This Day in History September 11, 2001

By Ruth on September 10, 2011 in American history, history

9/11 WTC Photo
This shouldn’t surprise anyone that I chose this date in history in light of the 10-year anniversary that happens today.  I am not going to review the events of the day–there is enough information out there for all of you.  Instead, I will share my 9/11 story.

September 11, 2001, I went to work like any other day.  I was living in Fort Worth, Texas at the time, and I taught at Temple Christian School.  I was a music teacher, and I worked as the elementary secretary.  All the normal things were going on that morning.  Our administrator made the normal announcements.  It was just an average day.

I remember being in the office entering attendance when our administrator came in and made the first announcement about some bomb–I think there was even some kind of rumor about a car bomb–hitting a building in New York.  I only halfway understood because you know how it is when someone is making an intercom announcement and you are in the same room.  I asked our nurse (the health room and elementary office were the same place) what had just been announced, and she told me what I thought I heard.  I remember feeling pretty confused, so I turned to the internet.  What I remember was the internet being absolutely jammed.  All I got was an error message.  I had never before nor never since seen such a jammed internet.

It was not long before our administrator came in and made the second announcement.  He now spoke about airplanes.  He spoke of the World Trade Center.  I remember feeling saddened and shocked.  I put my head in my hands.  I wondered what on earth was going on.  I also realized that it was nearly time to teach my first class.  It was a group of second graders, and it seemed so strange to have to teach in light of what was going on in New York. We had been warned to not have the news on nor talk about the issues with the students.

I went to that class, and I remember the sweet children being so frightened.  They said they were afraid that planes were headed our way and would crash into our school.  I quelled their fears the best I could, and we sang songs.  I couldn’t tell you what we sang.  I turned off my brain for that half hour, and we had regular music class.

When I left that classroom, things were indeed changing.  Parents had begun to pick up their children.  I can’t remember when I heard about the Pentagon.  Everything seems to run together.  I still couldn’t get online.  It was a good hour or hour and a half later, and the internet was still jammed.  I remember I called my then husband to see if he had heard.  He said that it was our next door neighbor who told him.

Shortly thereafter, our administrator decided to close the school early for that day.  Since my then-husband was my ride home, I had to call him back.  He said he would come and get me.  All parents were called, and it was amazing how quickly the parents responded.  We had no problem completely clearing the school out, and then we were free to go.

Right before all this, I finally got on the internet.  Indeed, I can still recall the first pictures I saw of the disaster.  I called our nurse to the computer, and we were both horrified by what we saw.  I could hardly wait to get home and try to make some sense of what had happened.

Once home, I watched everything on TV like most of America did.  I began to understand what had happened.  I can remember calling everyone and talking with them about the horror.  That Friday, I participated in the candlelight vigil that America was being called to to remember this horrible tragedy.  I felt so helpless, but I was willing to do anything and everything I could.

My then-husband’s response to the entire situation was so strange.  He longed to be a missionary in the country of Yemen, and we had even gone there on a missions trip a couple of years prior.  This man to whom I was married had the strangest view.  He didn’t see anything wrong with what the terrorists had done.  He thought that America had blown everything out of proportion.  It made sense for Muslims to attack America this way.  We needed to reach out to these people in love and not retaliate.  What??  Was he serious?  I can remember being so upset by what he said.  I was glad that he was not around as I watched the remembrance ceremonies.

In retrospect, I think this was the beginning of the end of our marriage.  I was vocal in my support of America against the terrorists. He thought I was crazy for feeling this way.  And he never spoke of 9/11 again.

That is my story, and all I can say is that even after 10 years, I can never get over what happened nor this this man’s response.  I think this song sums everything up:

Update:  Since I am updating this in memory of the twelfth anniversary of the terror attacks, let me say a couple of things in addition to this.  I still get so angry when I think of my now ex-husband’s view on the 9/11 terror attack.  And I have also seen and heard Alan Jackson perform the song live since I published this.  It was amazing, to say the least, but there were even people in the crowd who “booed” him.  I believe some were even uncomfortable, but I was so glad he sang it out!  I will never forget this day as long as I live.  It is emblazoned in my memory!

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth

43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl
Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA
Entertainment Writer
Available For Interviews and Reviews
Substitute Teacher


  1. Christie Cottage September 11, 2011 Reply

    9/11/01 did not hit me when it happened. My husband died on 01/11/01 and I could not even grasp anymore sorrow at the time.

