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9/11/01- So where were you?


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#1 chemistry1973

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Posted 11 September 2018 - 11:25 PM

I’m sure there have been threads in the past, but I didn’t see any threads for this year.

Perhaps this is a day that we should put in the past? Despite the killing of Osama Bin Laden it doesn’t feel like we resolved really anything. Is it best that we “actually forget”?

Of course a topic like this is bound to get political, but perhaps we can avoid that for a few entries.

So where were you on that day?

#2 Greg

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 12:17 AM

I lived in Chicago at the time and was doing a project for Allstate and dating a girl named Suzanne Kondratenko.  She had taken a project in the WTC a few months earlier.  I lived next to Wrigley Field and had to drive to the NW burbs for Allstate so I was driving when I heard that the towers had been hit.  As soon as I heard it on the radio, I called Suzanne and left a message on her machine (what were those things called??).  I left my area code on purpose in case it wasn't Suzanne who got my message. 

 

While still in the car, the first tower had fallen and I was trying to picture what that looked like.  All I could think of was that it fell over from the impact.  I never envisioned the pancaking that actually took place.  So I got to Allstate and everyone was in the cafeteria watching on the big screen.  I then saw the horror of it all along with many others there.  

 

I got a call a few days later from Suzanne's sister saying that she had made it out of the second tower in time, but she was never found.  It's assumed that when the second tower fell, it took Suzanne with it.  I attended her funeral, it was in a huge cathedral in Chicago and the place was overflowing with Suzanne's friends.  She was really awesome...and that was a really shitty fucking day.  :(



#3 chemistry1973

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 12:51 AM

Oh man I am so sorry.

#4 grep

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 01:02 AM

Edited. It doesn't matter any more where I was.

I'm still here.

Never Forget.


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#5 The Macallan

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 01:16 AM

In Manhattan. Walked 8 miles into Queens before catching a ride. I knew a couple of people that never made it home.

The shittiest of days

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#6 Casey

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 01:38 AM

Wow, Greg. I don't think I had heard your story before. That is heartbreaking. 

I was the rental manager at Mt. Baker Ski Area in Washington state and my partner and I were on our "weekend", sleeping off the alcohol we had imbibed the night before. Anna's mother kept calling and leaving messages about once an hour...

"Anna...Casey...please call me."

We blew it off and kept sleeping. 

"Hi. Me again. You probably know this, but there has been a horrible terrorist attack in New York. Just tragic. Please call when you get this."

Anna and I looked at each other and she made some kind of comment about how it was probably a subway gas attack, which was a popular form of attack with terrorists in those days. Tragic, to be sure, but we weren't quite ready to roll out of bed yet, so we went back to sleep. 

"Anna! If you're home, turn on the TV! The second tower just fell! Call me!"

Oh, the second tower just...what? Second tower? The Twin Towers?!?!

We immediately sprang from bed and turned on the TV, in time to see the billowing cloud of smoke, papers and insulation filling the screen. We looked at each other in disbelief as what had happened sank in. I think the only thing that we managed to say to each other for that first hour of realization was "Oh my God" every few minutes or so. 

What I remember most about that day was sitting on the back porch of our home that afternoon. We lived in an isolated area about 30 miles east of Bellingham and something felt...different. The highway we lived near was usually busy with skiers and snowboarders trekking to or from the mountain, creating the consistent sound of occasional traffic that I had always taken for granted. We also lived in the flight path of most of the flights that entered the US from the Vancouver airport, some 50 miles to our northwest. Not too near the airport, but close enough that the high, distant sound of air traffic was often in the background. 

That day, there were no other noises than the occasional chirp of a robin, or the caw of a raven. No cars, no planes, just...silence. The kind of silence so pervasive that it's presence was deafening. I'll never forget the feeling of despair, or the thoughts in my head that told me that the world, as we knew it, had changed forever. 



#7 Three Eyes

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 01:53 AM

In a cemetery. Not kidding.


Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#8 MrSkeptic

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 02:09 AM

Was at work in the Air Force and as I walked through the waiting area that had a TV on, the first tower was on fire and the crawl was talking about how an aircraft had hit it. I proceeded on to talk to the person who I initially went to see and when I returned, I stopped again to watch, thinking of all the reasons a plane may have hit a giant building like that, medical emergency, mechanical problem, etc and as I stood there watching, the second plane hit the other tower and I immediately knew it wasn't an accident.

 

I turned and looked at a co-worker and she had this look of horror mixed with a WTH kind of expression. 


They said I could be anything, so I became a disappointment.

 

 


#9 SJS

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 02:38 AM

She was really awesome...and that was a really shitty fucking day.  :(

 

Wow, first post is almost a thread-killer.  After reading it I felt like grep - that my story didn't matter compared to this one.  On the other hand it's maybe good for the thread that this is where it started - it's too easy to feel like deaths on TV aren't real.  Damn, Greg, I'm so sorry you went through this.

