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Where I was 9-11

It's kind of a tradition of mine to post this every year on this day. Please follow up with your own stories!

I was 23 years old. I was a Naval supply petty officer at an intelligence base in close proximity to Washington D.C. I was going about my usual day picking up deliveries and bringing them to the ops floor. That particular day I had a delivery of about a dozen chairs. I called the officer on duty to have him send out some sailors to help me.

I remember being angry because no one would pick up the phone and when I went inside it looked like everyone was watching a movie instead of working which I found very odd. After yelling at a couple of subordinates for watching the television instead of working they finally communicated to me that it was real and I started watching just as the second plane hit the WTC. Shortly after we heard about the Pentagon.

Being in the small Navy intelligence community, every single one of us knew people there. After flight 93 went down and planes were ordered to land, there was one plane left in the air and it just happened to be circling in our air space. It turns out it was waiting to land, but we didn't know that.

The ops floor was crazy. Phones were ringing and people were running around. Those chairs were very quickly dealt with because we couldn't have "suspicious packages" at the ops floor without securing them. Those of us that had day jobs and not mission essential positions just sat in the maintenance wing glued to the television.

At first they wouldn't let any of us leave and then they evacuated us very quickly. The mission essential personnel had to stay of course. When I got into my car one of the last sights I saw was that last plane in the air over our base. I was terrified, shocked, numb. You name it. We all felt that. I went home and didn't go back to work for 3 days which is unheard of in the Navy. I sat on my couch flipping between news channels for 72 hours. I didn't really eat or sleep. I put an American flag in my window. I cried. I called my family. When I did return to work. The base had changed drastically. There were dozens of new security measures taken. I won't list them here, but it was like being in a war zone.

The public response was amazing. I will always remember a flag in every car window. Flags and signs hanging over every single overpass in Washington D.C. Any time that I was in uniform around civilians at least one person would thank me, give me a hug and a wink, or squeeze my hand. The love and support was 100%...without exception. It made me prouder than I've ever been in my life. Proud to be serving in the Navy. Proud to be an American. Proud to be a human being. That horrible day showed us what is really in our hearts: love and compassion for our fellow human beings. Lets not forget the solidarity and American pride that we all felt at that time. No matter what has come about who did what and what could be prevented, we united and hopefully made those we lost proud of our conduct. I salute my fellow Americans. God bless you.

