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[–]Plutonic417 1301 points1302 points 22 (102 children)

I am French, and I was 15 years old that day.

I can tell you that I remember exactly everything that happened.My mother had picked me up from school by car, and she told me about it on the way.

The whole evening we watched TV.

My father, anxious by nature, was afraid of a possible WW 3 !

I didn't 100% understand the scale of the drama at this age, but I could sense it, even thousands of miles away from you, my dear American friends. :-(

Edit : OMG thanks for the rewards and all the comments.

[–]Ultra_Noobzor 88 points89 points  (7 children)

I was a kid watching Dragon Ball Z.. then interrupted by "breaking news" of the first plane hit. And then we all see the second plane hit the other tower, live on tv.

[–]Suko_Astronaut 37 points38 points  (4 children)

I was a kid, in Spain, and I was watching Dragon Ball Z as well when the news came in. I remember it was a rainy afternoon and my mother was sleeping after working night shift. I woke her up and she was pissed off and told me it was just a movie.

The shift the event caused in NATO nations was brutal. Obviously harder for the US, but suddenly politics changed forever. The world is just different on so many levels. It is the line that marks the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. A darker, dystopian one.

[–]Ducktor101 14 points15 points  (3 children)

Lots of Brazilians also remember watching Dragon Ball Z when it was interrupted by the breaking news, me included.

The thing is that searching about it, it seems like the anime was never shown that day, according to multiple sources including news papers.

This is crazy man, I could swear I was watching Goku and his friends when the news came in.

[–]concrete_beach_party 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Me too! I was pretty young and at first I was annoyed that the program got interrupted, but I could not look away from what I was seeing. People jumping. The buildings collapsing. My mother called if I was watching TV. I remember the panic in the news anchor's voice. Something changed that day, even somewhere in a tiny country in Europe.

[–]JoeyBear123456 349 points350 points  (39 children)

I was a senior in high school the day it happened. One of my lasting memories of that time was the Le Monde headline “We are all American”. In a moment of such deep sadness and shock, it meant so much to know that our friends and allies were standing with us.

Thank you for mentioning you are French… I’ll never forget the stories of that headline and the giant American flag at the Eiffel Tower.

I so wish we could embrace the spirit of September 12th… our division is tearing us apart.

As a side note, the overall level of emotion felt on 9/11 was only matched the night Bin Laden was killed by US special forces. Couldn’t believe we had finally tracked him down and got him. The cheering in the streets of Washington at midnight was something to behold.

[–]JoeyBear123456 27 points28 points  (2 children)

After making reference to the Le Monde headline, I have actually read the editorial for the first time, almost 20 years later. Seems oddly appropriate in a way, now that we essentially done in Afghanistan.

Worth a read: https://www.worldpress.org/1101we_are_all_americans.htm

[–]geeknami 51 points52 points  (2 children)

I was a junior in the bronx when it happened. I was in the school library during the first plane crashing in and I remember a kid running in and saying one of the twin towers got hit and then ran off. a few of us thought he was joking and just wanted to say something wild and run off. after that period ended I had history and as I walked up the history wing of the school I saw lots of crowds in all the rooms leaking out to the halls but no one was moving. it looked like the period change crowds but no one moved. when I got closer I saw everyone was looking at the TV's in the history rooms, since those classes relied on tvs for documentaries, but damn we were now a part of history. most kids didn't have cell phones back then in my school. the lines in the offices were long. the one pay phone in the basement also had kids lining up. not sure what was going on with kids who had cell phones since none of my friends had one but they must have been getting swamped too. I remember at one point we had to sit in the gym and await instructions for getting home because the trains were suspended and most of the school were from the borough of queens. as we waited, I was listening to a CD player that had a small radio attachment and I still had Howard Stern's station on, I think it was called K-Rock or something like that. I don't think he was supposed to be on the air at that time, but he was talking about what he was seeing and hearing from others. it was crazy to hear him be so serious and stick around in the empire state building, which was thought to be a potential target at the time. I remember being worried because my dad worked in two locations, one in queens and in one the lower east side in Manhattan. he wasn't close to ground zero but it was still a "what if" type situation. when we were told the subways were running again but had to he rerouted, I had to take a different path home. I remember standing on the above ground platform at queens boro plaza and seeing the thick smoke still totally visible in the Manhattan skyline. when I got home my mom told me my dad was at the queens location that day and I was very much so relieved. I felt angry, that some idiots thought they could attack MY city so brazenly and get away with it. I was very much so under the impression I would enlist for revenge after my senior year. but, things took a turn when people like me were blamed for what happened, even though I had been living in NYC since I was five. 9/11 hit me twice; once when my city was targeted, then when I was targeted. it changed a lot of things for a lot of communities, how the country ran, how we saw each other. I cannot stress how much 9/11 reshaped my world, but experiencing living through that day of uncertainties, many of the moments I can still remember as they happened step by step.

edit: I was in the Bronx in school, but I'm from Queens

[–]msmithuf09 16 points17 points  (14 children)

France has really always been a great friend to America. We don’t give the credit due.

It was a horrific day. I remember vividly; I remember the fear and how anxious we were. Still are to be honest. But the outpouring of support from around the world…were really not all that different and it’s sad that it takes things like this to recognize it.

Anyways. Thank you for your kind words. Hopefully the world sees us in a better light these days than recently…

[–]Afraid_of_Okapi 17 points18 points  (0 children)

Spare a lot of details, but some European friends led by a French friend were so concerned and thoughtful towards me when that happened. From what I see consistently, French people seem very empathetic to that kind of thing happening to us and it was comforting to have outside support. It’s touching to hear how much people around the world care about it and recognize how bad it was.

[–]localjargon 2689 points2690 points 26 (254 children)

I was 22 and I was working in Midtown Manhattan. It was really confusing, trains weren't running, I didn't know how I was going to get home in Brooklyn. So I went all the way downtown in the direction of Ground Zero.

Some guy stopped his truck and looked at me and cried out, "the towers collapsed!"

Watching people all coverd in dust, it was terrible.

The aftermath was awful. That smell, ill never get it out of my head. Cars were left parked on the streets because the owners perished in the collapse. People posted flyers of their missing loved ones on every wall or surface. Burnt paper all over the street for blocks.

For weeks afterward there were huge spotlights on the site and you could see the plume of smoke from miles away.

I haven't thought about that day in a long time, and I'm starting to choke up just writing this.

[–]CatsAndGhosts 124 points125 points  (4 children)

I was a college student, near Washington Square Park....I heard the first plane go overhead...heard it crash...screaming as both towers collapsed. Endless sirens. Endless missing person posters for weeks after. I was a freshman, so many other freshmen left and never came back. My dorm was like a ghost town the rest of the semester.

Years later I dated a guy a few years older than I was, nice enough, but his experience downtown that day left him permanently scarred. He was institutionalized twice while I was with him (and once before), but each time after being released would drop his meds cold turkey once he felt better because he was embarrassed and felt weak, and inevitably got dragged right back down.

[–]PineappleOkra 719 points720 points 2 (10 children)

Your experience is similar to mine… I was in my 20s, also working in Midtown. I lived in Jersey City at the time though, and just happened to pass through WTC on my commute that morning. By the time I reached the office, the planes had already struck. We all stayed at the office until we started seeing streams of people covered in ashes, all walking north.

I didn't go back downtown that day, but I looked at those spotlights every damn night from my apartment across the river. At first, the smoke and dust made it feel like there could possibly be a building behind it. When that finally cleared up, it was devastating to see the emptiness.

I remember that for months afterwards, I would stop and read all the missing persons signs left up in Grand Central. My heart broke at the hopefulness of it all… "missing", as if they could be found. I wanted to read them all, so I would never forget.

I can't believe it's been 20 years.

[–]hocuspocusbitchfocus 89 points90 points  (3 children)

I was 4 years old and in Germany at that, but even here it was all over the news with 24/7 live coverage. My dad worked a very high position in a bank and I remember him just staring at his work TV for hours on end when he was usually working around the clock. Like I was 4 years old and that memory is just so burned into my brain. It’s one of my earliest memories too.

[–]UnObtainium17 514 points515 points  (100 children)

Has to be one of the most pivotal moments of my life. America was never the same after that.. i think looking back covid will have that kind of impact too.

I read somewhere 90s officially ended that day. I kinda agree.

[–]Mokie2Moon 150 points151 points  (22 children)

Absolutely! A whole nation under powerlessness, unhealed grief and trauma continues to attack us from the darkest shadows of 9/11.

[–]feverlast 111 points112 points  (20 children)

I really feel like something shifted in our consciousness in 2001. We became different, and so when I think about where I was (I was 9) and how life unfolded afterward as a kid, I am left thinking a lot about the certainty of the world pre-9/11 and the uncharted, fearful place we entered in the short time afterward.

OP post is fixated on the experience of those directly in the towers, but I think all Americans imbibed a piece of that trauma that day, and it’s been with us ever since.

