Remembering 9/11

I was a student at Texas A&M University on 9-11-2001. I was keeping a daily journal in those days, and I thought that in honor of 9/11 I would copy/paste excerpts from entries about that day and the days that followed…

American Flag12:53 am September 12th, 2001

I went to school today like usual. I got good parking, sat and waited awhile, then went to my 8 AM class. Little did we all know, that as my professor began to speak on Media Economics… the American Stock Market was screeching to a halt… as did America’s sanity.

I walked to my next class with a friend. We laughed about having fallen asleep in the previous class, swapped stories about the previous weekend. We were oblivious to the blank expressions on many people around us.

In the next class there was a somber buzz. Words like “airplanes” and “World Trade Center” swirled around. “New York City” and “Washington DC” were used side by side. “Terrorists” and “Americans” used in opposition.

I could not comprehend the seriousness of the situation, and even the fact that my professor promised to let us out early didn’t really register. Something major had happened, and yet it was still too unclear for me to pay much attention.

The professor, who always keeps us late, released us half-an-hour early to go watch TV and find out what was happening now.

I couldn’t decide what to do… I was out early and had the rest of the day ahead of me. I decided to go to the library to study. […] A couple hours later, I had finished. I packed up my stuff and went over to the MSC.

I entered the MSC, and found hundreds of students around a big screen TV set on CNN. There were too many people to get a clear picture of what was happening, so I went on to the bookstore… my intended destination. There was a small TV set up in there, also on CNN.

It was there that I learned to true nature of this tragedy. I watched the footage of the second plane slam into the tower. I listened to the reporter give the run down. Then he said, “We have no way to know how many young children and teenagers were on those planes.”

I physically doubled over as if I’d been punched. I was just in shock. How? Why? Who? WHY??? For that moment, my emotions were the most intense. I was fighting tears; I was fighting the urge to scream.

I ended, however, simply in shock.

I finished my shopping, and went back to the main room of the MSC. I joined a group watching CNN on the big screen TV. There I stood in silence with my school family. We all stood together in shock… A guy asked me what had happened, and I filled him in on what I knew.

After awhile, I felt the need to leave. I needed to call my parents; I needed to get “home”.

As I made my way across campus, I noted the flags at half-staff. I noticed that most of the corp of cadets now wore their dress uniforms. I noticed the muted attitude of all the students.

I got home, and sat talking with my aunt for awhile. She filled me in on some of the stuff I was fuzzy about. Eventually, I got away to call my parents.

They’d been waiting for me to call. At lunch they’d started trying to reach me, but the phone lines to College Station were too bogged down for them to get a free circuit to contact me through.

We spoke for just under an hour… each filling the other in on what we knew.

I saw on the news that there would be a prayer service at the campus, and I decided I would go. I needed to go. So, I filled my time on-line and watching the news until the time came to leave.

George Bush Drive was a parking lot. No one could get anywhere. I sat at one stop light for five lights. The guys in the truck beside me kept playing Chinese Fire Drill. We were all going a little crazy.

I sat there for over 20 minutes before I gave up. I detoured off George Bush, and made my way back to University Drive. As I did this, I called my parents to let them know what was going on at the campus. They had just talked to Scott (my brother), and they said he asked how I was doing. So I told them I’d call him.

I got back home, and called Scott. I think he was glad to hear from me. I was glad to hear his voice. He had Jeni, and she kept getting fussy. He said she was telling me “hello.” That made me smile.

To be so oblivious to the tragedy. To be so oblivious to the drastic changes that have occurred in this world today… in just a few hours time.

There is an innocent beauty in that.

I have full classes tomorrow. We will not let these terrorists stop us. We will continue on as always. We will triumph.

For now, though, I remain numb… perhaps a bit nauseous, too. It makes me ill thinking about this. I need to go to bed, but the chances of sleep coming any time soon are slim.

