. Best way to describe it is that it exactly how the people ran away from Godzilla in the old movies..running and looking up, while mountains of smoke are engulfing everything in sight.
We left our building and proceeded to go to the lobby.. it was pitch black, and all you heard were sirens or all kinds going off everywhere.
A friend and I went to the cafeteria and brought up tons of towels and waters.
Now I started getting nervous because we didn’t know what was going on. Grabbed a towel, wrapped it around my face, and told my boy I’m walking to the east river and walking north, if they’re bombing or anything else, I’m jumping in the river and swimming to Brooklyn.
We walked towards the river, then north to South Street sea port. We found a bar that was open with a lot of people inside. We were watching the tv when the rumbling sounded again and the other building started falling.
Decided it was time to leave manhattan, and walked across the Brooklyn bridge and it was surreal, because it was just two rows of people, just walking slowly, no commotion, no hysterics, just thousands of office workers walking across.
On the other side police and ambulances waiting giving out water and help.
It took two days for it to kick on wtf happened, then found out my boy died on his second day on the job (RIP Thomas Ashton)
It still effects me to this day, as I just had my three year remission anniversary.
Little universe ironic twist: I started my chemotherapy on 9/11/2019.
Make choices to live a happy life, you’re only here once.
Thank you for sharing your story 🙏🏻
I am so glad you are here. I am sorry to hear about your friend passing.
May the rest of your days be filled with joy and love from the people around you.
Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for sharing your experience and grief. These important first-hand accounts need to continue to be told.
I was late for school when the first plane hit, was in High School at the time. I remember just briefly hearing about it on the radio on my way out the door as reporters were first discussing the crash. At the time I assumed it was a horrible accident. I think a LOT of us did with the first plane for a few minutes.
My school was just a few minutes from my house. I walked into Civics class, and my teacher/classmates were watching the news trying to connect the "accidental plane crash" at the World Trade Center to whatever we were learning that week. They were so absorbed by the tv that I was able to slip to my seat without the teacher asking for a tardy excuse. Score.
I was in that classroom for MAYBE a minute when the plane hit the second building. It clicked with us right that second that this wasn't an accident.
I still remember the emotional whiplash more vividly than anything. From "oh bummer, what a sad accident" to "I wonder if I can get out of dressing for PE today?" to "Are we being invaded? Will somebody crash a plane into my tiny ass hick town? Will my dad be drafted?"
I remember those thoughts more than I do the actual details of the crashes, to the point where I sometimes wonder if I don't even remember the timeline as well as I think I do. It's weird. Sometimes I think that I have every detail wrong, except for that jarring change in internal dialogue. THAT I remember distinctly.
We had quite a few military families in the school district. A few kids started openly bawling within minutes of that second plane hitting. They were scared their parents were going to have to go to war, and several of them were correct about that.
The next week of school or so was kind of a blur. We didn't do shit at school. Lit class? Watched the news. Trig? Watched the news. A few seniors I knew were 17 going on 18. They visited military recruiters very quickly after this happened. I feel like 4-5 of them actually enlisted and were in the middle east a couple years later.
I left NYC to live in August of 2001 to live with my auntie and uncle in B̶e̶l̶l̶a̶i̶r̶e̶ Texas.
Sept. 11, 2001. I was a freshman in high school on my way to theater class. I left my gym bag in the football field during P.E. and I had to run back to get it before running to theater class. I was afraid that because of the extra stop, I would've been late and gotten sent to tardy sweep (they make you sit in the lunch room silently, it was really dumb and unproductive).
I made it to class right before the bell rang! But it wouldn't've mattered if I was late or not, no one was paying attention. I saw everyone gathered around an AM/FM radio with worried looks on their faces. We found out the planes hit and everyone was worried. A friend turned to me and said matter of factly "good thing you left New York, huh?"
Same I'm on the Canadian west coast in and I remember I was brushing my teeth and listening to the radio when I heard what happened. I ran to the living room turned on the TV then the second plane hit the tower. I was in college and when I got to class they were organizing phone banks so that the American students with family in New York could contact their relatives.
The weirdest part is I lived by Vancouver International Airport and things got real noisy as all the planes were directed to land then it was just super quiet.
