Where I Was On September 11

The World Trade Center

By Dan McLaughlin Posted in | Comments (43) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

ImageUntil September 11, 2001, I worked in the World Trade Center, halfway up Tower One. I wasn't doing political blogging at the time, but was writing "the Baseball Crank" as a weekly baseball column for the online edition of the Providence (R.I.) Journal. Here's my account of that day, written for ProJo two days later while it was all still fresh. I'm bumping the date on this, which we ran here on the fifth anniversary.

On Tuesday, they tried to kill me.

I am ordinarily at my desk between 7:30 and 8:30 in the morning, in my office on the 54th floor of one of the World Trade Center's towers. Tuesday, I was running late - I stopped to vote in the primary election for mayor, an election that has now been postponed indefinitely. Thank God for petty partisan politics.

Around 20 minutes to 9, as I have done every day for the past five years, I got on the number 2/3 train heading to Park Place, an underground stop roughly a block and a half, connected underground, to the Trade Center. The train made its usual stop at Chambers Street, five blocks north of my office, where you can switch to the local 1/9 that runs directly into the Trade Center mall. The subway announcer - in a rare, audible announcement - was telling people to stay on the 2/3 because the tunnel was blocked by a train ahead of us. Then he mentioned that there had been "an explosion at the World Trade Center."

Now, I grew up in the suburbs, so maybe I'm not as street smart as I should be, but after living in the city a few years, you develop a sense of the signs of trouble (like the time there were shots fired in the next subway car from mine). I didn't know what the explosion was, maybe a gas leak or something, but I knew that I was better off getting above ground to see what was going on rather than enter the complex underground. So I got off the train to walk to work.

When I got above ground, there was a crowd gathering to see the horror above: a big hole somewhere in the top 15-20 stories of the north tower (having no sense of direction, I thought that was Number 2 at the time, not Number 1 where my office was), with flames and smoke shooting out. I quickly realized it would not be safe to go into the office, despite a number of things I had waiting for me to do, so as I heard the chatter around about there having been a plane crash into the building (onlookers were saying "a small plane" at that point) and a possible terrorist attack, I turned away to start looking for a place to get coffee and read the newspaper until I could find out what had happened. That was when it happened.

The sound was a large BANG!, the unmistakable sound of an explosion but with almost the tone of cars colliding, except much louder. My initial thought was that something had exploded out of the cavity atop the tower closer to us and gone . . . where? It was followed by a scene straight out of every bad TV movie and Japanese monster flick: simultaneously, everyone around me was screaming and running away. I didn't have time to look and see what I was running from; I just took off, hoping to get away from whatever it was, in case it was falling towards us. Nothing else can compare to the adrenaline rush of feeling the imminent presence of deadly danger. And I kept moving north.

Read On...

Once people said that a second plane had hit the other tower, and I saw it was around halfway up - right where my office was, I thought, still confused about which tower was which - it also appeared that the towers had survived the assault. I used to joke about this, telling people we worked in the only office building in America that had been proven to be bomb-resistant. I stopped now and then, first at a pay phone where I called my family, but couldn't hear the other end. I stopped in a few bars, calling to say I was OK, but I still didn't feel safe, and I kept moving north. In one bar I saw the south tower collapse, and had a sick feeling in my stomach, which increased exponentially when I saw Tower Number One, with my office in it and (so far as I knew) many of the people I work with as well, cave in. Official business hours start at 9:30, but I started reeling off in my head all the lawyers who get in early in the morning, and have for years. I thought of the guy who cleans the coffee machines, someone I barely speak to but see every day, who has to be in at that hour. I was still nervous, and decided not to think about anything but getting out alive. A friend has an apartment on 109th street, so I called him and kept walking, arriving on his doorstep around 1 p.m., and finally sat down, with my briefcase, the last remnant of my office. I had carried a bunch of newspapers and my brown-bag lunch more than 120 blocks. The TV was on, but only CBS was broadcasting - everyone else's signal had gone out of the Trade Center's antenna.

