On the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11th, Americans are reflecting on this devastating day when militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Where were you when it happened and how did it affect your life going forward?
I was in art class at Chapel Hill Elementary School, they were letting us free draw, which was very much out of character. The teachers were gathered in the hallway and I remember hearing one crying. I was drawing a red Jeep when the front office came over the intercom and called out dozens of names for check out. I was upset that I wasn’t one of them. A short time later a second round of names was called and mine was on the list so I sprang up excitedly and headed for the office. I turned the corner to see a line of parents stretching out the door and down the sidewalk. My mother grabbed me and hurriedly walked me across the courtyard to the middle school to pick up my sister. She was trying not to cry. I kept asking her what was wrong, I asked if someone had died, I remember questioning if it was our dog, Fluffy. We got home and she made us macaroni and cheese and we watched as the footage of the attacks played over and over on the news. Before that day, my memories are spotty and brief, but I’ll never forget that day and how it changed everything.
I lived in Crisfield, Maryland at the time I was in fifth grade and we were at recess. I knew instantly something bad happened, all the teachers were starting to cry and a lot of students were getting dismissed. Then my name and all of my cousins’ names were called for dismissal. My aunt and uncle were in the office crying. When we got in the van she told us all what was going on. I was confused though. Then I get home and my mom has the news on and she was just sitting there crying. We watched the news all day that day. I couldn’t believe what was going on.
Cathryn M. Mitchell
I was driving down Austell Road headed to work at Home Depot and listening to The Bert Show when they said a plane had just hit the World Trade Center Tower. I remember shaking my head and being like what did they just say? Everyone was so confused and trying to figure out what had just happened. When I got to work and went to the break room to clock in everyone was surrounding the TVs watching it all play out. It was one of those days that I don’t care how old you were, you will NEVER forget where you were when you heard what happened.
Stephanie Ayers Sharpe
I was 24 years old, mom of three, and at home with my newborn daughter (3rd child) — the other two were at school. I was folding laundry when my friend Gina Shealy Wisniewski called me and asked me if I saw the news. I had not had the TV on so I said no. She said hurry and turn it on. While we were on the phone only a few moments later the second plane hit the towers. We both shared some words of shock and both decided to go get our kids from school and bring them home. Will never forget that day.
I was eating lunch in my elementary school cafeteria In first grade. We had the honor of paying our respects at ground zero in March. If you have the means to go… do it.
Christina Peel McDermott
I was in fifth grade. It was a day when the counselor would come in and do a lesson, but instead she came in and turned on the TV and said “something’s happening.” We all sat at our desks and watched the towers fall. My teacher started going outside into the courtyard to c all her son, who was a pilot. She was panicked but tried to hide it. It took most of the day before she got ahold of him. That night my parents kept the news on and we had one of those huge box big screen TVs, and they just kept replaying it over and over.
I was a junior in high school. All the teachers turned on their TVs and we were able to watch everything as it was happening. I’ll never forget.
I was at Eagle Base (Tuzla), Bosnia-Herzegovina. We were preparing to return back to Fort Stewart within a few weeks. Some of the guys were watching television while most of us were asleep. I must have subconsciously heard about the first plane because I dreamed a humvee drove into a guard tower. I woke up to see half the room huddled around the TV. We were thinking it was a terrible accident. Minutes later, the second plane struck and we realized this was no accident. While preparing for work that evening, we were briefed on the other planes. Many of us were prepared and willing to forego coming back home and go after those responsible. Going forward, I have realized that the battlefield can be in our own city and can happen at any time without warning.
I had taken my grandson to the hospital with a possible concussion, he had fallen on the playground equipment. The hospital staff was at a standstill. That news affected so many lives.
I was at work at Tune Up Specialist in Lithia Springs. Our lobby TV was showing the news. I was watching thinking what the heck. Then the second plane hit, it was so crazy, I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. I hollered to the guys in the shop to come see. It was such a confusing moment. It was such a sad, unbelievable, devastating experience. I was in tears. My heart still breaks for the men and women lost and their families. I think everyone hugged their families tight that night! I have not made it to the memorial, but I would like to! God Bless Everyone!
