Sixteen Years On: Remembering 9/11


Sixteen Years On: Remembering 9/11

A week before my freshman year of college was to start and I was to move into the dorms with my mystery roommate, she finally returned one of 2 messages I'd left for her over the summer, that just said she'd found an apartment off campus and would not be rooming with me. I never did meet her, but that phone call meant I had an entire dorm room, one of the biggest, all to myself which was great considering that never happened for freshman. In fact, all my friends had 1-3 roommates a piece, but not lucky me.

Sixteen Years On: Remembering 9/11

A month into school and making the adjustments to life without parents, my morning routine was supposed to be, tv alarm goes on, ignore it, regular alarm goes on, ignore it, and back up alarm comes on from across the room where I purposely set it so I'd have to get up to turn it off, and then I'd have to get up. Alarm 1 came on with the tv, so I ignored what was a view of a smokey New York skyline. Then my second came on, and instead of ignoring it, I actually woke up, rubbing sleep from my eyes. I plodded over to get a pop tart (breakfast of champions), and heated it a bit in the microwave. By the time of the last beep, I was looking at the tv.

There was smoke rising from a building, but there had been so much going on in the world, that I remember literally rolling my eyes and shrugging and thinking something like, why are other people always trying to kill one another all the time. Little did I know, this was right on American soil. I finished Pop Tart no. 1, lazily hanging off my bed, before peaking my head around to really look at the tv who's volume I'd turned to low. When I did, that's when things started to sink in for real.

Sixteen Years On: Remembering 9/11

This was America, not someone's else's problem. This was right here, right now. I raced to turn the volume up to hear what was going on, and right on camera, a plane ran straight into a building. It was truly one of those moments in my life where if you'd told me, there was no way I would have ever believed it, but it was right in front of my eyes. The first plane, the on air reporters didn't really see, and/or couldn't say for sure that it was a plane. There was so much confusion as it was happening live, but after the second one hit and people on the ground confirmed that there had been two planes, chaos reigned down upon New York and the world.

I didn't know what to do. I had no roommate to wake up and talk to. I didn't know anyone all that well on my floor yet. I just remember all the joy of having my own room as a freshman totally disappearing and being replaced by just gut wrenching fear. I called my brother first, and he didn't pick up so I called my mom who had already been watching. I was freaking out and she tried to calm me down. After a very hysterical 30 minute phone call, she suggested I go to class to distract myself from all of this, but I couldn't stop watching the tv or thinking about what to do or where to go or who else to call. I needed not to be alone at that point.

Sixteen Years On: Remembering 9/11

I was in a fog after I hung up, just floating through the halls of the dorm. I felt like a ghost because no one was awake yet, and it was almost like I was there, but did not exist. I wanted someone to rush up and be like, are you watching this, come in my room, let's talk, or hug, or something, but all the doors were locked up tight and not a soul was in the communal bathrooms.

Sixteen years on, I recall this story every year, on this day in some version or other. Sometimes it's really long and meticulously detailed because I can remember almost hour by hour what happened that entire day, and sometimes the shortest version...I was a freshman in college when 9/11 happened, and this day had a profound effect on me, or somewhere in between the two. It helps to talk about it, because of course, it's never ended. Even with the death of Bin Laden, we're still fighting terrorists in the here and now. Some live on our soil, some kill abroad, and we hear snippets of it, here and there.

Some 2000+ lives were taken that day in an instant. Just like that, gone. Fathers, sisters, children, grandparents, cousins, friends, neighbors, all gone. Some children will never know their parent or parents because they were just being born or too young to remember them. I try not to think about that too much but for them, I imagine the hurt all to real, each year, every day maybe, just thinking of what they lost and what could have been.

Sixteen Years On: Remembering 9/11

Like I ask my mom about Kennedy or MLK or the moon landing, future generations might inquire with us about what this day was like. My life always carries with it two days that I remember with this level of clarity, and one is the definitive best day of my life thus far, and this, one of the worst. They say never forget, and you don't. You can stuff it down, but something can trigger it, especially seeing the date on the calendar. It's almost like a black mark there that can only ever really be smudged, but never erased. We give our thanks and gratitude to all the first responders and people who gave their lives to help others and those that continue to do so at home and abroad. People say, why keep bringing it up each year, and dragging it on, and that's honor people like you or I who could have been in those buildings, or on those planes just going about our business or could have had a family member we lost or cared about in those buildings or planes or as first responders. We remember this day to honor them, and to remind ourselves that the fight is not yet over, as long as there is evil lurking and wanting to make a day like this a reality for others.

