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Tell Us Your 9/11 Story

Where 911

911 PhotoI first asked this question in the Political Coffeehouse Group on LinkedIn on September 11, 2009. I was so moved by the quantity and emotion of these stories that I felt compelled to put them somewhere where others could see them.  Then I had an idea.

Help us honor the 3,500 heroes that died on 9/11 by collecting 3,500 stories by September 11, 2011!

“I think for my generation that missed the JFK Assassination, this was our ‘JFK moment’. When people ask ‘where were you on 9/11’ I will never forget.”
–  David S., Florida

Please add your story in the comments box at the bottom of this page…

26 comments

  1. I’ll start with my own story. I lived in Cincinnati but was in Chicago at PRINT01, a huge international print equipment show held at McCormick Place. I was staying at the House of Blues Hotel and was out late the night of September 10 at a supplier party.

    I woke up the next morning and turned on the TV and was watching the replay of the first plane when I saw the second plane hit Tower 2. There was a lot of speculation that Chicago (Sears Tower, John Hancock Building, etc.) would be next.

    I packed up my stuff and went downstairs to check out. The desk attendant asked where I planned to go since all of the airports were now shut down. I told her I had driven to Chicago and checked out. There was concern that the Interstates would close, so I met up with a co-worker and we left. We didn’t stop until we were an hour south of Chicago.

    Chicago was packed with people that week, many of whom I knew. The stories were unbelieveable. Those who were quick were able to rent a car. Others took buses or limos. I even heard stories of people buying cars just to get home.

    These inconveniences were nothing compared to what others have endured during that attack on the United States. From the people on the planes, to those in the towers and in the Pentagon, to the Police, Fire, and EMT’s that responded that day, we should never forget their service to this nation. God Bless America!


  2. I was on my way to work on the Metro Link. When I got to work everyone was watching the TV.I thought that was kind of funny and then I saw that a plane had hit the Twin Towers. Then a little while later the other plane hit the other Tower. Then I knew we were at war,and then my brother called and also said we are at war.

    The next 4 days I did not get any sleep watching the news coverage.

    On September 14, 2001 we were also suppose to go on a cruise on the Mediterranean. And all flights in and out if the US was grounded so we had no way to get to Rome to start the trip. SO for the next few days my mom was on the phone trying to get a rain check and the Cruise line said that we could not get a rain check. Eventually we got the rain check and took the trip 2 years later


  3. At work – in disbelief – watching people walk around confused. Kind of like they are today for different reasons.


  4. My whole life was spent in northern NJ until May of 2006 when I moved to AZ for a better quality of life and and no more long, depressing winters. The effects of September 11, 2001 also played a part in the decision to relocate then an not wait “until retirement” as many people do. I will never ever forget where I was on that beautifully gorgeous clear morning. I worked on the top floor of a 10 story office tower in Hackensack, N.J. that had wall-to-wall windows and a perfect view of the New York City skyline. There were a few of us in before 8:30 that morning when someone noticed what we initially thought must have been a fire in one of the towers. As we watched out the window and saw the smoke getting thicker and blacker, we tried to make phone calls to anyone we knew in the city to find out what was going on. We could not get any outside lines. All circuits were busy on everyone’s cell phones. We got tuned in to the radio on someone’s computer and heard that a plane crashed into the WTC tower. We were watching out the window and listening to the radio simultaneously as they announced that a second plane hit the other tower. We didn’t realize at that time, but the management of our office building was preparing an evacuation plan to get everyone out of the building and to their cars (across a driveway in a multi-level covered parking lot with gated entry and exit) safely so they can head home. Whoever came into the office went directly to the windows. We all just stood there not believing that what we were seeing and hearing “live” was really happening. Surreal was the word we used but it was such an understatement for the reality. We were actually looking out the window and watched as the first tower fell. We saw it as it was happening. Those images that played on t.v. over and over and over for weeks and months – the huge clouds of black smoke drifting to the right – I still cannot get that image out of my head. To leave the building we had to walk down; no elevators. I have never before or since had the feeling of being afraid to be outside under the sky but I was absolutely terrified. I had a 25 minute ride home and had the radio on in the car. I also had my sunroof closed and covered, which I never do. The entire way home until 2 miles from my house, where I pulled off Route 17, I could see that black smoke out of my rearview mirror. My office was closed for a few days. I was glued to my t.v. at home and never left. The days immediately following got so much worse in so many ways, for example – the big local daily newspaper reported celebrating with pictures of residents of a nearby Arab community partying in the street. Down the street from where my father lived was a “park & ride” alongside a commuter train station that goes to NYC every day. Rows of cars had been ticketed by police for illegally parking there overnight. It was days later before it was known that those “illegally parked cars” left in the park & ride actually belonged to people who went to work in the city that day, like every other….but never made it home. I will never forget it. No one who calls themself and American citizen should ever forget it or minimize how life here has changed from that day. I thank God that the Mayor of NY was Rudy Giulliani and the President of our country was George Bush. God Bless America.


