Participation Required: Where Were You? What Has Changed?

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32 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    I was at home.
    All I remember was calling all my loved ones and making sure I knew where everyone was and what they were doing…we didn’t know if they would strike somewhere else and I was in a panic to gather my tribe.
    In many ways the terrorists succeeded…we have lost a lot of freedom in the ensuing years.

  2. Andy says:

    I’ve been way too chatty and annoying today on my day off, but since it is required participation, I have to be tolerated.

    “Where were you?”

    I was a missionary overseas, at that moment teaching English lessons to a group of boys that their parents wanted learning English, and we used it as an outreach to preach the Gospel. The pastor came in interrupting and said, “they’re bombing America!”, and we ended the class early, and were glued to the TV the rest of the day.

    “What has changed?”

    I’m now very skeptical about government and ruling authorities and elite society in the most mighty way. I’m sorry for being a conspiracy theorist, and I’ll say nothing about that. But what I remember today, putting all that aside, is that real people died, with real loved ones that lost that day, and I’ll focus on that for today.

  3. Steve Wright says:

    My story is not nearly as interesting as my parents’ story who were in the air that morning flying out to see me and the family.

    One thing that has changed, that few will note. Islam managed to use what was an attack on us to shelter themselves in the covering of politically correct protection. Just look at the Hollywood movies about Muslim terrorists that were made pre 9/11.

    Was the word “Islamophobia” used before 9/11? Can’t escape it today.

    The enemy (and here I mean Satan) managed to promote a false religion as actually one to honor and praise, that had just perpetrated a horrible act of murder while millions danced in the street.

    And it remains today. Surreal.

  4. gomergirl says:

    My sister called me a little bit after 6 am, west coast time, and told me to turn on the TV and then hung up. I sat in front of the TV for 2 days, and then had to go back to work. I worked at a health food store and was afraid of the reactions of some of my more liberal co-workers. But we were all just sad and deeply grieved.
    Everything and nothing has changed. My life has gone on, I still go to work, love my husband and family. But the world I knew has never been the same. Like Andy, I do not trust those in power, anywhere. I am cynical and jaded and view all things through a skeptic’s eye. But I know that my God is still here and has everything within his grasp. I may not understand and I may not like it, but it is truth and that gives me the strength to get through each day. I think I have developed an escape mechanism to try and drown out the ugliness of the world, but that might not be so healthy either…. It just is what it is and we all still exist and have to get through the days as best we can.

  5. London says:

    I had started a new job in Seattle. Didn’t know anyone.
    Still don’t like to talk about it or see images.

  6. Ixtlan says:

    well since its required:

    I was at home. I was sleeping in after a very long day at work. My son called me all jacked up that the world was coming to an end.

    I watched some pictures of family members who today are remembering their loved ones. My heart goes to them. May your loved ones never be forgotten, and may we always have the empathy to mourn your loss with you.

    What has changed? We are now a country that is more driven by fear than by courage. We have condescended to groups who are not our friends in part due to fear of reprisal.

  7. Catherine says:

    I had to leave for work after the 2nd plane hit but before the Towers dropped. I remember vividly, to this day, being in my car on the freeway, listening to the radio, and crying. The traffic came to a standstill, and when I stopped and looked around at the other cars, I noticed that everyone-men and women-were sitting in their cars and weeping, as I was, about this terrible event. It shook me to the core, but at the same time, was strangely comforting too. We were all grieving together in our cars, as one, weeping for the lost and the dead. I could cry right now just thinking about this.

  8. I was just getting ready to leave for work. My mother-in-law had the news on and I started paying attention to it just moments before the 2nd plane hit. We lived within a stone’s throw of Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base, and not knowing if other places were targeted, I did not want to leave my family. But my wife assured me that they would be OK, and that I had 30 students who would be waiting for some kind of reassurance from their teacher, so I went.

    It was difficult to hold back the tears during my 45 minute commute. I kept praying and flipping radio stations, hoping for some sanity. Strangely enough, the most level-headed guy on the air that morning was Howard Stern, whom I had previously only heard of as a raunchy shock jock.

