Where were you on 9-11?

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Where were you on 9-11?

Post by Ben » Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:31 am

Greetings all,

In a couple of days it will be the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks on the WTC. As a way of a memorial, I thought it might be worthwhile for you, Dhamma Wheel members, to recount where you were, what you were doing, how did it affect you (immediately) and its on-going legacy in your life.
Be as brief or as wordy as you like.
Any discussion on conspiracy theories surrounding 9-11 is off-topic.
I'll contribute a little later but right now I have to get back to work.

So, where were you? What were you doing? How did it immediately affect you and what is its ongoing legacy in your life?

kind regards

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Where were you on 9-11?

Post by plwk » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:02 am

For me, it would be 10-11...time difference, as I am over the other side of the round blue ball...

I was at work...checking in some American business executives who just arrived from Europe and when one of them watched the CNN news on the incident in the Club Lounge's TV Room, he came out and beckoned his colleagues to go in and watch.
Next thing I knew, these grown men were exclaiming 'OH MY GOD!' 'OH MY GOD!' @#$%^!...., in tears and hugging each other from shoulder to shoulder...staring at each other and at the screen in disbelief...

To that extent is my memory of that fateful event...unspeakable and a reminder for me to redouble my practice...


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Re: Where were you on 9-11?

Post by Mawkish1983 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:17 am

I was 17. I heard that something had happened very briefly before I began my driving test. As I took the test, every shop window with a TV in was showing the terrible scenes. I failed that driving test, I was a bit distracted (I had an American girlfriend at the time and was very worried for her)

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Re: Where were you on 9-11?

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 5:32 am

Some random snippets,

I was giving a seminar in The Netherlands. Just before I started someone came in and mentioned that there was some sort of plane crash in the US. By the time we got back to my colleague's house that evening his wife (American, with a mother who lived in New Jersey) was frantic. I remember sitting in front of the TV watching the "reruns" for a couple of hours in total disbelief.

I was there for the PhD defence of a student I had been working with. That her defence was the day after 9/11 makes it easy to remember the date.

I believe the official US release date of Bob Dylan's album, Love and Theft, was 9/11. Interestingly, I bought it in The Netherlands a couple of days before.

After The Netherlands I flew to Brazil, which wasn't too difficult, though security at Amstedam and Franfurt was obviously high. And, of course, Brazil is a blast... On my way back to NZ 2 weeks later I had about 12 hours in LA. The airport was deserted, so I took a bus down to Manhattan Beach. The atmosphere was very weird and very intense. I recall the shuttle driver who took us from the bus station back to the airport almost loosing it in some sort of altercation with a customer.

With the recent peaceful reunification of Europe, and developments in China, the 21st C was looking positive. Perhaps that was naive, but, in any case, 9/11 changed all that...


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Re: Where were you on 9-11?

Post by Stephen18 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 6:18 am

I was 13 at the time. I was home, playing card games with a friend. If I remember correctly, when we turned on the TV and saw some plane crash into this skyscraper, at first we thought it was a movie...

...can't remember much else really.

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Re: Where were you on 9-11?

Post by PeterB » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:46 am

I hardly ever watch daytime TV, but I was at home and for some reason put the news on and watched horrified as events unfolded. My first assumption was that Bin Laden was behind it.
We had a daughter living at that time in Brooklyn. We had no reason to think that she would be in Manhattan at that time of the morning. But you never know...... All the phone lines between the UK and N.Y. were were blocked. It was hours before we able to speak to her.
She subsequently was one of hundreds who volunteered to help out.
One of the results for her was that she moved to Sante Fe.

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Re: Where were you on 9-11?

Post by Aloka » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:28 am

My mother had just died from a very aggressive form of cancer. I was alone in her house trying to organise her funeral etc.

I took a break and turned on the TV.......


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Re: Where were you on 9-11?

Post by Claudia » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:36 am

I also remember this day very well.
On this day (I was 31 years then), I did a little job in a jewellry store, a long time before I started social working.
I remembert that this day started very relaxed and I went with a sunshiny feeling to work, because I always enjoy to work.

