9/11 - What were you doing when it happened?

GPcustoms

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That was a surreal day. Was simply in the bank drive through when news came over the radio. I remember telling the girl that planes have hit buildings before such as the Empire state building. And it seemed as if it was only a moment or two later when word came over the radio of the second. I knew there was no second coincidence next to the other building. I think we all did. Man has an unlimited ability to do evil!
Changed my competition number and credentials to 343 for the first res ponders who gave all they would ever be for people who had everything taken away from them.
 

Shadow Reaper

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I was working in Bergen County, NJ; just across the GWB from Manhattan. I grew up there. Most of the 8 million people who commute into the Big Apple each day come from Bergen. It's a very Manhattanite culture and literally everyone I know, knew someone who had been killed. I remember in the days that followed, so many folks who otherwise were quite sensible, calling for us to nuke someone, anyone. I recall the clouds of airborne cement, the concerns about carcinogens in the air, and the deep simmering outrage that anyone would attack a civilian target like this. Why? What had any of these people to do with whatever grievance Osama Bin Laden might have?

I remember the French insulting us, calling for forbearance--like we needed to be parented by the fucking French! I recall how Congress voted unanimously for war, with a single lone abstention from a libertarian who doesn't believe in war. I recall the justifications--we need to draw them away from us here in the US, to a battlefield where we can punish those who want to war with us. We're still there and I would encourage you to note, that strategy has worked remarkably well. We were never intended to "win" that war, but merely to wage it; to give these psychopaths something to focus on. I'm all for fighting in Afghanistan for the next fifty years.

I recall the tears from people spontaneously bursting out in supermarkets, clothes stores and gas stations. I recall all the pics of people who'd perished, smiling with their kids or holding up a prize fish. I remember the memorials everywhere. No one in my world was left untouched and it's the same today. All our lives are forever changed.

And the towers are gone. The least important thing was always the buildings, but their lack mock's us all. OTOH, people from around the world who want to pick a fight with the US, routinely go to Afghanistan to get their asses kicked, and I say, why not accommodate them?
 

GrumpyCat

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Um, I think I was in 6th grade.

Was in the classroom, when there was a bunch of commotion by all the teachers and then they turned on the TV's. I cried, I'll never forget that, mainly because everyone asked me if I had family in the tower and got very disinterested when I said I didn't. Apparently being shocked and appalled that one of our cities was attacked and people were dying wasn't a good enough reason, but I digress.

I disagree that this was justification for war. I disagree that we should be fighting "it" forever. Im just one lone opinion, but people seem to handwaivium the massive amount of funds and lives this has cost. Not to mention the inconvenient talking point of civilians who are dying as "casualties of war". If we put as much time, energy, money, and manpower into improving things as we did destroying things because "Merica the best"...

One things for sure... the world was definitely never the same after 9/11, and never will be again.
 

Shadow Reaper

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I disagree that this was justification for war. I disagree that we should be fighting "it" forever. I'm just one lone opinion, but people seem to handwaivium the massive amount of funds and lives this has cost.
I'm glad we can respectfully disagree. Please allow me to add one note of context.

The choice over Afghanistan is not whether war will be fought or not. It's not over whether there will be casualties. Afghanistan is not unique, but it is rare that like Somalia, they have never had anything resembling a real government. What they have instead is constant tribal warfare that goes back throughout all their recorded history. When the US finally does pull out of Afghanistan, it will resume as it was just before the US went in--constant tribal warfare between groups vying for power that care little or nothing about the people who live there.

The Soviets spent a decade in Afghanistan hoping to conquor and quel the violence and make it a part of the Soviet Republic, but they failed because those people don't want a civil life--same in Somalia. There's a rich line about this somewhere in Black Hawk Down, where a Somali overlord is chastising a captive American helicopter pilot, and telling him how they really don't want peace nor anything of that kind.

