I remember waking up that morning...like a machine on his way to another boring Tuesday school day. I had a first hour World Studies class. We had finished discussing the Eisenhower administration I think. At the very end of class, my teacher and the student-teacher stated that the World Trade Center in New York had been hit by planes. "One in one side, and another in the other side". I assumed that terrorists, probably Middle Eastern had rented two small Cessnas and flew them into one of the two towers...one in one side, and another in the other side...like my teacher had stated. They said that our principle was to make an announcement the next hour.
Well, 2nd hour English passed, and I assumed since there came no announcement that it wasn't anything really big. I thought about the previous bombing attempt on the WTC, and then pretty much thought that this would make for some interesting news at 6 o'clock.
3rd hour Experimental Methods Science class. I remember where I was sitting. (that room is gone now that our school has since been renovated and expanded). Our principle came on the PA and announced that two passenger jetliners had struck the WTC. One he said was an AA
plane that took off from JFK
, the other a UA
plane that took off from Boston. I pictured an AA MD
-80 hitting one of the WTC towers. I pictured a gaping hole in one of the towers with an MD
-80 tail in it to be honest. Then he stated that both towers had collapsed. I'll never forget the chill that went up and down my spine when he said that. I knew that the WTC towers were the tallest in NYC. I imagined them falling over like dominos and smashing every other building nearby. He also said that the Pentagon was on fire, part of it collapsed, and that a helicopter had apparently hit it. Later on in that hour, he gave an update, slightly more accurate when it came to the WTC and the Pentagon, but he also mentioned that a "jumbo jet" (I pictured a 747) had gone down in Pennsylvania and that the nation's airspace had been closed down, an aircraft carrier was in NY harbor, Air Force One was taking Bush somewhere...not known where, and that there were seven unaccounted for airliners. We were all silent. I remember the teacher stating that he had called his wife, and to remember that what happened was horrible, but that the perpetrators did it since they believed it was what they had to do. We were nervous...to try to lighten the mood some of us cracked some jokes that Bush was probably scurrying around on Air Force One yelling "Where are the buttons!" (referring to the nuke buttons). Lunch in next hour was surreal...
A friend of mine actually speculated as to who did it. He said it was "Omar bin Laden" since he had declared war on America. I corrected him that it was Osama. I remembered hearing about Osama after the USS Cole attack. I also felt at the time that this was like something out of a really bad spy movie. I remember earlier that year during the summer I saw an episode of "The Lone Gunman". It was a short-lived spinoff of the X-Files. The episode had a 727 that was hijacked by computer and programmed to crash into one of the WTC towers. However, the Lone Gunman saved the day and the pilots of the 727 eventually regained control just in time to pull up, and graze one of the towers. 5th Hour was a computer class, and everyone was busy surfing the internet to find out more. I saw a picture on a news site (one of the few that wasn't jammed up with traffic) of the second plane hitting the south tower. I went on airdisaster.com to see if there was any info there. Another friend wanted to know the flight numbers of the planes...he had a friend that was flying that day. From there I learned the flight numbers and true a/c types involved. Kinda made sense 767/757 later on when I remembered the similar cockpits. Next hour was German Class...it was surreal. We listened to a radio broadcast all hour. I remember a foreign exchange student from Germany listening to that radio. She snorted at the comments of one of the "political analysts". My Driver's Ed class after that was filled with talk about what happened. My teacher stated that the attacks qualified as an act of war. He referred to our school's psychology teacher who is a helicopter pilot in the reserves.
Then came Geometry. I talked with my teacher and mentioned how it was a good that the towers collapsed straight down instead of falling over as that would mean more people being killed. That hour I sat in my chair looking out the window at the nearby elementary school...namely the flag out in front of it. It was a warm, beautiful, sunny, day. And outside it seemed so strangely quiet. I remember some girls joking that we shouldn't get any homework since we would probably be all dead (fears of nuclear war). The principle came on the PA again and updated the situation. The aircraft carrier in NY harbor, the closed US airspace, the fact that fighter jets were now patrolling over every major city. The President's whereabouts were finally determined...the VP
being in a secure and undisclosed location. He then said that we would be getting a letter to take home next hour. Sure enough, 9th hour (study hall for me) we got a letter. It basically was to our parents so they could help their kids understand what happened. It was a long, quiet hour.
When I finally got home I turned on the TV
. I saw the video images of the second plane hitting the south tower. I was shocked. My mom called from work to see how I was doing. I saw Building 7 collapse live on television. I saw video of the section of the Pentagon collapsing. Every channel had the news on. There was a Canadian Political Talk show that actually talked about whether the US would use nuclear weapons...one of the analysts stated that the US did have that right. NATO had invoked Article 5 stating that an attack on one was an attack on all. The US Senate sang "God Bless America" on the steps of Congress...I'll never forget that. My parents came home, and we watched various news sources. I remember FOX News' timeline of the day's events. It was estimated that 10,000 had been killed. My dad and I went to go fill up the tank in one of the cars and we talked about what happened. I wondered if there was going to be an anti-Arab backlash. I remembered that there were two Muslim kids at my school...one girl, and one boy. I know the boy, he's a friend of mine. Needless to say I was worried for them. Later that week I heard some kids my school were arrested in another town for waving a banner that said "Death to Arabs". I came home and stayed up till 11 watching the news. I went on airliners.net chat...guess what topic everyone was discussing. I then saw on CNN the unedited video of the first plane. "Holy shit! Holy shit! HO
-LY shit!". Reports then came of a bomb threat at the Empire State Building. I went to bed. The song stuck in my head that day appropriately enough it seemed was Eve 6's Here's To The Night.
The next morning on the bus ride over the radio station went over all the comments of solidarity from various countries of the worldâ€¦even Cuba. "Proud to be an American" played on the radio. There were charity drives, blood drives, etc all for the victims of that terrible day. I still have the ribbon that I got after donating money to 9/11 victims.
Well, that's my account of September 11th, 2001. Sorry about the length, but I remember that day very vividly. I know a few of those detail will seem boring to you, but I kinda typed this for myself as well as you all. For me, it's my way of fully reflecting on the day. I was 15 that day. I turn 18 in less than a month. That much time has gone by, and I still remember every detail...
B4e-Forever New Frontiers