  5. I was in Waldorf Germany, attending a company meeting with colleagues from all over Europe: Poland, France, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Holland, Denmark, and Austria. I was the only American attending.
    The secretary alerted us to the events happening in NYC.
    We turned on the TV to watch the second plane hit the tower.
    My best friend was scheduled to be at our offices in the WTC that morning, so I tried to call him, but got no answer. I called his wife who was frantic. She had not been able to reach him either.
    We watched the events all afternoon together. After the second tower fell, I had to leave the room. I was so concerned that my friend, whom I had traveled with to Japan for a year was caught up in the WTC collapse.
    When I returned to the conference room, my colleague from Germany stood and asked me if I was OK. He then said words that I will never forget. He said, “Steve, today we are all Americans.” My colleagues all stood up in agreement.
    I can not re-tell the story of this day without tears.
    My friend and all the company staffers made it out of the WTC. Unable to get a train or flight back to Boston, rented a car. He arrived home later that afternoon.
    I was on the first flight back to the US to Dallas two days later. On the flight was a group that had been grounded in Gander, Newfoundland. They spoke of the wonderful response to their sudden change in plans by the Gander community. As horrible the events of 9/11, there was a victory for all who love America. I believe we began to awaken on this day to the dangers we face not only to our way of life, but to our belief in freedom.
    Now we face an enemy from within. As George Washington wrote in his farewell address, we have elected a despot and allow despotism to emerge with the intent of tyranny and the destruction of our constitution.
    Shame on us for allowing this to happen. We must pledge to do all we can to restore this country to it’s founding principles and never allow this to happen again.


  6. I was in Hanover, PA as a Marine Recruiter. I was driving into work that morning when I heard about the first plane on the radio but at that point they thought it was a small plane. I remember thinking I have GOT to see that footage. I rushed home (5 minutes away) and turned on Fox News. I sat there and watched the pictures of the smoke but when I saw the hole I thought “That was no small plane.” I was watching the coverage in my living room and was getting ready to head out the door when I watched the second plane hit the tower. That’s when I knew. I was furious and was even more mad that I was on recruiting duty for at least another year. I wanted back into my MP unit and I wanted to go kick some serious a** at that point. I rushed back to my office and noticed that the Navy and the Air Force were evacuating their offices. I thought that was a little stupid since the attack was obviously coordinated to make as much news as possible. Attacking a 5 man recruiting office in Pennsylvania would not have done that. Anyway, for the next 5 hours I fielded call after call after call of people who wanted to join and some that wanted to go back in. I had calls from WWII veterans who wanted in the fight. God bless those guys! Eventually, we were all called to our HQ and told to go home to be with our families and to be on high alert for the next 72 hours until they could figure out the extent of this thing. The world changed for me that day as it did for many. Ironically, some of the HS graduates that I had been chasing for enlistment decided that this was finally the time to do something with their lives and they came in to enlist. You would have thought that recruiting would have been easier after that. Unfortunatley, that was short lived and I found myself back in the fight all over again. I think for my generation that missed the JFK Assassination, this was our “JFK moment”. When people ask “where were you on 9/11” I will never forget.


