September 11, 2003

September 11th

As so many others are doing, I shall record my September 11th story here. Michele Catalano of A Small Victory has a wonderful project called Voices. Go see more personal 9-11 stories there.

It started out as an ordinary day. I was sleeping in a little and like many on the West Coast, slept through most of the live events. Kevin had gotten up a bit earlier to do some work from home before heading in for the day. His first clue that something was wrong was when he noticed his stock ticker wasn't working. He then went to and found a barebones page there. He came rushing into the bedroom, waking me up.

"They've bombed the World Trade Center!" he said. Groggy, I sat up and mumbled "Yes, but that was several years ago." "No, NOW!" he said and switched on the TV. Click on the link below to read the rest of the story...

We tuned in just in time to see the towers collapse. The news was a jumble. It seemed that nobody knew what was going on. A plane in Pennsylvania, a burning Pentagon, rumors of the White House and Capitol, the President being rushed to a secret location, the conspicuously absent Vice President...we sat in silence through it all. It was as though the only known facts the news could offer us was showing the clips over an over again--the burning towers, the people jumping, the second plane hitting, the collapse.

It felt so surreal. I could only feel shock. I suddenly felt very isolated in the house, just me and Kevin, and wondering if we were the only people seeing this. I called our friends Marc and Wendy, who didn't have a TV, and they'd heard it on the radio. Wendy, a pastor at our church, mentioned that the church would be open all day if we wanted to come in.

I couldn't decide whether to go in to work or not. I called the lab (IBM's Silicon Valley Lab) and the emergency line said that the buildings were open. I felt a need to be around other people, so I called my friend Hai-Nhu to see if she'd gone into work. No answer on her phone. I decided to go anyway. What was there to do at home, sit and watch the television? Kevin's decision was made much easier. Adobe, being among the tallest buildings in San Jose and directly in the landing path of the airport, was closed.

At work everyone was clustered around televisions in the hallways, watching the same clips over and over. It was good to be near my friends, but I was nervous too. Everyone was. Nobody knew if the attacks were over. Nobody knew if we were next. It seemed unlikely that terrorists would attack our dinky little lab, but then again we were IBM, a huge symbol of capitalist corporate America.

Security assured us that they were very vigilant. They outlined the extra measures they were taking to ensure our safety. But our managers soon told us that we were free to go home, if we didn't feel safe or if we wanted to be with our families or whatever. It seemed that everyone wanted the comfort of being in a group, but nobody wanted to be in a group so large it was a target. I sat at my computer and pretended to work, then abandoned the effort for the farce that it was. I went home.

I don't remember what I did for the rest of the day. I went into work on Wednesday and Thursday but took Friday off. It was too hard trying to work when we were getting the news in fits and starts. The evening of the 11th we had tickets to see Beauty and the Beast with Marc and Wendy, but the performance was cancelled. I didn't really cry or grieve until Friday when I finally let myself watch tv and the anguish set in.

After that I couldn't watch tv anymore. To this day we don't watch anything.

Posted by Shelby at September 11, 2003 03:46 PM

please post this on your site

When I woke up my mom had already turned on the news she told me that a plain had hit the world Trade Center in New York. So I watched the news till it was time to go to school. When I got there I learned that the whole school would be going down to the library to watch the news this is when I first found out that it was a terrorist attack when I got back to class my teacher told us that we could tell our grandchildren about, this further angered me because she was saying it like it was something to brag about I just could not understand why she thought it would be a cool thing to discuss over dinner I mean what would someone think if you just came out at dinner and said “hey guess what I saw the twin towers fall to the ground burning”.
After that day I never looked at the American flag the same, I never skipped out on saying the pledge of allegiance in school, and I never sat during the national anthem. But I also must say that I do not agree with president bushes decision to go to war because what did we do in that war? We did the same exact thing that they did to us and by bombing Afghanistan we killed innocents we did the same thing that they did to us and I will never agree with that.
But when I look back on 9-11 I will always remember how I would feel if my mother where to have been on that plane. But now I have a question for you please e-mail me at to let me know if you think I’m right for thinking the way I do about this cruel act on America.

Posted by: bryan doner at June 1, 2004 05:41 AM
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