Sixteen Years On: Remembering 9/11
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Most Helpful Girl

  • angelgirl7
    I was 5 on 9/11/01 and it was only my second day of Kindergarten. I was wearing a red t-shirt with flowers embroidered around the neck and a purple, red, and pink skirt with blue tennis shoes. We have pictures from that day, one in which I'm holding up two fingers since it was my second day of school. It's strange to look at those pictures from only hours before the first attack, if even, and realize that it was a completely different world.
    I remember some things from that day and other things I have been told. My mom worked at our family's business across the street from my school when a customer came in and asked "Don't you know what's going on?" She turned on the TV and started watching. We live only an hour and a half away from Shanksville PA so was very concerning when the plane crashed there. It was announced that you could pick up your children from school but they were not being released because the downtown area was being evacuated and many parents were stuck in traffic. I remember being in the cafeteria getting ready to line up for recess when my parents came in. I didn't know why they were there but I was so excited to show them the playground so when they said I couldn't go outside and that I was going home, I got upset. They went to the office to sign me out, along with many other parents. The reason cited was "disaster." We went to inform my teacher I was leaving. She and another teacher were having their lunch watching the events on TV, and I remember seeing the towers burning on the screen. After that my parents and I went back to our shop and gathered around the TV with my uncle, grandfather, and other assorted customers and family friends.
    I don't remember any more after that but my mom always recounts the fact that we live in a flight path and that those planes likely flew right over us. She always says that having all flights grounded caused it to be eerily quiet for several days.
    9/11 has always been fascinating to me, I think because it was a major event that I lived through. As strange as it is to say, I enjoy hearing people's stories about where the were and what they remember from that day. I do do think it is a day to be honored and remembered, not just because of the fallen and the heroes, but because of the unity that came out of it. The days after the attacks brought the nation together. I feel like it is a day that continues to bring people together, if even for a moment.
    Is this still revelant?

Most Helpful Guy

  • Likes2drive
    I think everyone that was old enough remembers where they were that sunny Tuesday morning, I was in Queens making deliveries in different areas heading toward Brooklyn and before I I knew what was happening I kept wondering why everywhere I went I kept seeing volunteer fireman and some fireman from every town going somewhere, since I didn't even have a radio in the truck I was driving I had no clue until I got to my first stop that they told me what was happening, didn't sink in or even think it was actual big planes that hit, thought it was a small plane not 2 jetliners. My job called me and said deliver what I can and just come back, I never saw the Long Island expressway empty on the western side in my life and could see the huge cloud of black smoke over the city on my way back
    Like 3 People
    Is this still revelant?
    • Anonymous

      That's intense man. I'm still in disbelief every time I stop and think about it. As far as I know, beyond actual war situations, I don't think planes had ever been used to intentionally kill people, and to see it unfolding before you like that--I'm sure being close in person, was something that definitely sticks with you.

    • Yeah I thought it was the start of World War 3 after hearing there were more incidents in other states of planes being used that way

    • Berserk117

      Jesus Christ man, that's some good story telling. I clearly pictured sky scrapers, buildings, long paved roads and all those firemen rushing towards the fire


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What Girls & Guys Said

  • SammyGurl
    I was just four years old when it happened, I remember that morning. It happened before my Dad left for work (west coast time PST), he received a phone call from another U. S. M. C. Officer to get to work immediately, several "targets" we're under attack on the east coast. I don't remember that call. I do remember my Mom being very upset. Watching those jets fly into the twin towers over and over on t. v. every station. It didn't and still doesn't seem real sometimes, it still sickens me now that I "understand" what really happened. We got another phone call two days later, confirming a friend of our family had been killed when the plane flew into the Pentagon.
    9/11 to our family is a day of remembrance, for those who died at the hands of a few idiots who perverted their religion. We also remember those we know who have died serving our country since 9/11/2001. So sad, this is something no four year old should have had to remember for the rest of her life, it made such an impression on me that I cannot forget. Am I afraid? No. I'm just sickened those people hid behind their perverse religious beliefs to justify killing so many innocent people.
    Like 4 People
  • springocelot
    When I visited the 9/11 memorial last fall, I saw someone had left flowers into one of the engraved names. It brought back memories.

