9/11 MEMORIES

911 Stories
I remember literally telling President Bush, “It should be an easy day.” Those were the words. “It should be an easy day.”

—White House Chief of Staff Andy Card

The September 11th attacks instantly encompassed every corner of the country. In We’re the Only Plane is the Sky, published on the 15th anniversary of the attacks, Graff captures the voices of those who were aboard Air Force One that day through over 40 hours of original interviews.

His next book will expand the story to capture the national perspective and show how we collectively lived and experienced that day. The terrorist attacks of 9/11 were experienced—and lived—in a way like no other event in world history, instantly encompassing every corner of the country. Planes were grounded and daily life screeched to a halt, as the horror was broadcast live and in color.

As part of this project, we’re gathering stories from across the country—and even around the world—to help capture the diverse perspectives on that tragic day, from those who survived the attacks to those who watched from afar. What’s your story? Where were you on 9/11 and what do you remember?

Share Your Story

Please use the space below to share your 9/11 memories. Some suggested questions to consider: Where were you on 9/11? How did you find out about the attacks? How did the people around you react to the attacks? Over the past fifteen years, what details or memories most stand out?

Story Examples

Bill, the New York state deputy homeland security advisor, recalls the scene as he first entered the state’s emergency command center: “It was like every phone in the place was ringing and there was virtually no staff in yet. I started answering phones and it was everything from the White House trying to reach the Governor to kids calling their moms or dads to people routinely calling in sick. The only real side effect I had from the experience of 9/11 was telephones. Very strange. I once interviewed an old Battle of Britain fighter pilot who told me that he couldn’t take the ringing of a phone. It was because the fighter groups would be scrambled by a phone call to their hut. After 9/11 my nerves could not take the ringing of a telephone.”

Victoria writes, “That day stands as a turning point in life; I was 10 at the time, and remember the change it triggered in the way I view our world.”

Mike, of New York City, recalls racing into the city to try to find his girlfriend, who worked downtown, and making an ill-advised drive into Brooklyn. “There were a few other drivers on the highways heading toward the city—emergency vehicles, primarily, and all of us driving as fast as we could. As I neared the Whitestone Bridge, I found myself to be the only car on the road as far as I could see in either direction. When the toll station was in sight—maybe fifteen booths wide on either side—the lights that normally tell you whether a booth is open or closed were all simultaneously blinking red.”

Oliver, from Germany, says: “I still remember 15 years ago—we all felt like one nation on this globe. I wish some of this solidarity would return to this planet today.”