Remembering 9-11-01: My Story

This Sunday is a somber anniversary. The anniversary of 9/11. It seems the question everyone has been asking this week has been, “Do you remember that day?” Oh yes, I do remember. Luckily, I wrote a detailed journal entry that evening, documenting my day for my own memories. I thought perhaps I would share my story today, as we lead into this weekend of remembering.

Written at 12:53 am, September 12th, 2001:

NYC Twin Lights 9/11 "Tribute in Lights"  Memorial 2005
Photo by Jackie (Sister72 on Flickr) on 9.11.05

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 Stockmarket was screeching to a halt… as did America’s sanity.

 I walked to my next class with a new 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. I am behind in my homework and needed to get to work. I grabbed a table at the coffee shop, and started getting organized. Around 11:00, the shop started selling sandwiches, and I got a turkey sandwich, a bag of chips and a coke. I sat down to eat, and the girl at the next table turned on her cell phone.

 I ate, reading homework, and eavesdropped. She was speaking to someone about two women she knows that worked at the WTC who had not yet been accounted for. She’d let them know when she knew something. My curiosity was piqued, but I still paid little attention.

 She left and someone else sat down. The couple was talking about people they knew that worked at the WTC; they were all okay, thankfully.

 All through this, I kept picking up my cell phone. Waiting for it to ring, and tempted to call my parents myself. I needed to know what had happened.

 I decided to wait. I finished lunch, and studied. A couple hours later, I had finished with that subject and I was sore and tired. I packed up my stuff, threw away my trash, 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. I got a chill down my spin. It was the same time I’d been watching my cell phone, waiting for it to ring.

 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.

 To get to Reed Arena, where the service was to be held, I have to go around the campus, and get on George Bush Drive.  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 [my brother], and they said he asked how I was doing. So I told them I’d call him. I stopped at Sonic on my way home.

 The gas stations were insane. I am quite thankful I have enough gas to carry me for quite awhile. I got back home, and called my brother. I think he was glad to hear from me. I was glad to hear his voice. He had my niece, 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. I’m peeved in one way, and in another I’m relieved and proud of that fact. 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.

Take care. God Bless. Call your family and friends. Let’s all join together… we will prevail in the end. We have to.

Where were you? Or please share your link in the comments to your own story from that day!

4 thoughts on “Remembering 9-11-01: My Story”

    1. Oh my! You know, I never, ever, thought of it that way — how a person can get lost in a tragedy as 9/11 other than death. I am so sorry to hear that. This is going to be a long weekend with the memories of that day 10 years ago come back and are relived. I’m not sure I expected to still be “at war” 10 years later, but here we are. Still living with a fear that wasn’t there before… forever changed.

  1. I remember I watched the Today Show on TV in Caldwell before going to my class. For some reason I was ready early, but wasn’t ready to drive to CS. I had a 9:30AM class with Dr. Rigsby, so I sat down in the study to watch the morning news. Every channel had a picture of the first Twin Tower burning… no one was talking or explaining what happened. And as I sat there and watched, I saw another plane flying. Immediately everyone went “OMG THERE IS ANOTHER PLANE AND IT LOOKS LIKE IT’S GOING TO HIT THE OTHER TOWER!” or some variation of that, although I’m 99.9% sure that’s what the lady screamed on TV. And as we all watched, it hit the second tower. I was so confused, and I was in shock. I remember tears trying to fall, but I was so confused I didn’t even know what I was crying for. At that time I realized I needed to get to campus, and I had the radio on the whole way, picking out bits and pieces of what was going on. I got to class, and we didn’t even have it – we listened to the radio the entire time, and Dr. Rigsby filled us in on what he knew. I have no idea where I went or what I did after that class. I was in a fog!

  2. I had a 7 year old and 5 month old still asleep. My sister called as soon as the first plane hit. I turned on the TV and watched the second plane hit the other tower live. My first thought when the second plane came at the tower was “We’re under attack!”. I immediately picked up the phone and woke my brother in law who was in the army stationed in KS. His C.O. called while we were telling him what was happening and put him on lock down. My second call was to my aunt because my uncle and cousin both worked on/near the Pentagon and the plane hit there while I was on the phone with my BIL. She didn’t know where they were and didn’t hear anything for over 8 hours because cell service was jammed. I had to try numerous times just to get through to her. When we spoke to my then father in law, 15 members of his church were missing…we found out later only 1 survived. I don’t remember at what point the plane went down in the field, I was in utter shock. Chris remembers a little about it. He woke up around the time the Pentagon was hit. I guess our conversation was a little loud and woke him. Cameron could sleep through anything. I’m glad he did because it gave us time to wrap our heads around what was happening. Nothing worse than passing your tension on to a baby. I got to visit Ground Zero and the memorial in the museum in NYC before we moved back to TN…very moving. I can’t even imagine what they went through or their families…but I’m glad we went.

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