Sept. 11, 2001: Where Were You?

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by exangel, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. exangel

    exangel executioner angel

    Apr 20, 2010
    United States
    Tucson, AZ
    Earlier today I posted this as a blog but Vulpes thought that since many others may have a story to tell, it's better suited as a real discussion thread.

    September 11, 2001; a huge turning point in the lives of my generation and an unquestionably tragic day for the United States. Do you remember what you were doing that day? Do you remember anything about the times during or just after the events that may have just been brushed aside because of the international focus on the US Government and its' next move?

    Here's my story.

    Earlier that summer when I was still 17, I had gone on a bit of a cross-country trip: First, to Upper Peninsula Michigan (Iron Mountain); then, to New York City and a couple days in upstate (Brewster area) New York.

    I had gone to NYC kind of by accident, I had lost my wallet while in Michigan (which contained my money and my long distance phone card). My friend Rudy who was finishing up law school was the only person I could reach in my address book by collect call. So he helped me out and I eventually paid him back but I had to go to his place before I could contact my mother and go home. This all happened in June and July. I remember celebrating the fourth of July in Brewster with a friend whom I'd originally met over the internet. I remember us staying indoors because it rained pretty hard up there.

    I remember seeing the WTC on my economy flight home to San Fransisco. I took off from the LaGuardia Airport and by the time we passed near lower Manhattan we were at a high enough altitude that the effect of looking at the twin towers was like looking at a Lego set.

    September 11, 2001...
    I had just turned 18 years old on the third of September, and I was home in California at my mother's house.
    Being young and having no responsibility, I had been up all night before doing who-knows-what on the internet and probably playing Phantasy Star Online v.2 on my Dreamcast until every last one of my e-friends logged off. I had DSL there, so I had a dedicated connection, something very much taken for granted nowadays.

    The sun had come up, but it was still fairly early in California. I was getting ready to eat dinner and go to bed. I went to my room and threw on the TV, planning to play Final Fantasy 7 until I fell asleep. I went to the kitchen and made myself a salad. When I got back to my room the local news was replaced by Good Morning America, a special live report*. The first plane had struck one of the WTC towers (no direct footage of the first impact was being aired as it hadn't been provided to news agencies yet).

    I was shocked. I was pretty scared. No one was even certain it was a plane at that time. I didn't happen to have any friends who were likely to be in lower Manhattan, but I woke up my mom. She told me to wait on calling Rudy until later because he might need to contact his own friends or family.

    I realized that my father, a microelectronics engineer that is also such a luddite he doesn't own a television (still doesn't!) -- probably had no idea what was going on. My mother had to either get ready for work or was gone by this time, so I called my father up on the phone and told him about the plane or missile hitting the tower. While I was on the phone with my father, the second tower was impacted, and any and all doubt that this was a terrorist attack became certainty.

    My father told me not to panic, as, I knew Rudy lived in central Manhattan and rarely, (if ever,) had to go to the financial district. His ties were to the Bronx which were even further away. I think my father was panicking about what the Dubya was going to do after the day was over. I'd never heard of Al Qaeda before this, my father had just enough knowledge from his habit of listening to NPR and actually reading newspapers that someone was going to get blamed and all bets were on Osama bin Laden.
    Eventually I got off the phone with him and I can't remember if this was before, or during reports that the Pentagon and anything else were hit (flight 93 in Shanksville, PA).

    I went back to my computer, hoping to see Rudy and anyone else of my friends in the New York area if they were available. One of my friends was there. He was a guy about my age that I met over the internet originally as well, but he lived in Brooklyn so he had met me in NYC and we went to Central Park together and got ice creams and stuff. I can't remember his name for sure but I think it started with a "B" so I'll call him Brad. Brad was on AIM because he was trying not to panic and talk to anyone he could, either to distract him from the news reports or at least give him some comfort.
    I asked him if he was okay and he told me that his little brother went to school in lower Manhattan and was unreachable because all of the cell towers were jammed. The towers had not yet collapsed when I was talking to him so Brad was just worried about how much chaos his brother was being exposed to or if there was any danger on the transportation routes. He was also unable to reach his father who worked outside of lower Manhattan but had to pass through there on his commute. I encouraged him to stay strong, and not to think the worst until all is said and done, but I really didn't know what to say. It was hard to comprehend discussing the things we had in common that helped build our friendship (we liked the same music and we liked each other but never went further than the date I had with him when I went there).

