On September 11, 2001, I...

Inspired by this thread (post #11 and others) about people going through their normal routines on that day. Whether in spite of being shocked and horrified, in order to get over being shocked and horrified, or because it just didn’t matter to them.

After being glued to the TV for much of the day, or online (including the SDMB), about 3:30 I put Top Hat in the VCR and watched it. Twice.

(I will say that at this point I had checked in with all my New York friends, relations, etc. to make sure they were all right. “All right” being a relative term.)

It really settled me down, watching Fred & Ginger. It seemed so normal.

What did you do?

I finished my day at work, came home, and was glued to the TV for the rest of the night…and the next night…and the next.

I also hugged my children and my husband.

I worked that day, we listened to accounts of it on the radio. It was nearly scarier being described than when we finally saw the video footage when we got home. The description, the terror in the reporter’s voice were haunting.
Later that evening I went for a pint with my friend and we bought the first newspaper that had a report of it, some rag.

Wasn’t paying attention and was mildly irritated that everyone was hanging out in the lounge glued to the TV rather than, y’know, working.

Still kinda feel that way, actually.

It was bad. A buncha people died. But y’know what? Unless you had relatives there, or friends, or were there yourself or had to go there and clean up afterwards… getoverit already. That was my opinion.

Voicing that opinion on the third day after it happened did not win me any friends at the office… probably because the rest of 'em wanted an excuse to continue fucking off.

Meh. 9/11 pisses me off for many many reasons, most of which have nothing to do with the actual attack aside from being caused by it.

I may have watched the carnage a bit on TV, but other than that, business as usual, didn’t really care much about it.

I went to my penultimate day at work in my summer job at an airline catering company at the airport. Sounds exciting, but it wasn’t.

A local radio station was piped 24/7, so we had local DJs desperately trying to work out what to do, while their news crew were probably just getting everything off satellite channels. We carried on work, and used the usual procedures for ‘Orlando is cancelled’, etc. It would have taken until Monday for them to start letting people go. Not nice.

Fitting with the linked-to thread, I left at 8pm and went straight to the pub quiz. Just as normal.

I was chatting with my girlfriend online when a friend text messaged me with “Can you believe the shit going on in America?”

I went to the BBC site to find out what specific shit he was talking about.

Fled from my place of work and was startled by huge booms as soon as I walked in the front door of my apartment about 10 minutes after the Pentagon attack. I thought that another airplane had struck its target, but my only guess to this day is that it might have been the sound of sonic booms of F-16s arriving on the scene.

I was a bachelor with no friends at the time - so I went to the office in order to watch TV with other people, rather than watching TV alone. And I had to drive thru downtown LA to do so, which was a bit nervy.

I was working at my job at the Airport.

Everybody’s stomach was doin’ the hula that day…

I had just the previous night flown in from England, and was running late for work, when my ex-SO called, and told me “OMG, something happened to the World Trade Center, like a missile hit it”.

Then I turned on the TV, and watched with a sense of unreality as the second plane hit. Not believing what I was seeing, saying “that must be a replay…but why is that other Tower still burning? Holy shit…no, this is not possible.” I knew I was seeing something which was a life-event, but it seemed so unreal at the time.

I stayed home, stayed online and on the phone with friends, until late that night. That’s all I did - communicate, and talk it out.

At one point, maybe 10:00am, I don’t remember, I went outside when I heard fighters go low overhead, and saw strange contrails in the sky. U-shaped ones, where planes had obviously turned and done 180’s to return to an airport.

I was at work, in Manhattan, at Hudson and Houston Sts, north of the towers, but close enough that we watched the whole scene from the CEO’s office. Afterwards, I walked uptown to get my wife, also at work, and made our way home to NJ 6 hours later. The single most memorable, surreal and frightening day of my life.

I didn’t do much more work that afternoon. Despite working next to Heathrow airport at the time I didn’t really feel connected to what was happening. Commuted home, nothing really unusual other than more people quietly reading the Evening Standard than normal), then just had a normal evening in with a news channel on in the background. At the time I think I felt much the same way as I do now when seeing stories about earthquakes or other disasters in far-off countries; not bored, not blasé, just disconnected.

