questionswhere were you when you heard?

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I was in middle school social studies (essentially just history people that don't know).

One of the teachers came in and said something to him. He then told us to rip up our homework and throw it away because the event happening on TV was more important. The teachers then wheeled in a TV and we watched the news. I got to witness the second plane crash, but missed the first.

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I was asleep. I was very uneducated on our nation's buildings at the time (had just graduated high school). My mom woke me up and said "Andrew, someone just flew a plane into the World Trade Center!"

I responded with "Okay." and thought "WTF is the WTC!? And why should I care!?"

Now I realize what was going on. After a few minutes I got up and went upstairs just in time to see the 2nd plane collide. I was awe-struck. Total failure to take in all that I had just seen. I then realized what she was talking about -- The TWIN TOWERS! Lesson learned, if mom wakes you up for it, it's probably important. Also, be more involved in the history you're living in.

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@hackman2007: I was in the same boat as you, except I was in 5th grade instead of middle school. I really didn't understand the impact that act had at the time, but looking back now, I can see how much it changed everything.

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I was on active duty with the Air Force and traveling across Eastern Utah (East of Salt Lake City) on my way to Ohio for my brother's wedding. We were listening and as soon as they said a plane had hit the WTC I KNEW it was an act of terror. Then, of course, a short time later, as we listened the second aircraft hit and other people started to realize it was a terrorist attack.

I'd called back to see if I was being recalled and continued to do so while on this trip. Of course it was too early for any of that.

It did, however, add special meaning to my brother's wedding having me in my Mess Dress uniform as his best man.

It was interesting to see all the vehicles, especially all the semi's, flying the flag along I80.

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I was just leaving for an organic chemistry class at one of the largest universities in the US. I was at the time also working for the newspaper at said university, so I was a news junkie as well. I was probably one of the first on campus to know, and our professor had a hard time delivering lecture since everyone was talking about what happened.

A little ways in to the lecture our university president cancelled all classes for the day; at which point I went in to work to make sure we got the paper out on time. There was a fairly large international airport not far from campus, I recall noticing how eerily quiet everything was when all the flights were shut down.

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I was sitting in a cab on my way into New York City. My wife called my cell phone to tell me a plane had hit one of the towers. I could see the smoke from the cab. At the time, people thought it had been a small plane. I was headed to a datacenter in Lower Manhattan to do some work. As I got out of the cab the second plane hit. It was really surreal. I wandered around for a while watching the towers burn, seeing the papers floating down and seeing many others apparently in the same state of shock and disbelief that I was in before it dawned on me that I was on an island that was under attack, and I really better get as far away as I could as fast as I could.

It was the first day of a four day trip, so I had my laptop bag and a duffel bag full of clothes and no real sense of where I was or where I needed to go to be safe. The police were telling folks to walk north, so I followed the crowds. I heard the first tower falling before I turned and saw it coming down.

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[continued]

I was on the edge of the dust cloud - far enough away that it didn't really pose much of a threat, but I will never forget the sight and sound.

The rest of the day was a long walk. I talked with people who lived in the city - one man told me he never thought he'd live to see the day that the towers weren't there. It was a bad day all around.

Later on I found out that I knew people who had died. My brother had gotten married on the Saturday before - the groomsman who sat next to me in the church was on one of the planes from Boston, as was my new sister-in-law's boss.

Another relative had cousins on the NYFD who didn't come home, and the colleague who gave me a place to stay that night had a neighbor who never came home.

A lot of people said in the months following 9/11 that the world had changed forever, and it really felt that way. It certainly changed my world, but I don't know how many people still feel that sense of change and unity. I wish more did.

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I had just gotten out of the shower & turned on the TV to The Today Show. Matt Lauer/Katie Couric. They announced that there had been an "occurance they would be investigating within the next few moments" and I believe went to commercial. I walked out to the kitchen & my husband had NBC on there. I started to tell him that something important had happened in NYC when the shot of the second plane going into the tower was llve. It was surreal.

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'Surreal' seems to be a common reaction. How different our life is from those who live in actual war, I hope we never know how that feels.

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My stepmom's cousin lives in NYC, and had tickets to go to the observation deck on the top of one of the towers that morning with a friend. They happened to oversleep that morning and realized when they woke up that they wouldn't be able to make it, so they didn't go down there at all. Turned out to be a very lucky mistake, as they would have been the last elevator up to the observation deck (ultimately with no way down) had they gone.

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I was stuck in traffic on the way to work listening to an AM local news station. The perky and professional radio host was going through the "free-to-the-public" events happening in the area, then mid-sentence gasped, and said, "Oh my God!". They way she said it was as if you could clearly picture her dropping her papers and putting her hands on her mouth. Then her co-host began reporting the first hit. This normally jovial pair were now serious and somber in their reporting. Being stuck in traffic, I looked around at the cars nearby and everyone was staring at their dashboards awestruck, mouths gasped.