    I think about the 10th anniversary of my husband’s death and how deeply saddened I was and I know those people are feeling the same overwhelming sadness. Pray for them today.


  2. Michelle September 10, 2013 Reply

    I just can’t believe that it has been 12 years already. I was in high school when it happened, I don’t think I could fully grasp what was going on.
    Michelle recently posted…7 Must See Attractions at Disney’s California AdventureMy Profile

    • Author
      Ruth September 11, 2013 Reply

      Goodness–you are young, but it still emblazoned in your brain. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Cocoa & Heart September 11, 2013 Reply

    Thank you for sharing this – so sad and poignant. I remember I was at work and as I worked in Day Centre we had the TV on in the corner. I walked in the room, when they were showing the video of plains crashing and I though it was a film somebody was watching, until somebody said it was for real. It was not easy to come to terms with what actually happened or even begin to understand.
    Cocoa & Heart recently posted…Becoming your own bossMy Profile

  4. Ryan September 11, 2013 Reply

    My wife and I were newlyweds. We had both graduated from college in May, and were working our first ‘real’ jobs. We were separated by over an hour of Maine highway. Neither of us have ever felt so scared, vulnerable, and alone. She, like you, was trying to keep a classroom full of children calm. All we wanted was to get back to each other. What a terrible day in our nation’s history. I shared my story yesterday as well on my site, You should stop by and check it out. Love your work, by the way!

    • Author
      Ruth September 11, 2013 Reply

      Thanks for sharing your story. I think those of us who were old enough will never forget this day.

  5. Brian September 11, 2013 Reply

    That day was so horrific and still causes my family much sadness. Our 4 year old was born on Sept 11th, so now it brings us some joy to celebrate the day for him!

    • Author
      Ruth September 11, 2013 Reply

      I am so glad you have something to celebrate on this day of tragic remembrance.

  6. Erin September 11, 2013 Reply

    This was a very scary day for so many Americans. I hope that some missionaries somewhere, someday can reach the terrorists and convince them that their way of life is not the right one, and help them find Jesus so that this craziness can stop.

    • Author
      Ruth September 11, 2013 Reply

      That is an attitude I can live with. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Tiffany H September 11, 2013 Reply

    Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 12 years. I had just gotten engaged two days earlier and this was such a heartbreaking and unreal thing that had happened. It’s hard still to realize that this actually happened here.

    • Author
      Ruth September 11, 2013 Reply

      My goodness–it seems that so many of us had such life-changing things happen right around that time!

  8. Beingomma September 12, 2013 Reply

    It seems like yesterday doesn’t it. Even to us way down here in New Zealand it is a time that will be forever remembered.

    • Author
      Ruth September 12, 2013 Reply

      I remember how the world rallied behind us during that time, and it means a lot to know that it is remembered elsewhere outisde of the U.S.

  9. Yolanda September 12, 2013 Reply

    I remember holding my 1 year old close to me hoping that her future was filled with a love that overpowered the senseless hate of the events of that day.

  10. Wendy September 12, 2013 Reply

    Alan Jackson’s “where were you…” Is one of my favorite songs. I think it is good to remember 9-11. As Americans, we were able to cry, support and grieve with one another. So glad there are teachers like you who are able to calm little one’s down who don’t understand when bad things happen.

  11. Martini September 12, 2013 Reply

    I was a freshman at the university.. I remember one of the students loosing both of her parents that worked in the world trade center…Cant believe it s been 12 years already.

  12. Ms. Nix September 13, 2013 Reply

    I was working in Century City, CA in a high-rise. We were notified to get out of the building because of the potential threats. As we were leaving someone turned on the conference room television just in time for us to see the second plane crash into the building. I really thought it was a new action movie until I started reading the news ticker at the bottom. Every emotion a person could have ran through my body and all I wanted to do was go and pick up my oldest son from school (he was 5 years old) and just hold him close to me to make sure he wasn’t scared. I grabbed my purse, got in my car, picked him up and went home. My offices were closed for the next two weeks and I stayed at home with my son watching the entire story unfold. It was devistating to know so many innocent lives were lost behind the actions of a group of people. I pray for them and their families all the time

  13. Peggy September 14, 2013 Reply

    That day was so hard to believe in many ways. I just wanted to stay in my home and not get out. It is strange how you react when you are afraid. I love that Alan Jackson song. I have it and play it often.
    Peggy recently posted…Share Your World – 2013 Week 31My Profile

