A shock never to be forgotten

Sept. 11 impacted millions of lives. For me, it was a tragedy too close to home. I remember when the news of the first plane came in. I was sitting in my gym class at my high school making plans to go to the beach later because we had an early-release day.

For some reason a kid sitting on the bleacher in front of me had a portable radio and was talking about the report of a plane crash in New York City. My ears automatically perked up, due to the fact that my entire family lived in New York. I asked the kid what was going on. As he told me, and the reports continued to come in, my eyes welled and my heart began to race. I kept thinking of all the people I knew who could possibly be involved in this accident. Particularly concerning my cousin Corrine. She had recently hired by The New York Times as a full-time journalist. She was scheduled to interview an employee at the World Trade Center that morning at nine. She was so excited and happy when she called me and told me the night before. I immediately ran out of the gym down the long corridor toward the school to call my family.

The phones were down all over the city. It took us three days to finally get through. We found out later that Corrine had decided last minute to call in because she hadn’t felt good the past couple of days. Fortunately, I didn’t lose anyone in this tragic event. My cousin and my family, as well as thousands of other people, lost many friends. My thoughts and prayers remain for everyone who was affected that tragic day.
Laura Elizabeth Rohr is a freshman.

Tuesday, Sept. 11, started as just an ordinary day. It was my light day of classes, so I was looking forward to sleeping in a bit. I had only two classes, the first starting at 12:30 p.m. I woke up around 9:15 a.m. It has always been my routine for the past several years to wake up and tune in to ESPN to see the sports highlights from the previous day. My mother called me on the telephone moments after I woke up. She told me to turn to CNN and relayed that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I tuned in just in time to see the second plane hit the other tower. It was a sickening feeling. The phone rang again and again. “Are you watching the news?” almost everyone inquired. I watched replay after replay of the planes flying into the towers. Then, a third plane went down into the Pentagon, and there were reports that a fourth plane was missing. People started jumping out of skyscrapers to avoid perishing in the fire that permeated within. Tears welled up in my eyes, and a sense of complete helplessness overcame me. I felt that I should be trying to help or something other than just watching. I felt pain, sorrow and an array of other emotions that I can’t even explain almost a year later. Everyone I came into contact with over the next week displayed a look of astonishment. We were all of a sudden living in a different world.
Lew Phillips is a senior.

There are certain things in life that you will always remember where you were when it happened. I remember my mother telling me she remembered hearing about JFK’s assassination during her kindergarten class. My father told me he was on his way from work when he heard on the radio that a ship had collided with the Skyway Bridge. I will never forget where I was when I found out about the tragedy which took place Sept. 11.

I walked into my math class at Chamberlain High and saw the tower on the television. I didn’t really know what was going on. To be honest, I didn’t care; all I knew is that we weren’t doing any work. The rest of the class was making jokes and carrying on with our petty conversations. I grew more concerned when they played a replay of an airplane flying into the building. A minute later, after my teacher turned the volume up, I realized that it was actually a live shot of the second building being hit.

The class was silent.

It had never been so silent. Some time passed and the building eventually collapsed. We sat there in awe. Finally someone broke the silence.

“We just saw people die.”

I had never seen anyone die before. I didn’t actually see them die, but it still hit me hard. I was filled with a million emotions At once: fear, hatred, patriotism, sadness and confusion, to name a few.

We all have our own personal accounts of 9/11. None more important than another. I always hear about how we should always remember that day. Well … I wish I could forget.

Chris Espinosa is a freshman.

As I was sitting in my history class, I was watching the second building collapse when all of the sudden my name was called over the intercom to sign out. I thought my parents were scared and they wanted me home, but when I reached the office door my dad whispered in a terrified voice “Your sister’s been rushed to the St. Joseph’s Hospital.” I could barely concentrate during the 10-minute drive. Thoughts were consuming my mind like “Is she dead? What happened?, Was she in a car accident?” My dad and I arrived at the hospital, and Amber, my sister, was in ICU. The idea she couldn’t focus didn’t scare me; the fact that she was hooked up to a respirator and had IV’s all up and down her arms did. She was suffering from seizures, which would eventually put her in a two-month coma.

