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The September 11 Digital Archive

Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Behring Center Smithsonian “September 11:
Bearing Witness to History”

     Story of September 11
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Contributed by: Edward B. Chapple Sr.
Contributor's location on 9/11:
Contributed on: 19 August 2002

How did you witness history on September 11th?

I had taken the day off from work that day for the purpose of taking my infant son to a doctors appointment. I remember the phone ringing, answering it still half alseep, and hearing my wifes excited voice telling me that The World Trade Center had just been bombed. I didn't take her seriously initially. Nevertheless, I managed to find the remote control for the television, and upon turning it on, I was immediately brought to a full consciousness by what was unfolding before my eyes. One tower had already collapsed and in the process of the media replaying clips of seperate airliners crashing into both towers, the other tower began to buckle, collapse, and crumble. I could not believe what I was seeing. I remember surfing through the major stations to get different veiws on what was happening, and remember seeing the words that will forever be etched in my memory. "AMERICA IS UNDER SEIGE BY UNKNOWN ASSAILANTS". After it was reported that a third plane had been hijacked and subsequently it to had crashed, it was painfully obvious that we were being targeted by some very angry and desperate people. My first reaction, as I began to get my son ready for his very first routine appointment,was not one of anger or rage as many others will confess to. My first thoughts were ones of sorrow for the lives that were being taken through no fault of thier own. My heart and prayers were and still go out to the families of those unsuspecting people who were in those buildings and on those airplanes. I think like so many others,I went through the rest of that day in a state of shock or disbelief.

Has your life changed because of September 11, 2001?

I cannot say there have been any drastic changes in my personal life, but I believe I have a better appreciation for life itself.

What do you think should be remembered about September 11th?

That so many lives, innocent lives ended prematurely.

Did you fly an American flag after the events of September 11th?

Being a 42yr. old Afro American male, before Septemeber 11, I never looked at myself as a "Patriotic American", but in the aftermath of that tragedy, I have come to embrace this country more than I had in the past. I applaud the efforts of the countless people who left their homes and families to assist in the recovery process. I had never before flown an american flag at my home, but I do have one now and I fly it proudly.

Cite as: Edward B. Chapple Sr., Smithsonian Story #184, The September 11 Digital Archive, 19 August 2002, <>.
Archival Information: 284 words, 1610 characters

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