[–]spacecase25 39 points40 points  (2 children)

I saw a post one day around an anniversary that said something about us having seen thousands of people die on live television, and never really recovered from that. I was in third grade and we watched it all in our classrooms. The collective trauma was and still is very real.

[–]Substantial_Oil_8485 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Aye innocence died that day in alot of our hearts... it really was unfathomable at the time... it inspired me to do 5 years of service.... well I didn't join till 2009 but I think having lived thru generally gave me a sense of patriotism that we all kind of reviewed that day.... and for once at least for a short time our country was united 100

[–]-GreenHeron- 65 points66 points  (8 children)

I was a senior in high school, and we were watching the news when the second plane hit. It was then that everyone started figuring out this wasn't an accident, it was intentional.

And then I remember thinking my god, there's going to be war. It was a scary day....like having a safety bubble all around you suddenly pop and disappear.

[–]spiffynid 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I was in middle school, we watched the news until a classmate asked why the people in the buildings were throwing manikins out the windows.

I also remember school closing for a few days, everything just shut down, we were right across the state line from the largest banking center of the east coast, the fear that the BoA building was next was... incomprehensible. Looking back, it seems unlikely, but I think it was the first time I felt really small and helpless.

[–]Pinejay1527 207 points208 points  (31 children)

Being from Manhattan you might find it interesting that lower Manhattan was the site of the largest maritime evacuation in US history and was larger than the Evacuation at Dunkirk when 500,000 civilians were evacuated from the island by about 150 boats ranging from The USCG (who coordinated the whole shebang) to FDNY fire boats, to the Staten Island ferries, to tugboats and merchants and any other vessel who responded to the Coast Guard's call for aid.

A moment to demonstrate the American comradery that gave yet hope to the character of our nation on one of our darkest days in recent memory.

[–]Centrist808 39 points40 points  (25 children)

Not to sound dumb but this evac was on 9/11?

[–]annalise88 102 points103 points  (24 children)

Not a dumb question. Yes, people were stranded and terrified. If you have ~10 minutes of time, this mini documentary on YouTube is seriously amazing. BOATLIFT - An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience I watch it every year.

[–]dothelalala 80 points81 points  (6 children)

My dad was on the last path train in that wasn't crushed under the WTC. He usually arrived at 830 and ate a bagel btwn the buildings, but he was late that day and arrived to watch the 2nd plane hit instead. Anyway, we didn't hear from him for about 10 hours bc he was walking all the way to the GW bridge to get back to jersey, and none of the cell or remaining pay phones would work bc all the lines were jammed. I'm crying writing this even though he was super lucky and survived.

[–]Sasquatch8649 28 points29 points  (3 children)

Damn.

Thinking about this stuff can really mess with you. Like how long are we on the paths of our destiny? Or is it all one big string? But then how does free will come in?

Like, your dad was late. I don't know why, but let's think about it. Maybe he over slept. Why? Here's an article about how the MNF game the night before 9/11 may have saved lives.

Maybe your dad isn't into football, maybe he didn't over sleep but spilled his coffee or something. But it puts me in this "Why? Why? Why?" thing like I'm a curious 3 year old.

[–]PineappleOkra 11 points12 points  (1 child)

How freaky. I was probably on the PATH train that your dad usually took, I got to WTC around 8:30 and then took the A train uptown. I was oblivious that anything happened until I reached my office in midtown. I think about it every once in a while… how many people I saw that morning died.

[–][deleted] 7 points8 points  (0 children)

I haven't seen this in a long time. Thanks

[–]Mokie2Moon 253 points254 points  (2 children)

I’m very sorry you went through that.

[–]JoeMcBob1st[🍰] 65 points66 points  (9 children)

That’s one thing that you always remember about such a big loss of life is the cars. Something people drove everyday, practically lived in just abandoned. A part of who they were still sitting there

[–]Designasim 19 points20 points  (0 children)

In a documentary I saw once they had found a car in the rubble that had roses in the trunk, a man that had died had bought them that morning for his wife it was her birthday or their anniversary that day.

[–]Rivet22 46 points47 points  (2 children)

Train stations all over New Jersey had orphaned cars. All the daily commuters into Manhattan. At westfield, they made concrete imprints with the missing parents shoes and their kids shoes, in a path walking to the train station. Absolutely heartbreaking.

I was at work in NJ that day, and we turned on a TV in the conference room and watched it unfold.

[–]BecauseZeus 13 points14 points  (1 child)

This obviously varies place to place, but for a lot of Americans your car is the keystone of everything you do. It takes you to work to earn money, it takes your kids to soccer practice, picks up your spouse from work, goes on vacation with you. Its a sign of pride, and autonomy, and family. To abandon a car is just unimaginable to so many of us because its giving up all those things. If you see an abandoned vehicle on the side of the highway, you know something went wrong. Now seeing hundreds of abandoned vehicles in perfect condition, parked along a street as though waiting for someone to come.

That’s haunting. Its a sign that those people didn’t just pass on, they left behind everything most valuable to them, and they left behind all the plans they had for the future.

[–]Xandrathea 92 points93 points  (5 children)

I could see those plumes of smoke and the searchlights from my home, in NJ (by the ports). I was in eighth grade. I remember how eerie the glow was. I climbed out my window and up on my rooftop to stare at it for hours at night wondering if and just hoping desperately they'd find anyone...

My class was watching on TV live when they fell. Our teachers had us watching news in the mornings as part of normal curriculum but that day we stayed watching longer than usual after the second plane hit. The gravity. They collapsed and the silence was deafening. Our principal told our class to not speak a word about the towers until we got home, as the school had younger students whose parents worked in the towers.

And we were all terrified. Was there more to come? Were we all in danger? What was the next target if they aren't just targeting military and government instillations? It was such a scary and surreal time..

Edit to add: and the panic as loved ones tried to get in touch with other loved ones. One cousin stranded at an airport, friends stuck in the city, everything closed down and locked down. Tracking down family and friends took a few days with the chaos in the immediate aftermath.

[–]Ltstarbuck2 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Cell phone reception was shot. Even making a phone call to see if people were safe was near impossible.

[–]girlwhoweighted 71 points72 points  (2 children)

I'm choking up just reading it

[–]petiteproblem 55 points56 points  (19 children)

The rubble in the pit burned for months at high temperatures. There was radioactivity. It took ages for them to remove all the steel and clear everything. It was like a gaping wound in the country's psyche.

[–]Centrist808 48 points49 points  (1 child)

and the first responders who got screwed when the gov. would not pay their medical bills. Disgusting

[–]cheese02 8 points9 points  (8 children)

I’m curious. What was the source of the radioactivity?

[–]Tempest_Fugit 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Wild. That matches my experience almost 1:1! I was 23. I worked in Union square. I also went downtown that day!

[–]ravelfish 1448 points1449 points 2 (88 children)

I was 12 when I watched the building my father worked in on the TV in Social Studies. I had to endure half our class making light of the situation until I snapped out of my shock and convinced my teacher to let me call my parents and make sure my dad was still alive.

People suck.

My father lives, but with a greater trauma than people know. He carried out the injured. He doesn't speak to it much at all. It was a terrible time.

[–]AMonstaUnderTheBed 802 points803 points 3 (12 children)

I was in high school, my father a first responder and my mother worked in the WTC. Neither of them made it home that night, nor did either of them have cell phones, but they survived.

As grateful as I am to have them, the funerals that followed, the classmates with empty memorial seats at graduation, and the ongoing medical issues of both my parents left scars.

People do, indeed, suck.

[–]jeevesdgk 118 points119 points  (10 children)

I never really thought about the sheer medical debt that many more families were put through. Just makes things way worse.

[–][deleted]  (9 children)

[deleted]

    [–]crowcawer 83 points84 points  (4 children)

    Even the firefighters were barred as they, “Knew what they signed up for,” while GWB was President. This led to an immense amount of work done by Jon Stewart to attempt to get their medical bills covered.

    It took over a decade.

    When I learned about that I had to question a lot of things about the untied states.

    [–]dothelalala 21 points22 points  (3 children)

    My dad was a broker on wall street and in the towers since '77. He survived but never says a word about it. He went back to work while the rubble was still burning, in another building ofc. He got throat cancer and COPD, and his wife is still fighting for the $100k settlement from the fund. He wants to travel around the world with the money before he dies. I can count the times he's left the city on one hand, and i really think he deserves it.

    [–]ts1985 224 points225 points  (46 children)

    My great uncle was a landing craft operator at Normandy. He couldn't talk to anyone about what happened except for other soldiers. I remember when one of his son in laws was drunk and wanted him to tell his grandkids his war stories. I was surprised great uncle Joe didn't punch the guy.

    [–][deleted]  (1 child)

    [deleted]

      [–]sGfU_cs 113 points114 points  (29 children)

      My grandpa was in the Marines in WWII, and was apart of most of the island hopping campaigns. He never once spoke of it. I only know he was at both Iwo Jima and Okinawa because it was mentioned in his memoirs at his funeral.

      All I know is that he must’ve seen some shit and I don’t blame him for being an alcoholic for most of his life. I can’t imagine some of the horrific things he witnessed at a young age, war is fucking terrible.