I have to admit, I am not knowledgeable about the attack on America because while everyone was reading up on that, my family was reading about Epilepsy and what medications cure it. While the Americans were praying for their loss, I was praying my sister would live and have her life back. Amber had just graduated from USF in mass communications and was hired at Bay News 9 as a reporter when her life took a turn for the worst. All I could do was ask why did this happen and ask God to spare her life.

Today has been exactly one year since Amber was admitted into the hospital, and I thank God that she is home and breathing. Despite that, she has many years to fully recover. Amber is grateful for her life even if it will never be the same. To the country, Sept. 11 is a day to learn from. To me it is a day I never want to remember.
Darcy Enrille is a freshman.

I woke up Sept. 11 in a joyful and excited mood. Today was the day that senior year became real. Today was the day we ordered our graduation announcements. As we all piled into the gym, the feeling of senior pride and senior anxiety filled the air. We sat and listened to the man from Herff Jones go on and on about the different colors and the different kinds of paper and the extras. But then came the time for us to pick up our packets and begin to get an idea of what we wanted. I sat there with my friends, and our mouths gaped open when we saw the costs, but we all had to get the full package. This was senior year after all and it would be the last time we could ever do this.

We began to walk back to class after they dismissed us at 9:01 a.m. That time will forever be ingrained in my mind. I walked up the stairs to my psychology class, walked through the door and attempted to tell my teacher about my picks for my announcements. She was staring at the TV. I looked to see what she was watching and saw a building that looked like the World Trade tower on fire. I thought she was showing a movie until I saw the word live on the bottom of the screen with the date: 9/11. My heart dropped along with my book bag and my beloved announcement packet. Soon the rest of the class came in, just as I had, laughing and smiling. That was soon replaced with crying and silence. We stood there. All of us shuddered when we saw the second plane crash into the building and then the Pentagon. “What’s next?” we thought. Some of us began to look outside to see if there were any planes around our school. Some just wanted to call home and some of us refused to believe this was real.

After the initial shock I remembered that my aunt worked in the 102nd story of Tower 2. I tried to get a hold of anyone I could to let me know that she was out. Finally, I got my mom on the phone, and she was watching and calling too. We saw my aunt die at the same moment and the same heartbreaking scream came out of both of our mouths as we watched the tower collapse. We knew she was gone along with so many of our friends. Soon other cell phones began to ring, and some of us received good news, while others were told to keep the phones on because of an unknown outcome.Then the bell rang, and a group of shocked and fearful teenagers were forced to go to their next class.

It was at my next class that I saw the plane crash in the field. More cell phones, more cries. I was numb. My mother, myself, the whole nation and the world had just seen my aunt and so many others die in a matter of moments.

When I got home, my whole family was there, and we just held each other. We all slept in the living room because we wanted to be close just in case. Right before I went to sleep my mom asked me about the crumbled-up envelope sticking out of my book bag. I knew what it was, but it had lost all importance to me. “It’s nothing,” I said remembering how, just about 12 hours ago, at that time my main worry was about paying for graduation announcements and how now it was about losing my aunt and possibly more of my family in an unstoppable war.

This is why no matter how old I am, I will always have Sept. 11 etched into my mind.

Ariel Kerr is a junior.

On Sept.11, around 6:30 in the morning, I lay in my bed in my dorm room as I heard an alarm going off that I’d never heard before. I listened for a few moments and heard no one panicking out in the halls. I looked over at my roommate as she continued to sleep like a log. I brushed it off, figuring it was no emergency. When I woke up a couple hours later to get ready for class, my roommate had just gotten in from getting breakfast. “Did you hear what happened?” she asked. Oh, you mean the alarm going off this morning?” I replied. “No,” she answered as she turned on the TV where I got my first glimpse of what was going on in New York. We stood there for several minutes, forgetting all about this little thing called class.

I’m sure one thing all of us here on the campus experienced on Sept. 11 was the inability to use our cell phones. Even though I knew no one at the World Trade Center or at the Pentagon, I still felt an urge to call my mom, and my boyfriend, just to make sure they were OK. With my mom still living in Indiana, and my boyfriend in Boston, I wanted nothing more than to hug them and tell them how much I loved them, but instead I couldn’t even speak with them.

