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  1. iowawriter

    iowawriter Senior Member

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    Where Were You on 9/11?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by iowawriter, Sep 7, 2020.

    I love talking history with folks. Something which fascinates me is hearing how people received the news on that tragic day.

    I was delivering a free ad paper the local weekly distributed on Tuesday in my small town. The bundles always arrived after breakfast so I was putting everything together while watching the news. My cat loved to play with the bundle ties. So as I watching and becoming more worried about what the heck was going on, my cat was wrestling with the ties as if she didn't have a concern in the world.

    It was a beautiful day so I walked the route. I met a woman walking who complained the coverage of the tragedy was the only thing on television. She didn't grasp the enormity of what was happening.

    I remember even KFMW, a hard rock/metal station, interrupted their playlists to pick up coverage. It was first time I could recall them doing that.

    I'm interested in hearing your memories.
     
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  2. Earp

    Earp Contributor Contributor

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    I was at work (IT manager for a coffee company). We had a TV card in a server, so I streamed the television news broadcast over the company network. Like a lot of people, it took me a while to understand exactly what was going on, until the plane hit the second tower.
     
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  3. GrahamLewis

    GrahamLewis Contributor Contributor

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    I was at work, and a newsflash came on my desktop that a plane had struck the first tower. I recalled an old story about how a military bomber had accidentally hit the Empire State Building years back, and thought it must be one of those type things, but probably a small private plane. Then the news showed the second plane hitting the second tower, so I realized what it was. We watched the news on the big screen in our break room, and I recall the first tower collapsing, and thinking how many firefighters were inside.

    Then came news about the plane in Pennsylvania. I wondered how far this thing would go.

    That night I bought a big American flag and hung it from our back deck. We had the news on constantly at home, and I remember wondering if it was healthy for our 4-year-old twins. But they seem to recall nothing about it. Which is good.
     
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  4. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody The Ole Frazzle-Dazzle Contributor

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    I was in elementary school. 2nd or third grade.
    We lived in Washington DC on a military base, and i remember that day the whole city was on lock down. All the bases were on lock down. My dad couldnt leave to come get my brother and i. My mom was on a medical base for a checkup (she was pregnant with my sister) and she couldnt leave to get us. The teachers had us all sit in the hallway against the wall for hours while the teachers watched the news in one of the classrooms. At one point, they brought out a tv and put on a cartoon for us.
    Parents came and kids trickled out. I was allowed to go to the older kids wing and sit with my older brother. Eventually our grandparents got through to pick us up and we went home with them.

    (ETA: the elementary school was located in the middle of the city near the embassies, not on base. I remember we went on a field trip and literally WALKED to one of the embassies thats how close we were to them, so the area was a steel trap! No one could really get near there)
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2020
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  5. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I was volunteering at an adult model daycare center for clients with memory disorders and dementia. We were in the TV room watching a daytime rerun of Golden Girls. The show cut out and the news cut in. We quickly got the clients out of the TV room and over to where we did music. The lady who did the music hour wasn't there yet, of course, so one of the nurses started a set of musical rounds (of the Frère Jacques variety) and the clients quickly forgot. Those of us working that day had to just wait until we were home to get the whole story.
     
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  6. Rad Scribbler

    Rad Scribbler Contributor Contributor

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    I was living in South Africa and saw on the television the first tower on fire with smoke billowing from it. Then the plane fly into the second tower and finally the collapse of both towers. It really was too much to take in.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2020
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  7. Cilogical

    Cilogical Banned

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    I was on a plane heading towards America.
     
  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    i was working at severn trent water near derby... none of us knew what the world trade centre was.. we didn't have a Tv on site so we were picturing a light plane crashing into a hall where people sold handicrafts from across the globe... it wasn't till i got home that evening that i was like WTAF

    on 7/7 a couple of years later i was stranded on a remote island off the welsh coast by the weather... had I not been there would have been an excellent chance that I might have been on none of those tube trains
     
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  9. EFMingo

    EFMingo A Modern Dinosaur Staff Supporter Contributor

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    History class in middle school. Teacher cut the class topic short and put the news on. Then spent the remainder of the course explaining. Watched the second plane hit on live TV. Replays and news on the subject I watched for weeks afterward.
     
