where were you?


Where were you eight years ago today? September 11, 2001 was the first event of my life that I will always remember where I was like pretty much everyone else. I was in Japan, living on a military base so when the disaster occurred I was actually asleep. The next morning, however, I woke up at 6 am to get in the shower and get ready for school. I noticed that it was unusually quiet in the house. While I was showering, my dad knocked on the door and said, “Charlotte, school was canceled. Something bad happened in America. You can go back to bed.” It was odd that my dad was still at home. I still find it odd that he didn’t tell me more, but it was 6 am, and he had been up at an ungodly hour watching the live footage from the Today Show (we got the Today Show live on our American Forces Network channels, but it was late night/early morning because of the time difference). When I woke up several hours later, my mom and brother were awake, glued to the television and refused to answer my questions about what was going on. I had to wait for Peter Jennings or Brian Williams to tell me what the hell was happening.

Being on a military base, the entire base shut down. No one could get in or out. The grocery store, mall, movie theater, restaurants and school were all closed for a week or more. We couldn’t even play at the playgrounds because that would be a visible gathering of people outside, an easy target for terrorists. The only thing we could do was stay at home, watching tv, playing games and buying our groceries from the convenient store. Our military police patrol cars were instantly exchanged for hum-vees with .50 caliber guns mounted on top. The evenings were spent fielding calls from concerned family members from the states. I remember my dad assuring his mom of our safety, saying we were safer than she was.

There was tension and patriotism in the air. I was in Japan on a military base. Where were you?


One Response to “where were you?”

  1. 1 Abbey

    I was a junior in high school. I cam into an empty classroom, but the television was on, and I watched the second tower go down. Eventually others filed in and explained what was happening. I’d never seen adults in my life afraid even though the teachers were trying to mask it. Having recently earned my license I waited an hour at the gas station with other frantic customers after school. That evening I sat in on a candle-lit service at my church… but I stayed in the back and reviewed notes for the Anatomy test I knew was still coming the next day.

    I currently teach high school juniors so it is fascinating to say “I was your age when the terrorists attacked.”

    The event also changed the life of my family as my father is in the national guard. He began to travel more within our state and eventually served a stateside term and then a term in Iraq.

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