September 10, 2011


Nyack College, Nyack, New York.  Approximately 25 miles north of NYC.

It started out as a normal day. I had stayed up way too late the night before so I was sleeping in. It was my senior year of college and I had planned this semester well.  I only had two classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the first didn't start until 10am.  I had it down to a science...I could roll out of bed at 9 and be showered, dressed with makeup and hair done in enough time to grab a quick bite to eat in my room before heading to class.

On this particular Tuesday morning I was rudely awakened by the phone.  I looked at my clock and saw that I had about 10 more minutes to sleep...when you're in college, every minute of sleep counts!  I picked up the phone and said a groggy hello.  I heard my mom asking me if I was ok in a panicky voice.  I told her that I was fine.  I didn't understand why I wouldn't be.  I had just talked to her the day before.

She told me that a plane had been hijacked and had crashed into one of the Twin Towers.  I assured her again that I was OK.  After hanging up with mom I hopped online.  I had AOL at the time and I immediately started chatting with friends about what was going on.  I was also reading all the news stories that were up and looking at the photos.  While I was chatting with a friend a plane hit the other tower.  She told me to get to a TV so I raced downstairs to the lounge of my dorm.  There were a bunch of people there and everyone was staring at the TV.  Some had tears running down their faces and others were holding hands for support.  We watched as they replayed the footage over and over again of the planes crashing into the buildings.  I didn't see it live but I did see it over and over again in replays.  To this day I don't need to see the footage to remember it; it's been imprinted in my memory.  They continued to show it over and over again.  It was chaos.

None of us moved.  More people joined us.  We were watching the live report when the South Tower fell.  People were praying and we couldn't tear ourselves away.  I was still watching when the North Tower collapsed.  We were all in shock.  Most of us skipped our classes...who could think of going to class when this devastation was going on?

Through out all of this there was news of a plane hitting the pentagon and of Flight 91 crashing in PA.  We heard about the other events and were horrified at how widespread it was.  I was mostly focused on the Twin Towers as they were practically in our backyard.  It was so close and yet so far away.  I was having a hard time wrapping my head around any of this.  It was just too much death and destruction for me to make sense of. 

At some point during the day the wind shifted.  It was subtle at first and then grew stronger.  We could smell the carnage.  It made it even more real to me.  It wasn't a pleasant smell and even then I had a hard time describing it.  I haven't smelled it since and I hope I never do again.  I was told that if you went the hill behind the school, could see the smoke from the city.  I didn't go see it as smelling it was enough for me. 

The world wasn't same after that Tuesday morning.  We had seen how much some people in the world hate the United States.  We had seen massive destruction and loss of life.  We had seen bravery and courage.  We the people of the United States have continued living but we have not forgotten.  We will not forget. It shaped who we are as a nation today. It helped shape who I am today. I can't talk about that day without getting emotional. I can't hear the national anthem or the pledge without getting teary.  Just as the bombing of Pearl Harbor shaped that generation, we have been shaped but this event. 

How was 9/11 affected you? 

I know I didn't add pictures.  Maybe they would have broken up the text and made it easier to read.  However I don't need to see the pictures to remember and I'm guessing that if you lived through it, you don't either.  If you really want or need to see photos, you can go here.  They have plenty.


  1. It's one of those things our generation will have imprinted on us forever, I think.

  2. I remember watching everything in Boon after I got back from my NT class with Chan - and later my roommate & I walked up behind the campus & could see the smoke rising from where the towers were... I will never ever forget that day. I don't remember the smells at all, but I remember pretty much everything else.

  3. I don't think I could ever forget any of the things I saw that day.

  4. I doubt any of us can forget. You had such an interesting experience being so close.

    It's nice to have you posting again. Miss your blogging.

  5. I was going to college in Westchester County and like you, people told me you could see the smoke from a certain section on campus...i refused.
    thank you for sharing your story, it was very touching.

  6. I'm over from Andrea's blog. Everyone has such a story to tell. It's like asking older people where they were when JFK was assassinated.

    Like you, I get teary everytime I hear the National Anthem or The Pledge of Allegiance. They played Five for Fighting's "Superman" so much during that time, that I cry most times when I hear that too.

  7. I agree with Cole... it is our generation of JFK. People watching as something devastating and terrible happened to our country. I will never forgot.

    Thank you for sharing.

  8. You were so very close to where I live in New York. We saw and smelled the same things only I was closer to the tragedy during a major part of that day. I'm sure you'll recall the military jets that circled the Hudson River for days afterwards.

    Each year since 2001, I sit and watch the special broadcasts about 9/11 but today, it hit so much harder. I'm glad so many of us are sharing our stories...and feelings.

  9. We will never forget that tragic day. I still cry. And you can feel what every person in this nation is feeling on every 9/11 anniversary. It's like there is a tension in the air, and fear.
    I think it helps to share our stories, to know that others are there listening to us.


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