I went to Microbiology class. There wasn’t a chance in this world Dr. Layne was going to cancel class so we all sat there taking notes, probably not making a lot of sense of them. There was a lot of murmuring between us, wondering whether FedEx might be a target. And then I went home and tried to avoid the television.

I was at work at Boeing. The first reports came in shortly after our shift started, family members were calling to folks at works and telling them about what was going on. About 10 in the morning, management shut down production for the day and brought up the news on the large moniters located at each production position. It was a rather wierd day.

I was on a plane, flying from New Delhi to Hong Kong to San Francisco to Seattle. The attacks happened while we were in the air from Hong Kong to San Francisco.

The first time any passengers knew anything was out of the ordinary is when we landed - in Vancouver, BC. The guy sitting next to me in the window seat said “Hey, this isn’t San Francisco.” At that point, people started getting on their cell phones. I heard someone say “World Trade Center” but I was mostly thinking about travel and missing my connecting flight to Seattle and just normal things.

Plane chatter got louder and louder and after awhile I could figure out something was wrong, I heard the word “bombing”, people on the plane were very agitated. The pilot came on the loudspeaker and said that planes had crashed into the world trade center and all incoming planes to the US had been diverted, we had been diverted to Vancouver. He turned the loudspeakers to a radio station and we all listened to the news.

We sat on the plane for about 3 hours - basically in silence, no complaining that I remember, tons of wide-bodied planes from Asia were being diverted to Vancouver and they weren’t prepared to process us all. Back in 2001, I didn’t carry a cell phone with me, but someone was generous enough to loan me one for a second to phone my boyfriend at the time, he had been frantic - he knew I was in the air and knew my arrival time, but didn’t know my flight number or even airline. The travel office for my company refused to release my itinerary to him and he had no idea if I was returning from New Delhi via the Pacific or Atlantic routes. I had made the trip before - from New Delhi to Amsterdam to Detroit to Seattle, I could have been flying from the east coast.

After we got off the plane, we went through the most stringent security check I have ever encountered, every single carry-on item was emptied and searched, every person was wanded/patted down. They couldn’t give us our checked bags, they just kept yelling “keep moving, keep moving.” Tons of people from my flight didn’t speak English, lots of people crying, huge huge huge crowds at the airport, lines at payphones 10 people deep. All the rental cars were booked, all the trains were full.

I finally ended up at an Elephant & Castle bar in the airport, those pubs usually have a red British style phone booth as decoration. Turns out, there was an actual payphone in the one at the Vancouver airport, no lines at all. My boyfriend at the time was going to drive from Seattle to Vancouver to pick me up (neither of us had ever driven to Vancouver before and it was a 2 hour drive), so I settled down. None of the TVs at the bar were allowed to show anything about the tragedy, I watched episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I used the pay phones to call my boss, my mom, my dad.

A friend of ours online who lived near the Canadian border confirmed via chat that the borders WERE open. My boyfriend at the time, John, was able to get to Vancouver without any incident. He picked me up and we drove to Seattle. Of all the places to be diverted, Vancouver was a great option. I had made a logistical error on my trip out of New Delhi - my flight had left at 10:00 pm and I hadn’t showered in the evening (just the morning), my total travel time (including a plane delay on the ground in New Delhi, layover in Hong Kong and time in Vancouver) was over 50 hours, I reeked by the time I got home.

My bags showed up about 2 weeks later. I was so grateful to be home and okay. I definitely never travel now without sharing my full itinerary. I was really shaken up for a couple of days - being in the air on a plane when it happened made me feel, I don’t know, closer to it somehow. I know that I was so lucky, I was just dirty and without my luggage for a few weeks, I was so lucky.

While we were in the air, looking back, there were only 2 signs that something was not right. I asked the flight attendant if I were going to miss my connecting flight to Seattle and she put her hand over my hand and told me not to worry about it (in retrospect, because she knew there was no connecting flight for me). Also, the little screens that show where the plane is flying (distance, temperature) went black. I figured it was just a malfunction at the time. I have to commend the flight crew - for all they knew we could have had a lunatic on board, they really held it together and showed NO SIGNS anything was out of the ordinary.

