Friday, September 9, 2011

We remember where we were... on this day 10 years ago- 9/11

For whatever reason, I have always believed that things happen as they should. It breaks our heart, makes us stronger, or provides us with the greatest joy. There are few things I can compare to the deep sorrow I felt during the events of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center 10 years ago.
ai3 didn't exist in 2001, so while many of us knew each other, we weren't together on this memorable day. I thought I'd reach out to everyone to document their memories of this day 10 years ago:

I was on the 25th floor of the TVS building... saw the first news reports while riding the elevator up to work.  Needless to say, we did NOT stay in that high rise all day.  I headed home and Rob O'Keefe and I sat in his apartment watching the news ALL day long. - Kerry

I remember I was a senior in high school in the middle of giving a presenation to my psychology class when the adminstration came over the intercom and announced to the school to turn our TV's on because a threatening event was currently taking place on our country. I remember hearing about the Pentagon and immediately becoming worried because I knew my sister was working as an attorney in DC at the time only blocks from the plane crash. She was fine, and her building was evacuated quickly. Being that my entire family is from NY (I am first generation Georgian), that event was very emotional for us all. - Jillian

I heard the news real-time as I was driving out to the Audi dealership with Patrick, picking up his TT. We watched the towers tumble on TV in the Audi customer's lounge with a bunch of strangers. - Dave

My wife and I spent 9/8 to 9/10 just ahead of 9/11 in New York visting a close friend and looking at a potential move to Brooklyn. Having left New York on a plane 9 hours before 9/11, it always stirs my soul as to how close we were to witnessing that moment first hand.
As 9/11 was unfolding I was in a car with my friend Dave who was giving me a ride to the dealership to pick up my car. We were listening to the radio and the reports were coming in that a small plane had just hit the WTC. Then came the second report and the second plane. My heart sunk and my mind took over trying to rationalize the event and what it meant now, in the next moment, and days to come. I was not capable of this task. As we reached the dealership I immediately asked them to turn the television on and stood watching in horror as the flames engulfed the buildings. I kept thinking back to everything I learned about the structure of buildings in school and in practice and my mind kept telling met that the steel in those buildings would not withstand that immense heat for too long. I have never wanted to be so wrong about anything in my life.- Patrick

First period, 11th grade American Lit with Mr. Corbett. The whole high school gathered after the first planes as every single student watched in horror as the second plane hit. In October I went to DC for the "National Youth Leadership Forum" - they drove us by the Pentagon where an entire 1 of 5 sides were completely missing.  Burned into my memory. - Ethan

My story isn't exciting but unforgettable none the less. It was my senior year and my roommate woke me up to tell me a pilot had flown into the World Trade Center. We watched the towers fall on TV in front of our eyes. It was my friend's birthday, her birthday dinner was morose that evening.... - Amy

That weekend I had driven home to Columbus for a college friend's wedding.  I got back to Atlanta late on Sunday and Monday morning got up and went in to work at TVS.  I'm not sure why, but Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001 I was really tired and I hit snooze several times sleeping in an extra hour or so.  I listened to the news on the radio all the way into the office and just before I got to the parking deck, the second plane hit the WTC. The rest of the morning was like everyone else's I guess.  We all watched what happened on TV in our studio. The rest of the morning and early afternoon was spent trying to get in touch with my best friend from collecge who worked in DC and was at the Pentagon two or three times a week. It took all day, but I finally talked to his wife and he was fine and in his office across the river from the Pentagon.  That is the last time that I have decided to sleep in an extra hour just because I was a little tired to this day. - Chris

When 9/11 occurred, I was in 8th grade.  I don't remember what I was doing the moments leading up to me finding out what was going on, but I do remember the very moment when I first became aware. A girlfriend and I were talking through the main corridor of the middle school building where we saw a TV.  This was unusual, the school rarely had TVs in the classrooms, let alone the hallway. My friend and I walked over to check it out, unaware that what we would find would be so terrifying. On the TV was the aftermath of the first plane crashing into the first building.  At the time, we didn't understand what was happening and we wondered why none of the teachers told us about this, and if they even knew it themselves.  That morning, my mom picked me up early because of rumors that the CDC or CNN were next. We spent the rest of the day at a neighbor's house, all of us centered around the television, where we witnessed the second plane crash, and later, the moment the buildings collapsing. That moment was the moment I think I really began to understand how horrific of an event this was. What I didn't understand was why something like this happened and I wondered how can anyone be this horrible of a person. I asked my mom these questions. Her only answer was, "I don't know," as tears rolled down her face. - Heather

On September 10th I was walking the streets of Brooklyn, seriously considering a move to a brownstone and establishing a new career and life in NYC.  We grabbed an early flight out of NYC later that day, the last, it turns out, that made it out of town that night due to thunderstorms. The next morning I was touring the facilities of GA Tech for the Technology Square project when we saw the TV footage in one of the labs. I called my family on the drive back to TVS to let them know I was home safe.  I watched the collapse on a television in the TVS library.  All employees in high rise buildings of Midtown Atlanta were told to go home due to threats. I drove home, strangely noticing the beautiful blue skies with no airplanes (flights had been grounded) and I watched the rest on TV at home... I still cry every time I watch the footage. And I know ai3 wouldn't exist if 9/11 hadn't happened. - Lucy

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