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Fri Sep 11, 2015, 07:15 AM

Where were you when you first heard about the 9/11 WTC planes?

I'm an air traffic controller and was at our tech center in Atlantic City working on a detail, computer modeling for RVSM...Reduced Minimum Vertical Separation. (we used to have to keep planes 1000 feet apart vertically below 28,000 feet and 2000 feet above that, but as technology improved we had the ability to expand the 1000-foot rule). My part in the change was to assist in computer modeling to figure out the FAA rule changes associated with the new system.

We were at a chain hotel with the typical general lounge with a breakfast bar and big TV. I arrived in the lounge for the drive into the tech center shortly after the first plane hit. CNN was saying it was a small Cessna and that it was due to a malfunction in navigational equipment (to be fair, the plane DID look small next to the WTC towers).

About 2 minutes after I arrived, the second plane hit. People in the lounge were talking about how the navigation equipment needed to be fixed.

I said to the room "No, that was intentional." Somebody (looking indignant) replied "How can you say that?"

I responded "Because it's a clear day and even if you didn't see the big-ass building right in front of you, you'd probably see the big-ass building right next to it that's on fire."

The other controllers and I drove to the tech center and the second tower fell just as we arrived. They sealed the facility (with us outside) so we went back to the hotel.

We DROVE back to Cleveland the next day.


What's your story?

42 replies, 2085 views

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Reply Where were you when you first heard about the 9/11 WTC planes? (Original post)
MercATC Sep 2015 OP
metroins Sep 2015 #1
MercATC Sep 2015 #15
frankt8242 Sep 2015 #2
Shredded Hedly Sep 2015 #8
MercATC Sep 2015 #16
frankt8242 Sep 2015 #21
cologeek Sep 2015 #29
Fine Kettle Of Fish Sep 2015 #3
Texas_mom Sep 2015 #4
RATFINK_5.0 Sep 2015 #5
MercATC Sep 2015 #18
Currentsitguy Sep 2015 #6
News2Me Sep 2015 #7
Currentsitguy Sep 2015 #10
MercATC Sep 2015 #19
News2Me Sep 2015 #24
cologeek Sep 2015 #9
Juan Rico Sep 2015 #11
Boadicea Sep 2015 #12
NavyBrat Sep 2015 #13
Currentsitguy Sep 2015 #14
Agent_86 Sep 2015 #17
LuvPie Sep 2015 #20
MercATC Sep 2015 #23
Crazy D Sep 2015 #22
fools_gold Sep 2015 #25
ProudNYSTaxPayer Sep 2015 #26
MercATC Sep 2015 #37
Hades Sep 2015 #27
Sheherazade Sep 2015 #28
Squeek Sep 2015 #30
MercATC Sep 2015 #39
FORD Sep 2015 #31
Currentsitguy Sep 2015 #32
HerasHeaddress Sep 2015 #33
Duke Lacrosse Sep 2015 #34
Crazy in SoFla Sep 2015 #35
BluRose Sep 2015 #36
Lil Marky Sep 2015 #38
City Kitty Sep 2015 #40
john262 Sep 2015 #41
Attera Sep 2015 #42

Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 07:25 AM

1. Skipped school that day and watched it

I skipped school because I was poor and people during the 4th period lunch always made fun of me because I wore the same clothes a lot. 12th grade.

Went to my friends dad's apartment gym and worked out, on our way out a woman said a plane hit the wtc. I thought she was an idiot so we went to my friends dad's office.

Watched the second plane hit as a UPS guy was delivering a package. The UPS guy automatically knew it was people from the middle east and said "we need to make that desert turn into glass" then he called them "sand n***ers".

I didn't really know what was gong on except my dad was on Long Island working construction and I couldn't reach him. He helped rebuild the Pentagon and I've visited the flight 93 area.

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Response to metroins (Reply #1)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 08:44 AM

15. I was lucky with phone calls.

My sister lived in Manhatten at the time and my brother-in-law worked a block away from WTC 1&2.

As soon as the second plane hit, i called her amd got through. I asked if they were OK and she had no idea what I was talking about.

I told her to turn on the TV. She asked "what channel?". I said "I'd imagine ANY channel."

My brother-in-law had meeting later in the day and decided to go to work later than usual. He was still at home on the upper west side when he would have normally been right on the middle of it.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 07:29 AM

2. Sitting waiting for an oil change at my local...

 

"Maaco" store....In a room with some very confused folks...The whole scenario didn't "gel" until I got home a while later..
since the date was also the birthday of my oldest daughter, who we tragically lost @ 4 yrs ago, I don't really enjoy 9/11 very much any longer...

