12 Years Later: Remembering 9/11

It’s hard to believe 9/11 was 12 years ago. It seems as though just yesterday the Twin Towers fell, a hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon and yet another one crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, perhaps thwarting an attack on the White House. As we commemorate the 12th anniversary of 9/11, JET staff and readers take a look back at where they were on the horrific day…

Managing Editor, Anslem S. Rocque

“I was riding in a dollar van in Queens on my way to the train station when I heard on the radio that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. Like all the other passengers, we thought it was just a small two-seater plane, so I hopped on the train and headed to work in Manhattan like any other Tuesday. Being underground, I had no way of knowing what was really going on and the magnitude of the plane that hit the World Trade building. The trains were moving considerably slow due to an ‘incident’ in lower Manhattan and I was frustrated that I was going to be late for work.

“Finally, when the train remained at the 42nd St. station for 20 minutes without moving, I decided to just get out and walk down to 14th Street. There were a sea of people outside, but I didn’t take it as being odd since Manhattan is a crowded city. So I hoofed it downtown, not noticing that everyone else was walking Uptown. When I got to my office, the front door was left ajar and the hallways were basically empty. I went to my best friend’s desk and he told me about the plane hitting the World Trade. Still thinking it was a two-seater, I said, ‘So what?’ That’s when he told me it was a 747 and that’s when it hit me. We and a couple other co-workers who happened to make it to work just listened to the radio for information until we got word that the trains were running again and, after a few hours, we left the city. It was the most quiet train ride I’ve ever had in New York.”

Entertainment Director, Tia Brown

“I was watching the morning news while getting ready to head to class at Columbia University on 116th Street in Manhattan. Like many trains, the one I took each morning, the IRT line, passed through the Fulton Street hub near the World Trade Center. I remember watching the second tower impact and calling my friend. I knew her husband’s firm was on the upper level. I stayed home for days.”

Senior Editor, Marcia A. Talbert

“September 11th was to be my first day of graduate school for journalism at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Because my class wasn’t until 4 p.m., I was sleeping in. When my best friend, Brenda, called around 8:30 a.m. CST I remember thinking, this better be an emergency. The first thing she said was ‘The World Trade Center has been hit by a plane.’ I was drowsy and didn’t understand what she was saying. I thought it was another bombing in Oklahoma. I thought about going back to sleep, but she insisted that I turn on the news. And that’s when I saw the smoke billowing from Two World Trade Center. Almost immediately after I turned on the television, the first tower collapsed. ”

Editorial Assistant, Miya Williams

“I was a sophomore at an all-girls Catholic high school in Oakland, California. When I woke up on September 11th, instead of my radio alarm playing music, I heard the DJs talking about the attacks. No one in my house was awake yet. I immediately ran downstairs and turned on the TV. Since I usually got to school early, when I arrived I found a few fellow students in a classroom watching the news. I remember seeing the second building hit before I went to class. Instead of going to first period, we started the day with Mass in the auditorium. The religious service really helped bring some sense of comfort and community on such a sad and confusing day.”

Photo Editor, Geoffrey Black

“I remember feelings of helplessness, anger and sorrow overwhelming me on the day of 9/11. Waking to CNN (a routine I learned as a freelance photojournalist), I’d catch up on breaking news from the night before and would be ready to pitch stories for an 11 a.m. editors’ meeting. I remember at the time nothing in the CNN newscast presented as a page-one story. Heading out the door, a video of World Trade Center Tower One flashed across the screen and initial reports were that a small plane had crashed into the building.

“Listening to the  local radio station in my car, it was becoming apparent this was no small plane. I pulled into a local fire station to shoot photos of firefighters watching the story of Tower One on a big screen TV, which would give this national story a local perspective. As I pulled into the fire station, a second plane hit thePentagon in Washington DC. I ran into the TV room where a loud gasp rose above silence, only to be replaced with more silence and stunned looks of disbelief. Two more planes would crash on this day, one would hit Tower Two of the World Trade Center and the other would crash in rural Pennsylvania. Soon the world would learn this was not an accident, but a deliberate act of aggression marking these events as one of most recorded acts of war in the history.”