    What has changed? Vocabulary. How often did we hear words like terrorist or Al Qaida before 9/11?

  9. I was sitting at my desk in Charlotte. One of my friends from the warehouse came by and kinda grinning said, “Someone flew into the WTC”. We kinda assumed it was a bad pilot, small plane, accidental kind of thing. I switched on the TV just in time to see plane # 2 go in live. Everyone in the office was in shock. The women all cried. Some people went home. We were just so unsure what was going to happen.

    I don’t think overall much has changed, which is kind of shocking. I would have loved to see people unite around that cause and change the world for good, but the politicians have been using it for their own purposes ever since and we have grown further apart.

  10. Reuben says:


    I have heard that story from others. There were people pulled to the side of I-70 and I-25 in Colorado. They just stopped to wail. I worked in the casinos at the time. I heard that of 1100 slot machines, for about 5 minutes, not one reel turned. I had to check the video to verify. (I worked in surveillance) Hundreds of people standing in front of slot machines, staring at TVs hung all over the walls. Not a reel turned.

  11. filbertz says:

    I was not yet teaching full-time and hadn’t been called in to sub for anyone, so when I got up, I turned on the tv while getting my kids up for school. We watched the whole thing unfold. Since it was so disturbing, I trundled my kids off to school, but heard that all the classrooms watched throughout the day anyway. It was collective shock, grief, and fear that day. Since then, two of my boys have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan in wars that seem to have no end. Thankfully, they are not among the thousands who have died in those two killing fields.

  12. crownedone1 says:

    I was in a college course and the professor told us we weren’t allowed to leave his lecture to find out what was going on. Quite a few people offered him the ‘bird’, and the whole class walked out. I never returned to his class (dropped it).

    God said “Thou shalt not kill”. Yet we have war with an invisible enemy (terrorism) that takes numerous innocent lives annually.

    US foreign policy has become a minority report. Punishment prior to the crime. Guilty until proven innocent.

    I was raised to idolize a flag & its principles. To pledge my loyalty to a ‘symbol’ no matter what good or evils that symbol commits.

    This country was founded on genocide (Indians & Mexicans). It is no surprise that we’re still killing innocent people around the world today. Empire expansion at all costs.

