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Author Topic: Where were you?
kelcimer
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Bump.

Where were you?

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Funean
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On the back of an elephant at the Philadephia Zoo, with my then-two year old son.

I'd come in for the day with him, and since we'd been listening to kid stuff in the car, I had No Clue. And I was all excited about how much parking was available when we arrived at the zoo at 9 a.m.

The (stoned surfer dude) attendant said, "Yo, they blew up the World Trade Center, man! Have a nice ride!" and gave the elephant her signal, and off we went.

It was about a half hour later that I was able to piece together what was going on, from other, less stoned, zoo employees, and we left. Meanwhile, the National Guard was evacuating the Philadelphia schools (Philly being the midpoint between NYC and DC) and my partner was frantically trying to figure out where we were.

I remember that as we were driving home, it seemed that everyone was standing outside his or her house, either talking to neighbors, or on cell phones. No one wanted to be alone, it appeared.

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EDanaII
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I was in bed. I woke up. Turned on the TV and the first thing I saw was images of the WTC burning and the second plane strike the second tower. I called my parents, who were in their summer home (Heber, Az) at the time -- they had only one channel up there -- and told them what was going on. I then went to work, the place was virtually empty. I spent most of the day listening to the radio for more info. Needless to say, not much else got done that day.

Ed.

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cperry
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I was teaching -- or rather, we had students in our classes, but few of us were actually teaching. When I heard about it from a kid walking down the hall, I turned on the TV. We're so close to DC, and with the Pentagon also hit, we soon had kids all over the building running to the office and using cells, desperately trying to contact parents who worked for the CIA and Navy, etc.


I've since wondered if I shouldn't have tried to just go on with my lesson. If I'd been in a middle school or elementary school, I'd definitely have gone on with my plans, but I guess my reasoning was that these teenagers deserved to have access to the news if they wanted it. I've heard some kids say they preferred having teachers who kept teaching. Most, however, said they appreciated knowing what was happening.

I did something pretty daring for me: When Peter Jennings said there were planes that had not yet been heard from, I said to my grade 10 honors ENglish students, "I don't know if you believe in prayer. But if you do, this might be a good time to pray for the safety of those planes." About 10 minutes later, we heard the report of the plane going down in PA (it had already crashed).

Later, a parent told me his son was very touched by what I said. His words: "My son is not religious, but he really respected what you said in class. He says most teachers try so hard to hide who they are, but you were very personal with the day's events that it helped him deal with it." It's funny, but I've learned to be that innocuous -- I don't ever say "merry Christmas" or "happy Easter" any more for fear of offending someone.

I remember the dress I was wearing that day. I was never able to wear it again and finally got rid of it.

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Athelstan
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I started to write what I was doing that day but my words seem unable to convey the horror of that afternoon (UK). In my mind I can picture it all. That day I had a strong desire to be with my family as I felt sure the missiles would be falling somewhere soon. I watched the events on telly but felt wrong to do so. It was like viewing private grief. I know there were British casualties but the majority were Americans. I found the service from the Anglican Cathedral in New York, a few days later, very moving. Another British soldier died today in Iraq. As you remember your dead we remember ours.
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FIJC
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I may have already mentioned this, but I was a sophomore in college and was on my way to British Literature class with Dr. G.E. Veith (one of my favorite college profs). I remember that we didn't really have class that day, but spent it talking about what had happened.
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Ben
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Me and my wife'd just gotten married less than a month before, and were getting settled into our student apartment, didn't have a tv or internet connection set up or anything yet, and were just trying to figure out insurance for car, etc (moved from Utah to LA area). We found out about it when my wife called an insurance company for a quote about mid-morning, and they replied like "don't you know what happened?"

So my wife grabbed a little old radio and turned it on and found out what the deal was, and told me. Personally, didn't find out more till I was able to catch the news on TV's on campus when I went down for errands and classes.

