I was in a CY in Bloomington, IL. One of the rare times a client of mine ran two shifts (I was evening shift) so I got to sleep in that fateful morning.
I remember leaving the TV on overnight and was in a light sleep as the first reports came in on CNN. As such, my dream was receiving subliminal messages - I was actually dreaming I was in a movie like The Towering Inferno. It was only after I slightly woke up, fell slightly back to sleep, and started dreaming the same stuff again did I realize it was no dream. About 20 minutes after fully awakening, I saw the first tower collapse.
The client cancelled the second shift that evening, so I watched all of the events as I stayed glued to the TV all day.
In Fairbanks, Alaska waking up about to start the morning. The kids ran up to tell me about it after seeing the news. The earth stood still that day. The weather was warm so I had the windows open. What I remember the most is the quiet. The dead silence of no planes. You see, we lived in the hills above the airport and could always hear the planes until that day. When all air travel was stopped no planes came in or out and that became very haunting! That silence was deafening!! My heart hurt for the the victims of 9/11!
My first clue (here on the West Coast) was that KCBS (the SF radio news channel) was streaming WCBS from NYC live and the talk was about a plane hitting the tower. TV was confused, conflicitng reports all the time.
Having just completed a week in DC where I was prepping to teach the trade to a new batch of Agency personnel, I was going over my notes the night before. I also had a scheduled cardiac stress test that day which resulted in angina and bypass (after an angiogram two weeks later). Between failing that test and going home I called the Agency and offered to come back on duty. The person with whom I spoke let me down easy telling me that they'd let me know (which they never did).
Having worked at one time in counter-terrorism I knew that the new generation would handle things, but that time is forever etched in my memory.
Though I was on "the other side of the water", I have a stark memory of going into the gym (it would have been around 14.30 in UK) and seeing on one of the TV monitors a picture of a very large building around which smoke was billowing. As I watched this scene - somehow driven by an intuitive feeling that something terrible was about to happen - the second plane came into view and crashed into the Towers. Then everyone stopped the various exercises they were involved in, watched for another 30 mins in complete silence, and then each to a person changed and left. The whole gym emptied in 15 mins.
I was at my office in DC (three blocks from the White House), when my sister called. (She'd worked in the WTC many years ago.) Then my wife called and said her mom (who lived in Arlington) told her the Pentagon appeared to be on fire.
My most vivid memory from the day, however, was my bike commute home. They closed the METRO, so people were walking everywhere. Everyone was quiet - really quiet. Biking home, it was hard to ignore the smoke billowing from the Pentagon (which continued for a number of days).
For at least a little while after 9/11, folks on the street and drivers in cars were unusually polite. A decade later, that's the only part of the experience I miss.
p.s. While I agree with those who note that - for most of us - where we were wasn't important, it was a memorable morning.
I was in Sarasota, Florida. I had flown to Orlando on the 10th. Drove to Sarasota to organize a get-together of old friends, alumni friends. One of our number had just been diagnosed with cancer. We were going to - as a group - make sure that he was able to get to all his treatments and be taken care of.
I was staying with an old friend only a few blocks away from the elementary school where George W was reading to the kids. I was held up in traffic as his limo sped off to the Sarasota Airport. I had been buying Shrimp and vegetable platters at Sam's CLub for the "party". I was driving right next to the airport and could see AirForce One from my car.
My friend remarked when I finally returned to his house and we were watching the awful events of that morning, that it was ironic that after many years of being in Chicago, that I would be back in Sarasota with old friends for the "end of the world". We were all pretty shook up at the time.
I had planned to be in Florida for the week. Good thing! Flights weren't going anywhere.
Miraculously, my flight was originally scheduled for the following Saturday mid-day out of Orlando. ANd it was the first flight out of Orlando to leave after the shut down of 9/11! We took off on time for Chicago! Amazing!
The flight was full of United pilots and attendants trying to get back to home base. There were only a few of us non-United personnel.
When I got back to my car, parked in long-term parking at OHare, there was a guy standing there beside my car. I didn't know what to think. It was kind of dark. I thought I might have to defend myself. I stiffened up. But he just watched me put my bags in the trunk. He never said a word. Never made a move toward me. He just got on his cell and then walked away.