  13. Just a grunt. says:

    Can’t disclose where I was since I’d out myself here and experience retribution I’ve observed within my tribe for talking to “those” people (whoever doesn’t tow the line).
    However, my immediate reaction was cursing like I haven’t in a long time (at least then) which shocked my wife. I know, I violated one of our high Protestant traditions of not doing so, or at least not doing it out load, which according to many except Jesus, inside stuff doesn’t matter. But that’s how I reacted.
    You see, my unit was behind enemy lines in Iraq about to take Baghdad when we saw protests against us on the news and it seemed the entire country tied their hand to the chicken switch and yanked, after we’d already spent 8 months there, lost several guys, but oh well I guess. We were confused until a few Vietnam Vets explained how fickle our country is – after their treatment by “Americans” they moved to the oil fields to work.
    The government was warned if we didn’t finish the mission, basically everything that’s occurred since then would, and has.
    So you can understand why at that time (hand’t yet lost 3k guys there and here – suicide), I was quit pissed that a country – Saudi (our partners in peace), was emboldened enough to implicitly train terrorist to attack us.
    Had we been allowed to….what was our military designed for again? oh yea, WIN!, Maybe the region would understand if they pull this, they’ll take a dirt nap.
    By the way, it was during that time we exploded chemical weapons found which infected us with at least 2 nerve agents – we have an official letter from the D.O.D., so sorry about the “no WND dribble.”
    What has changed?
    Well, I watched firsthand for myself the fickleness and fakeness of people. Now that more guys have committed suicide after serving in the Middle East than dying there, and attempting in several churches in different States to get anyone to care and seeing what they spend their money and time doing, I now understand that “Patriotism” is a tool for people to feel they’re a part of something and feel good about, nothing more – it’s certainly not about the Vets. How any sensible person can engage in their quarterly Church clappings for Vets and handing out of ribbons is going to do squat for someone right next to them who, statically will kill himself that year, is beyond me.
    I’ve also learned by watching posts on Rantbook that whatever the cause, most people are willing to spend hours a night ranting about something, but do nothing about it, probably not even pray, but I can’t know that last part for sure. I do know though the ranters I know do squat about their jihads.
    On a positive note, I also learned that many responded with true love and at least for a couple years, stopped their careers, became teachers, nurses, military, law enforcement, or volunteered (V.O.A.). By the way, many of them I met were “those” people (Dems, Liberals, etc.). I sincerely thank God for those truly patriotic people.
    By the way, don’t bother posting the usual speeches of gratitude for my service; I didn’t serve for you. While I was severely deluded when I joined, once in combat, I served for the guy next to me, no one else. Also, I really don’t care what people think anymore till I get to see their sincerity in action.
    To those with family members in the military, including the Reserves or National Guard (new code names for Middle East service), the entire post above I wrote doesn’t apply to you – you have my sincere gratitude, prayers, and tears – many. I’m so angry at the political chew toy our military has become.
    If you care about what I’ve wrote above and want to really help, watch/rent the movie about Pat Tillman, and you tubes about the Navy Seals who’ve committed suicide after their service. Know that many Vet’s families have suffered the loss of their service member and many more will this year because of lack of care (in and out of the church). Know that I’ve contemplated suicide many times, yes, I’m “saved” and in fellowship, Bible study, etc, – I’m not failing anyone’s magic formula. Then, commit to pray for all of us, and don’t stop.
    Then, whatever God prompts your heart to do, PLEASE! for God’s sake (literally), do it!

  14. Xenia says:

    I was getting ready to go to work at Calvary Chapel High School, which had just opened its doors for the first time that week, I think. I saw what you all saw on TV and thought the End was near. At school, hardly any students showed up because they and their families also thought the End was near. I turned on the TV in my classroom and we all huddled around and watched the day’s events. Some kids said some very ridiculous things but they were just scared. I was the history teacher and they all wanted to know what lead up the the attacks. For the next few weeks, I taught history backwards, starting with the attacks and working back through time, explaining the historical animosity that has always existed between Christian and Islamic cultures.

  15. Shaun Sells says:

    I was in the military at the time as part of a mobile command and control squadron and was at work that day.

    When the first plane hit we thought it was some sort of accident, when the second plane hit we knew it was trouble. We immediately began packing up with the understanding that we may be gone for a while. Because of the nature of our mission we were unable to call home until final decisions were made. As it turned out after a few tense days another squadron deployed and we stayed home.

  16. Sarah says:

    We were living in Vancouver. Zachary was 3 1/2 months old. We had just moved from Lynden, WA…a small Mayberry-ish town…to a mostly Muslim neighborhood.

    My brother lived in Brooklyn at the time. He was looking out his window, which faced away from the towers, and noticed two guys gawking and pointing up toward his apartment. He thought they were trying to see his wife in the shower in the bathroom. He opened the door to shout at them when they pointed over the building…he went up on the roof, and if I remember correctly he saw the second plane hit. He called my folks and they phoned us.

    We spent the day sitting in on the floor watching Zachary…still fresh in the awe of being parents…and watching the television. It was surreal. The neighborhood, and feeling isolated, and all the emotions. We went to Regent and gathered with friends there, but headed down to Lynden that Sunday to worship with other Americans…it was important for us to be with people who simply understood. God used the neighborhood we were in to teach us much in those years, but at that moment we needed to be among those who knew us.

    This morning I set aside the plan for regular work and spent two hours with the kids just talking about 9/11. We went through the timeline on the memorial site…watched some videos and listened to audio from some of the survivors and some of the phone calls from people on the planes. Remembering….hard to comprehend that life that has never been without this marker.

