Where Were You On 9/11/01? Here’s What Heather Remembers From That Day…
I think all of us remember what we were doing and where we were when we heard about the attacks on 9/11/01. Here's what I remember about that day.
I grew up in northeastern New Jersey, very close to New York City. There is a hill close to my old house that, if you went to the top on a clear day, you could see the World Trade Center Towers, Empire State Building and the rest of the NYC skyline.
On 9/11/01 I was living in Raleigh, N.C. and working as a store accountant at a grocery store. I had scheduled vacation to start on that Tuesday, and I was planning to visit my family and friends in northern NJ for a week. I went into work at 7 a.m. that morning to double check the weekending paperwork and make sure everything was in order for the week I would be gone. When I got home to my parents' house to pack up my stuff and head north, I got a phone call from my brother Joseph. He said, "Have you seen what happened in New York City?"
I immediately went into my parents' living room and started watching the news on television. Only one plane had hit the Twin Towers at that point, and my first thought was that my godmother's son worked in the World Trade Center. Not knowing whether or not she had heard what was going on, I called her. She was in a panic because she hadn't heard from her son Johnny at that point, so I let her go. The next call was to my father at work. He had heard about the plane hitting the tower, but it wasn't clear at the time whether is was an accident or something else. My youngest brother Michael was asleep upstairs, so I woke him up, and he came down to watch TV with me.
I called my best friend Suzie at the bank she worked at in Montvale, N.J. She hadn't heard anything about it yet and told me later that she wasn't able to watch any of what happened on television until she got home. Her work didn't have cable, so the television in her break room only had an antenna. After the attacks, the signals for local NYC television and radio stations were interrupted because the antennas and transmitters for those stations were located on top of the World Trade Center Towers.
After sitting in front of the television for what felt like (and was) hours, I finally heard from my godmother. Her son was in the South Tower when the North Tower was hit. Instead of staying in the building like the announcement had said, he left. He was on the ferry heading across the Hudson when the second tower was hit. Sadly, 2,977 people weren't so lucky and lost their lives that day.
I did make it to NJ to visit a few months after the attacks, and I found out that several of the people who lost their lives that day were from my old town as well as the surrounding area. One of my old classmates from high school lost his father that day -- his name was Ronald Magnuson.
Sadly, the attacks not only touched the friends and families who lost people that day but also the people who were involved with the cleaning up of the World Trade Center Site. A girl I went to school with was involved with the rescue and then the recovery immediately following the attacks. I could tell after talking to her that the task was mentally draining, and I couldn't imagine all that was involved.
A couple of people here in the office have said that they have never been to NYC. If you are planning a trip, I would definitely include the 9/11 memorial in your visit. Looking at the pools that are the footprints of the where the Twin Towers once stood and seeing the new Freedom Tower will give you just a small glimpse of the magnitude of what happened that day. The 9/11 memorial museum will not be open until next spring, but you can see some of the artifacts that will be displayed below. I've also included video shot from the top of the new Freedom Tower, as well as a list of all the names of the people who lost their lives that day.
Please take a moment today to say a little prayer for all the families who lost someone, whether it was from the Twin Towers in NYC, the Pentagon or in the field in Shanksville, Penn.