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  10. RMBROWN

    RMBROWN Senior Member

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    I was in Stamford Connecticut Across the Water from New York City. I was working on a new building doing some welding, my 20 year old son was working with me. We heard the news, and figured it was a small plane, just like everybody else. As news came that it was a big plane I got the small transistor radio that I hung around my neck, that I used to listen durning the day while I worked. My son was doing the layout work for me and he listened to the radio and would make announcements as they came over the radio giving us the breaking news.

    A couple of things stick out. There was no emergency radio signal, you know the one that they always test with a loud annoying bleep, if ever there was time for use, this was it. More than half of the information that was given out that day was false. We learned this later on in the week as the pieces of the puzzle were put together. How people responded, kind of surprised me. I own my own business and work as a sub contractor doing what they call studwelding. I get paid by the piece and have to finish a floor in order to get paid. This was going to be a one day job, I had driven down the night before and got hotel, room knowing I would be there a day or so. The other workers, maybe 30 or walked in circles, nothing was getting done. Each time my son had a news flash, everyone stopped what they were doing and came over to listen and talk. By noon most had left. My son Russ had a business appointment at 2 pm and left. I was 7 hours from home, and leaving was not an option. I had worked until 7 pm, I was alone on the building from 4pm on. I headed back to my hotel, anxious to see what had happened on tv. When I went to the room, my room key did not work. I went to the front desk to find out why, my room had be taken over by law enforcement and my suitcase was all packed and in the office, they handed me my stuff and apologized. I did not have to pay for the first nights stay . I headed home 7 hours to go after a long day.

    The welder I used weighed 10,000 pounds with a 400 hp engine. The welder had a funny shape, it was one that I built copying the stealth fighter look to make it more aerodynamic. At each big bridge there was a state trooper parked. They would pull out and follow me across the bridge, not sure what it was I was towing, fearing another form of attack.

    I saw news when I got home about 4am. My wife was up unable to sleep, she worried about me driving such a long way after a long days work.

    I was surprised I could not see the smoke from the building from where I was working, we were right on the water and after viewing tv footage you would have thought it would have been visible. I do remember how blue the sky looked that day, not a cloud in the sky and the kind of blue you only see in the beginning of the fall. Each time I see a brilliant blue sky I am reminded of that day.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
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  11. Kstaraga

    Kstaraga Active Member

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    I was waking up to get ready for middle school. My mom was braiding my hair before I left and she told me to come over to her as she was watching the news. I was curious about what happened and my mom said, "There is a plane that crashed into the World Trade Center in New York." and she mentioned that it looked "really bad" and like a "terrorist attack". I didn't quite understand all of that.

    I went outside to the bus and the weather was also lovely that day. I met up with my best friend and was telling her about a plane crash and said it didn't look good on the news and all of this stuff. She thought, "Oh, just a plane crash. Those happen." until she was seeing the news stories herself.

    A lot of the teachers had newspapers and were keeping up to date with it. I suppose they had to as there was terrorism involved. The teachers were seeming to try to keep it all together as best as they could and not panic or worry us.
     
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  12. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    7th grade. The school decided not to tell the students but things were becoming odd. The teacher all had red eyes and students kept being called for early dismissal. We were apprehensive but without anymore information we mostly acted normal.

    My mom picked me up early and we spent the evening at the church with the other church leaders. They prayed and talked with members and us kids sat around talking in another room. My dad worked very late (military, bases locked down).

    There was some mild concern about our area. We lived in a military area with multiple large bases spread across each sister city. There are large collections of naval and aircraft force--some of the largest.

    Considering how many of us were military families, a lot of people were concerned about the direct impact this had on us.

    When I think back, the biggest thing about it was just how quiet it was. Everyone was so reserved. Hushed voices, long stretches of silence, calm children.
     
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  13. Night Herald

    Night Herald Malfunctioning clockwork person Supporter Contributor

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    I don't have much of a story. I was 12, at home, in the kitchen. The telly was on in the living room. I didn't see it, but my mother told me soon after the story broke. I'm not sure how I reacted, but I think I had some trouble wrapping my head around it. America, skyscrapers, airplanes, and especially terrorism, all of that was very far away and vague and foreign to my sheltered little world. I must've thought things like that only really happened in the kinds of movies I wasn't supposed to watch. It was only later, probably at school, that I got to know the magnitude and some details of what had happened.
     
