Where Were You on September 11th, 2001? - ITS Tactical

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Where Were You on September 11th, 2001?

By Bryan Black

To honor the memory of our fallen on this 10th anniversary of September 11th, we’d like to hear from you. Tell us your story and how you were personally affected by the tragedy and what were you doing when you heard the news.

I’d like to share my story here with you and hope you’ll consider doing the same in the comments below…

When I heard the news on September 11th, 2001 I was a naive 22-year-old enrolled in Junior College here in Texas. I was wandering aimlessly through a long path in earning my Associates Degree in Computer Science while working part-time at a commercial photography studio and taking just as many classes as I needed to get by each semester. This along with running in a circle of friends that had similar ambitions wasn’t doing me any good.

The morning of the 11th I was up to what I did best, sleeping in until the last minute I could before I had to get to my first class. Before my alarm rang, I got a call from my dad that woke me up. He told me to turn on the TV and that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York.

I grabbed the remote and turned on the TV a few minutes after Flight 11 struck the North Tower. I watched in horror, thinking of everyone involved in what I still thought was an accident. Little did I know at the time that a second plane was bound for the remaining tower and that my life would be jolted in a new direction.

At 8:03 a.m. central time I watched in disbelief as Flight 175 struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center. This was no longer a accident I thought to myself, our planes are being used against us. The news station I was watching was reporting it as a freak accident, but I knew better.

Despite what I knew was happening, I went about my routine, getting ready to head out the door for class. I remember continuing to ask myself, “how could this be happening?”

While driving to my class I was talking about the tragedy with my friend Bryan, when he told me that Flight 77 had just struck the Pentagon. Three planes? This couldn’t be happening…

Walking into school I saw nearly everyone crowded in the main hallway staring up at the multiple TVs that were showing the breaking news. I continued into my class and grabbed a seat in the auditorium-like classroom, just as my normally enthusiastic professor walked in with a terrified look on his face. He immediately looked up at the few of us sitting there saying “class is cancelled, god help us all…”

I remember sitting there as everyone else immediately got up and walked to the door to leave, feeling lost. I eventually got up to leave and walked into the hallway, joining the others gathered around the TVs just as the South Tower collapsed. Disbelief is all I thought when the tower fell and hoping that everyone made it out who could.

I stood there as the report came in that Flight 93 had gone down in Somerset County, PA and later watched in horror again as the North Tower collapsed. Eventually I left the glow of the TV at school and learned that all classes were cancelled the remainder of the day. My drive home was a somber one, not knowing exactly what to do with myself, but wishing I could help.

In the days after the attacks of 9/11 I saw America at its best, rallying in patriotism, unity and a sense of purpose. American Flags few from nearly every home, business, car and t-shirt. Despite this oneness eventually fading, I personally vowed to never forget and to do everything in my power to ensure those who perished did not do so in vain.

I thought about how I could make a difference and made the decision in the days following the attacks to follow through on the dream that I always believed was too hard to achieve. That was to join the Navy and become a SEAL, a dream I’d had since I was 12. I wanted to first finish what I’d started at school and ensure that I went in with at least my Associates Degree. I figured I also needed that long to get in shape and prepare myself for what I was about to undertake.

In less than two years  I was in the best shape of my life, finally finished with my degree, in love with the woman of my dreams and leaving for one of the most challenging programs the military had to offer.

9/11 affected me in ways that I’ll never be able to explain; I feel like it woke me up, slapped me in the face and told me to quit wasting my life. I left a lot behind with my new direction; friends, ideals and especially habits. I felt the tragedy of our nation as my driving force and I often found and still find my drive though it.

The American Flag means the world to me and I’ve learned through my military service, through the adversity our country has faced and through my own personal hardships, to use it as a constant source of strength. I believe in America’s resilience and all that we can accomplish as a nation.

I will never forget…

Please consider sharing your story in the comments and always remember September 11th, 2001 and our fallen.

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  • Steven

    Ten year ago today I was a senior in high school, thinking about college trying to enjoy life. I thought I knew it all but I did not know anything. I did not know the pain of finding out a friend had been killed or wounded in action. I did not know the hate I now hold. I did not know the guilt I feel of being alive while my friends died. I did not know how good life really was. I did not know how much my world would change.

  • Rod

    I was on vacation with my girlfriend in Shrevesport. Within 2 hours, as I was watching the coverage, my pager went off. I knew who it was. It was a recall. We were recalled to the Dallas Division of the FBI. We left and drove straight to the office where we worked on this case for long, long hours for the next several months.

  • That morning, I was getting ready to head up to Portsmith,NH for a meeting and saw the planes hit while watching the Today show. I called my parents in CA to wake them up and I wanted to check to see if my dad was traveling for business that day (I thought he was headed to NY). I then tried to find my uncle, who worked in the World Trade Center. But, he was over in the UK on business (Best news I l ever heard).
    I remember hearing the F-16s fly over as they headed to NYC and I remember how blue the sky was, and now still it was out.

  • I was on my way to NYC dot com via the path through the WTC. I had stopped that morning to grab some cash at the bank and then a few minutes later at the local record store which was opening early because the Slayer album “God Hates Us All” was released that day. At the store I heard about a plane crash in the city. No one really knew where it had crashed or what had crashed at that point. I hopped back on I95 but I couldn’t see the smoke till I did the peel after Newark Airport towards Manhat. I was on the stretch of the NJTPK that leads to the Holland tunnel for no more than a minute or so when the second plane hit. I took the next exit ramp and headed home. At the house, CNN went on, and pretty much stayed on. I listened to the blow by blow of United 93, discovered the Pentagon had been hit…Politicians who knew nothing about the Middle East or Islam, began covering their ass parroting the name Usama Bin Laden.

    I knew it would be different now. I hoped that partisan politics would finally be put aside because we were at war…I hoped people, Americans at least, would start to understand America and our actions in the context of the world, ie actions like the withdrawal from Somalia and the Monica Lewinsky “scandal” had emboldened our enemies .

  • David Alexander

    I was stationed at FT Bragg, NC on 911. I just got off a night shift and was coming into the barracks when it happened. We were all watching it on TV in the common area. at first I thought “wow some idiot accidently ran his plane into the tower.” and then the 2nd one happened and everyone was silent and then they alerted the whole base because of not knowing were the attcks were going to be next.
    At the time I was working on Pope Air Force Base my MOS at the time required us to work along side of the Air Force. One of the eeriest things about the follow 24-48 hours was the silence on a Pope Air Force base all planes were grounded. It was weird not to hear a single plane in the sky.

  • Kirk

    Ten years ago today I was in a security operations room in Kosovo with a group of rough men all staring in disbelief at something we expected to see where we were – happening where we never thought it would…

    There’s nothing like being in a room full of people who are used to taking action and not being able to do a damn thing. I remember the outrage at the security “experts” that the news stations pulled in, I remember guys leaving the room in total disgust – unable to watch the screens anymore. I’m surprised the screens survived the day.

    I had been planning to shift into an easier role…maybe political advisor, or something equally cushy. with nice cocktail parties….Everything changed that day. It’s been security all the way since then – sadly, there has been no shortage of work.

    Remember all those who were lost on 911 today, but let us not forget those who have given their lives since then – unsung heroes who many never know about – who have given all to make sure this never happens again…

  • madwest

    I was at work, in a local government building, when on of my co-workers said she heard a plane hit one of the twin towers. we went over to the break room and started to watch the tv, and the news was slowly coming in. Most of the news was confused, no one seemed to really know what was going on. My boss was standing next to me when we saw the second plane hit. we both said at the same time “terrorists”. It was a sickening feeling knowing that we were under attack. When we heard the pentagon was hit, our anxiety level went through the roof. When and were would it stop? Thankfully after the last plane went down, it seemed to stop. i felt like i could breathe, but now the world was changed, forever, again. There are moments, in history, that if you are there, if you live through it, you will ALWAYS remember, and never forget. Pearl harbor, the Kennedy assassination, the first moon landing, the fall of the Berlin wall, and now 9/11.