    Like you, I remember much of the details. As my dorm mates and I were talking, one of them recalled how he had just visited the towers the summer before. We couldn't believe it was gone. Very surreal. Very sad.
    Like 5 People
  • Paris13
    Thank God you are okay.
    I was in New York, getting ready for work, and my room mate called me and told me what had just happened. I was so close yet so far away, it was an awful devastating day for everyone.
    Like 1 Person
    • Anonymous

      My gosh, the feeling is mutual. I cannot imagine what you were going through. My aunts both had to evacuate the fortune 500 companies they worked for in our downtown area because at the time, no one knew who they were coming for or what cities they were going to hit, so they were quite literally running for their life. I remember they were saying so many people in New York and across the world were on the phone just trying to call loved ones and see if they were okay because almost everyone has some type of connection it seems to New York whether they visited or have friends/family/co-workers there and it was just incredibly difficult to get a connection.

    • Paris13

      I will never forget it, and I am sure your own aunts are still talking about it. Yesterday, some family who ended going back to New York to live, wentto the Big Memorial downtown in New York. I had gone to the place where everything had Begun, hun, at one time, and it was a desert at that time. xx

  • RolandCuthbert
    It was surreal for me. I was an avid "Mancow in the Morning" listener. So I turned him on for my morning commute to my job downtown. Mancow was screaming, "this is WWIII, this is WWIII!!!". I kept thinking this was just one of his early morning stunts. He always had this weird, disgusting sense of humor that I liked. But then I began to grow suspicious so I turned to some R&B stations in the area and they were all doing serious reporting. I got downtown to my office and they had already closed the building and everyone was evacuating downtown. I cam back home and my ex was stunned, even scared. She had not even turned on the television. She had no idea what was happening, she was just baffled as to why I would be back home so early. So I turned on cable news and we sat there hugging each other, in disbelief.

    Like 3 People
    • Anonymous

      The events that unfolded in New York, PA, and Washington were just unbelievable, added to the fact, that most people in the US had never known terrorism on that scale other then if they were old enough to know about Oklahoma City. You foolishly get used to believing you're safe, and then something like that happens and it's earth shattering. You definitely can't unsee or unfeel it. Just as you describe with your ex, there was that feeling that I needed to be close to someone in that time frame, because you're going through it and you need someone to almost help you process it all.

  • JGodwin0425
    I wasn't quite old enough to understand what was happening but I've been to the site and seen the pools they have built with everyone's name engraved in the stone and it is an incredibly humbling and saddening experience. It is what made me want to be in the military so badly. This country deserves to have the freedoms it has always possessed.
    LikeDisagree 3 People
    • This cuntry is lies wrapped in shit. The fact that everywhere else is even worse doesn't make this place great.

      Talk to me about how great this place is when your brothers in arms have died or been crippled for nothing. When other friends are suffering lifelong injuries due to the ineptitude of. mil 'medical care', and when you realize just how much society hates you just because you were born male. Talk to me after a few friends commit suicide due to their treatment by the System and its Kourts, when they're paying more in Vagimony and Mommy's Party Fund Support every month than they make, and getting sent to jail because they can't make it. If you have friends maimed or crippled due to a bitch making a false accusation, but there are never any consequences for her.

      Fuck this society.

    • @Barrabus_the_Free I've had friends killed and wounded in the line of duty, protecting this country. Yes, maybe it's not perfect. I still believe that my best friend who treated me like his little brother, who was killed in Afghanistan after only a month of deployment, was an honorable person who deserves the respect for giving his life for the US. Saying that the worst part is people paying for " Vagimony and Mommy's Party Fund Support" isn't the worst. The worst is when they make a commitment to die for this country, and when and if they do, all people can think about is that "bad or unjust" parts of society. I understand that people struggle, because people do all over the place. I respect your opinion, but saying Fuck this Society isn't the way to fix it. It's hurting the society more, actually.

    • Good. I *want* to hurt this society. If I could flip a switch and the entire thing would collapse and burn, that switch would be flipped before you finished explaining what would happen.

      There's no way to 'fix' this. The only thing that will make anything better is a complete reset, which requires a total collapse. With a little luck, we won't lose too much information, and we'll break the cycle and actually pay attention to WHY things got this fucked, and NOT repeat the same mistakes. I wouldn't bet on that, but it could happen. It's (barely) within the realm of possibility.