That's true of Afghanistan. The US has spent outrageous amounts of money building and improving Afghani infrastructure, from water and electricity, to schools, bridges, highways, hospitals and anything else they can think of, all in hopes of wooing the Afghans to a civil society. They don't care. They blow that shit up. They certainly don't want women to read, or think of themselves as more than chattel. No, can't have that.

Understand, given Islamo-fascisim anywhere in the world, there will always be a fight between freedom and those who oppose it. The fascists like Bin Laden want to impose Sharia law on the world by force, and they will always hate anyone who stands for freedom. There is no wishing this away, and it will never be any better than it is now. Some things you just can't fix, and so you have to find a solution that serves, and that is really what Afghanistan is all about. People are going to die whether the US stays or leaves Afghanistan, and most experts especially in the US Army, agree that many more Afghanis will die when the US finally pulls out. That is after all what happened in Korea, and Vietnam, and will happen again and again in our future.
 

marctek

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I was leaving for work. The show I was listening to on the radio had just announced the first tower being hit. Shortly after shutting my gate and getting started down the road they announced the second tower being hit. When I got to work everyone was in the break room watching the news coverage. We sat there until around noon and got confirmation that all our people traveling were safe. Then we went home to be with our families. I was still in the National Guard at the time and planning to ETS in less than a year. It was an extremely hard time for my wife. She was constantly worried my unit would get called up, that they wouldn't allow me to ETS or that I would decide to re-inlist. Traveling for work was kind of crazy being I had lots of friends that volunteered for security duty at the airports in the months after. When the time came to decide on re-enlistment I followed I followed my wife's wishes, her being pregnant at the time with our first child helped the decision a bit.
 

Tealwraith

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I walked into work and and was greeted with, "Did you see what happened?" I watched the TV for a bit then picked the son up from school and took him over to his grandma's for the day. The wife was asking why I was so rattled as there were no big buildings where we lived and it all happened on the East coast, anyway. I honestly don't think she understood anything more than that something bad had happened in the world like it always does and people had died like they always do. She was a bit ticked off that she'd have to drive over to pick up her son rather than coming home from work to find him at home. I still don't know what to say other than cocaine's a hell of a drug.

What finally came up as the big blame for our blindness? A wall had been build to keep intelligence agencies and criminal justice agencies from sharing information. This was to prevent people's rights from being violated. So, as usual, 9/11 wasn't stopped because of lawyers and politicians trying to make the world a better place. I hope there are people who actually benefited from blocking the information sharing.
 

Vavrik

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I'm glad we can respectfully disagree. Please allow me to add one note of context.

The choice over Afghanistan is not whether war will be fought or not. It's not over whether there will be casualties. Afghanistan is not unique, but it is rare that like Somalia, they have never had anything resembling a real government. What they have instead is constant tribal warfare that goes back throughout all their recorded history. When the US finally does pull out of Afghanistan, it will resume as it was just before the US went in--constant tribal warfare between groups vying for power that care little or nothing about the people who live there.

The Soviets spent a decade in Afghanistan hoping to conquor and quel the violence and make it a part of the Soviet Republic, but they failed because those people don't want a civil life--same in Somalia. There's a rich line about this somewhere in Black Hawk Down, where a Somali overlord is chastising a captive American helicopter pilot, and telling him how they really don't want peace nor anything of that kind.

That's true of Afghanistan. The US has spent outrageous amounts of money building and improving Afghani infrastructure, from water and electricity, to schools, bridges, highways, hospitals and anything else they can think of, all in hopes of wooing the Afghans to a civil society. They don't care. They blow that shit up. They certainly don't want women to read, or think of themselves as more than chattel. No, can't have that.

Understand, given Islamo-fascisim anywhere in the world, there will always be a fight between freedom and those who oppose it. The fascists like Bin Laden want to impose Sharia law on the world by force, and they will always hate anyone who stands for freedom. There is no wishing this away, and it will never be any better than it is now. Some things you just can't fix, and so you have to find a solution that serves, and that is really what Afghanistan is all about. People are going to die whether the US stays or leaves Afghanistan, and most experts especially in the US Army, agree that many more Afghanis will die when the US finally pulls out. That is after all what happened in Korea, and Vietnam, and will happen again and again in our future.
I don't even know if this is a good thing to post, but I just want to get it out there. Everything here except the last line is a history lesson. The last line is the conclusion, where it comes back to the present day and the current situation.