I was asleep at my parents' house. My mom came in and woke me up. She was upset. She wouldn't tell me what it was at first. She just made me get up and see on the TV. I still had to go to work that day at Wal-Mart, but there wasn't anybody shopping. I was 18, fresh out of high school. I remember thinking, among other things, that there would be a war, and I would probably get drafted.
In England, I just got home from school. I grabbed some cereal and sat in the living room to watch cartoons and every channel was a flaming tower. Within one minute we watched the second plane hit live on TV.
My mum gasped, cried and then the neighbors were all outside talking. Most of the kids in my street were in my yard playing while all our parents were talking all night.
When we went to school the next day our principal sang the American National Anthem, told us to pray and go home to be with family.
Shit was terrifying.
On 9/13/2001, the Queen requested the Star Spangled Banner to be played at Buckingham Palace.
God Bless Queen Elizabeth II.
I am sure this will get hurried in new, but I was in United States Marine Corps boot camp. We were doing range week in Camp Pendleton. It is basically the first week of the combat training portion. We didn’t hear anything about it until late in the day, but knew something was going on from how the range coaches were acting. When they finally sat us down and told us what was going on we all thought it may be a ploy to make the training seem more pertinent. It wasn’t until the next day when what appeared to be the entire United States armada was parked off the coast, there were helicopters going back and forth constantly and snipers were stationed on the roof of the chow hall, that we knew it must be real. No news really gets in or out of there really. When I came home on boot leave was the first time I even saw a picture of it. I didn’t know why everyone had 911 stickers as dates don’t matter as much in boot camp and I hadn’t made that association. I didn’t even see video of it until at least 5 years later when YouTube started to get popular.
Asleep in my dorm, 3rd week of college.
Roommate woke me up, "dude a plane crashed into one of the world trade towers." TV was on the news.
Soon as I paid attention to the TV the second tower was hit.
There are only a small handful of things in my life that I will remember so clearly.
In the army on my way back to unit listening to cds. Pulled up and guy I worked with was like dude we’re going to war.
What did that feel like? Or what was your first thought?
Huh what happened? Then it was oh shit here we go.
My first thought was..."fuck me, I don't want to go to war." I kinda felt selfish but that was definitely my first thought.
I had just made E5 and went back for work call formation but everyone was looking at the TV. We didn't do shit for an hour and then Fort Leonard Wood, MO went insane. It was an open base and by the end of the week we had mounted 50 cals on the road in. We deployed to Afghanistan about a year later.
Here is a link to [9/11 oral histories](https://www.911memorial.org/learn/resources/oral-histories).
Had family on a high floor of WTC and volunteered to serve overseas in the war afterward. And among of all the over-asked questions at this subreddit, this is one of the less pleasant.
Thanks for the link. I'll be in NYC for the first time in forever soon and will be paying my respects. I'm not sure if I'm ready to see those pools in person, but I think it's time.
Fifth grade classroom. The principal announced over the intercom for the teachers not to turn on their tvs. Our teacher told us this was history in the making and we should see it then turned the tv on and explained what happened. We just sat and watched how cruel this world can be live on television. I’ve always respected her doing that. I will never ever forget that day.
I think i was in 3rd grade or so, but I remember teachers the next couple days saying shit like "you have just lived through what is going to be taught in future textbooks"
It was night time here in Pakistan, National TV started broadcasting live feed from CNN, I think it was for the first time in the history that it happened on our national tv. i was only 8 years old at that time but had a wierd feeling of "the world will not be the same" because of the expression on the the faces of adults around. And boy it was right. History is divided into BC and AD but it was the third partetion of time for some people of my world.
I was in college. Which got evacuated because Bush’s daughters went there.
How was Yale?
Tl;Dr standing on the roof of our apartment in Brooklyn with the rest of my family and a few of the tenants.
Me and my brother had skipped school (we did that alot) we'd hang out at Brooklyn Bridge Park or Dumbo sometimes, and then head back to our apartment in the heights when we knew our parents were gone for work.
As we started walking home we saw a lot of fire trucks and ambulances heading towards Manhattan, people were talking about it amongst themselves, but you don't stop and talk to strangers in New York. I overheard someone asking how a plane runs into the tallest building in New York.