  • SheepDog Medic

    At the time I was assigned to the motorcycle unit at an agency here in south Florida. I had just finished writing up a minor traffic accident and headed back to the station to get some more accident forms. I happened to walk by Lt’s office, who ALWAYS has the TV on. I glanced at the s reenact as I usually do to watch in disbelief from the first tower being struck. It was at that moment on live TV I saw the second plane strike.
    My life and career path changed from there. Soon after I was processing and on my way to become a FAM. January 2002 I was in New Mexico for FAM training. It was a short stint with the FAM service, but none the less a great experience and excellent training.
    I have since made the career change to th fire service as a FF/Paramedic where I have been for most 7 years. I’ve also got back on the PD part time (It’s in my blood) working the road and I’m also detached to two other PD departments as their Medic/Operator. I am blessed to be working in two careers I love.
    Not a day goes by that I don’t remember my brothers & sisters that have made the ULTIMATE sacrifice!
    I thank all of you across our great country that put up the good fight.

    Be well and be safe,

    Semper Fi

    SheepDog Medic
    Sorry for any typos but I’m om shift at the FD and is from my cell 🙂

  • I was staying with a friend on her boat in Coronado, CA. We’d been out late again and were woken up by a phone call to a wrong number saying that there had been a plane crash and that the border was closed. We found out about the attacks when I called Mom later in the morning and I pretty much emotionally locked up for a couple of hours. Everyone was afraid of what would happen next. We went to a movie like we’d planned the day before thinking that sitting around being afraid would be letting the terrorists win. We went back to the boat and watched the TV news later that day and I remember just how quiet it was with no planes in the air except for the military jets and helicopters.
    Later that night, my friend couldn’t sleep so she went in to work at the Red Cross blood bank at about 0200. She said traffic was gridlock going north into the amphibious base, SEAL base, and North Island on Coronado and it was just as bad going the other way as she crossed the bay bridge into San Diego.
    Coming back over the bridge into Coronado the next day, I remember seeing guided missile cruisers off the coast. San Diego is a military town and already very supportive, but patriotism and support came flooding out like I’d never seen. I’ll never forget. God bless all those who have been lost, those who’ve been wounded, those who’ve lost someone, and those who serve knowing it all could happen to them.

  • Where were you ten years ago? I was in Crete working.
    I was in Crete as the PSO for Mrs Franks on 9-11-01. We were at the hotel waiting for Gen Franks and official party to decide what they wanted to do. A few of us were watching Joe Dirt in my buddy Scott's room.
    We heard a huge commotion in the hallway and we were told a plane hit the first tower. We turned on the international news and saw the second plane hit. We knew right then and there it was a terrorist attack.
    Our comms guys began setting up satellite communications on the roof of the hotel and Gen Franks was able to get on the phone with the SECDEF and the President. About that time the third plane hit the Pentagon.
    The Naval base commander arrived and wanted us all to go back to the Navy base but the Boss said no way. He had the comms going and he didn't want to loose it by moving. They sent every available security person from the base to the hotel to secure it. I don't think the hotel staff liked all the K9's hanging out in the lobby.
    Later in the evening to all of our amazement, the Boss wanted to go out to eat. We ended up at a old restaurant that was a outdoor cafe in a alley way. As everyone (except us) ate we saw a red laser on the building wall just across the alley. We all jumped up to secure the Boss but it turned out to be a kid with one of those toy laser pointers sitting at the cafe. Talk about shatin' your pants!
    That night we loaded up the Boss's plane and flew back to the states. The mission commander said we weren't cleared to land in the US but the Boss didn't care, we were flying home. To my knowledge we were the only aircraft in the air that night crossing the Atlantic.
    A few times we were told we would have to divert to Canada or somewhere in the Caribbean. The Boss said we were landing at MacDill and they would have to shoot us down. That was the reality of the situation.
    That was by far the longest flight in my life. Not knowing how my family and friends were doing and not knowing if more attacks were underway.

  • I was at Naval Hospitalman (corpsman) training. We were all told to stay in the classroom until told otherwise. Once we were released we were told to go straight to the barracks and call our families. We all ended up going to field medical school to be attached to the Marines for OEF/OIF.

  • Steve Ruth

    My office was located in an off-site building, not at the main CIA Headquarters building. I had already checked my e-mail and started planning the day when my secretary called out to me.
    “Steve, come take a look at this,” Brenda T. shouted.
    I went to the T.V. that was near her desk and saw a replay of the first plane that had just hit the twin towers in New York City. Brenda, I, and others quickly gathered around the T.V. and were amazed. I thought to myself that someone was really going to get into trouble, probably the air traffic controller. Then I started analyzing the situation and thought that it had to be pilot error because even if the air traffic controller was wrong the pilot would definitely be able to see the World Trade Center in front of him or her. I was perplexed. When I saw the second plane hit I knew this was no accident. All of us watching the television were in shock and no one said a word but we were all thinking the same thing – terrorists. Soon thereafter we heard that a plane crashed into the Pentagon, just a few miles away from our location. And, a fourth hi-jacked plane was still in the air under control of terrorists…. – Excerpt from my memoir “My Twenty Years as a CIA Officer: It’s All About The Mission.”

  • Travis

    I was in my freshman year of college and was getting ready for work. My mom came in and told me a plane had hit the WTC. The first question I asked was if it was an accident or intentional. I walked into the living room just as the second plane hit the tower. I had my answer.

    I continued to get ready and headed into work. When I got there wasn’t much to be done so I watched TV with the secretary and my boss. I called a friend to see if school was still on and was told it was. So I left work early figuring on the possibility of more traffic than normal in St Louis. Glad I did as there was construction on the exit I used to get to school. As I sat in traffic with my windows down listening to the radio the guy in the next car asked me what the world was coming to. I didn’t have an answer.

    When I got to school people wanted to know what was going on. This school was a bit old fashioned and only had one TV for students and it didn’t get great signal. I told them what I had seen on TV and heard on the radio. The teachers tried to go on with class but I don’t think anyone was really paying attention. Most of us wouldn’t have been there if it were not for the attendance policy.
    Up to this point in my life I really didn’t have much ambition to do anything great. I was happy with my job and had I stayed I would have ended up taking the company over. I was only in school to get a piece of paper and make my family happy.

    The night of the attacks a friend and I when to the building use by the Boy Scout troop we had been members of and still helped with to get the flags. Part of the service to the community the troop provides is putting flags on the light poles along Main St. We put them up and maintained them there till the President had the flag brought back to full staff. I remember people honking and waving at us putting them up or fixing ones that needed repair while they were displayed. It made me very proud to be an American.

    It was also in the following week I made up my mind to join the military. I had always wanted to join but never had the drive to get off my ass and do it. I made the deal with my parents that I would finish two years of school then join. I think they hoped I would change my mind in that time. I didn’t. I joined the Air Force and with the advice of a friends dad picked a job that had nothing to do with what at the time was my profession, computer networking. I ended up with a job that I can’t imagine not doing EOD.

    That day changed my life in ways that I could have never dreamed of. Ten years later and the thoughts of what happened that day still fill me with deep sorrow and at times anger when thinking of the ones lost that day and the brothers and sisters lost in the fights afterwards. But the thoughts of the days and week afterward give me hope for our country.

