OT: A remembrance - where were you?

Submitted by crg on September 11th, 2016 at 5:18 PM

Dear fellow MGoBloggers,

Today is 9/11 and 15 years now removed from that fateful day.  I happen to be sitting outside on this nice afternoon and a nearby bell tower chimed the 5 pm notes and then... played the Battle Hymn of the Republic (Glory, glory Hallelujah...)  It made me stop everything for a moment just to enjoy the moment and reflect on this day.


I was a student on campus (soph year) when everything happened on 9/11/2001.  I still remember most of that morning vividly - at least when it was obvious something was happening.  I was on an early bus from north campus to central and heard some hushed whispers by others.  I arrived at my first lecture (Physics, large lecture hall) and the professor came on stage and said that class was canceled and everyone should try to contact their families.  This was before the smartphone and I had no idea what was actually happening.  I went to the closest computer lab (chemistry building), which was completely empty when normally at least half full by that time of day.  Went to CNN.com and saw the headlines - read as much as I could for 30 minutes or so (internet was painfully slow that morning) and went back to the dorms.  I spent the rest of the day with some hallmates just watching CNN nonstop (saw the towers fall live).  A few of us tried to play some chords on a guy's guitar or play some catch now and then, but no one was really interested in anything else but the coverage.  The next day was quiet - people started getting back to their routines and going from there.

I feel like we're all still trying to get back to those normal routines, but I for one have not stopped watching the cable news channels religiously since that day.  Let us never forget.

If you have any reflections or remembrances to share, feel free.



The Fugitive

September 11th, 2016 at 5:22 PM ^

8th grade gym class. 

I remember going to the gas station with my mom after school to top off our car, we had to wait a long time to get to a pump because so many other people were there.  My dad was also out of town on business on the west coast so he had to drive home.

Those are just some random things I remember from the day.


September 11th, 2016 at 7:32 PM ^

High school as well (I know there are several people on this board who went to HS with me). Biology at first, then continued watching throughout history and English. We were watching when the second plane hit, and someone said "this was on purpose." (Remember people weren't sure if the first one was an accident). That was the big lightbulb "holy shit" moment.

Cell phone lines were jammed, there wasn't a lot of outside contact going on. It was tough to process. I remember they didn't tell the middle school students - just sent a note home to parents.


September 11th, 2016 at 5:25 PM ^

7th grade, Sports Sociology class. Teacher turned the game on and within minutes was instructed by the principal to cut off all live feeds. School was dismissed early; insanely long lines in carpool lanes. Went home and called friend to get his thoughts. I'll never forget the shock and general lack of understanding. Parents didn't do the best of jobs fully explaining the situation.

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September 11th, 2016 at 7:38 PM ^

had a co-worker pull me into the hall and said turn on your TV we are under attack. Turned it on, saw footage of the first attack, tuned in to see the second attack happen. Principal sent out an email telling us to turn tvs off, I did not, we watched the rest of the day, I told kids we were in the midst of living history. Kids asked questions, felt they needed an opportunity to have them answered. We had great discussion all day. I had also joined the fire department that June, and everything changed for us, it was crazy how proceedures changed.


September 12th, 2016 at 5:57 AM ^

The teacher rolled in a TV and tried to get the feed and it was grainy but enough to get what was going on. I remember wanting to go home and just watch cartoons or something to not think about it but even cartoon network was showing live feeds and news of the events

Mr. Elbel

September 11th, 2016 at 5:30 PM ^

I had no idea anything was going on the entire day. Some kids got pulled put by their parents but mine left me in. We were far enough away in Flint that I think they just didn't want to freak me out as much. So I didn't actually find out until I got home and saw the coverage on TV.


September 11th, 2016 at 6:21 PM ^

My kids were your age. I was 40 and left a sales call to go home and watch CNN. Early reports were that a small plane hit the tower. I watched both towers come down.

I lived in the far western suburbs of Chicago where the inbound planes would turn and head to O'Hare. It was weird to see the sky void of planes for three days.

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rob f

September 11th, 2016 at 11:45 PM ^

that day and week really struck me, too.  When I finally went outside around noon (a sunny and beautiful day), I looked to the sky and visually confirmed what the networks were saying---ALL planes had been grounded.  As we're in Berrien County due east of Chicago, there always seemed to be planes flying over.