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Jillness Jillness 7 years
Thank you for sharing, Harmony!
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 7 years
Liberal Hug :hug: I told my story on the other thread...but I was reminded of something after your story Kas. My dad and I were supposed to go to a Giants game a few days after 9/11...and it ended up being postponed until 10/5. Which was the day Barry Bonds hit the home run record. I still have that ticket...and it's obviously bittersweet.
PinkNC PinkNC 7 years
I believe I was busy at home that day. I remember having the television sound down. I was rushing so much that I didn't read what it said as I passed the television. But when I finally did I was stunned by the news. And it seemed that the planes just kept coming. For days people were waiting for more attacks to happen.
anonymous333 anonymous333 7 years
being from NY, this was probably one of the worst days of my life. I was in school when it happened, and from overhearing my parents conversations in the days prior, the construction company that my father works for, was supposed to be working on the top floor in one of the WTC buildings. They didn't get the contract, but I didn't know for sure, so the whole morning I was completely terrified and crying that I had lost my father. Turns out he was actually working across the street from the towers, and when the plane hit one of the buildings, he saw it happen and started running for his life. My sister was attending Stuyvesant HS at the time, so she was also in the general vicinity. Thankfully my family made it home unharmed but without being able to contact anyone through the phone, it was terrible not knowing if you would ever see them again. Many of my friends and families I know lost people in the attacks, including firefighter Christopher Santora, only 23 years old, a father of two young kids, a mother, etc. The sense of patriotism was at an all time high afterwards and the usual keep-to-themselves NYers really came together which was really something else. Every year I watch the tribute, and every year its just the same, never gets easier.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 7 years
Tulipe that was just lovely. Thank you. :)
Tulipe Tulipe 7 years
It happened at 14:46 pm. It was just before a German exam. I was stressed out because it was the first exam of the year and German was not my strong suit. And suddenly, a friend whose father is a journalist came to see me and nothing seemed important anymore. One plane then the other. One tower then the other. A clear blue sky and a beautiful day. And then a tragedy. I remember hopelessness. I remember my heart tearing in two at the sight of crying New Yorkers. I remember this odd thought : that in spite of their wild imaginations, no film directors had ever imagined this scenario. I remember my little sister (12 years old at the time) who couldn't sleep that night because she kept thinking about these people jumping from the top of the towers. I remember that it had almost happened to us back in 1994 ( I remember the editorial of Le Monde (the equivalent of the NYT) that day, under the title We are all Americans : "In this tragic moment, when words seem so inadequate to express the shock people feel, the first thing that comes to mind is this: We are all Americans! We are all New Yorkers, just as surely as John F. Kennedy declared himself to be a Berliner in 1962 when he visited Berlin. Indeed, just as in the gravest moments of our own history, how can we not feel profound solidarity with those people, that country, the United States, to whom we are so close and to whom we owe our freedom, and therefore our solidarity?" I remember empathy. I remember shock. I remember tears. I remember repeating over and over again : "This can't be happening, this can't be happening" and thinking that the world had changed for ever and for everyone of us. I remember that for New Yorkers, New York was more than a city, it was a member of their family and that, that day, every New Yorkers had been ripped apart in their flesh even if they hadn't suffered any "visible" injury. I remember knowing that instantaneously because had it been an attack against Paris, I would have felt the exact same way. And finally, I remember also knowing that New York would recover even greater from this tragedy and that no matter how hard hatred and violence and fundamentalism tried, they would never defeat what I felt in my heart that day : love, compassion and solidarity.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 7 years
Sorry to hear that beth. Thank you for sharing. :)
bethinabox bethinabox 7 years
I was in 7th grade at the time. I remember that all throughout the day, none of the teachers were allowed to turn on TV or radio because they didn't want us to find out, until the end of the day when we were instructed to go back to our homerooms and told us all at the same time. It was a pretty scary day for everyone. And of course to make the whole situation even better, I found out the next day that my grandfather died that night. :( Unrelated to the attacks (Alzheimer's), but that day holds double the meaning for me.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
I remember the moment quite vividly. I was in line about to step onto the commuter bus to dwn twn Los Angeles. I had just put on my ear phones and turned on the radio. My foot fell on the first step of the bus at the point of realization and I froze for a moment. It was a long ride to work quiet as a morgue. The usual thunder of gossip had been shocked into hushed whispers. Some people cried, others just sat in silence. I just sat and prayed looking through eyes blurred with tears. When we arrived in dwn twn L.A. the side walks were flooded with the persons of every high rise. They were watching the sky and praying too I would imagine. When I arrived at work the day was short lived they just told us to go home and the ride back was just the same.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 7 years
Awww liberal hug. :hug: And Sam too! :hug:
tiabia tiabia 7 years
I was a junior in college in New Orleans and had just returned from an 8 o'clock class. I hadn't heard about the incident and instead was angry with my roommate for sitting at her desk watching tv all leisurely (she was watching coverage) I left out she said "Tia, can you believe this...I think you need to call home ASAP"...and then I actually paid attention and was devastated. My entire family was in DC and I couldn't get in touch with a was the most agonizing day of my life.
liliblu liliblu 7 years
I remember the house shaking when the plane crashed into the Pentagon. I remember seeing and hearing planes fly by after they left Andrews AFB. All the neighbors who were home just stood outside looking around at first. We asked each other if we felt our homes shake. I remember worrying about my parents until they called and let us know they were almost home. A lady my father and brother bowl with lost her hand at the Pentagon that day. She never let it slow her down.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 7 years
None of my comments seem to be showing up today, hmm...
genesisrocks genesisrocks 7 years
I remember being in class and the teachers took us all out into the hall and told us what happened. I was so naive that when my dad came to pick me up from school I actually asked him if he had heard about it. At that point the whole country and a good chunk of the rest of the world had heard about it. My family went through some financial hardship after that because my mom lost her job as a travel agent when no one wanted to fly.
kastarte2 kastarte2 7 years
I was in my marine biology class when the planes hit. My friend was late to class that day. When I asked her why, she told me she was watching the news. She told me what happened and then the professor snapped at us for talking in class. When I got to my next class, all the students were glued to the TV. I think the Pentagon had just been hit because the news focus had shifted from NYC to DC. The professor turned off the news and tried to teach but five minutes into his lecture, a TA burst into the room and said campus was closing. All nonresident students had to leave. I didn't feel like going home so even though I was scheduled to go to work much later in the day, I drove to the Stop and Shop I worked at, hoping to be able to start early. The drive there was strange even though it was only about five minutes away from the school. "Let it Be" was played on the radio. The traffic lights had stopped working and there was no order to who went when. When I got to work, there were a few people shopping like they were expecting a hurricane or something but it was mostly dead. We kept losing power and every time the generators kicked on, all the registers went batty. I still have the three feet of receipt tape that printed "9/11/01 Welcome I'm Kate" over and over again like that scene in the Shining. We had one working TV in the store. A tiny black and white that was placed on he pharmacy counter. Every once and a while I would wander over there and try to get caught up. One of my supervisors had a birthday that day. We got a cake but it was probably the most somber birthday parties ever. I got sent home after about three and a half hours. I sat glued to CNN until my parents got home. The next day my parents insisted on taking us all out to eat for my birthday. My stepmother kept saying how important it was to do things like we normally would, but there was this underlying note of panic and fear to everything we said or did. Things didn't go back to normal for a while. Because of a inch long jagged ugly scar I got on that day from taking the dog out, I actually think about 9/11 everyday. It is a small but constant reminder of that horrible day. I am well aware of how lucky I am to only have the ugly scar as a memento and not a loved one's memorial card. Like Harmony, I remember being proud of my fellow citizens. I can't remember how much money we raised at Stop and Shop in the weeks that followed 9/11 but it was our most successful fundraiser ever. People gave like I had never seen before. Twenty dollars here or five dollars there. And they donated every time they came to the stores for as long as we asked. That spirit of generosity at a time of crisis was very comforting.
samantha999 samantha999 7 years
I think many of us went "us again!" New Yorkers are always proud of being from here but it made us stronger and we are not the city you want to piss off. It made us bond with perfect strangers. But a crisis can do that. Crime pretty much came to a halt here. I think the criminals felt guilty about over taxing our cops who were already over burdened. weird.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 7 years
Definitely, especially since you were in NY. I seriously can't imagine. It must've made you so proud to be a New Yorker.
samantha999 samantha999 7 years
the all for one was a big feeling here as well.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 7 years
I think it changed me completely. Up until that point the military was more of a big fun party. I wasn't really proud to be in the military, I was just biding my time until I could get out and do what I really wanted to do. The minute it happened everything became very serious. I became very thankful for everything in my life and became so proud to serve my country. No matter what happened and what I think now, at the time I felt like I was part of the solution. I felt like we were all in it together.
samantha999 samantha999 7 years
How do you think it changed you HF?

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