Where were you 10 years ago today?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by buff81, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. buff81

    buff81 Moderator 5-Year Member

    Oct 31, 2008
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    I'm sure each of us has solemnly reflected on where we were and what we were doing when we heard of the planes crashing into the WTC towers, the Pentagon and into the field near Shanksville, PA.
    My story is pretty mundane. At home watching the news about the 1st plane thinking, 'What a horrible accident' and then knowing it was no accident while watching the 2nd plane crash into the 2nd tower. Wondering what was the next target. Worried about my friends who were flying that day. Wondering how much to tell my children, ages 10 and 7. Feeling horrified and helpless as it all unfolded before my eyes that morning.
    I'm sure many of you had a much more personal experience on that day. Some of you may have been in the Pentagon or have friends who were.

    Where were you?
  2. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot 5-Year Member

    Apr 29, 2010
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    As you may have on my 9/11 post in the USMA forum, I was sitting my first duty shift as Cadet in Charge of Quarters as a third class cadet at West Point.
  3. sg1fan93

    sg1fan93 5-Year Member

    Nov 4, 2010
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    When the planes hit I was in my third grade classroom learning about the cardinal directions. My teacher got called out of the room and some people from the main office came in and they were all crying. My teacher came back into the room and she was crying too. She tried to pull herself together and she did until she got called out again. It was at this time that kids started getting picked up early, and when we asked the teacher why she was crying she said that they sprayed pesticides on the field and that's also why kids were being picked up. I was one of the last to get picked up, and when I finally did I saw my mom was crying in the car too. I asked why and she told me "ill tell you when we get home" I only live 30 northwest of the city, and the road to get home goes southeast. I will never forget seeing the huge plume of smoke in the air, and I wish I didn't have such a good memory because that image still sends chills down my spine.
  4. Pima

    Pima 5-Year Member

    Nov 28, 2007
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    Ft. Leavenworth, KS. Just handed off the kids to be walked to school with a neighbor, by the time she came back the 1st plane hit, and I remember saying to her (NJ native also) the Twin Towers got hit. Nobody in NJ called them the WTC. 3 hrs later as I was returning back onto base, Jersey barriers were up, 100% i.d. in place and cars even with ID stickers were being inspected using those mirror wands to check underneath.

    Our children being on a military base were placed in lockdown, along with our spouses. Phone tree was initiated and told that children would only be released today to a parent with proper i.d. even if they were "walkers".

    Truly the 1st time I was scared, Gulf I, Haiti, didn't scare me...this did.

    My other memory is my Mom finally being able to call me, she lives in Central NJ and all the circuits were down. She said it was the saddest of her life driving down rte. 130, where many of the NJ transit buses have stops. All she saw were women standing at the stop waiting for husbands to get off the bus. IN NJ, they have major commuter parking lots, and a few weeks later I had returned home, I thought it was strange there were cars in these lots on a Sat. My Mom said to me, they have been there for weeks now, I suspect they belong to the victims.

    My SIL was a realtor at that time, and her heart broke because she knew the Beamers, sold their home to them, but she said a comment that always stuck with me. "I am not surprised he did that, he always thought about his family first, and I am sure that he was thinking that way."
  5. sprog

    sprog 5-Year Member

    Mar 10, 2009
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    I was a First Lieutenant in the Air Force.

    I was assigned to the 91st Space Wing (now Missile Wing), 742 Missile Squadron out of Minot AFB, and was on alert at K01 Launch Control Center as the Deputy Missile Combat Crew Commander. There was about a 20 minute period when all Hell was breaking lose, when we had little information on what was actually happening, and when I honestly thought missiles might be flying out of our launch facilities.

    Seems crazy that we thought that way when I look back on it, but we really had no idea what was going on. Once things calmed down and we turned on the TV, we realized that a Minuteman missile response to whatever was happening was unlikely. Still, it was scary.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  6. trackandfield08

    trackandfield08 USCGA 2014 5-Year Member

    Sep 18, 2008
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    I was in fifth grade, my fourth day of middle school, in New Jersey right outside what was then McGuire AFB and is now Joint Base Dix-McGuire-Lakehurst. I'll never forget how nice that day was...not a cloud in the sky, a perfect day. I was walking to my second period class when an intercom announcement was made telling all of the students to report to their homeroom. The television was on and my entire class started to watch the live feed of NYC. That's when kids started getting pulled out of school.

