The Metropolitan Cathedral in Chisinau, Moldova. Photo taken December 5, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Where were you thirteen years ago?

Today is the thirteenth anniversary of the day the World Trade Center was attacked. Hard to believe it's been that long.

Certainly, it's one of those events that you'll never forget where you were when it happened.

I was 39 years old at the time, and working a six month stint as a collision appraiser at a local Maaco autobody franchise in Ottawa. Worst job I ever had in my life. But that's a story for another day. I was having my coffee and sitting reading the morning paper and listening to news talk radio CFRA 580 in Ottawa. The Lowell Green show was on, and they were talking about a breaking news story that an airplane had crashed into a building in New York City.

It was one of these stories where they couldn't get all the facts at the beginning, and then as things started to play out you realized what an event it was. It didn't take them long, and they had CNN playing in the background and they were updating you moment by moment.

We didn't have access to television, so we were all glued to the radio for most of the day. It was only when I got home from work at about 5:30pm that afternoon that I was able to watch television and actually see what they had been talking about all day.

We had been at the top of the World Trade Center only eleven months before.

View of New York from the Windows on the World restaurant.

So...where were you when the towers came down?

30 comments:

  1. I was 38 in Tucson at the time. Due to the three-hour time zone difference, both towers had collapsed before I had even awakened at 7:30am. Went to volunteer at a local middle school and that's where I found out about it on a classroom TV. Just couldn't believe my eyes.

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    1. I am surprised that you didn't hear about it before getting to the school. That certainly would have been a shocker to see, without hearing about it first.

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  2. I was painting our kitchen, as I had dissassembled all the old cabinets, finished the new wiring and had buttoned up all the walls I had opened.
    My wife called from where she was working in Horseheads, N.Y. and told me to turn on CNN. Talk about getting a knot in your stomach! There were folks working there who were just a little more than shook up. I'll never forget that day, that's for sure.

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    1. I was like Kevin, I couldn't see it on TV until I got home from work. Kevin called me at work when he heard about it. I turned on the radio at work and we all listened to it for the rest of the day. Yep, sure put a knot in your stomach. Once I got home and saw what happened on TV in seemed unreal, especially so because we saw the towers and were in them only 11 months before. I just couldn't fathom how those towers could have come down like that!

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  3. Elaine and I were at the top of the World Trade Centre in 1986!

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    1. Okay. But where were you on this day in 2001...?

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  4. I can't believe it's 13 years ago. I was teaching a Kindergarten class at the time and it was William's birthday. We heard a little from our caretaker who popped in to say something had happened. We just kept the day normal.
    I was surprised when the next day some of the 4 year olds in my class wanted to talk about it. Sadly they'd seen footage on the television. What on earth do you say?
    Our hearts went out to the Americans and anyone linked to that sad day.

    I know that you both love your architecture. Are you glad you got to go up the towers? Have you been back since?

    Sft x

    http://349sfttoseetheworldchallenge.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. I would expect that a lot of it didn't sink in for the little ones. They would probably just think more of the building coming down than anything, but I could be wrong. I expect that because you are on the other side of the "pond" it wouldn't have created quite the impact it did for Canadians and Americans and perhaps that is why the day was kept more normal. Our hearts go out to all those families that were affected by this tragedy too!

      Yes, we have both been back. I was back in 2009 for a long weekend and then both Kevin and I were there for about 4 or 5 days in November of last year and 3 or 4 days in March of this year. The new building is now in place but the skyline will never be the same!

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  5. We started work at 7 AM Mountain time and the first plane had flown into the first tower at 6:45 MDT, shortly after (7:03) the second plane flew into the other tower. Everyone in my shop was listening to the radio. I especially remember the next few days with NO planes flying at all.

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    1. We had tickets to fly to Halifax, Nova Scotia on the Thursday but of course the flight had been cancelled. They rebooked it for the Friday and believe it or not we did take off as scheduled. When we flew into the Halifax airport, one runway was closed and was totally full of parked planes, as Halifax was one of the airports that people were flown into as they were headed to North America from Europe. They were only just starting to send flights back up from there so the airport was packed with people waiting to fly out. The whole week we drove around Nova Scotia with the radio on hoping to hear of survivors being pulled from the wreckage but none were ever pulled out after that second or third day. So sad!

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  6. I worked and lived in Manhattan and had been in, under and on top of the towers many time. However on that day, I was now working in Washington, DC and had to thread my way along highways choked with people wandering all over past the burning Pentagon. One of my guys had a visit to the Pentagon scheduled for that day that fortunately was cancelled that morning.

    I'll never forget the black smoke pouring out of the building. Fires burned long into the night. That day changed my life and career into a direction I never had anticipated.

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    1. Wow, that really would have brought the tragedy too close to home. So glad that you weren't in either building at the time. That I am sure it will be etched in your memory forever! Not a good memory to be carrying around with you.

