Where Were You On September 11th, 2001?

I wrote this post a year ago while I was still living in Grenada.  I thought that I would share it again because I sat down to write another post about September 11th, 2001, and well, I decided that I couldn’t have said it any better than I already had.  

This year I am living in Brooklyn, New York and as the day approaches, it is impossible not to feel its presence among every New Yorker.  Though it’s a painful memory for many, it is a day that we can never forget and should always take time to reflect upon. 

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September 11th…It’s hard to believe that it’s been 11 years since it happened.  It’s the  “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” question of my generation.  I will never forget where I was…

I had just woken up in the house I grew up in, in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.  My dad was getting ready to leave for work, and I was just about to start eating a bowl of Oreo O’s.  I flipped the television on, and I saw a Breaking News banner flashing across the screen.  I saw two enormously tall buildings; one of which had a gaping hole toward the top of it with explosive smoke pouring from it.  I yelled for my dad to come in the living room, and neither one of us could believe what we saw.  At the bottom of the television it said that a plane had crashed into Tower 1 of the World Trade Center.  I kept saying to my dad, “All those people in that plane, and all the people who were just sitting at their desks at work where that plane hit just died.”  My dad sat down on the couch next to me, and we just watched in disbelief.

My dad got up to call my mom at work to tell her what had happened, when the second plane hit.  I was glued to the television the whole time, and my bowl of cereal sat untouched on the coffee table.  All of the sudden I saw a second plane hit the second tower.  I started screaming for my dad, who was now on the phone with my mom.  I heard him telling her that she was never going to believe it, but another plane had hit Tower II of the World Trade Center.  I had never seen anything like this in my life, and I could not comprehend what was about to happen to the world I lived in.  I know now that talk of terrorists existed long before September 11th, 2001, but up until that point in my life, it’s not something that I had to ever think about.  My mind never even went to that place, when I watched the terror sweeping through NYC from all the way back in Dearborn Heights, Michigan.  The first time I had even heard about terrorists was when I heard President Bush’s speech later that day.  I was so naïve to the idea of terrorists, that I distinctly remember saying to my dad over and over, “What are the chances that two planes would hit two buildings like that within just minutes of one another?”  My dad, never really being one at loss for words, just looked at me and shook his head.

I was 18 years old when September 11th happened, and I was getting ready to move to New York City the following month on October 16th to begin a musical theater conservatory program.  Suddenly my whole world was turned upside down…Terrorists, war, talk of drafts…It was bizarre.  My parents didn’t want to let me go, but I insisted that everything would be okay.  I think back now, at age 28, and I admire my fearlessness.  I must admit, I am not nearly as fearless anymore.  I think as I’ve gotten older, I have begun to think about the ‘worst case scenario’ much more often…or maybe the world I live in has just changed…either way, I don’t know if I was the person I am today, if I would have went through with the move to NYC.  However, I am glad I did, and I am happy I am the person I am today, but at the same time, the person I was 10 years ago.  After all, I ended up meeting my husband in New York, and many other dreams came true for me there, too.

Last night, I was thinking about what September 11th meant to me, and the fact that was participating in a 5K 9/11 Remembrance Run.  It’s so petty, but I realized I didn’t have anything red, white, and/or blue to wear.  It suddenly really bothered me, and I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s because I am living in Grenada, and far from New York, but it suddenly became dire for me to represent my country and all those who died that day, and I just felt like I had to do something.  I looked in my closet and I found an old navy blue shirt I didn’t care about anymore, and I found a white tank top, and a little sewing kit I brought here one and a half years ago that I have never touched, and I decided to just make something.  I don’t know how I even got started, but I just began sewing.

I decided to cut out letters and numbers that would read “Never Forget 9~11” and sew them onto a white tank top.  I don’t know why, but it made me feel better, and it made me feel like I was doing something for my fellow New Yorkers.

The final result…

A shot from the race today…

The race today was fun, and very early, but it was so worth it.  I brought my iPod with me, and I decided to do something that I never ever do.  Instead of selecting a song at the beginning of my run, I simply turned it on, and randomly flipped through all my songs without looking, and decided to listen to whatever song I stopped on.  As I started running, I pressed play, and the song “If I Die Young” came on, and I couldn’t believe it.  It was so beautiful, and it almost made me cry when I heard the lyrics, “The sharp knife of a short life, well, I’ve had just enough time.”  It broke my heart to think of all those people who died that day long before they had enough time.  It was a very humbling moment.