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Response to frankt8242 (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 08:00 AM

8. frank

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Response to frankt8242 (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 08:47 AM

16. I'm sorry about your daughter.

I can't imagine losing my son.

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Response to MercATC (Reply #16)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 09:13 AM

21. It's a curse I wouldn't wish upon...

 

My worst enemy..

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Response to frankt8242 (Reply #2)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 10:31 AM

29. I'm so sorry.

n/t

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Response to MercATC (Original post)


Response to Fine Kettle Of Fish (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 07:33 AM

4. Cleaning house with the tv on.

I saw the original report about the first hit right after it happened, and saw the second one live. ugh

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 07:34 AM

5. Damn you ask hard questions !

I had just quit my job working as a materials tester where we had a contract @ local airport where co. was doing airport improvements.

Wasn't getting paid enough for all the risks I was taking.

Woke up & Today Show had breaking news. Small Twin engine plane had flown into one twin tower, according to Matt 'what's his name' ...

... as I watched the events unfold.

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Response to RATFINK_5.0 (Reply #5)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 08:50 AM

18. I can understand why it might be hard for some.

I thought it might be a good rememberance to talk about our experiences when it happened.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 07:49 AM

6. I was laid off at the time

so I was at home. My now ex wife called me from work and asked if I had the TV on, I didn't. I turned it on just in time to see the 2nd plane hit. I pretty much spent the entire day just blankly staring at the events unfold.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 08:00 AM

7. I was at work. The boss was out running errands and called to tell me that he had seen the news

reports of the first plane at a customer's location. At the time, we thought it was just a horrible accident. We had no tv and only dial up internet. Found a live feed on the radio and listened to news reports for the rest of the day.

The phone quit ringing, there wasn't nearly as much traffic as usual on the busy street outside our office and then it got so quiet when they grounded all the planes. It was like everyone was just holding their breath, waiting to see what would happen next.

Several of us made plans to go donate blood after work, but as the day wore on with no requests for blood donations being made, it slowly dawned on us that there would be few, if any survivors to make that necessary.

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Response to News2Me (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 08:07 AM

10. Pittsburgh basically emptied

With reports of Flight 93 heading our way, everybody was convinced the US Steel Building (now the UPMC Tower) was the next target. They evacuated the building and much of downtown followed.

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Response to News2Me (Reply #7)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 08:52 AM

19. The next few days were surreal.

Looking into the sky (blue skies here) and not seeing a single contrail.

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Response to MercATC (Reply #19)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 09:31 AM

24. NOVA had an interesting program about contrails and their effect on weather

after the 3 day grounding.

Another study that took advantage of the grounding gave striking evidence of what contrails can do. David Travis of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and two colleagues measured the difference, over those three contrail-free days, between the highest daytime temperature and the lowest nighttime temperature across the continental U.S. They compared those data with the average range in day-night temperatures for the period 1971-2000, again across the contiguous 48 states. Travis's team discovered that from roughly midday September 11 to midday September 14, the days had become warmer and the nights cooler, with the overall range greater by about two degrees Fahrenheit.

These results suggest that contrails can suppress both daytime highs (by reflecting sunlight back to space) and nighttime lows (by trapping radiated heat). That is, they can be both cooling and warming clouds. But what is the net effect? Do they cool more than they warm, or vice versa? "Well, the assumption is a net warming," Travis says, "but there is a lot of argument still going on about how much of a warming effect they produce."
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/space/contrail-effect.html

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 08:07 AM

9. I was on my way to work when the radio reported the first one.

No details, just that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I thought at that time that it was probably a small private plane, no idea of what was to come. I got to work and started on my first call of the day, and again on the radio, heard that a second plane had hit the other tower, and that passenger jets were involved. It was obvious that this was an attack, but by who was just guesses.

My second call of the day involved a lady whose brother worked at the World Trade Center and it was in her apartment that I saw my first images of the towers, and I saw the first one fall. I never found out what happened to her brother.

The rest of the day was pretty much a blur, with more reports coming in, the second tower falling, the Pentagon getting hit, and the crash of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania.

It was like being a spectator in a Tom Clancy novel.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 08:29 AM

11. The radio in my car had gone out a couple of days previous, so the first I heard of it was when I

arrived at work (at my post office) that morning.

I still remember getting only one or customers per hour for the entire day. No smartphones then, but I did have a little pocket television; we kept up with events on it.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 08:33 AM

12. I was at work...heard on the radio that a plane had hit one of the towers

Turned on the television to see the second one hit....scary day.....

