Given the catastrophic nature of the event and news networks' round-the-clock coverage of it, most people remember where they were on 9/11. By all accounts, September 11, 2001 felt like any other day; many even remarked on how clear and blue the sky appeared that morning. But by the late morning, the 9/11 terror attacks had already completely changed the world in ways still felt today. Images of 9/11 are forever locked in people's minds, and the event kickstarted American military action in the Middle East. Even for those too young to realize the gravity of the situation at the time, the day of 9/11 still remains sharp in their minds.
Many Reddit users remember where they were on 9/11 down to a T. People recount stories of horror and shock, but some manage to convey feelings of hope for the future. In the end, most everyone will remember what they did on the day of 9/11, no matter how mundane it was.
Bringing Food And Drink To Those Donating Blood
"I watched the whole thing happen from 6th avenue and Waverly in Manhattan (and then the collapses from Washington Square Park).
"It was surreal. I remember very clearly watching the first tower collapsing, people screaming, and then there was (what felt like, at least) silence. At that point a crazy homeless person jumped up on the edge of the fountain and started shouting and pointing, 'THIS IS WHAT YOU GET! THIS IS WHAT YOU GET!'.
"A well-dressed man in a suit walked over, pulled him down and punched him several times, hard. The homeless guy pulled himself free and ran off.
"Then the second tower collapsed; it looked like a log splitting. More screams. I had a nextel cell phone for work, and it was working sporadically, so I had a line of about 10-15 people waiting to use it to try to call loved ones. Once that was done, this random guy and I walked over to St. Vincent's to try to donate blood, and there was a line of about 100 people outside. The random guy looked at me and said, 'These people are going to need sustenance if they're donating,' so we went to the bodega down the block and split the cost of buying every bagel and donut the place had, plus plastic cups and jugs of orange juice. We gave it out to people on line, and a little while later a doctor came out of the hospital and told us that they had plenty of blood now, and that we could try other hospitals.
"I ended up walking home, up 8th avenue, which they'd closed to traffic for emergency vehicles. It was eerie, because the streets were empty, but the sidewalks were packed (the subways were shut down, so everyone was walking home). Every once in a while a clean bus would race south in the center of 8th avenue, and then a little while later, a bus would race north carrying evacuees/survivors, absolutely covered in ash.
"When I got home, my lights were on, my cable was working, and the Internet was up. It seemed so weird that just a couple of miles south of me thousands of people were probably dead (we didn't know how many at the time), and two iconic NYC buildings were reduced to rubble, and here I was sitting on my couch watching CNN and surfing the web."
Having No Fear Even As It Happened Next To Them
"I was working at 222 Broadway . . . I was on the nineth floor, with my back to the windows facing WTC. I booted up my comp and as I was loading Outlook I felt a massive explosion. The windows shook as did the building. I ran to the window and saw a bunch of debris floating through the air and birds flying in crazy patterns. I looked down, and didn’t see anything (I initially thought that it was a car bomb again). I crouched by my window and looked up, and that’s when I saw the giant gaping hole in one of the towers, with flames coming out of it. I sat there for a few minutes, and went back to my desk. The TVs were all on CNBC or CNN and they already found footage and started playing it. I went back to the window and sat there staring at the towers.
"As I sat there I saw a plane coming, but in my mind I thought that I was still watching TV and that was a replay. I was shaken out of my delusion by the second explosion. That’s when the total realization of how f*cked this was sank in. I sat there for a few minutes looking, until I saw a few people falling or jumping from the towers. I can’t remember what I felt, but I got up and started trying to get in touch with family and friends who worked near by.
"My parents were on vacation in France, so there was no way to reach them. My grandma who I was living with at the time was working the primary election for NYC, so she wasn’t home either. I left a voicemail on the answering machine saying I was leaving the building and I would be home soon. I tried to call a few friends, but by that time most lines were overwhelmed, so it was next to impossible to reach anybody.
"A good friend was starting her second year in med school in Israel and was supposed to fly out that day. That wasn’t happening, so she was home and I managed to reach her. We were on the phone while she was watching the news. It was a live feed, but had a few seconds delay. I felt what I thought was an earthquake, and saw the first tower collapsing. I yelled into the phone, 'they’re falling' before dropping the receiver and jumping over my cube to get into the stairwell. The whole building was shaking. Everyone went into the lobby and waited around, but no one had any idea of what to do. You couldn’t go outside, since the whole street was filled with smoke and dust. It was a very strange feeling of helplessness. Just as that was happening, we felt another earthquake. It was the second tower collapsing.
"The whole mass of people lost it and panicked. People began screaming and scattering with no real place to go. Somehow I ended up in a second-level sub basement with about 10 other people. We sat on the floor and just waited. For what, I have no idea. After about 45 minutes a cop in a facemask came downstairs to tell us to stay put. In another 45 minutes the room started filling with smoke and dust because the filtration system was overwhelmed. Some of the women started crying and got panicky again. I decided that it’s probably safe to leave. We had a few water bottles with us, so I took off my shirt (I had an undershirt on), soaked it with water, and wrapped it around my face. I suggested to the people in the room that they should probably come with me, and about six women came along. I took my little procession out of the building.
"The air was bad, but not terrible. There was about a half-an-inch of dust on the ground though. I hate to think what was in that dust. We walked away from WTC towards the bridges. Much of the smoke was blowing towards the Brooklyn Bridge, so I decided that it would probably be best to walk towards the Manhattan Bridge in Chinatown. I separated from my companions a few blocks away when I was pretty sure they were okay and out of danger.
"I crossed the bridge with a million other people. There were no cars. In the middle of the bridge a couple of fighter jets came overhead and a thousand people hit the deck.
"The rest of the story is pretty mundane. I walked for a few hours to get home. I got together with all of my friends later that night. I’m still shocked that I didn’t know anyone who was killed personally. The weird conclusions from that day were that I felt no fear. None. Maybe I was in shock, but I had very little emotions throughout the day and the days after."
Realizing The Country Is Going To War
"I was driving to work, northbound on the Sprain Brook Parkway just north of Yonkers NY, listening to Howard Stern talk about Pamela Anderson. Then he got serious and said that an airplane had flown into one of the twin towers. Like a lot of people I thought it must be some yahoo that lost control of their Cessna. I reached my exit and turned onto I-287 East, heading for I-95. By the time I reached that merge, the second plane had hit. That was when I, along with just about every other American that was tuned in, thought 'oh sh*t. We're at war.'
"One of my friends lost her boyfriend in that tragedy. My housemate worked in Manhattan and watched the second tower collapse. A friend of a friend was in the second tower when it got hit and said it felt like an earthquake. He had been standing at a window, in shock, watching bodies plummet from the first tower when he felt the impact. Then he GTFO and lived to talk about it."
Walking Through An Ominously Quiet Manhattan
"In Manhattan, a senior in high school. The principal made an announcement that a plane flew into the WTC and to come to the office if you had a parent working there. At that point, like most of my classmates, I thought it was just a tragic accident.
"When the next announcement was made, we came to the somber and obvious realization that this was certainly not an accident.
"My school held us for a while if we didn't have a parent come pick us up. At about 11 AM, they released us and my friend and I walked to my stepfather's office. It was a 20 block walk and I'll never forget how isolated the streets were. There were no cars, almost no people on that walk, and Manhattan was the most ominous it's ever been. This city is not meant for quiet.
"We then walked over the 59th Street bridge to get home to Queens as the subways weren't running. What's funny is I remember how isolated the streets were as we walked, but the bridge was crowded. Some people were running. Many were covered in soot. I kept looking up, expecting another plane to come crashing down at any moment."