Where were you on 9-11-2001?

When I was a little girl, I remember my mom telling me she remembered the exact moment – where she was, what she was doing – when she heard President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated.  I was 3 years old at the time so I don’t remember it, but I remember it was difficult for me to understand how someone could remember something like that with such clarity.

Fast forward to September 11, 2001, and suddenly it all made sense.

I had just arrived at work. I’d been listening to a cd in my car so I didn’t hear any of the news. A fellow employee got in the elevator with me and asked if I’d heard the news of a plane crashing into the #TwinTowers. I said, “No” and of course wanted info. Was it a small plane? Large plane? He didn’t know. He walked with me to my boss’ office, and after depositing my things at my desk, we turned on the t.v. in the small conference room near my cubicle. The other paralegals in the department wanted to know what was going on, so we sat around the conference table and watched the news. More people wandered in and leaned against the walls and windows. A few minutes later, the second plane hit.

Photo courtesy of New York City Police Department

The conference room filled with a collective gasp and then grew eerily quiet. We watched, mesmerized, as if caught in a surrealistic dream. It was if we were watching a movie, yet somehow we knew with dread the actors were real people, and this was a script none of them rehearsed.

We sat, stood, watched, all of us stunned and shocked. Tears fell. Hands covered mouths. Heads shook. Then we watched as a reporter with CNN who was on-site at the Pentagon shouted something like, “I don’t know what’s happened! There’s been an explosion!” He ran. The cameraman ran, then the reporting switched back to New York. We watched the pandemonium as the buildings fell and covered everything in ash.  Not long after that, we learned another plane had gone down in Pennsylvania, killing all on board.

We … and our nation were paralyzed with fear, disbelief, and that moment was etched in my brain forever. Needless to say, not much work was done that day and we all went home a bit early. I hugged my kids and wept. They cried, and even though my two sons weren’t quite old enough to understand the total implications, they knew a lot of innocent people died. As a parent, it was difficult to find the right words, words they would understand, but not frighten them. How does one explain this sort of terror to a child? More so, how do children living in war zones, cope? What do their parents tell them?

On this #911anniversary, there is no doubt the world has changed in the last 13 years. It is almost scary to turn on the news, to see what is happening around the globe. All we can do is pray our humanity strengthens us, binds us, and leads us to some semblance of world peace. In the meantime, hug your loved ones, spend quality time with your families, and as you leave for work or school, always leave your children, your spouse, your parents with three little words: “I love you”. We never know what tomorrow will bring or even what the next fifteen minutes hold in store. Try to make every moment the best it can be. Set aside differences, anger and try to remember we are all on this ride together. Let’s spend it laughing, not crying.

So, where were you on 9-11-2001?

Image in Public Domain


16 thoughts on “Where were you on 9-11-2001?

  1. I was an officer working in a canadian jail at the time so we didn’t have access to TV’s at work. The inmates were all yelling at us to watch the TV that a plane hit the trade center. We found a spare TV from somewhere and set it up and watched in fascination as the second plane hit. I have never been so shocked in my life. My sister is a police officer here and a bunch of them went to New York to see what they could help with. I just recently visited the 9/11 memorial and it was so sobering to see that. They have live radio communication and 911 calls made by the people involved. I can’t imagine living there and watching the destruction unfold. The memorial alone brought tears to my eyes.

    Great post and reminder to all to appreciate what we have. 🙂


    1. I want to see the memorial. It’s on my bucket list even though I’ve heard it will rip my heart out. I’m sure it will be nothing compared to what the victims, their families and the residents of NY, DC and Pennsylvania suffered..


  2. I had dropped my son off for kindergarten and taken my daughter to a play date. The girls played. I and the other Mom were glued to her television. This was pacific time, and all the crashing was done with by then — in real time. But we saw the same footage over and over that day, and for many days. I remember a sense of futility because I was so far away and there was nothing practical to do.

    So many parts of the reaction afterward felt very wrong to me. We declared war on the wrong country, got to the right country very late, held prisoners for years without trial, and took many other actions that seem deeply un-American to me. I personally feel the public was deceived about these things by our government because they believed the emergency justified anything and everything. I disagree. The end does not justify the means.