    Eventually he decided to get off the computer and drown himself in some music with his headphones and keep his cell at his side in case his family were to contact him, so I went back to my futon and watched the coverage, willing myself not to be so selfish as to call Rudy when he may need to contact other members of his family and keep his phone clear (he didn't have a cellphone at the time, and I don't know if he had call waiting).

    After the towers collapsed that afternoon, I couldn't stand it anymore. I called him. He was okay. He was new to whatever job he'd gotten after finishing law school and passing the bar, and he told me that they just sent him home when he arrived, because no one would be working that day. He didn't really have much else to say so I let him go, at least satisfied that no harm had come to him or anyone in his immediate family.

    I didn't turn off the TV for a couple days but I turned off the one in my bedroom to get some rest.

    I did speak to Brad the next day and his family was all okay. But his father had lost some of his colleagues and his brother had classmates who lost their parents as far as it was known at the time, so the mood was very downtrodden.

    I wound up moving to Manhattan early the next year. That is a whole different story.

    * Good Morning America is ordinarily broadcast on a delayed feed to Mountain and Pacific time zones and live to East and Central only.
  2. Guild McCommunist

    Guild McCommunist (not on boat)

    May 6, 2009
    United States
    The Danger Zone
    I was in second grade at the time and I really only remember getting called out of school in the middle of the day. They decided to not tell any of the students but my mom knew and picked me up early. She explained everything in the car and I got home and sorta watched the news (this is second grade so "watching the news" is more like "staring at moving images"). EDIT: I do remember, at the time, this was the uncensored 9/11 footage, nowadays there's certain footage that can't be shown (namely people jumping out of the building and other terrible stuff).

    My dad made sure to call our Manhattan-dwelling (well, working) friends and family and they were alright. No one I knew was actually hurt or died from 9/11, which I guess is fortunate, but it's kinda odd to feel like I was unaffected (New Jersey is in decent proximity to the city) while other people nearby weren't.

    I think 2 years later to the day my parents divorced too. Bad timing, I guess.

    But I'm sorry for the loses of your family, it's just hard knowing that maybe people they didn't intimately know are just gone forever. It's just one of those moments I'm sure that takes you back for a second.
  3. exangel

    exangel executioner angel

    Apr 20, 2010
    United States
    Tucson, AZ
    Thanks for sharing your memory. I didn't lose anyone though-- I was just recollecting what the day was like for me. It was only friends of friends that lost anyone, though I later met individuals in New York who lost friends and family.
  4. wrettcaughn

    wrettcaughn Misunderstood Moral Elitist

    Mar 14, 2009
    United States
    It was my first semester at college and I was in my morning English class when a friend came in late and told everyone what was going on. No one really knew how serious it was though until class ended and we turned on the news at my house. It's weird how you can remember these things so well ten years later. I suppose it's like how everyone remembers how/when they heard about the Kennedy assassination.
  5. BlueStar

    BlueStar GBAtemp Psycho!

    Jan 10, 2006
    These threads make me feel old. I was 20 and hungover.
  6. doyama

    doyama GBAtemp Maniac

    Nov 30, 2006
    United States
    I was working at Gillette in South Boston and I remember crowding around a tiny RCA TV that still had UHF/VHF dials, in a small conference room. I remember thinking when the second plane hit "that isn't no god damn prop plane!" like had been initially reported. I tried calling my friend who worked in Goldman Sacks but I couldn't reach her. I recall this was one of the first time almost every news organization webpage when to 'pure text' just because of the load. I heard they evacuated the Prudential building, though we weren't evacuated in South Boston. I recall thinking that the fallout bunker like basements of our facility would be ideal shelter if anything happened. I think the rest of the day was furiously pressing F5 to refresh my browser and trying to call my parents to let them know I was ok.
  7. Presto99

    Presto99 You slammin, bro?

