September 11, 2001, is one
of those few days in America's history that you will not only remember
where you were and what you were doing, but also how you felt. To
honor and to remember those who we lost on that frightful September day
I have asked our readers to send in their personal stories. It is
amazing to read these stories from Americans who were as close as:
in the elevator of Tower One World Trade Center when the first plane hit,
to readers in far off lands such as China, Israel, Italy and Peru.
Thank YOU to everyone who contributed. We received so many responses,
that we are sorry we couldn't fit them all in. Also, if you scroll
down to the bottom, you will find links to the major news organizations,
stories from Smarter Living's travel columnists, pictures from the Halifax
Airport, personal websites, and live webcams from New York City and Washington
I dedicate this Special 9/11/2002 issue to one my high school
buddies, Cesar Murillo
, who was on the 104th floor of Tower Two. And everyone else
who lost their lives in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
HERE IS MY STORY FROM OUR
SEPT 12, 2001 ISSUE
: Thank you everyone for your emails and messages. Amber
and I are okay. It was a horrific day as you all know. I was in New
York City at my apartment about 70 blocks from the World Trade Center
(WTC). I was getting ready to go to the office which is only around
10 blocks from the terrorists acts. Before I left for work I
wanted to buy a last minute plane ticket to Hawaii to attend a friend's
wedding. United's web page was taking a while searching for fares, so
I opened up
in a different browser. There I saw the breaking news that
a plane hit the WTC. I opened the blinds and
looked out my window
and saw all the smoke. I turned on the TV and witnessed the
second plane hitting tower two. I had know idea it was a commercial
airliner, in fact, I thought it was terrorists in a small jet.
My cell phone went dead (for most of the day), the land line worked for
about 10 minutes (I was able to call some loved ones to let them know
I was okay). I tried calling Amber who I knew was in a taxi on her way
to O'Hare but couldn't get a through because her cell phone was down.
Eventually I found out she was okay, but very disturbed. Fortunately I
have a cable modem and was able to email friends/family. It was madness
downtown, but up where I lived was rather calm. The only thing different
was a line for the pay phone (which is now free) and there was no mass transportation.
I tried to escape to Connecticut but couldn't because all the bridges, tunnels
and trains were closed. I was trapped so I ran to a Korean Market
(every corner has one :-) to buy some food and water. I thought it would've
been crazier, but New Yorkers really impressed me with their calmness.
I mean I didn't see anyone freaking out, they were just walking down
the streets continuing with their everyday lives. I was so surprised because
I was in L.A. for the riots and it was nuts. I was out in Palos Verdes
which is a really safe area and about 15 miles from the fires. There people
flipped (including me). The grocery store line was literally around the
corner, the shelves were empty, gas stations were jammed, and ATM machines
were out of money.
I eventually made it out of NYC and got on a subway to
Grand Central (All Taxi's and Buses were filled to the rim). The
subway was packed, and so was the train to CT. Metro North did a great
job adding cars and not charging people. Passengers were quiet, but
friendly. I saw one man share his cell phone with other people so they
could tell their families where to pick them up. When I got off the train
I never saw so many hugs, kisses, and I Love U's.
Unfortunately, my family knew a lot of people who worked
in the WTC. All we can do is wait and pray.
AN EMAIL I RECEIVED AT 4pm ON (9/11/01) FROM A FRIEND OF MINE WHO WAS IN
ONE WORLD TRADE CENTER
I just got back to my apartment in astoria. it's about
4:00. i was in an elevator at one world trade center at 8:45 this
morning when the plane hit. i was on my way to a press conference i
was supposed to be writing an article for at windows of the world, which
is on the top floor of the world trade center, a conference which i
was running late for [i was supposed to be covering a speech that began
at 8:40; i fell asleep on the subway, a first, and missed my stop and
had to double back from the whitehall station]. i got in the elevator
around 8:42, 8:43 or so. the elevator nearly jumped out of the shaft
when the plane hit the building. i thought a bomb had gone off. then concrete
started raining down in slabs. the place filled up with smoke. and there
were shoes everywhere. dozens and dozens of shoes that must have been knocked
off the early casualties. it was hard to see and people were absolutely
stunned. i couldn't get back through the security turnstiles so looked
for another way out of the building but when i looked back at the turnstiles
they had been destroyed somehow, maybe by the falling concrete, so i ran
through them and made my way out of the building. outside there was shit
falling everywhere. including people. and dozens of shoes. as i ran from
the building i looked up and saw the second plane hit. then i kept running.