Brandi Richards Rampley
I was at First Baptist Church of Mableton. We were in staff prayer before opening the doors to our preschool. As soon as we opened the doors a parent standing there told us that a plane had just hit one of the twin tower buildings. I immediately looked at the administrator and said, “That isn’t an accident.” She asked me what I meant and I told her the airspace there is a no fly zone. We continued to get kids out of cars to let them in, when we got down to the last few cars we then heard about the second plane. I don’t remember if we turned the radio or TV on but we finished out the day. I was so saddened by all the images on TV and at the stories of loss. I was already patriotic but I believe due to this tragedy I became even more patriotic. I miss the days of unity and prayer that we had after this. I wish we, as proud Americans, could have stayed united as we were in the aftermath of this tragedy.
I was at work filing paperwork when I heard on the radio what happened. I turned the radio up and told the office staff Marcus Kirklen Jan to come listen. We both were in shock. When the second plane hit, I ran home to get a portable tv and we used rabbit ears to watch live coverage of what was happening. We decided to close about 3 o’clock and I went home to my daughter Ashley Grimberg getting out of school. She was in first grade and I made her sit and watch the news with me telling her she was experiencing history being made. We watched until we fell asleep. My husband was in Atlanta working and I tried explaining to him about the planes and he didn’t understand what was happening. I awoke at midnight with him crying watching the news as he was just learning the concept of what took place. A day I will never forget. I can still feel the shock and heartbreak 20 years later. God bless America.
In Homer Danley’s citizenship and economics class at DCHS watching the news.
Deby Shaw Voyles
I was at work and we turned the TV on in the break room as the second plane crashed into the tower.
I was at work in my pre-K class. We were doing centers and all of a sudden everyone went silent. It was an eerie feeling, so the lead teacher went out front and they said a plane just hit the tower. That’s the day that I will never forget.
I was in Leeds at a Brewery Tour, as I worked for Carlsberg at the time. The tour was cancelled and we were taken to a room with a TV, where we sat and watched the events unfold. Total shock and horror. We all went to the pub that evening, nobody really spoke, the mood was very somber. I later found out that a lad I went to school with was in one of the towers. RIP Geoff Campbell.
I was in NY working at the FAA in Queens. I was sitting in the cafeteria having breakfast and looking at the TV when I saw the plane hit the Twin Tower. This horrible site will never leave my memory because it was a total shock. I lost friends who worked and ran into the buildings to help others. May their souls always be at peace.
Terri Phillips Bridges
I was teaching English at Alexander High. Spent the day trying to console teens while dealing with my own shock, heartbreak, and fear.
Robin Sherer Hill
I had taken the day off to receive a furniture delivery at my new home. I spent the whole day glued to the television in shock and horror at what we were witnessing. #neverforget
Brandi Fisher Kilvington
I was 18 and young, first time working Mom living in Delaware. I was at work as a customer service rep on the phone with a customer who lived in Texas. She screamed and hung up. Then a coworker asked to use my phone to call her husband who was working at a nearby power plant. She was extremely worried and heard a rumor we were being attacked. I walked to my boss’s office just as the second plane hit. I never felt so scared and sick. I immediately left driving like a mad person to get my 1 year old. Spent the rest of the day crying and watching everything unfold at my parents house. I will never ever forget that day.
I was at work at the old Bill Arp school.
I was at work and my best friend Kathy Turner Currie’s husband Ray called her and told her what happened. We were scared and couldn’t believe what had happened.
I was in an equipment room, servicing two low pressure boilers with my crew. They were hard at work, when the news came on the radio. We stood there, in disbelief. … and then, the second plane struck the south tower.
Barbara A. Savage
I couldn’t believe that this had happened in the USA. Especially since this had been tried on the World Trade Center twice before.