    I remember being slightly angry that my mom and dad weren't coming to get me. I didn't know then that they had locked the base down and no one was allowed to leave. I was one of the few that was in school the whole day, took the bus home to find my aunt waiting for me. Picked up my little brother from school and didn't see my parents for about two weeks. The base opened back up but they had a job to do...my mom was in charge of coordinating FEMA transportation and medical supplies to New York. My dad was in charge of arranging transportation for the first round of military personnel to deploy. Somehow, I just understood, at 10 years old, that what my parents were doing was important and that my brother's and my needs took a backseat for the time being.

    One thing I'll never forget was how silent it was that day and in the days following. Hearing planes fly over my home and school was normal. But after 9/11, there was nothing. It was eerie...like the world had stopped turning.
  7. patentesq

    patentesq Parent 5-Year Member

    Jan 6, 2011
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    I was on a conference call in a high-rise building near Shanksville, PA when instructions crackled over the speaker to immediately evacuate the building. Before leaving my office, I remember looking out the window and not seeing any airplanes. The morning was almost in slow motion and surreal. As I later learned, courageous civilians were in the airspace above struggling to gain control over the cockpit of one of the airplanes. I spent the rest of my day with my family, with the same thoughts as buff81.
  8. AikiBudo

    AikiBudo 5-Year Member

    Apr 13, 2011
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    I was sitting in my office (outside of DC) watching the new TV channel that had just been installed on our computers when they cut to the burning WTC tower. My firm at the time was the largest tenant of the WTC with some 3,000 employees working there. I remember watching the TV and wondering why they would let a commercial plane fly that close to the burning building when it seemed like the first building exploded again. When I didn't see the plane fly past the building I realized the second tower had been hit and it wasn't an accident. There were all kinds of crazy rumors flying around about bombs going off in various parts of the city and then of course we heard about the Pentagon. We had an incredible man working as head of our Security at the WTC and a former Vietnam War hero who was responsible for saving thousands of lives that day. Here is a link:

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  9. hornetguy

    hornetguy 10-Year Member

    Jun 9, 2006
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    I was with my parents about to go to bed while living in the middle of Tokyo. We turned on the TV to watch the news real quick and saw the breaking news about the first plane. Then we saw the second plane hit on the news. Went to bed a few hours later then woke up to go to school (international school) the next morning.

    The response was interesting. I had classmates from NY crying in class. I remember that one of our teachers (English) said, "what's the big deal? We deal with terrorist attacks all the time."

    Though I was overseas, there were few places I felt safer than in Tokyo.
  10. deepdraft1

    deepdraft1 Master, Ocean Steam or Motor Vessels, unlimited 5-Year Member

    Jan 21, 2009
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    I was at Kings Point doing my Naval Reserve AT at GMATS. Not long after it happened they dismissed class and I went looking for my son who was a plebe at the time. I found him down in front of the Chapel where we stood together and watched the smoke from the towers..
  11. Christcorp

    Christcorp 5-Year Member

    May 21, 2008
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    It was my birthday, but I had to go to work. I was working for Qwest Communications. I had the radio on and was splicing some cables when I heard about the twin towers. Being originally from Jersey, and most of my family still back there, I called them. It was pretty weird. I had only been retired from the air force for less than 2 years, and I was considering actually going back in. Having lived in the new york city area and jersey, made it pretty emotional. Didn't get much work done that day.
  12. Ohio2015Parent

    Ohio2015Parent 5-Year Member

    Dec 2, 2010
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    Started a new job that day, was uncertain whether to go on into training or call off and go get my 3 kids from school - second tower had just been hit. Went into work, was on the exit ramp when the 1st tower fell. Wish I would have skipped work and got the kids that day.

    Thank you for sharing your stories - the goose bumps on my arms might go away in a few hours. I'm just "Jane Mainstreet" so many of you were so close to NYC, DC and PA - much less serving in our military already. One of those moments I real am thankful to be an American.
  13. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

    Jun 9, 2006
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    Almost in the first WTC tower to be hit. We'd planned a meeting in our office (mid-50s floors) for 0930. The Friday before, my colleague said, "Why are we going to NY. Let's have everyone meet here (in DC)." So we did, so I was safely in my office a couple of blocks from the White House. Luckily, all but one of several hundred in our NY WTC office survived. However, it was closer than I wanted to be.