i just ran until my lungs ached. i didn't stop until i got to lexington
and 23rd. i called my girlfriend and mom and called my office. they were
elated to hear from me. none of the others from my office that were covering
the conference had called at that point. none have called yet and its been
7 hours, almost eight. it was unbelievable and i am so lucky to be alive.
i'm in shock. don't know what to be thinking or feeling.
hasn't hit me yet. but i'm so glad to be alive. i think the majority
of the magazine staff were up there. its such a waste
My husband, Harry and I were on a cruise on 9/11. We were on
Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas. We had docked at
St Thomas, USVI. We decided to walk into town--which
we usually do. It's two miles into town and when we got there we saw
people crying as they listened to their radios. We could hear the sounds
of sirens on the radios. All the shop keepers were so sympathetic to us---and
we still did not know what was going on. We started looking for an internet
cafe and were told there was one at Little Switzerland Jewelers. We made
our way there and went upstairs where we not only found free internet
but also two large screen TV's. We were mesmerized! We could not believe
what we were seeing. I sent emails home to our family back in MO to find
out what it was all about and to let them know we were safe. We stayed
there and watched TV for several hours, at the same time getting and
replying to messages from home. All the shops were practically empty,
no one was interested in buying anything. The compassion and grief for
our country over what had happened really touched our hearts.
When we got back to the ship, security was
very tight. They had dogs there to sniff whatever you were bringing
on board. Then when everyone was back on board before leaving St Thomas,
the Captain announced there would be an entire ship search. He also
said anyone who had relatives in New York could call from the ship
for free. And the internet was also free to send emails home. This
service was provided for the rest of the trip. That evening after dinner
the scheduled show was canceled and the Captain called for a special
prayer service. There was approximately 800 people who attended. Everyone
was very somber. And it stayed that way for the rest of the trip.
The next day we were in San Juan, Puerto
Rico. Security there was very tight. Vehicles were not allowed to
drive into the port area. Around town there were armed police dressed
in bullet proof vests on every street corner. When all passengers were
back on board the Captain came on the intercom saying,"I am ready to
set sail, but I am not going yet, I am asking for everyone to pause for
a moment of silent prayer". As we neared Miami
for our return home, we feared for the chances of getting a flight out
to St. Louis. We heard the day before only one flight had been allowed
out. Arriving there on Saturday morning we were some of the first ones
off. Airport security was VERY tight. But the airport was almost deserted.
We were put on stand-by for a flight at 11:30. Got on the flight, although
it was delayed 45 minutes because of security being backed up.
This was probably one of our most memorable cruises----however, not the
most pleasant memories. It was not a good experience being so far away
from home and family at such a traumatic time. This was one cruise that
we were glad when it was over. ~ Harry & Louise Yeakey,
It was approxiamtely 9:30pm in Shanghai China. I joined my husband
on a furniture buying trip. We were traveling with his business
partner and his wife, and 3 other gentlemen from Florida who were doing
their own furniture research. We all had a lovely dinner together,
and decided to go to the lobby bar at our hotel, the Shanghai Hilton,
for a nightcap. The men stayed in the bar, and I decided to go
up to my room to get ready for bed. As I sat down on the bed with
a furniture brochure, I turned on the television, just for news.
There was not alot of entertainment on Chinese TV. Mostly, it consisted
of news in various languages. I glanced up at the tv and noticed
a "LIVE" message in the left hand corner of the picture. Just as
I noticed it, I saw the plane hit the building. Initially the building
did not look familiar to me, and I thought, "what kind of bad movie is
this??" I really did not pay too much attention, because I did not
believe i t was for real. And then I saw the second plane hit another
building. It caught my attention, but I still was not sure where
this was happening. Just then,my husband walked into the room. He
said, "Are you watching what is going on?" I said I saw it but I didn't
think it was for real. We sat together and began to watch with terror
as information began to filter into our thoughts. It was New York!
Oh my God! My cousin lives in Manhattan and works somewhere in a tall
building. My daughter's college roommate works for Bloomberg.
Is she in that building?? Our hotel room turned icy cold, and I could
not stop shaking. They were reporting that the Pentagon had just
been hit and another plane may be hijacked. Where were my children?
Was my 7 year old granddaughter watching this horror? How I yearned
to put my arms around them right then. My brother.....he was to fly
to Germany today with his partner. We just had dinner wi th his partner
2 days earlier in Shanghai. I know he was flying back to the states.....where
was he meeting my brother?? I was shaking so badly I could not talk,
I ached all over. I was crying uncontrollably. I MUST CALL THE
U.S and talk to my family. First I called my aunt to see if she heard
from my cousin. Yes, she said, he was safe. I called my brother,
and he answered the phone...I felt so relieved when he said he had cancelled
his trip. Of course, they had not yet grounded all aircraft.
