Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

As the entire country stops and remembers 9/11, we feel its appropriate to share our stories of 9/11. It has become our generation's day where we all know where we were and what we were doing when our world stopped for a moment. The day was terrifying and we can honestly have no idea how the people directly affected must have felt. Even to this day, if I just see a touching story about that day I cry (I'm tearing up now).

Don't worry, we'll never forget.

Here are our stories.

I was in my sophomore year at Winona State University in Minnesota and awoke that Tuesday like any other day. I got ready for my Natural History class (a local natural biology class). I had not turned the television on that morning and just got ready for class. It was a gorgeous early fall day with the sun shining and the birds were chirping as I crossed campus.

When I arrived for my 9:30 AM (CST) class, about an hour and 45 minutes after the first plane had hit, one student had a transistor radio in his ear and asked the whole class, "Did you hear a plane hit one of the World Trade Centers?" Only one other student said yes. We all started asking questions. He continued to listen to his radio and told us that a second plane had hit the second tower. We were all starting to panic at this time.

Our professor came in that morning and told us we were going to have a lab day and were going to walk around campus identifying trees. At this point, this was the last thing on our mind. I will be honest. I don't remember what my professor said that day. We did walk around as a group identifying local Minnesota trees but that was all I can vaguely remember. My attention was glued on to the student with the radio. He told us that there were reports that a plane has hit the Pentagon. I was even more scared and panicky. Our professor took note that no one was really paying attention to her and let us out of class a little early.

I ran across campus back to my dorm at Sheehan Hall. I flew into my room and turned on the TV. My dad was working overnights at the time and I knew many times he was fall asleep watching the morning news. My mom was at work and my sister was at school. So I called my dad screaming. He was sleeping as I suspected. I demanded he turn the TV on and see what was going on. The second tower had just fallen. At this point the chaos had officially ended but the questions were just beginning. I asked him questions he could not answer.

We received an email that all classes that day were optional. I sat in my room staring at the television for a few hours. I just sat crying for hours. My roommate, Jenn, didn't seem as affected as me. They announced that a plane crash had happened in Pennsylvania which was supposed to be aimed at the White House. Later we would find out that some brave people stopped the hijackers from their plans being properly taken out.

I did not attend the rest of my classes that day. I eventually ventured out and saw how others were taking it. I walked through the Union and saw everyone crowded around the large television there. Some people were crying and everyone else just sat silent. It really summed up the day.

The rest of the day was a blur but that morning and early afternoon will always be burned in my mind.

I was still attending Middleton High School at the time and I was in the first semester of my senior year.  The day started just as any other, just like everyone else on that day.  My first class class of the day just went like every other one, my teacher showed up late to my morning math class and I did my best to pay attention to him.

While I was on my way to my 2nd class of the day, I remember this commotion happening in the hallway and there being a sense of urgency that all the students where having, almost a panic.  There where was some rumors about "attacks" and "a war starting".  The first thing that I did was discount them, you hear a lot of stupid rumors in a high school hallway.  I was thinking that it was part of some senior prank I wasn't in on.  When I got to my next class that everything changed.

My next class there wasn't attendance, there wasn't any instruction, there wasn't anything but most of the school glued to whatever TV they could find.  I watched in silent shock, just like everyone else.  I remember the feeling of helplessness that I had watching the attacks.  I was livid that I couldn't do anything about what was going on other than sitting in a classroom watching the TV.

When I got home I remember my parents hugging me, I also remember my dad taking my car to go fill up the gas tank.  He remembered that there was a big run on gas after Pearl Harbor and didn't want to see me having to pay $4 for a gallon of gas to a price gouger (how times have changed).  I remember the rest of the day being solemn and quiet, there where a lot of prayer meetings at every local church I could think of.

The emotions of that day are a bit hard for me to sum up.  Shock, anger, fear, compassion and sorrow are just some of the emotions that I felt that day.  It's a little hard for me to put them into words.

9/11 Never forgotten.

1 comment:

  1. I cant believe you still have the Winonan from that week! I suppose I just didnt keep things like I should have. Your morning is similar to mine and Max's memory of the gas reminded me that I had walked around the lakes that afternoon and the two gas stations were completely packed with cars. Do you remember the memorial service that was held infront of the library? That one is an emotional memory for me. I remember someone in the reserves talking about leaving for deployement in the upcoming days. At the same time it feels like so long ago but only yesterday.


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