    Also, the point of impact in the Pentagon was an office called CNO IP (Chief of Naval Operations, Intelligence Plot). I'd worked there as a JO, although it was located in a different part of the Pentagon at that time. The CO of that unit on 9/11, CDR Dan Shanower, was one of my intel school classmates. He perished.
  14. DK6732

    DK6732 5-Year Member

    Dec 22, 2009
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    I had been rushed to school that day by my dad. He was actually tearing up that morning but didn't really show it. I finally heard about it waiting for class to start hanging out on the jungle gym at school. I head the other kids talking about it, and if we were attacked or this was going to mean war or stuff we really didn't truly understand. Can't believe it's been 10 years!
  15. lotrjedi13

    lotrjedi13 _ 5-Year Member

    Jun 18, 2008
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    I was all of 10 years old when it happened. I was sitting in my family's living room, reading my morning devotion when my dad ran out in his underwear saying something and turned on the TV. I don't remember what he said because I kept talking over him trying to let him know that he didn't have pants on. I thought it was pretty neat that he had the TV on before breakfast, though.

    We tuned in about 6:30 a.m. (so, 9:30 in NY). I remember watching the first tower fall as I was eating my bowl of cereal. My mom started calling relatives to tell them to turn on the news or the radio or something and she just burst into tears mid-sentence when she saw the second one fall.

    The rest of the day, we had the news on. (we were homeschooling at the time, so that's how that was possible). I was completly oblivious to the impact of what was happening on my TV screen. I knew it was big, but I didn't know how or why.
  16. howacupcake

    howacupcake 5-Year Member

    Mar 19, 2011
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    I was six years old. My sisters and I were getting ready for school. I remember we were watching it on our tiny black t.v. screen in our condo. I didn't really understand what happened, but I do remember it was a tragic day.
  17. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006 5-Year Member

    Nov 25, 2007
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    Sept. 11, 2001....

    Burning CDs from Napster I had created a few "drive" mixes. I used to listen to those mixes all the time. REM, Tom Petty, Billy Joel....I would rock out on my drive into school each morning. That Tuesday was the same story.

    Hopped into my car, turned on the music and drove into school in Nashville, TN. It was the first semester of my senior year of high school and I was narrowing down the colleges I was applying to.

    I don't remember what I did first period that day. I remember how nice it was. It was the perfect fall day.

    I do remember second period. I was in Honors English. I was sitting next to my friend Brian. Brian's father was in the Army. Brian was applying to the VMI, the Citadel and the Naval Academy.

    Some time in the middle of class a teacher came in and pulled our teacher, Ms. Jackson into the hall. A second later she returned.

    "Earlier this morning two planes flew into the World Trade Center and a few minutes ago one crashed into the Pentagon."

    There are very few times in a person's life when their entire world changes. There are very few events that change so many lives at one time.

    I don't give high school students much credit all the time, I certainly didn't when I was a high school student, but I distinctly remember how alone I felt, and how alone I imagine my classmates felt. In a class full of students, to feel that alone was alarming.

    It was hard to focus for the rest of that class. I walked across the building to my next class, Art (yes, one of my easy classes my final year, don't worry, there were a few AP classes mixed in, Art was just a nice break from it). Kids were talking in the halls. You would get little pieces of the conversation. The towers had collapsed. "How is that possible" I thought "Such small planes can't bring down a tower that size". And then it became clear they were commercial airliners.

    We were doing still lifes outside. And I think that is the thing I will always remember that day. Maybe a thought I can't shake, and I get a little teary-eyed when i "go back there."

    We were outside, and there wasn't a sound. The skies were empty. You don't realize how much ambient sound is out there until it all stops. Silence.

    My mother was the guidance counselor at my school, and I stopped by before lunch and just unloaded in her office. Some grief, some rage. Maybe mostly rage. That may have been the first time I realized it was affecting her as much as it was affecting me. That in all of my infinite high school wisdom, I realized that not only was everything different, but REAL adults had just as little idea of what to do as I did. That realization hit me.

    I had an AP Physics test that afternoon. I did not care. I let me teacher know to. I'm sure my grade showed it as well. Really, WHO CARES about physics when something reshapes your reality? I certainly didn't. I wouldn't now either.

    We went to the local sports bar that night, Cross Corners, and watched President Bush's speech. The bar was packed. At the end of the address people started chanting "U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A".

    I cried that night. I think I cried a number of nights after. I watched the coverage every day and I kept thinking "all of that pain and there's nothing I can do...from 1000 miles away, no way to save someone".

    I took my Oath on July 1, 2002 and spent the next 9 years in a U.S. Coast Guard uniform. When I joined the Coast Guard was under the Department of Transportation. Just over a year later we were transfered to the newly formed Department of Homeland Security.

    On the inside of my ring is my name and below that "Never Forget".

    For awhile I would get choked up, not crying, but just that pause you sometimes take, when I would talk about that day. Not sure exactly why. I didn't know anyone in Washington DC, Pennsylvania or New York who died. I didn't see any of the destruction live, or in person. I watched for weeks, from 1000 miles away in Nashville, TN.

