I had just arrived at my office when my mom called and told me a plane had hit one of the twin towers. Since I was on my own schedule, I dropped the phone, picked up my purse, and ran to the car.
My apartment was just four minutes away. The first thing I saw was what I thought was a replay of the plane hitting the tower -- but then Charles Gibson said hesitantly, "That... appeared to be... a second
plane..." and I felt that sick, chilling realization.
After the first report of "something burning at the Pentagon," I remember finally breaking into tears and saying out loud, "Dear god make it stop" as I ran down to my car and raced over to my parents's house to be with them. The streets were almost empty, and as others have said, the sky was so strangely silent and still.
I watched with my parents all day and into the night. My brother joined us late in the day, and we all just sat there in shock. I remember feeling so hurt
-- all the good we Americans had tried to do in the world during the previous eight years, and this
was how they felt about us?
[Of course, as I later came to understand, it was not the world
that hated us then; it was just a small, backward faction of religious fanatics who hated us. Now,
though... now it probably is
the whole world.
Finally, after dark that night, the shock began to fade and the rage came, and that was easier to deal with.
The next morning, I went down to the blood donation center. There were at least a hundred grim-faced people standing in a silent line all the way down the sidewalk, waiting to donate blood for the survivors.
By that afternoon, though, it was becoming clear that there were almost no
survivors. The blood center staff finally asked everyone to wait and donate later for general use, rather than let their donations be wasted.
It was heartbreaking -- everyone wanted desperately to do something
, but there was nothing we could do. A piece of America had been neatly sliced right out of the map, people and all, just gone,
and there was nothing we could do.