Finally, the news got better. I jumped when there were planes overhead, but they were F-15s, ours. American combat aircraft flying with deadly seriousness over Manhattan. My wife was home, and she had heard from people at the office who got out alive. It turns out that my law firm was extraordinarily lucky to get so many people out - nearly everyone is now accounted for, although you hold your breath and pray until it's absolutely everyone. The architect who designed the towers - well, we used to complain a lot that the windows were too narrow, but the strength of those buildings, how they stayed standing for an hour and an hour and a half, respectively, after taking a direct hit by a plane full of gasoline - there are probably 10 to 15,000 people walking around New York today because they stayed up so long.


By Wednesday night, the adrenaline was finally wearing off, and I was just angry. They had tried to kill me, had nearly killed many of the people I work with, and destroyed the chair I sit in everyday, the desk I work at and the computer I do my work on. And that's before you even begin to count the other lives lost. Words fail to capture the mourning, and in this area it's everywhere. I finally broke down Thursday morning, reading newspaper accounts of all the firemen who were missing or dead, so many who had survived so many dangers before, and ran headlong into something far more serious, far more intentional. My dad was a cop, my uncle a fireman. It was too close.

The mind starts to grasp onto the little things, photos of the kids and from my wedding; the radio in my office that I listened to so many Mets games on, working late; a copy of my picture with Ted Williams (more on that some other day); the little Shea Stadium tin on my desk that played "take me out to the ballgame" when you opened it to get a binder clip, the new calculator I bought over the weekend. All vaporized or strewn halfway across the harbor. The things can mostly be replaced, they're just things, but it's staggering to see the whole context of your daily routine disappear because somebody - not "faceless cowards," really, but somebody in particular with a particular agenda and particular friends around the world - wants you dead.


There's a scene that comes to mind, and I'm placing it in the Lord of the Rings because that's where I remember it, but feel free to let me know if I've mangled it or made it up. Frodo the hobbit has lived all his life in the Shire, where the world of hobbits (short, human-like creatures) revolves around hospitality and particular etiquette and family snobbery and all the silliest little things, silly at least in comparison to the great and dangerous adventure he finds himself embarked on. Aragorn, one of the Men, has been patrolling the area around the Shire for years, warding off invading creatures of all varieties of evil. Frodo asks Aragorn, eventually, whether he isn't frustrated with and contemptuous of hobbits and the small, simple concerns that dominate their existence, when such dangers are all at hand. Aragorn responds that, to the contrary, it is the simpleness and even the pettiness of the hobbits that makes the task worthwhile, because it's proof that he has done his job - kept them so safe and insulated from the horrors all around them that they see no irony, no embarrassment in concerning themselves with such trivial things in such a hazardous world. It has often struck me that you could ask no better description of the role of law enforcement and the military, keeping us so safe that we may while our days on the ups and downs of made-up games.


And that's why baseball still matters. There must be time for mourning, of course, so much mourning, and time as well to feel secure that 55,000 people can gather safely in one place. The merciful thing is that because, save for the Super Bowl and the Olympics, U.S. sports are so little followed in the places these evildoers breed - murderous men, by contrast, have little interest in pennant races - that they have not acquired the symbolic power of our financial and military centers. But that may not be forever.

But once we feel secure to try, we owe it most of all to those who protect us as well as those who died to resume the most trivial of our pursuits. Our freedom is best expressed not when we stand in defiance or strike back with collective will, but when we are able again to view Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens as the yardsticks by which we measure nastiness, to bicker over games. That's why the Baseball Crank will be back. This column may be on hiatus for an undetermined time while the demands of work intrude - we intend to be back in business next week, and this will not be without considerable effort - but in time, I will offer again my opinion of why it would be positively criminal to give Ichiro the MVP, and why it is scandalous that Bill Mazeroski is in the Hall of Fame. And then I'll be free again.

