20 YEARS AGO- WHERE WERE YOU?

The twin towers of the World Trade Center burn behind the Empire State Building in New York, Sept. 11, 2001.

It’s hard to believe it was 20 years ago today- the 9-11 attacks. It was one of those events where everyone remembers where they were at- what they were doing when they found out. I am too young to really remember the Kennedy Assassination. There are still those who remember events like Pearl Harbor, FDR’s death, the end of World War II. I was thinking what events were the monumental events in my life which stick out. 9-11 is certainly one of them. The assassination of John Lennon, Apollo 11 and man walking on the moon. I am trying to think of a fourth one to round out a Mount Rushmore….I will go with the evening in the fall of 1989 when the Berlin Wall came down.

Where were you twenty years ago today? I was teaching school. My first period class had ended. I had a planning period second period and walked down to the office to check my mail. When I walked in the first thing I saw was small television which sat on the top of a book shelf was on. I had never seen it on. Then my eyes focused – and saw one of the World Trade Towers smoking. I asked the secretary what was happening and she said a plane had hit the tower. I then went up to my room and turned the television on- the second tower was hit- and now without question this wasn’t an accident it was a terrorist attack. When my third period class walked in- someone asked ‘ What movie are you watching Mr. Postcard?”- I remember saying ‘It’s not a movie, it’s real.” For the next 45 minutes we all sat in silence watching what was going on. Terrible.

As the day went on parents kept showing up and school pulling their kids out and taking them home. By the end of the day I would guess half the students had left. One thing I remember about the day- of course now we know the outcome but was the day was unfolding there were all kinds of rumors. The one which sticks out to me -that after all the planes had been ordered to land -that there we several still up there- could they also be hijacked planes ready to strike somewhere?

It would turn out that one of the planes- the one which crashed in Pennsylvania- had passed over us earlier in the morning. One thing that I do remember about that day- before anything had happened. I can remember looking out the window and noticing how blue the sky was. The sun was shining brightly and the sky was an incredible blue.

12 responses to “20 YEARS AGO- WHERE WERE YOU?

  1. It must have felt chilling to hear that United Airlines Flight 93 flew overhead that day. Still, to this day I too remember, well at least from Melbourne in Australia, how blue the sky was in those television images of 9/11. When we saw the second plane smash into the second tower my heart almost stopped. I could never have imagined a more sinister attack. Lest We Forget.

    • I agree we need to always remember. It seems like yesterday– and yet today’s college students either weren’t born or were too young to recall… how time passes.

  2. I still remember certain aspects from that day like they happened yesterday. It was a beautiful late summer day, just like it is today in New Jersey. I was working in midtown Manhattan right opposite Madison Square Garden. Shortly after the first plane hit, my boss told us a plane had just hit the World Trade Center in what looked like a freak accident.

    When I crossed the street in the early afternoon and turned right to look toward Manhattan’s south, strangely almost everything looked completely normal. I couldn’t see any of the horrific smoke from my vantage point. The only thing I noticed is there were more people walking in the street than usual.

    After subway service had been restored later in the afternoon, I managed to get onto a crowded subway train to head back to my apartment in Forest Hills, Queens. When I got home, my wife was watching TV. Only after I had seen the mayhem on the screen over and over again did I fully grasp what had happened.

    • Wow you were in the city when it happened. Did you notice anything as far as activity in the street? How far away from the World Trade Center were you?

  3. I was living in St. Louis, Missouri at the time, where I owned and operated a bed & breakfast inn. My partner and I were preparing breakfast, and a guest who came in for breakfast told us a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center. After we served breakfast, we went up to our apartment and watched the TV, and I still remember our shock and horror when the two towers collapsed. I had been to the top of one of the towers on previous visits to New York in 1978 and 1990.

    • I really can’t recall- but I don’t think anyone on air- at least on the network I was watching- calling it- that the towers would collapse. Maybe I am wrong- a lot of that day is a blur. I recall being shocked also. I was also surprised that the number who were killed- wasn’t larger. I was expecting the worst.

  4. What a terrible day, to say the least. It is the one historic day that really is burned into my memory. It was a nice day in Ontario, as it turned out I drove to work (often I’d walk or get the bus) and for some odd reason, I had on news radio – also unusual, I usually had on rock (probably wanted to get a late night baseball score from night before) – and they were reporting that a plane had hit the WTC. Obviously bad, but I figured at time, some stupid incompetent in a Cessna or something, and figured it might have more or less bounced off the tower. But of course, minutes later when I got to work, the second one had hit. It was the one time no one at work was really doing work, we ignored the directive to only use the internet for work and had the computers on the news all day, the owner as wrapped up in it as all of us, and the few customers coming in were mainly in shock and just giving us updates. there was of course also concern and rumors that Toronto might be attacked, that Chicago would be. Horrible day.

  5. I was at home…I was working the night shift in IT and Jennifer woke me up saying New York was being attacked. I thought she heard something wrong…I couldn’t believe what was going on. I went outside later and I never heard it so quiet in my life. We lived near an army base…around 20 miles and we would hear planes…not on this day at all. That is what stuck with me…the silence.

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