My generation’s “where were you” moment

Date Submitted: 04/04/2011
Author Info: Jay (District Heights, MD - USA) 
Occupation: Customer Service/Support
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

I was a sophomore at Georgetown University. The semester had only started a few weeks prior, so I didn’t know all of my classmates that well. I went to my first class of the day, an English class which started at 8:50am. Since it took me a little more than 5 minutes to walk to class, I had not heard about the first plane crash prior to class starting, and neither had most of my classmates, except one. My professor was playing a video of Southpark, and one of the students was crying throughout class. The teacher asked if she was ok, and she replied that she was fine. After that class, I immediately went to my Theology class. When I arrived, I was surprised to find the room buzzing with conversation. In the 2 or so weeks prior, every class would begin with almost complete silence until the professor walked in. As they were talking, I heard mention of a “plane crash” in NY…but noone had major details. Our professor walked in about 10 minutes late or so, and said “I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but early this morning there was a plane that flew into one of the twin towers. I was just watching it on television, and as I was watching, a 2nd plane has now flown into the other tower. What we first thought was an accident is obviously a terrorist attack….” The class grew silent. We had a moment of silence and then the professor dismissed class.
Not long afterwards, a plane flew into the Pentagon. Well, the Pentagon is just across the river from Georgetown University, and my neighbors across the hall could see the burning building from their window (you could actually see the smoke for days). A few hours later I went to work at the dean’s office, and one of the assistant deans walked out and said “they’ve just flown a plane into the Old Executive Building near the White House”. Of course, we now know this false, but it had been reported on the radio as a fact. My nerves were completely crazy. There was no cell phone reception as everyone everywhere was trying to get into contact with everyone they knew in NY and DC. I remember my parents trying to get into contact with me and not being able to until sometime that evening.
Last two things I remember is how everyone poured out onto the streets that night in the Georgetown area of DC. It was so crowded you could hardly walk. And everyone, and I do mean everyone, that you walked past spoke to you as if you had known each other for years. Additionally, I recall that I would always be the only person getting up on Sundays at my dorm to go to church, and then walking across a basically deserted campus to go to service. Well that following Sunday, when I opened my dorm room, there were two other guys already dressed and ready to head to their own services. As I walked outside, it looked more like Monday morning than Sunday morning, as everyone was finding a church to attend…kinda makes you think, you know?


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