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I was there also, unfortunately much closer and lucky to be here. But that is a long story for another day.

For those who were not; was it as horrible as portrayed or seen on TV? Absolutely, frankly surreal and beyond any reasonable description.

Understanding this is a day for remembering I will keep this line to a minimum. However, would it be trite if I said it is detestable that people like Chuck Schumer, who find every opportunity to fight actions that would prevent a reoccurrence, have the guts to sit at this memorial? After all this is a day of remembrance, not useless platitudes.

Remember not only those who have perished, but those who continue to keep us safe.


"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"

on a day that seems devoted to memorializing the dead--which is fine!--let me just say: GLAD YOU SURVIVED!!


"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori"

For many who simply saw this on television -- as horrible as that was -- your account brings this horrible event to life, and makes us all feel as though we were there, as well -- adrenaline, fear, and all.

Since this seems to be a thread for remembering where we were...

I was in Basic Training. It was during 1st Aid class. My Drill Sergeant broke in during CPR training and told us that it was on now. Many of my platoonmates were going through Basic Training like being in the Army was some kind of game, but like it or not, we were at war at that moment.

We all thought he was joking. Even me, though I took the Army itself quite seriously. I thought he was merely trying to scare the children and failing miserably. Then they called off training for the rest of the day and we watched the news during the afternoon and we made phonecalls and spoke with parents about it.

9/11 and those who caused it are the biggest reason why I continue to serve. I can't give up the fight until I can feel secure that my childrren will be safe.

"Always be honest with yourself even if you are honest with no one else...
...It helps you keep track of your lies..."

Proud to be: politically incorrect, straight, white, pro-life Christian, and of the opinion the spotted owl tastes just like chicken.

thanks for posting this here.

And we are very fortunate you survived to tell us about it as well as the day the country changed forever.

What an excellent essay.
For the first time in my life, I went to Daily Kos to see if anyone there had a similar experience and to see if maybe they shared America's mourning, just for one day. What I saw on the front page, instead of pictures or essays about the horror of five years ago, was a picture of George Bush immediately after the attack with Mickey Mouse ears photoshopped on his head. Now I know why the oath of office requires the President to defend our country against enemies, both foreign AND domestic.

It is clear who they regard as the enemy, and I am now clear on why I won't sit this election out. I will put my money where my mouth is, starting with Ms. Irey, who is running against the inexplicable Rep. Murtha.

When 9/11 happened, I thought the event would be one that the Left would never dare to politicize. Sadly, how wrong I was.


The Left finds comfort in the only religion they have--politics.

My first instinct on that day was self preservation. The fire alarm at my office at 90 West Street (one block south of WTC) went off shortly after I heard a crash and saw the flaming debris falling outside my window. The scene in the lobby was chaotic, to say the least. Building security didn't let us outside, but we were able to see the carnage. I called my wife at her office at Seaport Plaza to tell her I was ok. Finally, we were told to leave the building, and I saw the second plane crash, about 100 yards away. I ran south with the crowd and then east toward my wife's office. My cell phone didn't work so I wasn't able to tell her I was ok until I saw her in her building's lobby.

My second instinct was preservation of family. My wife was 7 months pregnant, and I was concerned about her and the baby as we walked north toward our apartment on 21st street. When we got to the corner of 21st and 2nd, we were stopped by a cop who asked for ID showing proof of residence on that block. Unfortunately, we still carried NJ licenses and weren’t allowed to go home. (We later found out that the police academy on the south side of 21st street was used as a sort of command center and that Rudy had been there at some point during the day) We spent most of the rest of the day walking north to my sister-in-law’s apartment near Central Park South.

My third instinct was preservation of employment. 90 West Street was on fire for a few days, and was determined to be structurally unsound. I worked from home, as did many of my colleagues, until most of us were laid off.