 

I had just started my first professorship, and that day was the first day I was lecturing in a team-taught class, so it was a day that had a feeling of weirdness and nervousness as soon as I got up.  I got up early probably to spend as much time prepping as possible, so I was walking around the house quietly so as not to wake wife and daughter.  This was Portland, Oregon, though, so my early was already mid-morning in NYC.  I don't think I was in the habit of watching TV in the morning, but maybe to calm my nerves I put the TV on.  Katie Couric (I think) had said something like "that's where the world trade center would be" narrating over film of a smoky scene.  I remember furiously trying to parse that sentence, not sure if I misheard or if it could possibly mean what I thought it meant. 

 

The memory can be pretty fallible, but I think that I was watching after the first tower fell and before the second, though I believe the second had already been hit.  I woke up the wife and we watched together for awhile, and I think I saw the second tower fall before I went to work.  I was in such a fog and I imagined that, even though it was Portland, there had to be students who were from the East Coast, so I suggested we cancel class.  They said it was my call, since it was my day to lecture, but I was a little miffed that they didn't really seem to be in support of the idea.  I think if, you know, the world changes, maybe a day to pause and reflect is a decent idea.

 

My wife had a cousin who worked down town, and we didn't know exactly where, but it turned out he was a couple blocks north of the WTC.  I do think he saw the immediate aftermath.  But that was a close personally as we were to the tragedy.

 

My birthday is September 9.  For my 2001 birthday, my wife had gotten me an American flag, as the house we were renting had a socket for a flagpole next to the front door.


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#10 AsIfToFly

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 04:27 AM

I was working for Frontier Airlines and was working the gate for our morning departure.  Before we boarded, my boss called me and said he had heard that a plane had crashed into a building in NYC but he didn't know much more.  My assumption was it was a private plane or something.  I went ahead and boarded the flight and it pushed back and sat in the alley for quite a while without taxiing away.  A couple gates down there was a tv and a couple people had gathered there.  I walked down and saw what was going on.  I don't remember if the 2nd plane had hit the WTC or not at that point (but it must have because it wasn't until then that they stopped all departures and diverted everything that was in the air).  I was completely shocked.  I couldn't believe something like that could happen.  But shortly thereafter the tower had us bring the plane back to the gate and the crew got off told us that all air space had been shut down and no one was going anywhere for a long time.  All the passengers deplaned and were either watching the tv or on their phones.  Typically if we had a plane return to the gate I'd have a line of people asking about connections and generally yelling at me, but no one came up.  Everyone was quiet.  It was so weird.  We eventually got word that all flights for the rest of the day were cancelled.  I made the announcement and everyone just...left.  Within about a couple hours the airport was virtually empty and would be for 3 days.  



#11 grep

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 06:39 AM

Greg, I didn't know. I am so sorry.

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#12 Moving Target

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 06:46 AM

It was my day off work. A friend rang up and told me to put the news on the telly. I watched with a sense of detachment and unreality, like I was seeing a disaster movie.

Mrs MT, whom I did not meet for another two years, was an office manager at Shell and had the task of getting all the American staff and visitors, as well as European staff who were due to fly to the US, into hotel rooms. As every other office manager working for a multinational was doing the same thing, she had to send people scores of miles out of town.

#13 Wandering Hermit

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 11:54 AM

Wow Greg. Condolences. Didn't know that.



#14 fenderjazz

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 03:32 PM

I was safe, further north in an uptown office.  The people in our downtown office on 120 Broadway were experiencing this first-hand.  It was diagonally across the block from WTC.  I was on the phone with them.  They actually saw faces in the windows on the plane that went into 2 WTC.  An engine/engine cowl ended up in the lobby of the building we were in.  The LAN Admin in that office, in his Russian/Jewish accent was shouting to me on the phone "You people are watching this on TV.  I am seeing this shit with my own eyes.  I'm going chome!"  He ended up walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to get home.  I saw all of the dust-covered people walking up to Grand Central Terminal to board the trains and joined them on the trip home.  We talked, prayed, and listened.  A lot of listening.  Back home, in an NYC suburb, I saw the cars parked in the commuter lots to which no one would be returning to.  They became makeshift memorials with flowers and pictures as the days passed.  We all went outside our home at 7pm to our streets with candles.  Our family did that, along with others all along the way.  My kids did as well, we needed to do something.  Then we went to church.  At church various dust-covered commuters showed up and they got up to the pulpit and shared their stories.  A lot of listening that day.  It was eerie to not hear planes above us that night.  We are right in the path of JFK/LGA/HPN so seeing and hearing planes was the norm.