Needless to say, it put a bit of a damper on our post-wedding celebrations... [Frown]

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Digger
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I was on my way to work. I was just leaving my neighborhood when the first plane hit and the news team broke in. I remember thinking immediately, "terrorists", even though all the news reports were saying, "accident". It was a 20 minute drive to work and just as I pulled into the parking lot, the second plane hit, confirming my pessimism.

I went into the office and called my wife, who was home with our 1st child, who was 3 months old at the time. We talked for a bit and I tried to get some work done. I had a meeting scheduled I was supposed to run. We wound up postponing the meeting and after the Pentagon was hit my wife called and asked me to come home (she's from the DC area). I talked to my boss and then left for the day.

We were having some trees removed from our yard that day (the reason I was late going into the office) and when I got home, the crew was in the house with my wife watching the TV. I told them to go home and come finish up tomorrow, which they did.

My wife and I turned off the TV and went for a loooong walk with our daughter and our dogs. I don't know how much the walk helped, but it was very preferable to watching helplessly as the events continued to unfold.

Edited to add: Before the day was over, I was incredibly bitter about things. I had grown up in the shadow of the cold war, believing, as almost all of us did, that there was a good chance the world could end suddenly and without warning. I thought my children were going to be free of that specter, but I realized even before going to bed that night that a new specter was hanging over us and my kids were going to grow up in its shadow. I was incredibly angry that someone would do that to innocent children.

I was, and remain, determined to do everything I could to lift that shadow.

[ September 12, 2005, 01:29 PM: Message edited by: Digger ]

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Richard Dey
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I'd hitchhiked down to Cruz Bay (the capital of St John) and saw it as I passed by a laundromat on the way to the pastry shop. The blacks were all laughing and cheering and screaming "get whitey". I figured it was a sci-film flick. At the pastry shop, a Caucasian bastion, they filled me in, and went back to talking about rounding up a fleet to evacuate the children if there were a black insurrection. A vast majority of welfare recipients in the Virgin Islands were all for the bombings -- which is when and why I began my campaign to sell the Virgin Islands to Cuba.
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kelcimer
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Bump.

Where were you?

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threads
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I was in study hall. A teacher came and said that two planes had hit the world trade centers and wanted a list of all kids who had parents in New York City (I live relatively close by). She didn't tell us any other details and I remember speculating with my friends for the rest of the school day on what had happened. When I got home my parents and I watched CNN for hours.
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Pete at Home
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My wife woke me up, and I thought we were going to go sing to my 2nd son, because it was his first birthday. But then my wife told me that a plane had hit the world trade center. So we watched news, and saw the other plane hit.
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DaveS
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True story. I was in my car on the way to the Detroit airport on that morning. I had an appt in the World Trade Center the following morning to meet with investors who were ready to put $MM into a company I had started. This was the last meeting, after which we would get the final "yes" or "no". I was confident we would get it. My secretary called me when I was out on the highway and told me to turn around. I didn't believe her, so she told me to turn on the radio.

I heard later that my niece, who worked at American Express in the WTC, was bringing her brother that morning to see her office. They arrived on the last train before the first collision. They didn't know what had happened, but they knew something had. He is a doctor, so he sent her back on the train and he stayed for two days. He got out safely in the end.

Two years later I went to NYC and spent a couple of hours on the viewing stage overlooking the scene. I had see the buildings before, and I had the image in my mind of their overwhelming presence. I remember thinking as I looked up that I couldn't remember how high up to look to where the tops had once been, but I could feel it. So much changed...

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Clark
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I was in Sao Paulo, Brazil in the LDS Missionary Training Center. Between the time zone differences and the time it took the news to travel, it was at least mid morning by the time I found out. An announcement was made that all Americans should report to the gym, where the announcement was made. We were told about the towers, the Pentagon and the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania all at once, I think. There were about 400 of us there, a few of whom were from the NYC area. We received mail for about 2 more days before before the effects of the reaction reached us. Then no mail for 2 weeks or so. Some mail was delayed as much as 6 weeks. (Mail was our only form of communication with home. (Except for those with family in the NYC area.))

