Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 Nine Years Later

Can you believe that it's been nine years since September 11, 2001? It doesn't feel like one year short of a decade. The day is still crisp in my mind. I was in my women's history class during my sophomore year of college in New York state when the first plane hit, and after class I headed to the campus cafe to study. There, someone had rolled a TV in the main section of the cafe, watched avidly by a large group of people. I thought it was some sort of class, but noticed that more than once while I sat with my coffee and homework crying students dashed by my table.

Eventually, curiosity got the better of me and I went to see what was on the television. It was, of course, the news footage of the Towers. I watched, horrified, until the entire story was clear, then hurried back to my dorm room to call my parents. I'm from northern New Jersey, and my dad regularly goes into New York City for work, and my brother was attending high school in Manhattan at the time. I was worried, and the fact that the phone lines were out of service due to the amount of calls inundating the lines didn't help.

I eventually got through to my folks. They were fine, as was my brother, although his school had kept all the students overnight, since the public transportation was shut down and the only way out of the city was to walk across one of the bridges. Via email I managed to find out that my friends and their families were all okay, although one of my high school classmates lost her father in the tragedy.

Of course, the media turned 9/11 into a hyped, sensational ratings-grabber, and I soon sickened of hearing about the day. But now, nearly ten years later, I'm glad we haven't forgotten the horrors of the day. I'm glad that Americans, who are so diverse and often at odds with one another, could unite and collectively mourn and grieve. I can't say I condone the political and military reactions to 9/11, but I'm still glad we haven't forgotten that life is precious, and stolen life is terrible.

Where were you when the Towers went down?


  1. I woke up to my alarm clock and the guy was saying "America is under attack" and stuff like that. I thought it was just part of the morning show or something. Then my mom called and said to turn on the TV and I saw the towers burning. It was scary, surreal. I went to school and it felt like the whole world was silent. No planes in the skies, everyone at school was quiet and glued to TVs. The rest of the day was spent trying to reach my dad who was on a fishing trip. He was an air traffic controller and this was going to be a pretty big deal for his job. I still get chills thinking about that day. Thanks for sharing your perspective and story.

  2. I was living in western MA at the time and working at a private college. Our offices were in the cafeteria basement and we didn't have TV access. So when one of professors called in saying a plane had hit the World Trade Center in NY, I thought he was just trying to pull a fast one - he was known to be a jokester.When he called again to tell us the second tower and the Pentagon had been hit, we all started scrambling to get online and find out what we could, but by then the local ISP servers were jammed with other people doing the same thing. It wasn't until I got home that evening that I saw what had happened.Incidentally, the phone company had been in my apartment building that day either activating or disconnecting someone's service and, as always, had managed to disconnect my phone in the process. So I had to walk to the nearby Chinese restaurant, retrieve my voicemail messages via pay phone, then put in a collect call to my mom to let her know that I was nowhere near Ground Zero and was safe.Although I didn't know anyone who was killed in that day's events, I worked with and around people who did have relatives in New York, and it was an intensely sad time for all of us. In a way, it was our Pearl Harbor or Kennedy assassination; something we'll never forget.One consoling note in all of it was this: the month before, I'd gone into Queens with a church planting outreach, and none of the members of that new congregation made it in to work at the Towers that day - cars broke down, people overslept and missed their train, etc. Those of us who participated in that ministry effort were awed and humbled at what God did in those lives.


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King