I had a slightly different experience than most people in the US, by the time I knew about the attacks, they were definitely attacks and not some kind of horrible accident.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was at Womack Army Medical Center (the Fort Bragg Hospital) awaiting a physical to clear me to attend Airborne School. (The school that people who want to jump out of perfectly good aircrafts must attend.) There was a TV on in the waiting room and it was tuned to CNN.

I didn’t really pay attention at first. They kept reporting that an airplane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. At first, it appeared to be an accident. Maybe an hour later, CNN reported a second jet had crashed. I still hadn’t been called for my physical so I watched in horror as a third jet crashed. By the time the fourth one crashed I was back with the doc. I knew I needed to get out of there and receive instructions from my NCO. I went through the physical as fast as I could. I called my NCO the second I got out of there. He told me to get my combat gear and get to the unit as fast as I could. I did.

At the time, traffic onto Fort Bragg was light. My wife dropped me off at work and the entire way we listened to the news saying how all flights were grounded and this may be the act of terrorists. I didn’t know when or if I would come home.

I got off work at about 5pm and called babygirl to pick me up. By 8:30 she was still in traffic trying to get on post. My 1SG drove me home and babygirl turned our truck around and met me there.

For the next two days, I had a rifle and live ammo and was responsible for securing a housing community on Fort Bragg.

SSG Schwartz

I went into work after being out of town at a wedding for 10 days. As I rode the N train into Manhattan, I heard on the radio that a small plane had crashed into one of the towers, and that there was now a fire. By the time I got into my office, everyone was gathered around the TV, watching the coverage (both planes had hit by now). Our editor-in-chief, who had not yet made it into work, called and sent everyone home. I walked into the subway station as someone called out, “They’re going to shut down the trains.” I made my train.

Once I got out from under the East River, folks on the radio said that the Treasury building in DC had been bombed, and that the Mall was on fire. We were under attack. The train stopped at Queensboro Plaza and everyone had to get off. I waited on the open-air platform for another train, and debated whether I should just go down to the street and walk (in case the power failed) or take my chances with the next train.

Then I watched the first tower collapse.

The day didn’t get much better after that, but at least no one I knew died.

I got off the train at Broadway in Astoria, stopped to see if our friends were in at their apt., and then our one friend and I went back to my apt. We stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way and picked up coffee and breakfast for my wife, which, for no particular reason (no one on the street in Astoria really knew what was going on yet), took 20 minutes. Then we went home, where my wife had been watching towers fall from the roof of our building, and trying in vain to call family and friends on the out-of-service phone and cell phone lines.

Other friends randomly trickled in to our apt., and we watched CBS news (which we never did; but we didn’t have cable and all the other channels broadcast from the top of the WTC, so they were knocked out) and got roaring drunk. We were lucky to have had a ton of leftover booze from that wedding.

The next day was like a holiday. We spent a bunch of time in a Greek cafe, drinking coffee and booze and playing cards, and trying to ignore CNN in the background.

9-11 was my SIL shipout day when she joined the army. I took her to the base early in the morning and rushed back to bed. The very second I put my head back on the pillow, the phone rang. It was my mom telling me about it. I watched some of the news (hard with the massive hangover from the farewell party last night). I then took lunch to my SIL who was, of course, stuck in base. Then I spent the rest of the day at home where many frieds gathered to watch the news (I was the usual cook for all our events).

I woke up a little before the planes hit and went on the Internet like I always did. I didn’t surf the Dope back then, but I was on another message board I used to like when someone posted a message about the World Trade Center.

I turned on my TV and saw the second plane hit live. I think I watched for the next three hours before I went to class. The I went to class as I always did. My first professor told us we could all go home if we felt like it or stay and do the lesson. A handful left, most stayed and class continued as normal. But at a much slower pace. TVs with CNN on them had been erected all over campus, so almost all of the ones who left just stepped outside to watch. The professor in my second class of the day didn’t even acknowledge it and class went on as normal. People looked kind of uneasy about that, but it was good for all of us I think.

Then I went home, tried to watch a little more CNN and eventually decided that I couldn’t take any more of it. I put on a DVD movie marathon and watched movies until I fell asleep.