I got to work and they were already wheeling out the conference room TV's to a larger area for everyone to view. A few minutes later the second hit occurred. We were completely and utterly shaken as 3 of our largest clients offices were in the WTC. Our company folded that Friday.

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I was in the middle of a week being spent in a Buddhist ashram at the foot of Mt. Rainier. It was a silent retreat, a week spent with 20 other people and nobody talks, ever. The day is spent in meditation. We were cut off from any news; no radio, TV, internet, or cell phones.

That Tuesday when I walked out on the porch with my cup of tea, I suddenly heard jet engines approaching. Two F-16's came from the south and flew the length of the valley at speed, north toward Seattle. That had never happened before that morning. I thought, "Those jets were scrambled - why? Something's happened."

We did not find out until the following Friday, when we came down into a nearby town for the first time. It felt like the world had gone mad.

I missed the attacks and didn't see the news footage of the towers falling until that Saturday when I went to a friend's house. I did not share in the country's trauma because I only learned of it days afterward. We were probably some of the last to know.

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I was a sophomore in high school, walking back into the building after our morning marching band rehearsal. We were joking around, whining about school, same old routine. Then the weirdest kid in our school (you know, wore a tie every single day, planned on being president when he grew up, said random things all the time and you never knew if he was serious) walked up to us and told us that America was under attack. We laughed, confident that this time was one of his awkward jokes.

Turns out he was serious.

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That is a Great Tag! Sorry, no story.

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It was Tuesday. I got to work that day, went in the back door, overheard the TV talking about the attack at the WTC and thought 'Is it the anniversary of the bombing already? Huh.' I went and sat down at my desk, booted my computer and clicked for my TV tuner to start up. I didn't see the usual news. Instead I watched the second plane hit.

I got up, looked around, saw none of my coworkers and went to the front office to join them at the television set. We listened to reports of the Pentagon being hit, the National Mall on fire (false), the State Dept. bombed (also false) and watched people jump. Then we watched a large cloud of lighter smoke come from the south tower while bits flew off. I said "Oh god, the building just collapsed." My coworkers were disbelieving. I told them I watched enough Discovery channel to know when a building is coming down.

TBC

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Cont'd
Word finally came down to us that the building was evacuted (some time before in fact). Those of us who lived outside the city and depended on public transportation were assigned to go to a coworker's apartment in town as Metro had stopped. From the rooftop of her building we watched smoke billowing from the Pentagon and dragged a TV on an extention cord up.

Hours later I took my chances with the Metro. (My car sat at the park & ride.) A 45 min. ride took hours. Sections were shut down. Platforms were packed. Some trains didn't even bother to stop. I rode the Blue line until I reached a shared Yellow platform. As I waited I watched people walk down the commuter rail tracks on the other side of the Metro tracks. Many were in military uniform. I always wondered how much further they had to walk.

I gave my notice months earlier as I was going to travel to Australia for 4 months on the 28th. My last day was the 14th. I worked in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington DC.

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I'm 12 years old and what is this?

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I was going to work and stopped for cigarettes. The woman at the counter asked me if I had heard. She said someone had bombed one of the twin towers in NYC. I thought she must be mistaken. I thought it must be a remembrance of the Oklahoma City bombings. She said no, it was in NY. By the time I had gotten to work I had heard the story on the radio. When I.got in I logged on to CNN and watched the story unfold. All day people were skuttling rumors about people who had survived. We were all hoping and praying. I was trying to get in touch with my cousin who was job hunting in the area just hoping she was alright.

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I was out getting groceries when the news came on the radio. I knew by the time the second tower hit that it was Bin Laden. I remembered the Cole and the embassies as my DH had been in the military then. We were back home because my FIL had had a heart attack and was in the hospital. We had all already planned on donating blood to replace what FIL had needed. When I went down to donate-the line was out the door.

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I was at work in my lab when someone brought the tv down from the conference room to the lunchroom walking by my lab on the way. I sat in the lunchroom and watched for the next few hours as the eventsrolled by. I kept the factory workers informed of the news reports while they continued working.

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At school. It happened in between periods. My friends William and Eric were late to math and when they came running in screaming "TURN ON THE T.V.!"
Saw the second plane hit and watched the first tower collapse.

I went to work after that class and we didn't do anything all day. The roads were empty, phones weren't ringing, nothing.

The one thing that made me mad during it all was a local store tried to jack up gas prices that day a few hours after.

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I was at work. We got a phone call from someone's spouse. The TV in the conference room was then turned on. About 60 of us squeezed in and saw the second tower hit. Later on, the collapse of both towers. Since we worked with airlines, we ended checking computer flight plans to see if any more flights were being diverted. Not much in the way of constructive work got done the rest of the day.

