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bob_'s avatar

Where were you on 9/11?

Asked by bob_ (20959points) 1 month ago from iPhone

What do you remember about that day 20 years ago?

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30 Answers

rebbel's avatar

At home, in my rented room in the Netherlands.
Without TV, only radio.
The radio announced it.
Having had to use my imagination, rather than footage, I was immediately very afraid WWIII would began shortly.
I didn’t see the footage for years.
Maybe around the 10 year remembrance.

Forever_Free's avatar

I wasi In Atlanta on a business trip. I had flown out of Boston the prior morning on 9/10

I was working a software implementation at CARE and had a difficult morning start due to a significant computer virus that hit on 9/10. The Computer virus created a significant traffic slowdown because of its denial of service threat and creating computers inability to process the amount of activity. As users visited a sites at the infected Web server, they unwittingly download pages with the JavaScript that automatically executes, causing the virus to be sent to other computers on the Internet in a somewhat random fashion.
To this day, I still believe it was launched as a potential diversion and to create computing issues.

I had gone to a little coffee shop that morning and was in line waiting my turn in a long line. They had overhead TV’s with morning news channels (CNN). I saw it unfold as they flipped their coverage to NYC events. I recall the day and evening of people talking more openly about what was occuring. The lobby of the hotel was filled with people talking all evening and for the next few days. I knew that evening that I was not going to be able to fly home as scheduled that Friday. I reserved a one way rental car that Tuesday evening. I drove with two strangers at the time to drop them off at their homes. One in DC area, one in Newark. The visual of seeing the smoke still coming off Manhattan on Friday afternoon was haunting.

I lost 2 friends who worked for TJX (TJMAX, etc), corporation in the Boston area. There were part of the 7 TJX employees heading on a business trip to California that morning.

Zaku's avatar

I was in Seattle. I remember seeing the reports, and all flights stopping, and people fixating on what was happening…

… but mainly I remember the Bush administration being ready to immediately turn it into an opportunity to get more political support than they’d otherwise have had, to do what they wanted and change laws and expectations by using the shift in popular support, to declare “a war on Terror” against an “Axis of Evil” and “to defend our way of life” by ejecting many of our expectations of freedom, privacy, and due process out the window (wait, what? isn’t that the OPPOSITE of protecting our freedoms and way of life? Yes, yes it was…), and to invade the Middle East to secure stable oil prices to boost oil profits and dump money into the military industrial complex, Haliburton Inc., etc.

jca2's avatar

At the time, I lived about 30 miles from Ground Zero but I just started a new position at my employer, and so I was up in Albany for training. I was in a hotel for the week with a roommate (a stranger at first who became a friend) and we were all in the classroom with an attorney, learning about legal issues relating to Child Protective, which is what we were training for. The attorney had a problem with the computer he was using for the training, so he was fumbling around and we were all sitting there. The lead trainer was out of the room and came in, and while we were waiting for the attorney to figure out the computer, the lead trainer announced that while we were on this little break, there was a plane that just hit one of the World Trade Center buildings. The attorney said his daughter went to high school right near the WTC, and everyone scattered out of the classroom to look at TVs and try to make phone calls. My mom worked in NYC not far from Grand Central so I went to a landline and tried to call her at work. All the lines were busy. People were gathered around a TV and the Today Show was on and Katie Couric and Matt Lauer were talking about what was going on. Then one of the buildings fell. It was mind boggling to see. We all gathered in the classroom again and the attorney announced that he was leaving to go back to NYC (about a three hour ride from Albany). He said that even if roads were blocked off, he was going to get down there and find his daughter. The lead trainer told us to break for the day and return the next day.

We went back to the hotel, which was a popular place for pilots and airline staff. The hotel set up a free food buffet in the lounge and they had a cash bar. We ate and drank and watched the TV. They were talking about Bin Laden. We were all like “who’s Bin Laden?” We had never heard of him.

Later on that day, I reached my stepfather who told me that my mom called him and she had to walk to the 125th street station, because there were no trains leaving from Grand Central. Grand Central is at 42nd Street so to walk to 125th street is quite a hike. Luckily my mom was in good shape.