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 08:33 AM

13. I was in my school classroom in Falls Church, VA ...

 

approximately 8 miles west of the Pentagon, preparing to greet my students, when the first plane struck the North Tower. The students had just entered the classroom when we received word that the South Tower had also been hit.
At around 9:35 AM a large aircraft, flying abnormally low, passed over the school building. It shook the windows, and as I hurried to look outside I caught just a glimpse as it disappeared behind the trees which surround our playground.
At 9:37 AM American Airlines flight 77 struck the Pentagon.

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Response to NavyBrat (Reply #13)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 08:39 AM

14. My ex Brother In Law worked in the Pentagon at the time

He and his wife had an apartment up on Columbia Pike. I got a very panicked call from her shortly after the Pentagon hit. She couldn't raise him on the phone and didn't know what to do. We were getting ready to drive down when she finally called and said he had walked home.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 08:49 AM

17. Denise woke me.

We were going to the airport later that morning so we were interested in how this as yet unclear event was going to impact our jobs at the ticket counter. We were sure there would be lines of passengers out the door at every airline's counter trying to get to the northeast. When we arrived at the airport the airplanes were already parked and most of the passengers were gone, having rented cars or found a room at a hotel near the airport. We went home early.

After a couple of hours of news-watching I had a bad case of information overload so I went over to Denise' house to do some yard work.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 09:08 AM

20. The day of one of my biggest parenting "Fails"

Was getting ready for work, kids were at school. Heard about first plane, thought it was an accident. Watched second plane and couldn't wrap my head around it. For a brief moment, thought the pilot was blinded by smoke from the first impact and accidentally hit the second building. My brain took a while to compute it all.

Went to work with the mindset that if I altered my plans, then the terrorist had won. Didn't understand how this was impacting my kids at school. My youngest was in 3rd grade and we live outside of DC with many working at the Pentagon. Our county suffered the most 9/11 related losses of any county in VA.

My 9 yr. old son was at school watching parents coming in, crying, taking kids out. Teachers hovering in the halls crying. No one would tell them what was going on. Children were being dismissed in droves and he described the school as a "ghost town". But I didn't come for him.

He was a crying mess when he got off the bus. I still feel bad about it. In fact, he and I talked about it just last night.

My eldest worked in daycare at the time and she had the horrible situation of not hearing from parents of children in her care, some of which worked at the Pentagon. Phone lines were out so parents couldn't reach the daycare to even tell them if they were still alive and she couldn't contact the alternate pick-up persons for the children. Thankfully, all her parents were eventually accounted for but she was at work with frightened toddlers until about 8:00 that night.

Horrible, horrible day.

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Response to LuvPie (Reply #20)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 09:16 AM

23. I live in Ohio. I didn't have to.worry about family here.

...and I was lucky to get in touch with my only family in the area as it was happening and I knew they were safe.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 09:13 AM

22. Guy I used to know called me to tell me what was going on

I work 2nd shift and normally woke up around 10 am, my friend called me around 9 to tell me 1 plane had hit the 1st tower.

I was watching when the 2nd plane hit and watched the towers fall on TV......

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 09:34 AM

25. I was shooting in a combat pistol match

for my unit's Organization Day at Fort Hood. Shortly thereafter all the senior officers in our group started getting alerts to return to duty. (We did finish the match, though. I came in second.)

