Special Pages > 9-11 Remembrances

Where were you on 9/11?

W18v26coverWPpageFrom inside Ground Zero and far outside, WORLD asked several key observers to remember and reflect for its Remembering 9/11 10th Anniversary Special Issue:

Diane Langburg, a psychologist who counseled many who survived the attack.

Michael Leary, who was part of an International Prayer Breakfast at the UN that morning.

Heather Mercer, who had been arrested by the Taliban and was in captivity in Afghanistan.

Bill Bangham, who was in Kathmandu leading a prayer retreat in Nepal for Christian workers from central and southern Asia.

Wendy Merdian, who was leading a women's Bible study in Amman, Jordan.

Laurie Mylroie, who was part of an investigation into the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

Then we asked to hear from you

Where were you on 9/11? Here are some shared remembrances from your fellow WORLDmag.com readers:

BY njpache 08.29.11 AT 10:28 AM

I was on Parris Island, S.C. for Marine Corps Recruit Training. My platoon and I were on team week and were assigned to work in the chow hall. A coke delivery driver came in and gathered us around him, drew us close, and told us NYC and D.C. were hit, that they were gone, and that we were going to war. A year later, I was standing on the steps of the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

BY Sawgunner 08.29.11 AT 10:55 AM

I was then working on nights at Brooke Army Medical Center at Ft Sam Houston Tx. I had got back home by about 8am that morning and was well into my usual routine: eat breakfast with my wife and newborn daughter, after which I would head straight to a darkened bedroom and sleep thru the day.

We were tuned into KTSA 550 AM that morning. The hosts were Trey Ware and his father, Ricci. Their newsman was a retired USAF man named Brent Boller. Boller broke in to the usual radio chatter with the news and my wife and I then turned on the TV.

My first thought was some pilot was negligent and some airline would pay a huge tort settlement. But when the second plane hit the other tower suddenly all thought had to shift from lawsuits and damages to actual war.
I have so far not been to the 'stan but I've served in Iraq twice.

Prior to 9/11 I think few of us in the military had any understanding of the phrase asymmetric warfare. BY Mercy-vs-Justice 08.29.11 AT 12:24 PM

I was on my way to college class, but every room I passed had students crowded around the TV. When I finally got to my own class, I saw the 2nd plane hit. It had to be terrorism, & I knew that the world had changed. I changed my major, got a BA in History, and wrote "How we got into this mess" for my thesis. There's a lot of PC smoke about Islam, today. The Qur'an can be read in two ways: the reasonable parts that Muhammad used in Mecca, & the belligerent parts that he used in Medina. All are mixed together, and the reader can follow either way. Basically, the only guarantee of "heaven" (those 72 virgins) for Muslims is martyrdom in defense of Islam. Otherwise, you can only hope that Allah is merciful to YOU when you die. This is why the 9-11 terrorists did shameful things the night before; they knew they would get the virgins anyway.

BY anjcarrick 08.29.11 AT 1:39 PM

Late in the evening on 9/11, we turned on our TV. As missionaries in language study in Kobe, Japan, AND homeschooling our three children, we had had a huge day, as usual. I normally did not flip on the TV to relax, but on this night, I did, just to see what might be on for a few minutes before heading for bed. There I saw a scene showing smoke coming from a plane-shaped hole in one of the Twin Towers. At first, I laughed, and called my wife to come see this totally unbelievable movie line. After all, any movie that showed this kind of crackpot thing must be a B-rated movie. But as we began to look at that impossible scene, we saw a second plane approaching. And when it hit, and, when we heard the way the newscasters were talking about it, we realized this was real-time news. We did not sleep that night. Absolutely surreal.

But the huge learning curve for us was the reaction of the conservative Christian denomination we were working with in Japan. I have always voted Republican since that has been the Pro-Life ticket. But my brethren in the Reformed Church in Japan deeply questioned President Bush's strong bent for war. Being an absolutely conservative, peace-inclined denomination in a peace-inclined country, the RCJ brethren asked me searching questions about why the Republican party seemed so bent on war with other nations. They preferred the Democratic party since it preferred peace. While they were pro-life, as well, for them the more important issue was world peace.

After returning to the USA, I faced the election pitting McCain against Obama. For the first time, I felt conflicted as to whether to vote Republican for pro-life reasons or to vote Democrat for peace reasons. McCain's liberal leaning made me wonder if he would be soft on pro-life, and Obama's strong "get us out of Iraq" campaign promise made me sure he was a pro-peace candidate. In the end, I voted Republican with an anguished heart.

Looking at the upcoming 2012 election from an INTERNATIONAL perspective (particularly a conservative Japanese Christian perspective), the only candidate that seems to be Pro-Peace AND Pro-Life is Ron Paul. It seems our country does not know what to do with this candidate, but I can tell you that, from an international perspective, he is who the world is probably rooting for.

BY radright56 08.29.11 AT 3:14 PM

We were getting ready to go to work when we heard. My son, who was in the army at the time, had boarded a plane that morning. We knew he was in the air at the time, but we didn't know his location. I arrived at school (I am a teacher) and told the secretary to let me know immediately if they had any information. Then I tried to teach. At 11:30 that morning my math lesson was interrupted by a phone call. My son was safe. I thanked God for the news, and at the same time mourned for those who were lost. We must never forget!

BY Nancy librarian 08.29.11 AT 5:34 PM

I was in Pakistan, working at a school in the Himalaya mountains just north of Islamabad. I had just come back to my little apt from dinner to hear the BBC World Service Newshour radio broadcast on my shortwave radio receiver. As soon as the announcer said a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center, I ran back to the staff lounge off the dining room, hollering the news to the staff lingering over their coffee, and they all charged after me to see what CNN might show us on our newly set up computer monitor rigged to accept cable TV. We watched in horror as a second plane flew into the other tower on live TV. I remember sitting there in shock, weeping and asking aloud who hated my country that much to do such a thing. Actually within a few minutes the only other American present turned to me and we both said "Osama bin Laden", the timing was too much like the attacks his group had done recently in Africa. Within an hour the news commentators were also saying that name, and of course we know the story now.

My life was really turned upside-down by that day. My school closed as it looked like Pakistan was going to descend into civil war. Thankfully that was averted and we reopened the next February, but then in August of 2002 we were attacked by Al-Qaeda wannabees, and I found myself evacuating from Pakistan for the second time in less than 12 months. Because of the deaths and trauma of that attack, it was almost 2 years before the school was able to restaff and reopen, but by God's grace we did, and the school continues to function, though it is only half the size it was. I am very thankful that President Bush was in the White House, unlike commenter #4. While Japan has a population raised to abhor war, Muslims are raised to despise anyone who fears war. If the president had not been resolute then, Muslims would have seen this country as weak and contemptible. That is their view of our current president, actually, though they like it that he is in power because he makes them feel stronger. What Americans view as magnanimity or kindness, Muslims generally see as weakness, caving in to them.

God has put me in places I never expected since that day, and very much changed life for Americans in Pakistan. The government of Pakistan works very hard to keep us safe, and to keep their own terrorists under control, but given the teachings of Islam, they have an uphill job. Please pray for Pakistan, and especially for the Pakistani Christians there, they live life on the edge!

BY jschicke 08.29.11 AT 6:16 PM

I was pulling into my job at AT&T, listening to WABC (Curtis & Kuby) when a caller they were speaking with was discussing the first plane crashing into one of the towers with them. He suddenly shouted that another plane had crashed into the other tower. I knew this was something much more than just an accident. I walked into work, and though the work day didn't officially end until later that morning, everybody was fixated on the tv screens depicting what was happening. It would be quite a while before I could hear a plane fly overhead and not think it was getting ready to swoop down for a crash landing.

BY dmaganza@gmail.com 08.29.11 AT 6:16 PM

I was home with my girls ages 1 and 3. My mother called in a panic. She worked within view of the towers and told me something terrible had happened and I should turn on the TV. Then I saw the hole towards the top of the South Tower, the smoke billowing out. I knew what the people inside the building were going through. I had been one of them. I worked on the 80th floor of the North Tower for 10 years - until I had my first child 3 1/2 years before. I had a beautiful view of the harbor from my office that I totally took for granted. I was there for the bombing in 1993 and I knew immediately this was much, much worse. There would be no escape for the people above the impact. I cried. I was devastated. It was like I was there with them. And then the 2nd plane hit, only 4 floors above were I sat for 10 hours a day for 10 years. I wasn't there, but at that moment and for weeks afterward I pictured those people's final moments as if I were there … even one of them I guess.

Shortly after 9/11 I subscribed to the NY Times in order to read their series called "Portraits". Instead of obituaries of those who lost their lives that day, they were windows into their lives and what was happening to them right up til that moment. It's like they have been frozen in time. They produced a hard cover edition of all of them and I own it and read through it every September 11, remembering people I've never met but could have passed on the street or rode the elevator with. People that could have been me.

We must never forget!

BY khendrix97@att.net 08.31.11 AT 5:16 PM

The routine at the Health Care Center where I work was interrupted when I passed the lobby television and heard excited voices announcing a plane collision with a World Trade Center tower. I stopped to watch, wondering how such a horrendous accident could happen. And then the second plane struck and my heart sank. This was no accident.

Through the remainder of the work day I kept a radio on, and when I got home I watched the reports over and over. I felt a deep need to personally memorialize the tragedy. Days of meditation on the phenomenon of the bodies disappearing into the air we all breathe reminded me of communion-all partaking of the same body. The innocent were massacred-it was a mass sacred. The rapid departure of a great number of people reminded me of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt - the original occasion of unleavened bread that has since been used in religious commemoration and communion. This picture distilled into these twenty-two words:

Holy Smoke

Twin towers-
funeral pyres.
Common cremation
of ninety nations.
Communion of ash:
sacred mass of the
Bread unleavened
of nine-eleven
to the world served.

(This poem was published on page 92 in Candles in the Dark, Flames for the Future: Preaching and Poetry in Times of Crisis, Editor David James Randolph New Way Media, Albany, CA, 2003. My name at the time was Kathryn McKee.) I retain the copyright.

BY kippo 08.31.11 AT 10:04 PM

I arrived at a meeting of the Dallas Firefighters Association Executive Board after completing my 24-hour shift at a Dallas fire station. At the time, I was a lieutenant assigned to an EMS supervisor position. It was my 40th birthday and I figured I'd go home after the meeting, relax, do a little yardwork and go out to eat with my family that evening to celebrate.

As I entered the office, I noticed everyone gathered around a television. One of the guys said that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. No one realized that the plane was a commercial airliner and we were all thinking it was probably some small plane pilot who got lost and confused while navigating the New York skyline and, pushed around by the crosswinds generated by the skyscrapers, ended up planting his plane into a building. Certainly not an everday occurrence but not likely to threaten the building and well within the capabilities of FDNY. Then we saw the second plane hit.

I immediately left the meeting and went to the fleet maintenance shop where reserve ambulances were stored. I contacted my supervisor on the way and suggested that we start stocking units immediately in case the New York incident was part of a coordinated event that included Dallas and other large cities. After getting approval, I met another EMS lieutenant at the shop and we stocked three ambulances, all that were available for immediate service. We spent the rest of the morning sitting in a break room watching the news reports. Although the reserve ambulances were never needed, they remained stocked and ready for several days.

One thing I do recall is that while I was driving from the DFFA office in West Dallas to the shop in South Dallas, I saw a commercial aircraft over the downtown area headed for DFW airport. High above and a couple of miles behind was a smaller jet, barely visible. I realized later that the smaller jet was probably a fighter aircraft trailing the airliner until it was clear of the downtown Dallas area.

In the days that followed, efforts at Ground Zero were complicated by many first responders-firefighters, police officers, paramedics and others-who "self-deployed" hoping to "help out". Anytime responders show up at a disaster scene, unbidden and without an assignment, they tax local manpower and resources that have to be detailed to deal with them. A lot of local folks who could have contributed in New York were wasted dealing with people who had no business being there and should have known better. I was proud that my department offered assistance immediately but waited until we were specifically requested before we sent people to help. Whenever I read a chest-thumping account of some "trained" responder who "rushed to the scene to help" on 9-11, I can't help but think how unprofessional and utterly wrong that was; making a bad situation worse.

The Dallas Firefighters Association also offered to help through our IAFF counterparts in New York. Eventually, they requested that we send firefighters in dress uniform to attend the funerals of the fallen. Normally, many hundreds of firefighters attend funerals for firefighters killed on the job in order to honor them and their families. But there were so many funerals in New York and their manpower was so strained, only a few could show up at many of the services. We responded by sending delegations on one-week rotations over the next few months to attend as many funerals as our guys could get to. A lot of close friendships between Dallas Firefighters and FDNY members grew from that effort. When one of our lieutenants was killed at an apartment fire a few weeks ago, FDNY was well represented at the funeral.

BY BMacD 09.01.11 AT 2:29 PM

I was working as the headmaster at Penobscot Christian School in Bangor, Maine. I had called someone I knew at a local radio station to get information on running a community calendar event on the air, and she asked me if I had been watching the news. She told me to find a TV and turn it on. I got one into my office and began to watch the tragedy unfold. I was watching when the second plane struck the second tower and when the towers fell.

I got on the phone with my boss, the school board vice president, and he suggested that school should be closed immediately. He said he would be right over to pick up his kids, and so my secretary and I began calling all the families to come get their kids. As it turned out some of the parents couldn't get there until school was out, anyway, so I stayed until after three that day. It was one of the most shocking events I have ever witnessed. However, a couple of days later we had a chaplain from the Air National Guard (and a minister in the OPC) come speak to the school about the attacks. He brought God's word and grace to bear on the situation as we sought to regain our bearings in light of the terrible events.

My wife and I lived at the end of the runway of the Bangor International Airport, which was also used by the Maine Air National Guard. We were used to the very low-flying refueling planes going over our house-sometimes so low that we could see the rivets in the plating. When all flights were grounded that day, and for the next several days, the silence was deafening and eerie. Then, when flights resumed it was difficult to get used to again.

But I'll tell you this: When the invasion of Afghanistan began and the Air National Guard used that runway to support the invasion, the roar of the jets was welcome, indeed.

BY NJLawyer 09.01.11 AT 2:41 PM

I was at home that beautiful day having breakfast, watching the news. Like President Bush, I thought a small aircraft had lost its way, but when I saw the second plane fly into the South Tower, I said aloud "we're at war." Of course, I did not know with whom, nor did I know that a plane would hit the Pentagon or that the passengers of Flight 93 would stop the terrorists flying that plane at the cost of their lives. Nor did I imagine at that moment that both towers would fall.

I was glued to the television that day, and when the transmitter failed, I found a small cable station still able to broadcast. So many people from my town did not return home. The Catholic Church across the street was open to all, as was the Episcopal Church down the street. The next day I was in the park down the street, and as I watched the flag wave a bit, tears fell. I was thinking that they had hurt my country. A jogger saw that and sat down next to me. We began to talk, and I realized that she thought I had lost someone (I had not), and then I realized she had - her twin brother. They were 69 years old. He was retired and had gone into NYC to Cantor Fitzgerald to check on his retirement account. He had been obliterated instantly. With one hand I held the sister's hand and rubbed her back with the other. I asked her to tell me about her brother and listened as she stared at the ground and told me through her tears what he was like, about his travels, and stories of their youth together. I told her those memories would remain with her, that her bond with her brother remained as well. When I went home later, I went into the Catholic Church to pray for this woman in her grief. She comes to mind every year, and I always listen for her brother's name when they recite the names at the memorial in NYC.

BY Chas 09.01.11 AT 4:20 PM

It was a beautiful day in Hendersonville, NC. I had just moved here from Northern Virginia in May. I was outside working on the property. I came in at noon for lunch and turned on the radio to listen to Rush. Instead of Rush, I heard lots of commotion I didn't understand. Then I turned on the TV. I saw a plane flying into a building. I thought it was real time for about five minutes until I realized it was hours ago. I had no idea of who was behind it, but I knew things would never be the same because this was a deliberate coordinated action.

BY Joe B 09.01.11 AT 4:44 PM

I was at work in Mayfield Village Ohio. I had got my coffee when a friend came to me and said that Terrorists had crashed two airlines into the World Trade center and one into the Pentagon and a fourth plane was in the flight path of Cleveland. Later we learned that the forth plane crashed in Shanksville PA. The day after the attack, one of the guys who worked with us a Muslim fellow who had converted to Islam. He was happy and excited. Another guy in our group had been a Marine Sniper. The manager had to send both of them home for the day because the Marine was going to do the Muslim guy in.

BY Pastor Roy 09.01.11 AT 4:53 PM

I was at work,when the radio reported it. I prayed….

BY kBells 09.01.11 AT 6:11 PM

I was in a hospital recovery room where my husband had just had carpel tunnel surgery. The nurse came in said a plane had hit a building in New York. She turned on the TV and we saw the second plane hit live.

BY Jillanne 09.01.11 AT 6:18 PM

I was driving my daughter to school. The radio was on and that is how we heard. They did not call off school, but, I was concerned enough to bring her back home. I recall the eery sound of silence. No planes in the air. I went home and placed our flag on the pole….someone stole it the next day Description: -(

BY Cheryl 09.01.11 AT 7:27 PM

I was at work. A couple of us had been chatting, and one woman came out of her office and said something like, "A plane hit the World Trade Center. They think it might be terrorism." I pictured a small plane and didn't think much of it (assuming it wasn't terrorism). I went back to my office.

Within minutes I noticed I could hear several radios around me (unusual in the normal quiet of an editorial department). I got up to see what was going on, and ended up realizing people were funneling into a conference room with a TV in it. We watched a replay of the second plane hitting. At some point the Pentagon was hit too (I think I saw it live), and I went back to my office and called my sister and my mother, neither of whom had heard yet.

For the next few hours I went back and forth between that TV and my work, trying to get at least a little bit done. Finally they sent us home. I was glad when flights were cancelled; Chicago seemed a potential target. Later in the week I heard a small plane and ran to the window. The next day I opened a copy of Newsweek or Time, just delivered on September 12, to find a "clever" ad for Luftansa that used the image of a plane between two tall buildings. A few weeks later I was driving to work when I saw a plane angled toward the John Hancock center. I could not stop watching it until it banked and went around. I "knew" it wasn't going to hit it, but I simply couldn't stop watching just in case. It changed the way we view airplanes, and so many other things.

The next day (9/12) I was in the parking garage at the end of the day, and a friend from another department saw me. "Are you OK?" she asked, seeing I looked down. No, I told her, I wasn't. Instantly she asked what was wrong. I said yesterday, and she responded something along the lines of oh that, I assumed something had happened to you. I didn't know what to say. Something happened to every American that day, even those of us who didn't personally lose anyone. (And weeks later that friend told me she'd finally realized how bad that day was.)

BY michelle 09.01.11 AT 10:58 PM

I was sitting at this desk reading my e-mail. Just before I logged off AOL, I noticed a photo of the burning tower but didn't think much of it until I saw the words scrolling across the screen: "by order of the FAA, all planes grounded in the US."

It was six in the morning here in California. I turned to my husband and said, "it's like the War of the Worlds, turn on the TV.

We watched for a long time, but I turned it off when my child got up for school. Seeing those firefighters carrying thick hoses toward the towers and looking up, I got chills. I knew some of them , maybe all of them, were going to their deaths.

Before I walked my fourth grader to school, I sat down and told her what had happened. We prayed for the fire fighters and the police officers.

I think those prayers were probably the only constructive thing I did all day long.

BY Aaron Harrington 09.02.11 AT 12:16 AM

My wife and I had just gotten married a week and a half earlier. I was working at a hardware store and living about 45 minutes away. My sister-in-law called just before I left for work that morning and said the Pentagon had been bombed.

I got in my truck and drove to work, not knowing what was going on, but when I got there, they had the radio on and everyone was very grave that day. All except a couple of guys who came in and were jubalent that someone had "finally tought those guys a lesson".