Weeks later, I attended the funeral of a family friend who worked in the towers, and felt sadness and grief and anger. I was moved by the President’s speech in the rubble of the place that I used to buy my morning coffee. I came to understand the importance of security, family and community in a way that I couldn’t have previously. Let’s roll. Let's get the guys who did this.

Later, I questioned the use of 9/11 as justification of the invasion of Iraq, which had been advocated by Bush adminstration officials before they became Bush administration offials. Like most Americans, I believe that the occupation has gone been horribly botched and resulted in the unnecessary loss of life. That doesn't make me your enemy, Jack. Or at least, I don't consider you to be my enemy.

... that JS isn't talking about you - though I am loathe to put words in his mouth.

But the cadre of people who have been yelling QUAGMIRE™ since about mid-April 2003, insist that we continually re-fight the reasons for going to war in the first place (spilt milk, and all that), have been throwing rocks at the Iraq-parade for 4+ years, called for someone like Petraeus only to call him names when he comes back from Jihadistan with results that don't fit their narrative, and don't possess any plan for moving forward from where we find ourselves in Iraq other than scheduled surrender?

Well, some of us are not nearly as sure about them.

Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock.

but there is an instinct among Republicans to suggest that elected Democratic officials agree with those who call Petraeus names.

Just last night, Brit Hume said that Republicans were thrilled with the Moveon ad. The ad was disgusting and in horrible taste. Why would the R's be happy with the ad if they don't plan to use it to play political games?

and you simply say so...instead of leading with how badly you think the Republicans have reacted TO the ad...then others might pick up your sincere distaste for the ad and correct their assumption that all elected Democrat officials agree with those who call Patraeus names.

and I'm not sure what it is you are suggesting. Do you want me to say it again? It is a bad ad. It is a very very bad ad.

nuff said, in my view.

I'm shocked. Shocked!

Seriously, the fact of the matter is that the GOP has every right to attempt to hang MoveOn.moonbat around the necks of the Democrats. It is then up to the Democrats to distance themselves from the lunatics - at the risk of losing the money, volunteers, etc. the lunatics can provide - or put it around their necks and say "Gosh, ain't that perty!"

Life in the big political city, Ranger.

Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock.

There are a couple of comments upthread accusing the left of playing politics, but you are right, of course. Both sides will do it. I don't care for it from either side

of that terrible day. Glad that you and the others who have written here made it out.

The tragedy of 9/11 will never be forgotten for those of us in the airline industry.

May all the departed rest in peace.

For this long-suffering Mariners fan, baseball does matter, for exactly the reasons you stated.

For a well written essay. My daughter was in AF boot camp that day, and I was working in a Equipment Rental Store. Everything came to a screeching halt at both Charlotte and Raleigh Airports, and I was laid off not soon after (they returned between them over 50 million dollars in equipment).

My Daughter went on to serve in Qatar and Iraq, and was medically discharged last year.

I still support the GWOT, for 2 reasons.

I'll never forget 9/11/01.
The Democrats haven't come up with any plan that I've seen at all, and a plan is better than no plan.

PS "I can do it better, and I can do it Smarter" (TM) John Kerry, is NOT a Plan!!

I watched the horrors of 9/11 via satellite from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. We were heading south from the North Arabian Sea, on our way to a port visit in South Africa and then home after a six month deployment. As the events unfolded, we turned around and took station off the coast of Pakistan, awaiting orders to strike the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. We were extended one month, and all 5,000 Sailors on board were glad we did. We wanted to be part of the first response.

I can remember how Sailors wrote "Remember 9/11" and "NYPD" and "FDNY" on the bombs loaded on the airplanes, in honor of those we were fighting for. We didn't start the war on terror, but we're sure as Hell are going to finish it.

What's interesting to note here is that after 9/11, terrorist plots against Enterprise's port visit were uncovered in South Africa. Both boat and truck bomb attacks were planned during our port visit there. I shudder to think what would have happened if we made that port of call.