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 09:49 AM

26. This is something I wrote last year, just change the 13's to 14's

Thirteen years. Thirteen years ago today. I remember waking up, to the image of a burning high rise that I had seen so many times in my life. For those of us who spent enough time in NYC to no longer consider ourselves tourists anymore we had stopped looking up. They were just two more pillars that reached the sky over our Athens our Rome, so beautiful to so many, but common place to us.
There it was, burning. My first thoughts were of a plane taking off from JFK or La Guardia, having trouble with the engines and falling to gain altitude, knowing in my heart that people were dead. I sat there with my fraternity brothers staring dead paned into the screen as the second plane hit. It was in that moment, as my heart sank into my chest and with full knowledge that the first had been no accident, that my worry turned to fear.
I spent the next couple of hours trying desparately to get through to my sister who if I remember correctly lived in Hell’s Kitchen and worked in Midtown. The four miles in between didn’t seem so far with planes being used as bombs. I was frantic that the Empire State building would be next, only a short walk from her office.
As I called and texted and called and texted the news began to report of another plane going down, this time near Washington. My fears at this point begin to turn to rage as I dialed over and over. Another plane down in the middle of Pennsylvania. I remembered being told as a child that Binghamton would be one of the top ten targets of the Russians were war to break out. Something about first IBM then Lockheed Martin’s headquarters being there. I always dismissed it as tale tails told to us kids to make us feel more important growing up in such a depressing place. But those stories started coming back to me in that instance and I feared that my childhood home might be next.
I finally heard from my sister. At this point I don’t remember if it was a call or a text, I just remember crying. She was safe. My parents were safe. I was safe.
The next few months were spent in front of a television. Watching firefighters search the rubble for survivors, watching our president remind us that if we stop our lives then the terrorists win, watching the Yankees march to the World Series almost single handedly holding up the hearts of a massively wounded city, watching the World Trade Center flag, battered and torn raised over the stadium before our President threw out the first pitch.
Our country was stronger in those moments then we had been in a very long time. Republicans, Democrats, young, old, Black, white, nothing mattered except the Red White and Blue coursing through our veins. It may sound terrible but that was the most proud that I was to be an American in my entire life. We were truly One Nation for just that brief moment in time.
It of course was short lived. As the president beat the drums of war against an enemy that had nothing to do with that attack on us the old divisions came back. There was a sentiment that either you were with the President or you were with the Terrorists. And so we went. We split our forces, half to get the men that attacked us that fateful day and half to get another. It took us three years to kill Saddam Hussein and nine and a half to kill Osama Bin Laden, but they are both now dead.
In that time our country was torn in half, our Conservative and Liberal rift has never been larger. The money spent on those two wars and the lack financial oversight here at home while they were going on threw us in to one of the worse economic times since the Great Depression. Right blaming Left and vice versa, we stand here, thirteen years later, a country divided. And on no road towards coming back together. Sometimes when someone cuts you so deep like we were all cut that day the scar is worse than the cut. If I had one wish for our country today it would be to remember how we all felt in the months after 9/11. To find a way to come back together.
Tau Kappa Epsilon, Declaration of Principles, Chapter Nine: We believe that the essential elements of true brotherhood are love, charity, and esteem; love, that binds our hearts with the sturdy chords of fraternal affection; charity, that is impulsive to see virtues in a brother and slow to reprove his faults; esteem, that is respectful to the honest convictions of others and that refrains from treading upon that which is sacred to spirit and conscience; these are the triple obligations of every brother in the bond.

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Response to ProudNYSTaxPayer (Reply #26)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 01:40 PM

37. I think it changed most of us a little.

I used to occasionally do details at work that sent me places. I enjoy actually working airplanes more than anything else, but tje occasional detail where the needed a controller's input was an interesting change.

I've been to NYC numerous times both before and after 9/11.

Before 9/11, NYC was just like every other big city. Afterwards, you could feel the difference. New Yorkers were genuinely friemdly and helpful and would go out of their way for you.

It brought us all together, but it REALLY brought NYC together.

(just an outsider's opinion)

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 09:51 AM

27. Was home.

I slept late that morning. When I turned on the tv, the first tower had just fallen. I skipped my college classes that day and watched the news all day long and into the am.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 10:04 AM

28. I was on a message board

Someone said that the WTC had been hit by a plane and I told them that it was in very poor taste to joke that way.

I ran downstairs and told my husband to turn on the TV and we saw the second plane hit live. We live close to NYC and the area where I live lost many people that day. I lost a dear friend in Tower 2. My mom was in a coma and we had just removed her feeding tube. The family was all supposed to gather here. My brother called from DC (where he lives) and said that he didn't think that he could make it because of the plane hitting- that's how I learned about the one that hit the Pentagon. No one could make it here. My son was just getting off the bus at the Port Authority so he couldn't make it home - he stayed at my sister's who lives on 22nd Street. My daughter was supposed to fly in from CA, but of course all flights were cancelled.

It was a very surreal, bizarre time for me....sitting in my mom's hospice room holding her hand and watching the towers collapsing, knowing that my friend was in one of them. I think I was in a fugue state at that point.

It turns out that my office overlooked the runway where the terrorists practiced flying planes. I probably saw them taking off and landing from my desk. 9/11 is a day I'll never forget, but honestly, I would love to.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 10:54 AM

30. Not quite as interesting

as yours...

Home, having breakfast, watching CNN

Breaking news!!! Plane crashed into WTC. Person doing the news is somewhat speechless, doesn't look like she wants to believe it.

Hubby and I think, OMG what a terrible accident.

