On September 11, 2001, I Woke Up To My Sister Calling Me

Below is my story on where I was and what I did on that terrible day of September 11, 2001. I think it is healthy to share your story on what happened, and encourage all readers of this blog to share their story in the comments.

I was going into my sophomore year at college at Northeastern, still home for the summer on September 11, 2001. I woke up to my cellphone ringing and saw that it was my sister Maya in San Francisco, who almost never calls me in the morning. I thought about ignoring it, but answered it. [expand]



“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine why?”

“Everything is fine right? You guys are all okay?”

“Yeah, why?”

“Somebody just crashed an airplane into the World Trade Center. Go upstairs and turn on the TV.”

I raced upstairs into the living room where my Dad and his significant other at that time, Kathy Squires, were standing in front of the television. Kathy had completely lost it and was crying. My Dad stood there and just watched with his eyes wide. He wasn’t saying a thing. And then out of nowhere he said, “That building isn’t going to hold.”

A small debate started between him and Kathy, but I knew that my Dad went to Harvard Architecture School, and that if he was saying that, it was probably true. And then, we watched one of the towers fall. At first, I didn’t believe it, because the smoke made me think that there was still something there. Even some of the newscasters thought the same. And I just went into a semi-state of shock. It was as if somebody informed me that a loved one just died. I think I would have had the same reaction. The three of us watched as the news unfolded. I remember trying to make a phone call but the service was down. I didn’t feel a sense of panic, it was more of a sense of, what now?

September 11 was on a Tuesday, which is press day at Dan’s Papers, and at the time I was working there for the summer as the editor of the Montauk Pioneer. At one point my Dad said that we needed to get to the paper, and the two of us drove there. On the roads driving, I remember feeling a sense of war in the air. I felt like I wanted to drive fast, like I wanted to do something, but I kept it together. I thought about how later on that evening I had planned on going into New York City and how lucky I was that I didn’t go in at an earlier time. I could see other people driving in their cars, both hands on the wheel, leaning forward, furious.

When we got to the office, some of the sales people had set up a television so we could all watch the news. Almost everybody that worked for Dan’s Papers at that time was in the office and they were glued to the TV. At that time of course, nobody got their news from streaming videos on computers. The television we had set up had rabbit ears.

We were all watching what was happening. A few of the sales girls were crying. Some of us, myself included, were talking about how we were hoping that a war would happen to get the bastards behind this. In a short amount of time, I learned the name Osama Bin Laden, and I can remember reading the entire history of all the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan on the Internet.

I don’t really know how we did it, but the paper got put out. I remember that in that issue and in a few issues following it, we had a glossy American flag inserted into the paper, which I think was paid for by Dell Computers. There were directions in small print, it said, “Pull out of paper, insert in car window, embrace freedom.”

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