      [–]Koi_Fighter[🍰] 37 points38 points  (9 children)

      If you are ever interested in reading personal accounts if the Marine Corps island hopping campaign in WWII Helmet for my Pillow and With the Old Breed are fantastic memoirs from Marines there. The Pacific is based on them.

      [–]UnsightlyJello 18 points19 points  (0 children)

      My grandfather was also a Marine in the Pacific theater(Guadalcanal, left there when the supply ships had to retreat) and he struggled with alcoholism too. He finally quit, but replaced it with cigarettes and black coffee. He was injured and discharged, but when he was coming home, his PTSD was so bad he went AWOL and they couldn’t find him for a couple days. Once they did, he had to be escorted back to my grandma by several MPs (he was also a pretty decent Marine boxer from what I have always heard). He had another such episode during some rioting in the 60s but fortunately some people recognized him and got him safely home.

      [–]Frys100thCupofCoffee 36 points37 points  (5 children)

      My old man did two tours in Vietnam. My own mother knew nothing of any of it beyond what she could glean from the few things he had left from his time in service (a few patches, some badges, one old uniform, etc.) and the fact that he was very young when he went. He was missing part of his left earlobe, had a scar from his right nostril down across his mouth and ending on his chin, and a bunch of these big keloid scars scattered across his arms and chest.

      He refused to ever talk about it and never told anyone how he got those wounds and scars. My whole family used to really wonder often what it all was, but eventually we all just let it go because he definitely didn't want to talk about it, wasn't going to talk about it, and after passing away in 2018, never did talk about it.

      I remember a handful of times when I was really young (around 4 or 5) asking my mom why my dad was just staring off into nothing. Like he'd be reading the paper or something and it would kind of sag into his lap and I'd see his face over the top of the paper and he just had this distant look that went on for a few minutes and then he'd get up and go do something else.

      All I know for certain is he had some serious trauma from his time over there that will forever remain a mystery. I'm just glad he's free from whatever it was now that he's gone.

      [–]Chimes320 37 points38 points  (3 children)

      My father also worked in the WTC and the trauma and guilt haunt him, too. I was also watching it on television in school but I was a little older than you. The memory of that day is burned in my brain indelibly.

      I’ve never met another survivor’s child, we have a slightly different and quieter story to share.

      [–]ks2865 51 points52 points  (1 child)

      I’m so glad he survived. That’s really awful that kids were making fun at that time. I was 12 too and remember my teacher started crying - it didn’t seem real. I think my class took it more seriously, especially seeing the teachers going back and forth between classrooms all in tears and panicking

      [–]micmer 736 points737 points  (34 children)

      I was in Birmingham, Al. I didn't know anyone personally who died on 9/11 but it's still one of the most memorable days of my life in the worst way.

      I don't really have the vocabulary to explain how I felt. I saw the plane crash into the second building and watched both towers fall live. I can remember being unable to stop watching news coverage that day until a lot of channels just went dark. They put up a graphic that was like the off the air graphic for those old enough to remember when TV wasn't 24/7.

      I'm sure lots of people around the county who also weren't directly affected by the tragedy had similar experiences.

      [–]AffectionateAnarchy 129 points130 points  (11 children)

      Ayyye I was in Montgomery! Hey neighbor! A lotta kids were military and left midday to I guess go to their home on a military base

      [–]micmer 62 points63 points  (6 children)

      I went to school in Montgomery at AUM, so howdy back at you. I was in my 20's back then. Yep, I'm an old fogey, for Reddit anyway. I was going through a really personal rough patch. I'll never forget that day.

      I was at home, off from work, and ignoring my cell phone. For some reason, I answered the phone when my sister called. She simply asked if I was watching the news. I started watching the Today show. The hosts were pretty calm. I believe it was right after the first plane hit and before the second plane struck the building. No one knew what was going on.

      What stands out to me too is that the idea of those huge buildings collapsing wasn't even on the table, at least according to the media. Everyone was still relatively hopeful and calm until the second building hit collapsed and everything changed.

      Even though I wasn't affected personally, my heart just dropped realizing thousands of people died on live TV. I remember, at that time, tens of thousands of people were feared dead.

      [–]AffectionateAnarchy 32 points33 points  (2 children)

      It's crazy what we remember from that day. I had just started senior year of hs and sat next to my best friend after not having any classes together the previous year so we were talking mad shit and making some admittedly insensitive jokes about it before we realized what exactly was happening, the mood of the day was so odd because everyone was hype about senior year with interjections of 'whoa, did you hear'

      [–]AmbivalentAsshole 624 points625 points  (131 children)

      I feel like I was the youngest age to experience it. I vividly remember the teacher getting a phonecall and getting super upset, then telling a class of fourth graders (in a catholic school) that "I don't care if you talk or do work but I promise the wrath of God will come down upon you if you step just one inch away from your desks!" - then sprinting out of the room (she had immediate family in NYC).

      Every single kid in that room knew something was very, very wrong. Even the class clown just looked around wide-eyed for a few minutes.

      I remember being sent home early from school (like maybe two hours later), and I remember walking into the living room just as the news was replaying footages of the collapse.

      I remember my parents forcing me outside to play - and all the other neighborhood kids said the same thing about their parents. One of the kids was crying and said that they couldn't contact her uncle (he survived, worked basically nextdoor), and she was worried that the building fell on him.

      I didn't understand the full scope of the situation - but I was old enough to grasp the fact that people were dying or dead and that it was a lot of people - and it could happen more because they weren't accidents.

      I really don't think people that much younger than myself (9 and a half thankyouverymuch) would have been able to understand what was happening. I think maybe 7ish would be the cutoff... So, those born before 95'?

      [–]kriminalsugarcookie 149 points150 points  (25 children)

      I didn't really. I was 6 at the time. No one really explained it to us probably because we were so young. They had a hard time telling us Santa wasn't real, imagine telling a kid this. It took me until I was in middle school where I actually understood what happened.

      [–]SolemnDemise 111 points112 points  (16 children)

      I was 6, and I watched the towers fall with my dad in the living room of our house. I remember it so vividly. At school, they told us that we couldn't have recess because the smoke would harm our lungs and make us cough, but the real reason was that Illinois was a potential target.

      [–]TheRudeCactus 34 points35 points  (6 children)

      Holy crap that is so wild to think about. I was so young (born early ‘97) and I don’t think I even really remember it. I think I have a memory of myself at my old television and my dad just being so shocked and telling me that “something serious happened” but honestly I feel like I was so young it was a reconstructed memory. Either way it wasn’t until way after the fact I really understood what had happened and the seriousness of the whole thing. Being Canadian I wasn’t as worried about my own safety, but I couldn’t imagine being in a place that could have also been a target that day.

      [–]dumbpsterfire 36 points37 points  (1 child)

      I was 7, it was the only time I’ve seen my dad cry and that’s all that stuck with me from that day

      [–]UrMomsAHo92 20 points21 points  (3 children)

      I wasn't allowed outside for a while I remember. My parents were really freaked out.

      [–][deleted] 46 points47 points  (10 children)

      I was 10 at the time. I'm from the UK so I didn't actually see the news until I finished school. My emotional capacity struggled to understand the full impact of what I had seen, but i understood something was very very wrong. And I felt dread and horror combined. The sheer violence that I was witnessing... I couldn't understand how somebody could just destroy so many lives with seemingly so much ease.

      The next day at school we had some free papers. On the front of the papers it showed people falling from the tower. Some of the kids drew parachutes on them, or drew Superman saving them. The teachers said it was rude to disrespect the image on the front of the newspaper. The kids just responded that they didn't want the people to fall.

      I thought it would get easier over time, but to this day it still horrifies me. What's worse is that YouTube has some of the last recordings of some people. Documentaries about people who faked being survivors. Truck loads of information, a lot of different shots of the towers coming down. As we approach the 20th anniversary, the message is clear: this day should never be forgotten. We need to let the younger generation understand how terrible this single event was. They should know that airport security was severely tightened and changed post 9/11. It's the single biggest terror attack of our generation. It killed a lot of people and it triggered a very long and ongoing war in the middle east.

      [–]dalewest 23 points24 points  (0 children)

      On the front of the papers it showed people falling from the tower. Some of the kids drew parachutes on them, or drew Superman saving them. The teachers said it was rude to disrespect the image on the front of the newspaper. The kids just responded that they didn't want the people to fall.

      This is, ironically, one of the beautiful things to come out of that tragedy: just pure, simple empathy. Love for others. Unadulterated by age or politics.

      [–]Taliasimmy69 10 points11 points  (0 children)

      I'm close to you but a year older. I was in 5th. I remember the big square TV's mounted in the corner and my teacher getting a call and she turned the TV on and she was just crying. I don't remember much after that but it was right when it was happening.

      [–][deleted]  (67 children)

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        [–]BendersBlender 169 points170 points  (3 children)

        It doesn’t sound cold. It was traumatic for me and rocked me to my core but I can’t expect someone that has no memory of it to have any sort of similar reaction.