Because I was rather isolated from the outside world when it happened, I've always felt like I have less of a connection to 9/11 than most people. I didn't see the video footage, didn't read the papers, and didn't watch the US go into Iraq and Afghanistan. By the time I made it back to the US, the only lasting difference to every day life that I noticed was the changes in airport security.

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MattP
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My wife woke me up - her friend had just called her and told her about the impacts. I got dressed and drove to work, listening to things unfold on NPR. It was strange watching the other drivers. They all had the same, distracted, concentrating look on their faces. Everyone was attempting their normal morning commute on this most non-normal morning.

When I got to work, everyone was gathered in a large conference room watching live footage of the WTC. The reception was poor. No one had bothered to turn on the lights. One tower had already gone down, but the other was still standing. The second tower collapsed shortly after I got there. Not much later people started heading home.

I'd never been to the WTC. A couple years later I went to my grandfather's funeral in Connecticut. I took a day trip to Manhattan and visited the WTC site. It was a really amazing place. I couldn't really comprehend the magnitude of the structures that had occupied that enormous void.

[ September 11, 2007, 01:09 AM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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scifibum
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I was working swings and living with my parents. I typically slept until about 9 or 10 AM. I woke up to my clock radio which was set on a rock station. There was no music that day. I heard the stress and pain in the DJs' voices but I wasn't getting much information. I went upstairs and turned on the TV to find out what was happening. I think this was just before the 2nd plane hit. I watched it fly into the 2nd tower and that's when I knew things were going to be different.

Work that day was tough. I had never been frightened for my country before. We still had the cold war when I was in grade school, but all the talk about nuclear war never had the affect on me that seeing those towers fall did.

I can't imagine what people closer to the violence and death must have been going through.

Things have been different, but not that much. Credit the GWB administration with this: we've been able to put that fear behind us for the most part.

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Ikemook
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I was in my calc. 1 class in high school. The school alarms went off, and we all had to bunch up in front of the chalk board. This kept us out of the view of the doorway. Supposedly, that'd make it less likely for some nutjob with a gun to come in and shoot us. *shrug*

No one had any idea what was going on, but the emergency period ended, and we went on with classes. I figured out what was happening in my next class, biotech I, where the only other student and I sat watching CNN coverage of the whole thing sometime between the first and second plane hits. I didn't see the second hit (I was busy with something), but I heard it from the TV.

--David

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Loki
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I had a bad cold the night before and as such was not going to school the next day. I woke up to my mother next to me, saying, 'the world trade center fell down.' I said, 'why would the world trade center fall down? That doesn't make any sense.' She left the room and I turned on some news, I saw the second plane hit, and felt a wave of adrenaline, I could literally feel the world changing. It was a powerful moment.
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guinevererobin
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I was two weeks into my freshman year of college on a Naval ROTC, Marine Corps option, scholarship. I had a Calc quiz that I was trying to study for when my mom called, and I was pretty pissy about being interrupted until I understood what was happening.

I went to class - in uniform, because Tuesdays were a uniform day - and the Calc teacher told us we had more important things to worry about besides anti-derivatives. I went to the campus center to watch the footage with my fellow students. I didn't have a cell phone (I was an underpriviledged college student), but some other ROTC kids found me to let me know that the word had gone out for all of us to change into civilian clothes. My family also spent the whole day trying (unsucessfully) to get in touch with relatives in the NJ/NYC area, which was a big worry.

We went to Navy lab that day in civvies instead of our uniforms, which was weird, and our Marine captain told us that our whole lives had just changed... and that every one of us would be going to war.

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KnightEnder
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I was starting a new job the next week so was at home and watching TV. Just like when Gorbachev announced Perestroika I went and woke Stacy up. Stacy seems inclined to sleep through history. No surprise; it was never one of her favorite subjects.