Graphic Designer, Pedro Vega

“I was a new fifth grader at Rachel Carson Elementary in Chicago. I remember being surprised and confused when we began to be sent home after what must have been only 15 minutes of class. When I went home to watch the news, all I could think about was how much the destruction of the Sears Tower would affect us in the South side. We all thought a hit there was inevitable, we were fortunate enough to be wrong.”

Digital Managing Editor, Kyra Kyles

“I was working for a media firm at the time, so we always had about four to five televisions blaring the news. I remember one of my co-workers calling me to come over because a plane had ‘accidentally’ hit the World Trade Center.  My colleagues and I stood around the small screen, not talking or really moving much, as we watched the live report.  It was only a few seconds before we knew that it had not been an accident, by any stretch.”

Digital Content Editor, L’Oreal Thompson

“I was a sophomore at Mount de Sales Academy in Catonsville, Maryland. Coincidentally, I was in religion class and my teacher was talking about how people call on God in times of crisis when one of the nuns walked in and told us a plane had struck the World Trade Center. Little did we know this would be perhaps the greatest crisis of our generation.”

Contributing Writer, Andrea Watson

“I was in seventh grade on 9/11. I remember being home sick that day and my mom had the TV on. I heard her shout, ‘Oh no,’ and I ran into her bedroom to see what was wrong. She kept shaking her head and wouldn’t speak. After a few moments she explained the horrific details. I remember feeling scared because I didn’t fully understand what that incident would mean for my city. I didn’t feel safe.”

Contributing writer, Jessica Paris

“On the morning of 9/11, I remember faintly hearing the news say something had happened as I was walking out the door to head to school, but I didn’t pay it much attention because I didn’t realize how close to home it was. Then when I got to school, my seventh grade teacher Ms. Harris had the TV on, which wasn’t normal. She then explained to us what happened and we watched the news coverage for the entire class period. We had moments of silence throughout the day for the victims and their families and we even wrote journals on how we felt about the tragedy. Although we were miles and miles away in Dallas, Texas, the news definitely shook the entire school and changed the atmosphere for the rest of the week. ”

JET readers:

“Making sure our veterans had everything they needed for their surgeries to go smoothly. #OperatingRoom #Supplies #Veterans.” -Lisa Pearl Black (@Luke184Lisa) on Twitter

“The morning of the attack on 9/11, I was in the hospital. I was watching Judge Joe Brown, at first I thought it was a preview of a movie. But then they kept showing it, that is when I knew it was real. I started having flashbacks, remembering my days of being in that building and I could have had a job there. I started thinking about who I knew that worked there. My uncle had just left the building before it happened. My cousin had called in late, she just missed it. A friend of mine was there and was able to get out, while another friend was on his way to work in that area and was consumed with smoke. I remember the first bombing in the garage and a friend of mine was at work and she survived. A lot of “what ifs” began to run through my mind. What if something like that happen while I was in that building, what if I had taken that job there! It is something that will always be embedded in my mind.” -Cassandra Harvey on Facebook

“I was working at the hospital on the fourth floor of the finance department pulling trash, and I heard one of the ladies sighing. I said, ‘What’s wrong?’ She said come here and look at this. On her computer, I saw a man in a praying position leaping out of the window of the building. I will never forget that image as tears fell from my eyes! We comforted each other.” -World/152 Street Records on Facebook

“I was at home getting ready for class when I turned on the television and heard that one of the planes crashed through one of the buildings. It was a horrible sight. Then, during the course of the day, my radio and television both were locked into even more 9/11 coverage.” -Eric Williams on Facebook

YOUR TURN: Share your reflections on 9/11 in the comments below…