  14. Janice September 14, 2013 Reply

    It is always good to hear other people’s stories from that horrific day. I especially like to hear other educator’s stories as we had not only our own feelings to deal with but our student’s.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.
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  15. Kecia September 15, 2013 Reply

    Even though it’s been 12 years, I can remember where I was exactly. I was 17 years old and still in high school. I remember that it took hours for what had happen to sink in with me. Our school system also closed early that day.
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  16. Rant Relief September 15, 2013 Reply

    I was in grade 6 and the teacher rolled a tv into the room and we watched the news all day. Thinking back I don’t think that we should have watched it at all, but I think that the teacher just wanted to stay on top of what was going on.
    Rant Relief recently posted…A Boat For ChristmasMy Profile

  17. Lynnette N. September 15, 2013 Reply

    Ruth, I hope that you have forgiven your now ex-husband. Everyone interprets and processes information differently, and difference is what helps us to grow. What I gained the most from 9/11 is to always look your husband and kids in the face before you separate from them each day. Each last glimpse is so precious…
    Lynnette N. recently posted…Eat Candy for BreakfastMy Profile

    • Author
      Ruth September 15, 2013 Reply

      Lynette, thank you for your concern. Yes, I have forgiven my ex. He’s actually not even a part of my life, and there was much to forgive. But the memories remain.

  18. Marisa September 15, 2013 Reply

    I was pregnant with my daughter, 16 and in math class just finishing up Oh Canada and beginning our morning prayers when a student came in late looking like a ghost and turned the tv on. I was so distraught i started to spot and ended up at the doctors they suspected it was a miscarriage but fortunately I didn’t lose the baby. I had a rough pregnancy though and was on bedrest for about half of it. I attribute it to the stress and fear of that day. I can definitely see how your ex’s attitude about it could change the way you looked at him. While I don’t believe fighting fire with fire is the answer I don’t think an attack on anyone in the first place is right either. I now how two children an 11 year old and a 9 year old and this year they googled the attacks and watched in horror on the laptop while sitting on the floor in front of me. I never said anything as I wanted them to talk to each other, understand it and experience it instead of just hearing about it. It was a turning point for them so it seems. They now understand war, our fights for freedom, for religion, for our lives. They may be young, but they understand.
    Marisa recently posted…Love to Write? Learn to Blog!My Profile

    • Author
      Ruth September 15, 2013 Reply

      Wow, I can’t imagine having to go through something like that. It sounds like you handled it very well. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Sandra September 16, 2013 Reply

    I was 18 years old. I still can recall where I was and what I did. I will never forget what I saw, heard and how sad I felt.
    My tears can never express all my emotions I had back then and I have now! A day I will never forget and do not even try to forget because it is way to important, a constant reminder of how we should set our priorities, values and to hug our loved ones especially in those moments they don’t deserve it, you do not know if you get another chance.
    Sandra recently posted…This week was quiet interestingMy Profile

  20. eschelle September 16, 2013 Reply

    I was in high school, waiting for the school bus when i heard about this up here in Vancouver BC it was such a horrible day. Still amazing it has already been so long since the attacks… lots of families at my school were deeply effected by it, so sad 🙁 oxooxoo

  21. Patricia September 16, 2013 Reply

    I was not working at the time, I took classes at night. I remember my father calling my apartment, asking me how could i sleep at a time like this. I did not understand, so he asked me to turn on the television, and I stood in disbelief of what I saw. By then I turned it on just in time to see the second plane hit the second tower. My mother had gone to my nephew’s school to pick him up and then to my foster brothers’ school to pick them up (their were foster parents and raising my nephew). At that time, I thought that America was safe, and we lived in a safe country, where even though we were hated by some countries, I never thought about that these same countries can come over to our soil and try to destroy the very life that most Americans enjoy.
    Patricia recently posted…World Market: Store of the month: part 2-PillowsMy Profile

  22. That’s so sad that people are so negative towards this! I live very far away from New York but it makes me feel protective every time someone talks about it, be it good or bad. People need to remember that we are all in this together and work towards unity and peace.
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  23. Emilee September 16, 2013 Reply

    I can’t believe it was so long ago. I can’t imagine being in a position where you were told not to tell the children yet they were so afraid. It sounds like you made a difference in that hard moment.