The minute I heard two of the four planes had originated in Boston, more reality was added to this already worldwide reality check because I realized that both my boyfriend and I had flown out of Boston Logan Airport at one time in our lives. What if this had all taken place on one of those days we were flying out of Boston? My life and the lives around me would be drastically different.

But then I think about how drastically different the entire world would be if only that unfamiliar alarm heard in Castor Hall at 6:30 in the morning was the highlight of Sept. 11, 2001.
Carrie Schraudner is a sophomore.

Sept. 11: A day that I will never forget. I remember going into my economics class and talking about the news. The teacher tuned into the news and checked the stock market. Everything was OK until I saw what was impossible in my eyes. The Twin Towers had been attacked. All I could see is people by the windows begging for help. The towers were on fire, and it was difficult to escape, making people jump from the building. I began to feel worse as time passed. I did not know what to do; all I could think of was my family in New York. Were they OK? Did they go to work? And so began my journey of trying to get in touch. I used my cell phone, but I could not get in touch. Then I saw something that I will always remember. The towers had both gone down, and my sense of security went to insecurity. I began to think, who could do such a thing as destroy the lives of so many innocent people? I still did not know about my family, and now it was time to hope that everything would be OK. Immediately after economics I went to Student Government to talk to my sponsor to see what we could do. The idea was to make a banner so students could express their feelings, and so we did. I went home after an exhausting and depressing day of school only to see the sad news over and over again, when suddenly my mom got home to tell me that our family was OK.

My aunt was not feeling good and woke up late to work. When she was a few blocks away from work the towers went down. My life, dreams and expectations had been thrown onto the floor. Sept. 11 became the worst day in the history of all Americans and non-Americans.

Juan Pineda is a freshman.

I woke up to a phone call. I picked up the receiver and said, “Good morning” knowing it was my boyfriend Davey. I was heading to the bathroom, and Davey was driving to meet me before class at my dorm. He then calmly asked if I was sitting. I laughed in response and asked, “Why? Can you hear anything?” Davey told me that a plane had crashed into the Twin Towers. I pulled some toilet paper and then flushed.

My first reaction was to know if any of the people had survived. However, before any of the waking reality of the tragic event sunk in, I remember saying, “You have got to be kidding me What idiot could not maneuver around the two largest buildings in New York City?” Davey quietly spoke, “We are being attacked by terrorists. They intended to hit the towers”. We had a few moments of silence before either of us spoke.

I began to cry not only for the people who had lost their lives, but for fear that I might not live through the day myself.

You asked where I was last year on Sept. 11? I was praying in my dorm room that morning; I was praying when I got to class that afternoon, and I was praying at Davey’s house that evening. I found comfort in the sun and watching it set on 9/11, for I knew that night had befallen the world and the sorrow that America faced could only get brighter with the dawn of tomorrow. God bless America!
Sheena Rathell is sophomore.

On Sept. 11 I woke up around 9:30 a.m., and just like any other ordinary day I turned on my computer to check my e-mail. When the America Online welcome screen popped up there was a picture of the World Trade Center towers with smoke billowing out and a huge headline above saying “America Under Attack.”

At first I disregarded it believing that it was one of America Online’s what-if scenarios. I clicked on the article and began reading it thinking that this could not really be happening. After finishing the article still with some thoughts that it might be a hoax, I turned on the TV to confirm what I had just read. Unfortunately, the report was accurate. In shock, I instantly woke up my roommate, Alison, knowing she is from northern New Jersey and might have known people in the attacks.

The rest of the day we spent glued to the television with a group of friends. I remember thinking that anything could happen next and called everyone I could think of just to make sure they were OK. It seemed that everyone knew someone who was somehow connected to the tragedy.

I cannot believe it’s been a year, and still the initial events that happened on Sept. 11 have not completely sunk in for me. It’s hard for me to comprehend the formidable reality of what occurred.

Karen Kobil is a junior.