  7. Driving into work listening on the AM radio that a “small plane” apparently crashed into the WTC (worked in Stamford, CT at the time). Arrived in the office as people were watching on the big screen TV in one of our conference rooms events unfold. Then the second jet hit the WTC as reports came in that there was some sort of bomb threat at the State Department in Washington, DC. Google pictures showed the top of one of the WTC towers buckling. As a prior Army Officer I knew we were under a coordinated attack by terrorists. After 11am people were told to go home and Stamford was placed on some sort of alert. Driving home I saw streams of EMS and fire vehicles heading south bound on I-95. Watched the news unfold throughout the evening. A very sad day as videos started appearing of those poor people trapped in the WTC towers, falling out/jumping out of the flaming buildings. Saw images of the Pentagon being attacked and the smoke plums rising over Washington, DC. Will never forget our generation’s “Pearl Harbor.”


  8. I had just started a new job and had driven to Savannah Georgia for a business meeting. We were oblivious to what was going on until the meeting ended and everyone left the room we were in. I drove to our Savannah office still not knowing what had really taken place and when I got there, the entire office was glued to the tv. It was a strange feeling over all of us as we watched the 2nd plane hit the tower. Savannah came to a hault. Hardly no one on the roads and almost afraid to as we had heard there was a plane headed towards the air force base there.

    I did make it back home and to my church the next morning where many of us gathered to pray and ask our Heavenly Father all those questions everyone had, “How did this happen”, “Heal us Oh Lord”, “Guide our Leaders to make decisions that are right.” We still need to be doing just that! Crying out to God to turn our country and it’s people in the right direction. There was sincere unity during those days following the attack as we came together just to cry and encourage each other. How can we get that back and not compromise our integrity and values in this hour. I totally agree with Steve that we all need to pledge to restoring this country to it’s original intent. Only then will the world see as a true leader and a light on a hill as Ronald Reagan described us.


  9. My wife and I had just moved to Virginia and were having our coffee while we watched the morning news. We were shocked to see the first pictures of the first hit on the Trade Towers, disbelief hung there for many minutes. Nothing was making any sense, even the news reporter thinking that somehow the aircraft controllers were somehow screwing up the airspace and causing an accident. Then additional shock to see out of the blue a second hit on the towers. We were in shock and disbelief and denial of the obvious when my wife wondered out loud, “did the top of the tower seem to be tilting?” Yes it was and fell soon there afterwards.
    Many days after, we kept the TV on all day long hoping for some good news. Noticing how quiet the outside had become with no air traffic anywhere for weeks.
    Then because we lived near by an Army supply area, how strange it was to see the Apache helicopter making 100′ altitude runs in a grid pattern over the neighbourhood, keeping guard on the Army base. Also, a surreal site as kids doing trick or treat with an Apache cruising just feet over us.
    Life changed in those days, never should we be so Nieve as we were prior to 9/11/01


  10. I was working in Fort Worth and lived in Florida. That day my job ended and I had to wait 4-days for my wife to drive to TX to pick me up. I was then out of work for 6-months before I found a job in the hills of TN


  11. I was working as General Manager of new retail store in Cincinnati. We were getting ready to open the store when associates came rushing up to me asking me what was going on and ‘if I had heard the news.’ I heard and saw the news. I remember standing in front of the 100+ associates that morning looking at me to make sense of it all for them. I told them to go home, hug their families and take stock of what is important in their lives.


  12. I was in my Kingston NY office with the TV on and watched the whole thing. Knew lots of Wall St people who were in the mix and several were killed. I did not think it would stop even after the initial attacks. My son and other family members were 3 blocks away and evacuated safely. It was so crazy.


  13. I was a first year teacher at a middle school. I had a class period off and walked into the office where the principal had the TV on. Everyone was just standing there with their mouths open. I was in shock. I spent the rest of the school day having class discussions about what was happening and tried to make sense of it all myself. We watched live as the second building fell. The feeling of not knowing what was next at that moment was one I will never forget.