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  14. Mark Burton

    Mark Burton Fried Egghead Contributor

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    I was at work on an urgent deadline (truth be told, when wasn't I). One of my more mischievously prankster colleagues burst into my office and proclaimed that the US was under attack. I peered up from my work and smirked at him. Unusually, he didn't hang around to banter and I was left in ominous peace.

    About 10 minutes later, I came out of my office to get another file and the whole place was deserted, so I sleuthed my way to the boardroom where the whole firm was camped out watching TV. I was just in time to watch the second tower getting slammed.
     
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  15. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin I don't feel tardy.... Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I was working room service at Foxwoods Casino, first shift, butler suites. Saw it on the news in one hotel room, and then a bit more in the next room, a bit more in the next, and so forth. By about 10am guests (most of them from NYC) were running down the hotel hallways with clothes hanging out of their suitcases like you see in the movies. By noon the place was almost empty, which for a casino, is just about unprecedented. If ever there were a place where the real world doesn't exist, it would be there.

    I had one uncle in the Pentagon when it got hit, but he said he barely felt his chair shake.

    I had another uncle who was a flight attendant for American Airlines out of Boston. He lived upstairs from me and would give me his flight schedule for the week so I could keep the family informed as to where he was. Let's call him Uncle Larry. As it would turn out, Uncle Larry got his flights mixed up that day. He boarded the plane that got hijacked for like 10 minutes before one of his flight attendant buddies told him he was on the wrong plane. So Uncle Larry left the plane, got on the right one, and went about his day.

    Meanwhile, I'm watching the news intermittently at work, see the flight numbers of the hijacked plane, and assume that Uncle Larry is dead. So I call my mom and his other sisters and all sorts of chaos ensues. Fortunately for the Potvin family's sanity, it only took about an hour to ascertain that Uncle Larry was alive and well, though perpetually a dumbass for mixing up his flight numbers and scaring the shit out of everyone.

    The fucked up thing is, Uncle Larry was a black belt. And he swears to this day that had he been on the plane he would have disarmed the hijackers before they got within 20 feet of the cockpit. Even more fucked up... I kind of believe him.
     
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  16. Gladiolus83

    Gladiolus83 Contributor Contributor

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    I had just come home from school and started up the tv to watch a Swedish music video show named Voxpop. Instead of the programe the chanel showed smoke coming from the first tower. As I wondered what was going on the second plane struck. I called for my parents and we watched the rest of the news cast together. And to be honest, I don’t think I would remember that music show today if it hadn’t been for 9/11. Until then I also didn’t quite believe older people when they said they still remember what they were doing when they heard about the Olof Palme killing but now I do.
     
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  17. OurJud

    OurJud Contributor Contributor

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    I’d just returned from a day trip to Manchester City Centre and popped into the newsagents next door for a bar of chocolate. The shopkeeper mentioned it so I went home and put the news on.
     
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  18. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

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    At home watching the late night news as it started. (In Aus). I watched the whole thing unfold live on TV. It was actually the most professional bit of news presenting I've seen, because the presenter (Sandra Sully) was just doing the normal half hour late news when it started and then was faced with an unfolding and devastating crisis but kept it together and professional the entire (IIRC) 5 hours of live broadcast that followed.

    here's a clip years later looking back at that moment.

     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
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  19. Lazaares

    Lazaares Contributor Contributor

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    I was home with my mother; it was early afternoon in Europe and she was making dinner for when my father & brother would come home, listening to the radio. I was watching Cartoon Network, then my mother came rushing to me and switched over to BBC. First tower was on fire as the plane had already crashed into it, I saw it live as the second one came. Then the buildings started to collapse and my mother sent me away from the TV (they were largely uncut footages also with people falling from the towers). She told me about the Pentagon later, then we all watched evening news with cut footages & the whole summary. Even at that time firefighters were still fighting to quench the other buildings.
     
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  20. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Ex-Patriot Supporter Contributor

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    It was my first year in Japan. I'd majored in Middle Eastern politics, so I was a bit more aware of the background than the average bear.

    My buddies and I used to drink out front of the convenience store pretty much every night. No open container laws, so what we were doing was frowned upon but not actually illegal. I got a text message on my phone from a coworker who had been a journalist back in the states.

    Tuesday evening in Japan, and I had Wednesday as a day off.

    From memory (I have the stored text around here somewhere) "OMG are you watching the World Trade center news? Two planes just hit, both towers are down, Bush says terrorism!"

    I told my buddies at the Box (our name for our drinking arrangement).