I retired after 23 years in the Navy, and I can still remember those images via satellite, watching the plane hit the tower and knowing that we, as a nation, were under attack. I knew then how my grandfather felt in World War II and my father in Vietnam. Freedom was under attack and freedom must be fought for and defended, no matter what the price.

We know who the enemy is and we have to take the fight to them. That is the only way to ensure 9/11 never happens again.

"I have not yet begun to fight!" - John Paul Jones

"I'm just beginning...The pen's in my hand...Ending unplanned"

My condo is in a building on Arlington Ridge. We are the last building and overlook the corner of the Pentagon that was hit.
I was opening a window in my condo to let in the fresh air on Sept. 11. It was such a lovely day I hadn't bothered to turn on the radio in the morning to catch the weather forecast.
I heard a loud "whoosh" as I reached for the window. I knew it was a jet. Reagan National Airport is a couple of miles away but jet aircraft never leave or approach on the runway that leads over my condo. Besides, this was clearly much faster moving - more like a military aircraft. Being adjacent to Arlington Cemetary we occasionally get jet flyovers at funerals. But this was much louder. Obviously much lower.
Didn't really matter as about a second louder I heard the kaboom of the impact. I didn't notice any vibrations.
I thought to myself that that was an airplane crashing.
As I was on my way to the office I figured I'd get there and find out what was going on.
As I left the parking lot and went down Army-Navy Drive - heading away from the Pentagon I looked in the rear view mirror and realized that the jet must have crashed very close to my building. Dark smoke was billowing up.
Army-Navy Drive parallels I-395 - the main artery to the Pentagon and into Washington DC. It had already come to a complete stop as people just stopped their cars and began to stare. Some tried to U-turn and head away from the Pentagon on the southbound side.
It was only when I got to the office that I truly realized that I should have stayed home and grabbed my camera (and stopped at the Pentagon Row Harris-Teeter and bought all the film I could grab).
My office is on Columbia Pike - the flight path followed by the jet. People already at the office had heard the jet - very unusual since it is not in the flight path of Reagan National.
We spent most of the day on the roof watching the fire. The office is four miles from the Pentagon.
I take Columbia Pike home. As I approached the Pentagon I was wondering if they would let me through. They did so I got my first look at the damage - and the hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who had gathered on the lawn of the Navy Annex and Penatagon South lawns.
I got home and went to the little park at the end of Arlington Ridge Road - the overlook and watched the events and took some pictures. The park was crowded. Helicopter gunships circled the Pentagon and would occasionally flair over the crowds. Some people would wave and some of the gunners would wave back.
The next morning, also a nice day, the air was filled with the smell of burnt wood. It was a bit hazy.
Coming home that night Columbia Pike was blocked off at Washington Blvd. so I couldn't get home that way. Later that night I wandered over on foot to the Pentagon side of I-395. The news media had taken over Joyce Street - the connector to Columbia Pike that I use to get home. They wouldn't leave for a week so I couldn't travel that way on my home commute. Every evening people would gather to watch.
Lots of impromptu memorials sprouted up at my park and the lawns at the Navy Annex and Pentagon South over the next days. There was one that was rather disturbing. It appeared at my little overlook park - it was an empty baby stroller decorated with ribbons. A lot of the memorials had pictures or handwritten notes but that one didn't.
Anyway, every evening on the way home for awhile I got to watch the rebuilding of the Pentagon.
Tonight, on the anniversary, once again the media trucks were there though pushed off onto the lawns rather than impeding Columbia Pike/Joyce Street. The Pentagon had some lights shooting skyward. Since it was overcast the lights reflected off the clouds like in some Batman movie.

Being that you were sort of an eye witness, what do you make the truthers' theories? I can't believe there aren't hundreds of people who saw "the plane" hit the Pentagon. I've always wondered what the truthers say happened to Barbara Olsen. Sorry about the off-topic question, but I would like to know from someone who was there.

