Published Friday, November 30, 2012
Column By Shane McClendon, Senoia
Special to The Newnan Times-Herald
This is my personal account of Sept. 11, 2001. I feel people have forgotten their own personal stories of what happened on that day more than 11 years ago. I hope by sharing mine it will help people remember and never forget.
8:44 a.m. On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, a somewhat typical Tuesday, my life would drastically change. The clock on my desk showed that it was 8:44. The morning already seemed to be dragging. I had no idea how the entire world and I were going to change in the next minute.
8:45 a.m. I overheard a co-worker say an airplane had crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. I began looking on news websites to find out what happened. On CNN, I found a live video feed showing the events in New York City.
The video feed showed the World Trade Center burning. Reporters were debating what type of airplane had struck the building. There were reports of people claiming it was just a small single engine plane. Other reports had witnesses claiming it was a passenger jet. Hearing this, I could only assume the worst. The scene on the video feed changed to show terrified New Yorkers trying to process what had just transpired.
I could not believe that such an accident could happen. Then the unthinkable. At 9:03 a.m., as I watched a live Internet video feed, another plane crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center. I was stunned. I knew this was no accident. This was an attack. Both towers were burning. I could only hope the towers were empty. I began to pray for passengers on the planes, workers in the towers and their families.
All of us in my office gathered around computers to watch the coverage. I remember wondering who could have done this and why. Then I heard someone say that another plane had hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. I watched through tears as the World Trade Center later collapsed. My co-workers and I were anxiously watching and wondering what was going to happen next. A few minutes later the obviously shaken CNN anchor announced another airplane had crashed southeast of Pittsburgh.
People began leaving work and going home to be with their families. Most of the people in my department decided to gather at a co-workers house and watch the news. None of us really wanted to be alone during this tragedy. We all gathered around the television trying to learn as much as we could.
I later went outside and looked up into the sky. It just did not seem real to look up and not see even one airplane passing overhead. I remember looking around and seeing the terrified faces of my co-workers gathered around the television, trying to make sense of the morning’s events. We all knew that our world would never be the same. I knew that I would never be the same, as I was that morning at 8:44 a.m.