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What were you doing on 9/11?

In today’s Record-Eagle, residents from around the region share their 9/11 experiences. We’d like you to share yours, too, by leaving a comment in this History Crossroads blog.

We will all remember where we were and what we were doing on that day. From the mundane (I was making sauerkraut) to the dramatic (a friend was evacuating his Manhattan apartment building with his days-old baby strapped to his chest), these stories paint a portrait of a nation in singular moment of shared tragedy.

Whatever it was you were doing on that day in September 2001, let us know by leaving a comment below. What were your first thoughts? The reactions of the people around you? How did the tragedy of 9/11 affect your life immediately after, and how does it affect you still today?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=199600793 Megan Keyes

    I was in second hour choir my senior year of high school.  Class had just started and another girl walked in and said, “We’re being bombed!” My teacher seeing she was distraught (or maybe having gotten an email before class) turned on the tv and we gasped as we saw the first tower in flames.  We continued to watch all hour as our teacher is trying to talk to us about what is going on and what this means.  I saw the second plane fly into the second tower.  I just remember all day thinking, “What is going to happen to us?”

  • John

    I was on an American Airlines flight that had departed from Austin, Texas and was heading to San Jose, CA. The flight was forced to land in Albuquerque, New Mexico as the FAA cleared the skies of flights. The pilot made a single announcement to fasten our seat belts and that we were landing at the Albuquerque airport. He said nothing more until after all people were off the aircraft. The military aircraft at the airport were all being prepared for flights. 

  • Wanda Taylor

    My husband and I were camping at Traverse City State Park.
    Shocked as we watched the TV and watched the skies as many
    flights were grounded to the airport approximately 1 mile away.
    Very frightening and unbelievable as we were glued to the TV. I
    recall one lady on TV from one of the grounded flights stating she did  not even know where she was or what city.

  • Susan

    I was driving in downtown Atlanta, GA on my way to work, listening on the radio when the 2nd plane crashed into the towers.  Our high rise building office employees were all sent home that morning shortly after I arrived.  I called my husband at his office, and we were in shock.  

  • Mandy Paquet

    I didn’t know that we were under attack until the afternoon. I worked the night shift at a hotel and when I tucked myself into bed that morning, nothing had yet happened to our great nation. I remember waking up to my TV and seeing the terrible images and I was so confused. I called my mom at work and she was crying and said that we were being attacked and we didn’t know by who or why. I called my boss and she had me come in early to help her because there we cancellations pouring in so fast she  couldn’t answer the phone fast enough. I still get goosebumps when I think about it. Yesterday I read the poem that a little boy read after the tragedy. I made me cry. To think of all the people that this hatred has affected makes me want to be the best me I can be so I can spread joy and happiness all around. I will teach my children about this tragedy, but more importantly I will instill the value of service to others in need so that maybe they can change the world in the future, because in the end of all of this hate and terror there has to be someone that stands up and declares love and joy and happiness. United We Stand. Divided We Fall.

  • Kandutu

    I was participating in an international chat room when a woman in England told me to turn on my television.  She wrote that a plane had flown into one of the World Trade towers in New York City. Before I turned on my television, she stated that is was a large commercial jet and that another was on its way.  I had yet to shower and get dressed to to go to my retail job.  It seemed surreal there that customers acted as if nothing were wrong.  Maybe they didn’t know.  As for me, I had to step out of the sales area a few times so that I could grieve in private.  We had the television on in the break room, because we wondered if bombs were going to start raining down on us.  I remembered how afraid I had been as a child, experiencing the assassinations of JFK and RFK and MLK.  I cried then, too, but only years later, as an adult on 9/11, did I wonder if my parents had shielded me from their own grief.

  • Bruce Sirmans

    I was at the Coast Guard base in Traverse City. I was in with the doctor when a corpsman came in and said that the World Trade center was on fire and the Pentagon was also on fire. He told the Dr that there was going to be an emergency meeting. I had to reschedule my appt and the base was closed. Being a retired military person, I suspected that this was an attack on our country. That fear was later realized when I turnd on the TV.

  • Peg Brace

    My step sister’s husband worked on the 90th floor of the south tower.  I was home in Traverse City and got a phone call to turn on the TV after the second plane hit the south tower.  I immediately called my mother and asked about David.  She had not heard from my step sister yet.  As the day went on, not having heard anything from David, our whole family was in shock.   My other step sisters, who were in New York, went to all the hospitals, posted David’s picture and hoped against hope that we would find him.  Remembering that week is so painful. On the Sunday after the event, Claudia (David’s wife) got the dreaded visit from police notifying her that they had found part of David’s body. They assume that many of the people working on floors above where the plane hit, went up the stairwell to get to the roof of the building and that is why they were able to return part of David’s body to our family. Those that tried to save lives that day and the workers who for months looked for bodies in the rubble are all heros and mean so much to familys of those who died.

  • JR

    I was visiting my family in Suttons Bay and was meant to leave the next
    day. As a result of the plane groundings, I got to spend an extra week
    with my family before leaving the country for a year. I spent the
    morning with my parents, watching TV in a house we no longer have, with
    my mother, who I also no longer have. I actually remember some of those
    moments as personally precious, even though they are deeply tinged with
    grief and shock.