As far as I remember, it was a bright and warm day. There were not too many customers at the store, everything was very calm, very relaxed.
I arranged some decoration when the owner stepped out of his office, looked at us (we were two or three sales assistants) and said: "Oh my god, I got a goose flesh. An aircraft banged into the WTC!"

I didn't take it too serious in this moment. My husband and I travelled several times to NYC before and I knew about the high raised buildings, especially when the aircraft approaches for landing. So I thought, either there was some fog or a drunken pilot.
A little later the owner told us, that I second aircraft banged into the second tower. To me it was "only" the confirmation for bad weather or some coordination troubles in the airport tower.

I just shook my head and did not expect any bad news more.

The owner looked at me a little disbelieving. He continued telling us that a third aircraft hit the Pentagon.

I still did not respond very emotionally (although I am actually a very emotional person).

When the owner finally told us that a bomb detonated before the Capitol in Washington, I almost screamed.
At that time, a lot of friends lived in Washington DC and one of them worked for the Senate.
This was the moment when I realzied that something really bad happened, it was like waking up.

I was so shocked that the owner told me to come with him in the office. He showed me the news ticker on his cell phone and I was just shocked.

I do not know what I did next, but as far as I remember, the owner allowed me to go home earlier to call my friends in Washington DC.

My husband picked me up at a subway station and we rushed to get home.
I rushed into our living room without taking my shoes off, what I usually do when I come home.

I tried to call my friends in Washington DC and it was like a little miracle that I was able to catch them all.
The friend who worked for the Senate at that time lived not far away from the Pentagon. She told me that they had been evacuated and from her home she was able to see the burning building. There was a lot of fear in her voice.
Another friend who was very experienced and active in politics, told me that he thinks, the world will never be like it was before.

After calling my friends, my husband and I drove with our little daughter to the airport - I have no idea what we wanted to do there. We felt so confused.

From this point, I do not have more memories.
But I remember that I refused to watch TV for about two weeks.

Six months later, I flew with my daughter to visit my friends in Washington DC. One of them took me to the Pentagon, telling me that he saw impact of the aircraft while he did a cycling tour.
After I had been there by my own, I started to deal with the whole story.....

Now, ten years later, I am able to bear it when I see the pictures in TV, although I do not force myself to watch all the documentaries etc.

I am going to be on a meditation at this sad day this year and on September 12th I am going to join in a world peace conference and prayer with a catholic friend in Munich.

That's how I deal with it now.....
Many greetings from


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Re: Where were you on 9-11?

Post by Jhana4 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:39 am

I was at work, 6 miles away from the Pentagon.

Nobody knew what was going on. Online news back then wasn't what it was now. Various exaggerated stories circulated ( like the National Mall possibly being bombed ). After a while I asked my boss if I could home since even a bad rainstorm in my area can paralyze traffic. He agreed. I went home. The rest of the evening was spent watching the news with my housemate with that famous, often repeated clip of the twin towers going down.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Re: Where were you on 9-11?

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:48 am


I remember waking up and hearing/seeing about it on the morning T.V.

When I first heard it was the World Trade Centre that got targeted, I wondered whether it was a socialist/anarchist "anti-capitalism" attack (A Nordic far right-winger recently shot and killed a bunch of left-wingers, so I suppose the motivation leading an individual or small group to mass carnage on political grounds, is possible).

We found out more during the day. It was a work day - we were supposed to be working. I don't think much work got done.

In terms it ongoing legacy, it wasn't a legacy for me personally, but from what I could detect from news sources, much of the U.S. populace became gripped with fear and aversion as a result and the country seemed to be eating itself up from the inside. Not being there, I'll never know if that perception was accurate, so would welcome the thoughts and experiences of others.

Retro. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

“Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” (Flannery O'Connor)

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Re: Where were you on 9-11?

