Wrong Place, Wrong Time.

Date Submitted: 05/23/2002
Author Info: Mark (Salt Lake City, UT - USA) 
Occupation: Other
Lived in NY on 9.11.01?: No
Knew someone who perished?: No

I was serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ when Sept. 11 occured. I was in Puerto Madryn, Argentina and was knocking on people’s doors to share my beliefs with them. We went to an apartment complex and started knocking doors. When we got to the top floor, a family answered and looked at me and saw that I was North American. She asked, “Did you hear what happened?” I said no. She said that two planes had crashed into the twin towers in New York City. I didn’t know what she was talking about because I had never really paid attention to New York’s skyline before so I never noticed the twin towers. I had heard of the World Trade Center but couldn’t picture the towers in my head.

As I walked back to my house, I noticed many people staring at me and listening to their radios in their cars. Then I stopped next to a house being constructed and all of the workers were gathered around the radio. I couldn’t understand exactly what was being said (he was talking much faster than what I was used to) but when I heard the words “decenas de millares the muertos y heridos”, I knew something was terribly wrong. That means tens of thousands dead and injured… (remember, we exaggerated on the number of deaths that day.) I got back home and went to my neighbors (I didn’t have a TV) and started watching. I fell into my chair as tears filled my eyes. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I had been in Argentina for almost 2 years when this occured and never did I feel so homesick. I wanted to be home with my family so bad that day. I couldn’t think straight. I could only picture those planes flying into those buildings and seeing them collapse.

Later on.. about 3 weeks later.. I found out that my former mission companion lost his aunt and his cousin in the first plane that hit the WTC. Out of 265 million people in the U.S., 2 of my friend’s relatives just happened to be on that plane. He was devastated. He told me that all along, he had been telling people that no one he knew was killed or injured until he received a letter telling him of the deaths of two close family members. I will never forget how I felt that day. I don’t think any of us will. But being so far from home and seeing it personally affect a friend of mine.. it was a devastaing day.


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