  • Jason Charles

    I was getting off of work. I was an EMT at the time, working in Harlem. I saw smoke trailing east on 5th ave & heard people saying a helicopter hit the WTC north tower. I made my way one block west to 6th ave, where I could see both buildings in full veiw (some 2 miles or so away). Need Less To Say, I see the second plane hit the building & go into full alert. I race down to help. I get there and all I could see was thousands of people staring at the building in awe. I went to look for my father, who was at the time a PAPD officer. As I start to walk towards the North tower, the south tower starts to collapse. “Fuck!!!” I said as I stared at the south tower. As I start to run I see 6 firefighter get crushed by debris. I make my way to broadway & realize that it’s not over now I have to out run the dust which was pretty much impossible. I get caught in the dust but not before I direct four people to grab my turnout coat & hold their breaths. Darkness, cold, silent, & no air. I thought for sure we were all dead. A manager from Au Bon Pain opens his door & let’s us in. Air, Light, & Water was giving to us the second we got into the store. Fastforward half an hour later as I start to make an attemp to evacuate the North tower. You can hear all the PASS alarms going off. The errie sound of firemen down but couldn’t see any of them. I start looking for a SCBA but none could be found so with that I take back a girl from england who made down from the 70th floor of the North tower. She was just visiting. I get her back to broadway & then the North tower started to collapse. “Fuck, shit, piss, not again?” “What do I do now?” Survive. The dust cloud seem thicker, harded, & more vicious. I started to suffocate from the intense amount of dust that flooded a loading dock I ran to. Someone handed me a wet rag & that pretty much saved my ass again. I head back outside after 15 minutes of waiting for the dust to settle. Now, it is truly silent. No PASS alarms, no screaming, no sirens, or engines running. A sense of peace. After that day, I did body recovery work, for a few months until the recovery efforts were over. A few years later I became a firefighter.

  • Val Tang

    Ten years ago I was stationed at Tinker AFB as a SF K-9 handler. That Tuesday was a day off for me and I was feeding my oldest son Jake, who was 4 months old at the time, a bottle. My mom called panicked and told me to turn on the television. I remember watching the news in amazement and then anger, wondering who had the nerve to do this to America. I remember finishing feeding Jake and getting my bags together in preparation for the unit recall. Right after the second plane hit the Towers, the call came. I will never forget this day or the outstanding men and women of the U.S. Military that I had the honor to serve with.

  • Matt

    I was in my Sheriff’s accademy, believe it was the Legal 1 class to be specific. I remember our platoon Cpl. coming in and pulling out the one guy in our class who was from NY. A couple minutes later he wheeled a t.v. set in and told us what happened and put the news on, a few minutes later we watched the second plane hit tower 2!

  • JasonF

    I had recently been laid off, so with nothing useful to do I didn’t bother setting my alarm. One of my roommates woke me – his mother had just called and told him to turn on the TV. I staggered downstairs and was greeted by images of the Twin Towers in flames, gaping holes spewing smoke, and windows vomiting unfortunate Americans who made the choice to jump rather then burn to death. NYC was in chaos; suet-covered people streamed out of the buildings, bleeding and crying. Ten or fifteen minutes after I began watching, the first tower collapsed. The second followed shortly thereafter. Building Seven eventually came down as well. Like much of America, I spent the rest of the day glued to the television in a state of shock.

    Into the evening and through the next morning, stories of tragedy and selfless heroism started to filter out of the initial madness. Overloaded, I had to take a break from this, so I went to grab some lunch and process the events. I drove down Ventura Boulevard and I was amazed to see crowds gathered at the corners of every major intersection. They were waving American flags and shouting in a spirit of national unity that was spontaneously blooming all across America. America, sure – but this was LA! This is the town where I was once literally laughed out of a job interview because I had my military service listed on my resume. I was almost as shocked as I had been the previous morning and, frankly, I was having a hard time driving because of the emotions that were stirring within me.

    The news continued to filter out over the following weeks; the story became more fully-fleshed, and – like all things – the event was gradually shelved in our memories as we attempted to put everything back together and move on. The one percent of the population involved in the ensuing military conflicts were dutifully, if superficially, supported by even by the most ardent war opponents. New internal American battle lines were drawn and old political doctrine revised to match the circumstances.

    9/11 was a tragedy, but it was a tragedy tempered by amazing acts undertaken by ordinary citizens and by the drawing together of Americans of all stripes to stand united as a nation. It wasn’t the greatest tragedy, however, and neither were the wars that followed.

    The greatest tragedy is that, instead of building upon that moment of unity to become something even greater, we Americans have instead devolved to a point where we’re likely to tear apart that which all who preceded us had taken such care to create and nurture over the last two and a half centuries. The greatest tragedy is one that didn’t require a group of foreign terrorists. All it required was us.

  • Bob

    I was in my sophomore year of college. I had recently changed my degree from computer engineering to political science, somewhat with the hopes of doing something with intelligence or national security. On 9/11/01, I woke up just in time to see the second plane hit the towers.

    My path was cemented from that day forward. I finished my degree, got in shape, and joined the Army. I have since crossed the globe and worked with multiple military services, Federal agencies, and private corporations tackling the issues of terrorism and homeland defense.

    I sit at work today, surrounded by some of the heros that responded to the Pentagon that day. I sit here remembering those towers, the Pentagon, the lone flight in Pennsylvania, and I pray for the brave souls lost.

    We’ve come a long way in the past 10 years. But our work isn’t done. Far from it.

  • Chris Eline

    I was sitting in class as a high school senior. I had already enlisted in the Marine Corps infantry in early June. I immediately knew what I’d be doing after graduation. 10 years and 2 deployments later I’m a local police officer playing with the idea of re-upping.

  • It’s a small picture of Yen Betru, but it’s the only one online that really captures his easy smile and twinkling eyes. Funny how you can spend so much time with someone and have so few pictures.

    Yen and I both trained at the LA County General Hospital. We spent three grueling years in internship and residency pulling 30-36 hour on-call days on the medical wards. Saving the indigent ill sounds like noble work, but it wasn’t so glamorous when we were doing it.

    Between rounds with busy university faculty, boring lectures, heart-rending family confererences and treating some of the most unbelievable medical cases, the residents would seek refuge in the doctor’s dining room, where only the overtired housestaff and disinterested deputies would eat. In those quiet moments, we’d choke down some desperate calories and reflect on what miserable lives we were leading and how great it would be when we finally got out in “The Real World.”

    I remember reclining half-asleep in a booth with my crumpled white coat and stethoscope next to me bemoaning another night of admissions, the endless stream of homeless diabetics, HIV+ CJ inmates, overdosed prostitutes, and working poor with no options and little time left, when Yen put a steaming cup of coffee in front of me.

    With a knowing smile, he patted me on the shoulder and gently reminded me, “At least you don’t have to send them a bill for payment…”

    Good old Yen.

    Whenever, this time of year rolls around, I think of Betru and I think of how he came to the US from Ethiopia and how important it was for him to go back to help.

    I think of how we should be meeting at medical conferences,old buddies with a friendship forged in hardship. We would be swapping County Mounty stories and photos of our wives and children. We would joke about old times and reminisce about being young and consumed by work.

    I will never see Yen again on this side of Eternity, but when I close my eyes in September I can see him as I remember him, sleeves rolled up doing chest compressions or quietly teaching the eager medical students or speaking compassionately to family members.

    I’ll never forget, Yen.

