Kris Kibak, Santa Cruz, California.
I woke up at about 6.30 to 7.00 AM.
My mom and my brother said there had been a disaster or something on the TV and were sitting in her room watching. I went into my moms room to watch with them and never had the slightest "terrorist" thought in my mind. I thought "oh shit, a plane crashed in to the world trade center, what a terrible accident". I thought a pilot had lost control or something. As we were watching live, we suddenly see another plane crash. It took about 2 seconds to absorb what we had just seen and then we realized, "this isn't an accident". We were sort of panicked, thinking oh my god how did that happen. It sounds much easier to understand in retrospect but when you have never heard of commercial jets being used as missiles and then see it happen before your eyes its a bit hard to swallow.
Anyway I had to leave for school but couldn't believe what I'd seen. I don't think I really understood the significance yet. All the kids around me at school were saying "did you hear the radio this morning?!" or "did you see the TV?... there was a terrorist attack on New York!"
I went into my first class, Chemistry, where I had a very strict teacher who was an Army veteran. He said something like "A great tragedy has happened this morning, but now we are at school, this is chemistry class, and we are going to learn chemistry." So he went on with the morning like normal. My next class was a politics class so as you can imagine the teacher had the TV out. We watched and got a better idea of what had happened, heard about the plane hitting the pentagon, and also heard that some passengers had managed to stop one of the planes from hitting its target at the cost of their own lives.
I was in California, so just to put this in perspective (perhaps somewhat unaccurately) it was like sitting in Denmark and hearing about a terrorist attack in Portugal. The distance between California and New York is huge and I've actually never even been to New York (or anywhere on the East Coast for that matter). After school we were sort of in shock thinking "is it over" and wondering if everyone had heard about it, etc. I remember I was going surfing that day (sep 11). When I pulled up to the surf spot everything was completely normal. People were in the water surfing, people were sitting on the beach talking, etc. I was about to go down and I suddenly had this weird though: "Should I be going surfing right now? I watched thousands of people die this morning on TV and I'm just going surfing like nothing happened." But what was there I could do? I had a very weird almost guilty feeling about it but just went out anyway. Later that day when we came home we heard the president (bush) had given a speech. I don't like Bush, in fact I can't stand him, but there's something about being attacked that makes you want to stand together. It was the only Bush speach I've ever heard that I liked. It wasn't even the content and whatnot, it was more that I felt we had been hit. Hearing the "leader" say "we're not going to take that" etc can be inspirational at that exact moment. And, of course, it was an emotional day to begin with. I felt like we had to retaliate or something. Maybe that's just because I was a 17 year old highschool guy, but it seems that many people thought that way.
We all felt like we had to stand together. Normally in California we don't really have any unity at all. No one has flags out, like they do all over this place in Denmark. We don't have national songs like "Vi er rode, Vi er hvide... " etc. I know it sounds dumb, but there is something to that. If someone started singing a US national song at a party everyone would look at you like "what the hell are you doing?" but here in Denmark its completely normal. I know that song is from the Danish football team, but even if we had a national song from our best sports team everyone would just think it was dumb.
So this was the first time I had ever seen the US (California, at least) stand united. Everyone started putting out flags and putting flags on their cars. It was sort of a reality check for many of us. Like, what have we become? We don't even care about eachother or our country anymore. We need to stand together especially right now and be proud of our country and feel like we are strong.
It was really a weird feeling. We had been hit hard and our reaction was to stand together. I think thats one of the main reasons for Bush's success. He happened to be the leader at a time when many Americans felt a need to be united, proud, and supportive of their country.
Anyway, that's my story of September 11th.
Karina Jørgensen, Copenhagen, Denmark
" I was visiting a couple of friends, called Peter and Freja at Christianshavn. The sun was shining, so Freja and I had decided to go to Christiania, with their son, who at the time was close to being 2 years old. Christiania have excellent playgrounds and we stayed there for an hour or so.When we returned, we were met by Peter at the door, who told us that there had been an accident at the World Trade Center. They kept playing the same images over and over in slowmotion. Shortly after the second aircraft hit the second tower. It was clear that it was no longer an accident. We sat and looked at the telly for hours! I remember thinking that this is just the beginning, which target will be next? When I later returned to my home, I called my parents. They were pretty upset too. The following days I was glued to the telly. I had never heard of Kabul before nor did I know which country it belonged to. A part of me found it horrible, innocent people died but another part of me thought that it was kind of fair in a global perspective. We in the west have been rich for so long. Thousand of innocent people in the third world die everyday. I guess I felt it had to come at some point. For weeks to come I felt disillusioned, scared, defeated & nervous.Of course NO ONE deserves to die! The months to come I participated in several demonstrations for peace."