Remembering 9/11: Where were you?


I was at home; my son was at high school. It changed his life. At 19 he joined the army and has been fighting this war ever since.


I was watching CNBC preparing for the opening of the stock market. I watched most of it live and soon realized that many of the regular guests on their programs had perished.

Within a few hours people were forming long lines at gas stations out of panic here in Indiana. I knew we were at war, but not yet who the opponent was.


I’ll never forget where I was that day. I was back home on the last days of the college semester break – about a week later I was supposed to fly back to Eugene (we ended up driving), and had fallen asleep with my radio on (back then, KNX played old radio shows at night and I was an avid listener). As I was waking up, I heard the anchors talking about a plane hitting the World Trade Center, and promptly went back to sleep, thinking it was some guy in a Cessna who was out of his league and had accidentally hit one of the towers (the same thing had happened in WW2 when an errant B-25 accidentally collided with the Empire State Building).

Then, they announced a second plane had hit. Suddenly I knew it was something much more sinister than a sight-seer who had caught a bad gust while over Manhattan. I was immediately awake and shot up the stairs to the den where my mother was watching an old movie on TCM and my brother was noodling on the computer, all while I was running upstairs shouting “turn on the news – they’re attacking the World Trade Center!”

The rest of the day was spent hollowed out, watching those towers fall. I remember a friend of the family calling and talking with her about it, and I remember having a bout of nausea after the Pentagon was hit, but beyond that, it’s all a merciful blur.


My son’s birthday is September 11. He was on a field trip (we are in the DC area) and they were turned around and sent back to school. For a while we weren’t sure where they were or how many attacks there would be.

I worked near Dulles Airport, and the most eerie thing was the sound of planes on final approach (which we heard constantly) just drifted away to nothing by around 11. We all left work at noon too numb to do anything. Driving past the airport was indeed weird.

We know a lot of people who work at the Pentagon, so it was hard to even ask how everyone was, if anyone was hurt. One of the men at our Church was killed.

The whole 9/11 experience was folded into the DC Sniper thing, the Virginia Tech shooting (a parishioner was killed), the wars ( a man I coached baseball with was in Afghanistan for a year. I prayed for him every day; he was only one of many people I knew who were deployed. His son had a very hard time). I don’t think anything surprises me anymore. Sometimes I just feel numb.


At the school where I taught fifth grade at the time.
I was also at a school as a teacher when Reagan was shot, and a fourth grader at school when JFK was assassinated.



Darwin Australia serving on USS PELELIU as part of an ARG. I was responsible for running the shore patrol and emergency recalls of personnel on liberty if required.

Anyway, when we heard what was happening the Admiral directed a recall that was pretty much unnecessary. The men and women on liberty had seen what was happening on the TVs in all the bars and clubs which had been tuned to the live coverage. They just kind of enmass realized that this meant we’d be sent in response and headed back to the ships. Lot of young men and women seeing their first foreign country and all cutting it short without any orders or direction being given.


Not quite clear on the meaning of your last sentence.
Seeing their first foreign country?


I was at home when the both planes hit the towers and the Pentagon but that morning I didn’t turn on the TV or log into internet so I didn’t find out until I got to work. A co-worker’s brother worked for the Pentagon so it was tense. I remember someone saying, “It’s gone! The tower’s gone!” I couldn’t comprehend it. I had class that day but after work I just went home and watched coverage. I also remember logging in to my favorite forum at the time and getting the scoop there (one member lived in NYC) and the members were posting invitations for a place to stay to any friends and relatives of readers or members that were stranded because planes were grounded. It was a little glimmer of hope and sanity in all the confusion.


I was in grade 7 history class. The history teacher left the room, came back and announced that “you’ll always remember where you were at this moment” before notifying us what was happening. He was right.


Getting ready for work. Got a phone call from a friend of mine to turn on the TV. We were scheduled to visit New York City for a vacation in October. (We still went.) We walked down to the site three weeks later. It was still a mess with signs up about people everywhere. I remember somewhere near there I passed Alexander Hamilton’s gravesite. Completely unexpected. That hit me hard.


I think he means they were USN sailors, seeing their first foreign port (Australia).


Just as I was about to go bicycling, I heard on the radio about a second plane hitting. (There had been callers about the first but that got boring after a while since no two people had the same story.) Then I turned on the TV and ended up calling my neighbors, my parents, and the people at work, who told me later I was the first to notify them of the tower hits. I think I started each conversation with “It’s really bad!”


:tiphat: Thank you captainrick!


It was the first foreign port of call at the beginning of our deployment. We’d stopped at Peal Harbor, then on to Australia. One of the nice things about the Navy is the travel and seeing some of the world.

For all the junior enlisted, both Marine Corp and Navy since this was an Amphibious Readiness Group with USMC Aviation and Ground units, this was the first time many of them had even been in a foreign country. Many of the them really look forward to that and are excited about it. Being able to see other countries and talk to folks with a different perspective, a different set of experiences. A big deal for most of them-- and I would think it would have been tempting to stay ashore until actually ordered to return. But they didn’t, as I said, most of them had already started returning to the ships even before the towers actually fell.


Funny, I never remembered any other “where were you and what were you doing” for any other major event of my lifetime – the moon landing, Henderson’s goal, the Challenger, etc. But I do remember 9/11.

I was still in the army. I had just flown home the day before from Kingston where I had been working at the school of communications. I showed up at my unit the next morning, and settled in to my daily routine. At one point I went to the IT help desk, and all the techs were gathered around a TV; they said a plane had crashed into the WTC in New York. Everyone was speculating if it was an accident, did the pilot have a heart attack, did the controls fail, was it a hijacking gone bad — when we saw the second plane hit. Within moments, IIRC, we were on alert, all leaves were cancelled, and I believe the thought crossed many of our minds that maybe this was the start of like WWIII.

It wasn’t long after that planes were diverted out of US airspace, and transAtlantic flights were landing at St John’s and (primarily) Gander.


Remember how quiet it was for like three days? No planes in the air. That was eerie. I put a candle on my front porch the first couple of nights for the people trapped in the buildings. I just kept thinking about them stuck in there.


I just remember feeling very helpless that day and so sad for our country that has done so much to help others and given so much aide financially and then to have so much hate directed at our country by these attacks. I remember feeling angry.

I am sure military personnel on deployment felt somewhat helpless seeing their country attacked from afar and wanted to be home with their families.

They knew instinctively they were going to be on high alert.


There were two other attacks that day. But the one most remembered, probably because of all the camera angles involved and because it was so convincing, was the second Tower hit.


I think they all banned flights immediately, including incoming and outgoing foreign flights, and only those in the air were allowed to complete their flight. It lasted for about a week. Also all major league baseball games were cancelled for the week and the playoffs were pushed back.


Actually, airlines were permitted to move their craft beginning on 9/13, and limited flight schedules resumed on 9/14.

The stock market was closed for a week.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit