Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11, 2001

I will never forget where I was when I first heard the news that changed America.

I was a senior in high school. It was between 1st and 2nd hour. I ran into my friend Amarisa while we were heading toward our classes. She said she was in the nurse's office when they saw the breaking news on the television. It was right after the first plane hit the World Trade Center.

As soon as I walked into my newspaper class, I find my friend Bazigha, who was one of the few Muslim students in the school, not to mention a very sweet girl. After I wish her a Happy Birthday, I tell her about the breaking news. We ask Mr. Russell to turn on the television so we can watch, but he declines, since we were on deadline for Friday's publication. So Bazigha and I sat on the yearbook side of the journalism lab, since Mrs. Thompson had her tv on. We couldn't hear it, but was able to watch through the windows and try to break down what was happening. We had no idea what was being speculated about who was behind this attack.

After newspaper.... all normal classroom activities ceased.

Yes, we went from one class to another like we did every day, but our agenda was either watching the footage on tv (yes, my school had a television in every classroom, with cable) or we were all discussing the events that happened. I loved how my Spanish teacher, Mrs. Urquilla, made sure we knew the facts about the events. She was very smart in making sure that the biases and judgements were avoided.

When I got home from school that afternoon, I immediately turned on the television. Having missed the footage from when both towers of the World Trade Center was hit, I was finally able to catch it. It made my entire body chill (and still does today). I continued to watch my tv until at least midnight, maybe one in the morning. I didn't care about sleeping for school the next day.... this was more important.

The following couple weeks were interesting, to say the least. My friend Bazigha had to be escorted to her classes because some of the students were showing hatrid and anger toward her. The football team had a very touching tribute before the September 14th game. A few of the student groups had decided to sell t-shirts honoring 9/11/01, also setting up boxes for donating clothes, food, and medical supplies. I started saving magazines that featured the events: People, Entertainment Weekly. I started watching the news on a daily basis (which I've heard that tragedies usually trigger non news watchers to convert... and I continue to watch the news every day).

The following semester, the end of my senior year, I was in my Current Events class and our teacher had us watch a documentary. It was supposed to be about how a rookie becomes a firefighter. It ended up becoming a very touching piece about the events of September 11 as they were happening. I proudly own this documentary and I watch it every year. Of all the videos, tributes, and compilations out there... THIS is the best one. There are no biases, no political agendas behind it. It's just real.

I will never forget what happened on September 11, 2001


  1. None of my teachers would turn on the TVs in my classes. I didn't get to see anything about it til after school.

  2. I was asleep and got a call from a friend right after the first plane hit. I spent the day watching the footage and praying my wife would make it home safely from work. We lived in Nashville, TN but you never know what is going to happen when there is that kind of panic and shock in the streets. That day changed all of us inside in some way and the world will never be the same. A few years back I made a video tribute of my own and put it on youtube. I thought you might like to take a look.

  3. I was working for the local utility company and their 24-hour emergency centre had a couple of TVs there. The entire team were crowded around watching the footage. I had heard (before the 2nd plane hit) that someone had flown a plane into the WTC. I assumed it was some student pilot in a Cessna. Little did I know.
    The following weekend I was with a group of people attending a conference in Salt Lake City. We bused down and back. Our stop to get INTO your country (I'm in Canada) was about 30 minutes. Getting back, we waited over 2 HOURS.