I didn't know what to say, but after thinking it over for ten years, I wish I had said this:

"The people who did this did not do it to them, but to us. They did it to America, and if you had been in one of those buildings, they would have gladly killed you as well. If they had had enough planes, they would fly one into this building right now. They hate us for our way of life, and for our values, and for what they see as sin. They hate our religions and our freedom. So, if you enjoy saying those things, then thank God that those people are not in charge of this country."

BY Kim 09.02.11 AT 7:54 AM

On September 11th, I was in a classroom with 20 something 3rd graders. One of the teacher's had a daughter that worked for a radio station. She told the rest of us. She also dated an Alabama Supreme Court Judge, and he told her that Osama Bin Laudin was behind it.

Word came down from Central Office that we weren't to have a radio or TV on. We weren't to discuss it in front of the children. They were to be protected. They weren't to know that their lives had changed.
I did get a call that one cousin who worked at the Pentagon had called her parents and she was safe. The other sister hadn't been heard from. We didn't hear from her until several days later.

That afternoon I couldn't wait to find out what all had been going on in the world, but when I got home to my own child I realized that I had to protect her from those images as well. As result, I probably know less about 9/11 than any other historical event in our country's history.

I just realized that third grade class is now college bound-at least I hope most of them are.

BY Ajisuun 09.03.11 AT 6:25 AM

I was on a small mission station in The Gambia, West Africa, a Muslim majority country. I had just gotten home for lunch when a fellow missionary knocked on the door. He said, "America has been attacked." A fellow missionary on furlough in the U.S. saw what was happening and immediately called to inform us. Since we had limited internet, no television and seldom listened to the radio, it might have been a while before we heard.

My co-worker and I hunted up a radio and fiddled with it until we found BBC. We listened in horror as they announced that one tower had already collapsed. Minutes after we found the station, the news came that the second tower had fallen.

The missionaries already had a meeting scheduled to discuss some issues, so we gathered together and prayed instead. Living in a village where everyone is Muslim but us and a handful of converts, we didn't know how people would act. In the days that followed we were overwhelmed as people in the village came to express their condolences and ask if we had family members who were hurt or killed. They all expressed horror at the idea that the men who did this terrible thing were Muslim. To a person they said, "The people who did this might say they were Muslim, but they weren't good Muslims. Muslims don't kill people." The brand of Islam here highly values peace and abhors violence. Obviously hearing those thoughts eased our minds and allowed us to reassure our families that we were not in any danger.

Just a few days later, a few of us had to travel to the capital city. Every place where we saw a TV on, it was tuned to CNN or BBC endlessly playing the video of the plane flying into the tower. We were mesmerized and found ourselves seeking out places with televisions all over town. It had seemed surreal to us, very much "War of the Worlds" as our main information to this point had been radio broadcasts. But seeing the endless loop of terror drove it home to us that America truly had been attacked.

BY jaausc 09.03.11 AT 8:26 AM

I was on my way to help a friend who was bedridden due to back surgery. When I arrived at her house she told me what had just transpired. I sat on her bed and we watched together. We quickly called her husband, who was a private pilot, and he told us not to worry. That they would not be using private planes for what they were doing. Ironically, three months later, he would die in a plane crash in England,leaving her with three small children to raise. So the families of 9/11 and their loss was on our minds and reinforced just a few months later.

I will never forget watching for days on end and praying. I remember walking outside and looking up at the usually busy Atlanta sky and there was not one sound or sight of a plane……

Yet I had a strong sense of beyond the clouds, the lack of planes, beyond our nation's pain and anger and loss, that He was there and that there would be ultimate justice someday………..

BY Louise 09.03.11 AT 5:32 PM

At first, it was a normal Tuesday in every way except for being an exceptionally gorgeous Fall day when you feel like all's right with the world. I was enjoying my walk to work on a wide concrete sidewalk next to the grounds of the state capitol in Albany, NY. Then, the news on my earphone radio made me think that a small airplane had hit one of the towers again, as happened a few days before. But the fast and furious reporting dispelled that pretty quickly.

By the time I got to my office, all the radio, internet and live TV reports were too difficult to keep up with and the second plane was even harder to believe. With the info coming fast and furious and iffy, I called my daughter-in-law at home with my youngest granddaughter outside of DC.