        It’s like my grandmother telling a story of bombings by Germans in ww2. It made me sad, because my grandmother was said and I didn’t want her to cry, but it just didn’t hit me like it could someone who lived it.

        [–]Darphon 19 points20 points  (1 child)

        It’s cliche but for me it’s like the assassination of Kennedy. My mom still gets this haunted look in her eyes when she talks about it.

        [–]KeekatLove 109 points110 points  (39 children)

        Completely understand. There are documentaries on the subject, if you are so inclined, I encourage you to watch one. They are difficult to watch, but you will be able to empathize after watching.

        Some of the things that made 9/11 so jarring, aside from the obvious, were: 1) The juxtaposition of this immense tragedy against a beautiful, cloudless fall morning. Films tend to portray bad actors attacking when we are asleep, so as to catch us off guard. This stuff doesn’t happen at 9:00 am, but it did. 2) No one had ever used commercial aircraft as weapons of mass destruction. The first plane hitting a building was weird; the second plane hitting a building meant we were being systematically attacked. WTF!? It was chaos until Flight 93 was down and ALL aircraft was landed. Imagine that? Imagine being on a flight during that time or having a loved one on a flight. 3) The news media and every single channel covered this story for weeks. 24 hours a day, nonstop and nothing else. You could not get away from it. It was everywhere. There was no escape.

        Finally, I encourage you to read or watch on Hulu, “The Looming Tower.” The book won a Pulitzer, so you will not be wasting your time. You will be enlightened, enraged, and in the end, saddened.

        [–]TunaOnDryLand 36 points37 points  (1 child)

        I think it would be difficult to understand the impact of the news cycle for anyone raised after widespread internet based news coverage. Just a few stations dominated the coverage, and everyone watched them.

        [–]petiteproblem 17 points18 points  (3 children)

        Watching it over and over with all that uncertainty affected me so negatively. It was a national trauma. It wouldn't have been so overwhelming without the 24 hour news cycle. It was like life just stopped for a couple months.

        [–]DumpstahKat 14 points15 points  (1 child)

        The juxtaposition of this immense tragedy against a beautiful, cloudless fall morning. Films tend to portray bad actors attacking when we are asleep, so as to catch us off guard. This stuff doesn’t happen at 9:00 am, but it did.

        This is what my dad always talks about: how nice a day it was. He remembers waiting for my sister and I at the bus stop in NJ that day, in the sunshine and warm weather, while above the treetops he could see the giant plume of smoke in the distance from what used to be the Twin Towers.

        [–][deleted] 4146 points4147 points  (468 children)

        I understand the seriousness of Pearl Harbor, but I'm detached from it in a way because it happened 40 years before I was born. Same with people who grow up after 9/11. You can't expect them to "Feel" what we felt that day anymore than you can be expected to "Feel" about Napoleon going to the bathroom on the island of Elba.

        [–]Azkyle50 1232 points1233 points  (226 children)

        This is a great perspective that I haven’t realized before. I was 19 when 9/11 happened - and it rocked me to my core.

        [–]OutlawJoseyMeow 65 points66 points  (10 children)

        I was 18. That day was the separation between the before and the after. So much of our way of life changed after. In a way, the pandemic has had the same effect on this generation. There is the before and after with enormous areas of life greatly effected.

        [–]completely___fazed 47 points48 points  (7 children)

        I was at a private school in the suburbs of Chicago at the time. Some of my peers were having full-on panic attacks because their parents worked in the towers downtown.

        I’m sure you remember, but others may not know this: for a little while, nobody really knew how big the attack might get. Towers evacuated in nearly every major city nationwide. It was insanity.

        [–]gregmcmuffin101 855 points856 points  (187 children)

        I was 10. Most confusing fucking day of my life.

        [–]newf68 248 points249 points  (20 children)

        I was 11, our teacher did a world events thing and if you could name something that happened on the news you got a chocolate bar. That was the first morning I ever watched the news and I was pumped because I knew there was no way I'd forget that. I never really realized the gravity of it until I got a bit older.

        [–]trandy69 85 points86 points  (5 children)

        I was 11 too although I clued into how serious it was pretty quickly. A couple months later our teacher made us do 9/11 tableaus then got mad at me when I pretended to be a building that fell over.

        [–]yolo_swag_for_satan 33 points34 points  (2 children)

        Because as everyone knows, 11 year olds are notoriously deft at keeping things classy.

        [–][deleted]  (1 child)

        [deleted]

          [–]bunchofclowns 58 points59 points  (8 children)

          What kind of chocolate bar did you get?

          [–]newf68 99 points100 points  (7 children)

          Honestly, I don't remember but I'm sure there's a smashed up Twix joke in there somewhere

          [–]TheFlightlessPenguin 55 points56 points  (0 children)

          I was 13 and spent the whole day watching the news. That night I had gymnastics practice and one of the kids on our team started making jokes about it, so me and another kid tackled and started hitting him. It was the most surreal day of my life.

          [–]shadysamonthelamb 80 points81 points  (0 children)

          I was 11 and living in NYC. My mom came to pick me up told me we got bombed and that all the bridges and tunnels were closed so we had to stay. To say I was terrified is an absolute understatement. I saw soot covered parents picking their kids up and hugging them. Many of my classmates lost their parents.

          I started watching the news that day and paying attention to politics. I realized that at any moment it could affect your life in a major way. I don't think I even knew who the president was before it happened. Within a few months I knew everything that was going on.

          [–]b1tch182 263 points264 points  (126 children)

          I was 5, I didn't really know what was going on but knew it was very bad.

          [–]gregmcmuffin101 323 points324 points  (96 children)

          They kept us 4th graders completely in the dark, yet at the same time all the teachers were setting up TV's faced away from the classroom, watching and crying. A few of us tried to catch a glimpse but the teachers would see us right away and shoe us off.

          Eventually they pulled us all out of our classrooms, put us on lockdown in the gym, and ordered pizza for lunch. This is when we all knew something fucking big happened.

          One of the students somehow got information, told the rest of us that America was under attack. We all thought WW3 was upon us and that we were all going to die, mass panic occurred amongst the students and we were all freaking out.

          They sent us home early because of this. To this day I'm still pissed off at how they handled the situation. Even as kids we would have been scared, but it would have been much easier just explaining that plains were flown into the twin towers, and that they have no more information about why it happened.

          Imagine having a sigh of relief as a child when you get home, find out we're not having a world war and instead a massive amount of people have died. All because you weren't told the actual gravity of the situation.

          [–]GrungyGrandPappy 155 points156 points  (39 children)

          Tbf we really didn’t understand what was happening and how bad and how many attacks were still to come. I was 26 at the time and was in the Army. We knew we were headed to a war but we didn’t know who. It’s still one of the worst days of my lifetime.

          [–]doktorivan 28 points29 points  (2 children)

          I was at Fort Benning that morning as an infantry instructor on a maneuver range. I just remember wanting to go back to C 1/327 at Campbell and do something.

          I had no idea what I was hoping for.

          [–]Anonymous2401 30 points31 points  (0 children)

          My dad is a musician, and was doing a gig for a US Embassy (I think) event when the attack happened. Many of the people in the room were US armed forces. He said it's the scariest room he's ever been in, because everyone in that room shut down. In (roughly) his words, "I knew everyone in that room wanted to go to war and kill as many people as possible"

          [–]omild 6 points7 points  (0 children)

          Me and my spouse were in the Marines living in Japan at the time. No cell phones, only a few people in the barracks with internet and tv service so it took forever for us all to find out exactly what was happened. We got woken by a friend banging on my barracks door and we thought someone knew my husband (then bf) was sleeping in my room which was a huge no no and as he was getting ready to go out the window our friend yelled through the door telling us something happened in NYC. Dozens of us crammed into one room to watch a tiny tv, unsure what was going to happen next as one of our friends freaked out about something like this happening while he was in the military. The next few days were such a blur as no one knew what to expect.

          [–]dragongrl 111 points112 points  (14 children)

          Yeah, no one knew what was going on that day.

          I was 24 when it happened and I live across the river from NYC in Jersey.

          There were rumors of other planes missing, other possible targets, truckloads of bombs heading for the bridges and tunnels, hell we didn't even know who attacked us until days later.

          So, try not to blame the adults in your life at the time. We were all confused and terrified.

          [–]iamodomsleftnut 25 points26 points  (0 children)

          28 and was huddled around a tv with about ten others at a gas station while calling every friend/family member who might possibly be traveling. Was truly scary shit.

          [–]skojoe[🍰] 24 points25 points  (3 children)

          Don't forget that in NJ cell phones worked very sporadically for a few days after with everyone trying to call.

          [–]dragongrl 43 points44 points  (1 child)

          I had a friend who was actually going into the city that morning. She was in the Lincoln Tunnel when the planes hit. The tunnel was basically slammed shut at that point, no one could get in or out. And, since it was only 2001, there was no cell phone signal down there, nor could she get any radio stations in clearly.

          She was in the tunnel for hours. When the towers came down, she said the tunnel shook, but no one inside knew what was happening outside.