Second plane hits. OMG!!!!!! That was no accident!

Pentagon gets hit...

I personally am scared to death by this time, wondering how many other planes are out there and where they're likely to hit. Not scared for myself, but for family who live in places that would be attractive to someone(s) intending to cause terror and death.

Watched all day, in total disbelief, no matter how many times they showed the second plane hitting, or the towers falling. It was like watching a movie.

Even knowing how many people were killed I could not cry until reporters went out into the street and talked to people, one on one, searching for friends and family members.

Numbers are hard to internalize...when you see the faces and hear the names, it's personal and very painful.

That's when I broke down.




PS...I didn't know anyone personally who died that day, but my extended family came close to tragedy. My oldest stepdaughter was supposed to be at the WTC that day...some business conference through the investment banking company she worked for. Fortunately, she was sick that day and didn't go. Her husband was in Atlanta on business and had to drive back to Mass. He was frantic with worry until he found out she was safe at home. Had she gone to NYC that day, she said she would likely have been on one of the top floors when the first plane hit.

All these years later I still get chills.

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Response to Squeek (Reply #30)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 01:52 PM

39. It's interesting how many people were supposed to be there but weren't.

I'm not suggesting a conspiracy or divine providence, but my brother-in-law would have been a block away had he not decided to go in late that day.

I hear a lot of similar stories. Happy that your stepdaughter wasn't there.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 11:40 AM

31. It was 5:46 in the morning here in Cascadia

 

My clock radio woke me up just in time to report something about a plane hitting one of the towers. I dismissed it (as most people did at the time) as some kind of bizarre accident and dragged myself off to the coffee pot.

Turned on the TV out of boredom and it was right in time to see the second plane hit.

Even with no caffeine in my system, I knew that wasn't a good thing.........

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Response to FORD (Reply #31)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 11:45 AM

32. I smoked back then

I think I went through a half of a carton and 5 or 6 pots of coffee just trying to get my head around what was happening that day.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 12:04 PM

33. Had just walked in the door

from doing weedeating and yard work to get a bottle of water. Switched on the tube and *bang* About an hour later I went shopping and the vibe around town was eerie; people walking around stunned.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 12:33 PM

34. I was sitting exactly where I am right now, in front of my home computer.

I have a much nicer chair now, and that was two whole computers ago, but the view out of my office window is the same.

I unlocked my console and looked at Yahoo!, which was my home page at the time. I rubbed my eyes when I saw the image of the burning tower.

I went to my TV and turned it on. A few minutes later, the second plane hit.

About 30 minutes later my phone rang. It was my manager, telling me that the office was closed and that I need not go in to work that day.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 01:09 PM

35. I was standing on the Las Vegas strip...

at a construction site across from the Sahara Hotel. I remember hearing reports from the radio.
I remember looking north at the Stratosphere Tower and was wondering if the tower was hit, would the debris possibly reach us. We were let off at noon. Two days later, all work stopped in Las Vegas. I was laid off for seven months.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 01:12 PM

36. I was recovering from major surgery

and I was homeless. I was squatting in the basement of a foreclosed house. I drank all the water I had left, used up the batteries in my transistor radio, and fell asleep. I felt certain it WAS the end and I would never wake up again. I wasn't afraid as I drifted off to sleep, quite the opposite, I was looking forward to seeing my dog again.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 01:47 PM

38. In 2007 I took a trip to NYC and asked where the WTC went.

I was shocked to learn what happened many years earlier.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 03:18 PM

40. I Was at Home in Front of My Computer

and my husband called from work to tell me about it. I turned on the TV and saw a replay of the first plane hitting the tower. They went back to a live shot when another plane entered the scene and hit the second tower. We were still on the phone talking so I told him that a second plane hit the other tower. He didn't quite get what I was saying and he exploded "that's what I've been trying to tell you! A plane hit the World Trade Center!"

I replied, "no, a second plane just hit!" Suddenly he shouted, "a second plane just hit the other tower!"

He can be just a little difficult to talk to sometimes.

My mother had just finished up an Alaskan cruise and was at the airport in Seattle waiting to fly home to Detroit when all flights were cancelled. She was stuck 2 thousand miles away in an unfamiliar city without a way home. Somehow, her traveling companion's son in Michigan finagled a couple Amtrak tickets to get them as far as Minneapolis and he picked them up there.

It was a hell of a time.

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Response to MercATC (Original post)


Response to MercATC (Original post)

Fri Sep 11, 2015, 05:19 PM

42. At home, I watched the whole thing live on CNN

 



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