Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?

Seven years.

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

I was in Trusts and Estates class. We took a break because my professor was a chain-smoker. We took that break at 8:45 AM. I left class and went to the Ladies' Room. I was wearing my best suit because I was supposed to have an interview later that morning for a clerkship with a large firm in my city.

My professor came into our classroom and said we needed to go watch the news, so, we were all gathered around the television when the second plane hit the towers. And when the plane hit the Pentagon.

Campus closed and I had to go get Gabriel from the campus day care center. I had to take him to my interview. The interview was strange and surreal and we talked only of the events of the morning and not about the clerkship.

Three of my cousins were living (and continue to live) in New York City. None of them could be reached until hours later.

I went home and watched the TV and held my baby and held my husband and at 7:00 PM my phone rang. It was mother, telling me that the doctors had given my grandfather a few weeks to live. I sat down on my kitchen floor and cried for a long time.

My professor stopped smoking. I didn't get the clerkship. My grandfather died the day after Thanksgiving. For weeks my normally pacifist Husband walked around humming Bruce Cockburn's "If I Had a Rocket Launcher."

I have never been the same.

So. Where were YOU when the world stopped turning?


*Alan Jackson Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning?


Anonymous Christina said...

That is such a good way to put it - the world really did stop turning that day. On the West coast we woke up to the terrible news and turned on the TV just in time to see the towers fall. Horrible. And just so shocking. I had my bedroom TV on and would sneak in there to watch because my (then 4 year old) son was home and I didn't want him to be freaked out by what was happening. Sometimes I wonder if I sheltered him too much - today he asked what I was watching and I said "It's 9-11" and he said "Oh yeah, when they bombed the pentagon." and I said "They didn't bomb it - a plane crashed into it." and he was like,"yeah, that." And I realized that he really doesn't get it - to him it's like a civil war story or something. We'll definitely be taking the kids to the new Pentagon memorial, I think they really need to understand.

Thursday, September 11, 2008 1:19:00 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I usually lurk, but I thought I'd respond...

I was in Manhattan. I lived there. I overslept and woke up because the second plane was flying so low, and they were loud, and I looked at my clock and freaked out that it was so late. I managed to call my office, and my assistant said, "It's the end of the world!!" - and I didn't get it until I walked outside, in a daze, to soot-covered taxis, people, and radios blaring with the news.

My roommate came home covered in soot, shaking, with new shoes someone handed her as she ran away.

And later that night, we evacuated our building twice, when there were reported bombs in the Empire State Building a few blocks away.

And the smell. The smell. was. horrible. Over the next day the winds turned and the smell of the fallen towers wafted uptown.

Yes, for sure, the American world stopped turning that day. It was terrifying.


Thursday, September 11, 2008 1:40:00 PM  
Blogger jenn said...

I happened to turn on the radio that morning. Not my normal routine seeing as we live in a "reception pit" and can only get our local small-town, same songs all day long, annoying station. I was 5 months pregnant, mixing cereal for our 7 month old when they interrupted the broadcast and said what had happened. We don't have TV, so I headed to my parents to watch. Watch the secon plane hit, the towers fall, the people, the reports...all of it. It's a day I'll never forget.

Thursday, September 11, 2008 8:25:00 PM  
Blogger mam said...

I'm on the west coast too, so it was early and I was driving into work for my new hire orientation. I was sad; it was my then-ex-boyfriend (and now current husband)'s birthday and I was thinking of him when I heard it on the radio. We didn't really realize what was going on at first -- they started with the orientation -- but within a few hours we were all out in the lobbies with the tv. I'm actually quite thankful I missed the first few hours of TV the time I really watched they started editing the most horrific images out of the coverage and I'm very thankful to be spared the visual memory of that.

Friday, September 12, 2008 12:34:00 AM  
OpenID ourvalentinesdaytreat said...

What a good blog title. I was sleeping, because it was three hours earlier where I lived on the opposite side of the country. I didn't have class until 9:15 or something. My mom called and woke me up and her first words were, "Do not panic. But turn on the television. Tell me where in New York Ed (husband) is right now. Something terrible has happened and we are being attacked." My husband was in New York for three weeks for his job. Thankfully, he was a few hours north, but my mom didn't know that and for a minute, I was disoriented enough to panic a little. He had trouble getting home less than a week later when he was supposed to come back. I will never forget that horrible day, and the many days that followed.

Friday, September 12, 2008 3:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good question-

I was at work, and after the first plane hit we were glued to the TV- we are right next to the Coast Guard office, so there were a bunch us us transfixed by the horrific scenes we were watching. Our secretary was really having a rough time- she was in Oklahoma City when the last terrorist attack happened, so she was sent home right away. After the second plane hit we were all sent home. My boyfriend at the time (now husband) called me from his cell phone to tell me he was headed up to northern Michigan, because there was rioting in Detroit (he lived next to Deerborne, where there is a large muslim community). He stayed with me for several days until things calmed down a little bit. My Mom was driving home from visiting me, and my Dad was driving through Pennsylvania to visit my Grandma in Philly, so I couldn't reach my family to find out if they were all right. My Uncle was in NYC at building #7 (I think that is how they labeled it)- one of the building that collapsed hours later, but everyone had been safely evacuated. I got e-mails from Canadian friends expressing their sympathy- I think the word that best describes that day for me was- SURREAL.


Friday, September 12, 2008 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous char said...

I was driving to comparitive anatomy class when the first plane hit. I was in the middle of disecting a cat when the second one hit and we all figured out this wasn't random..I flew down to the pay phone to call my friend whose husband works at the pentagon after listening to the radio in class and finding out about that crash. Thank God he was ok. Then, I left campus and went home and was glued to the t.v for the next week.

Friday, September 12, 2008 3:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in WA state, and before I left for work, I got a phone call from one the guys that worked for me. he & I both are retired Army. He called to ask me where I had worked in the Pentagon (my last duty assignment was in the basement of the Pentagon).

I asked him why he wanted to know and he said "did you work where it hit?" I still was clueless and he finally realized that I had not yet turned on the TV that morning. I turned on the TV shortly and watched the 2nd plane hit the Towers. I then went in to work but spent the morning on my cellphone calling friends back in DC , VA & MD to make sure that they were OK. My tablemate @ Command & General Staff College had left his office to attend a meeting when the plane struck the Pentagon, right where his office was located. The 2 secretaries that he had been talking to just before he left for the meeting both died that day.

I wil never forget that day.

Sunday, September 14, 2008 2:15:00 PM  
Blogger niobe said...

At a hotel. In a conference. We all gathered around the bar and stared at the tiny tv screen. When I looked around the room, I saw that almost everyone's hands were over their mouths.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 9:40:00 AM  
Blogger Fifth Dimension said...

I was at work in downtown Manhattan.The picture windows of the school were built to frame the towers.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 4:18:00 PM  

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