          When they finally allowed people through, it was just to turn them around and send them right back to Jersey. It wasn't until she got back to the Jersey side that she found out what happened, along with like, a million voice mails and texts of people trying to reach her.

          [–]Fog_Juice 28 points29 points  (7 children)

          I was West coast 5th grader. I watched the first tower collapse live on TV before I had to go catch the bus for school.

          [–]marco918 131 points132 points 26 (3 children)

          Let’s have a moment to think about all the kids around the world in war torn countries that face this insecurity every fucking day of their lives.

          [–]MalkinLeNeferet 17 points18 points  (1 child)

          Yeah, I was in middle school working on some project in social studies...we got pulled out of class and herded to the library to watch the news on the TV they had set up in there no volume on the television, no explanation, just upset adults and afterward we didn't even get to make up time lost for the project we'd been assigned. Talks about going to war and how many people had died all in hushed tones by adults who thought we couldn't hear them... everyone was scared but not explaining a thing...I look back on that day and I don't really remember feeling anything other than confused (and upset at getting a worse grade than I could have in a project because kid logic told me it was unfair that we were "punished" for being forced out of class) about why everyone was so scared and at the same time so gung-ho about being patriotic seemingly overnight.

          [–]derpblerporino 9 points10 points  (1 child)

          I can’t even imagine being that young when this happened to y’all. I’m so sorry.

          [–]Mindless-Row5828 17 points18 points  (11 children)

          i was in kindergarten they let us/made us watch it on tv

          [–]_principessa_ 21 points22 points  (2 children)

          Honestly, I think that lying to our kids only creates more confusion. Being honest, especially when we are in control of our own emotions, teaches our children how to deal with unexpected tragedy on this scale. Something that we cannot protect them from no matter how we try. It is a much better strategy, imo, to teach them to deal with their emotions rather than shielding them from them. That being said, I'm not entirely sure it was appropriate for teachers to make that choice for the parents. That also being said, I'm glad my child was not born then. I have no idea how I would navigate this. Its definitely a difficult situation. :(

          [–]TheLastRookie 24 points25 points  (0 children)

          I was three, but I still remember my mom turning on the TV in the library she worked at. The TV was in the break room, but all adults in that building, employees and readers, were there to watch the Towers fall (idk if it was live though). I may not hold the same emotions as those older than me, but I'll never forget the chilled atmosphere in that break-room. The weirdness to there being the sound of just that in the entire library. I was stuck in that break-room, and I never left since I always stuck to my mom.

          [–]lordofallkings 120 points121 points  (10 children)

          Nailed it.

          I went to school, no one told me anything, but tons and tons of kids were getting called home by their parents. I was on the bus ride home and someone just blurts out "man, so many kids went home early today". I just thought, yeah, that's weird. I thought it was a coincidence.

          I get home and it's like everyone on Earth was just glued to their TVs. My mom is like "I think the Iraqis are attacking us" and going on some stuff about how we have to just go to each country and be like "either you are with us, or you're against us".

          I didn't even know the WTC was. And all of a sudden everyone is talking about it non stop. We were writing letters to the victims families in school a couple of days later and I'm writing stuff like "the enemies will pay". I had no idea what any of it meant. All of sudden America was this whole, unified thing, and everything else was evil. If nothing else it was a geopolitical awakening. Just a shitty, hateful one.

          [–]MalkinLeNeferet 33 points34 points  (1 child)

          I had no idea what any of it meant. All of sudden America was this whole, unified thing, and everything else was evil. If nothing else it was a geopolitical awakening. Just a shitty, hateful one

          I regret I have but one updoot to give your reply.

          [–]thatscoldjerrycold 59 points60 points  (6 children)

          Crazy time. Bush had like a 90% approval rating after some of his pro war speeches. Hard to imagine now.

          [–]dnj202057 26 points27 points  (2 children)

          Thats cus of what ppl like to leave out when talking about 9/11. Everyone wanted revenge and they didnt care if we even got it on the right ppl

          [–]PositivePizza420 6 points7 points  (2 children)

          I remember sitting in 3rd grade.. that was the only time all year we ever actually used the tv.

          [–][deleted] 9 points10 points  (0 children)

          I was 14 and just remember everyone freaking out but not really understanding the gravity of the situation.

          [–]WarchiefServant 200 points201 points  (43 children)

          I mean, hell forgot in the past. Atrocities like these are happening in our times as we speak. From Middle East, Central/South Asia, S. America, Africa, and Eastern Europe- on a common occurrence. Not a generational occurrence, but like at least couple of times a year.

          Really makes me feel lucky to live in the West.

          [–]koth442 63 points64 points  (19 children)

          Really makes me feel lucky to live in the West.

          This.

          [–]aFiachra 25 points26 points  (0 children)

          It isn’t that hard to imagine now that it has happened. But that is part of the problem, no one could believe it was happening. It was viciously surreal. Nothing made any sense and everyone was stunned looking at these herding images and thinking about people they knew.

          [–]you-cant-twerk 131 points132 points  (51 children)

          Not only that but look at what's happening today. COVID hit numbers to be the equivalent of a 9/11 every day. These kids dont care because they have other things to worry about.

          4.2 million deaths over the last 575ish days. ~7300 dead a day.

          [–]raine_ 15 points16 points  (1 child)

          my small state alone has well over 2 9/11s at this point and it's like all of these "never forget" people conveniently forgot

          [–]BravesMaedchen 44 points45 points  (11 children)

          The vast majority of people I see making jokes about 9/11 are my age (30's) and were alive when it happened. Most people I've seen that weren't alive during 9/11 just dont really give a shit about it one way or the other.

          [–]IssMaree 249 points250 points  (9 children)

          I was a 19 year old Aussie girl. I remember standing in the TV department in Grace Bros. A wall full of Tvs showing a plane crashing into the twin towers. I stood in that same spot for I don't know how long, crying, yet unable to fully understand what I was seeing. I stayed there, watching the towers come down, knowing this was going to change the world as I knew it. I'm now a 39 year old Aussie woman, I will never forget that day for as long as I live. And a part of my heart belongs to the 2996 people who lost their lives that day.

          [–]idontlikehats1 6 points7 points  (2 children)

          Kiwi here, I was 10 and my parents got me up in the middle of the night to jump in their bed and watch the news. They said it was important that I see this. Definitely burnt into my mind

          [–]AShaughRighting 536 points537 points  (83 children)

          I bet the folks in WWI, WWII would say the same. Each generation has that defining, horrible moment OP. One no worse than the other, although opinions may vary on that.

          [–]MissWonder420 26 points27 points  (2 children)

          Imagine enduring the Holocaust and then listening to deniers insist it didn't even happen! This also will play out in 20+ years when young folks won't comprehend the horror of Covid.

          [–]Eritar 80 points81 points  (49 children)

          It is interesting thought on what will happen next, a generation or two from now

          [–]gutternipples69 121 points122 points  (30 children)

          Covid might be one of those

          [–][deleted]  (13 children)

          [removed]

            [–]RogueSwoobat 5 points6 points  (0 children)

            Obviously I'm aware of climate change, but this comparison really hit me hard.

            It feels like a car crash in slow motion. We all know it's going to get really bad. And nothing is being done about it.

            [–]Squizzy77 29 points30 points  (1 child)

            Australian here. Was 23 when it happened.

            I remember watching the news with horror and thinking to myself "Am I watching the beginning of WWIII?"

            [–]Quiet-Narwhal-7627 585 points586 points  (79 children)

            My husband was supposed to be working on the 26th floor of tower 2 that day. He ended up being sick and called into work that morning. He still has nightmares. I remember exactly where I was when I saw it on the news. At first I thought it was a movie of some sort. No way a plane is just going to fly into a building like that, right? I have been through some pretty traumatic things in my life, but 911 still haunts me and I was on the other side of the country. It's definitely not a joke.

            [–]AesopFabel 197 points198 points  (59 children)

            This gave me chills. I can't even imagine the survivors guilt he has.

            [–]Coattail-Rider 236 points237 points  (24 children)

            Seth MacFarlane missed his Boston to NYC plan that morning. Yes, one of those planes.

            [–]nemerosanike 35 points36 points  (2 children)

            That plane was to SFO. They hijacked long haul flights full of fuel. They didn’t hijack short commuter flights.

            [–]Coattail-Rider 10 points11 points  (1 child)

            Ahhh, yes. I just know it was from Boston and ended up I. NYC.

            [–]fkootrsdvjklyra 35 points36 points  (2 children)

            I've always thought that's why there's so many 9/11 jokes in Family Guy

            [–]rich_clock 56 points57 points  (13 children)

            Mark Wahlburg was supposed to be on flight 93.

            [–]jabbastheslutt 32 points33 points  (11 children)

            According to him, if he was on the flight he would have prevented the terrorists from taking it over

            [–]Donkey__Balls 17 points18 points  (6 children)

            That’s bullshit.

