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9/11 - 20 years on


EH_STEVE

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I'm not American. I had no family affected by 9/11. But it was still a fairly big life event for everyone, and it's crazy to think how it's been 20 years since it happened. 

 

I was in Grade 11, in class when it happened, in between classes I met up with some friends, and the news was out. We had TVs set up around the hallways to display school news, announcements, etc. All of them were running CNN. Both planes had already hit during class. The bell rang for next class, but the hallways didn't clear. They ended up cutting the feed to get kids to class. The buildings were still standing at this point. I had Economics. My teacher just sat on his desk, and plainly said "Does anyone want to talk about what happened?" and one kid asked "What will this mean, what will happen?" and the teacher replied "Well, I wasn't planning to teach about Economics after what we just saw, but-" but the student interrupted and said "No, not to the economy. To the world." And the teacher just plainly told us, everything will change. That this was going to be big and affect us all. Some asked how as it didn't seem like it was "too big a deal" or at least, not yet. It hadn't set in, and the buildings were still standing when we got to class. We talked about whatever we felt. The teacher tried to be as real and as plain as he could. He wasn't mincing words or saying "everything will be alright". I was 16. He told us we were young adults and needed to be treated like them. We talked fears, military action, war possibility, even the economy. The only time he made light of a question was when one student asked "Will they cancel school?" and he sort of laughed at that. After everyone said their piece and some persisting incurred, the teacher went and took a TV from the AV room and let us just watch, react, and discuss what we were seeing. We saw the buildings fall. After the first one, he went to shut it off, but said "No, we just talked about how important this is, if you want to see it, you can. If you want to leave, you can." Some left, and some from nearby classes entered to watch. Transfixed at the surreal situation that was unfolding. Teachers gave up teaching for the rest of the day, there was no keeping anyone's attention over what happened. Four planes were down now, and two buildings. Most teachers just did what my Economics teacher did, and swapped to basically group therapy mode. They were just as worried as we were. That's how the school day ended.

 

By the time the 6PM news came on, we found out that my teacher shouldn't have laughed at the school being canceled question. The local airport (Halifax) was one of THE main airports for grounding planes and so many came in that hotels, motels, and everything between was filling up, so the high schools were closed to become shelters for stranded passengers. The first day off, I spent at home, hanging out with friends, still taking in as much news as possible, and talking about the situation. Was there going to be a war? How big of one? How long will school be canceled? And then one friend asked, "What can we do?" The second day off, we went back to school. We weren't the only ones. Others were already there helping out how they could. Some made a makeshift daycare. Some used classrooms to teach the kids, or watch movies. We found some closer to our age, and did what 17 years olds in 2001 did, we went to the mall. We hung out and kept them distracted, letting them talk if they wanted, or just enjoy the day out. We went back the next day, organized some sports and games. More students had come to help as well, some were taking people home, giving them proper showers, do some laundry, use home offices to work. Baked goods and treats were coming from families and local businesses. It was your stereotypical Canadian hospitality mixed with the coming together of a crisis. It gave people hope at a time we all needed it. We were off school for a week until the stranded passengers were able to return home. The school had an assembly and they showed a bunch of photos of and notes from the week our school was an emergency shelter. One of the teachers that was there volunteering said he estimated our school, despite being closed, had about a 15% attendance rate. That's how many people came out to help. It was incredible. But then they mentioned that we were far from out of the darkness and that we needed to keep that hope, that support we display alive to help everyone get through it.

 

I was still pretty glued to the news through the rest of the month, everything was so surreal still. 17 and watching the world change so much. It was something I'll never forget.

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I was in 3rd grade when 9/11 happened. My school went into lockdown the whole days and while I and many other students didn't know what happened until much later, teachers were running to the break room every so often to see if more damage had happened throughout the day (school started at 9 am so that would be after both of the Twin Towers had been hit)

 

I've been to the Flight 93 memorial in western PA and it's really eerie being there given that the plane could've likely gone to the White House or US Capitol if it weren't for those brave heroes who knew they weren't going to survive.

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... I don't remember most of that day when it happened. I was 11 at the time. All I do remember is going to my next door neighbors', going up the stairs, and seeing the news. I was on the other side of the U.S. Though California never had that problem... Pearl Harbor is hours away. But, it's not like Japan is ever going to wage war with us again any time soon. I didn't know Afghanistan was also partially responsible too at the time, and that's closer to California than Iraq. I don't remember those details. 