 I wasn't working that day---happened to have decided to use my last couple of paid personal days that week, including what ended up being the day of the attack (my seniority year was ending that week), my now ex-wife had gone to work and I got the 3 kids (grades 9, 7, and 1) on their buses at 7:25 am and decided to catch up an hour of my sleep.

When I got back up around 8:45, I didn't even immediately turn on the TV, instead making myself a small breakfast and a pot of coffee before sitting down at the dining room table finally at about 9:15 and turning on the TV to the already-unfolding horrors.  I remember immediately getting up and going to the living room to watch The Today Show on our bigger TV and other than refilling my coffee, didn't stray for nearly 3 hours other than to call my parents----they already were glued to their TV--- and text my wife.  At some point I nibbled at  my long-cold breakfast, but didn't finish it, just had no appetite.

Other than that, I stayed home and waited for my wife to get out early and return home (she got back around 2).  We talked, she suggested I fill the cars with gas, and I went into the nearby town to my regular gas station, where the owner (a pleasant and friendly man of Arabic roots) met me at the door and offered me a free donut, he spoke sadly about what he had been watching on his small TV, and he thanked me for stopping by and having a minute to talk and have that donut.  I returned immediately and filled the other car, too, this being a small town the long lines hadn't yet formed.

The next day I returned to that station for a Freep, a News, and a Kalamazoo Gazette, he had saved several copies of each in his back room for his regular "friends", and he apologized to me ( for what the news was by then blaming on Arab terrorists).   I assured him that he was blameless, but I could tell his heart was very heavy that 2nd day---he even apologized for the fact gas priced had shot up so much.  


September 12th, 2016 at 7:54 AM ^

I had a similar experience Rob.  I was working at Detroit Diesel and watched events on TV.  My wife worked at the RenCen which I immediately thought of as a target.  I tried multiple times to reach her at work to see if the towers had been evacuated but there was no answer.  Going outside for better cell reception I noticed there were no planes overhead (we were normally in the Metro flight path and you could always hear planes).  Just about then two fighers flew by from west to east and rattled the place.  I eventually got ahold of my wife and found out they had been sent home.  It was a long and confusing day.


September 11th, 2016 at 9:57 PM ^

Pretty much the same thing happened with me. Teachers got pulled to hear the news and classmates were slowly pulled from school. My brother and I were really confused when we saw my dad standing in the family room. He works for Chrysler in Auburn Hills and was sent home because that building was a potential target in the hours after the planes hit. 


September 12th, 2016 at 9:57 AM ^

Also from Flint, had the same experience. Parents kept pulling kids out of class the teacher got really upset because he couldn't teach due to the all the interruptions on the loud speaker. Eventually he stopped trying but no one told us what was happening. My parents left me in class and told me when I got home that day.

I was young so I didn't understand at all. I just remembering thinking "people die all the time, why is everyone acting like this?"


September 11th, 2016 at 5:30 PM ^

Working as a bank teller the week before classes started for my sophomore year in college...customer came in and asked what we all thought...spent the rest of the working day in the break room...watched both towers fall...most surreal experience of my life


September 11th, 2016 at 5:31 PM ^

I was at my office. Coworker had a small black and white tv that he kept in his office. He pulled it out and turned it on after the first tower was hit. Several of us were in his office when the second plane hit.
Never forget.

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September 11th, 2016 at 5:33 PM ^

In my living room, homeschooling my four children.  We didn't turn on the TV during the day, so we were all just immersed in grammar and math...until a friend called and said, "Turn on your TV, it doesn't matter what channel."  As we sat there and watched, the second tower was attacked.  My kids didn't learn any more math or grammar, but we had a long lesson on war and peace, aggression and forgiveness, and what it means to be the United States of America in an angry world.


September 11th, 2016 at 5:33 PM ^

Working in Grand Rapids had Stern on and Bababoey comes in says a plane hit a tower they just carried on like it was a accident . Bit later he comes in with the news of the second plane. They were right there and it was pretty intense. Howard called it right away, it's those F ing terrorists. I knew the jet fuel would drop those buildings and it was sad to just wait for it.

Wolverine In Iowa

September 11th, 2016 at 5:51 PM ^

Yep - was listening to Stern on the way to work (late)...when they were on the phone with that guy who was describing the fire at the WTC, the second plane hit...all hell broke loose where I was (Northern Virginia)...fire trucks flying down the Dulles Airport access road to go to the Pentagon...people being sent home from work.  F-16's everywhere


September 11th, 2016 at 9:31 PM ^

I was driving a delivery truck in grand rapids, listening to the same thing. There were moments they were mocking the pilot, assuming it was a small plane like a Cessna and pilot error.