    I spent the afternoon protecting and reassuring
    one of my best friends, a Muslim woman who’d come to work at
    Interlochen. Students and teachers looked daggers at her when she
    entered the room, and she came to my house to share grief without the
    sudden harassment from people who she worked with.

    The news was
    showing images of Palestinians cheering in the streets. She called her
    relatives in horror to ask what was going on, only to find out that
    Palestinians were in fact grieving openly in the streets for our loss,
    not cheering. A week later, it was revealed that the news footage was
    from earlier in the year, and had nothing to do with 9-11. But the
    damage was already done by that misinformation, and relationships,
    through no fault of my friend’s, were permanently altered.

    I’m posting this because there is never any room in our stories of 9-11
    to talk about the nuances and variations of our experiences. We all feel
    the loss and we grieve, and we all talk about being stranded in various
    places, but in our hearts we know that much, much more happened than
    that.

    On 9-11, my friend’s mother called me and said, “Protect her. Muslims
    are being beaten up in the streets. We don’t know what is happening.
    Please protect my daughter.” That was *my* experience of 9-11. I’m happy
    to finally add it to our larger collective story.

  • JR

    I was visiting my family in Suttons Bay and was meant to leave the next
    day. As a result of the plane groundings, I got to spend an extra week
    with my family before leaving the country for a year. I spent the
    morning with my parents, watching TV in a house we no longer have, with
    my mother, who I also no longer have. I actually remember some of those
    moments as personally precious, even though they are deeply tinged with
    grief and shock.

    I spent the afternoon protecting and reassuring
    one of my best friends, a Muslim woman who’d come to work at
    Interlochen. Students and teachers looked daggers at her when she
    entered the room, and she came to my house to share grief without the
    sudden harassment from people who she worked with.

    The news was
    showing images of Palestinians cheering in the streets. She called her
    relatives in horror to ask what was going on, only to find out that
    Palestinians were in fact grieving openly in the streets for our loss,
    not cheering. A week later, it was revealed that the news footage was
    from earlier in the year, and had nothing to do with 9-11. But the
    damage was already done by that misinformation, and relationships,
    through no fault of my friend’s, were permanently altered.

    I’m posting this because there is never any room in our stories of 9-11
    to talk about the nuances and variations of our experiences. We all feel
    the loss and we grieve, and we all talk about being stranded in various
    places, but in our hearts we know that much, much more happened than
    that.

    On 9-11, my friend’s mother called me and said, “Protect her. Muslims
    are being beaten up in the streets. We don’t know what is happening.
    Please protect my daughter.” That was *my* experience of 9-11. I’m happy
    to finally add it to our larger collective story.

  • Gene

    JR,
    All in all, I say you are full of ______.

  • GB

    I was on my monthly trip to NYC for a luncheon/meeting at Windows of the World in the WTC. This was my first trip for the meeting from TC and had been originally scheduled to depart on 9/10 but that flight was cancelled.  I always stayed at the Millenium Hilton across from the WTC and used offices in either the second tower or building six before the luncheon/meetings.  My flight on 9/11 was able to return to DTW after being ordered to land after the attacks began.  I lost six colleagues in the attacks and my organization has established a scholarship at Syracuse Univ. in the name of one.

  • Gene

    Thank you Jeanne, for not censoring my heated comment to JR. 

    On 9/11 my wife and I were at the breakfast table watching Fox and Friends, and saw the 2nd plane fly into the 2nd tower on live tv. Of course, it was hard to comprehend, and still is to this day. Several hours later I was driving downtown. At a stoplight, I looked over to the driver stopped beside me. We both had a blank look on our face. Because this is important to liberals, I will mention he was of another race. I also suspect English was not his first language. He motioned for me to roll down my window. I did. He pointed to his dashboard, and said, “Turn on your radio, the president is about to speak.” I thanked him and we drove off. It was symbolic of how together everyone was immediately following. 

    That attitude held up for some time, everyone together, even through the initial stages of the Irag War. Then the Loon-Left had to make political hay out of it – which still endures ie. Paul Krugman in the NYTimes just the other day. President Bush showed magnanimous leadership, did his duty and always stressed we had been attacked by a small number of religious fanatics, and not the whole religion. I refer to them as the Islamo-Fascists. Nevertheless, some Muslims leaped into the breach to play the victim card for all Muslims, ie. JR above, who I still maintain is full of fava beans. 

    There has been no trend to persecute Muslims. In fact, I would say we are very forgiving and as Obama has told us, not fast to “jump to conclusions” ie, even in the Fort Hood massacre where the guy was yelling “Allauh akbar” as he killed us. Another isolated lone acting Islamo-Fascist. Are CAIR or JR ever out trying from the inside to rein in these lone-acting renegades? Best we keep our heads up. 

    If Michael Moore is ever at the salad bar
    and hears . . . . “Allauh akbar,”
    even he had better duck and
    drop his cookie jar.

  • Smileblondi

    I was in NYC on 51st and Lexington.  My first ever trip to New York.  Monday night it poured rain and Tuesday morning was glorious as I sat at an outside coffee shop sipping java and watching people.  I walked inside the hotel to meet my co-workers for a cab ride to Windows on the World for breakfast just as the sirens started and the whole world turned upside down.  

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