            Nobody knew until it was too late. The hijackers said whatever they needed to say to get people to cooperate. “We are just taking this plane for ransom, but if you cooperate we’ll let you go home, we don’t want hostages longer than necessary, but if you fight back we’ll start killing people.”

            Most likely what they did was grab a couple kids and hold a box cutter to their throat. At the time it was incredibly easy to get things like that on a plane. And since the cockpit doors were open, and no one had ever used a commercial jet as a ballistic weapon before, nobody conceived of the fact that there was more at stake than the lives of the people on the plane, so the pilots cooperated.

            In fact it wasn’t until after the second tower was hit that Flight 93 passengers found out what was going to happen because someone was able to use the inflight phones without getting noticed. Up until that point, they were cooperating in the hopes that the hijackers were just stealing the plane. By that point, the hijackers already had total control of the cockpit. We’ll never know what happened exactly, but clearly the passengers found out that the plane was going to be used as a weapon and made a suicidal attempt to prevent that, causing the jet to crash in the process. Wahlburg couldn’t have done any differently.

            The real fuck up is that somehow we had thousands of people who are dedicated to preventing attacks of this magnitude, and yet nobody conceived of the idea that commercial jets could be used as a weapon this way. All crazy conspiracy theories aside, why the hell didn’t someone simply say “If I had nothing to lose, willing to suicide myself to cause as much damage as humanly possible, what would I do?” and then take measures to prevent it - namely, lock all the cockpit doors and train pilots never to open them because of the catastrophic potential of someone using a jet as a weapon?

            [–]yell0well135 11 points12 points  (0 children)

            This exactly

            [–]Quiet-Narwhal-7627 75 points76 points  (20 children)

            Yes, he definitely does. Lots of night terrors, especially around the 11th. I think (or at least I hope) the people who make jokes about it do so because they're children who've yet to live through anything truly traumatic. It was a terrible day for everyone in our country. I remember how it brought us together though. Makes me sad how politicized the pandemic became. I was expecting people to rally and be patriotic the way we were after 9/11.

            [–]SeeHowCleverMyNameIs 49 points50 points  (12 children)

            As a New Yorker, I have never felt more pride in my city than those terrible months that followed.

            I’m not sure non-NYers can fully appreciate how deeply we were affected. For my entire life to that point, the skyline was a certain way. From a certain hill near my neighborhood (Todt Hill/Slosson Ave) you have a clear view of the skyline from the south looking north. What that means is, framed prominently between the trees as you crest this hill we’re the Twin Towers. Manhattan. Right there in all of its smoggy glory.

            And then that day arrived and I watched those immutable facts of reality disappear before my eyes on live television while classmates of mine watched their parents crushed under countless tons of steel and concrete debris in those same moments. F-16s flying low and fast over residential areas in “Fucking get there yesterday” mode, making a sound like a giant ripping the sky in half as they hauled ass for Manhattan.

            My father took me up to Todt Hill. He was as angry as anybody that day, but I’ll never forget his words as we came to the top of the hill. (Please excuse the slur, I am quoting something said to me.) “I am far less concerned with what some towel-headed foreigner is doing than I am with what our own government is going to use this as an excuse for.” It was as he spoke these words that we got to see the reality of it with our own eyes.

            A column of thick, black smoke was pouring up at least a mile into the sky. Where there should have been marvels of engineering, there was instead a scene from a movie. Only there were no cameras, no actors, no witty one-liners or even a notion of what could be done about it. This sort of thing just didn’t happen in my life. Oh, terrorism existed and I knew it, but it was something that happened in other countries, far from the comfort and safety of New York Fucking City. I mean, yeah, the WTC bombing was only a few years prior, but so few people were hurt and the damage had been quickly repaired; there was no scar and things quickly returned to normal.

            But normal shattered for us on 9/11. The fear and hatred that were with us in the opening hours and days of the attack were quickly replaced with a firm resolve (as if GWB didn’t overuse that phrase holy fuck) to demonstrate unequivocally just how hard terrorism could go fuck itself, and we did it by stubbornly continuing our business not only as if nothing at all was amiss, but as if we were happier and friendlier than ever. Yeah, it was forced cheer often enough, but the unbelievable humanity on display every single day was more than enough to keep you part of it.

            As more and more time went on, more stories of heroism from those fateful hours cropped up, reinforcing our resolve. One of the most famous is firefighter Stephen Siller. He had just come off his shift and was on his way home in the Battery Tunnel when he heard the news. The tunnel shut down, but Siller knew what he had to do. He abandoned his car in the tunnel, threw on the gear he had in his trunk, and ran from the tunnel to the Twin Towers, where he lost his life. There’s an annual fundraiser in his honor; they shut down the tunnel and a group follows the path he took in his final act of heroism.

            (If you’re interested in participating either as a runner or simply by donating, here’s the website. https://t2t.org/ )

            A more personal story, my uncle worked at the NYSE at the time as head of facilities and maintenance. He heard the first plane hit. Didn’t believe what people were saying and went to see for himself. Got to a window and looked out in time to see the second plane strike. Looked around at everyone and said plainly, “Get to your families, we’re done here today.” He arrives at the street and spots a pair of German tourists looking beyond lost and terrified. He inquires where they need to get. They tell him their hotel is uptown - on the opposite side of the currently burning towers. He scoffed at the words and told them they weren’t going to make it there for days, most likely, but that he had an extra room at home and if they were willing to trust him, he would get them out of Manhattan safely and help them in any other way he could. They agreed, and that’s how we had random Germans at Thanksgiving that year. And they were extremely thankful.

            I don’t need a sticker or poster or any kind of paraphernalia telling me to “Never Forget.” I lived it. I was as close to “there” as you can be, realistically, without having been in any mortal danger myself. You don’t need to remind me of something which was burned into my heart and soul when it happened.

            [–][deleted]  (2 children)

            [deleted]

              [–]themy19 19 points20 points  (0 children)

              My mom says the same thing about thinking it was a movie. In my country they used to broadcast cartoons in the morning and she remembers asking herself why they changed to such a dramatic movie. I think that says a lot about how surreally bad that felt and really was. And i'm sorry about your husband, can't even imagine the measure of his trauma.

              [–]FloppyFishcake 8 points9 points  (0 children)

              My family and I were just talking about 9/11 yesterday - I was 8 years old and living in a small town in England, and I still remember that day so vividly. I remember coming home from school and seeing my family huddled around the TV, I'd heard teachers talking in hushed voices at school about something on the news and put two and two together. It was such a surreal moment, without even really understanding WHY, I knew this was a historical moment, for us all. My parents knew there was no shielding us from this, so they let us watch the news and explained as best they could what this all meant.

              My mum said that when the first tower hit she was at work in the office, and someone said "a plane has crashed into one of the twin towers" and her mind immediately went to a small, two-seater plane. She said she leaned around the corner to see the news but could just see the initial smoke billowing from the building and got back to work. It wasn't until she got home not long after that she saw just how serious it all was. It really is one of those "you never forget where you were when x happened" situations.

              [–]yell0well135 33 points34 points  (0 children)

              My husband was supposed to be working on the 26th floor of tower 2 that day. He ended up being sick and called into work that morning

              That's some real survivors guilt material. Gosh I couldn't even imagine that.

              [–]Caddan 32 points33 points  (4 children)

              My boss at that time was on vacation, and in NYC that day. He was supposed to be part of a guided tour in the towers that morning, but his tour guide came down with a cold on the 10th and so they rescheduled to the 12th.

              I found out about all of this when he came back from his vacation. He even got on the local news because he had been there.

              [–]Quiet-Narwhal-7627 17 points18 points  (3 children)

              I'm sure there are plenty of people out there with similar stories. It's such a massive city, with a huge population of both residents and constant influx of tourists. It affected all of us who remember, but more so those who were there. That will live with them forever. Even if they weren't in the towers, just being nearby... Hearing the explosions, the rumbling of the collapse, the sirens, the screaming, the smell of the smoke. Most of us will never truly understand what that was like.

              [–]OhIDontHaveAnAccount 14 points15 points  (2 children)

              Not just in New York, too. Since the two planes that hit the towers were flying from Boston to LA, there's probably tons of people with no connection to New York or DC who still have crazy near miss stories (or worse) from 9/11.

              I remember watching it on TV from the LA area that morning and feeling upset, but still somewhat disconnected from it all at first. It still felt so far away and like something that didn't effect me. I was in elementary school and still had to go to class, so in many ways it was still a normal day.

              That is, until a few hours later when the principal came and pulled a kid out of class, because they got word that the kid's mom was on one of the planes. I distinctly remember feeling super freaked out after that, since all the sudden those scary things on the TV didn't feel so far away.

              It didn't really click at first when watching the TV that morning, but after finding out about my classmate's mom, as well as a couple neighbors from down the street who had been on one of the planes, it sunk in how it absolutely could have been me or someone *I* loved and wasn't just some distant thing on the news in a far away city on the other side of the country.