Then I called my daughter in Arizona, and my son in California. They
were stunned and worried. We will try to get back home as soon as possible,
but my daughter said if anyone on the flight looks suspicious, just get off
the plane. I assured her we would be fine. We called my in-laws
to let them know we were alright and would keep them informed. I felt
somewhat relieved after talking to everyone but like everyone else, did not
know of what was yet to come. For the next few hours, we watched the
horror on the screen in disbelief. We felt so isolated, and guilty
for not being in the US when this was happening to our country. We
didn't know if we were getting all the news. We tried to go to sleep
at about 1am, which was 1pm New York time. We dozed for a few hours
and at 4am, we both lay in the bed wondering what was happening back home.
We turned on the tv and watched! That was all we could do. And
The next morning we were to meet our buying agent at 8:30am.
We got ready, and met her in the lobby. She expressed her condolences
to us, and we proceeded to go to our business appointments.
After 2 hours, we decided we could no longer keep our thoughts on business
and asked her to return us to our hotel. The Hilton in Shanghai
had televisons all over the lobby and restaurants for all of their guests
to bond together in this tramatic moment. There were many American
tour groups coming and going, and for their convenience and the convenience
of the independent travelers, blackboards were posted in the lobby with pertinent
flight information on it. The managers of the hotel made themselves
readily available to all of the stranded guests for anything we might need,
and told us we could stay as long as necessary. Throughout the day,
the hotel delivered to our rooms no less than 5 english newspapers for us
to read. We read every article, looked at every picture, and I brought
every one of those newspapers home with me!
For the next few days, we pretty much stayed in the hotel
most of the time. We couldn't leave the television sets, and
really did not feel comfortable walking around Shanghai at this time.
The Chinese people were absolutely wonderful during this time, but
the hotel was our comfort zone right now. I checked my e-mail
every few hours, and of course updated our friends and family often.
Like everyone else, we had no idea when we would get home. We were
to fly home Saturday September 15th from Shanghai, thru Seoul and Los
Angeles. On Friday we went to the Asiana city ticket office to
get an idea on how we might get home and when. We were told they
had not received clearance to fly yet, but would call us Saturday morning
with an update. At this time though, with 4 days worth of passengers
built up, they estimated we would get into Los Angeles maybe Wednesday,
and possibly we could re-route to Seattle on Monday. Right now,
we had to wait it out.
Saturday morning we got called at 8:30 am to be told they
still had no clearance to leave. During the conversation though,
work came that they would fly later in the day. I thanked them
and gathered my friends as we decided to chance our return.
We arrived at Shanghai airport at 1pm. The ticket
counters were masses of Chinese going about their business as
usual. There was no line, just people. We finally got to
the counter, gave them our tickets, and they checked our bags to Los
Angeles. They didn't search our bags or ask us any questions.
No security.....a bit scary. We boarded our flight to Seoul, and
realized we had no boarding passes to the US. We would have to
hope that the ticket counters in Seoul were not masses of people.
Fortunately, they were not. We received our boarding passes and
felt so relieved. We were going home! I ran up to the business
class lounge to send one last e-mail....WE ARE COMING HOME TODAY!
We boarded the half empty flight and felt so fortunate.....
September 15th, 3:30pm we landed in Los Angeles.
Security was very different from that of 6 months earlier, when we
also returned from China. I believe our passports were checked
no less than 5 times before we even left the Bradley International Terminal.
We could not check our bags in for our connecting flight to Phoenix.
We would have to take them to Terminal 1, America West. Everywhere
we looked there were armed police officers with rifles, police dogs and
police cars. There was no traffice driving thru LAX...how strange.
The masses of people were not there. Only the few passengers who were
lucky enough to get on the few flights that day. We walked our luggage
carts all thru the passage to terminal 1, and proceeded to check into America
West. The counter person told us that check-in was serious business
and not to say anything that wasn't asked. We complied, and proceeded
to go to the gates. Once again, we had to go thru security 2 more
times, and finally we could go to the gate. At that time I bought
my first American newspaper...USA Today. I read it cover to cover.
How eery...this terminal is usually packed with people. Today it is
deserted! Our flight was uneventful. We landed in Phoenix to
find the airport also deserted, but happy to be home.
For the next few days, I tried to catch up on what we missed.
I don't think that will ever happen. Each special show on television
shows us events we had not yet seen. And I cry all over again!!
My daughter told me how strange it was to not hear airplanes in the
sky. I wanted to know what my granddaughter felt. To this
day, I still feel badly that I was not at home for this national tragedy.