This is not the fault of just American or even European people, but our Governments have a lot to answer for with respect to Afghanistan over the last 200 years. There is an oversimplification that we are taught, of Afghan history perpetrated by colonial powers including principally Britain and Russia, since the first half of the 19th century at least, and continuing to the present day. But they were not the first. The peoples of Afghanistan have one of the longest continuous histories in civilization, stretching back almost 5,000 years. The territory houses one of the cradles of human civilization, and the current boundaries of the country contains 4 of the earliest human settlements ever discovered.

The problem with the region is its location. It is the natural route for the Silk Road, and every foreign power that wanted to control that trade route has sought control of the region and force the nations that make it up into one rule. That has continued almost consistently since at least the Persian empire, over 2700 years ago, and possibly longer.

We had, after World War 2, the perfect opportunity to allow the Afghanistan people to develop self government, but *we* screwed it up because our own, Western and Soviet interests in the area were not compatible - and we tried to force them to choose one or the other. The Taliban, such as they are are a creation of the West. We armed them to wage a proxy war in the region against the Soviets. But they remember that we also wanted to prevent self rule, and we still offer them only the choice to join us. That is not self determination.

In a lot of ways, we won a war, but failed our objective.
 

Phil

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I was working at the time for a construction company delivering supplies, at the time it was coming over the radio (we didn't have awesome cell phones back then!) I was near Chicago and anyone who lives near here knows how busy the skies are with O'Hare and Midway both being major airports. To this day I cant ever recall such an eerie silence on a typical Tuesday, the skies were barren I have lived here since 1982 and never can I recall not hearing a plane overhead every few seconds you hear them but not that day it was crystal clear silence as if everyone had just stopped in their tracks and watched or listened even the roads seems oddly empty as even myself had pulled over to listen to the radio. Shortly after we were recalled back to the shop where would see the devastation and for me a mere 27 years old knew nothing would be same ever again.
 

GrumpyCat

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I'm glad we can respectfully disagree. Please allow me to add one note of context.

The choice over Afghanistan is not whether war will be fought or not. It's not over whether there will be casualties. Afghanistan is not unique, but it is rare that like Somalia, they have never had anything resembling a real government. What they have instead is constant tribal warfare that goes back throughout all their recorded history. When the US finally does pull out of Afghanistan, it will resume as it was just before the US went in--constant tribal warfare between groups vying for power that care little or nothing about the people who live there.

The Soviets spent a decade in Afghanistan hoping to conquor and quel the violence and make it a part of the Soviet Republic, but they failed because those people don't want a civil life--same in Somalia. There's a rich line about this somewhere in Black Hawk Down, where a Somali overlord is chastising a captive American helicopter pilot, and telling him how they really don't want peace nor anything of that kind.

That's true of Afghanistan. The US has spent outrageous amounts of money building and improving Afghani infrastructure, from water and electricity, to schools, bridges, highways, hospitals and anything else they can think of, all in hopes of wooing the Afghans to a civil society. They don't care. They blow that shit up. They certainly don't want women to read, or think of themselves as more than chattel. No, can't have that.

Understand, given Islamo-fascisim anywhere in the world, there will always be a fight between freedom and those who oppose it. The fascists like Bin Laden want to impose Sharia law on the world by force, and they will always hate anyone who stands for freedom. There is no wishing this away, and it will never be any better than it is now. Some things you just can't fix, and so you have to find a solution that serves, and that is really what Afghanistan is all about. People are going to die whether the US stays or leaves Afghanistan, and most experts especially in the US Army, agree that many more Afghanis will die when the US finally pulls out. That is after all what happened in Korea, and Vietnam, and will happen again and again in our future.
Dont get me wrong, it's super easy to do hindsight 18 years later and be like "We probably could've handled that better", not so easy during that moment in history. At the time our Country was hurting, and the world hurt with us. We had an enemy, an invader, and we had every intention of paying back the pain they inflicted 100 fold.