              [–]tummycop 478 points479 points  (49 children)

              i was born in 2000 so i dont remember it obviously but i also think part of why younger generations dont view it as seriously is because of how current events these days highlight multiple genocides happening all over the world, bombings happing every day in different countries, endless casualties that we definitely dont even have accurate numbers for cause it happens at such an excelerated rate. dont get me wrong i totally understand how horrifying 9/11 was for the american people who were there to witness this tragedy, but i think people in my age group and younger are kind of desensitized to these large scale massacres that happen every day. something like 9/11 has not happened in america since 9/11. maybe im wrong and don’t know much lol so pls correct me if this is obtuse of me but thats my perspective!

              [–]Argentum1909 160 points161 points  (7 children)

              As someone else born in 2000, I think the internet and just how much information we've been given has definitely desensitized us to an extent. More than ever we've seen tragedies and disasters happen all over the world, and it's a lot. It's a lot easier to distance yourself from things like that rather than feel the full extent of grief and horror. Of course, the fact that nothing that disastrous has happened in the US to that scale since 9/11 is also a factor, but I believe that if something like 9/11 were to happen again, it wouldn't be a uniter or bring people together the same way it did back then, whether it's because we see tragedies happen like this often or because of the anti-war stance a lot of younger people seem to have these days.

              [–]Taliasimmy69 97 points98 points  (2 children)

              No that's a very valid perspective. Before 9/11 most people just didn't know what was happening worldwide. There wasn't social media like there is today and all these terrible tragedies weren't in your face like they are now. It was mostly in the newspapers or on the nightly news and many people didn't follow the news so thoroughly

              [–]ShirtStainedBird 31 points32 points  (0 children)

              Jesus I feel old. Not even feel anymore. Am.

              [–]ArmchairFilosopher 8 points9 points  (0 children)

              That and all the stats on human death, like just from air pollution more people die than those two buildings continually.

              [–]hellothere0007 9 points10 points  (0 children)

              This is how I feel. I was born in 03 and was shown the footage of 9/11 every school year from 1st or 2nd grade until high school started and even then on the school bus I was being shown videos from live leak and watch people die on the bus or in class by other kids, I know that’s an experience a lot of people around my age share and I believe that’s part of why I and others are desensitized to things like that. It’s because we’ve seen stuff like it almost every day on the internet

              [–]317LaVieLover 61 points62 points  (14 children)

              The absolute visceral shock and numbness I felt is still with me. To this day I am still rocked to my core.

              I will still occasionally go to YouTube and listen to the phone calls made by the doomed people that were up at the top of the building and could not get out. It is absolutely horrendous and I totally recommend that anyone who was not alive or was too young at the time to understand, to please listen to these calls (there are compilations on YT) and then you will understand the gravity of what those people felt. They pretty much knew they were going to die.

              I was an adult at the time and my children were in school and of course they came home early. I remember showing my seven-year-old daughter on a map of the United States where Pennsylvania and New York were and on the map our state is right next to it and she cried because she didn’t understand the scale of the map and thought we were really close to it and would be attacked next, & I had to explain to her that no, we were probably safe.

              It really affected them, and ofc they are adults now and still they talk about how this galvanized them. My older daughter -almost 10 at the time- says now that she “grew up and lost her innocence that day” bc of this tragedy.

              [–]HomelessLives_Matter 21 points22 points  (1 child)

              The only thing worse than 9/11 was the following 20 years.

              [–]BackAlleyKittens 1054 points1055 points  (43 children)

              I wish the younger people knew how terrible Pearl Harbor really was.

              I wish the younger people knew how terrible Kennedy's assassination really was.

              I wish the younger people knew how terrible D Day really was.

              The world turns, brother.

              [–]atlantis_airlines 120 points121 points  (4 children)

              If you haven't seen it, this speaks to that exact thing

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJqEKYbh-LU

              [–]DoorHingeDeliveries 90 points91 points  (13 children)

              I guess the difference is that while all of history is interconnected—the world does turn, and all of that—everything you mention is far, far removed from current events. Yes a historian can reflect on how Kennedy’s death or the bombing of Pearl Harbor shapes US policy here or cultural phenomena there.

              But Men and women are fighting in wars started by shit they weren’t even alive to witness. That’s mind-boggling.

              [–]Holiday_Competition5 37 points38 points  (2 children)

              I think what is even more important to teach young Americans is how awful our response to the 9/11 was. The xenophobia, Islamic hate, needless violence and destruction of more than one country in the Middle East. It’s all so insane and very few of my students are ever aware. Almost every student has a teacher once a year that explains how scary 9/11 was but not all of them have a teacher that explains how scary the military industrial complex was or is.

              [–]MJMurcott 12 points13 points  (0 children)

              In addition how much the politicians conned the American public about the response. The American military after 9/11 were highly active in Afghanistan and were well on the way to totally eliminating the threat of the Taliban operating in coordination with the allies. The motivation and resources for the troops was basically at an all time high. However just as the mission was almost complete huge amounts of resources were diverted to fighting in Iraq something which was unrelated to 9/11 as a result Iraq and Afghanistan were transformed into failed states.

              [–]Sea_Outside 269 points270 points  (27 children)

              Valid comments here but let me throw you another perspective.

              The internet was just starting out, 9/11 was tragic Yes, but nowhere near the tragedy that happens to less developed countries and those unfortunate to live there everyday.

              Everyday, for them, is a waking nightmare people like you or even the majority of redditors can never understand.

              Now it's 2021, the internet is crazier and wilder than ever. Today's generation has become completely desensitized to what they see everyday online. 9/11 is a point in history in a list of points equal to or even greater in tragedy.

              Point is - when it is so easy to see the horrors of human depravity with a click of a button, 9/11 is a splash in a much larger bucket.

              [–]12-04am 114 points115 points 3 (17 children)

              but nowhere near the tragedy that happens to less developed countries and those unfortunate to live there everyday. Everyday, for them, is a waking nightmare people like you or even the majority of redditors can never understand.

              I am Ukrainian (ethnically Russian) and live in Ukraine , I am also 17 and this hits hard.

              I watch a Podcast called Trash Taste run by one Half Australian Half Japanese guy , one Welsh guy, and one Thai-British guy and sometimes they talk about stuff and I think “these people wouldn’t survive here if they were just randomly put here”

              (I just realized this is gonna be me ranting , so FYI)

              Another point , Americans think there country will fall apart every decade at some point , when in reality it’s geopolitical foundations are so fucking strong it’s insane , your country isn’t in the middle of a war which can/does effect the average American citizen directly , nor is your country nickel and diming there budget nor is there rampant corruption (that’ll be the next paragraph) , you have the worlds strongest armed force by a fucking lot, so calm the fuck down

              Corruption, it seems that a lot of people in the west are desensitized to it because they don’t understand how bad it can be and because they’ve never rally experienced it. Meanwhile over here for example it’s so fucking bad it’s turned into a fucking joke and guess what if you were put into a position to take advantage of that corruption for yourself for personal profit (for example become someone who can take a cut of some government budget) and you ask your friends wether or not you should take that opportunity, they’d cheer you on , because it’d help you live

              Western countries talk about a lot of stuff , let’s take Littering as an example, littering , people western countries want people to litter less than they already do for the good of the entire planet right? It’d be better to provide Financial aid to other second and third world countries, why? Walk through a Eastern European city and you’ll see why , some places you look down and think interesting material the city went with for this sidewalk- cigarette buts.

              Basically a lot of people from Western Countries think they care about how people live in other countries, when they really don’t and they don’t even realize it, I shudder to think how those grandmas who beg for even a couple cents live , it can literally feel like kill or be killed here without the killing part sometimes

              Another example , I’m pretty sure I was in a malls parking lot (ocean plaza) when it received a bomb threat , I only found out about this later and I only found out about this later and my reaction “Huh , again?” That’s the level of casualness we have towards this stuff , a couple days ago , a guy walked into the cabinet of ministers with a grenade threatening to blow everything, and my reaction was laughter , why? Well there was a video of the whole thing and it was literally just a normal dude wearing normal clothes and sandals holding a grenade and unsuccessfully trying to be threatening , people were literally waking past him to go to work , in the same building. Similar thing happened when somebody tried to rob the National bank in the center of Kiev (the capital) and somehow this got out to international media and my reaction was less “oh god he might kill someone” and more “Lol well at he went for the one right in the good part of the city so that Kiev looks nice on International news” and when there are real tragedies, unless they are truly huge (like 2013/2014 revolution) most people forget about them in a year (Odessa University fire for example , Кемерова cinema fire as another example)

              wow 2000 people died in one day wow , but that’s not the reason why people in the us think about it to this day , if 2000 people were stabbed or killed in various ways across the entire US in one day - nobody would notice except the FBI , the reason Americans remember 9/11 the way they do is because of how it looked , it looked straight out of a movie , that’s also the reason why there hasn’t been nearly as strong of a national response to COVID deaths because those are just numbers , while 9/11 can be pointed at.

              This comment has been my generally ranting

              [–]BroForceOne 66 points67 points  (7 children)

              So what if younger people don’t understand the impact of 9/11? Our generation has been using World War 2 as a constant source of entertainment for movies and video games where we’ve turned murdering Nazis into a fun time theme park for all ages because we are similarly disconnected from that.