  17. Shaun Sells says:

    Hey Xenia – I thought of you today. My wife was asked to be a mentor mom for a local MOPS group. In her group was a woman who is the wife of the local Greek Orthodox Priest. I immediately thought, “Xenia would love to meet this gal, and I would love to meet her husband.” Who knows, maybe I will get a chance to meet him someday.

  18. Sitting at home in stunned disbelief watching… already taking note of things that the media would speculate about that turned out to be wrong. Then drove to a local church listening to NBC radio and hearing more messed up reports. Then arriving at a pastoral prayer meeting that was interrupted by the event. We found a tv and watched, then prayed then planned memorial services to pray for our nation.

    I preached two meetings that week. One was on Revelation 18 and the fall of Babylon, I took note of the collapse of Wall Street as well as the assault on our financial institutions at the Twin Towers. I noted that all cultures bent on self aggrandizement were doomed and we should not be surprised by this event. My message went over like a rat sandwich and I lost some friends over it.

    The other was on Psalm 46 about having faith no matter what calamity happened. That was better received.

    I poured into my Revelation studies … intent on refuting apocalyptic fears with sane approaches that honored the cross and the Gospel. That was a good time.

    I tried to get on a plane but none was flying. I wanted to defy fear. I was angry like most and wanted us to take reprisals but in my heart I knew that was wrongheaded and would end badly.

    What has changed? Much and little.

  19. Nonnie says:

    It was after 9PM, we were in Manila, Philippines and had CNN news on when the first plane hit. Watching in stunned disbelief as the 2nd plane hit and we both guessed it was a terrorist attack, since we had seen a lot of terrorism in the Philippines during our years there. We were up most of that night watching the TV.

  20. Xenia says:

    Hi Shaun, I hope you get to meet him too!

    If any of you folks are fascinated by 9/11 and wish to study it more, just began a class called 9/11 and its Aftermath. It’s free to join and you can just watch the lectures (really good so far) or you can go all the way and do the assignments and get a certificate. The class just began Monday so it’s not too late!

  21. Jim says:

    I was working for a software firm, selling contractor estimating software. My wife called and told me about the first plane, and we turned on the news and saw the second. Horrifying and sad in a life-changing way.

    I watched my country go understandably crazy, and saw the usual suspects take advantage to further limit our rights and feed the war machine. I became a “small L” libertarian.

  22. Ricky Bobby says:

    “Where were you”: Cali. One month to the day after getting back from NY. We got our pics back that day from the photo place (remember film cameras? LOL). That day we went through the pics and there’s a pic of my wife with the date on the photo of 8/11/2001 with the World Trade Center in the background.

    “What has changed?”: Some dude gropes me at the airport.

  23. Rob Murphy says:

    The greatest advancement and public relations boon happened for the religion of Islam. By a handful of adherents killing 2000 innocent people, Islam has received an unprecedented in all of history deference, preference and reverence by the U.S.

    As we see history unfold like this, we in the U.S. are keenly aware – and we don’t like being aware – how unspeakable atrocities by tyrants past came upon entire populations – genocide goes on and the leaders who perpetrate remain beloved. Twelve years seems it went by so fast, and we have moved so far away from ‘good’.

    We are seeing deception on a preposterous level and culturally, we just putt putt along, buying our Disney passes and watching banal singing and dancing competitions on TV.
    The book title was “The Death of Outrage”- and even if it’s an empty book cover- that title alone speaks volumes of prophetic truth in reality that we live in now.

    I have friends and family who watch Al Jazeera as a legitimate news source, brought to our shores by a former VP . . . the same network that showed the Middle East in grand, joyous celebration and editorialized their agreement 12 years ago today. Back then, even CNN was appalled at this conduct. Today, we think it’s noble and good to offer a seat at the table of American idea exchange to a people who want to burn the table and our nation down.

    What has changed? We are certainly not the same nation we were on Dec. 7, 1941 – we lack all moral fiber, conviction and are easy pickings for the worst hucksterism imaginable. In 12 years we’ve seen fit to roll start our own demise as a nation.