KE

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TommySama
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I was in 7th grade and didn't even know what the world trade centers were. I think I was under the impression a civil war was starting.
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Carlotta
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I had just woken up (sophomore in college) when one of my roommates told me a plane flew into the WTC. My response was "What airline was it - they'll have a heck of a lawsuit for doing something stupid like that!" Then she told me it was also the Pentagon. I was still confused and asked, "What, that sculpture thing on top of the libarary building?" thinking she was trying to tell me a plane had flown into our campus. When I finally realized what was going on it kind of froze me all day. One of my friends was engaged to a guy in the army, and they moved their wedding up 6 months to get married a few weeks later before he was sent to Afghanistan. I had been thinking of selling my car but decided to keep it until I figured out what was going to happen in our country. I mostly just wanted to be close to my family and my boyfriend at the time who is now my husband. I thought we were headed for WWIII- I was imagining a draft starting within the year.
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RickyB
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At a gym I was considering signing up at. Didn't quite register till I got home and read "the nets".
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KidB
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I was in my apartment in Jersey City, directly across the Hudson from the WTC towers.

My two roommates had already left for work when I woke up at around 9 (I worked a later shift), so the apartment was quiet, and, since I don't usually turn on the radio or the tv in the morning, I had breakfast and got on the shuttle-bus to head to Midtown NYC for work.

The bus pulled over to the side of the road before the turnoff to the Lincoln Tunnel, and the drive announced (in broken English) that he couldn't go any further because the tunnel was closed. At this, the dude sitting near me with headphones (and I then remarked that the shuttle was unusually empty for the time of day), explained the two-planes-towers thing.

And then he pointed out the window.

From the center of Jersey City Heights, it was possible to see the top 30 floors or so of one of the towers. I could see, then, the top of that tower (the second one hit), on fire and spewing smoke everywhere.

I got off the bus, and tried to call my then-girlfriend (now wife) at her place in Brooklyn. I had no cell phone, and the pay phones on the corner were dead.

I crossed the street and took a shuttle back to my apartment. He has the radio on some AM talk-station, and the host was speaking with an FBI-guy. I remember this very clearly - the host asked "Did this take you by surprise? Did it occur that someone might do this?" FBI guy: "This shouldn't take anyone by surprise, especially when we saw it on tv six months ago."

He wasn't able to follow it up, as some other "news flash" had just come on, but I actually knew what he was referring to - an almost entirely unwatched episode of a terrible X-files spinoff called The Lone Gunmen, in which terrorists plot to fly a commercial jet into the WTC by remote control. It had aired that spring. That weird little fiction-becoming-reality aspect has always stuck with me.

Anyway, I got home to my apartment, and turned on the TV. Dead channel...click...dead channel...switch...dead channel...I didn't have cable, and the transmitter for most local tv and radio had been on top of one of the WTC towers. Ditto the radio...hisssssss.....I finally got a scraggly signal of live tv on CBS (Ch.2), and watched. As you may recall, in the first few hours, no one knew how many other hijaked planes were in the air, and there were reports of bombs and who-knew-what.

I freaked. I was actually closer to lower Manhattan than anyone in Brooklyn. I began to throw clothes, bathroom stuff, a few books into by travel backpack, in the hopes that I could head to my relative's place in north Jersey. But then a TV report of snarled traffic made me realize the futility of that. Screw it, I thought - if I'm dead, I'm dead.

I called my aunt in NoJ, and as we were talking, the second tower fell. We didn't know how my uncle in Midtown was doing (couldn't phone into the city - but he was fine it turned out). An hour later, phones were pretty much overloaded, and neither of my parents were able to contact me until that evening, and the fact that my Dad often took the Boston-LA route on business had me seriously worried.

My most powerful memories - my phone rings that night, I pick it up, and I hear my mother's voice: "Oh, thank God!" She hadn't been able to reach me all day, didn't know if I was in the city, near the damage, etc. One very relieved Mom.

That, and my roomates finally coming home, coated in white dust. They had been outside, near the towers, when they collapsed.

I thankfully lost no loved ones then, but several of my friends and acquaintances did. It was, in short, the most horrifying day of my life.