I just grieve the scars it's inflicted on this country, the hatred and loss of freedoms. Good intentions backed by unlimited funds can be corrupted.
 

Fin_Corso

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I was at work when my wife called me and told me, I need to check the news as a plane crashed into one of the towers. Thinking it was just an accident, a few of us sat huddled around a computer and watched the news in disbelief as a second plane came crashing into the second tower. We couldn't work and just sat and watched as the news unfolded about the Pentagon , and then minutes later the South Tower collapsed. Now thinking what's next, how are we mobilizing to stop anymore threats, then we hear about Flight 93. Just kept watching and listening and then we see the North Tower collapse. Surreal....
 

GarikDuvall

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I lived in MD just outside of DC, and was in college at the time. Just got to next class and we were waiting for the teacher who was oddly late. We kept waiting and were wondering what was up and whether we should leave or what. Someone in class I got a text or checked their phone and said something quietly about rumor of what happened. Then finally a staff member came in and told us what was going on and that all classes were cancelled. I left and got to the parking lot which was of course a madhouse to get out of. I ended up driving my little Saturn over a curb and up a hill to get to parking lot of business next door just so I could get out onto the main road. Passed by some government buildings that had cops posted outside. Finally got home and my parents had the news on the tv. Of course rest of the day was spent in some shock and watching it all unfold and the speculations begin. I remember wanting to go up there to help out in some way but 1) I wasn't really old enough (20) to do much good in that situation, and 2) no way my parents would have let me anyways.

Edit2: I have a friend, who I went through academy with. She was still in Navy at the time and was in the Pentagon when it got hit. She told me about how bad it was and how everyone was crawling around on the floor in the dark due to power out and the smoke in the halls.

The part that's the saddest to me is how we've forgotten what we went through as a country. Sure everyone knows 9/11 happened, but most are callous to it now. And kids in school weren't even alive then. Every kid in high school should be shown the real videos of what happened. In 2008, when I was 27 and went through my first police academy, they showed us one of the 9/11 documentaries. I remember getting chills and getting emotional re-watching that footage. Especially when I saw things I hadn't at the younger age specifically a scene that was the fire fighters in the trade center lobby and you hear these bangs in the background. Come to find out that was from people jumping and their bodies hitting the lobby roof. 😨
Mini-rant: I won't get into the politics of everything that resulted from 9/11 (some I agree with - some I don't). However, I still feel we are letting ourselves down as a country by sweeping too much of the events under the rug, especially concerning students/the next generation, because either 1) it's not a nice happy-idealist thing to think about and 2) educators disagree politically with the countries response and therefore glaze over the events. If you are going to disagree with the direction the country took...so be it, that's your right. But at least let them make an informed opinion based on the known facts of the events that occurred.
I grew up in a law enforcement family and knew that's what I wanted to do, but 9/11 sure as hell cemented it. Did about 10 years doing security protecting gov buildings, another 6 as federal police, and now moved over to Emergency Management to try to prepare for the next big event. 😑

It was heartwarming how most of the country came together after that day. Also how people were proud to be Americans. I remember going to work and seeing a guy driving in a convertible Cadillac with a big American flag flying in the back seat. Was a nice sight to see. 🇺🇸 One of the things that 'got to me' the most, was when the British I think halted their changing of the [Palace] Guard (something that's never done) and I believe they even played the American anthem. After which a BBC announcer gave his truly heart-felt message about how our British brothers & sisters stand with and support us. It still makes me a bit misty-eyed to think about.
 