  • Irishmanlost

    That is the one standout moment I remember from my early life. I was 5 at the time and had come home from playschool (kindergarten). My dad wasn’t working that day and I was sitting on the floor playing with a toy tractor and I saw the news channel and the video of the first plane hitting. I thought it was strange how they kept playing the same video over and over. Then the second plane hit. Being 5, it was pretty insignificant at the time but looking back on it now and over the years I realise that it has shaped what I want with life and the path I want for the future. Blue skies to all those who fell on that awful day.- Patrick

  • I was stationed at Ft.Polk, LA with the OPFOR unit there. I was with other Combat Medics about to start an EMT refresher course. Our instructors had hooked up a satellite video with other Troops in Hawaii of all places (had to be like 0400 for them) to share ideas on combat medicine. That was the plan anyway. The instructors piped in CNN instead and we watched as the second plane flew into the second tower.
    I immediately called back to our BAS; checked in with my Plt Sgt and was told to return immediately. We assembled our kit and aid bags, and ran up to the unit armory to draw weapons. For those Medics not already assigned to a line company ( I was a team leader at the time, NCOIC of EVAC); we double checked our FLA’s (Front Line Ambulance) and were added to a convoy headed for a civilian airfield with orders to secure its runway. Only a few Co.’s got to go ahead with the mission. Rest of us were loading more ammo into mags and stood by ready to go… We just didn’t know where or who to fight; but we were ready anyway.
    Our nation was under attack. We as a unit were ready. We’ll be ready for the next one as well.
    May God have mercy on our enemies…because I won’t.

  • ruben delgado

    I was standing in line waiting to pick up my class A’s. we were in a room and you had to walk around the walls and wait to pick up you uniform. I was half-way to the last corner when some one up front asked if I was from NY, to which I replied yes, he then said that they had attacked NYC and hit the world trade center. In my shock and disbelief I told them that they were crazy and no one was that stupid. When I got closer I began to here the radio, I then stopped at the radio and listened, then I heard the news. After we got our class A’s we were herded into the basement of our barracks and told we were allowed to use the phone 5min a piece to make sure that everyone in our families was ok. I turned and asked If I could switch branches from the united states coast guard which I had joined to the army. My company commander an ex 82nd paratrooper looked at me and smiled and said no it was too late but not to worry we will get ours too. after my phone call, we were again herded into the basement that night were we watched a rerun of the planes hitting the towers. I made up my mind then and there that once my commitment was up in the USCG I was joining one of the other branches. I later joined the army and haven’t looked back since.

  • MCGUNNY2004

    Ten years ago today I was in training about two blocks from the Pentagon when the news hit about the plane hitting the Twin Towers. We all watched the news until the next plane hit the other tower. Sever people in the training were military and we all knew it was not an accident. I started to call my command at Marine Base Quantico when the phone went dead. Soon the next plane hit the Pentagon, which we all felt. All the military and special ops folks ran out of the training to head down to the Pentagon but were stopped and told to go back to your commands and there was nothing we could do. Most of us were angry and felt helpless that day. I made my way back to Quantico but was told at gate they were sending people home. The next day and the weeks that followed were the busiest in my whole career in the Marines. We started to gear up for retaliation against the people that did this to us. That day was the longest day I ever remember because it seemed like everything just went into slow motion and the world was crippled to help.

    I was glad to see American’s coming together for support after it was all over but have been appalled that they have all become complacent over the last 10 years. We have to remember that a common threat had given us a huge black eye and we now have lost that situational awareness. I am proud to be a member of ITS Tactical since it has the same mindset that most should have in regards to security and situational awareness in our lives.

    Semper Fi to all that we have lost, we will never forget and always remember your sacrifices!

  • Chris

    I was a stupid 21 year old kid, barely in my second command in the Navy. That morning I was at a GSE class that morning (the Jenny) wishing I was asleep in the barracks as I still had to work a full shift that afternoon. The class was overbooked, therefore the instructor didn’t have enough study guides, he insisted the test be taken in pencil (no one in the navy carries a pencil) so we had to take the test in shifts. Halfway through the class, some guy leaned in and announced that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers. I thought it was like a Cessna type small plane. A while later he leaned in and said that another plane had hit the other tower. I’m still thinking small planes, and how weird it was that two morons would both hit the World Trade center on the same day. That guy came back a few minutes after that, announced that he was stealing the TV cart from that room, as the Pentagon had been hit. That’s when I got a little scared. After the class, on the way back to the barracks, the morning show guys on the radio were talking about what was happening. They made it clear that this was NOT a “war of the worlds” style hoax, and that their job is to make jokes. They stated they were not qualified to tackle the subject, and put the mike up to a tv with the news on. Back at the barracks, I told the one guy in the lounge to put it on the news, then started going room to room waking up the night shift guys, telling them if they had a tv to turn it on, or else go to the lounge. Major shit was going down. The base was on lockdown, as was the flight line. Even though I was on base, I still couldn’t go to work. Managed to get a phone call to my mom at work. Once I was able to go to work, we worked our asses off. The rest is history. My squadron dropped ordnance in Afghanistan, I kept my planes flying so we could continue putting ordnance on target. I got out of the Navy, rejoined, got out again, joined the Reserves, and am about to go active Army. Kinda have a love/hate relationship with the Navy. But no matter what, I’m still proud of what me and my shipmates, my Marines, Soldiers, Airman, and even my Coast Guard shipmates (gotta bag on them a little bit) have accomplished when our country called.

  • Cervantes

    I was driving to work at Park 10 in Houston. I was on hold w/ the AM morning show, I was going to comment on the days topic of discipline in schools, corporal punishment.
    If you haven’t been on hold w/ a radio program, the routine is that your placed in queue and you can hear the show until your told your on, usually by the host.
    I heard Pat Gray reading the first report about a plane hitting one of the towers, and the assumptions were made then that it might be a commuter plane or maybe a helicopter, since they frequent the air space nearby the towers.
    Well, I was on hold and on hold, finally got to work and I had to get in the elevator so I dropped out.
    As I passed a co-worker I told her of the news. I said it’s probably just a freak accident, probably an overworked air taxi.
    I recall walking by the receptionist, there was a crowd gathering around her computer monitor.
    I passed by the break room, TV in the break room, motionless crowd, silent and staring. I was thinking about my days work, we were in the middle of a personnel move from close to down town Houston to this office. While at my desk, looking over the moves (I was in telecomm, handling moves, adds, changes of phones/voicemail and to some extent, data). One of the guys wiring the new building comes over to me and tells me we’re going to war.
    I looked at him and the old complacency settled in and I almost laughed out loud. He said I should go look at the TV.
    I honestly don’t recall what happened the rest of the day for me. It’s all a blank. Next day, I called my old high school buddy, a former Marine like me. Asked him what we’re doing.
    He ended up a security contractor, joined Blackwater. I was just entering a relationship with my present day wife, signing up to ship out as a Marine armorer was not gonna happen, by my ladies authority.. I was mulling over re-enlistment and decided to re-enlist in the Womens department of the Navy (I am a Marine, I can make jokes). I ended up serving 3 years as a Naval reservist as an IT-man.
    I recall the week after the terrorist attack, stormy weather, lots of lightning. It complemented my mood on my evening jogs.

  • Chris Doucette

    I was a sophomore in High School, arriving for a retreat at a church next door to the school (I was in an academic program). I was walking from the School to the Church, and passing trough the parking lot when I saw a couple upper classmen sitting in their cars, listening to the radio. I noticed they looked shocked and confused. I asked what had happened, and they told me a plane hit the WTC. We all decided it must’ve been an ultralight or something (we were in Colorado, and news was just coming in), so it couldn’t have been bad. Then they announced it was a commercial airliner. My mouth dropped in disbelief.

    We spent the following day in class, under lockdown (no one in or out except faculty), getting updates from our teachers every now and then. I remember not being able to focus on school work, with the wonder of what was really going on.

    Once I got home, I turned on the TV to a news channel, and couldn’t turn it off. Since then, I’ve been an EMS explorer, and after graduating High School I’ve been an EMT and now a Police Officer (not because of 9/11, but I certainly couldn’t not do it anymore).

  • andy korpash

    Was at the hospital doing my first rounds when a pt that I was setting up to do her procedure said that a plane crashed into the world trade center which I thought was a small plane. I was glancing at the tv when the second plane hit and I knew then that the world had just changed.

