9/11: Where Were You The Day The Towers Fell?

September 11, 2001 is a day that no one will ever forget. Like many tragedies in the past, many Americans remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when the world came to a screeching halt on that fateful day in September.

I remember it clearly. It was my senior year of high school and I was thinking about what was to come next after graduation. It was a typical day in my small town In Missouri. The sun was shining and my first class of the day had just come to end. I had no clue that two planes had flown into the World Trade Center. As I walked into my second class of the day, it was clear that something was going on. My teacher turned on the television and the news was reporting the incidents. It looked as if it was an accident, but it soon became clear that this was no accident. The Today Show went back to the footage, and my classmates and I watched in horror as a plane crashed into the first tower, and another into the second tower.

We were stunned, awestruck, fearful, and worried. Was America under attack? Are we safe? Who would want to hurt us? Those questions were on the minds of everyone. Then it was reported that a third plane had struck the Pentagon, and I immediately became worried about my own family members. My uncle works inside the Pentagon, and my first thought was, ‘Which side does he work in?’. I wouldn’t know his status for the rest of the day because phone lines were jammed throughout the Northeast. We then learned of a fourth plane that had been hijacked. It had been heading for Washington D.C., but the passengers fought back and the plane crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The period had only just begun when the first tower collapsed. We were all in a state of shock and silence gripped the room. We watched as people ran for their lives. The destruction was unfathomable and we were glued to the television set. We were sad for the people still inside the tower and our thoughts turned to the second tower. Thirty minutes later, it too, collapsed. A major American icon had been turned into a burning heap of steel and concrete right before our eyes.

We then heard reports of a car bomb being detonated outside of the State Department and reports of the National Mall being on fire. Although those reports were later confirmed to be false, it only added to the fear and anxiety. All hell had broken loose and we were witnesses.

I went home after school that day and immediately tuned in to the many news channels. I wanted more information and updates. Later that day, I was relieved to finally hear that my uncle was okay. I tuned in for many days after that. I wanted to know more and I wanted to keep up with the updates.

3,000 people died that day. The attacks on September 11th changed the course of American history. Because of those attacks, America has been at war for a decade. All of our lives changed whether we acknowledge it or not. The biggest, most tragic event of the 21st century unfolded before my eyes during my 20th Century American History class. It defined a generation of Americans and it defined my senior year in high school, my years in college, and even my life today. That day is burned into my memory. I will never forget that day, nor will I ever forget the victims of the attacks. I will never forget the passengers who fought the hijackers and brought Flight 93 down before they could crash it into their intended target. I will never forget the heroic paramedics, police officers, and firefighters who died trying desperately to save as many lives as possible. And I will never forget the brave men and women of the armed forces who have fought and died for our country ever since. Let us always remember that day of infamy and always remember where we were the day the towers fell.

Edited by Wendy Gittleson