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Zookajoe

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I was at work and when it happened we all went to the break room that had a TV in it and watched it unfold. Immediately afterwards, I tried to re-enlist, only to be told that I did not meet the age cut off. Missed it by two years. Ironically enough, they have revamped the cutoff to include time spent in service against your age, which I would have made easily at the time for re-enlistment.
 

GarikDuvall

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Ya know, something else that I remember is how a lot of us in the eastern block used to worship the USA. It was the promised land, something to be emulated as closely as possible. But most of all, we thought it was invincible. That feeling broke that day.
Fuck. As a Yank, that line kinda messed me up. Not only how bad things were for us, but that so many other countries looked up to us and then had that vision shattered... just shows further how this event immediately affected the whole world.
 

WaterShield

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I was at school in the fifth grade. In Ohio so New York feels rather close in the grand scheme of things. I just vividly remember the teachers leaving us in the room while they huddled in the hall with explicit instructions to not turn on the TV.... so of course we turned on the TV.

That event changed my world.

I'd still love for people to get along throughout the world despite our many differences (race,religion,political party affiliation etc...), but that day caused me to fear those who were different. Because they may just hate me for being different to them, and I'll never be able to tell when they might want to do something drastic about it. It leaves me conflicted about our future. I hope for a bright future, but wearily anticipate the worst...

Sorry for being depressing >.> Just my thoughts on the matter.
 

at-2500

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I was working in the oilfield outside of Tumbler Ridge, in Northern BC (Yeah, I know, everything in Canada is North). We we're driving to location a couple hours out of town when we heard on the radio about a plane hitting the first tower. Once we got to location we went over to the consultants trailer and started watching it live on TV.

I remember distinctly that as every other crew on location rolled in that day, they all came over. No work got done that day. Everyone just sat in horror and sorrow watching the events unfold.

It's strange how little things that would usually get flushed from you memory instead become etched there.

Gander, Newfoundland. Tiny little town with an amazingly huge heart.
Edit: Gander Airport after 9/11.
The wife is a flight attendant in Germany and while she was like ten in 2001, she heard a lot of stories from older flight attendants that were in NYC during that time. They had a hotel with a view of the skyline. Imagine flying into NYC, going to bed then waking up to an airplane crushing into the tower knowing this might well have been you...
 

Blind Owl

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The wife is a flight attendant in Germany and while she was like ten in 2001, she heard a lot of stories from older flight attendants that were in NYC during that time. They had a hotel with a view of the skyline. Imagine flying into NYC, going to bed then waking up to an airplane crushing into the tower knowing this might well have been you...
That's a though that would stick with you, no doubt. Relief and sorrow all at once.
 

MurderingPsycho

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I was at work and remember the company moving TVs into as many places as they could so that people could see what was happening. At first it just seemed like a really strange accident but when the second one hit there was a collective "Oh shit, we're under attack".

I just grieve the scars it's inflicted on this country, the hatred and loss of freedoms. Good intentions backed by unlimited funds can be corrupted.
You can always count on politicians to not let a good tragedy go to waste. The rest of us were upset and wanting revenge and our government decided "We can wait on Bin Laden, lets go after Saddam again and get this patriot act shit passed". I do think that going into Afghanistan was the right thing to do, you can't let someone get in a free punch like that when you're as big a target as we are, but we allowed our government to do some pretty shady shit in response that in no way helped and only cost us freedoms. We need to be more careful about that, once they're gone, the only way to get your liberties back is through conflict.

Ya know, something else that I remember is how a lot of us in the eastern block used to worship the USA. It was the promised land, something to be emulated as closely as possible. But most of all, we thought it was invincible. That feeling broke that day.
That's strange, for a lot of people in the US it had the opposite effect. When everyone saw how people responded, it really showed how despite all its differences this country could still stand together and act as one. Normally, Americans are pretty self absorbed and argue about anything and everything we can think of, but that day none of that mattered and every last one of us was just an American. That's kind of the way things go here, when everything is going great and we have everything we could ever want, everyone hates each other, but if you attack us, all of that goes away and we are one big family working together. Too bad we can't manage that without a crisis.
 
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