I was at home, completely unawares, and getting ready for work, when the planes hit the World Trade Center. My husband called me to tell me to turn on the TV, and that the buildings were on fire. At the time, I remember that engineers knew pretty immediately that the South Tower was going to fall. But since the North Tower had sustained less damage - so they thought
- the engineers at the time thought it might stand, at least for a few hours, if not a few days.
I remember all the news stations not having commercials, for an entire week.
I remember the Congressmen of both parties singing together - I think it was God Bless America.
I remember the skies being completely silent - and considering I live right by a major airport,
to call that "eerie" is an understatement.
I remember the rumors of people in the WTC collapse who had been able to survive by "riding" the floors down. (If only ...)
I remember being able to do nothing
except donate money to the Red Cross.
I remember a specific newscaster (who used to be known for being very a rather snarky asshat at times) - quietly talking to a teenage girl on the air a few days after the attack. Her aunt was by her side, holding her hand tightly. The girl's mom worked for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 90-something-th floor of the North Tower and was missing - the girl was still hoping beyond hope that she was still alive. Uncharacteristically for the newscaster, he let her talk, without interruption, and said nothing at all, but just the deadened look
in his eyes, and the pity in his eyes, said it all ...
What I remember MOST, though - and I think what we take for granted now - is that nobody knew what was going on that day. Rumors were flying. That's what made it so scary to me. There were reports of car bombs in DC outside major government buildings. There were reports of missing flights near Chicago, and possible explosions there. The plane that hit the Pentagon, and the plane that went down in Pennsylvania, were largely discounted as "rumors" at first, because unlike the World Trade Center, there was NO camera footage - and there were dozens such rumored reports of missing flights.
That was what was scariest to me - the uncertainty that it wasn't over.