Where were you on 9/11?

Today marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and we wanted to honor the tragedy by reflecting on our personal experiences about where we were and what we felt when we first heard about the attack. Several of our writers contributed their stories and we welcome you to share yours in the comments below.

I didn’t really understand what was going on — I was in the middle of a 3rd grade spelling test. I thought my little friend was totally feeding me shit — after all, what third grader can believe that something so big could crumble so easily? – Leah

I was in sitting in the back row of my 6th grade pre-algebra class when our principal came over the loudspeaker and announced that something had happened at the World Trade Center in NYC. It wasn’t until later in the day, when one of my teachers let us watch news coverage during class, that I realized just how serious the situation was. People were getting sent home, parents were showing up at school and frantically searching classrooms for their kids–it was really scary, and definitely something that I have and always will vividly remember. – Chelsea

I was in 7th grade science class when I first heard that a plane had crashed into the twin towers. I remember being scared, confused, and all around unsettled. As a born and raised New Yorker, that’s still how I feel when I think about it now.  – Jenn

When I first heard about the September 11th attacks, I was on a school camping trip. We were on a final morning hike when the World Trade Center towers were hit, and came back to a very confusing situation. I’ll always be grateful to my fifth grade teacher for just turning on the news and letting us watch once we got back to school. I’m from Jackson Hole, WY, where former vice president Dick Cheney has a house, so security was tight and fighter planes circled our town for weeks. – Garnet

I grew up in a quiet, rural, very sleepy community, the exact opposite of New York. For as long as I can remember, we got the New York news stations instead of our local stations because we had satellite tv. On the morning of September 11, I woke up for school and walked to my parents’ room to say “good morning” to my mother. I remember standing at the corner of the bed and watching the New York news flicker in and out because their receptor was on the top of one of the towers; it was 6 am Oregon time, but 9 am New York time, and so my mom and I watched it live.  At that time, I had never been in a building over six stories high, maybe, and I’d never been on a plane either. New York might as well have been Mars. It all felt so foreign, like it was something that was never meant to happen. – Michelle

I was on the school bus heading home and all I kept hearing was something about a massive plane crash. When I got home my entire family was crowded around the TV,  re-watching the newscast, my parents explained to my sister and I just what was going on. I immediately starting freaking out, my older sister had just left for her honeymoon and we hadn’t received a safety call, I continued to freak for four more hours until finally opening up an email saying she was safe. I don’t think I will ever be able to explain just how grateful I am that my sister wasn’t on one of those planes, my heart goes out to all who lost someone and the people affected by 9/11. – Courtney

I remember sitting in the auditorium of my lower school, National Cathedral in D.C., completely confused. What is the World Trade Center? Is my uncle who works at the Pentagon alright? Why are people’s parents coming to get them? And one even scarier question: Could the Cathedral be next?  – Gaby

With 28 other 5th graders, huddled around our teacher’s portable radio. We soon realized that one of the 28 was missing,  her uncle was on one of the planes that had crashed. I only remember hoping it was a mistake and that he had made it out alive. By some miracle my hopes were answered: he’d missed his flight and would be home within the week. – Tierney

I was in my middle school Language Arts class, and announcements had just ended (our announcement’s were shown every morning on the classroom TVs), and my teacher forgot to turn off the TV when announcements were over. She began teaching, but the TV switched to the news. We all stop what we were doing (listening to the teacher, passing notes, playing Tetris) and we were shocked. I knew that something bad was happening, but I didn’t know specifics. I didn’t know what Al Qaeda was or who Osama Bin Laden was, but I knew this was a tragedy that I would remember for the rest of my life. – Jessica

On September 11, 2001, I walked into my fifth grade classroom as my teacher was hushing the students, fiddling with her radio. Adults kept stopping by the room and we could tell it wasn’t a normal school day. We were sent home early; the teachers left most of the explaining up to our parents. I remember my dad taking me into the backyard and pointing out that there were no planes flying that day. It wasn’t until later that I saw photos and read stories of the events that had taken place. – Emily

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