We got home and got to our unit and thought we were in huge trouble because our parents were still home and we were busted, but they were glued to the TV. The second plane hit the towers a few moments after we walked in. My dad was friends with the matinence man, and we all went to the roof to see what was happening. We had a decent view of the trade centers and the Brooklyn Bridge. I remember my moms scream as the first tower went down, and I remember watching people covered in dust Making their way across the Brooklyn Bridge. They had been in Manhattan when the towers fell and managed to get into stores and stuff.
Holding my brand new baby son. Only a week old. Welcome to the world kid
My son was born two days later. Recovery room was awful with nothing on TV except the event.
I was in 6th grade it was about 9 am in Chicago and I think we hadn't even started the lesson yet. Our principal ran into each room and told the teachers to turn the TV on, and the first tower had already been struck, we watched the second hit, the Pentagon hit, and then since it was on most TVs in the school watched the collapse of both towers and the Pentagon. My mom worked on Michigan Ave and was only a few blocks from Sears tower so by the time I got home she had been home since about 10 am. I was relieved to know she was home. I can say as I've gotten older the anniversary means more than it did when I watched it. I didn't fully grasp what happened until I was older and was able to watch documentaries and listen to the stories.
It's also my mom's birthday so it's a weird day for me. I mourn and celebrate the lost and the survivors but I also must celebrate the woman who has made me into the adult I am.
Already on active duty. Started the day doing busy work. Ended it with a rifle.
Band practice in high school Brenham TX. I finally saw what happened on the CRT TV when I got to second period. Every class for the rest of the day had the news on.
I worked at Ace Hardware at the time...we were sold out of American flags for months after 9/11....I will truly never forget what it was like. Younger people today don't understand and I hope they never do. The feeling of "togetherness" was pretty special...no matter political officiation or anything else....we were all united.
I was in class, freshman year of college. Someone came into the room and announced “a plane hit a building in Manhattan.” My first thought was a single engine Cessna lost control. The next class was cancelled, so we all went back to our dorms wondering what was going on. I tried to call my mom on my cell, but was getting a no service message.
As soon as I get back to my room, before I even turn on the tv, someone knocks on the door and says “your dad called to let you know your mom is ok.” Ok… what is going on. Turn on the tv and watch. A few friends came over and we all watched the towers fall live.
My father called because my mother had a deposition in downtown Manhattan that day at 10 am. She was running late. She was three cars back from entering the holland tunnel when they stopped traffic going into the tunnel. Fucking scary.
And yes it was especially scary because I was 30 minutes away from the plane crash in somerset county.
(LA) Driving to work (Sony Pictures) when we got paged telling us the lot was closed and to not come in. Got back home and turned on the TV just as the first tower crumbled. Our 8 month old was with his grandma. My wife was in NYC for business. She watched the towers come down from across the river. Took her a week to get home. Fortunately, she has a cousin near the UN and was able to sleep on her floor for that week. The thing is, we’d just visited NY the year before and stayed in the hotel next to the Towers.
Sitting in my first grade class. I’m from NY and I can vividly remember the pandemonium that ensued, my mom being stuck in the city and us not being able to contact her
Teaching high school math. Got an email from the principal saying, "Airplanes have crashed into the World Trade Center. One tower has collapsed, and the other is on fire."
Grew up in NY, currently manage hotels in NY. This is every tourists favorite question in September and it's never easy. We all know someone or at the very least know someone who knows someone. It's turned into a weird holiday where people across the country need to come give their respects do so by making us all talk about our trauma.
In my mother
I too was in your mother.
I was 9, getting ready for elementary school in Albuquerque, NM. My mom was crying watching the news of a plane crash. I remember thinking, okay, sad, but why are we not leaving for school, this plane crash is all the way in NYC. I saw the second plane hit live and the confusion and fear is something really hard to explain. My mom has always had crazy anxiety and that day was spent thinking we all might die. Never made it to school that week.
On my way to school, we heard about it on the radio and when we got to school everyone was watching the footage on the computers in the library. There were people thinking it was a movie trailer until the second plane hit. Then we spent all day in every class just watching the news.