September 11 Digital Archive: XML Document

Story:I was on Braddock Road, heading to George Mason University, when the first plane hit. On the radio station, it sounded like a small (propellor) plane had hit, so I went over to WTOP to listen to more info. By the time I had reached Mason, they were saying that another plane had hit. I chalked it up to confusion over the events and parked.

I went to the West Building to type up my Spanish homework for my 10:30 class and was on AOL IM, chatting with a good friend who lives in southern Virginia, who told me that the Monument and Pentagon were hit. Again, I chalked it up to
confusion, because no one was saying a thing about the Monument.

Right after clicking on print, I opened my email account and discovered an email from my uncle. The subject line scared me, as it was then that I knew the Pentagon had been hit:

From : Uncle Bill
To : Erin
Subject : Is John ok?
Date : Tue, 11 Sep 2001 10:03:08 EDT

Erin, Was your father working at the Pentagon today? We are all very concerned. Please contact Grandma or me ASAP to let us know if John is OK. Love, Uncle Bill

I ran out of the West Building and tried to make a call on the payphone there, but the lines were busy. It was now 10:25 and I needed to get to class.

When I arrived upstairs, people were crying and drawing pictures on the board, outlining what had happened. "We'll be hit next," they were saying, "because of our location."

The students in my class were wives of government employees, members of the military, and all of us were scared. Our teacher said she couldn't cancel class
but if we wanted to try to make a phonecall, we were more than welcome to go in and out of the classroom to do so.

After a dozen attempts, I was able to reach my Dad. And it was only then, after he assured me that he was fine, that the irony of it struck me -- my Dad, the structural engineer with government contracts, had just finished that section of the Pentagon 2 weeks prior to the attacks. 2 weeks earlier and he might have been there the day the plane struck.

I remember trying to send an email from home later, b/c our answering machine was full of questions from family and friends from around the country, but I couldn't access the Internet from home, as all phone lines were busy. So I went
to a local library and used their Internet to do so. And I wished I had saved that email, as well, as it was the only communication we had with our family and friends in the time immediately following the attacks.

Life Changed:Yes.

I am more afraid of getting on planes than I was before. And the PTSD that I suffer(ed) from a sexual assualt was made worsened by the depression I felt from 9/11.

Should be remembered:How life can be changed so very quickly and nothing should ever be taken for granted.

How we are a strong nation that won't just let people do whatever they want b/c they want to do it.

Flag:Yes, I did.

And I believe that if you are going to fly a flag, make sure that you know why. There are many valid reasons, but please don't do it b/c everyone else is doing it. I can't stand to see it disrespected by being flown improperly.

view more information about this object