    Amazing time in history. I never thought I’d see the appalling things I see every day. Completely unexpected in my life time, and with such staggering speed.

  24. Fil,
    We had an emergency staff meeting before school started, and were explicitly told not to have the TV’s on in our rooms that day or to let the students have internet access. Considering that I was teaching 9-year-olds, I thought that was a good decision.

  25. jlo says:

    I was at home getting ready to go the airport to fly out of town for a tradeshow. When I saw the first plane hit, I thought there was no way that was a mistake. When the second plane hit I knew it was no mistake.

  26. Dude says:

    I came home from the night shift very stressed out.Popped in a vcr with a hot cup of herbal tea to relax.The movie didnt interest me so I switched to tv mode and and became ill.Watching those buildings crumble to the ground was overwhelming.
    Welcome to the 21st century my friends and its going to get worse.

  27. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    I lived in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles at that time and I had just, quit my sales job so I woke up to take my ex wife to work and on the radio were djs describing the attacks. I thought it was a radio bit ay first but then went inside the house and put the Tv on. The country has changed since then and not for the better. Right after the attacks many people started looking to religion and God but that eventually faded away and quick. Islamaphobia has gotten out of control, sorry but I refuse to buy into it. Much more concerned with the wicked false Catholic Church allowing preists to rape and molest innocent boys. I dont see Mosques popping up everywhere or sharia law getting implemented. Islam has become the new boogieman. Hey its right out of the American Evangelicalism handbook “Must fear and demonize Muslims” and overexxagerate their threat. Hey some Christians go so far as to say the antichrist will come out of Islam, see it fits their political agenda. Get the brethrens eyes off of the real whore and give them what appears to be a more obvious enemy. Hey Greg Laurie and Brian Broderson endorse holding hands with the idolatrous pagan catholic church so why look at them as being the harlot. Catholics have massacred tons of people including born again christians and also had ties to the Nazi party. But naw lets pile on the muslims. Easy target! Muslims will never take over America, not in our lifetimes at least. We are too liberal to let a woman oppressing religion thrive here. Just wouldn’t happen. This country is past the days where any one religion will rule the roost, we are too new age and flighty and morally liberal, not exactly conducive to a super right wing conservative religion. I really think those extreme muslim guys just need to go home to their wives and get laid. Its like dudes, you want all these virgins and crap in the after life why not just go home and get some from wifey. You do that and maybe you guys wouldnt be a bunch of A Holes!

  28. Our Muslim brothers want only peace, which is attainable if we would give them back the land, They would be happy and we would have $1.50 gallon gas.

  29. erunner says:

    I was getting ready for work and turned on the news not knowing what was going on. I was in a state of shock after seeing the second plane hit the tower. It was surreal to see the images throughout the day. Not much has changed for me but I wonder at times how it is we have escaped more of the same. It let me know how the world can change in an instant and nothing is guaranteed.

  30. gomergirl says:

    just a grunt, you sound like my hubby, thanks for what you said. I know.

  31. bishopdave says:

    Driving to my office, heard the report of a plane hitting a tower. I though what fool in their Cessna couldn’t see that building. Pulled in to the 7-11 and guy at the counter said another plane just hit. It wasn’t an accident, coldest chill I ever felt in my life. Only tv at the church was in the nursery so secretary and I hooked it up. I stopped watching when I saw people jumping out. She came and told me when first building collapsed. We lived near DFW apirport, hour neighborood on a flight path. Eerie silence in the sky for several days.
    What’s changed–my trust in strangers is way down; trust in govt is way down. My skepticiism is fed by how after a few months of nat’l unity we are now divided more than ever. And the area of “tolerance” and who is worthy of it is a huge issue. And we pin misleading labels on everyone with different opions, ending those labels with “-phobic.”

  32. David sloane says: what we allowed because we won’t tolerate
    Risk even though thousands die daily in autos…

    Today we ask questions we should have asked before…

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