Where Were You?

Ten years ago, I was a new teacher at Lima South Middle School. I remember the school year had been going well, and we were in the swing of things. On September 11th, around 9:00 am I took my students to the library to check out books. As we were walking into the library the Principal, Mr. Douglass came on the PA system and told us that we were going to be in a lock-down situation.

The librarian Mrs. Sloan had the TV on and my class began to watch the real-life drama unfold. American life was changing right before our eyes. My class witnessed the second plane hit the Trade Center, and we watched both towers fall. We couldn’t believe what we were watching. I can remember looking at my class and seeing students frightened, some crying, and a few so stunned they couldn’t speak. We never did get books that day. We were locked in until around 11:00 when Mr. Douglass began to have lunch periods begin. The rest of the day from that point on, seems like a blur.

Ten years later, I can still see every detail of that day. I don’t think that I can forget what I saw, or how I felt. As I watch the rebroadcasts of the day as it unfolded, I still get those emotions that I felt the first time I saw it live.

Here is a timeline of the day from http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/World/20110907/9-11-timeline-of-events-11908/

Here is a breakdown of the events as they unfolded ten years ago.

7:59 a.m. (ET)

76 passengers, 11 crew members and five Al Qaeda hijackers take off on American Airlines Flight 11 (Boston to Los Angeles). The flight will be hi-jacked around 8:14 a.m. and re-routed toward Manhattan.

8:14 a.m.

51 passengers, nine crew members, and five hijackers take off on another Los Angeles-bound United Airlines plane, Flight 175 from Boston. This flight will be hi-jacked around 8:45 a.m. and re-routed toward Manhattan.

8:19 a.m.

Aboard Flight 11, flight attendants Betty Ong and Madeline Amy Sweeney alert ground personnel of the hi-jacking.

8:20 a.m.

American Airlines Flight 77 takes off from Washington, D.C.

8:42 a.m.

United Airlines Flight 93 takes off from Newark, N.J.

8:38 a.m.

Air traffic control notifies the military air defense command of a hijacking.

8:43 a.m.

The FAA notified military authorities of a second hijacking

8:46 a.m.

Flight 11 crashes into the World Trade Center’s North Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds more within the tower.

8:55 a.m.

Flight 77 begins turning east, away from its intended course.

9:03 a.m.

Flight 175 crashes into the WTC’s South Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds more within the building.

9:37 a.m.

Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon, killing the 59 people on board and 125 others in the building.

9:42 a.m.

The FAA grounds all flights over or headed toward the United States.

All international flights headed for the U.S. are redirected to Canada. Transport Canada follows and closes down its airspace. Transport Canada take in diverted U.S.-bound international flights, launching the agency’s “Operation Yellow Ribbon.”

During the procedure, 38 planes will be diverted to Gander, N.L.

9:59 a.m.

The WTC South Tower collapses, killing approximately 600 people.

10:03 a.m.

Flight 93 crashes into a field in Somerset County, near Shanksville, Pa., killing all 40 people on board.

10:15 a.m.

The Pentagon E Ring (the outermost ring of offices) collapses.

10:28 a.m.

The WTC North Tower collapses, killing approximately 1,400 people.

10:43 a.m.

NAV Canada orders a grounding of all flights over Canada.

11:02 a.m.

Lower Manhattan is evacuated.

12:30 p.m.

14 survivors discovered in the WTC North Tower, in stairwell B.

12:28 p.m.

Canadian airspace is closed.

2:54 p.m.

A Korean Air flight lands in Whitehorse – met by armed police – after accidentally signaling a hijacking.

5:20 p.m.

7 World Trade Center (across the street from the twin towers) collapses.

Below is some resources that can help explain the events of that fateful day.




One thought on “Where Were You?

  1. Brendon Walker (@BrendonWalker)

    From the other side of the world, I remember waking up to this news. Though I didn’t know about it until I was driving to work and turned the radio on.

    I was a radio dispatcher with the Ambulance Service of NSW at the time. The entire room sat in disbelief as we watched the television all day, intermittently making sure ambulances were being sent where they needed to be in Sydney and surrounds.

    I remember this day was unusually quiet in terms of ambulance workload. I think everyone was so fixed to their televisions that not a lot happened that day. Just people sitting around staring blankly into their TV’s.

    I remember my wife calling me in tears. She sat in our lounge room, nursing our almost 1 year old boy and heavily pregnant with our daughter. She was frightened of the kind of world we would be bringing our children into. As was the rest of the world!

    Such a frightening day…


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