Guess all my talk about the "big event" planned for 9/11 might have caught the attention of some listening agency. Don't know.
Will never know.
The 10th anniversary was a rush of memories.
I was in Bethpage, Long island, NY. I was making a copy on a copier machine, when I overheard behind me 2 ladies taking about a plane hitting a building. I thought that they were talking about a tv movie. I then was walking back to my desk, and a co-worker mentioned to me that a plane just hit the WTC. I put the 2 stories together, got on my laptop and sure enough it was on Yahoo. The company dismissed everyone from work within an hour.
I was a bit scared that night, because I was staying at the Marriott nearby which is the highest building on Long isalnd, and thinking could it happen again out here! Luckily nothing happenned.
I was in college at the time, doing my student teaching in a Kindergarten classroom. We had just said the pledge and were singing an American song. Someone came into the room and said something was going on. I went down to the office of the school and couldn't believe what I had seen on tv.
At graduation that year, Thomas Von Essen, the former fire commissioner, gave a speech.
I was at work in Pittsburgh discussing with the CEO the timing of my retirement. I spent the next 9 months at the Marriott Marquis Times Square managing our local subsidiary in the clean-up effort. Then I retired. I was born and bred in or around "the City," like many others, and will never forgot the atrocity.
I was in Poltava Ukraine on a Medical Mission trip....The people there we met there were absolutely appalled to think that anyone could possibly do something so horrible. Many of the people laid loads and loads of flowers at the American Embassy to show their sadness. Our medical team was scheduled to leave out of Ukraine later that week but because flights were postponed we ended up taking a train into Poland and that was an experience within itself and one I will never forget. The train was raided for contraband....we were not hauled in but really the stories I could tell!!!!
I had gotten in to the office early and was scanning the news (Yahoo probably) after the initial coffee, paperwork, etc. I stopped breathing for a few seconds when I saw what was going on, and then ran to the CEO's desk (my boss) to fill him in. The whole thing seemed unbelievable. My first cohesive thought was about where I could go to give blood to help out. My second thought, which was stupid at the time but that's how scattered I felt, was that I should never have ordered the new snowmobile that was currently being built as we would probably need the money if this was an act of terror and we might go to war. A dumb, run-on sentence in my head. Somehow, I knew from the get-go that it wasn't an accident. My third thought was to call my husband's desk and that's when I finally cried. None of us will ever forget that day, those people that lost their lives and their families, and the brave ones who tried to help out. I still cry each time when I go to NYC and visit the WTC site; that will never change.
I had just left my desk and headed to the break room and saw the pictures on TV of the smoke coming from the towers. The noise of the break room was gone, total silence except for the TV. The glass walkway looked over the two of the five runways and there were probably 25 planes just sitting still ready to depart, they never did depart that day or for a few days after.
It was around 0845 CDT when the PA came alive and called for all the controllers in the break room to come to the RADAR room. When we got there the Supervisor told us to grab our headsets and assigned the four of us to control positions that were not normally open at this time of day since the first arrival bank was already on the ground. I was assigned an arrival position and all of a sudden we started getting airplanes inbound to IAH that never landed here. That's when we were told the National Airspace System (NAS) had been shut down and everything was to land immediately. We had AA flights that had just departed DFW headed to Mexico and S. Florida coming in, DL flights from SAT and AUS headed to ATL inbound, corporate jets I'd never seen before and even some of the IAH departures that hadn't gotten more than 40 miles from the airport returned, it was crazy busy and then it all stopped.
Walking outside to get home around 1400 CDT it was totally quiet, a quiet that never happens at an airport. No sound of baggage carts rumbling around the terminals, no sound of APU's, no sound of engines starting, nothing. Since everything had been so crazy for about 45 minutes and then I was checking on my family as well as friends who were pilots and flight attendants the impact of the days events didn't really sink in until I walked outside and heard nothing.
Like Sledchick, I also find tears running down my face when I visit the WTC site as well as the FDNY Stations close by who have the pictures of those who lost their lives that day we will NEVER forget.