Nine years ago, September 11 became a day we would all remember.

I remember the week before 9/11, I was sitting in my AP U.S. History class and my teacher was talking about how every generation has events that define their generation.

Every generation has events that were so poignant that they will always remember where they were at the exact minute that they heard the news about a certain tragedy or phenomenon.

Our parents, for example, have JFK and Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination or the first time a man walked on the moon, among others. 

My teacher said that our generation didn’t have a moment yet.

Then 9/11 happened. 


I was sitting in that same history class when an announcement came over the speakers of my high school, informing the students that a plane had crashed into a big building in New York.

None of us knew what that meant. Our teacher told us to continue with the essay test we were taking, and left the room to find out more information to share with us.

With Mr. Bokor gone, we all looked at each other in confusion before returning to our exams.

At lunchtime, my friends and I headed to my house (our school allowed juniors and seniors to go off-campus for lunch).

My mom came home from work and joined us in the living room as we watched the events unfold on our television.

We asked my mom questions to which she didn’t have the answers… No one did.

We were confused and worried.

As it turns out, we were in the middle of living a defining moment for our generation. A moment where so many precious lives were lost and others were changed forever.

God bless the families and loved ones of those affected so deeply by the events that occurred nine years ago.


Do you remember where you were when you heard about the events occurring in New York City on September 11, 2001?

45 Responses

  1. I remember waking up and having my mom tell me what happened and watching it on tv. I remember still having to go to school and no one knowing what was happening and having to sit through class with all the uncertainty hanging overhead. I remember crowding into teachers classrooms at break to watch the news.

  2. I was in Latin class, all our TVs game in and started broadcasting, since i went to school in Philly and only 90 min from NYC we were all immediately sent home. It was so scary and surreal.

  3. My dad was travelling on business during 9/11. He called my mom that morning and told her to turn on the news so we could see what was happening. He didn’t have the words to describe it. Our family hated being separated so he ended up renting a car and driving 24 hours home to be with us.

  4. I was on a Break in High School in Toronto. My B/F at the time had just gotten to school and heard about it on the radio. We went to class not really knowing what was going on and He told the Teachers (Who thought we were crazy as it seemed so unlikely) about 20 minutes later the Principle came on and made an announcement. Classes were on for the rest of the day. But, I think nearly everyone skipped and went home due to fear.

  5. My husband and I were just telling our “where we were” stories to each other. I’ll always remember I was taking a high school physics test…always.

  6. I remember being in my U.S. history class when our principal walked in to tell us to turn on the news. Our teacher said, “You’ll remember this moment for as long as you live.” Somehow I knew he was right. We were a small school so we all gathered in the largest room in the building to watch what was happening. Parents started picking up their kids. Lots of confusion about what was even going on. I was worried since we have friends and family in NYC. Thankfully they were okay.

  7. I was in Blaine, Minnesota..sitting in my office at the Child Care Center…and I had parents coming in and taking their children home, to be with their families….yet, I had to leave my two little ones at a child care center thirty minutes away from the one I was at.

  8. I was home, watching it on TV. I remember calling my mom and telling her about it- she was at work.

  9. i was in ap psych staring at my teacher, who had moments before been joking about having a rough night…since we’re about 25 miles from manhattan, we could smell and see smoke really clearly. it was photo day(so early, every year)but we all got sent home. later that night, my father’s fire company, like all local new jersey fire and rescue stations, was sent to help to in recovery-it was really excavation, no one at the scene was too hopeful at the time-and our family got free pizza from this place around the corner from our house…which went uneaten as we all bunked sleepless in my mom’s room that night.

  10. My mom called & woke me up a bit before 7AM west coast time and told me to turn on the tv. I had to get ready for work and did so while glued to the tv. I called my husband (my boyfriend then) and told him.

  11. I was in Spanish class when I found out. We immediately started watching it all unfold on TV. The worst part was our Spanish teacher had friends who worked at the WTC, so he was a mess.

    The worst is hearing stories from those that work in NYC – almost everyone knew someone who worked down there. I can’t even imagine.

  12. I was sitting in history class too and I remember my teacher saying that although we don’t understand what just happened that this moment is something that we will never forget. And, he couldn’t be more right.