    Nevertheless, I flew my flag today and tweeted a reminder that we all should appreciate our family and friends because you never know what may happen in the blink of an eye.


  3. So true how we always remember. I was doing my senior teacher internship and had gone to the media center for some books and nobody was around . . . found them watching TV in the back & the first plane had just hit. I watched the second one hit and then rushed back to tell my supervising teacher. Her daughter, a senior in H.S., was on a school trip to D.C. and was supposed to visit the Pentagon that day. Luckily, they hadn’t arrived yet. We’ll always remember ❤


    1. Wow! What happened to your friend’s daughter? Did they turn the buses around? How terrified those parents must have been knowing their children were in route to an area in turmoil! What a story. I would love to hear theirs.


    1. I think it will always be with us. Hopefully we have learned some valuable life lessons along the way. BTW, I had no idea you are so young!! I’m sure you have some very intuitive thoughts on war and peace. The world must seem quite scary at times. Do you view the future with hope, or do you see us slipping further into ourselves, focusing more inward than out?


      1. Haha, yes; I’m 16.

        I do hope for the future, but I’m a realist. Things are going to go wrong. But the other thing is, the human race are a resilient bunch. We’ll get through it. Things like the terror thread (I don’t know if you’ve heard that it’s been raised to ‘severe’ in the UK) scare me a lot, but worrying doesn’t solve anything. Sometimes you’ve just got to grin and bear it.


  4. I was in the U.K. on vacation. I discovered it when my hosts turned on a TV set to watch a video and then came to fetch me (I was upstairs). We saw the various news reports about the same time you did (it was 2 p.m. in England at the time), but I was still shocked that both towers actually came down since they were massive buildings and I’d seen them personally on a trip to NY.

    I still remember how kind the Brits were. People — complete strangers! — would hear my American accent and came up to express their sorrow. Condolence books appeared in churches. Bouquets of flowers were put down at the American embassy in London. It was heartwarming to see.


    1. Yes. I remember the outpouring of love from our foreign allies and friends. It was very touching and healing. I can’t imagine being in another country at the time, with an airline ticket in your hand. It is amazing how immobilizing fear can be but also how much strength can be born from it.


      1. I was one of the lucky ones; I had a place to stay. Flights were grounded on Wednesday and Thursday, but my flight didn’t leave until Sunday.

        I remember hearing a BBC News story about an American firefighter stuck in London. Some local firefighters put him up at their station until he could get home. So kind of them.

        Heathrow was a madhouse that Sunday, packed with people trying to get home. But there was a general air of “we’re all in this together, we’ll get you sorted out and on your way” which was inspiring.

        On the way to the airport, I saw planes flying overheard and mentally celebrated each time. Good for us.


  5. I’d just dropped off my daughter to preschool and returning home, got the call from my mom that a plane had just crashed into the pentagon. I couldn’t believe what she was saying. After I turned on the news, the second plane crashed into the towers. I will never forget that day and still often cry on the anniversary of it. My children were too little to understand. Unfortunately, I was in an isolated situation with a husband who not only didn’t care but kept us in turmoil day after day. 2001 was a wakeup call for me and sent my children and me on a journey toward freedom. I will never take that for granted again either. God bless America and hugs to everyone on this day.


  6. Wow, this is a touching tribute! On 9-11 I was a young adult still living at home. I’d dropped my mother off at work early that morning (we lived in Southern California) and had just gotten back home when I saw the news. I watched in horror as chaos errupted. Attacks seemed to be coming from everywhere, and the local news speculated that all major metropolitan cities were at risk. My mom worked in downtown Los Angeles and despite dire warnings from the news to stay away from that area, I had to get my mother! I have never seen downtown LA look so destitute. Gone was the bumper to bumber traffic, and sidewalks streaming with people. It was downright erie. Needless to say, my mother and I got home safely. It’s true, you never forget where you were when tragedy struck.


    1. You must have been so afraid, wondering if you would be next. I live in a small town, so I wasn’t worried about attacks near where I live, but LA, Chicago, Atlanta … I feared for them. It is true, the attacks didn’t seem to end. I’m so glad you and your mom were able to spend the rest of that day together and bond a little closer. It is too bad it takes a tragedy like this to remind us all to love one another and not be afraid to say it or show it.


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