A day to remember

Posted: Friday, September 14, 2001

I awoke early Tuesday to my clock radio, "... the World Trade Center has disappeared." My first thoughts went to a false broadcast, like the "War of the Worlds." I yelled at my dad to turn on the TV. We scrolled through the channels, and to our horror, found footage of a gaping hole in one side of the Pentagon. What we saw next was worse. The World Trade Center was collapsing in upon itself. This quite amazed me. I ran out the door, some minutes late as the news was rather distracting, to the school bus stop. There a friend was already waiting.

We traded greetings, asking each other, "You catch the goings-on?"

"Yes, holy crap, I did."

The ride to school was quiet. After arriving at school, I saw my friends, repeating my question, "You catch the news?" Most had, responding in voices that were fairly grim. I went into my Metals class, four or five students were already there listening to the radio. It was more of the same, until I went to the school library with my English class. There was a TV tuned to CNN, showing footage of the second airplane crashing into the World Trade Center. This elicited a good amount of curses. It showed the Twin Towers, still standing, as the second airliner rammed the southern tower. I'm sure that everyone has seen the footage over and over, but, the aircraft hit, and then there was a seeming delay of a fraction of a second, then a fireball shot out of the other side.

My exact thoughts, after my mind had cleared enough to have thoughts, was "dear God, it's a multi-million dollar special-effects movie, only, it's real."

Most conversations I had later that day were based upon these events. The day was very strange, fear from some, anxiety from others. And then there were those who were seemingly unaffected by the tragedy. In one of my classes I logged onto the Internet, searching the sites for more information. Upon one site, I saw photos of people celebrating, celebrating, this attack on the U.S.

More footage. Collapsing World Trade. Crowds running from falling debris and walls of dust and smoke. Different angles of the second attack. First footage of the first crash. Three-hundred firemen missing, presumed dead. Fire chief and deputy fire chief dead. My father thought hard about those heroic people, running forward to help those running back and out. He gathered us to him, and told us to think of them tonight as we go to sleep.

And so it went, the worst terrorist attack in the history of the world, the toppling of the World Trade Center, a hole in the Pentagon, and a plane crash in Pennsylvania. It's a Tuesday I'll never, ever forget waking to, "... the World Trade Center has disappeared."

Thomas James


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