At the time, I lived in the southeastern US. I had been in the office for about ten minutes, intending to tie up loose ends before heading to Paris the next day to get married over the weekend. (Needless to say, those plans had to change after all flights were grounded indefinitely. We ultimately tied the knot eight months later.)
The first strike barely registered with me. I don’t remember thinking much of it. Maybe, “…hmm. That’s odd.”
When the second plane hit the Twin Towers, all thoughts of my wedding went out the window. Heck, all thoughts of work went out the window as well. I spent the rest of the day getting in touch with everyone I knew in the NYC area to make sure they were all safe. No one I know personally was directly affected, but one friend lost his fiancée and another knew of a colleague whose sister perished when the towers collapsed.
About three hours after events began to unfold, my mother called me. It was sometime between 6:00am and 7:00am for her; my parents live on the West Coast, had just gotten up, and had no idea what was happening. When Mom wished me a safe flight, all I could say was, “…turn on the TV, Mom.”
“What channel?” she asked.
“Any channel,” I responded numbly.
She yelled over her shoulder to my dad to turn the TV on, was silent for several seconds, then said quietly, “…oh.”
I burst into tears.
I’m almost in tears now recalling all this.