Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?

Yesterday was the twelfth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our nation that changed the world irrevocably and shattered our sense of security. When I was growing up, my father always said no war would ever be fought on American soil. I wonder what he would have thought that sunny September morning, when two hijacked passenger planes crashed into the World Trade Center, a third into the Pentagon, and a fourth in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, taken over by passengers determined to keep it from reaching its target….

We all remember where we were when such major events occurred. I was at home that morning. Collin had just left for work. I was getting ready to leave for the library when the Today show was interrupted with the first of what would be several days of nonstop news broadcasts. I was on the phone with Collin when the Pentagon was hit. And I was on a computer at the library when news came of the fourth plane crashing in Shanksville….

I remember where I was when news came of other tragedies–and when Osama bin Laden got what was coming to him. That night, Collin and I were watching a WWE pay-per-view event, so there was no “Breaking News” interruption. Only when the event was over and we switched to a local channel did we see President Obama addressing the nation live to inform us that bin Laden was dead at last.

I also recall clearly….

The Columbia disaster–I was online, exchanging emails with my friend Mets (a nickname, no connection to the baseball team), who works at the space center in Florida, when I got a message from her that read: “We’ve lost Columbia….”

The Challenger explosion–again, I was at home–working in my home office in the basement. I remember Dad coming down the stairs and telling me, “The space shuttle just exploded.” I couldn’t believe it at first….

The JFK assassination–yep, I was around then. I was ten years old, in my fifth grade class at Meramec Heights Elementary School. My teacher told all of us. Even as a child, I was in shock. It didn’t seem possible that our President could have been killed. It wasn’t like being taught about the assassination  of Abraham Lincoln–this was happening in real time.

Do you remember where you were when these events or any others happened? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this….

14 responses

  1. When I was watching Today, the first said a small plane had hot the North Tower. Then, while the cameras were on that tower, the second plane hit the South Tower. I think it was planned that way–I think bin Laden wanted everyone to be watching.

  2. There's that documentary by the two French brothers, who were embedded with a fire crew that summer. One of them was out on a routine call that morning and ended up filming the only footage of the first plane hitting the tower.

  3. A heartbreaking day. I was still in grad school in Baltimore, my brother was in one of the towers that morning but made it out fine. We didn't hear anything from him for 24 hours (a lot of cellphone communication disappeared, as the Verizon tower was atop one of the buildings). I still think of those who didn't make it out and the loved ones they left behind. Time passes but one never forgets.

  4. I don't think any of us will ever forget, but for you, having had a family member in one of the towers–I can't even imagine what that must have been like.

    My publicist had a close friend aboard Pan Am Flight 103, which exploded over Scotland. I remember what she had to say….

  5. I do. It was late evening here in Oz and I was reading with the tv on mute, I looked up to see the first plane hit and thought oh no not one of THOSE movies..I flicked channels and there it was again and I realized it was real..I ran through and woke Pat and Aimee up and we just sat there in shocked disbelief. I hope we never see the like ever again.

  6. I think that's why we have to stop terrorism wherever it springs up in the world and in whatever form it takes, As the line, originally from the Bible and paraphrased in countless other places, goes, evil flourishes when good men do nothing.

  7. When I read this post I too remember where I was and doing on each of these days.
    I grew up in Arizona and we always remember Pearl Harbor.

    What a very sad amount of tragedies in one life time.

    cheers, parsnip

  8. I imagine each of us has memories of how they heard, where they were, what they were doing, etc. Tragedies like these are so unimaginable that it seems everyone participates in the mourning.

  9. I remember I was in France, in this lovely castle like hotel dressing up and about to go to a really plush Boxing Day (the day after Christmas)dinner with the telly on as background noise when news of the tsunami in Indonesia happened. 😦

    Take care

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