I was at work when the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 happened and reading the internet news site, Fark. When the headline came up that a plane had crashed into one of the world trade centers came up, I figured it was a small aircraft had clipped the building. I clicked ont he link to find that cnn.com was inaccessible, as were several other news sites.
I plainly remember the sinking feeling I had in my stomach as I went to see the television on one of the trading floors which was always tuned to CNN, and stared slackjawed at the huge smoking hole in the first tower. I stood like that, shaking a little as the second plane hit. In a cloud of fear and confusion, I headed back to my office to read the commentary on Fark, where people were already frantically discussing what was going on. People in NY were posting what they were seeing right out their windows, and those that were able to get it posted up-to-date news from sites they were able to access.
I remember the specualtion of a car bomb in DC, I remember people worried about friends and family in New York, and I remember reading when the first tower collapsed and my run to the television to see the second tower fall five minutes or four hours later; time was a haze by that point. Back on Fark, someone who didn’t make it into work at the WTC posted his grief that his friends and co-workers in his office at the top of Tower 2 were probably dead.
I remember reading when the third plane hit the Pentagon and the fourth crashed in PA. To this day, I still can’t remember the timeline of when everything happened; all I remember is the fear and confusion. Five separate commentary threads had to be created that day so that the users were able to communicate without bringing the site down, hundreds of posts on each from the simple “Oh my god, I’m going to be sick” to the enraged screams against Bin Laden (already a suspect that morning).
Even though I remember that day, I read through these threads today to try to remember how it felt. I’m sorry to say that it worked.