    At the Coast Guard Academy we had to write a poem for a class. I know I've posted this before, but it helped me not get so choked up, and because it's the 10th Anniversary, I'll share it one last time. It's through the eyes of a high school senior from another part of the country.

    When the Skies Fell Silent Over Nashville

    On the inside of my gold satin-finish Academy class ring,
    Just under my name is inscribed Never Forget.

    It was Tuesday, a Tuesday like any other Tuesday,
    Maybe better.
    Sweet golden sunshine, cool autumn breeze.
    Senior year, first semester and I had a full plate.
    Advanced placement courses for the entrée, sports on the side.
    Life was defined by three important questions,
    How much gas is in my car?
    What college application is due?
    Who is that pretty girl?

    Second Period, a Second Period like one on any other day,
    Maybe better.
    Honors Literature and Shakespeare,
    Who in their right mind cares about Shakespeare senior year?
    It happened.
    In a fraction of time I still cannot comprehend,
    It all changed, forever.

    She walked in.
    Her face was a telegram notifying us of the death of our innocence.
    Even a senior in high school knows that look,
    It’s a look that cuts through you,
    It’s a look no boy of 17 wants to see on an adult’s face,
    It was the look of fear,
    Of utter amazement,
    In history, horrific history.

    “Earlier this morning two planes crashed into the World Trade Center, and a few minutes ago one flew into the Pentagon.”
    Abandoned by reason,
    Abandoned by sensibility,
    Abandoned by authority,
    I abandoned myself.
    Second Period, Tuesday, September 11, 2001 and nothing mattered anymore.
    The life defining three important questions were replaced with one,
    Where did my world go?

    Third Period, a Third Period in a new world,
    Art class and sketches.
    150 yard trek to Art, listening to the gaggle of high school students as I passed,
    Each high school educated goose honking his own story of how he saw the towers crash to the ground,
    How he saw people jump from the windows.
    Art class, the end of my world, and still-lifes of a car in the street.
    Colors, symmetry, angles,
    Nothing mattered, nothing but the silence.
    In a class of 20, we were all alone,
    Together all separated from each other.

    From a thousand miles away I felt the impact of four planes,
    From a thousand miles away I heard the people cry,
    From a thousand miles away I saw the explosion, I saw the people jumping to their deaths,
    From a thousand miles away I heard the piercing silence in the skies over Nashville,
    And I will Never Forget.

  18. Packer

    Packer 5-Year Member

    Feb 11, 2011
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    I was on my way to work and had the radio turned on listening to some morning show. I couldn't figure out what they were talking about because they always had some kind of a joke going in the morning. About 2-3 minutes into it I realized it wasn't a joke and started to understand what was happening. They announced the second tower being hit about that time. I called my wife, who was at home, and told her to turn the tv on. I didn't know exactly what was going on but knew that two planes had hit the WTC. I continued on to work but didn't get much done.
  19. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 5-Year Member

    Sep 27, 2008
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    In the Pentagon, working on OPNAV staff, E ring. Just around the "point" from impact. Arrived on the staff 12 days earlier. Would have been working in E-ring office that day had not my boss told me to battle with Pentagon Facilities to delay our move-in date to the newly-renovated spaces, as she wanted to move when the CNO and VCNO moved to the new area in October 2011. Our scheduled move date had been 7 Sep. Had I not won that bureaucratic skirmish, I would not be here. Very happy and grateful to be alive today. Lost many good shipmates and work friends.
    Those of you with military background, and military aspirations, will appreciate the very first responders were those in uniform, who, without regard for their own safety, repeatedly entered the building - now in flames and totally dark inside from burning avgas and other stuff inside, to get others out. Many stood under the windows and opened their arms so others could jump. Many civilians, civil service and contractors, were also part of the first response effort, until those blessed folks from Arlington FD and other Metro DC firehouses arrived.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2011
  20. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team" 5-Year Member

    Feb 1, 2009
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    Really wish I could recall what I had been doing. I was definitely in class when I heard the teachers talking about it. Nothing happened, and it was in the farthest corner of my mind when I got off the bus and got back home. There, I saw my parents watching the news and explaining that the WTC had been hit. I remember they were both shocked and silent. I vaguely remember watching the replayed footage of smoke trailing from the towers and...very unfortunately, not feeling any worthy emotions. Went upstairs to my room. I never realized the true significance and horror until...wow, it might have been weeks or months later. I was in 4th grade and had little to worry about, but I really do not look back on my reaction as worthwhile or appropriate.

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