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I was in my bedroom, getting ready for work. I don't usually have the TV on when I do, but for some reason I'd turned it on this morning. A news flash came on, saying a plane collided with one of the towers. People were talking about it like it was a tragic accident and that's how I initially took it at first, so I hopped in my car to go to work.

I was listening to the Howard Stern show on the radio, which had a live feed even though I'm on the west coast, and they were talking about what had happened when there was this awkward pause. Then Stern announced that the second tower was hit by another plane. I thought it was a REALLY tasteless joke at first, but the way everyone was freaking out over it soon convinced me otherwise. When I got to work, a couple of people had already turned on a TV in the break room, where I learned about the DC and Pennsylvania crashes as well...

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...and then the towers fell. And I was absolutely floored. Though I was living in Washington state, I was born and raised in Brooklyn NY. I'd seen the towers all the time, even stood on the roof of one of them once during a class trip (and I'll never forget how I could actually see the horizon curve from that height).

Amazingly, I didn't know anyone who died in the attack, though I knew many people who knew someone who did.

And this wasn't a conscious decision on my part, but I just realized that for the past ten years, I never turned on the TV news in the morning again.

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Polishing rings at my old bench at Kay Jewelers in the mall. The story came over the radio and my boss immediately told us to go home and watch the news. After 2 solid hours of watching the TV, we went out into the world and witnessed (as @wicked365 mentioned) price gouging at gas stations in KC. In the aftermath, most of the businesses were prosecuted, some shut down.

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I was home sick from school in Germany. We only had one Channel in English which was CNN so I watched it all unfold. It was pretty crazy being overseas during that time. In particular my High School was a private school that had all of the diplomats kids etc... at the school so they shut down school that day and didn’t open again for 3 days.

When we got back 3 days later our "open" campus had 15ft White gates around it and guards with uzi's and dogs. Pretty drastic switch.

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I was in college, and getting ready for class. I heard about the 1st plane hitting on the radio. I kind of didn't believe it, so I turned on the TV in time to watch the 2nd plane hit. My roommate and I just sat there in disbelief. I went to class and because it was history, we then watched more news in class and discussed it.

I was beyond fortunate to not have known anyone that passed away, but my heart goes out to everyone that did loose someone.

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I was home painting my house. I came in for a quick drink turned on the TV. I watched long enough to chug a pop, so I did not get the message. To me it had looked like it was an accident even though 2 planes hit. The idea it was terrorism was not even a possibility at the time. When I stopped for lunch was when I got the message.

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I was on my way to college classes... The first announcement on the radio was a report of a possible plane crashing into the WTC in NYC... Later, we learned about the second crash while in class, they cancelled classes for the day... It Seems that several Universities in Boston qualified as possible targets so they closed all State educational institutions... I sat in the grid locked parking lot and made phone calls preparing for Mayhem at work that afternoon and evening...
That night was very quiet in the city, Bad events tend to bring out the predators and those looking for an easy profit but it was very, very quiet... I spoke with patrol officers who said crime was at or near Zero that night... The police were on double and triple shifts...

Continued....

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I was on a small private island in the Bahamas, part of a Royal Caribbean cruise. They announced it at breakfast, and at first everyone thought it had been an accident. We went snorkeling off the island and when we got back to the ship it was all over that it had been an attack. There were TVs set up all over the ship on counters and whatnot so people could keep up with the news without retiring to their cabins, and all over the ship people were glued to the sets. Non-US folks kept coming up to us to express their condolences and horror at what had happened, it was very strange because I have never felt like people saw me as a representative of the US before but I was the face to which they could speak their feelings. It took us three days of diverted flights to make our way home. It turned out that as a backup landing field for the space shuttle we have the longest runways in the region and they were reserving them for the giant planes being diverted like dominoes from New York.

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Continued from above...
That night when finally arriving at home I noticed an eery quiet.. I live under an outer approach flightpath for Logan Airport and there are flights at various altitudes day and night... But not that night and not for many more, I stood outside the only visible person looking at the empty skies not hearing any engines from planes, trains or autos... Nothing....
In the following days I heard of friends of friends who were missing or worse and a relative who had been scheduled to take one of the Hijacked flights the day following the attacks...
Friends in Public Safety Drove to NYC and volunteered for Search and Recovery...

To answer the 12year old above... 9/11 was or is our modern day Pearl Harbor....

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Before this, it was, "Where were you when the Challenger blew up?". Before that it was "Where were you when Kennedy/Lennon/Reagan was shot?" I often wonder what the next "Where were you when?" will be. I hope it is a very long time from now. But the way history seems to be crowding in on itself, I suspect it won't be. We live in interesting times.

