Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?

By: Katie Austin

Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001? What you were doing at the very moment when everything changed?

September 11

I do. I will never forget that day. It’s been fourteen years and I can still see the faces of those caught right in the middle of the mayhem that day.

A day that would change everyone.

The morning of September 11, 2001 was like any day. I was working for a large utility company. I still do. The day was a typical day as my fellow co-workers and I settled into our offices, drinking coffee and working from our computers.

Then it happened.

The moment in time that will never be forgotten.

There was a buzz in the office as word spread of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center’s South Tower in New York City. We grabbed our coffee and headed into the conference room. We turned our attention to the large monitor that was showing one of the news broadcasts. It was then that we got our first glimpse of the South Tower on fire, smoke billowing from where the plane had crashed into it.

At first we thought something had gone wrong with the airplane, or maybe there was a disgruntled pilot. We were in shock. The news began reporting the FAA had banned all takeoffs of flights going to or around the city. Then shortly after 9:30 we learned that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D. C.

September 11

“Could this be a terrorist attack? Is our country under attack?” we wondered.

At that moment, I got up and walked back to my desk. I wanted to call family members in the Washington, D.C. area to see if they were ok. I couldn’t get through. Everyone must have been trying to call loved ones in that area.

I walked back to the conference room to see the South Tower collapsing. It was gone. The North Tower was still standing, but not for long. At exactly 10:28 a.m. the World Trade Center’s North Tower collapsed. I just sat there, watching images of those trying to outrun the dust cloud coming their way as each tower collapsed. We learned of another plane that had been hijacked and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

September 11

I couldn’t believe what was unfolding in New York City, in our nation.

I went back to my desk to call more family members to find that they were trying to get ahold of me. We were all in shock that this was unfolding right before our eyes.

I left work, picked up our son and met my husband at the house. The first thing we did was to turn on the television. All you could do was sit there and wonder what was next. The images were mind-blowing. I can still see the pictures of those that knew their fate and jumped from the South Tower before it collapsed. To think that they knew in that very moment that there was no way out…that this was it…

For days following the events of 9/11, time was spent closely watching the news and staying current on what was happening. It was heartbreaking to see the pictures posted in New York City of loved ones that were missing. Family members were there trying to find them. The lives of so many firefighters and police officers were lost that day as they tried to save others in the towers.

September 11

It’s hard to put into words what we felt at the time of the attacks and the days/weeks/months following. I reflect each year at this time when images appear on Facebook and I watch the documentaries.

Whether you remember that day, heard about it at school, or are just learning about the events of 9/11, this day causes all of us to pause.

I wanted to find a place to go to reflect and honor those that gave their lives that day. I found what I was looking for. The History Channel does a great job of capturing on one page exactly what I was looking for. They put together a timeline, speeches, and videos on their page. Be sure to check it out!

We will never forget that day. The stories of those that bravely tried to overtake the terrorists on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. The fearless firefighters and police officers who climbed so many stairs in the towers to lead people to safety. The many brave men and women who helped to rebuild our nation after the events of that day. They all gave up their own safety to save others.

Let’s take today to honor those that were lost that day. Take a minute, pause from your daily routine and share in a moment of silence.

Like Alan Jackson’s song, “Where were you when the world stopped turning?” What do you remember most about this day?

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