    Feb 24, 2010
    United States
    I don't know why I wasn't at school or anything, unless I was just too young to even start school...I remember watching the TV in the morning, and I guess the news was on and it showed the planes crash...After watching it for a bit I went and woke up my parents and showed them.

    I don't remember though, they showed people jumping off the building cause they'd rather die that way instead of being burned to death? And now it's illegal to see that footage or what?
  8. 1234turtles

    1234turtles GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Jan 1, 2011
    United States
    the only thing i can recall was that i was in first grade.
  9. exangel

    exangel executioner angel

    Apr 20, 2010
    United States
    Tucson, AZ
    I totally forgot how much traffic it caused on the internet because I was only using AIM & watching the TV in some level of shock. Was basically a massive DDOS (Direct Denial of Service) attack except the congestion was genuine due to people all over the world doing the exact same thing you were.
  10. AlanJohn

    AlanJohn くたばれ

    Jan 6, 2011
    Canada,New Jersey
    I was 4 and sleeping.
    And my dad was helping the people out there...
    I was so young I didn't even know what was going on...
  11. Depravo


    Global Moderator
    GBAtemp Patron
    Depravo is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Oct 13, 2008
    I was getting drunk on Scrumpy Jack and playing video games (either PS1 or Dreamcast). In Scotland of all places.
  12. machomuu

    machomuu Drops by occasionally

    Sep 4, 2009
    United States
    The Courtroom
    I was in first grade in my classroom. I didn't know the magnitude of the situation until a year later, though.
  13. Necron

    Necron Lurking~

    Dec 29, 2008
    Mi casa
    I was 9. I woke up and saw all that stuff on TV. I was kinda shocked.
  14. AlanJohn

    AlanJohn くたばれ

    Jan 6, 2011
    Canada,New Jersey
    Same thing here...
    I only found out about it and understood when I went to school in 2002.
  15. Jasper07

    Jasper07 GBAtemp Fan

    Aug 17, 2009
    Parallel universe
    I was in a centreparks (a kind of vacation appartment thing) because we couldn't enter our new home yet. I think I was 6, I was playing with lego in the 'living room', my mother got a call from my uncle who said there were terrorists attacking the USA. So I watched for a minute and then got back to lego (gimme a break, I was 6).
    My mother said we were safe because we were in a forrest, but we don't even live near America.
  16. Blaze163

    Blaze163 The White Phoenix's purifying flame.

    Nov 19, 2008
    Coventry, UK
    I was at school. When the news came in, we were all sent home. School closed for the rest of the day. We weren't told why, but frankly we didn't care. Afternoon off. When I got home I saw my dad's girlfriend watching the footage of the towers falling on the news. I thought she was watching Die Hard or something. Took me a few minutes to figure out it was real. Everyone was silent in school the next day. Nobody knew how to deal with it.
  17. Nathan Drake

    Nathan Drake Obligations fulfilled, now I depart.

    Jan 2, 2011
    I was personally in first grade, I believe. I remember seeing the news and such, but I wasn't personally affected to any degree, so not much of what I saw stuck.

    Off topic shiz:

    Warning: Spoilers inside!
  18. prowler

    prowler Sony

    Jul 14, 2009
    Was in primary school at the time, I honestly can't remember.
    You got sent home because of 9/11? [​IMG]
    We wasn't even allowed to go home when 7/7 happened even though school was a mess and everybody (read: year 7/8s) was freaking out saying it's going to happen here (ah, high school memories).
  19. Fudge

    Fudge Remember that death is not the end, but only a tra

    Aug 26, 2009
    United States
    New York
    AFAIK I was at the grocery store with my mom (was only 4 at the time). She heard the news there and from what she tells me was shocked. I can't remember any of it though.
  20. exangel

    exangel executioner angel

    Apr 20, 2010
    United States
    Tucson, AZ
    It wasn't my intention to open a discussion where criticism of US political sentiments would be brought to this thread.
    I really think you should start a different one for this type of commentary or a blog rather than hiding it in a spoiler in my thread. I don't want others to be tempted to respond to this kind of thing like I already am.