I moved from NYC to California in early 2001. I was chatting in #php on Open Projects (now Freenode) when someone said that the WTC was hit by a plane. I didn’t believe them of course, and ignored them – until about 10 other people joined within a minute or two and said the same thing. I immediately turned on CNN and began sobbing as I watched the footage. I used to work in tower 1, and I still had many friends who still did.
I lost several friends that day – and my heart still aches if I think about what happened to them, and how terrifying their last moments of life must have been. They did not find the bodies of all of my friends, but eventually their families gave up and held funeral services anyway.
One of the most frustrating things for me was being 3000 miles away from the city that I will always call my home – completely unable to help.