My office at the time was in lower Broadway, about three blocks south of the towers. The hardest part of that day was waiting for word that all of my people had gotten out safe.

One of my guys had a north-facing window, out of which you couldn't see too much except for the towers. On rainy days, you couldn't see the tops of them. My wife grabbed a snapshot of a peregrine falcon hatchling on his window ledge. That was a week before 9/11.

It had been a good summer for falcon sightings in lower Manhattan, if you knew what you were looking for, and they liked the WTC. We never saw another one after that day.

...but that hit me unexpectedly. No falcons?

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

.....did you work at [deleted]? I left active duty in May 2001, and worked in the WTC offices of [deleted] until August of 2001.....missed 9/11 by 3 weeks; which still scares me knowing that as a former active duty jarhead I am in the office everyday by 0730.

Six years later, and I still want to kill terrorists -- good thing I am heading back to Iraq in a few months.

I work at a large DC law firm with a ton of squichy lefties - my blood boils listening to these people speak against the war and posit that we should treat terrorists like human beings.

This is a day I will never forget (I watched the plane crash into the pentagon from Route 110) - and I don't think anyone should......


Take no offense - we deleted the reference because, while I'm not anonymous, I try to prevent Mr. Google from easily connecting my blogging to my employer.

And thanks for your service, and God bless.

"No compromise with the main purpose, no peace till victory, no pact with unrepentant wrong." - Winston Churchill

it is surreal to think that you may have been one of those who we, far away from this horror, saw on TV that morning running for your lives. It was months before I quit waking up in the middle of the night and turning on the TV to make sure that nothing else had happened. I continue to marvel that it hasn't. My profound gratitude to all those who have made sure of that over the last 6 years--and my enduring contempt for those who refuse to understand the meaning of what happened 6 years ago.

I do not have a 9/11 experience nearly as dramatic as Dan or Marcus. I simply remember sitting in front of the TV, literally with my jaw hanging open, listening and watching in utter disbelief. I remember telling my wife that we should go pick up our son from school, just in case. I went and filled the gas tank with gas and withdrew several hundred $ from the ATM, just in case. And I was living in a smallish Central IL city at the time, where it was unlikely that anything would really happen. We spent that evening at church, praying for the New Yorkers and for the US.

It was as surreal of a day as I'll probably ever encounter.

...when they see me they'll say, "There goes Loren Wallace,
the greatest thing to ever climb into a race car."

I was going to leave a comment, but it ended up being a blog entry. Wow.

I was a test ORSA at the time, working for USAOTC. Myself and two of my fellow ORSAs were sitting around swapping BS war stories. One guy, I'll call him "Frank" turned around and activated his computer monitor by moving his mouse. He browsed to CNN. It took forever to load.

We figured the net was dead and were about to call someone to get the juice reconnected to our data management trailer. I then heard Frank say in a totally frightened and awe-struck voice "Oh ----!"

Myself and the person. I'll call her "Jill", both turned around to see what was wrong. The entire front page of CNN was the airplane hitting the building. Nothing elsecould load, their volume spike must have been overwhelming.

Work didn't really resume much that day. We were stunned. The old, retired NCO who ran our supply trailer had an old beater of a television. We sat and watched Peter Jennings predict 10,000 fatalities.

We swapped some of the first 9-11 "Truther" theories about who could have done it. We had it pegged as either The Iranians, The Cubans or the next Timothy McVeigh.

Other parts of the day were less speculative, but equally mordant. A Major from the PMO who's system was under test talked about the really great guys who worked their. Three days later, two were still missing. They later showed up on the official casualty list.

My last memory that really comes into focus was the next two days. The 12th, I walked in to work. It was the only way to get on post in under 4 hours commute time. I remembered why I used to dislike road-marching so much as a soldier; even though I didn't have the ruck.