I was at work when everyone started talking about it. I got home turned on the news and it was devastating.
I was supposed to get engaged on that day. Of course, it didn’t happen. We got engaged two days later.
Rocking my 2 week old newborn.
For the first time in my life, I understood the true meaning of terrorism. I watched as the news broadcast live, as our beloved NY Towers burned, I watched as a plot unfolded, more of our cities became targets. I watched as the stream of American humanity suddenly became people with names and faces while we all held our breath waiting and hoping for news of survival. I watched as heroes emerged and fought their last fight.and I cried.
I was at work for National Grid in the call centre, had just gone into the canteen to grab a coffee and it was on every TV. I was so shocked, I literally couldn’t believe what I was witnessing!!
Beth Wilson Laughlin
I was in my car and on my way to work at a local daycare I was employed with at the time and listening to everything on the radio. I pulled into the parking lot and just sat in my car and cried. For days, weeks, months, I watched the news and heard and saw the tragedies unfold. It was the most heartbreaking event I had ever seen. It is still haunting to this day.
I was in middle school when it happened. We were having recess and brought in and parents started showing up. We were told it was a bombing.
On my way to Greystone to pay my light bill, when the 1st tower was hit. My husband was inside waiting in line to pay, when the 2nd plane hit. I was listening to 96 Rock and when that second plane hit….they and everyone immediately knew we were under attack.
Christine Williams Nicholson
I was headed to a Bible study at Central Baptist and when I got there people who had already arrived were on their knees at the altar!!! It was and is still so heartbreaking!!
I was in Mr. Piles fifth grade class. They did not tell us what was going on. My classmates just kept getting checked out. I didn’t find out till I got home and saw it on TV. It was so sad.
Sixth grade Chapel Hill Middle School. Teachers pulled outside of the class room with no information given. I vaguely remember seeing it on the TV In the classroom shortly after.
I was in first grade. My mom came and got me and told me what happened. I didn’t understand till I got home and saw it on TV. Very sad and scary.
I was getting ready for school, 10th grade year. Every class that day we just sat there and watched the news. I joined the military because of 9/11.
Fourth grade. I wasn’t aware of what happened until walking to the parking lot at the end of the day. For the longest time after that I laid in bed at night terrified of the sound of every plane in the sky.
My first year teaching in Cobb County. We were really close to Dobbins. My students were in specials, and one of the floater subs came around and told us to turn on the television. My teammate and I turned it on and saw the first tower on fire… still confused about what was going on, we kept the TV on and saw the second plane fly into the other tower. I knew then, America was under attack. The once crowded airspace, it was eerily silent. I started out with 29 students, by 1 p.m. I had three. I honestly thought it was the beginning of Armageddon.
Damion Donald Wilson
I was at a NATO air meet in Norway.. walked in the library catching the second plane hit. Germany left, then us. Got to the UK where I was stationed. It was crazy because the base was locked down but military housing was not... but it changed quickly.
I was waiting to go to Grandparents Day at my grandson’s school and saw it on TV just shortly before I had to walk in that school. It scared me to death. I remember the words the principal said. He said I know y’all are all upset but these children don’t know or understand. Let’s go in there and have a good day with them. We can all cry later. And we all hugged those kids with all our hearts because we knew right then how precious life was and how much freedom was going to cost.
I was actually in a monopoly tournament online with some friends when one came across from Australia and said a plane had hit the first tower. I ran to the TV and was watching the news when the plane hit the second. I was in shock after that, then when I heard of the plane hitting the pentagon and then the one that went down in the field I just cried all day for the loss of life and the pain the families would go through. Me and my first husband watched as the towers fell and we were in awe because we had been there a few weeks prior, he was a truck driver. We had taken video of us going through NYC and the towers. All I could do that day was watch TV. I don’t believe Robin Roberts or George Stephanopoulos slept, every time my eyes opened they were all I saw for weeks on the TV screen.
I was at work. I’m not as trusting as I once was at all. I don’t like crowds and really do not want to fly anywhere.