  • Kenneth Fechtler

    I was off duty sitting in a Pub at the Trader Hotel in Rangoon Burma ( Myanmar ). Drinking Single malt whisky. GlenFiddich neat. Watching the fine Burmese barmaid. and CNN ( the only permitted news source) on tv. God Bless the victims and their Families
    Semper Fi

  • Matthew Fisher

    September 11, 2001 started out as a very special day for me. I had barely slept the night before. You see, I was eleven years old, and around 0700 I boarded a flight with my family from D/FW International to Orlando. I was going to Disney World with my dad, Del Fisher, who was currently a Lieutenant with the Arlington, Texas Police Department, my seven year old sister, Grace, and my full time Mom, Dequita. We got on the plane, and headed for Florida. About an hour and a half (which seemed like an eternity to me) into the flight, the familiar “Ding Ding” sound came over the speakers. The pilot came on the intercom and said that we had to make an emergency landing and that we would be landing shortly in Jacksonville, FL. He was quick to assure us that nothing was wrong with the plane, and that we would be on the ground soon. I was scared to death. I had no idea that the biggest terrorist attack in the history of the United States had just occurred in New York City, and that literally thousands of people were dying as the pilot made this announcement. My Dad quickly assured me and my sister that everything was going to be ok. Apparently, the pilot’s announcement had scared more than a few people on the plane, and so a few minutes later the pilot came over the intercom again and told us that there had been some sort of national tragedy and that The President of the United States, George W. Bush, had ordered all planes out of the airspace. He also said that there would be transportation waiting for us to take us the two hour drive left to Orlando. That was the last we heard from him until we got on the ground. My Dad again turned to me and my sister and told us that since all of the planes were landing, the airport would be really packed, and really crazy, and that we just need to stick with them no matter what. We said Ok.
    As we descended out of the low hanging clouds over the Jacksonville airport, I remember seeing what must have been hundreds of planes on the tarmac. Commercial jets, private Lear Jets, personal Cessnas….They took up every empty space off of the actual runway. As we waited for a gate to open for us to disembark, that familiar “ding-ding” sound came on again. A still quiet fell over the cabin of the plane. It was as if everyone stopped breathing, so they didn’t miss a word. It was the pilot, “Ladies and gentleman, I regret to inform you that there has been a national tragedy… two commercial jet liners have hit the World Trade Center in New York City.” Suddenly, that eerie silence was broken by what seemed like everyone taking a big gasp of air in at once. Some people started crying, others sat with their mouths open in shock. The pilot went on, “A plane has also struck The Pentagon”, another gasp, more crying, “and one has gone down in a field in Pennsylvania.” There was much more crying, People were hysterical. I thought the world was ending. I was very interested in World War II at the time, and I remember thinking that World War 3 had just begun. People immediately pulled out cell phones, trying to get in contact with their families. I remember there was one woman who could not reach her sister who worked in one of the Towers. We finally got to an open gate and disembarked.
    We entered the terminals of the airport. It was the definition of mass hysteria. It was ridiculous. There were people running around like chickens with their heads cut off, yelling and crying, screaming at their cell phones as if that would make their reception better. But, a lot of people were helping their fellow Americans out anyway they could. All the TVs in the airport were on CNN, CBS, NBC, etc. The images of the burning buildings were on constant replay. Every time the TVs showed the footage of the planes hitting there were screams from the crowd as someone who just exited a plane saw it for the first time. We got our luggage and headed out to the drive through pick up area. We somehow managed to find our bus that was to take us to Orlando. Most of the people that were on our plane got on a couple of busses, and we left for Orlando. The woman that had a sister in the Towers still had not reached her.
    In the bus, there was a TV, with satellite, I think. The people at the front, of course, put it on the news. All it was showing was footage of the Towers burning, falling, planes crashing, death, destruction, chaos. I had the aisle seat about 5 rows back and was watching every second of it. I remember my parents remained extremely calm and quiet through all of this. They were strong and brave for me and my sister. My mom stood up, about 30 minutes into the drive and asked if we could change it, that the kids shouldn’t be watching this over and over. There was a vote on whether we should change it. We still had democracy in he midst of all this. She was out voted. It stayed on CNN. The chaos continued. About an hour into the drive, our driver pulled over at a McDonald’s so we could get some food. None of us were really hungry, I think it was more for morale. The TVs in McDonald’s were on the news too, more death and destruction. After we left the McDonald’s, our driver made a wrong turn, which took us on a two hour detour. Awesome. By this time, the woman had gotten a hold of her sister who worked in the Towers. She was fine. I remember driving past the Daytona Raceway, that was the highlight of my day.
    We finally arrived at the Orlando Airport. God, this was one of the strangest experiences of my life. I hope I never see this sight again. The airport was empty. Not figuratively, literally empty. Our two shuttle busses full of people were the only people in the airport. The luggage carousels were frozen. The TVs were silent and blank. There were custodial supplies and luggage carts left haphazardly on the floor, like the staff got the hell out of Dodge while the gettin was good, like the beginning of 28 Days Later when the main character wakes up in the hospital alone. It was like the airport was frozen in time. Trash was being blown around on the floor like tumbleweed in an old west town, just before a gunfight. We called several cab companies to give us a ride to the Sports themed Disney Hotel. Only one answered.
    The cab arrived, and drove us to the hotel. He had the news radio on, and my dad asked him to turn it off. He did, and we rode the rest of the way in complete silence. We arrived at the hotel, and checked in. We were informed that due to the attacks today, the Parks were closed. We stayed at the hotel for the day. It was an awful day. Not only was there this tragedy that had caused thousands of deaths and the Disney Parks were closed, but it was completely overcast in Florida, like some kind of dark omen. It was gross. Everything was wet and it was very humid. We soon learned that there was also a hurricane on the way as well, and that it would hit the coast in a couple of days, and we would get lots of rain. My Dad disappeared sometimes for an hour at a time. I wondered where he went. He said he was on the phone with work. That night, I went out and found him. He was in the cafeteria area with the other dads, watching the news, trying to spare their kids and let them enjoy Disney World. I guess he was trying to make sense of it all. We went swimming in the pool to try to clear our heads, but the confusion about who could do such a thing laid heavy on my mind. I know I was eleven, but that’s why it was on my mind, I didn’t know who Osama bin Laden or al Qaeda was, or why my perfect world was suddenly shaken.
    The next day, we went to The Magic Kingdom, and rode lots of rides, played games, and were like kids in a dreamland. The park was very empty, and you could tell the staff was worried about what was to come. I remember we rode the Peter Pan ride, Grace’s favorite, at least nine times in a row. I think we went to the park the next day too, but after that, the rains from the hurricane hit. That third day, we went to the Disney Quest indoor arcade. We had a shuttle that took us to that area, but we had to walk a half mile through the hardest rain and wind I have ever experienced. It felt like I was being shot with thousands of Copperhead BB’s, and all I had for protection was a thin, clear poncho. I think we all agreed it was time to go home after that.
    We flew home with no incident, but I had learned that the planes were hijacked, and I was very suspicious of everyone on board. When we landed, we got our luggage, and headed to the house. I was so glad to be in my own room, in my own bed. I think I just laid down on my bed, held my life-sized stuffed alligator and cried.
    When I returned to school, to the sixth grade, I learned that after the towers fell, they brought all the kids into the cafeteria and told them the kid version of what had happened, And that they led a group prayer for everyone, and the students were allowed to be picked up by their parents.
    To this day, I remember those men and women who fought those terrorists face to face on United Airlines flight 93 and and brought it down. Those Firefighters who walked up the stairs, knowing they were going to their deaths and hoping they could save someone before they were killed. Those Police Officers that helped get people out the building and pulled people from the burning wreckage. Those random strangers who helped out their fellow American by pulling them out of the streets when a cloud of dust and debris swept the streets of New York like a wave of water. The hundreds of people who worked for months on top of the rubble looking for survivors, who now have a new battle, respiratory disease. The men and women who signed up for the Armed Forces on September 12, 2001 to go destroy the monster that did this to us. I pray one day I’m as strong and as brave as they were. These are the true American Heroes.