  14. The year 2000 was preceded by many scary predictions of doom of our civilization. Forecasts covered catastrophes in the areas of modern technologies and particularly those strongly influenced and often even controlled by computers, communication satellites and others.
    Several opportunists were feeding on the idea of not only participating in the “inevitable future disaster” but actively creating it. Such serious attempt involving saran gas was prevented in Japan. There were many Islamic groups known by their both propaganda and actions aiming at establishing ‘Worldwide Islamic Caliphate’. Condition for achieving it required to wipe out the highly successful and much advanced Judeo-Christian civilization and its democratic political system. One serious threat was effort of speeding up the reappearance of Mahdi sponsored by Iranian government. Another ambitious candidate for world domination was a rich Saudi by the name of Bin Laden who became a head of a terrorist organization Al Qaida. His plan covered to simultaneously murder about 50 000 Americans and in the same blow to destroy the center of the USA business and economy at the WTC. In the created chaos they calculated to activate other dormant cells. While the other attempts of smaller groups failed, the first part of his plan had been carried out successfully by a small dedicated group of Islamic fanatics (engineers educated in the West) ready to sacrifice their lives for the world domination of Islam.
    I was well informed of all the possible alternatives and the destruction of the WTC has not surprised me. When it happened I was about 100 miles away making ceramics in a shop that had neither access to TV nor a radio. Just the cell phones started ringing and soon we have seen the devastation in full colors.
    However serious damage they caused, this time the terrorists did not knock out the USA economy (for that matter neither the West) and they managed to murder just a fraction of the intended number of innocent civilians. Instead, to their dismay, the country and the rest of democratic world united and became more aware of the danger coming from their side. The USA and the Western government and their armies retaliated and the entire action backfired weakening their chances to harm us.
    The next disaster of this scale might be more devastating as our vicious enemies never stopped plotting our demise. History teaches us that showing “good will” and “talking to” un-repented criminals, fanatical terrorists and determined mass murderer s never worked. They would never give up their dream to destroy us. It is up to us to defend ourselves. I hope that the alternative is crystal clear for every one of us.


  15. On 9-11 I was sitting in my office when my phone rang around 9:15. It was my brother and he was calling to say he was alright. I said to him “OK, but why are you telling me you are fine”?

    He said, “you have no idea what happened then? Then he told me.

    Although I worked for a large consumer electronics company with a 65” TV in the lobby I had no idea. Everyday my brother took the train into the basement of the WTC and walked a few blocks to his office. He stopped for coffee just up the street when the first plane hit. When he got to his office ho could see people leaping from the inferno. When the first tower collapsed, he and an associate hiked from downtown to the ferry by the Javits center. It took roughly 7 hours to leave the city that day, but he made it unharmed. When I saw him that night he looked the same but he wasn’t the same person I knew.

    A co-worker and friend waited for his Dad to call since he worked for the Port Authority at the WTC. Thankfully he was OK, but just couldn’t call out.

    My cousin’s husband lost two brothers who worked at Cantor Fitzgerald.

    That night we drove by the local train station and saw the number of cars still there from commuters into NYC. Sadly we realized, that some of those owners would never return to drive them away.

    Our church lost 8 people and our town probably about 25.

    We can never let this happen again.


  16. I was in Amsterdam on a break between tournaments on the European Senior Golf Tour. I walking the streets and saw the commotion at a sidewalk kiosk. The guy said planes are crashing all over the US. I headed for my hotel and spent the next 10 hours glued to the TV. My flight the next day to London was cancelled and I missed my connection to Athens Greece. I finally was able to get to Greece two days later. The last two tournament of the year were scheduled for Northern Africa. They were both cancelled.


  17. I was at work in orlando florida just joking around with the guys as we all listened to Howard Stern on the radio every morning. Howard mentioned something about a plane or an oject hitting one of the trade centers and then all of the sudden his show turned serious. when he confirmend that it was a plane and people were inside in lots of trouble me and the guys bolted to the nearest television which was at a local NY pizza parlor. While watching on TV we realized that it was most likely some type of attack against the U.S. and as we watched everyone panick the other plane came out of no where and crashed into the second tower. We were devastated we felt horrible, helpless,upset, and angry at the same time. I pray for all of those who were directly affected. May God Bless you and may God Bless America!!!!