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  • Blondeandfree
    I was twelve and we didn't have classes that day. We were all crying for what just had happened and the whole city seemed like haze. It was a horrible experience to the people who directly saw it. All day long you could hear siren whistles and it was a real nightmare. God bless America and God bless the whole world.
    Like 1 Person
  • Hidden_P
    I remember the day too although it doesn't hold as much significance to me.

    I was 9. I live in the uk and I went to a Quaker school. We were called for an emergency assembly and we prayed for everyone involved. Unfortunately we were just a bit too young. This was the first time I'd heard of terrorism and the first I'd hear of the twin towers.

    It's become an iconic moment but sadly only few will fully understand.
    Like 1 Person
    • Waffles731

      wait there are quakers in the U. K
      I thought they were a pennslyvannia only thing

    • Hidden_P

      Lol nope. Look up the Cadbury family (yes the chocolate company, before they sold out to the US). They used to fund my school.

  • lyannamormont
    I am sorry for the loss of families, and American people. I am sorry that you had a government and a president who was cold blooded enough to kill its own citizens for a grander purpose.
    LikeDisagree 8 People
    • zagor

      So you plan on traveling to the moon to sample the cheese?

    • @zagor Are you offended that I voiced the truth behind the incident?

    • zagor

      Which is?

    • Show All
  • scooogy
    Luckily I saw the news popping up in the evening, so I guess I had the luck of forgetting about it easier when falling asleep. But the next day or so, when in elementary school, we had a minute of silence in which sadly nobody told us what had actually happened. I guess that's the down side of not having watched the news. But damn, who would've even wanted to see these pictures over and over again?
  • Robertinho
    It only seemed like yesterday... but it was not yesterday it was a while back. My prayers go out to all those family members that lost loved ones.
    Like 1 Person
  • Omar5881
    My Condolences for everyone who died on 9/11 and in every other place else in the world on the hands on cruel terrorism
    LikeDisagree 4 People
  • dogsteeves
    Even tho I was a baby at the time I will never forget what those terrorists did that day but it doesn't mean I hate all Muslims because I found out that a lot of the middle east disowned the Terrorist after they found out
  • Barrabus_the_Free
    I was in the Marine Corps at the time, two months from getting out. My roommate had the TV on while we were doing morning routine (shave, clean room, etc) and getting ready to go PT.

    Before that attack, there was the bombing of the WTC, the bombing of Khobar (spelling?) Tower, the bombing of the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the bombing of the USS Cole, and the Chinese stealing our AWACS plane and kidnapping the crew. Each time, the response was the same: a fat lot of fuckall. Maybe a missile attack against some unrelated camel jockeys somewhere.

    I didn't even consider re-enlisting after the attacks. I'd seen enough to know that if we did anything, it would be something that would merely further enrich the fatbastard bankster fucks, while getting a bunch of men killed and crippled.

    And I was right. That's exactly what happened.
    • Anonymous

      I've not been in any type of military, so take this with a HUGE grain of salt, but what would you have done? Who would you have exacted revenge upon? We talk about other countries all the time just killing willy nilly aiming for one target but blasting through and killing tons of innocent civilians as uncivilized. I don't think that's what they wanted on their hands--but more the direct targets and established enemies. Then you had the very parents of children who were getting killed and mamed asking for their children to come home and not continue to fight an endless war, so it's almost a no win, especially when you see how embedded many of these terrorists groups are at home and abroad. If we could win the "war on terror"... well, we've been fighting it since long before Bush Sr. was president. With the internet and the ease at which people can be recruited into this stuff, I don't see this as something that is going to slow down regardless of how many buildings you bomb.

  • blackpantherbig
    important to remember this sad event. it affect also whole world not only america
    Like 3 People
  • CubsterShura
    I was only a five month old baby when it happened... O. O
  • legalboxers
    Love the Mytake. I seen that all on 9/11. I never seen so much carnage in my life. And I hope I dont have to ever.
  • Muhammad1999
    you know that it was an inside job right?
    Like 3 People
  • Other_Tommy_Wiseau
    i have like 5-10 questions to ask
  • CT_CD
    Thank You
    Like 1 Person
  • Azerbaijanian
    It was the most awful terror of the history
    Like 1 Person
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