    I, too, would find it hard to understand how anybody could justify such a horrible act.
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  24. Lindsey September 16, 2013 Reply

    I was in 8th grade when it happened. It all felt very confusing and scary to me. I’m grateful that all my loved ones were so and my heart breaks for those who weren’t.
    Lindsey recently posted…Green Bachelorette BashMy Profile

  25. Chinky September 16, 2013 Reply

    We join the whole world in condemning these acts of terrorism. More prayers for complete healing from this tragic event.

  26. Rachel September 16, 2013 Reply

    I was a social work student at TCU in my final year. I was on my way to my first day of my required internship in a neighborhood agency that helped people during desperate times with food, clothing, basic bills and general family issues. I’ll never know the experience of a social worker prior to 9/11. All I know is what I saw post 9/11 and can’t help but think how much it changed our society. I think most people came together, but I saw so much desperation that year as people lost jobs and struggled.
    Rachel recently posted…Dream BoardMy Profile

  27. Sandra September 16, 2013 Reply

    That morning I got up and was in a good mood because it was my birthday. I got ready and drove to a college class I was in and as I reached the main road I heard the radio broadcast come on. I really thought at first it must be a made up report because it was so unreal. As I got to class everyone was crowded around a tv and very silent. As we watched the reports unfold we prayed silently for the people involved and our country as a whole. None of us could ever be quite the same. It was a time for us to come together as a country and I wish more people would stay as united as we felt during that time,
    Sandra recently posted…What do your kids really want for dinner?My Profile

  28. Ana September 17, 2013 Reply

    Such a sad day in history. I remember hearing about it as I left my hometown in NY for my freshmen year in college. But I also remember hearing about all the heroic things many people did that day. Really shows you the strength of the human spirit and the willingness for good to overcome evil.
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  29. Sylina September 18, 2013 Reply

    I was in 6th grade and we all got crammed into classrooms and crowded around a tv. Everyone was freaking out and I could not hear what was going on. I could only tell that it was bad. When I got home my grandparents called me into their room and asked if I knew what had happened. I didn’t so they explained. I remember that I didn’t understand how people could be so bad or mean hearted. I was 11.

  30. Divachyk September 18, 2013 Reply

    I was home, sick in the bed, clueless to what was going on around me. That was a life changing moment for us all. Very sad. So many innocent lives lost.
    Relaxed Thairapy
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  31. Kellly September 18, 2013 Reply

    crazy story. thanks for sharing. I was in my apartment, working on a project for an art course. My roommate told me what was going on (i’m not a media junkie and I prefer to work in peace), but I didn’t really get it at the time. It wasn’t until later in the day that I realized what a big deal it was. My youngest was due 9-11-11, but was born 9-1. I had hoped to have him on his due date to bring joy to that day for my family.
    Kellly recently posted…Fish Boil Fundraiser, All ages; Genoa City, WIMy Profile

  32. Holly September 19, 2013 Reply

    Everyone deals with tragedy in different ways! Sept.11 is a day that I will never forget! My oldest asked me to teach her about 9/11 and I just can’t pull myself to do it! We are military so it is not like she doesn’t understand that is there is evil in the world, I just want her to feel safe in our country! God Bless The USA!

  33. Whitney September 19, 2013 Reply

    Such a beautiful song. I was in my Home Ec/Cooking class in 10th grade for 9/11. I remember being so scared watching the 2nd plane hit the towers LIVE. I remember so many kids talking about stuff they heard they’re parents saying, like how this was a sign that the world was ending, how the government planned the terrorist attacks, and how it’s the start of a nuclear war.

    I can’t even begin to think about what those close to the areas affected felt.

    Whitney recently posted…Space Planning a Small, Shared BedroomMy Profile

  34. M@SSBD September 19, 2013 Reply

    I was 15. When I woke up, my mom was in the living room, on the couch, watching the news and discussing the tragedy with my grandmother. I walked into the living room as the second plane hit and heard my mom gasp and her eyes tear up; she then shouted into the receiver at my grandmother that a second plane had hit.

    I still don’t understand why she didn’t keep me home from school that day. I went. My first class was English, with my favorite teacher who is still a friend to this day. He turned on the news and said, “Today, we are watching this screen. Get out your journals and write. Write about everything. Write what you’re thinking, write what you’re feeling. You’re living history.”

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