Joan ~ Arizona
The three of us were in Pienza, Italy (Tuscany) around lunch time when
a thunderclap exploded and a quick storm came up. we had to run to our
rental car and wait a few minutes for it to pass. shortly
thereafter, we arrived in montepulciano and started to walk around
this beautiful hill
town. while i was out in the street watching the world
go by, my girlfriend was inside a store buying postcards. unbelievable,
young merchant had a small t.v. on with english speaking
moderators. i was called in from outside, when the second plane hit....live!
we drove home to siena without saying much. turning on
the t.v. in our villa, all we could do was watch and cry. living so
close to new york,
it was impossible to get through to our loved ones for
a day or two. our remaining trip was spent walking around siena like
zombies, not wanting
to be there, wishing to be back home in new jersey. we
drove south to rome and somehow got on our scheduled flight from frankfurt
exactly one week after the event. we were scared to death
to get on the plane, but german security was incredible and
the flight went off
without a hitch. flying down the hudson valley, we approached
Newark from the north, with Manhattan on our left. on our final approach
everybody (flight attendants, too) rushed to that
side of the plane to see the devastation. people were crying
and obviously very somber. Coop ~ NJ
Last Sept. 11, I was flying back from Maine (where I'd gone after the
Philadelphia-hosted World Science Fiction Convention on Labor Day weekend)
to Seattle. I was scheduled to change planes in Philadelphia.
I had an hour between planes, so I wandered around the terminal.
I noticed a big crowd gathered around one of those closet-sized airport
bars. I weaseled in among the watchers and saw a puff of smoke
coming out of one of the World Trade Center towers. "A plane hit
it," somebody told me. A private plane, I knew. No jet would
go barrelling into a skyscraper in a clear sky.
I don't like to fly. But now I relaxed a little.
"After all," I told myself, "what are the odds of two plane crashes
in the same day?"
Then the second jet hit the other tower.
That's when it finally occurred to me I didn't =know= what
kind of plane hit the first tower, and maybe I ought to call my husband,
my parents, and other people who knew I'd been flying past Manhattan
when the first plane hit. So I turned on my cellphone and found
out I had one minute of airtime left. I was at the very end of the
terminal, though, so there were a couple of payphones available.
Then I remembered I'd thrown away my used-up phone calling card the day
before because "I don't need this any more!"
I did eventually find a calling-card machine that wasn't
empty and inform family and friends that I was OK.
Meanwhile, they were closing the airport.
I spent 3 days in Philly, and caught nearly the first plane
out of there to Seattle.
Now, I'm about 3 hours from leaving for San Jose (CA) and
this year's World SF Convention.
I was in Haifa Israel the week of September 11th. It was an
incredibly unbelievable experience to be in an area of the world
that is consumed by violence and lives with terrorists attacks as
a daily occurrence. I arrived in my hotel room at 5:00pm Israel
time which would have been 9:00am US time and when I turned on CNN
I could not believe what I was seeing, initially I thought that I was
watching some kind of weird movie because they were showing one of the
Twin Towers smoking and burning. I actually had the experience
of watching the second jet hit the trade towers in near real time as
they were reporting the news. IT was amazing that when I called
home via my cellphone the lack of information that people in my office
and at home were actually getting compared to what I was seeing.
I immediately logged onto my corporate e-mail server as my cellphone
had become virtually useless since everyone was using them at ! ! this
point. Thank god for e-mail it was the only way to stay in touch
with family and friends at home. I finally logged off e-mail about
3:00am Israel and tried to get a couple hours of sleep. I got a
call shortly thereafter from a coworker who had gotten a call from his
boss telling us to get ourselves out of Israel. It was amazing to
walk into the office Wednesday morning luggage in tow to see the reaction
of the Israeli's that we were actually trying to leave early. We
were scheduled to depart Israel on Thursday 9/13, and tried to find flights
to anywhere earlier than that to get us home which of course were not available.
We finally got a flight from Tel Aviv to London on Saturday morning
but could not get a flight back to the US until Monday morning.
The reaction in Israel as well as London was incredible when they learned
that we were Americans. The outpouring of thoughts and sympathy
was phenomenal. We actually had a! ! n opportunity to attend a
memorial service at Westminster Abbey that was unforgettable.
All in all this was a very unreal situation being out of
the US when such a tragic thing occurred and seeing the outpouring
of feelings for the US.
I could continue with many other thoughts but I know that
you probably don't have time to read a lot of novels sent your way,
just wanted to send a few of my experiences along to you.
Thanks for the opportunity to express my feelings and experiences.
If you have any questions let me know.