I didn’t know anyone who passed away on September 11th, 2001, and I wasn’t even living in New York when September 11th happened, but I truly feel for all the families and friends who lost loved ones.  I will never forget the events of that day, and someday when someone asks me where I was when September 11th, 2001 happened, I will tell them my little piece in very big history.

Where were you on September 11th, 2001

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16 thoughts on “Where Were You On September 11th, 2001?

  1. Wow, this is really meaningful. I think I was too young to really remember, but I feel sadness just thinking about what happened. I enjoy each and every one of your posts ^.^

  2. I just woke up feeling pretty sad at the state of my life and decided to check my emails to distract me as I won’t sleep… Coming across this made me feel rather pathetic.. There are so many people going through more pain than me in life.. I wish I had an ounce of their strength…

  3. I was near to my best friend, she felt something, some sadness, and so…decided to cheer up and arrange to pick the kids from school and go together for a restuarent. A treat.

    On the way to the restuarent she got a phone call from her younger sister who told her to open the TV…and said that in NY aeroplane crush into a building, and now another one…it sound sureal, since the sister was about 17 I told my friend maybe she is talking about a movie??? then we arrive to the restuarent and saw it ourselves.

  4. Darren woke me about 8am and had me sit down in front of the TV and just said: “Watch.”

    I still remember the people jumping from the burning building, then the second plane hit and I felt physically sick.

    Then one by one the towers fell…

    NEVER forget 9/11…

    Love and hugs!

    Prenin.

  5. I was at work in Baltimore, MD, north of the city, when a coworker came running into my office, saying that a USA Today news alert had just popped up on his desktop — about the first plane. I’m realizing now, that in 2001, we must not have had as much streaming news as we do now, because someone managed to set up a cable TV in our break room and that’s how we watched everything else unfold. Scott was at work at Johns Hopkins, downtown – we were married by then. We were able to talk on the phone once before all of the lines were too busy. We had decided to each stay put, so as not to be on the roads. The news had started to report all kinds of additional planes in the air over Baltimore and D.C., and I remember being very scared and feeling totally vulnerable.

    P.S. I love the outfit you made for last year’s race — very touching and thoughtful!

  6. Great post Sarah – and I think you captured everyone’s sentiment with what you went through last year, with the helplessness of HOW to remember and honor such a tragic event in our lifetime. And what you did do was what we all should do, SOMETHING. No matter how big or small – just do something! My wife was asked to sing the National Anthem at a local remembrance event this past Saturday. She’d never sung that in public, and you know the fear in any singer to tackle that song. But before she even practiced she looked up the history of the song (so many of us don’t know it!). Why? Because she didn’t want to just sing it… she wanted to remember why THIS song was so important for an event to remember what happened on September 11th, 2001.

    As far as where we were… I was ironing some shirts and packing for a flight to Baton Rouge two hours later that I would never get on. My mom called me and told me to turn on the TV, then I called my wife into the room and we watched together. As I continued to iron she asked me what I was doing… I said that I had to keep packing. When the second plane hit, she says, “You’re not going anywhere today.” We live in the Tampa Bay area and if you’ll remember that Pres Bush was down here when he got the news. All of our local stations were there and covered what he was doing immediately. I’ll never forget that look on his face as he sat there in front of a class full of kids and not wanting them to panic, then his speech from the school a little later before heading to Air Force One and his zig-zag trip around the country.

    We did have a family we were close to who had two brothers/uncles that were at the top working for a finance company. Both died. One of the two had been down for a while that summer and we got to be with him at cookouts and all a few times. It WAS surreal having known someone who lost their life that day.

    Whatever our experience, we must always rememeber.

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  12. I was working at an MSN call center, taking calls for the now useless middleman- the ISP. Anyway, many of us had Slate up online, and an eerie mumbling grew throughout the call center until it became a roar. Many of us stood up, and our calls had all but stopped. It was early morning and our majority of calls came from the East coast at that time of day ( we were on the west coast, very early). Pretty soon we were all passing information around, and we started to see the footage. At first, like many, I thought it was an accident. I had no clue as to the extent. Then the second plane hit, and someone announced, “We’re at war!”. Information about the Pentagon was coming in , and then – unbelievably- we watched both towers collapse, in what looked like planned demolition- so disgustingly neat, tidy, and straight down…I immediately felt we, the US had done this to prevent even more damage to the surrounding city. Anyway, the next six months were spent glued to the TV, with the constant ticker tape streaming at the bottom of the screen, always with the yellow, orange, and red alerts…
    I guess everything changed that day, but we turned out to be more resilient than I had imagined. Every time I think about how many people died there, though, it absolutely sickens me.

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