  13. I remember EXACTLY what I was doing, and when. Scary.

  14. I’m from a town in CT that is mostly commuters to new york. I was twelve and had three friends lose parents and one lost a brother as we watched the entire thing happen on the TV set in my 7th grade history classroom. A day i’ll never forget. RIP everyone who lost their lives, you were all more courageous than i can ever hope to be

  15. I certainly remember! I was coming in to one of my education classes for teaching and the television was on it. The class was a 9:30 class and I remember watching the 2nd plan hit and the towers fall. That’s all we did the entire class. The teacher cancelled it but we all just sat there in shock not knowing what to do. Then I went home and watched more and I remember crying thinking about the fear those people faced. I even remember one clip of someone jumping out of the building that the live camera didn’t turn from in time. It’s crazy how something almost a decade ago can still be so vivid. My heart just aches for the families impacted directly by this because their hurts must still be so sharp.

  16. I had just woken up & was getting ready for class when I heard them say something on the radio about a plane hitting a building in NYC. I turned on the TV & woke up my roommate. We sat, transfixed by the image on the TV, not able to speak. Definitely the most awful, unforgettable moment of our generation. To those whose friends & family lost their lives, we will never forget.

  17. I was waiting in the dining hall line for breakfast at my college when I saw out of the corner of my eye the footage of the first plane crashing into the tower. I though “how horrible” but didn’t yet know the significance. I then went to my behavioral ecology class which was 3 hrs long. After the first hour and a half we took a short 5 minute break. One kid went to go use the internet in the library and when he came back he told us what was happening and how bad it really was. Our teacher let us leave at that point. My school was in Virginia and I knew a lot of people whose parents worked at the pentagon. My family lived just outside of D.C. and I remeber getting back to my dorm room to find a voicemail from my dad saying that they were okay but were debating leaving town since nobody knew the level of danger at that point. If D.C. got bombed our house would have been in the blast zone. Ironically, I had previously made an appointment to donate blood that day at our campus blood drive. I showed up and I think half of the school was there, desperate to do anything they could to help. It’s hard to believe it’s already been 9 years.

  18. Coincidentally I was in my AP European History class when I first heard what had happened. I went to a Catholic high school so the whole school gathered in our gym for a prayer service. It was very moving to see everyone come together. I wish it didn’t take tragedies to bring people together.

  19. I actually had no idea until I got home from school that day, I was in 3rd grade – my Mom sat me down in my Daddy’s big chair (the one no one else ever sat in – it was Daddy’s spot!), and told me all teary-eyed what had just happened. And I didn’t understand the words she was telling me, but I saw the pain and sadness and seriousness in her eyes, and that’s how I knew that something really bad had happened.

  20. I was in my 8th grade math class. My best friend was late for school and came into class looking confused. She told us that a plane had crashed in to the World Trade Center. I didn’t know what the WTC was, so I didn’t think it was a big deal. I thought it was an accident.

    An hour later, we were forced to leave to school. My mom met me at the bus stop and walked me home; something she never did. There were planes circling in the air above us. I was terrified.

    You’re a great writer, by the way!

  21. Who doesn’t…I was dating a guy that worked for the White House Communications Dept at the time…needless to say, I got first hand news and details. It was awful…life changing.

  22. I was in French class and my teacher didn’t let us watch the news even though our classroom was filled on one side with windows into the locker bay and we clearly knew something was going on because people were milling about. It wasn’t until next period (US History) when I really learned what happened. We were supposed to have a test, but our teacher had a policy that if something of greater significance ever happened on test day, he postpone the test. Well, we spent the class period discussing the events (both towers were hit at this point) and watching the news. Ironically (maybe?), he had predicted 9/11 (or a similar event) in the days prior… the short story was that we were discussing US involvement in the Middle East, Islam, etc. and he said that he felt for the US to involve itself in that area of the world in that era we would have to be provoked… that, oh, someone would have to come bomb NYC or DC, like the Twin Towers or gov’t buildings. He said it offhand but it was really quite eerie when that did happen. He was a great teacher–very progressive, engaging, and inspiring. He made that day bearable for a lot of students.