The next day, we convened in the classroom and the lead trainer said we would do the legal training some time in the future, since the attorney was not available.

I have family that lives in NYC, but coincidentally they were vacationing in Maine at the time. They stayed in Maine for the remainer of the week, which was great for them to not be in the city at the time. They said when they returned to NYC, they could still smell the smell. They lived around midtown (a few blocks from Grand Central).

I am friends with the girl who was my roommate in Albany and every year we talk about how we were all together on 9/11.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It was a Monday. I worked at CellOne.
We had a meeting at work on Mondays. We had taken a break from our meeting and were outside smoking. My bosses cell phone rang. It was her Mom.
She looked up at us in dawning horror, and gave us the news.
Had tons of people in and out that day, but not a one of them was inquiring about their phone.
One customer told us that they had grounded all planes,, but there was one flight still unaccounted for….

The next morning, when I took the kids to school I said “Look up into the sky. You will never see this again in your life.” The sky was crystal blue.
They said “Whatever, Mom.” And hopped out and went in the building.

Jeruba's avatar

It was a Tuesday in California. Our radio alarm clock went off as usual, Pacific time, already a couple of hours past the strike. My husband automatically bonked the snooze alarm while I was shouting, “Wait, don’t turn that off!” I had heard just a tiny snippet of the news, the stunning, breathtaking news. He turned the radio back on and we sat up in bed listening to the horror that has followed us all ever since.

I got up and went to work. A lot of the cubicles were empty. The place was unnaturally quiet. Our second-line manager came around and said, “Go on home if that’s what you need to do to take care of yourself.” I said, “I need to be here doing normal things.”

I had brought a candle and some incense. I booked a conference room and messaged my co-workers inviting them to meditate with me. A few did. I held a zazen position in a silent room for nearly an hour at work. That helped.

I followed the news on my work computer on and off all day.

That evening I sat my two sons down, both then in their teens, and said, “Things are going to get weird now. But you have to remember how it was before. You have to remember because otherwise you’ll start to think the weirdness is normal. And if nobody remembers normal, we’ll never get back there.”

I guess there’s actually no going back.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I was at work. All I really remember is thinking ‘my country is under attack!’ and seeing my fellow Americans holding hands and jumping to their deaths. The horror of those videos is what I’ll never forget.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I was driving past the Pentagon! Thanks to some good luck, the airplane crashed shortly after I’d gone by.

I live southwest of D.C. and, back then, had a part-time job to the north of the city. My regular commute included a road directly next to the Pentagon, on the side where the plane crashed. When I arrived at my office, a co-worker told me what had just happened. Then, I saw people crowding around a TV, watching the carnage in New York and here.

I’ve often wondered what would have happened if the plane had crashed a few minutes earlier, while I was right there.

kneesox's avatar

@Forever_Free, where was home at that time? Where were you driving to?

kritiper's avatar

At home, watching Cartoon Network until 9:30 AM mountain time when I turned the channel to NBC and heard for the first time that the twin towers were gone. On the TV were clouds of dust and I wondered, “What movie is this?” But I knew it wasn’t a movie. Odd that no one called earlier to tell me what was going on.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Worked at an aerospace company, worked with outside contractors on large machines (up to 30 foot tall) in the manufacturing deparrtment. Walked out to one of the jobs they were working on, stopped in the office of one of the supervisors; he told me two planes had flown into the WTC in New York. I went back to my office and the conference next to my cube had the TV on to a local station showing the video of the WTC.

My wife had a lady that was talking to her brother, he was four floors above where the first plane struck. He was never seen again.