Post by Lazy_eye » Thu Sep 08, 2011 12:43 pm

I heard about it in a coffee shop where I'd stopped in for the morning caffeine fix, a bagel and the Washington Post. They had the news on, with an emerging story about a plane having hit one of the WTC buildings. My initial impression was that it had been a small plane, like a Cessna, and there had been some sort of freak accident. People were listening intently to the news and there was discussion about what was going on.

When the report came of a plane hitting the second tower, we knew right away that something very grave had occurred. The shop emptied at once.

As for the emotions that day: intense shock, fear, sadness. When the footage aired of the buildings coming down, I was sick to my stomach -- knowing this was real and that hundreds of people had just died (2,606 as it turned out).

September 12th happens to be my wedding anniversary. That year we spent it watching Woody Allen's "Manhattan" and feeling blue.

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Re: Where were you on 9-11?

Post by Modus.Ponens » Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:19 pm

I'm not sure if I saw the 2nd plane hiting the tower, but I definetly saw them falling. I was at home and my brother woke me up to see the news. I'll never forget it. As a side note, in the same day the attacks happened, jokes were already circulating via sms (not being americans, we were not so shocked as the americans).

I would like to say something else, hoping that it will not derrail the topic. There is no doubt that the 9-11 was horrible. But people sometimes forget that in Iraq or Afganistan hundreds of thousands of people have died as a result of war. In memory of all of them, americans or not. :anjali:
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Re: Where were you on 9-11?

Post by octathlon » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:31 pm

It was soon after I had gotten to work. Hardly anyone was there--some not in yet and some out in the field already. My coworker came in and said, "Did you hear a plane hit the World Trade Center?" I could only visualize that some small plane had crashed. We couldn't get any radio reception in our building. I tried to go a news page on the internet, but I couldn't get any of them to load--their servers were overwhelmed. So I didn't realize that it was that serious. Later on someone came in and said they had heard it was a terrorist attack and the WTC buildings had fallen down, which I found hard to believe.

I finally got out of the building for a while at lunchtime and listened to the news on the car radio. Driving around, I saw that all the gas stations had huge long lines. :roll: I was upset about it and wanted to just go home and watch TV to get as much info as possible, but had to stay at work so I got practically no info until I got home that evening.

I wasn't sure where my brother's place of work was in relation to the WTC but I didn't think it was very close, so I wasn't excessively worried, but I couldn't get through to talk to him until late the next day, I think. He was actually closer than I had realized to the area, but not in danger. Since everything was shut down, he (like so many others) had to walk all the way home, which took him several hours.

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Re: Where were you on 9-11?

Post by sattva » Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:08 am

I was on my way to work and stopped to get gas. I heard a couple of people talking about something terrible happening in New York. I asked what was going on and they told me that a plane had flown into one of the twin towers in New York. I went back to my car and listened to the radio as i was on my way to work, learning the details. As soon as i got to work, i called my husband, who was retired, and told him to turn on the tv. Someone brought a small tv into work and every chance we got, we watched what was unfolding. When i returned home from work, my husband was still glued to the tv. It was just too much to fatham.

Recently, i wrote about the earthquake here on the east coast. People who lived in DC and New York thought it was some sort of terrorist attack. Mentally/emotionally they were back at 9/11 all over again.

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Re: Where were you on 9-11?

Post by alan » Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:23 am

I was in Ferndale, a tiny community at the edge of northern California, on my way to do photography in Oregon.
It's one of those quintessentially "American" looking towns--often used in movies and TV shows.
There is a main street complete with soda shop, bookstore and of course a beautiful old Grand Hotel which was in it's glory when loggers were cutting redwoods and making fortunes. It smelled like cows, wet grass and old wood. Of course, there was a Baseball field. How could there not be a Baseball field?
It was small and homely, overgrown and slightly disheveled, but that was Ok with me. I played out a few games from my childhood, certain no one was looking. I ran around the bases. I may have even hit a home run that won the game. What a blast to be in this small piece of the great American experience! At that moment it seemed we had really done what needed to be done, as a country. We were at peace, our economy was going great, everything was looking up and pointing forward. And then...

To be continued, if any one wants to hear the rest of the story.


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