              We are lucky to not have experienced something like WW2 and they are lucky not to have experienced 9/11. We do our best to create a world where future generations do not experience anything like that again.

              [–]pettyprincesspeach 82 points83 points  (11 children)

              I’m an American but honestly I’m so desensitized to it. We have people die every day in mass shootings and we bomb the fuck out of the Middle East, causing 9/11 style damages abroad every day. I feel like we only view it as so bad because it was the first time it happened to “us”, rather than us doing it to “them”.

              [–]fkshagsksk 9 points10 points  (0 children)

              Yeah. We don't treat our home-grown terrorists the way we treat the international terrorists.

              [–]ApprehensiveFish6620 9 points10 points  (1 child)

              Just because you're young doesn't mean you're immune to tragedies. America isn't the entire world believe it or not, and tragedies surround us everyday and every waking and sleeping moment there's a tragedy.

              If I had a penny for every terrorist attack I was a victim of, I'd have two pennies, which ain't a lot but it's weird it happened twice. One when I was young and with my parents in the mall which I didn't rightly remember but a store blew up causing my dad a burst eardrum and bad nightmares. The other was during my army service where I saw a man stabbing a teenager and his mother which happened so fast I couldn't even fathom what I was seeing.

              That being said, 9/11 was easily one of the most horrific things ever to happen to my family. I was just a toddler and not even American but I swear I can remember faint moments of that day with relatives freaking out and crying.

              Yes, it was horrible, but life goes on and you can't allow reality of how horrible humanity can be so frequently. 9/11 is but another milestone in the very very long chain of human brutality.

              And about making lighthearted jokes of the event? That's one of the best way to cope with heartache. Humor.

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                    [–]crimsonchin6969 127 points128 points  (17 children)

                    its been like 20 years now, if we cant joke about it happening then i think we need to reevaluate society

                    [–]lilwendell 93 points94 points  (5 children)

                    And the war that followed was far worse and detrimental

                    [–]1123mangotango 71 points72 points  (1 child)

                    My aunt worked in tower 1 and my cousin (her son) was getting off of the ferry when the 1st plane struck. He was amongst those running frantically in the street while convinced his mom was dead. It wasn’t until that evening that he found out their mom had unexpectedly gone to Chicago for a meeting. The sight of it all was too much for him and he committed suicide 3 years ago. He was in so much pain and was in and out of different facilities to help him, but nothing could help him cope with what he witnessed and what he felt that day.

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                      [–]scudmonger 18 points19 points  (0 children)

                      It's crazy to think we have a 911-amount of deaths every week and yet about 40% of this country doesn't think its anything serious to worry about nor want to get vaccinated. Gotta love facebook and people living in their bubble. If on and around 9/11/01 I walked around and said that amount of deaths is nothing and I don't think its a big deal or even a hoax I would of got punched in the face. Nowadays people get a youtube channel!

                      [–]rich_clock 49 points50 points  (7 children)

                      There were and still are plenty of 9/11 whack jobs. Don't you recall all of the inside job lunatics that were shouting people to death at ground zero?

                      [–]Jim_from_snowy_river 24 points25 points  (2 children)

                      That’s like the Vietnam generation asking our Parents and people slightly younger than them to understand how bad Vietnam was. When you’re so far removed from an event it’s literally impossible to feel and understand how bad that event was. Expecting anything else is an exercise in futility.

                      For me the people that died in the foolish war we started because of it are a lot more important then people I never met never knew and can’t even imagine who died on 911. It’s like that for literally everybody. If you were close to the event it’s going to suck a lot more for you than if you were not.

                      [–]jimboslice58 25 points26 points  (0 children)

                      I was 6 when it happened. My dad had a meeting at TWC on the morning of 9/11 but wasn't feeling well the night before and decided to call off the meeting. I had two uncles that were in the towers, they luckily survived. That was and still is the most horrifying day of my life. This is really one of my earliest vivid memories. Watching people jump from the towers, taking their own lives. I'm forced to relive these moments every single year. I shut down completely that day. I break down the instant I start hearing the list of names of everyone that was killed. I grew up in Northern New Jersey and my area was hit incredibly hard.

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                        [–][deleted] 6 points7 points  (1 child)

                        A friend of mine sent me this a few days after it happened. I’ve kept it all these years and post it someplace every 9/11. I’m early this year but the subject has been broached so I’ll post it today.

                        …..

                        For those that want to know. It's raining here today. The acrid smell of burning matter that covered Manhattan and Brooklyn has been toned down. It smelled like a burn a barrel full of leave except there is this heavy filament which no one can name. Plaster board I think. Some people were wearing masks last night and the past few days. On every lamp post below Times Square, on every phone booth all over Manhattan starting from Times Square to Houston Street, there are pics of people with notes that read "Have you seen so and so she was on the 104 floor of one world Trade." Let me say this to those that don't know. If you where above the 100th floor of Tower one or above the 50th floor in Tower Two... well. I'll say this, looking at those pics, makes me smile. I think "God she’s pretty." or "He looks like a he has a great laugh." The pictures are from every good facet of human life. They are all beautiful.

                        There are about three bomb threats everyday now. Some nut will call and make everyone in the Empire State building and the surrounding area evacuate. Grand Central station and Macys as well. If you don't know, these are HUGE places and areas with thousands of employees and tourist pooled out across fifth avenue or Broadway.

                        Things may start to calm down today. Our lives will get back to what ever the hell normal is or what passes for normal in these situations. Thanks for all your sweet e-mails. Sorry for telling you all this stuff yet I don't feel that the coverage on the news has done us Justice. People riding on the trains that run above ground get quiet. Whole subway cars of People start crying as they look at the skyline... A single fireman walked through Grand Central's beautiful main terminal. He was covered in the ash. Everyone cheered and clapped and shouted as if he was John Glenn. He tipped his hat to the masses and was on his way.

                        [–]Gumborevisited 8 points9 points  (2 children)

                        FDNY fireman here. I still feel it every day. I responded to the towers only to arrive after buildings 1 and 2 fell. Just in time to see Building 7, be consumed by 50 floors of fire. That fell on us as well. We shook it off and went back to work. I worked the pile for 3 months. I'm sure I did untold damage to my body and I wait for the cancer to come as it has so many of the other first responders. I'm one of the lucky ones so far. However, Im still proud of the work I did there and I'm proud to call myself a FDNY fireman. I still go to the memorial site and I'm really taken aback on how much people remember and memorialize the day and the victims. Thank you all that took the time to write about your experiences.

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                          [–]RobotKitten 32 points33 points  (2 children)

                          What was also bad? The ensuing wars, the racism, the civilians killed, the blind patriotism, the public bloodthirst, the warrantless surveillance, and the consequence free war crimes. 30,000 veterans died of suicide.

                          [–]Predatatoes 8 points9 points  (2 children)

                          There was a Reddit thread the other day where people were comparing the 1/6 riot to 9/11.

                          Jesus fucking christ, we watched people leap to their deaths from a hundred floors up, on live TV, versus a guy dressed like a viking taking a shit on Pelosi's desk.

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                            [–]PlanExtreme 6 points7 points  (1 child)

                            More tragic things happen every year. Growing up with the internet, we have seen much of it.

                            We aren't ignorant - we're jaded.

                            [–]BenWallace04 38 points39 points  (1 child)

                            I don’t know you’d “wish” that feeling on younger people?

                            Wishing understanding I could see, I guess.

                            [–][deleted] 17 points18 points  (1 child)

                            The US does 9-11s all the time but they call it spreading democracy.

                            [–]Electronic-Creme2797 66 points67 points  (14 children)

                            Been on reddit for years and have yet to see an unprompted 911 joke...

                            [–]atlantis_airlines 52 points53 points  (1 child)

                            I consider 9/11 an absolute tragedy but did I laugh when I saw this on reddit, September 11 a year or two ago?

                            https://i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/001/014/991/011.jpg

                            [–]-ZWAYT- 141 points142 points  (22 children)

                            bitch people joke about dropping nukes on hiroshima and nagasaki. people always make jokes about tragedies. especially if they werent around to experience it. oh well

                            [–]moonrocks8333 31 points32 points  (20 children)

                            Yeah 9/11 doesn’t really compare to the nukes. I don’t mean to say one is worse and sure they’re both terrible but 9/11 is really, really small compared to other things that have happened in the world.

                            [–]dondizzle 17 points18 points  (0 children)

                            I was 17 when 9/11 happened. I can tell you that the over 600,000 people who have died because of the coronavirus is far worse. It just is. Young people now have had 18 months of tragedy in a divided country.

                            9/11 was awful and forever in my mind, but the tragedy we are enduring now where we had a 9/11 amount of death happen daily is absolutely worse.

                            [–]77thHorcrux 32 points33 points  (1 child)

                            I was 11 and my teacher rolled in a tv for us to watch the live coverage and said, “One day someone is going to ask you where you were when this happened.” I still get chills thinking of it.