September 11, 2009

Where Were You?

September 11, 2001 will be one of the days when we remember where we were when 'it' happened. Just like the day President Kennedy was assassinated, when the space shuttle exploded, and when President Reagan was shot.

Indelibly imprinted on our brains. Never forgotten.

On that day, I was at home with The Boy. He was absent from school, due to sickness. He was lying in my bed, watching cartoons on the TV.

Windows open, our upstairs neighbor shouted down to me, urging me to turn on the TV. On the Today show, I watched in quiet horror as the images were shown on the screen.

Neighbors gathered out on the sidewalk to discuss what was seen. We lived in Pittsburgh then. The prior year, The Boy and I lived about 20 miles from Shanksville, where Flight 93 ("Let's roll!") crashed in a field.

I called our previous babysitter and asked if she saw or heard anything. She always took the kids for a walk at about 9:00 each morning, for her daily visit to the post office. She saw the plane, flying much lower than planes should - this was minutes before it crashed.

Early rumors and reports in Pittsburgh said that that plane was due to hit the city. Workers in high rise buildings were told to go home; my daughter Erin left work early that day. As I stood on my porch and watched the trolley running in the middle of our street, I saw the concerned faces of commuters who were having a very early rush hour.

After the crush of riders departed the city, an eerie quiet fell over our neighborhood. We could see an occasional fighter jet fly over - I assume they came from the Air National Guard post near Pittsburgh International Airport.

We lost our sense of security that day. We lost our innocence.

Here's a youtube video my brother took on a family visit to NYC in the spring of 2001:


  1. I was at work and a customer mentioned a plane flying into one of the towers. We all assumed a small private plane. We soon heard otherwise. Since everyone on earth was on the internet, we had a difficult time getting information about what was going on. We were getting bits and pieces from various phone calls. At lunch, I drove to Burger King with a co-worker so we could listen to the radio in the car. The entire area was deserted. It was very eerie. Only a handful of cars in the parking lots of these malls where there would typically be hundreds. We sat there in silence just listening to the horror. I couldn't wait for the day to end so I could get to a TV.

  2. Saying we lost our innocence
    is exactly on. That is how I feel too

  3. June thank you so much for remembering that day. I fear that as we move on from that day we will eventually forget it...we just can't.

    I was actually in the area on September 11th. If you look at a map of Manhattan and surroundings...west to the Hudson river...just across the river is Jersey City New Jersey. Directly across the river from where the twin towers stood is the Jersey City Hilton. I was there proctoring a training class for our company based in New Jersey.

    I saw the devastation, lives wrecked because so many locals had friends who worked in the Twin Towers...I will truly never forget the sights, sounds and smells of that day.

    I was living in St. Louis at the time and since all the flights were grounded for the week...after about 4 days I finally found a car to rent and drove home. As I passed through Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois...I saw the fear on peoples faces as i stopped for gas, I saw huge flags flying on the overpasses and strangers suddenly were so was like I was watching a movie of myself..almost out of body experience.


  4. I took an early bus to work that morning and had stopped at a Burger King to grab breakfast with my few extra minutes. I don't know what the exact time was but it had to have been shortly after the first plane hit the WTC because the clerk at BK asked me if I heard about the plane crash. She just said that a plane had crashed into the world trade center. I left the restaurant to begin the 1 mile walk to my workplace. I was still teaching preschool at the time and as soon as I walked in I knew something was horribly wrong by the looks on my co-workers faces. I thought something had happened to one of the children but then learned about both planes and the terror alert was already out.

    I was just thinking this morning that this day is like my version of my parent's 'JFK' day, I will always remember it down to the very last detail.

    Our country will never be the same. That being said, I've never been more proud to be a citizen of our great country either.


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