Thanks again and keep up the good work.
Keith A. Kaser
I was in Huancayo, Peru on Sept 11. A friend and I had accompanied
a family from our church who were moving
there as long-term missionaries. We went to help them get
settled in their new home. Huancayo (10,500 foot
elevation) is an 8 hr bus trip (over the Andes through
a 16,500 foot pass) from Lima (no airport).
We were walking to town to pick up some items and an old
gentleman--obviously recognizing us as from the USA--came up and told
us about what had happened. In my VERY limited Spanish comprehension,
all I understood was that there had been an airplane crash and that
there were many deaths. We had no idea that it was a terrorist attack
on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon.
However, we went to the home of another missionary family
who had been in Huancayo for some time and watch CNN just like everyone
was back home. Of course we spent a few extra days in Peru! We were
on Friends and Family passes, which are at the bottom of the priority
list. However, it was only God's miracle that got us on the one Delta
flight leaving Lima over the 8 day period of flight interruptions! Knowing
what I know now, I would leave
tomorrow for the same reasons that I went in the first
place! Dick Gabriel
My 9/11 story could certainly be a lot worse, but it seemed downright surreal
at the time.
I woke up on the Hawaiian island of Kauai
last September 11, having arrived there the previous day
to attend a conference. Actually, I was awakened at 6:00 AM
local time by a phone call from my wife, suggesting that I turn on
If anyone thinks they have seen Hawaii empty, I'd wager
that I have seen it at its emptiest. My wife, who was supposed
to join me for a week on 9/14, had her flights cancelled and was stuck
at home. I was stuck on Kauai for eight days, and then Oahu for
two. Everyone else but me seemed to find a flight home within
3-4 days of 9/11, leaving me in a nearly empty resort hotel, talking
with a bartender about his fear that he was the next one to be laid
Brian Todd ~ Construction Industry Lobbyist
from Mark Kronquist copyright 2001 Mark Kronquist
September 11 2001 , is a day I and the United States of America lost many
great citizens, to an act of Evil that should never be forgotten
. We need to remember the heroism of people like my friend ,New York
Fireman Gerard Duffy, who's heroism in the line of duty cost him his
life that day. All our liberty and freedoms where attacked that day, by
a few terrorists with nothing but cowardice and evil in their heads and
hearts. All Americans must stand up against this on September 11 2002,
and remember all these brave people who were lost, and the sacrifice they
made in our service. And we must not cower but stand proud in our Nations
spirit of Freedom. And never let anyone make us not fly , or travel
, or enjoy all the great freedoms we have fought so hard to preserve . Lets
remember and never forget who attacked us, and when and where we were when
it happened. God Bless our military one and all who are protecting our freedoms,
with their sacrifices to serve and protect our citi zens. God Bless America,
William J DeRuyter
I WAS NOT TRAVELING ON 9/11...I AM A TRAVEL AGENT
AND WATCHED IN HORROR AS FLIGHTS WENT DOWN.
MY WORK DAY WAS JUST STARTING AS ALL AIRCRAFT GROUNDED LEFT ME WITH
PASSENGERS STRANDED IN THE ODDEST PLACES AND FAMILIES VACATIONS [WERE[
EXTENDED IN FAR OFF LANDS. WE WORKED 18 HOUR DAYS FOR ALMOST 1 WEEK
GETTING PEOPLE HOME AND CONTACTING THEIR FAMILIES AND LETTING THEM KNOW
WHAT WAS GOING ON. STEVE AT FALLS TRAVEL IN CHAGRIN
The morning of 9/11 I was traveling toDenver from Newark. As
we were getting prepared to take off the pilot came over the loud
speaker that one of the world trade towers was "on fire" and to look
out the port side of the plane. Being on the port side I could see
the big plume of smoke. We took off and in ten minutes we were told
that Denver was clear, visibility unlimited, and no wind delays. Ten
minutes after that it was announced that Denver was experiencing "extreme
windshear" and that we would need to land in Cleveland to "refuel". Twenty
minutes later we landed. As we approached the terminal it was clear we
were not in Cleveland but Akron, Ohio! By then some of us knew something
wasn't right and started using our cell phones to call back home. We
were getting news of the towers before the captain was able to give us
the news. I immediately rented a car, by cell phone, because by the time
we disembarked all were taken. I was lucky and drove back home not before
it was announced that two planes in front of us prior to take off was
the plane that went down in PA! Doug M.
FROM THE MEDIA
FROM THE WEB
Halifax International Airport
My First Flight After 9/11
- Since 9/11 I have been on 79 flights and flown over 131,000 miles,
I'm not going to let those cowards scare me.