    "Nah, not possible." "She's pulling your leg." "A plane couldn't knock down the World Trade Center." At that point we were thinking kinetic impact.

    "Well hey guys, as soon as I finish this beer, I'll go up to the internet cafe on the second floor and see what's up."

    So I did. CNN.com was down. ABC, NBC, CBS, BBC, all of them were down. Crashed by the influx of viewers.

    So I went back downstairs and told the boys. Then the neighborhood gaijin started showing up. People who never drank with us, people who glared at us when they passed, but they all knew it was a gathering point and they all stopped by to make sure that we knew, to find out what we knew.

    That was about 10 o'clock at night, if memory serves. We drank and talked until late, and then I went home to my apartment around 2 am and actually watched the terrible beauty of the falling man, the falling people, the ones who got ground and minced in the eventual collapse and cried myself to sleep.
     
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  21. NobodySpecial

    NobodySpecial Contributor Contributor

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    We only had audio of the event. I was on a paint crew working on a new apartment complex in Naperville, Illinois. Normally, on job sites like that, you can quite reliably tell who is working where by the radio stations. If it’s spanish language radio, there are probably drywallers, insulation guys, or roofers near by. Polish language radio? Gutter installers or vinyl siding guys. Redneck radio? Plumbers or carpenters. Painters, electricians, flooring guys, and the tile setters usually have metal or alternative going. 9/11 started getting confusing because everyone had their radios on the same news station- WBBM FM.

    Another confusing part of the day was that the complex was located in the triangle between the air port at Meigs field, Midway, and O’hare, and there wasn’t a plane in the sky.

    We worked that day sans music, sans air traffic noise, even the semi trucks seemed fewer that day.

    When I got home, I tried to call a friend who lived in New York, but no luck. With phone lines down, first responders had pretty much taken over the cellular networks, and people were asked to not take up data that could be better used by the police and fire departments. I got ahold of her parents and they assured me she was okay, a little dusty, scared shitless, but okay. It was about two weeks before I was able to talk to her direct.

    She said after the first plane hit, every bridge was shut down to vehicle traffic. Foot traffic was allowed, as long as you stayed to the side and left clear passage for emergency vehicles. There wasn’t a taxi to be had anywhere in New york. Public transportation was out of the question. So, though she didn’t work at the World Trade Center, she did work on the island- at an interior design studio about a mile to the left, she and tens of thousands of other bewildered individuals hoofed it home that day.

    She said no one around her made a sound.
     
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  22. Kyle Phoenix

    Kyle Phoenix Active Member

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    I was at home and I was twelve at the time. I'm not sure if secondary school had started then or I was simply home sick but I was watching Quincy MD on the TV (for the lack of anything better to do) and then the BBC news interrupted it. As a Brit, I think it was already the middle of the day or early afternoon by then. I think my dad made me turn it off at one point, which was very sensible really, so I don't think I saw the second plane hit. I was really too young to understand what was going on at the time and I think that was fortunate overall.
     
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  23. iowawriter

    iowawriter Senior Member

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    Thanks to you all for sharing. I appreciate it.

    I'll bump this next year so all the new folks we gain between now and then can also share.
     
  24. Bowie_the_Birb

    Bowie_the_Birb Member

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    I have to say I didn't exist on 9/11 - my parents weren’t even together. But they both remember it.
    My mom was at work in Nashville, she saw some of it on the news later that day, but during the day, a lady came into her office and said something about it. My mom was a little surprised but not super affected in-the-moment. A bit later she came out of her office, and there was another lady watching a small TV, in tears as she watched it live. The towers hadn't collapsed yet.
    My dad was in Kenya. The owners of the place he was staying brought him to the television to watch the news live. He remembers how he couldn't get back to America for a while afterwards.
     
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  25. DriedPen

    DriedPen Member

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    I was working for the railroad at the time. It was only the second time I ever heard a railroad dispatcher say, "Emergency, emergency, emergency, bring all trains to a stop." The other was on Y2K for 4 hours...

    When we found out what was going on, I told my crew, "We'll be going to New York", and we eventually did a few weeks later. In the end, we spent 9 months at ground zero, but I don't talk about it much. We had skills and specialized track equipment a grieving nation needed as it moved on from a dark moment in its history, but from the end of August to the end of September every year, I get pretty somber.

    Everyone says, "Never forget 911", but all I want to do is forget.
     

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