I worked part-time for a large car rental agency, we had cars from Canada and people had driven from California and Washington state all the to Connecticut. The end of September we drove a dozen cars up to Champlain, NY. The Canadian team drove over in two SUVs and drove them back across the border in the dozen cars.

jca2's avatar

In the months after 9/11, my job (government) had all sorts of emergency preparedness training. One of the things I remember was that we had a guy come talk to us about how, in the event of a major disaster (terrorist attack for example), it’s very possible that cell towers will be knocked out, roads might be impassible, etc., and you should make a plan with your family, for a place for everyone to get to. For the guy, (living not far from NYC), he said the place he was going to meet with his family was somewhere in PA. He said they all had an agreement that no matter what might happen, even if it took them a month to get there, they’d meet up in this spot in PA.

Now, 20 years later, it kind of seems unthinkable but it’s good to make some sort of plan.

filmfann's avatar

Just before 6am, I was at my computer, getting mentally prepared for work. My wife called me from the kitchen to see the news about the North Tower on fire. I walked in, wondering how a pilot could do that on a clear sky morning. Then a second plane came into the picture, and before it hit the tower, I knew we were going to war.
I went to work, though no work was done. We listened to the radio, and my wife would page me with details from the television. (The Pentagon has been hit! There is a car bomb near the Capitol! The North Tower has collapsed!)
My boss told us to go into the field, so 3 of my co-workers and I selected a site 4 blocks from my house. We parked our trucks at the job site (the Company had GPS tracking on our trucks), and we walked to my house, and we watched TV for an hour.
My boss then paged me, and told me that everyone was being recalled to the yard. (The Company was afraid someone would make a mistake, causing a telephone outage, and that would confused with a terrorist act). We stayed in the yard for an hour, and then were released to go home.
I got home, and called a friend who was traveling back to Baltimore that day, and told her not to go to the airport. She had already been, and had been turned away.
I was glued to the television for weeks after.
I called my Mom, who was so stressed by it, she had to watch her tapes of a Billy Ray Cyrus TV show constantly for weeks. It was her only comfort.
Later, I found out my cousin didn’t go to work that day. She would have been in the South Tower.

Forever_Free's avatar

@kneesox I was driving back to my home in the Boston area. It still numbs me to think I flew out of the same airport as those two flights exactly 24 hours before.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I was playing Command and Conquer, on my day off. Felt horribly guilty after. Since I was crashing helicopters into the enemy’s bases.

Dutchess_III's avatar

(I stand corrected. It was a Tuesday.)

flutherother's avatar

I was working in Glasgow city centre in the early afternoon of a normal day when the phones began falling silent and a rumour spread about the office that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre. I didn’t think too much of it, I thought it was probably a small light aircraft and I didn’t even know what the World Trade Centre was.

Then the phones stopped ringing completely and we began watching in disbelief as the disaster unfolded across the water. The main news sites were blocked with traffic but we found others that showed the perfect blue sky over New York and the plumes of smoke trailing away from the burning buildings.

Then we heard the Pentagon had been attacked and we wondered what would happen next. Things were so chaotic some wondered if they would still be able to withdraw money from ATM’s. Then the towers collapsed and I remember one image in particular of New York enveloped in a huge cloud of smoke and dust.

I knew this event was going to change America but I didn’t expect to see torture introduced as state policy or that America would go blundering into the Middle East to invade a country that had nothing to do with the attacks.

JLoon's avatar

I was eight years old and just starting 3rd grade.

Our teachers cancelled classes for the day, assembled eveyone in the gym, and told us that something very serious had happened in New York and Washington DC, and that hundreds had been killed because bad people had stolen airplanes and crashed them into buildings. They said that our parents would be called to take us home, but that we would all be safe because our families, the school, and police would protect everyone.

It was all very strange, and very sad. And what I remember most was so many of the adults I always looked to for some direction seemed so lost and stunned. It was like that for the rest of the year, and for the first time I realized it was up to me to start understanding the world for myself.

janbb's avatar

It was a very traumatic day for me and I am really avoiding most of 20 year memorials and documentaries because it is still so vivid in my mind.