  18. I was 7 months pregnant at the time and particularly tired that day. I was sleeping in when I received a phone call from a good friend who in a very shaken voice told me about the WTC and the attack. I was shocked. We talked about who would do such a thing. After brainstorming on it, I told her that I believed it was Bin Laden. I was right. For the next several weeks I was glued to the TV. I just could not believe what I was seeing unfold. I told my friend it was our generations version of Pearl Harbor and they have woke up the giant again. I pondered on what kind of world my precious baby was entering and what she would be seeing in her lifetime. I have to admit, we are not as naive as before 9/11 but I fear we are still not as prepared as we need to be. Plus, I am saddened at how it seems some people have forgotten about 9/11 and the ever present threat. Let’s be frank here – the people who attacked us are Islamic terrorists which hate Westerners, our values, beliefs and everything else about us. I am appalled we have elected a president who appears to be an Islamic sympatizer and who has even tried to say these people are not terrorists? Sorry, I was there that day, I remember. I have not forgotten the faces of the innocent ones who were murdered nor the faces of those who carried out the deed. They will do again if they get a chance. They are plotting even a bigger attack. I pray for God’s protection over our country and our families. I hope you are too. Let’s also put into office those who understand the threat and will work tirelessly to protect and defend our nation. The coming generations need this generation to stand strong! Our children need to live in freedom, safety and experience the same opportunities we have enjoyed.


  19. I was working as an assistant dog groomer at the time and it was very surreal. I didn’t really grasp it until I got home and saw it on the news.

    My husband had the day off and he watched the 2nd plane hit live. He spent the day watching the news in his pajamas, crying.

    That was one of the worst days ever. 😦


  20. I was too busy doing something about it, i was at the recruiter’s office, i was supposed to start basic on 9/11, that was delayed by a week due to the events on 9/11


  21. I was in bed, worked nights at the time, had that day off. Someone woke me up to tell me that a plane hit the tower, I turned on the news, was watching when the second one hit.

    The worse part of it, my brother had left Logan 10 minutes before the second plane, on his way to Denver, so we were all trying desperately to locate him.

    Until we got the call saying he had been grounded, at that he was fine, we were all extremely nervous.

    I pretty much spent the entire day glued to the television, watching for flight numbers and such.


  22. I was in the Marine Corps. I was home in New Jersey at the time on leave. A couple of us tried to get into the city to help, but New York was already
    closed off. Shortly there after I was sent to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to help build the current prison for the Taliban/al Qaida insurgents that were
    captured, only to come home and to turn around and deploy to Kuwait in preparation of the big push toward Baghdad.


  23. I was at work in Houston, Texas. My husband had just started a new job. I was stunned by what was happening and turned on the TV in my office just in time to see the second plane hit the tower. I could not get in touch with my husband and nearly panicked. It was not as if he was in any danger, but you grab for your stability when the world around you is rocked. I worked for a firm that was based in France and the people were not very supportive of the Americans on the job. In fact some of them felt it was about time we got hit and were almost antagonistic. I was surprised at their callousness toward our shock. I will never forget the things I saw, heard, and experienced that day and the days and weeks to follow. I thank our military and our special services for keeping us safe since that day…But mostly I thank God for protecting us.


  24. I worked at a newspaper (marketing). Many of us were in the newsroom, where there were TVs. The most chilling moment (still) was when a reporter on the phone yelled out “THEY’VE HIT THE PENTAGON!”
    I thought -oh my God- we’re at war!


  25. I was at home and watched in horror the whole thing on my TV. I think we should never forget the events of that day and the people who did this to us.


  26. I was at Brooklyn College and I had the most advanced computer. At 8:45 we began to watch the first attack on my computer. When we realized it was a terroist attack we were told to go on the quad and then sent home. By the time I got home and looked out on my terrace the second plane had hit..saw it and all could see for days was the smoke and that’s all I could smell. It was the worst thing I had ever seen.



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