Where we were and what we remember

Daily Sundial

It was at Pasadena City College that I heard about the attacks. I was walking to a bus stop from class, and I wasn’t sure what to think. Who would dare attack the U.S.? What reason could they have to slaughter thousands of innocent people? A week later, the shock wore off and I might’ve forgotten all about it until television footage was shown in the student lounge, the names of the victims and the cities they came from being displayed across the screen. Many people were residents of Pasadena. That’s the day when I realized the scope of what happened, when I saw the pain in my peers’ faces.Daniel Antolin / Managing Editor

I was getting ready for school, just another day with a too early morning. My mom had on Good Morning America and suddenly started to freak out. I walked into the living room, toothbrush in hand, just in time to see footage of a plane hitting the Twin Towers. I stopped in my tracks. I couldn’t believe it. My mind scrambled to make sense of what I was seeing. Wasn’t my country supposed to be safe? What filled me then, and to this day, was outrage. I think of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, how unprepared those sleeping servicemen were. They were set up for training, not active duty. But at least they were in the military and knew something about the risk that was involved. The people in the World Trade Center were civilians, working people and their children. They had no reason to be prepared. They had no training for how to handle the situation. How many leapt from windows? That’s what really gets to me. But that’s the difference between acts of war and terror. There are no rules of engagement.Danielle Swopes / City Editor

I woke up on Sept. 11 to my mother banging on my door. “We’re being attacked! We’re being attacked!” she said. I jumped to my feet. I wasn’t sure what was going on. The phrase “we’re being attacked” could have meant a few different things. I wasn’t sure if she referring to our country or our house. Once I saw the news I understood why she was shouting. The first of the towers was falling, and all I could do was sit and watch. Some of the my peers decided not to go to school that day in the fear that Willits High School, in a town of 5,000 people, might be the next target. We had an assembly before classes started. It was for the acts of racism that were already taking place. On my way to class later on, I heard people blaming “the Arabs” for what happened. I wasn’t outraged. Sept. 11 wasn’t a surprise to me. I heard reports before that day that had people recommending we stay out of the region because something like this might happen. I didn’t know it would happen that day, but when it did, all I could think was that it had finally happened, it was just a matter of time.William Kammer / Opinion Editor

I was a junior in high school during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. I always used to wake up around 6:30 a.m. and the first thing I did was to turn on the television to check the weather. Instead of the forecast, I saw the first tower smoking. The actual words from the newscasters are lost to me, but I’ll always remember that first moment. I went to my dad’s room and turned on his television and I remember we spoke about New York and the towers, but the specifics are gone from my mind as well. A little while later, though, I remember the numb feeling in the air as we watched the first tower fall in silence. I left for school and went early to my first period class. Several other students were already there, and our teacher already had the television turned on. About 10 minutes after, I arrived at school. I watched the second tower fall. I remember watching my teacher shake his head with the saddest look I’d ever seen on his face. While I know many people felt angry or indignant, I was confused. I was confused as to why someone would do such a thing, and confused as to how they could carry out such a thing without the government being able to stop a single aspect of the plan. After my original reaction of sheer confusion, it later turned to sadness as it came to light just how many people had died.Katrina Mossberger / Features Editor

It all began with silence. I was in my business economics class at a community college in Larkspur. Class had just started when the jet black rotary dial phone next to the professor’s lectern rang. Rather than responding with his usual cheery banter, the professor listened, motionless and silent, with his eyes fixed on the far wall. Moments later, our class filed down to the mostly empty theatre hall, where a projector television sat tuned in to CNN. Smoke poured from the North Tower of the World Trade Center. For all we knew, some horrible accident had just happened on that cloudless September morning. I hoped that the devastation I saw could be explained away. When the second plane hit with the whole world watching, all those hopes were obliterated. It was a day of extraordinary outrage, one that would never have the closure or resolution I longed for. Later that night, as the moon rose over Richardson Bay, the sky was bereft of the planes, which hours earlier had been the harbinger of unspeakable violence. That deafening silence was no comfort amid the rage and grief of that day. The world had changed forever.David Moll / Wire Editor