My son had started freshman year at NYU the week before and was impressed that he could see the World Trade Towers from his 10th floor dorm window. I had gotten a very happy email from him that morning and it didn’t really affect me when I first heard on the drive to work that a plane had hit the building. At work, I was sharing the news from his email when a kid rushed into the library and asked if we had a TV he could watch. His parent was working in one of the towers! Then more and more news trickled in and they closed the campus. My friend and I waited until the parking lots cleared before heading home. Another colleague drove to the ferry station to bring survivors home.

I went home and met my husband there who was trying to reach our son but the phones were out. Eventually we got an email from him so we knew he was ok. The event had penetrated slowly into his awareness as he had started out for class. Later that day, my SIL called from their NYC apartment that my son had made it there and a day or two later he was able to get home for the rest of the week as the university was closed.

My older son called from Brown to ask if there was going to be a war.

It is not a time I want to revisit.

cookieman's avatar

I was working from home that day. After I got dressed in the morning, I called the client I was working with and she said, “Why are you calling me?! Turn on the television.”

The first plane had just hit the World Trade Center. My wife and I stayed glued to the TV for what seemed like days.

I remember being initially confused but though it had to be an airliner that crashed, not a small plane as initially reported. Then the second plane hit, live on tv, and we just cried.

anniereborn's avatar

I was woken up by a call from my then boyfriend. I ran to turn on the TV and watched in horror. I immediately called my mother. My sister and her family lived in NYC. My brother IN law worked not so far from the towers. Thankfully my mom had heard from my sister and they were all okay. The whole family had to walk home and across the brooklyn bridge to get home. They had to keep their windows closed, as there was smoke all around for a very long time.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

I’d rather not remember it. But I had just got home from work, after being there all night, checking fire equipment in two of our hospitals. Renewal with State Board of Insurance was looming. Beth left for her job shortly after I got home, then called me and told me to get up and turn on the TV, that a jet liner had just crashed into a NY City highrise building. Turned it on just in time to see the second plane hit. My first reaction was pilot error or equipment failure. Then, WTF? Was up the rest of the day watching events. Sad sad sad.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

Our oldest grandson was only three years old at the time. I remember trying to field some questions when he saw something about it on the news, after I goofed and hit a news station trying to find Mickey Mouse for him. He asked what happened and I just told him that some very bad men on an airplane had hurt some other people. Didn’t know how else to explain it to a toddler. You better believe I spent the rest of the day listening to “Hot dog hot dog hot diggity dog” ‘till his grand mother got home from work. (I was watching him for my daughter).

Dutchess_III's avatar

We didn’t have cable. Occasionally we have 3 channels out of Wichita.
I got home from work and told my son to get TV working NOW!
He did it, actually. I knew he would. Ordered cable the next day.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

Tell me you don’t have one of those super dooper cable packs, with 25,000 news channels and maybe two or three that were baby appropriate. @Dutchess_III

elbanditoroso's avatar

On the 6th floor of an office building, talking with my manager and about to go into a meeting in another building. Someone ran into her office and said “turn on the TV” and we did.

Our building was across the street from the tallest building in Atlanta (at that time) and no one knew what was happening so they wanted our building to evacuate just in case there was a plane coming to a building in Atlanta.

We were all told to go home, and don’t expect to return until the following Monday. My job was to go to each department (this was a 7 story building) and tell everyone to leave quickly.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Forever_Free interesting story – I knew the guy who was the chief fund raiser at CARE (they called him the development officer) – their office was about three blocks from where I worked.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Cheapest cable they had @Nomore_lockout.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

It’s a rip off in my view anyway @Dutchess_III probably a smart move on your part. As long as I have my old western channels so I can get my Lone Ranger and Gene Autry fix (after Mamma Bear catches her two soaps) I’m good.

Demosthenes's avatar

I was only 10 years old, but I remember it well. I remember waking up to it on the news (as all of us on the West Coast did) and hardly believing what I was seeing. I remember even at that age feeling that I wanted our country to get revenge on whoever did it. At school a group of us stood in front of the classroom that morning discussing it (to the extent of our knowledge). I remember it being on the news constantly, I remember a climate of fear similar to the pandemic lockdowns of 2020. It was the defining national moment of my childhood.

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