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My brother and I got into a habit of waking each other up to U2 songs for some reason. The morning of September 11th, I woke my brother up to "Sunday Bloody Sunday".

"I can't believe the news today
I can't close my eyes and make it go away"

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I was in high school in California and I had never even heard of the WTC, never been to NY, and didn't understand the gravity of the situation at the time. I was just mad that swim practice wasn't cancelled.

I understood better in the following months when everyone became super patriotic.

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Get a sense of humor. This is woot. Or I could point out the obvious pandering, attention-attracting nature of this particular question.

Where were you when they built the ladder to heaven?

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I was watching it live (can't remember if it was cnn or fox) while in an AOL chatroom (remember those?). They cut away from their morning show to a shot of the smoking hole in the first tower... They still thought it was a small commuter plane, and were talking about what a big deal this was... As they were speaking with the live shot on the big screen behind them, the second plane hit, and I instantly knew it was an intentional attack. I told everyone on the chatroom to turn on the news, and at first no one believed me when I told them what was happening. It still seems surreal.

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On the afternoon of September 4, my daughters (then 8 and 6) and I returned from visiting family in Atlanta, GA and Spartanburg, SC. We flew from Atlanta into LaGuardia, and the day was beautiful, sunny and clear. The plane banked over lower Manhattan and gave us a wonderful view of the towers, which I pointed out to my girls along with some comment about the TV antenna. I don't know if they remember it (I've never asked them), but I still get choked up thinking about how beautiful the sun looked shining over lower Manhattan, the colors and shadows, and that that was the last time I saw the towers themselves.

On the 11th, I was probably still asleep when the first plane hit and had just gotten out of the shower when the second one did. My then girlfriend was already at work and she called me and told me to turn on the TV. I watched the first tower collapse and then drove to work. The second tower collapsed about the time I was parking.

(con'd)

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I've worked at Queens College in Flushing, NY since the mid-1980's, about ten miles east of Manhattan and maybe 15 from where the towers stood. From the end of the college quad you used to be able to see the towers and all we could see was smoke. Everyone was extremely subdued. I know we had coffee and then my then girlfriend decided to head for home (in the Bronx). She was on the approach to the Whitestone bridge, about four cars from where they closed it when they stopped all traffic over the bridge. She was stuck in her van there for about six hours and ended up giving a bunch of other people rides to the Bronx as all public transportation (buses) were no longer running.

(con'd)

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After that, I really don't remember very much. I know that my day-to-day life stayed mostly the same (my commute to work was about 1.5 miles on local streets, getting my daughters from their mother was another couple of miles, as was shopping, etc. I do remember a firm resolve to "not let the terrorists win" by living in fear or changing very much of my daily life.

It was months before I went back into the city and well over a year before I ventured back downtown (and then only because the IT training companies we used mostly moved downtown to take advantage of the lower rents available there).

In some sense, I was lucky in that no one I know personally was killed. Two friends were late to work that day (one overslept, the other had a doctor appointment) and thus were not in the towers when the planes hit (the late sleeper was just getting out of the subway when the second plane hit... she turned around and went back home.)

(con'd)

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Several other people I've met since were in the towers and got out safely. One woman who worked at the college was on the phone with her son in the second tower above the impact site as the building collapsed. My sister (who worked uptown on the east side) ended up walking home over the 59th Street Bridge and then several more miles before someone offered her a ride most of the rest of the way.

All in all, not a good time for our country or the people of New York City (and the other areas directly and indirectly affected on that day). A large part of me just wants to forget the whole thing happened, though I know that doing so would actually be worse than not.

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On a biz trip in Atlanta. I was running late and was still in my hotel room at around 9am, ironing my clothes and watching Matt Lauer interview a strange man who had written a book about Marlon Brando or something. Matt was interrupted. I'm pretty sure I watched the 2nd plane heading toward and crashing into the 2nd tower a few minutes later.
Later that week, we drove cross-country drive to get home to San Francisco. Thursday, Day 1: Atlanta to Dallas, hoping we'd find the airport reopened. Nope. Friday, Day 2: Dallas to Flagstaff. Saturday, Day 3: Flagstaff to SF. Not a plane in the sky the entire way.
I used to spend lots of time in NY on biz trips and often stayed in the Millenium Hilton across the street from the towers. I always requested a room that faced them, rather than the Statue of Liberty because I really liked the the random patterns of office lights that stayed on late into the night. I have not been to Gound Zero because I guess I want to keep those memories alive.

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I was in my art class in 5th grade. I remember that the school said something over the intercom that something had happened. I'm pretty sure they released us from school and it wasn't until I got home and saw on the news what had happened. I was like 11 so it didn't really hit me as hard as it would have had I been older and more mature but I still to this day remember that day over many, many others.

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@elldee: I remember how eerie it was to see a plane in the sky again after many days of canceled flights.