Only a handful of events in history are so powerful, so memorable that the moment they occur, they are forever etched into our psyche. The world changed forever... in that instant. No amount of time that passes after those kind of events can dilute those memories, and we remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when they happened.
The day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, the first time man walked on the moon, the morning the Space Shuttle Challenger crumbled 73 seconds after take-off, the Columbine High School massacre and the Northridge earthquake, which had the largest recorded ground accelerations ever in the North America, are each one of those types of events that make history and forever change us.
On this Patriot Day, read on as readers share their memories of fear, disbelief and utter sadness as they recall where they were and what they were doing the moment they found out that the United States was under attack on September 11, 2001.
- Schwartz Voula: I woke up in time to see the second plane hit the tower.
- Helen Murillo Miranda: I was on my way to Bart and about to jump on a train to SF. I never made it onto the train. We thought SF was next. Sarah Tully: Getting ready for work, not wanting to kiss my my kids goodbye.
- Mohinder Mahal: We were in Santa Clara and had set our alarm to FM101.3 like any other day. When I went to hit snooze for the nth time - as I always did - I thought I heard the lady talk about an air crash. Jumped up and went straight to the TV and actually saw the second plane hit the tower. It was heart wrenching to watch from there on. The hours after that were a blur full of emotions ranging from fear (didn't know how many more planes), sorrow (we knew fatalities were going to be high), pride (for all those first responders), anger (well, you know why), and many more. It was a nightmare! Having survived riots and then the terrorist attacks in the 90s in Mumbai by a whisker, I never thought another terror event could shake me up so much even though I was no where near NY at that time.
- Jeanine Mack Koetting: I lived in Maryland at the time. The pentagon was too close for comfort. Most of us went and got our kids out of school. We were pretty freaked out that day, but the next... there were flags on every freeway overpass and so much unity.
- Kellie Collier: I was asleep in Pleasanton, and I got a phone call telling me to wake up and watch the news. They tried telling me what was happening but I couldn't figure out what the heck they were talking about. I almost went back to sleep thinking eh, I'll catch up with the news later, how important can it be? But I turned on the TV, and I was glued to the screen for days.
- Kimberly Ahmed: I was living in the NYC suburbs and talking to a friend in the driveway, enjoying the gorgeous Tuesday morning. Her boss (we were both live-in nannies) came home and told us to go inside and turn on the tv. We did and of course were in shock. I then immediately went to the beach and saw for the last time the skyline that I had become so accustomed to seeing in the distance, yet altered with the billowing smoke. I didn't stay long enough to see them fall because I had to get back home to be the rendez-vous for my employers that worked downtown. Everyone I knew ended up being safe, but it's a day that I of course will never forget!
- Bridget Stansky: Being paged to head into NYC as a rescue worker(paramedic)... it was a long, unforgettable day.
- Linda Sofen Knapp: Sleeping with my 4mo. old. Husband called and woke me up to tell me. Glued to the TV for the rest of the day.
- James Harper: I was tending bar at El Torito and watched the coverage on Univision. The footage was more graphic than what was shown on American news.David Simecek: I was school
- Audrey Millar: I was working in NY far enough away to be safe and close enough to see the plane still in the tower and later bodies falling ( even though I didn't know it was bodies at the time). What a sad dayKerri Duffy Fitzgerald: I was feeding my 13 month old and watching The Today Show. I immediately called my sister in NYC and woke her with the terrible news.
- Liz Hamburger: Getting ready for school. Dad called and said "We Are Under Attack"
- Karin Knudson O'Connell: Getting ready for work and watching the Today Show- saw the planes hit the towers on live tv.... my sister was visiting NYC at the time and we couldn't get a hold of her right away.