  23. I was waiting for my grade eight english class to start. My teacher was pulled out of the room for longer than usual. I sneaked out of the room and found all the staff huddled around a tv in the library watching the news. I got so scared, I ran back to the classroom in silence.

  24. I live about 45 miles outside of Manhattan. On the morning of 9/11 I was also in a history class. My school did not make an announcement, but instead sent memos to the teachers. Since many of the students had parents that commuted to the city everyday they did not want to worry anyone. The news trickled through school, but I didn’t really understand the impact on what had happened. My sister picked me up from school early that day. I was more confused than anything. I used to live along the river and could see the smoke.

    My other sister was on a train traveling to the city when the first plane hit. Her job was pretty close to where ground zero is (she only randomly worked in the city.. she also has an office closer to home). The train actually stopped and went the other way before reaching Grand Central. I was very thankful she was not already in the city that day and made it home safely.

  25. Absolutely, in my living room about to get ready to head to class during my sophomore year of college. I sat on the living room floor staring at the television in disbelief for quite some time. A sad, sad day to remember.

  26. I was in my Economics class in high school. My teacher turned on the tv, and we all just sat and watched…full of questions, completely baffled by everything that was happening, yet nobody could say a word. I still remember it like it was yesterday.

  27. I was also sitting in my US Histor Class, I was in 8th grade.

    It was such an emtional day that will never be forgotten.

    I am currently living in Christchurch, New Zealand where a serious earthquake has put us into a state of civil emergency.It is such a sad sight driving around and seeing some of christchurch’s oldest most cultural buildings destroyed.

    god bless

  28. I had just walked in my 8th grade history class first thing in the morning and my teacher was turning the tv on with a ruler. I remember what I ate for dinner that night, what test I studied for, and the filling my little brother in (he was in 2nd grade and they didn’t tell him) as we drove home. My second brother is in Afghanistan right now- this day changed my life and the life of my family. I will always feel haunted on this day

  29. My radio alarm woke up and instead of music I heard the news so I ran to the television. Shortly after that the second plane hit. Then I had to go to my sophomore photography class at college and we kind of sat around not knowing what to do. Some people left class to photograph the day but most of us stayed there in the safety of the dark room listening to a CD someone brought.
    It kind of reminded me of the Oklahoma City bombing that happened when I was in 7th grade but more massive.

  30. I was in 5th grade and they didn’t tell us what had happened at school since we were just elementary age. The only way we knew something was up was the announcement over the PA system that parent teacher conferences that night were cancelled due to the national tragedy. Once my brother and I arrived home, my mom had the TV on and told us about the events of that morning, although I don’t think it really hit me how serious it all was until some time later.

  31. My mom woke me here in Arizona to tell me. I remember her saying “We’ve been bombed.” and I litterally looked out my window, confused. When she explained that it had been in New York I got up and turned the news on and I watched it over and over and over again. And I cried, like I do now. Goodbye were the feelings of “Oh, that will never happen here!” and “I love living here so everyone must love Americans.” My college classes were not cancelled that day but I couldn’t bring myself to go. I wanted to be with my mom and family. I wanted to be with the people I love, for fear they would leave me suddenly also.

  32. I was there. Yep, there. Across the street from the Towers, to be exact. I just posted my story about it today…

  33. That is so weird-that you were doing that in your history class and your teacher said that! Thats unbeleivable.

    I was in my 7th grade english class and no one had any idea what was going on, It wasn’t until I got home that day that I even knew what really happened. No one really explained to us the extent of what had happened that morning. I remember it like it was the other day..

  34. Classes hadn’t started (I was a junior in high school) yet and everyone started talking about what was happening. It was really scary because we didn’t know what it would mean for our country, what was going to happen in the future.

    I also remember what it was like after I got out of school more than anything. How places were closed and had signs on the doors saying why they were closed for the rest of the day. And how everyone seems incredibly somber and scared.

    Thank you Julie for this post.

