Where were you?

I have another post scheduled for tonight but didn’t want to let today pass without remembering what happened on this day 8 years ago. On September 11, 2001 I was in my senior year of college, living with friends in an apartment in Amherst. I remember everything about that morning, that I was eating Stonyfield Banilla yogurt with graham crackers and honey, that back in the day I started school at around 9:30 and somehow had a much easier time waking up than I do now. I even had time to watch some of the Today show while I ate and got ready for the day. I saw the second plane hit the towers live, and I was on the phone with my sister, a teacher who did not have access to TV, when the towers collapsed. Her co-teacher heard me scream from across the room. I grew up in NJ about 45 minutes outside of New York City. I grew up taking the train into the city and may have even skipped school a few times for things like the St. Patrick’s Day parade. I shopped in the basement shops in the Trade Center, and many of my classmates had parents who took the train into the Trade Center every morning. That day, after I spoke with my sister, it took me hours to reach my family again. The phone lines were just completely jammed. I got to class, and my professor, who drove two hours each way to teach in Amherst, arrived and dismissed us. The campus closed and all non essential people were sent home. I saw some friends who also had family in the NY/NJ area. We talked and hugged, still not sure of what was happening, some of us still not knowing where people were. I went home and spent the rest of the day glued to the TV. The one sort of light moment in the day occurred at around 3 pm when one of my roommates, who had been busy and out and about all day, came home and asked why were all home. It was funny for a second until we had to explain what had happened. I was lucky that day. I know several people who lost close friends and family. When I returned to NJ for the first time after that day, that strong city had a massive hole, a heartbreak that could be seen from all over. My thoughts are with the families who lost loved ones that day, the survivors who I am sure relive that day often, and with our country. My hope is that as we remember, as we always remember the horror, that we never forget the outpouring of love from around the world and within our own communities and that we might strive to be our best selves and kinder to each other in the day to day, not just in crisis.

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  1. Gina’s avatar

    Wow, I didn’t realize how close you were to everything and I agree that it’s a day we always need to remember. I live in the Boston-area now but was in college in Michigan at the time and will never forget that moment. Thanks for the reminder.

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  2. Juliana’s avatar

    We live in LA and I was sipping on my coffee when the horrific scene of the planes crashing showed up on the TV screen…the whole scenario still very vivid in my mind…I will never forget this day..

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  3. Jon’s avatar

    Great post Meghan. Thanks for sharing. I was a junior at Wheaton College in Mass and I can still hear the sound of my dorm room door being slammed open by my suitemate screaming at me to turn the tv on. We both watched in horror and disbelief at what was happening. It felt like a nightmare. Like you, my roommate and I both grew up in northern NJ and knew several people that lost family members and close friends. Going back home shortly after 9/11 was surreal. You can see the NYC skyline from my parents street, which is usually a beautiful view, but not this time. There was still a large smoke cloud in the air from the disaster and a huge empty space where the towers once stood. I felt sick at that moment and I will never forget that sight, but mostly that day.

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