Discovery News readers share their memories and thoughts around the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
The 10th anniversary of 9/11 is an emotional landmark for many people. We at Discovery News wanted to find ways to address the painful date in our content -- from slide shows to first-hand accounts of that day to analysis of how the event will be remembered for years to come. We also wanted to hear from you -- and we did.
We asked for your memories of that day and many of you wrote in. We heard from police officers, parents and students from all around the world. Thank you for helping us remember that day and marking this difficult anniversary. And if you didn't get a chance to contribute your thoughts and memories, please post them in the comments below.
The day before, had met with the doctor to find out my husband's cancer was terminal. Had talked with our two children that same evening. The morning of the 11th, I was driving my son to school with the radio on and we heard the first tower going down but wondered if this was an act like The War of the Worlds and maybe we'd missed the intro. We looked at each other in disbelief when we then heard the second tower hit. Our world was already in chaos, now the whole world was as well.
My daughter was about 5 weeks old and it was around 6 a.m. I was changing her diaper and she started laughing for the first time as I tickled her feet. As we were bonding, my husband called me into the living room to see the news--towers collapsing.
- Carolanne Brandt
On the morning of September 11, 2001, I'm in my ninth grade science class. It's my home room, or the first class of the day. My teacher turns the television on and shuts the lights off. Most classes don't have television sets, but we do. I wonder why that is. We watch replay after replay of Flight 11 crashing into the North Tower.
I'm trying something new that year, going for a new look, a new identity. I'm learning to skateboard—nothing against skateboarders—and I'm in a punk rock band—nothing against punk rock music. A guy by the name of Steven sits in front of me. He's a tenth grader, but for one reason or another he's in my ninth grade science class. Steven is the kind of guy I want to be, the character I'm trying to become. Seconds after the television is turned on, before I have time to fully process what I'm watching, I lean forward and whisper to Steven, "Anarchy." He laughs, and I instantly feel dirty, guilty, like an adulterer or a baby shaker or something.
The guilt only grows as we continue watching the news. The higher the plumes of smoke reach the more intense my guilt becomes. One of the greatest tragedies in our country's history, and the first word out of my mouth is anarchy, a joke. I've never shared that story until now, ten years later. I was ashamed. I'm still ashamed.
We continue watching the news, a class of ninth graders and one tenth grade guy I no longer want to emulate. Flight 175 collides with the South Tower and the screen freezes. The bell rings. Kids walk the halls, stunned faces belonging to those with brains developed enough to process the tragedy, while laughter and jokes bellow irreverently from students who can't seem to separate the news coverage from an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.
- Sean Bess, Birmingham, AL
I had to go to work on 3rd that night ... I was a cop. Over the radio we heard that an unidentified boat was blacked out and headed toward the nuclear station. The cop with me called his wife and told her to pack up and head west as far as they could go. We kept getting updates on the radio. I was absolutely terrified. This was something I couldn't shoot or wrestle to the ground. We were standing in the parking lot of the PD when two jets flew RIGHT over our heads ... I was shaking so hard it was almost impossible to stand up. A few minutes later the dispatcher came over the radio and said that it had all been a drill ... I was SO relieved but the knowledge that that could happen chilled me for weeks.
- Anna Bowen
I saw it on TV and first thought was -- this is a set up. I still can't believe that those jets were hijacked and used as weapons in perhaps the most guarded and secure sky in the world. Sorry for all the lost innocent lives.
-- Ivaylo Grancharov
I was home that day and reading the teletext on the TV when I read that a plane had crashed into one of the towers. I thought it must have been a light aircraft or something. A while later a new bulletin came on that had live footage of the first crash. As I was watching the second plane came into view and hit the building, too. I could hardly believe what I was seeing, at first. It looked like some sort of disaster film rather than real life. I think we're hardened to seeing such images in Hollywood films but then when you see it really happening in real life it takes you a second or two before it registers. I STILL didn't realize it was a terrorist thing, though. I thought at first it must have been some malfunction with auto-pilots or the plane itself. Again, I don't think you can comprehend that anyone's thinking can be so alien to the way most of us think and how they cease to see people as people -- with lives, loves, parents, children, etc. -- and seek to slaughter them simply because they represent 'the enemy'
- Adam Nicke
I live in South Africa, and my memories are almost the same as Adam N. Can't remember if someone phoned me to turn the TV on, as I was working in my home office, but I was shaken to the core. I just kept saying 'oh, my god', I just could not grasp what I was seeing and as he says, as I was watching the live feed with the commentator describing the scene behind him [from a balcony somewhere or something?], someone there shouted 'my god, another one and you could see it happening right behind the commentator and he was turning round in shock and horror. I had my two small kids with me, 6 and 4, and they were sitting watching, which was not really a good thing, but I don't think they really understood what was going on being that age - the sheer monstrous, horrendous import of what we were seeing did not really compute, as it doesn't at that age. I just could not tear myself away from the screen, and I was crying, and I stayed watching as the towers collapsed even. It was too real to be a put up job, and to this day, I can see it unfolding in my mind's eye and wonder, as someone else here says, at the workings of the minds of the people who planned and committed all that. Thank goodness the third plane did not make it thanks to the brave passengers on board. And then there was the other plane...
- Corinna Beamish
We lived across the Raritan Bay from Staten Island/Manhattan, etc..my three memories of that day, the tears, the gorgeous blue skies as a backdrop to all the smoke and death, and a jet fighter screaming over my head at tree level on the way to NY.
- Jackie Nagy
I remember being 9 years old on 9/11, my mum came out to hurry me inside after being at school in the afternoon September 12th New Zealand time to show me what had been happening over the past few hours live on TV. I didn't know what to think at the time being that age, but it affected every single person on the face of the earth some way or another, and it still does to this day.
- Jimmy Ryan
I sat outside a Red Cross clinic to give blood for about 10 hours with HUNDREDS of other people. That night, watching TV, I realized most people were dead and there was no real need for me to give blood. Very sad. :-(
- Susan O. Farag
I remember walking down the street in a fairly large city the day after it happened. People were driving but no horns were honking, people were driving slowly, and folks were walking softly with their heads down. I remember that odd silence, as we were all in mourning, and it was haunting. I still get kind of emotional when I think about that day.
- Monica Ellison-Hyzon
I was pregnant during this and miscarried two days later, the good news, I got pregnant again and had my beautiful baby girl on 9-11-2002. She was two weeks early.
- Tina Kinney Thorp
I remember that day like it was yesterday. I got up around 7 a.m. feeling weird and depressed and went outside look up and it was a beautiful clear morning in Bridgeport, Conn. Out of blue I felt like watching the news I think it was around 8:50 or 9 a.m. when I saw it happen the first plane then a second. Seeing people jumping out of sheer desperation to me was the hardest to watch. My heart goes out to the victims and family. It's been 10 years yet it's still fresh and unforgettable.
- Ricky Dumeny
I remember looking out from a hill over the LA Harbor and seeing no ship traffic, in or out. I remember eating at a restaurant very near the Vincent Thomas Bridge, it being almost empty because the bridge had been thought to be another target. The radio on my desk is the radio from which I heard the news...constant reminder.
- Willem Wood