Flight 93, the Pentagon crash, all yanked me back to the truck bomb in '93 that was more believable than this horror in the skies now. I was pretty terrified and praying for all those under threat and in power while I tried to make sense of it myself. Even now there is no sense to it. And that's what they wanted. Still do.

BY KatieCumbie 09.04.11 AT 9:16 AM

I was at work in a supermarket bakery (my pay-for-college job) when a co-worker listening to the radio said "A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center." The other staff and I assumed it was a small, private plane - some inexperienced pilot or trainee taking off from LaGuardia and catching a crosswind. But ten minutes later, my boss came behind the counter with a stunned look on his face to tell us that ANOTHER plane had crashed into the second tower - and both were on fire. I still remember the reactions of my co-workers when my first reaction (thanks to a steady diet of WORLD Magazine!) was "Oh, my word - that sounds like Bin Laden." The blank stares of the fifteen people in that bakery clued me in to how oblivious America had become to the threats that surrounded her. With the rest of our nation, we watched on the break room TV in horrified shock as the towers collapsed, and the rest of the day passed in a strange blur - but I will always be grateful to WORLD for preparing me in some small measure for what was to come.

BY Armastatud 09.05.11 AT 11:40 PM

I wonder if I and those my age are the last ones who were below the age of ten but able to comprehend what happened on that day. I was in first grade (homeschooled) on the morning of the attacks. I don't really remember seeing the actual footage or fully understanding what was going on, but I knew something bad had happened. My grandparents, who lived in New York at the time, would probably have been able to see the smoke, I was told.

I have one fairly vivid memory from that day: I was standing at the top of the stairs to my basement, where the TV was on and the rest of my family was gathered. I remember this sense of oppression, foreboding, danger, and a sickening feeling in my throat. I was later told that not only were the Twin Towers attacked, but other people on another airplane that was hijacked had decided to crash in an empty field instead of in the Pentagon. For a little six-year-old, that was one heck of a reality check. That whole day felt off. I remember that.

I know a country song that really speaks about 9/11 and why we should remember it. The song is called, "Have You Forgotten?" and it's by Daryl Worley. This is the chorus:

"Have you forgotten
How it felt that day
To see your homeland under fire
And her people blown away?
Have you forgotten
When those towers fell
We had neighbors still inside
Goin' through a livin' Hell?
Don't you tell me not to worry 'bout Bin Laden.
Have you forgotten?"

It's really weird to think that most of the younger people I interact with, like the children at Sunday School, weren't born back then. What would I teach younger people about that day? I desperately hope I wouldn't instill just anger and bitterness. What I would hope for is for our country and our young people, of which I still am one, to appreciate just how gracious God has been in keeping our country safe. Think about it: In some other countries out there, little bombings or violent acts might be more typical than not. That just goes to show how safe we normally are… I wish it hadn't taken something like this to make us all aware of terrorism, though.

BY JohnV 09.06.11 AT 9:15 AM

I was in math class at the local university in 10th grade. My dad had just crossed into Canada a few hours earlier on his way to go hunt; he couldn't get back in so he just enjoyed the hunt and came back afterward. I figured the Chinese were invading, haha!

BY wrkngal 09.06.11 AT 9:34 AM

I was at my job as a nurse and on the phone with a patient. He took a long time at one point to respond - he had his TV on - and he told me that a plane had hit the twin towers. I found it hard to believe, but after we hung up, I turned on the radio, as did the whole office. Reports were sketchy, but when I heard about the Pentagon, I wondered if we were under attack and it was World War Three. When I heard a plane went down a few miles away in my home of Pennsylvania, I thought the world was ending…

More shared remembrances from your fellow WORLDmag.com readers

Masatomo Kuriya/Corbis
Sept. 11, 2001, 8:24 a.m.: In an attempt to communicate with the cabin of American Flight 11, hijacker Mohamed Atta mistakenly contacts air traffic control . . ."we have some planes."

(Masatomo Kuriya/Corbis)
Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
New Yorkers react.

(Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Naomi Stock/Landov
The South Tower of the World Trade Center is struck.

(Naomi Stock/Landov)
Associated Press/Photo by Chao Soi Cheong
South Tower hit.

(Associated Press/Photo by Chao Soi Cheong)
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
South Tower explodes.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Sara K. Schwittek/Reuters/Landov
Another view of the South Tower exploding on impact.

(Sara K. Schwittek/Reuters/Landov)
Sean Adair/Reuters/Landov
United Flight 175 approaches the South Tower just minutes after American Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower...

(Sean Adair/Reuters/Landov)
Sean Adair/Reuters/Landov
United Flight 175 slams into the South Tower...

(Sean Adair/Reuters/Landov)
Sean Adair/Reuters/Landov
(Sean Adair/Reuters/Landov)
Sean Adair/Reuters/Landov
(Sean Adair/Reuters/Landov)
Sean Adair/Reuters/Landov
(Sean Adair/Reuters/Landov)
Sean Adair/Reuters/Landov
(Sean Adair/Reuters/Landov)
Associated Press/Photo by Amy Sancetta
Office workers hang from windows in the North Tower.

(Associated Press/Photo by Amy Sancetta)
Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/Landov
Evacuation from the World Trade Center.

(Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/Landov)
David Handschuh/NY Daily News Archives via Getty Images
NYFD Deputy Chief Gerard A. Barbara looks up at the burning towers; moments later he would go in, never to return.

(David Handschuh/NY Daily News Archives via Getty Images)
Henry Ray Abrams/AFP/Getty Images
View of the burning towers.

(Henry Ray Abrams/AFP/Getty Images)
Associated Press/Photo by Jerry Torrens
The South Tower collapses.

(Associated Press/Photo by Jerry Torrens)
Photo by Aaron Milestone/AFP/Getty Images
First tower collapses.

(Photo by Aaron Milestone/AFP/Getty Images)
Associated Press/Photo by Graham Morrison
Inspecting the rubble.

(Associated Press/Photo by Graham Morrison)
Photo by Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
Firefighters after towers collapse.

(Photo by Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
Associated Press/Photo by Marty Lederhandler
Firefighters administer aid to one of their own.

(Associated Press/Photo by Marty Lederhandler)
Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Edward Fine, a survivor from the 78th floor of the North Tower, walks through debris following the collapse of the towers.

(Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)
Associated Press/Photo by Mark Lennihan
Destruction at a subway station near the twin towers.

(Associated Press/Photo by Mark Lennihan)
Daniel Byrne/WireImage/Getty Images
One of the entrances to the Wall Street Journal's office building.

(Daniel Byrne/WireImage/Getty Images)
Associated Press/Photo by Stuart Ramson
A view after the collapse of both towers.

(Associated Press/Photo by Stuart Ramson)
Luke Frazza/AFP/Getty Images
American Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon.

(Luke Frazza/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
Firefighters battle the blaze at the Pentagon.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Associated Press/Photo by Mark Faram, Navy Times
A priest prays over a wounded man at the Pentagon as emergency workers respond after the attack.

(Associated Press/Photo by Mark Faram, Navy Times)
Associated Press/Photo by David Lloyd, Tribune-Democrat
First responders in Shanksville, Pa., after the crash of United Flight 93

(Associated Press/Photo by David Lloyd, Tribune-Democrat)
David Maxwell/AFP/Getty Images
The crash scene in Shanksville.

(David Maxwell/AFP/Getty Images)
Plane: Associated Press/Photo by William Kratzke; Hijackers: Associated Press
The 19 terrorist hijackers.

(Plane: Associated Press/Photo by William Kratzke; Hijackers: Associated Press)
U.S. Navy/Getty Images
Hijackers Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz al-Omari pass through airport security.

(U.S. Navy/Getty Images)
Associated Press/Photo by Steve Miller
With almost 5,000 planes in the air, the FAA grounds all flights.

(Associated Press/Photo by Steve Miller)
Associated Press/Photo by Doug Mills
President Bush addresses the nation, calling the attacks "evil, despicable acts of terror" and promising "to find those responsible and bring them to justice."

(Associated Press/Photo by Doug Mills)