 

I don't remember if I was scared during that time, because I was a kid. When I eventually heard it was the fault of Hussein, my mind thought: "Those guys in Iraq must pay for destroying national property and those lives lost!" I didn't know what racism was at the time; I just wanted justice. Maybe revenge.

 

Even though I never planned on going to the military, I was initially psyched for the war. The only big war I knew at the time was the Vietnam War, which we lost. I wanted the U.S. to win again. I thought it was going to be a video game thing. Boy, was I wrong.

 

Then, thank gosh years later, I thought the war was going on for perhaps too long, and I finally realized that not everyone from Iraq were bad people or irredeemable. Lives were lost, and in a sense, maybe what we were doing were like those terrorists back then. We were destroying their lives and property. Though we eventually got Hussein, and eventually Al-Queda, this war felt dragged on.  

 

And even though I have a few of THOSE WAR GAMES, I only got them a few years ago because of curiosity, not because I'm an advocate of war. They're a part of video game history, and some of the things in those games were instrumental in pushing shooting mechanics in some way. And even though they're one of my least favorite genres, they have some merits that worked in other genres. Still, I could be wrong in that, so you can call me out there any time. I haven't touched any of them, now that I think about it. Expect for Halo, if that counts. Meh. 

Edited by Link, the Hero of Dreams
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I was 11 and had just started middle school. Our teacher brought in the TV that we normally used to watch nature documentaries in science class so we could watch the news. I had no idea what was going on, so I just said "Cool! We get to watch TV in school! Can you change it to Nickelodeon? I wanna watch Spongebob!"

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Hard to believe it has already 20 years. I'll never forget sitting in my 8th grade civics class and watching the 2nd plane crash into to the towers live. It was a pretty scary time, especially living in the DMV (D.C., Maryland, Virginia area). The next day all the schools in my area were closed do to a state of emergency. 

 

I think it was for the 10th anniversary, but I remember watching a documentary on  9/11 on the History Channel that showed footage from Ground Zero (the stuff the news didn't/couldn't show) and... DAMN! T_T I was like "They're allowed to show this on TV?" Yeah, I kind of wish I never saw that, but what will forever be burned into my mind is that, in all the destruction of the towers burning down, there was someone's face just lying on the ground, which looked a mask (I guess from the people jumping off and whatnot). O_O T_T

 

On a lighter note, I love how this tragic event united everyone and made them have a since of pride in our country. I remember everyone had American flags on their cars. We were ♫Proud to be an American!♫  Flag: United States on Google Android 12.0 :) 

 

Edited by alienboyva
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Like Steve, I'm not American, Canadian like him and I was in grade 10 at the time but not at School on that particular day.

 

You guys know the show Degrassi The Next Generations? I was an extra on that show for the first 2 seasons. I don't remember what episode we were filming but at that age I was a prankster and a daredevil. I know I was planning prank on some of the extra ppl when I saw TV in the room I was in stating the World Trade Centre were attacked, I don't know how long after I seen images but imagine it wasn't too long after. Before this day I have heard of the WTC but never knew too much of its existence until that day in depth. I have family that I found out 2 years later that lived in the boroughs of New York. (lived in Brooklyn) Visited New York for the first time then after the Towers fell so I never saw them like my parents did in the mid 90's. They said looking at them from the base was like looking till their heads fall off. So I never got to see those wonders but saw the aftermaths a few times after that first visit. Last time I was there was 2012.

 

So yeah, that's where I was at the time of the bombing occurred. I think most knew were they were on that day no matter what was happening at the time.

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9 hours ago, Fuzzer1 said:

I was in 3rd grade when 9/11 happened. My school went into lockdown the whole days and while I and many other students didn't know what happened until much later, teachers were running to the break room every so often to see if more damage had happened throughout the day (school started at 9 am so that would be after both of the Twin Towers had been hit)

 

I've been to the Flight 93 memorial in western PA and it's really eerie being there given that the plane could've likely gone to the White House or US Capitol if it weren't for those brave heroes who knew they weren't going to survive.

Your school went in lockdown how close were you to New York?

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@Fuzzer1: Hmm, your school and Steve close down but I can't remember if mine did? This year besides world shattering event at the start of the school year, this was my first year in actually high school in grade 10. The middle school I was at the year prior went to grade 9 (I stayed there because of my friends) so when I had to go to a high school, I wanted to go to the one 15 minutes away from the middle school I went to but I couldn't because two years prior I moved to a new neighbourhood that took me out of the district boarder to go to that high school. So I ended up going to high school in my new neighbourhood that was 10 minutes where I lived.