    Be Safe and God Bless America,
    Matthew Fisher

  • I had just landed in London, UK when I heard the towers were on fire. In the middle of my seminar tour through europe teaching martial arts, it was suddenly a more surreal and strange world. I will never forget the shock and sadness as the news was confirmed by the many news sites and tv channels in London. I was dumbfounded by the hijacking by utility knife method. The memories still bring on a certain sense of bewilderment.

    Our lives have been forever changed by these events, the sadness and lost will be felt for many years, decades to come. No matter the justice delivered, the void will never be filled. We can only hope to move on and make the losses meaningful and bring more light to the world.

  • caribou

    I was working patrol on a day shift, which was rare. I heard about the first plane while listening to the Bob and Tom radio show. It didn’t sound like much at first. I switched to a news station. Sometime after the second tower fell, I wanted to do something but didn’t know what. I ended up driving around to all the businesses that had flags and suggesting that they lower them to half mast. In the afternoon I was sent to local airport to assist with traffic. People kept coming to airport insisting that they needed to fly out and not understanding that nobody was going to fly anywhere.

  • Bill

    Standing in 2-54-2M (thinks that’s correct? Been 10 years). And looked up at the TV and the 1st tower was already hit and I thought, “how the fuck does that happen? Someone fucked up…

    Then I went up to the library and saw the second one hit on the big screen.

    Went back down to the shop and we mustered on the forward mess decks. We were on 72 hour alert to patch our holes and ship out to receive ordnance and steam to war. We had also been in 10 section duty, went to 3 section and it became my duty day…

    Was given the 1600-2000 and 0400-0800 watch on the flight deck. Bomb threat got called into the LHD (think that’s what it was) dry decked next to us to go boom at 4 o’clock… (turned out to be a shitbag ship yard worker that wanted to stay home).

    We didn’t pull out but we did stay on 3 section duty and 8-10 hours of watch a day for the next 6 plus months…

    ETA: Portsmith VA in the yards after a deployment in the Gulf…


  • btmims

    I was in 7th grade, in one of those stupid “Life”/generic organizing classes, and got sent home early. I was vaguely aware of terrorism and military operations overseas since my dad was a Vietnam vet and got VFW/etc. magazines. I knew troops had been doing stuff since the first gulf war, but that there was never anything big enough to attack a country. So I do remember thinking, basically, “It’s on now” when they started talking about Al-Queada, Afghanistan, and the Taliban. I wasn’t particularly athletic, but I was pretty smart, liked roughing it in the Boy Scouts, so figured I would go to college and do something brainy which could then be applied in remote areas, like the military would need. In high school I worked on getting in shape a little, NJROTC stuff, and applied for the Citadel (The Military College of South Carolina) so I could get my 4-year degree first, have a little acclimatization to military life, go Marines or SEALS if I could get in better shape (4 years seemed like plenty of time) and shit went WAY wrong from there. Weight skyrocketed after my situation (175 lbs- 240 lbs), my average fitness gains disappeared, and hoped I could just go to college, become an engineer, and be a real problem solver. 5 years later, I still can’t go to college full time, I build up too much disdain for myself in such a soft environment. I’ve got my EMT basic, am in better shape than ever (back down to 185, running a lot, ACTUALLY CAPABLE OF DOING A PULL UP OR 5), work whatever I can while I volunteer with a rescue squad, and want to work for a Fire Department. Or enlist, IF THE HOSPITAL WILL EVER RELEASE MY FUCKING RECORDS TO ME, that is. I made my weight, and I thought THAT was going to be the hard part lol…

    • btmims

      lulz the gods of venting and enlistment smile upon me. Just got word that, after 2 & 1/2 months, they got my paperwork in order, LITERALLY THE DAY AFTER I POSTED THE ABOVE. Shit, just in time to miss the war, am I right?

  • Hawkins

    I was a 17 year old 0311 who had just finished Marine Corps boot camp. I was in my School Of Infantry training and was on a range firing the M-203 grenade launcher when they called us off the line and had us huddle up around a van that had just pulled up. Our company commander had driven out to the range to inform us of what had happened and let us hear the updates on the van radio. We still spent the entire day on the ranges, and when we returned to mainside, the entire base was on lock-down. They showed a video of “remembering 9/11” at the church I attend. The thing that irks me is that I think about those towers every single day. My life was drastically altered by those events. I wouldn’t be the same person at all if things had gone differently. Two tours later I am still just as emotionally distressed when I see those towers fall and think of the innocent people that were trapped, fearing for their lives, not understanding what was happening or why. I still cry and thank God for those sheep-dogs, the firefighters, police, medics, who knowingly sacrificed themselves to save those lives they could. And I’ve never been more proud than to serve beside the Marines that I have, and live and sleep in absolutely miserable, wet, dirty, dangerous, and exhausting conditions… and love every minute of it. Semper Fi

  • Matt Sampson

    I remember standing in morning formation at the Missouri Police Corps training site, with the rest of my police academy class. It was a bright, sunny day and we had just finished our morning uniform inspection when one of the administrative assistants ran outside and told one of our instructors that the LTC (the head of the academy) had just telephoned and wanted us all inside. We immediately filed inside, and sat down while the large screen television was being tuned to the first news station available. We all sat quietly and watched what we thought was an accident after the first reports of a plane hitting one of the towers were being discussed. A collective gasp from my peers and myself echoed over the walls as the second plane hit the other tower. We all knew, right then, that we were exactly where we were needed, and heading into service as law enforcement officers where we may be as those in New York had been that morning– responding to a terrorist attack in our own neighborhoods very soon. It was had to focus on any kind of class work that day. The instructors were fighting their own urges to hear more news and teach us our prescribed lessons that day. We had a couple of other guys in that class that worried more than some of the others, myself included. One of my peers was a SAR guy, and he got word that day that the teams he normally worked with were preparing to fly out to NY. He realized he had to make a choice — finish the training, or quit, and go help with the search efforts at Ground Zero. I was an Army Reservist at the time, and a Military Police officer. I was wondering if I’d be receiving a call soon alerting me to some duty, somewhere. My wife was also in the National Guard at that time, and I worried that she’d be called up and that we might both have to leave our newborn baby with other family members. A lot of worry. A lot of anger. A lot of sorrow. A lot of emotion.

    Over the last ten years, my wife and I have seen five different deployments between us. Another child as well. The most recent deployments have come concurrently — one of us to Afghanistan, and one of us to the Horn of Africa. We serve, because that’s our calling. It’s a sacrifice, just ask my kids. They get the worst part of it, but each one of them knows why we do it. And they will both follow our lead in the future.

  • Enzo

    Never done this….

    I was just finishing rounds at Jacobi in the Bronx.

    The tinny little bells rang out a strange “not a test” series. I looked up the numbers, something I had never done before…. Disaster / Not a Drill.

    We all prepped the ED for Mass. Casualty… but no one showed… very weird beautiful day….

    Disturbed by an F-18 very low… I still can figure out where he would have come from.

    After a while, hoped into a ambulance to help set up Triage at South Street Terminal…

    A few walking wounded….

    Moved to Brooks Brothers on SE corner of pile, no wounded… began setting up morgue…

    Wed. Morning very surreal, between the dark and the dust you couldn’t see anything… no grasp of the magnitude…. Morning came, the dust cleared… and everyone was FUCKING GOBSMACKED. Speechless in a crowd of guys who are NEVER speechless! EVER!

    Kind of funny, not really, ringing three bells to evacuate when you are digging 200 meters inside a 20 meter high pile of beams bigger than me…. where you supposed to run too????

    Thursday night (I think) it rained…. Helped with the air… made me really sad thinking someone might be trapped and getting some water….. way too much water… everything below was already filling with water, we sure a hell don’t need more.

