Editor’s note: After the September 11th attacks, I sent out a request in our eNewsletter. Here’s what it said:
"I haven’t been able to get away from the news for the past week, and I’m sure most of you feel the same way. Wherever you were, whatever you were doing, you’ll probably remember the specifics for a long time. But memories deteriorate.
While I often find myself begging (almost) for more contributions, this request is of a different nature. Please take a few minutes to reflect on the past week and write down your experiences. I want to know where you were, how you reacted, what you saw, what you didn’t see.
I want to know how this has affected people. I will try to find a way to share it with everyone; or no one, if you prefer."
What I received soon thereafter surprised me. I not only received more contributions than I expected, but I found myself coming to terms with things through the reactions of those who wrote back.
I encourage you to read each and every response, for they represent a fraction of what I received. Please remember that these are uncensored responses that might offend you. Read and digest. Perhaps it will help you too.
– Michael Browne, October 2001
By Jeremy Bowen
I was sitting in my NJROTC class room at Boyd County High School in Ashland, Kentucky. I had just joined the Army three days before to become an Airborne Ranger, so I had that on my mind a lot that day, until the attacks.
My friend Matt, two others, and I were planning an American Red Cross blood drive, which took place on September 20, 2001. An issue came up and no one really knew what to do about it. My friend Matt went to one of our principle’s office to find out the solution. About five minutes later he ran back in. I had just looked at the clock and it was 9:54 am. Matt said, "Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City."
Matt is a person who seems to lie a lot to get attention and I never believe him, but I knew he wasn’t lying to me that time. I immediately had someone turn the television on, and sure enough, he was not kidding. The room got very quite.
Once I was at my next class, our teacher let us watch the news for a little while, then she muted the volume and said, "Listen to me now."
I don’t remember what she said, something about work that was due or something. I was too focused on the television and in that class, while everyone else was looking and listening to the teacher, I watched the first building collapse, and become dust. I froze and I could not even speak to tell the others to look at what happened. I thought of everyone who was still in the building and it just totally blew my mind.
About 3 or 4 minutes later I looked around to see not one single person had noticed what just happened. The teach started to walk to the television to let us listen to what was going on, and as she turn the volume up the second building collapsed. Everyone was shocked.
I heard some girls beside me talking about a school trip they had just taken to New York City, and they went to the World Trade Center while they were there.
We went to our next class and the principle told the teachers to turn the televisions off so that it would not cause a panic in the students. So in our next classes we just talked about it. I had Spanish III, our teacher is great and she knew I had joined the Army.
The conversation got around to: "Who do you think is responsible?" I was the person she asked. I reached into my wallet and pulled out a picture of Osama Bin Laden. I have carried it since 1998. I said, "This guy right here." They asked me what we should do. I told them what is happening now, "Lets go get them and all the countries that support them." They then asked me why I had a picture of him.
I told them that every since I found out who this guy was and what he has done I wanted to kill him. I carry that picture so that I don’t forget his face, and if I ever see him I would "neutalize" him.