  35. I really don’t remember a lot of details. I think mostly because we were very confused the first couple of hours since no one was telling us anything.
    I was walking from gym class to choir and I saw kids crying in the hallway and thought, well, that’s a little unusual.
    Our teacher said, yes, yes, a plane crashed into the World Trade Center, it’s probably not a big deal, we’re still going to sing. Then someone said, no, it was two planes! I think she still tried to make us sing.
    We spent the rest of the day going from class to class, watching/listening to the news.
    People were freaking out because their parents worked there. They wouldn’t let us go home unless our parents picked us up.

  36. Hi, I’m a fairly new reader and a very new commenter, but….

    I was in my sophomore year of high school and was spending my study hall in the library. I’m in the same time zone as NYC, so I had the unlucky misfortune of seeing the second plane hit live on the big screen tv the librarians had tuned to a major news station after news got out about the first plane. I remember my friend and I were totally confused about what it meant. We were so disillusioned (ie, this is America, nothing bad can happen here) that we thought it was just some technical mistake, not an attack.

    In the end, we both kind of shrugged and got back to our homework. It wasn’t until later in the day that we found out the whole thing was orchestrated and intentional.

  37. Wow, Sounds exactly how I remember it. Our history teacher said the same thing to us at the start of the class that year, and we were also working on essays when he found us more information. He was the one that actually told us, and made us realize that what was happening was a big deal and that it wasn’t something random.

  38. It was right before I started my freshman year of college and classes hadn’t started yet.

    I was driving home from my best friend’s house. I was supposed to spend the night and the next day, but she ended up getting really sick so I decided to head home. I just happened to be listening to the radio instead of a CD and heard about it.

    I’ll also always remember where she was also. She ended up sleeping most of the day and when her brothers came home from school and told her she didn’t believe them. It wasn’t until she was watching the news the next day that she saw they were right!

  39. I remember… I was at my FIRST day of broadcast journalism at college. We came into class (having already watched an hour at home) and our teacher said.. go home and watch the news all day. She added “you’ll all know if you want to be in news by the end of the day…” All 22 of us went to one of the guy’s places and just watch…

    I remember my heart breaking that day. I’ve since been to NYC three times and every time I make sure to visit the memorial site.

    God bless all the people affected by 9/11. You are in our hearts today and forever xo

  40. I was a sophomore in college and worked at a music store. The manager and I went to take the deposit that morning and saw TVs set up at the bank. I remember thinking it had to be some joke, like made up or something. We were a very lively group at the music store, just a bunch of young people working together, so we often had all kinds of crazy music playing. I remember we turned on the radio to listen to the news that day and we kept it on for a good week. We also collected money for the relief efforts. Now every year during this time I’m filled with dread and I can’t shake it. I don’t think I’ve been so glued to the news any other time except when Hurricane Katrina hit. My brother also died the first week of September, so it’s always a sad time of year for our family.

  41. I was in sixth grade. Woke up, my parents had it all on the TV. I didnt even bother getting ready for school, just put on some clothes. I watched it the whole time in shock/awe/confusion. I finally had to walk to the bus stop and go to school. At school the teachers gave us a little talk and then we all headed out side to the american flag and said the pledge of allegiance and sang star spangled banner (the whole elementary school) then the 6th graders went back and started brainstorming fundraiser ideas. Sad day

  42. My hubby dropped me off at the airport that morning because I had a business meeting with a client in another state. My boss was going with me too. I was walking through the airport pretty fast cuz I was running late for my plane when I noticed a lot of people were crowding around tv’s, but I didn’t stop. I got to where I was suppose to meet my plane and found out that it was delayed so I told my boss what I saw and he went to go see the tv since we were delayed. About 15 min later he came back and was freaking out and I had no idea what the WTC was. He said there is no way we were flying and so we headed back to our office where someone brought in a tv and we all ended up watching the news for the rest of the day. I remember one of my clients was an airline company and they were freaked out. Crazy, scary, sad day.

  43. Living in germany it was the end of the day when it happened. i had a normal day and was at tabletennis practice and my dad picked me up like he normally did. When I came from the dressing rooms he told me to hurry because the US had been attacked. I was like: “No way!” We spent the whole 30 minute drive home listening to the radio telling us what had happened. i think we had just turned on the TV when the 2nd plane hit.
    So you see, not only you as Americans thought something like that couldn’t happen!

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