    I went back to my service the next morning…. I walked out, then caught a ride with a PAPD to a working subway, I feel asleep on my way back to the Bronx.

    By then, I was a mess. Scrubs if you would believe it, A blue Con Ed helmet I liberated…. Coated from head to toe.

    When I woke, someone had put a $20 in my helmet… I think they thought I was homeless.

    I bought 2 $10 Flags walking back to my apartment….

    My sense of humor was really gone… REALLY!

    Got called back two days later to run and teach Broco torches for 2 weeks.

    Got my sense of humor back…..

    Still hate the TV coverage….

    I hope that was what you guys had in mind… felt kind of good

  • Jeremy Jackson

    I was at Shaw AFB, SC, in the Jet engine shop turning wrenches on a GE F110-129, was about to split the upper fan case for a fan rotor change and thought about taking a quick break as the arms were getting tired after loosening all of them case bolts. I stepped into the break room to cross out to the smoke pit to hear the latest gossip, jokes and to get a drink. As I hit the door to the break room I saw a few guys watching CNN, not my choice but whatever, and the first tower had smoke coming out of it. I asked, who tried to blow it up this time? On of the guys stated it was a Aircraft crash into it…news was sketchy so I figured small Aircraft old pilot with a heart attack or something…Went to the smoke pit and hydrated and not much else but what was on the news was being talked about.

    Figured I would step back inside and see if there was an update on the way back to split the case and get that rotor off before shift change….cause I’m good like that. As I was just about to step out onto the shop floor, one of the Sergeants said, “WTF is that!?”…I glanced back in time to see the second tower get slammed…my heart slammed into my gut…time to get ready to go to war with some one.

    Ran out to the shop floor and grabbed the nearest phone to call home. My mom answered oblivious to what was going on I just said…turn the TV on, it will be on every channel. She responded, well your father is down there with an inmate or a funeral trip. . . . .

    Luckily he had made it out of the city before pandemonium but was stopped by some state troopers to use his state van to block inbound traffic…so he and the inmate had front row seats to mass murder as the buildings collapsed.

  • wmdunkin

    Oddly enough I was in US History class in high school. Our teacher comes running back into the class room and turns on the tv. It looked like she turned o a movie, but then we heard live talking from the news reporters. Some of the kids didn’t quite down, our teacher yelled at them saying our world will never be the same, everyone got silent. With us being about 5 minutes from NAS Pax River, we heard reports that we could be a target. We were on lock-down for a couple of hours and people were calling parents some that worked at the pentagon, DC, travel, the base. And life has never been the same, I have payed it back by working at TSA and now as a Correctional Officers. The other day that we will never forget 5-1-1 some justice for 9-11-01. Never forget.

  • Ratfink

    I was returning from a 7 month 5th fleet cruise pulling back into Mayport Fl. Planes hit when my ship was about 1200 yards from port, all of our familys waiting for us. We turned around and went to New York and to begin Search and Rescue. Tragic times.

  • Jose Soto

    I was detailed to the U.S. Border Patrol Academy in Glynco, GA as a Spanish Instructor. That day we had nightime scenarios, about a week before graduation for Class #473, were all the training comes together.
    I was getting ready for breakfast when my wife mentioned that a plane had struck one of the WTC towers. I though it was a small plane, and continued with my morning routine. Then she told me that another plane had hit the other tower, and I vividly remember telling her we were under attack. I was glued to the television, speechless.
    I got in the car and drove to the post office when I heard over the radio that the pentagon had been hit by another plane. I was furious. People around me were panicking, not knowing who’d be hit next.
    I reported for work at 11 a.m., but in the office, we were glued to the monitor watching the events unfold. That night, the scenarios felt different. Everybody took their training more seriously, running through the scenarios with a renewed sense of duty. To this day, I take the responsability of securing our nation’s borders very seriously. I am sure that the other agents who wore the uniform that day feel the same way.

  • Ryan

    I was at Ft. Benning, GA in the Infantry Officers Basic Course. We were loading up for a field exercise when the planes started hitting. Everything went on hold for several hours while we got updated and were allowed to contact family and friends that may have been in NYC. We went on the field exercise because there was nothing else we could do. We all wanted to go fight those who caused that attack. I will never forget that day and how I felt.

  • Dan Mackey

    I was driving an unmarked vehicle from my home in S.I. to work in the city. While on the Gowanus Expressway I was told by Don Imus broadcasting from Queens that a plane had hit the WTC. I looked over at Manhattan and saw flames and smoke leaping out of multiple stories and immediately knew that it wasn’t a single engine as being reported. I turned on my lights and siren and got in line with the engines from Staten Island and Brookyn entering the Bklyn Battery Tunnel. Upon entering two way traffic … the tunnel came to a halt and there I sat for what seemed like forever. Firemen with their gear were walking through the tunnel to the Towers. After awhile traffic started up again and the engines and I started moving. Upon exiting onto West Street … I pulled over and locked the car. I walked up to a uniformed NYPD PO who had been driving a 3 wheel scooter and he was out on the street by himself. I had my shield around my neck and walked over to him. I saw a jet engine and landing gear on West Street. I went over to him and asked him wtf had happened. He told me both towers had been struck by aircraft. I disagreed and told him only one. He then told me a 2nd had hit and it was then I realized while in the tunnel with no radio that the 2nd plane hit. On the ground was a torso minus the head, legs, and arms. Their were other body parts as well. While attempting to cover them up with traffic cones, I looked over and saw an unmarked Crown Vic with a sh*tload of antennas and tinted windows. The driver was summoning me over to the car. Turned out it was the 3 star Chief of the Transit Bureau who had been my Lt many years earlier. He made me get in the car with him and we drove the short distance to the Towers. While driving he was ordering all subway service to be suspended entering or leaving Manhattan. We both were in absolute shock as to what had happened thus far. Pulled up outside and it was bedlam with emergency vehicles, RMPS’s and fire trucks all over the place. It was snowing but it wasn’t snowflakes falling from the skies but papers and debris of all sorts. As we exited the unmarked the 3 Star was called on the radio and redirected to meet the Mayor, PC, 1st Dep, Chief of Department, DCO, and a few others who had set up a new command post inside 110 Church Street where the NYC Corporation Counsel was located. Actually we went to Merrill Lynch office space in the same building – they had donated offices because the former 1st Dep had become Director of Security for the firm. I stayed in the background with the bodyguards while Mayor G. was on the phone with White House or so we were told. All the brass were in one place whispering. The loudest noise I ever heard erupted which sounded like an explosion. Someone yelled “Bomb” – the lights flickered on and off and the building rocked like it was in an earthquake. We all hit the ground and hid under desks in the KMA position. We stayed there until the noise stopped and the building stopped shaking. Seemed like forever. When it seemed safe to go … we formed a human chain and attempted to exit the building with a custodian who knew an emergency sidewalk exit. Well, phuck that wasn’t happening as it was like doomsday outside with no more light. They all took off in another direction with the Mayor. I alone stayed with two Firemen who were in shock, couldn’t see and were helmetless that we pulled in off the street. I took them to a janitor closet and one at a time put their heads in the slop sink to wash their eyes, nose and head which were completely covered in ash. I left them laying on the floor and walked off to handle nature’s call. When I came back they were gone (wish I had gotten their names – they owe me a brewskie) and I had to find my way upstairs from the basement in a phucking building I had never been in before. Fast forward … I get upstairs to lobby where the glass windows had been blown out. Civilians in the lobby with minor injuries and most in shock. Female uniformed MOS with cut on arm which is bleeding is crying in front of the civilians. I am so livid and walk over to her and rip her a new azz and tell her to get her sh*t together and act like a Cop! As I am standing there talking to her waiting to use a desk phone I hear that same sound again only louder this time. I guess because I was now on ground level with windows already blown out. 2nd Tower falls and other windows blow out in the lobby while the building rocks like an earthquake. The cloud of ash came inside the lobby and took over the whole place. I gathered up the female cop and the civvies and we went into a ground floor parking garage closing the door behind us waiting out the second implosion. The smoke and ash started coming into the vents at the top of the garage doors. As soon as the building stopped shaking I made a bee line for the exit. Figured if I was going to die … I didn’t want to be crushed to death inside and would rather take my chances on the street. Walked out … turned the corner and hooked up with my NYPD brethren Detectives from Intell who were in the area. Went over to a parked destroyed PAPD RMP and removed a kevlar helmet, blue traffic vest, flashlight from the trunk. We (Cops) went to the pile in the hopes of rescuing people trapped under the rubble and worked there all day. Needless to say that never happened. What I will never forget is the large amount of men’s and women’s shoes, pocketbooks, and briefcases that were all over the streets and sidewalks that people had dropped or ran out of when escaping the terror. The ash was like snow and 6″ deep. This is the first time that I have ever put my story on a website. I just returned as a support team member for the 10 Anniversary Tour De Force (www.tourdeforceny.com) bike ride from Ground Zero to the Pentagon and was told by many wonderful people that I met that I should share my story. I selected ITS Tactical as it is real deal. All of this can be corroborated by anyone that I was with that day. I am a veteran of the USAF Security Police and have retired from NYPD. I am now working for ICE / ERO in Manhattan and have 8 years with DHS. Not one single day goes by that I don’t think about 9/11. I am most proud of the men and women in the US Military and my peeps in NYPD and FDNY. I lost alot of friends and neighbors that day and did boo koo crying on the TDF bike ride this past week. The United States of America will prevail! God Bless.