 

So with new school, in a new neighbourhood, in a high school finally and 9/11.... there was a lot to wrap my mind on what happened at least the start of that year. I remember grade 10 vividly outside first few day of September but I want to say we were still in school still

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My older brother lost his best friend in 9/11, but by that time he was already an adult and I barely knew my brother, let alone his friend. I know he still struggles with the loss every year; I imagine you don't really get over that kind of thing no matter how much time passes. 

 

I was only in 5th grade then, and I remember the principal going around to each of the classes to tell the teachers what was happening, who then vaguely told us something was going on. At that age I don't think most kids are really aware of the world around them, so I honestly didn't really get it or grasp what a tragedy it was. We weren't allowed recess for the rest of the (school) year and weren't allowed outside of the school at all. I grew up in a pretty podunk nowhere town in VA, so looking back it was definitely overkill, but I guess since the Pentagon was closer than the towers the adults felt a bit more stressed than they would have otherwise. 

 

My mom didn't really attempt to explain to me what was going on and now that I'm older I'm glad she didn't because ultimately what is a preteen child going to do with that information other than just be scared. y; But because of that, I feel distinctly separate from the event at all, and don't really have any feelings about it whatsoever. 

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When it occured, it was in the early morning here on the west coast before even school started. I don't remember going to school that day. But at the time, I lived in military housing and I only started third grade. Life wasn't really the same afterwards. The entire housing area built fencing. I couldn't just walk to school anymore, I had to go through a gate that someone had to open. My family couldn't drive out of the housing area until our car was checked.

It wasn't until much later that I understood what happened and the ramifications of it all. 9/11 led to a lot of xenophobia here in the US, and we gave up our rights of privacy.

Yesterday I wanted to watch a documentary on 9/11, but I had some apprehension from doing so. As a late millennial, 9/11 is a weird spot. Some of my peers don't care for it personally, while some recognize it. But I live with Gen Z folk who really don't care for it, and are more apt to call someone a bootlicker if someone cares for anything pertaining to America.

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For me I was in 10th grade and it was during my accounting and typing class when word started getting around.  Our teacher for that class always had a small portable TV at her desk to watch while we did busy work and she was the one that announced it to the class.  After class was over the school had the library, gym and cafeteria open with TVs set up to watch what was going on.  We had class the rest of the day but I doubt there was actually any work/teaching going on; that's how monumental this was.  By early afternoon I just ignored the class rotation bells because people either just stayed in the same class for hours or they just rotated to their next class to do what they were doing in the previous one watching everything unfold.

 

Needless to say, it was pretty unreal to see something like that unfolding in real time and still I remember how insane it was that the second plan slamming into the tower was televised unhindered.  I mean, it's not like it was something easily telegraphed obviously but I was so used to seeing newscasts cut the feed when something violent/tragic was about that happen that I was mostly in shock just seeing that happen live.  Then just feeling that weird pit in my stomach knowing that I just saw a plane full of people lose their lives in an instant.  Don't even get me started on when people started realizing that amongst all the debris falling from the blown out floors of the towers that some of those were people jumping to their death because they had no choice but to.

 

In the days afterward, despite everything else going on the thing that stuck with me the most from a personal perspective was seeing how that manifested into people verbally going after students who simply looked like they were from the middle east or dressed or certain way.  Specifically asking people like them what they think of the attacks or calling them names.

 

It's still kind of nuts to think that something like that happened here.  Terrorist threats and actions (both domestic and foreign) aren't new to the U.S. or even New York in particular, but this was something on a completely different level.  It still bears a lot of weight even looking back on it two decades later as a critical point in our history.

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Never really thought that our generation have experience something like 9/11 is a part our history we lived thru. When I look back what been thru as ppl in general in the last 20 years, those growing up now are learning and experiencing things what we learned as history before 9/11 is now learning our history.

 

Man things in history really transcends generations when you think about what links those before us and upcoming.

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I was at a training conference for Sears at our Raleigh service center. We broke for lunch and on the tvs in the lobby we saw that stuff going on and once I got out I headed back home and tried to catch all the updates. The other guy that went up with me in a separate car had to make calls to family up in NY and find out about any deployment for his National Guard duties tied to something like this.

It was a very surreal day from that point forward though...

 

One can't discount the day after effect on everything though...

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