Tuesday, September 10, 2002
Steamboat Springs On Sept. 11, 2001, Americans woke to their usual routines.
They poured bowls of cereal, hopped on exercise bicycles, flipped on the television for some background noise while they dressed or did countless other things they had done every morning for years.
But by 8:30 a.m., those routines were interrupted by the kind of news that lasts a lifetime. Many will never forget what they were doing the moment they discovered the World Trade Center towers had been hit by jetliners.
It was one of the moments in history, matched by only a handful of others in the last century the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Challenger explosion.
Many people never left their homes a year ago today. Instead, they sat mesmerized by the events unfolding on their televisions.
One Steamboat shopkeeper said it was eerily quiet at her business.
"We had a few customers but they weren't really shopping," she said. "They were wandering aimlessly. They just came in because they wanted someone to talk to."
The following are the memories of Sept. 11, 2001:
"I was on my way to the dentist for an 8:30 appointment when I turned on the radio. I though it was a joke at first. When I got to the dentist office, they had the television off. I was there to have my crown done. They were very calm and continued with their business. I don't think they really understood the significance of what had happened.
"When I got home, I turned on the television and we watched it for days. It's like when JFK was shot or when Columbine happened."
"I was at home, but I didn't have the television on for some reason. My daughter called from Denver and told me to turn on the TV. I saw the second building collapse and heard the announcer scream. Most of the day, we just sat and watched."
"I was in bed in Austin, Texas. I was waking up for class to my radio alarm clock and I heard what was happening. I turned the TV on. I woke up all my friends, because I was the first to hear about it. I didn't go to class that day. We just watched television for days."
"I was at work at Rustic Woodworks. The radio was on. Another employee came in and told me what had happened. We kept working, but it wasn't easy.
"At first I didn't believe it. That's impossible, I thought. But time confirmed that it really did happen."
"I was at school. We were watching it on the news.
"We have TVs hooked up in every classroom. We watched it the whole day in different classes. I didn't think it was real."
"It was morning and I was getting ready for work. I am the Postmaster in Parshall, Colo. They kept us informed. I remember watching it on TV. It seemed so unreal. I still can't believe it.
"It was more real for me during the Anthrax scare. We had to wear masks and gloves, even in that small town because the mail touches so many different states."
"I heard about it first at home and then I went to school. Our teacher told us that she wouldn't let anything happen to us. She said, if an airplane was going to hit the school, she would jump in front of it."
"I was sleeping. My dad called me from San Francisco at 8:30 a.m. He said that both of the trade towers had fallen. I woke up and started crying. I thought it was the end of the world.
"I used to go to New York all the time when I lived out East. The towers were just a part of the skyline. I e-mailed and called all my friends out there. I have a friend who lives three blocks from the towers. She was on a ferry to Jersey and got covered with ash. She wasn't able to return to her apartment for about a month, and after that she needed an ID."
"I got to school and everyone was flipping out, but it's middle school so I didn't take it seriously. I didn't care at first and then I found out what happened.
"Everyone went home. I had to stay. It was pretty scary to see all those people jumping from the buildings. We sat in the same room all day and watched."
"We were eating breakfast. We had a guest. My sister's ex-husband called and told us to turn on the television. We watched it all day long. I didn't come in to work all day. I kept thinking, 'This isn't really happening.' Sure we saw it on TV, but we see so many things on TV. I don't think anyone that wasn't there can conceive the horror of what happened."