The next day, I was back to driving. I remember the HMMMV parked at the gate with the .50 Cal aimed right between my eyebrows as the MPs checked my ID and my vehicle. It took them 10 minutes to go over every car they checked.

For some reason that Hummer with the .50 Cal pointed right at the thick point of my skull got it through my head that we would be at war for a while.

James Hansen - Scott THomas Beauchamp with a PhD.

as I've mentioned before, Great Lakes Naval Training Center is two minutes from me. Days after 9/11, going by GL was completely different. What had been semi passive, was now fortified with concrete barriers everywhere (almost a maze)and well armed guards at the ready.

First thought?...things will never be the same.

" in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
Abe Lincoln

and thanks to "instant replay" also distort your sense of real time. I still couldn't come up with an accurate chrono of that morning if my life depended on it. I know I got up about five and change Alaska time and as is my habit turned on the radio. Instead of the usual jocular local announcer, I heard Peter Jennings and knew something big was going on in the World, so I went out and turned on the TV. I don't know how much I saw live and how much replay, but I saw the buildings burning and then collapsing. Somewhere along the way I woke the wife and we watched together. I remember talking with her about how there were probably fifty thousand or more people in those buildings and we might very well be watching them die. I'm still amazed that the casualty count was so low.

I've had enough emergency management training and experience to know that I was likely to have a very busy day; it was clear that we were at war or something like it and there'd be all sorts of directives and call-ups of reservists, Type I Response Teams, various specialists on the cooperative agreements, so I tore myself away from the TV and went to work. The first thing I had to deal with was the airline shutdown and, air travel being what it is here, we had employees scattered all over the State and Nation and no way to move them or even contact them in many instances. Making decisions on how to deal with that and getting the directives out took a lot of my morning. I had to dig out the old USERRA memos and review and update them for the inevitable call ups. This was all punctuated with the usual "are State offices open?", "do we have to come to work?", "do we get hazard pay?", is overtime authorized?, and all the other things that greedy and self-interested employees want to know. Of course, the Emergency Management types were in their element and were trying to take over the government, so we had to get to the Governor's office before they did or they'd have the whole da**ed government on hazard pay and double time and a half and be buying everything they could write a PO for. I finally got some breathing room by early afternoon and went outside and there came my most striking memory; it was so very, very quiet. In a place that relies almost exclusively on air travel, you just get accustomed to the steady background noise of aircraft and, now, all of them were grounded; I'd never not heard anything like it. Hope to never not hear it again.

In Vino Veritas

It is necessary to remember this event in all its horror. I only wish we could give a "feelings transplant" from you (or blackhedd, Raven or any of the other people who saw the event first hand from less than a mile away) to the leaders of the Democrat party.

and had left the car radio off that morning on the way to work. My cell phone rang and I recognized the number of an Account Executive I'd been trying to get hold of the day before.

"Where's your kid? The Marine. Is he on his way to New York?" were his first words after I said "Hi dude..." I had no clue and asked what in the world he was talking about. He told that terrorists had flown planes into the WTC and Pentagon and I didn't believe him until he held his phone down by his radio.

I ran to a conference room with a TV and couldn't believe what I was watching. It took about three minutes before I started calling Josh (the Marine). I called his cell phone every fifteen minutes and it was turned off. I call his barracks number at Pendleton and it came up disconnected. The main number at CP just rang. It was three days before we got to talk to him and it was more like one of the 30 second "boot camp calls". "Hi. I'm OK. I'm not at CP. We've been reassigned. I can't talk about it anymore. How's the weather in Phoenix?"

I'll never forget the empty feeling in my gut watching the Towers. It was more than offset by the pride I came to feel being around my son and "his" Marines as they prepared for their first deployments. It really made GWB's "...they messed with the wrong people" statement through that bullhorn personal for me.
CongressCritter™: Never have so few felt like they were owed so much by so many for so little.

feeling ill that morning and once I got my daughter on the bus, I took a nap. When I awoke I had to meet the carpet cleaner at our rental property. I was disoriented, trying to figure out why all the airplanes were sitting at our regional airport, and hardly any cars driving about. I kept changing radio stations thinking it was some kind of drama or wondering if perhaps I got "left behind", but when I hit buttons and heard "new york" "pentagon" "on fire" I started to grasp something was really wrong and wondered if I should be going away from home.