I'll never forget getting back home to see my mom on her knees in front of the tv, weeping as the towers fell.

Goggles Paisano

September 11th, 2016 at 5:33 PM ^

In my office in Sarasota, not far from where George W was at the time it started.  Headed home shortly after the news broke and really hadn't grasped the magnitude of the event until much later in the day as more and more info became available.  


September 11th, 2016 at 5:34 PM ^

I was a first year med student in class. I remember it was the most beautiful day outside and being very confused as several classmates kept leaving the lecture hall. A few minutes later the professor announced that the first flight had crashed into the World Trade Center and canceled class for the day.

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September 11th, 2016 at 5:34 PM ^

Working in the Galleria in Southfield. Had my own broadcast to deal with at the time, was getting spotty information and not quite understanding what the meaning of "It"s gone" meant until I went out to look at the CNN feed.

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Wolverine 98284

September 11th, 2016 at 5:35 PM ^

Working at the Combined Air Operations Center in Incirlik, Turkey. We had just cancelled a Northern Watch mission. Watched the first tower burning then the second impact. Watched the second collapse in the PX. Kids around me said "Oh wow." I responded with, "Not an oh wow. A bunch of people just died." Base was locked down immediately and fighters put on alert for at least a month. The Turks do not have a flag at half mast tradition but did it for us.

Spent the next few years working in the desert doing ops from Afghanistan, to Djibouti, to Iraq and all in between. The good news? Met my wife in Qatar!

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September 11th, 2016 at 5:35 PM ^

Senior in high school in calculus class.

My teacher had a goofball personality and told us. This lead us to think it was a joke.

We didn't understand the seriousness of it until later.

We are back

September 11th, 2016 at 5:36 PM ^

I was in ISS my Jr year of HS, we watched it live on Channel 4 here in metro Detroit, the school went into a panic and a bunch of us just left not knowing the significance of the situation, we just wanted to leave school.

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September 11th, 2016 at 5:36 PM ^

I was in the 10th grade and got pulled out of history class because my dad had a ticket for AA Flight 11 out of Boston. I met my brother and mom (who was a teacher at nearby middle school) and we basically assumed my dad was on the flight. You couldn't call anyone bc all the phones were down. After a few hours he walked through the front of the school which was like a moment out of a movie.

Thankfully, he had a last minute meeting that morning and decided to move to the afternoon flight but still has his ticket for Flight 11. Probably the worst few hours of our lives, but thankful everyday he made that decision.


September 11th, 2016 at 5:39 PM ^

1st or the 2nd grade, in class waiting for the teacher to tell us what to do. Principle walked in whispered in her ears, and then we got dismissed. My school was a couple blocks away from the river, right across the buildings. Me and my parents stood and watched as it happened, like everyone else. I didn't really watch it on tv since we saw it person and I couldn't really process what happened.


September 11th, 2016 at 5:39 PM ^

At work. My wife stopped by to drop off something I forgot for work and told me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center (this was before the second plane hit). I became concerned later as the daughter of our friends worked in Manhattan, was later that night I heard she was safe

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Monkey House

September 11th, 2016 at 5:41 PM ^

i was at work. all government employees were sent home early. ran home to call my family in DC and make sure my aunt wasn't at the Pentagon that day. luckily she wasn't. then called my best friend mom to see what was going on with him as he was in the Navy at the time. spent the rest of the day wondering what to do next while watching constant news coverage. terrible day


September 11th, 2016 at 5:42 PM ^

I was interviewing at Morgan Stanley for my first job post Michigan.  I was chatting with the department MD when someone opened the door and told him that he needed to come asap. This was about 5 minutes after the first plane hit, before the second plane hit and before anyone knew what was happening.  We were all watching the TV trying to figure out what happened until the 2nd plane hit... just the most awful day ever.


September 11th, 2016 at 5:45 PM ^

I was in 6th grade. We were not dismissed early from school but can remember the teachers being called to the staff room mid class to inform them of what was going on and one kid in our class who was picked up early telling us he went home because the Eiffel Tower was bombed.

The only day I remember being picked up from school by both my mom and dad as they were dismissed from work early

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