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  7. I was 24 and in my second year of college. I was studying Graphic Design and the Creative Communication students were in our department. Needless to say, we watched the whole thing play out on TV. After seeing the second plane hit, my hubby and I just went home to try and wrap our heads around it. It's funny, I forgot all about the pentagon and the other plane that went down (in a field?) until I read Paul and Marti's message.

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    1. I think that is what many of us did, once we were home. I can still see it all playing out in my mind even today!

      I am with you, I had almost forgotten about the Pentagon and the other plane that went down in PA until Paul and Marti mentioned it.

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  8. I was working at home in pa and the wife was in mo with her dad in Hospice. She called and told me about the first plane. I turned on the TV ane we were both watching 1200 miles apart wnen the second plane struck, I often traveked the Jersey turnpike up to I 80 and saw the smoldering for what seemes like weeks.

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    1. I think when you live so close to the tragedy it hits closer to home and seeing the smoldering for so long just keeps bringing back the memories. It sure wouldn't have been easy!

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  9. Wow, I was 44 and working in Gruma (Maseca that makes corn flour and corn tortillas). We turned on the tv in the HR dept and couldn't believe our eyes. But I knew then, watching the television that there was something wrong with all of this picture. Over the years I have learned the truth. Sad to see so many human being lose their lives in the last 13 years over this incident.

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    1. There are always certain events that are ones that you will just never forget where you were and what you were doing and this is one of them. Yep, the lost of life is so sad!

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  10. I was in Toledo Ohio and as you said, it took awhile to really take in what was happening. I am happy that the planner of this attack is not able to celebrate this today from his spot at the bottom of the ocean!

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    1. I think for anyone that has seen the World Trade Center with their own eyes would have a difficult time believing that it could have fallen! I still can see the images in my head from the watching the TV that day.

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  11. I was working from home back in those days. I was at my desk with the TV tuned into the Today show when they broke to the news ... saw the second plane approaching and remember thinking ... this is no accident. Mui was at a training seminar at Andrews AFB where Air Force One is hangered ... as soon as the news was announced, the seminar was canceled. He went to the commissary to provision and got out of the base just before it went into lockdown. Oddly enough ... just the day before we had flown by the towers, with the pilot detouring for a closer look ... they were lovely, glistening in the late afternoon sun. We talked about taking a weekend trip to NYC as the pilot resumed his course. Little did we know then that we would not see those towers again.

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    1. Wow, how incredible for you to have flown by the towers just a day before! At least seeing the towers like that leaves an great memory on your mind rather than the terrible memory of seeing them coming down. I think everyone knew it wasn't an accident when the second one hit.

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  12. I had just dropped off my kiddos at school when a friend called to tell me to turn on the radio. As I was doing my first errand, I dropped my cell phone and it shattered. I was very upset and concerned because I wasn't sure if there were going to be anymore attacks. Later on, as I drove by the Kansas City airport, I could see so many planes that had landed. That was a very strange sight to see. Another strange sight were cars lined up at gas stations to get gas. I waited until the next morning and there were no lines. As I watched the TV yesterday morning I still got a little teary.

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    1. I expect that many people wondered it there were going to be more attacks. Even to this day I also wonder if on Sept. 11 there will be another!

      I don't think we would have waited in the line ups at the gas stations either!

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  13. I was driving a lift truck in a press shop and stopped for break, everyone in the shop was around the supervisots computer watching the news, and watched the second attack live.

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    1. I wish we would have had a TV in our office at the time. It was hard trying to imagine the scene just by listening to the radio, it really didn't hit home until I got home and saw it all played out on the news.

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  14. I was at home in Santa Fe, NM and my partner heard on the radio that something had happened. We spent the day around the TV. I had just retired two weeks earlier and so was at home. As we listened I got the call from my DMAT team to pack and stand by for deployment to Ground Zero. As it turned out we weren't deployed to the site for another 4 weeks. I'll never forget the two weeks we spent at Ground Zero...the smell still sticks with me. I've been back once about 5 years ago.

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    1. Oh my Kathe, what a way to remember. That must have been one of the hardest jobs you must ever have had. I can't even imagine having to have worked there for two weeks, no wonder the smell and memories stick with you.

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  15. We were having breakfast and the television was on with the morning talk show, but we weren't paying much attention. They broke for the news and we saw the plane slamming into the first tower and thought it was just some movie stunt, but to our horror, it was not! Our daughter called from Vancouver in a panic, asking about her younger brother as he was working in Manhattan in those days and no one had heard from him. About an hour later, we received the good news that he was safe and watching it all unfold on television at his office located at the other end of Manhattan. Family seemed even more precious at that time and we immediately had to contact everyone. Many tears were shed that day as we sat riveted to the television.

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    1. Yikes! That would have been the scariest hour of your lives. So glad to hear that he was far enough away from the area. I am sure that memory is etched in his mind for the rest of his life. We can't even begin to think of how that must of felt for your family as well as for your son who would have had to deal with what life must have been like in Manhattan at that terrible time. Thank you Clive for sharing your story with us.

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