When I got there I wanted to hug the carpet cleaner and cry but I resisted and called my sister to see if she was following it all.

We had a memorial service that night at church and our pastor spoke with great courage and hope as did our president a short while later.

Other than hugging my family & seeing the impact videos repeatedly, that's what I remember most.

I was in Vegas for a trade show. At the time I was at Kinko's printing a couple documents and saw the tragedy on TV. The trade show was cancelled due to numerous threats on the building and Vegas in general. Spent the next several days waiting for air travel to resume, basically holed up in hotel room glued to the TV sickened by the attack.

Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what your country can do for you. Washington Elected Elite

I worked in Augusta, GA, in 2001, for the online division of a newspaper company. I was at work around 8 a.m., watching the re-run of SportsCenter. About 8:30, one of my co-workers arrived saying he had just heard on the radio that a plane had hit the WTC. I switched channels (for the life of me, I can't remember if I turned on CNN or Fox), but I know I flipped between the two, depending on what was being covered. That's when things became surreal. The office filled with co-workers, most not knowing what was happening. The division president arrived around 9 a.m. By this time, most of us were crowded around the TV, just watching, staring. It was shortly after this that the Div. President set us to work. Myself and others started going to our newspaper web sites, calling the editors, monitoring the news. We divided into teams, editorial and production. We needed maps, audio, etc. We worked with our newspapers to re-launch their front pages, with content packages and to trim bandwidth to aid in load time.
I remember pieces of conversations - what the death toll would be, is this war, who attacked us, President Bush's response, how the media was covering the events. I remember thinking 'how could this happen?'
I remember co-workers who had friends and family in NYC trying to get in touch. I finally called my parents that afternoon (they live in the Midwest) to check in and say hi.
A few of us stayed through Bush's speech that night, posting video and audio excerpts. I finally left at 3 a.m. I slept on my couch with the TV on.

my teenage son was at school, my husband was out shoeing horses. I worked from home at the time and was having my last cup of coffee before getting down to business when I turned on the tube and saw ABC. Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson were horror stricken already at that point and then the second plane hit. I
spent the next two hours on the phone with two friends, needing some human contact to help get through what we were seeing in front of us. When the first tower went down, it was devastating to see, to know that something so massive, so proud, was reduced to rubble and dust--and that God knew how many of our fellow citizens were within that maelstrom of destruction. It was sickening to witness, but with the tears came the rage as well.
We were obviously at war and it was not too hard to guess who was responsible.

What I remember most vividly was two days later when I had to go to Nashville, Tn to pick up supplies for my business. Traveling through the towns from my farm to the city was amazing. Traffic was light, which was unusual, but it was the flags---everywhere you looked, on every business, interstate overpass, 18-wheelers, and as many cars as could find them--beautiful American flags flying high. It brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat and it was then that I knew we'd make it, we still had the heart of fighters. So many businesses had billboards out front that contained messages,
"United we Stand", "We will Prevail", "God Bless America",etc.
In tragedy, we were finally one people.

Six years later, it is a tragedy that we are no longer.

My Drill had spent the previous 2 weeks harping on how us children needed to take it seriously because life in the Army was no joke and we could be at war anytime.

That morning, he broke up the CPR training. Barging in the back door, he shouted, "I told you it was serious! We've just been attacked!"
And they halted training for the rest of the day for us to call family and watch the news on the tv on the roll-cart.

"I Will Always Place The Mission First.
"I will never accept defeat.
"I will never quit.
"I will never leave a fallen comrade."
Warrior Ethos, US Army

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