Red, White & Blue Out Game -- Sept. 22, 2001 -- In honor of those lost on 9/11

01:29 am September 14th, 2001

The were heading to celebrations: a wedding, a family reunion. They were returning from vacations. They all had plans: go see a son, to start a new job, to go to a conference. On a bright September morning, four planes on the East Coast took off routinely — then everything changed in a terrible moment and the flights veered to tragedy.
~Sharon Cohen, AP

05:01 pm September 18th, 2001

Today, for some reason, we had a lot of low-flying jets going over the campus. The first one to go over came during my Geology class. It’s an occurrence that everyone has heard dozens of times before. Nonetheless, not a single person remained still when it happened. Every student turned towards the sound… I know that my heart started beating much faster.

Fear remains… Fear that was not there before. Fear that will never completely go away, even as it lessens… This fear is followed quickly by anger… anger that our sense of peace and safety has been shaken. That our lives — everyone’s lives — have been touched, shaken, and now must been put back together again… only to find a few pieces are missing.

Nine years later… and there are still pieces missing. There is anger and sadness and fear that wasn’t there on September 10, 2001. But we go on with our lives while we never forget. Never.

10 thoughts on “Remembering 9/11”

  1. Very well written, Denise. I remember that day well being in the office alone and my then boss’s mother calling to see what happened. I turned on the tv and watched it alone, and as you, total shock!! That day will never be forgotten!

    1. Thank you so much… I think its a day that everyone will remember as if it were yesterday. I imagine its how our grandparents felt about Pearl Harbor, etc. But even so, this was so different. And so many years later, it still makes no sense. It never will…

  2. I remember the day very well. And yes it was so good to hear you voice. Makes you wonder a lot of times why we wait for something such as this to wake us up. We will never forget the date and may it be a way for us to always remember to live in the moment.

    1. ABSOLUTELY! I remember a friend of mine that lived in NYC at the time commented how it changed it mood of the city, which then echoed down through the country. People were nicer and more open. Took care of each other. We fought back by becoming stronger as a nation and as a people. We do live more in the moment… something we need to do more and every day. Enjoy the moment. The next one is not promised.

    1. Thank you! It was weird to go back and read the days leading up to it and then after it, how the tone of my journal changed. Very eye opening.

  3. Beautifully written. So proud that you were going into journalism at the that time and kept such a good journal. May that love of writing continue on!! And we will NEVER forget!!!!

    1. Thank you!! I wish I still kept a journal better… its wonderful to go back and read. I’m trying to pick that up in addition to this blog. We will most definitely never forget!! (Journal or no journal!)

  4. I remember this day vividly, too. I remember seeing the second plane hit the Towers on tv. For some reason I’d gotten ready for school early that morning, so I’d decided to watch The Early Show on TV for awhile before driving to CS. When I turned it on, they were talking about it and showed this building smoking and something had hit it. I flipped around and all the news stations had the same thing. Then all of a sudden I heard, “OMG! There’s another plane!” And sure enough, it hit the Towers. I just sat there in shock with my mouth open trying to make sense of it all. Mom was already at school, Dad was already in court, so I just watched the panic for a few more minutes, then headed to campus. We didn’t even have class that morning- Dr. Rigsby had someone find a radio and we just listened to it and talked about it and cried. I remember everyone being like zombies on campus, and then I remembered everyone’s fear that something would happen to our campus because of our ties to the military. It was so surreal, and something I’ll never forget. I got my blue shirt for the Red White & Blue-Out, but my parents were wary of me going… so instead I watched it on TV. The idea of 90,000 being in one spot on Game Day was too much for them.

    1. Our seats were at the very top corner of the third deck. LOL! I think it was the highest I sat at any game, but I loved that fact. It was an amazing view… BUT, I was nervous the whole time, too. I remember we all felt like targets for a long time… Still do in some cases, to be honest.

      I really wish one of my classes would have done what yours did. I look back on my classes that day with a tinge of anger in that I didn’t know anything until the end of the day. But, I guess in the same breath, we didn’t let it stop us from our living out lives. So I guess that was okay too…

      Definitely a day none of us will ever forget.

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