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kenmeer livermaile
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KidB: did you like how William Gibson addressed 911 in Pattern Recognition?
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kenmeer livermaile
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I remember what a beautiful fall morning it was here in the Northwest, 4 hours behind East Coast time.

Sun not yet above the trees, rays shooting almost parallel with our street, which is E<->W. Perfect chill in the air.

[ September 11, 2007, 05:14 PM: Message edited by: kenmeer livermaile ]

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KidB
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quote:
KidB: did you like how William Gibson addressed 911 in Pattern Recognition?
Haven't read it. Should I?
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kenmeer livermaile
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Yea mon. Beautiful book by the gramps and still reigning master of cyberpunk, but not sci-fi. Contemporary. Invokes 911 in an especially beautiful, poignant way. You'll see.

He does 'magical realism' better than most of its practitioners, simply by trying to describe the weird world we've become post-911.

Beautiful stuff. And still a fine thriller. If anyone will take le Carre's mantle, 'twill be him, methinks.

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KonerAtHome
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I was standing Engine Room Supervisor onboard the USS LaJolla SSN-701. We were operating submerged somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.
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vulture
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quote:
Originally posted by KonerAtHome:
I was standing Engine Room Supervisor onboard the USS LaJolla SSN-701. We were operating submerged somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.

By "somewhere in the Pacific Ocean" you mean "off the coast of Hawaii" I believe.

At least, according to your previous post in thsi thread 3 years ago [Big Grin] . (Congratulations though - you got the sub name the same both times).

I was living in Germany at the time, and found out while milling around the old town after work whilst waiting for rugby training to start. The local newspaper had big notice boards up in its front windows in the high street showing the latest news.

Our rugby club featured a few US military guys incidentally. Surprisingly most of them turned up for practice. Guess they wanted to hit things.

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KonerAtHome
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quote:
By "somewhere in the Pacific Ocean" you mean "off the coast of Hawaii" I believe
You actually took the time to look that up? I would point out that "off the coast of Hawaii" is well within "somewhere in the Pacific Ocean". It is almost as though you are tyring to catch me in a lie or giving contradictory information or something different than what I was actually doing. Very well, if you need I can provide you with proof that I was in fact stationed onboard the USS LaJolla in September of 2001. I can just walk over to the personnel office and pull out a copy of my orders from my service record and mail them to you if you like.
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vulture
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Not really matey - I just started reading the thread at the beginning, not noticing that it was from 2004. Just after I read your 1st post I noticed the date was from 3 years ago, and jumped to the end - where the was essentially the same post again by you.

I admit, I went and compared them to see if they matched up with each other, simply because if they did it would make a nice example of how someone writing about the same event several years apart can present it differently (and lets be honest, people can make mistakes in their recollections some years later). Tragically, you were very consistent [Smile]

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KonerAtHome
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Oh so this is a resurrected post from years ago? I thought someone had created a new one. My mistake.
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vulture
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Yeah- you're at the bottom of the 1st page in this thread.

Bet you thought you'd got your very own internet stalker for a moment. Hope you're not too disappointed...

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Omega M.
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I was at work. I'd started at the place only a few weeks before. Not a single person came over to tell me what was going on; it wasn't until I heard the phrases "World Trade Center" and "down" that I decided to look at the Internet and see what was going on. I didn't think I had been there long enough for people to dislike me. They let us out around noon that day.

My first reaction was that "the chickens were coming home to roost" and that we at least partially deserved this for something we'd done. I even wrote an email to OSC that day saying that I thought of him during the attacks because we probably deserved it just like Capitol deserved to be brought down in The Worthing Chronicle. Surprisingly, I got a response from him later that day that seemed rather positive; I don't know if it was a form response. Then I read the essays that OSC posted that day and was shocked to see how opposite his attitude was; I then realized that I had internalized too much anti-Americanism and began to moderate my views.

I also remember wondering when we were going to hear the demands of the group that attacked us. If I remember correctly, it was a while after the attacks before Osama claimed responsibility for them.

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