September 11, 2001 started as usual with me leaving my University apartment and driving onto campus to teach my freshman Music Theory class. On the short drive, I listened to NPR news stating that a plane had hit the WTC. I figured it was a small Cessna or the like, as you sometimes hear about small planes hitting buildings. It seemed a bit odd that it had crashed into a huge skycraper though.
While teaching the class, some of my students were listening to a portable radio with headphones in order to hear the latest updates. It became clear to me that it was a serious event. When one of the students stated that the Pentagon had collapsed, I said emphatically, “The Pentagon did NOT collapse.” I knew it was a gigantic, low-slung building that could not possibly implode all at once.
We completed class as best as we could and I went up to my office, which I shared with two other Teaching Assistants. TA John had just arrived from home, where he had been watching Peter Jennings (ABC primetime news anchor). He told me that the WTC had collapsed. When I expressed disbelief, he chuckled neverously and quoted Jennings as having said, “There it goes,” when the first buidling collapsed.
Shortly afterwards, I returned to my apartment and spent the remainder of the day glued to the news coverage on TV.