  • Enzo

    Weird that this seemed like a good place to tell the story for the first time?

    • Dan Mackey

      Why do you think it is weird? Do you not value the members of this site? Or what ITSTACTICAL promotes? Get a grip pal!

    • Enzo

      Very good.

      Obviously I do value what and whom populates this site.

      I just find it interesting that this was the first place and time I, and another, choose to tell our stories for the first time …

      I guess that comment and the fact that I posted here is more of an indication of my journey… and not a commentary on it’s members…however….

      It was meant as a compliment.

  • Corey

    I was in college algebra sophomore year in college. I was so appalled by what I was seeing that I left the end of the semester and joined the Air Force that following Summer. I am now an F-16 crew chief currently stationed at Spangdahlem AB Germany and I have been deployed twice to Balad Iraq and once to Aviano AB Italy in support of the war against Ghaddafi/Libya. When I think of the events from 9/11 I realize how proud I am to serve and it makes all the deployments and sacrifices my family and I have endured worthwhile.

  • Jon

    I was 9 years old on the way to school with my dad when we heard about it on the radio. Since he is a teacher, I was always early and spent the time before school out on the playground with some friends speculating on how the world was going to end. We were as scared and angry as we had ever been. All we did in school that day was just sit in class and watch the news, running and re-running those awful, unforgettable moments.

  • I was living in Manhattan at the time and worked less than a mile up the street from the WTC. On 9/11 I was in L.A. filming a commercial with Terry Bradshaw and Doug Flutie. I turned on the TV about one minute before Flt 175 careened into the South Tower. Once on set we had to decide whether to shoot or cancel and we decided to shoot. The next day I rented what the agent half-joking referred to as the last car in L.A. Me and two of my team drove back home to NYC.

  • infidelNYC

    September 8th is my birthday..it fell on a saturday in 2001…I was living in Rhode Island at the time..however I was born and raised in NYC…that weekend I went home to Manhattan and enjoyed my birthday with friends and family. On monday I returned to Rhode Island. The morning of the 11th I received a phone call from a friend telling me to turn on the TV, stated “New York was just attacked!” I could not believe what was happening…I was shocked and pissed that someone had the balls to attack our country and especially the city I grew up in. As the day went on my phone kept ringing and three phone calls later I learned that my two friends that I grew up with and also just spent my birthday with were in the towers. I got in my car and started to drive home…I felt like I had to do something to help. Since I had just given up my NY residency it was difficult to get into the city on lockdown and I felt like I needed to do something….I then drove to the recruiting office and joined the Army that day….everyone thinking that I was crazy to join at 30…I still had made up my mind and shipped out in October to Fort Knox. I had quit smoking and drinking and started to get myself in shape. I sponsored myself through 2 FLETC run SWAT schools through some law enforcement friends help in order to prepare. winding up in a combat Military Police unit and on an SRT Team and QRF Platoon. I was deployed to Iraq in March of 2003 and served a year and a half in Iraq, earning 4 different combat patches from Baghdad through Fallujah and into Balad. I continued to serve in the Army until this past February and finally was discharged due to injuries earned in combat. I cant say that anything else I have done in my life has ever made me more proud then to fight for my country, my city and most of all the honor and memory of my friends and all the others lost on 9/11. My only regret is that I could not serve longer.
    Stay Safe!

  • Anthony Rovira

    On 9-11-01 I was stationed at Ft. Gordon, Ga. My company had just returned from morning PT and we were greeted by our CO who informed us that a commercial jet had struck one of the WTC Towers and that it was a possible terrorist attack. We then went to the day room to watch CNN’s coverage. A few minutes later we watched in disbelief as the second jet struck the towers. I was the only soldier from NYC in the company (and the only one who actually visited the towers). It was really hard to watch the live coverage of the buildings in flames, people jumping from the towers and their eventual collapse. The base was then placed on high alert and everyone was placed on 15 minute recall. It was a very emotional day for us all; a little more so for me bacause I had family members back home who worked in the towers. Thankfully they were some of the lucky ones who made it out in time. It was difficult focusing on the task at hand and prepping my gear while not knowing if everyone was ok.

  • dudenar1

    I worked on Wall St at the time and was on my way to work from Bay Ridge Brooklyn via the Battery Tunnel.  Looking out of the window of the van I was riding in, looking at the fire from the first plane, I saw the second plane hit and knew I had to get my wife on the cell.  I tried to call but the lines were not going through due to the high call volume.  The tunnel closed all traffic into the city at this point and I was stuck in the toll lanes.  Desperate and afraid for my wife because she worked just 2 blocks from the WTC’s I got out of the van and hitched a ride back to the house in Bay Ridge.  I got my rucksack and started packing it with my med kit, climbing rope, runners, carabiners, a bunch of 3m masks i used for spray painting, water, flashlights, my climbing helmet and some energy bars.  I ran downstairs and told my neighbors to look out for my wife and to have her call me if she got in.  I then ran down the block to 73rd and 5th Ave where a City Council members office was staging a recovery effort and volunteered my IT(information technology), cooking, and mountain rescue skills hoping I could get a ride to the site and then look for my wife.  By the time I was able to get a “red pass” to enter the site, my wife made it back and I got the call.  Already committed, I went back home and we cried together, thankful we were both ok, and I went back to the staging area where I then got a ride into the city via the closed to all but emergency traffic, Battery tunnel.  I was in a NYPD car with about 4 other PD cars in a caravan blazing at about 90 MPH.  When we got to the other side of the tunnel it was like being in another world.  A total battle zone, and the smell of death was so prevalent even the hardened police officers were gagging.  I was then processed  through the security checkpoint in the area of Cedar St and Greenwich St and  went down to the Burger King on the corner to see what I could help with.  I first went down the block where Engine Co 10/ Ladder Co 10 was stationed and found out they lost almost half of their men.  I was put to task, along with some other volunteers, and a couple of Army Corps Engineers, the distribution of  donated supplies which were dumped at the Burger King.  We made it a distribution center for that area.  I could go on for days but I am crying too hard to write any more.  Two months later I resigned from job and entered the US Army 19D.

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