 

In the days that followed I wanted to do something.  I went to a staging area on 14th St (as far as you could get in Manhattan at that time) and worked in a basement making sandwiches with others.  I brought my car in, full of sandwich components, mostly PB&J since it traveled well from where I lived.  I met former actress/now special ed schoolteacher and new mother Felice Schacter (Facts of Life first season and the movie Zapped) who was frantically making sandwiches alongside me, sometimes joined by comedian Dennis Leary.  I think this was Felice's project that she started, if I'm correct.  We were just making food for the rescue workers searching for bodies/injured downtown.  She was a nearby resident of WTC at that time.  I did that for about a week until that was replaced by more proper food delivery methods as this was makeshift.  It wasn't much but it really was all I could do.  They loaded the sandwiches on firetrucks and ambulances, in many cases literally filling the back of ambulances and police vans to the gills with sandwiches, water and soda.  Donations came in from various places for this effort.

 

A week later, we went into our building, against advice from police/fire and retrieved the hard drives from all of our servers in that location and brought them to our headquarters.  Two weeks later than that, our building was cleared for occupancy again, and the people who worked in that building actually wanted to go back.  So we re-staged everything and brought them back, 3 weeks from the date of the attacks.

 

So many makeshift memorials everywhere as constant reminders.  A lot of flags too.  I lived not far from the headquarters of a now "ghost company"  Cantor Fitzgerald.  While they had administrative offices near me, most of the people perished because they were in 101-105th floors of 1 WTC.

 

My experiences are minimal, I realize, but very real because of the proximity.



#15 Greg

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 07:02 PM

Thanks all, I really don't like to point out what happened to me because I don't want it to make it seem like it's about me.  I was crazy about Suzanne and if you google her, you'll see what a great person she was.  This day every year sucks, but it sucks less and less.  



#16 Oak

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 08:18 PM

Thanks all, I really don't like to point out what happened to me because I don't want it to make it seem like it's about me. I was crazy about Suzanne and if you google her, you'll see what a great person she was. This day every year sucks, but it sucks less and less.


So sorry for your loss Greg.

#17 fenderjazz

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 01:02 AM

Thanks all, I really don't like to point out what happened to me because I don't want it to make it seem like it's about me. I was crazy about Suzanne and if you google her, you'll see what a great person she was. This day every year sucks, but it sucks less and less.


It’s a shitty way to lose someone. I’m sure for a while it didn’t seem real. Hard to accept

#18 pjbear05

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 03:22 PM

I was at work, taking a break during a training session, when a friend comes out of IT's secure area (this was my IRS building) and announces the first plane hit WTC. About a half hour later during the session, one of CID's Special Agents comes in, waves at the instructor, cutting her off, switches on the TV, and advises us of the 2nd. attack. The Tv screen is showing Nbc's feed of both towers burning, and we sit there, stunned. Shortly afterwards is the announcement of the plane hitting the Pentagon. Then someone comes in and speaks to the Agent, who tells us, "This training is over. Go to your office, secure yor work area, and prepare to possibly leave the building." At that time it was then feared all Federal buildings and properties were targets. We all head back to our desks, confused and scared. 10 minutes later we get the order to leave the building as expeditiously as possible and go home. Everyone leaves, I head home, and watch it unfold on tv.

"Can't help about the shape I'm in, I can't sing, I ain't pretty, and my legs are thin.

But don't ask me what I think of you, I might not give the answer that you want me to."

 

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."

 

 

 


#19 chemistry1973

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 09:05 PM

I was in State College, PA. I learned later that Flight 93 passed right above the town that morning. We had just played a show at the Crowbar, in the downtown are next to Penn State.

I remember the lead singer sobbing after watching that second plane hit the South Tower on television.

 

I was far from enough away from the all the terrible events, but nonetheless, I believe I was in shock for a few days after – looking back.

I remember in a show of silly bravado, we canceled our show that was to take place in NYC and went to the local bar to get drunk. Alcohol did nothing to lessen the disbelief or add any sense of wonder or clarity to what happened. We were just stupid.

 

I do remember special editions of the newspaper being delivered that early afternoon. And I clearly remember Brokaw mentioning Osama Bin Laden that day. It seems amazingly quick that they were able to float his name, but then again, he had been on our radar at that point.

 

Honestly, those events that day hit me harder now than they did at the time. It was all too much for me to take in and understand.

 

I had a bit of a reasoned conversation with the guitar player about the state of our country, and what an event like this might do. Perhaps it was a bit too measured. The other singer in my band – very open minded guy, very smart, had a bit of a fit of irrational jingoistic anger (irrational only because it went against his typical constitution).

 

It’s all bit of a haze but we made it to NYC to play a gig sometime in October – and I remember the pictures of missing loved ones posted everywhere. A couple guys in the band went to the site of the attack – and I didn’t go. Just blew it off. And I’m a rabid history buff and news-hound. I was numb to it.

 

Now if I listen to recordings of passengers calling from the flights, saying 'I love you' to their family members, I’m gripped with uncontrollable emotions -  terror and sadness. It’s darker now, looking back through the lens of our current world. Maybe the world wasn’t more innocent then, but we were younger. We were more innocent.



#20 SJS

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 11:39 PM

Chemistry, thank you for starting this thread.

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