I was a sophomore at the University of Illinois in Champaign
  1. Woke up to a dream about being in a plane crash
    Not into a building, just a plane going down
  2. Went to my laptop to see if any AIM messages had come in overnight
    I believe someone from a band had im'd me telling me to turn on the t.v.
  3. It was right after the first plane had hit, before the second one
    I had a tiny tv with rabbit ears that I hardly ever used. I lived alone that year.
  4. I called my dad, who worked at Morgan Stanley
    He had done his training at the World Trade Center. Morgan Stanley had 22 floors in total, I believe. My mom and I went to visit him when I turned 14 and stayed at the World Trade Center Hotel. I have so any photos from the top of the WTC, and from the bottom, looking up
  5. He said they didn't know what was going on, but it looked like an accident
  6. Shortly after we hung up, the second plane hit
    So this was no accident
  7. I i'med everyone I could to turn on their tv's
    Every year since, my friends Darcy and Cherianne text me to remind me that I told them about it
  8. My friend Brett came over
    I had been describing the events as they happened. At some point he decided to skip classes and come over
  9. It was the most beautiful fall day imaginable
    Perfect weather, beautiful fall sunlight.
  10. We stared in horror as the first building fell.
    Unbelievable. Remembering this now, it was so unbelievable. All I could think of was the people at the observation deck on top, stuck there, looking down. I think I found out later that the observation deck hadn't opened yet for the day.
  11. So many news and rumors
    The pentagon was under attack? The White House was under attack?
  12. The second building falling
    It's a moment where your life is split into two. Things you never thought would happen could happen.
  13. I had a test at 2, so I went after skipping all other classes
    Our professor somehow hadn't heard of it yet. After listening to us about what was going on, she said "oh well, life goes on" and handed out our tests. (I don't think she was being callous, there was just no reference for this situation.)
  14. Walking into the student Union afterwards, everyone was silent
    The tvs were on the news, everyone was in shock
  15. A memorial on the quad that night
    Thousands of candles. There was just no reference for what to do
  16. My favorite professor at class the next day, in shock
    Saying that this was the USA's fault for their foreign policies
  17. Me, in shock, the first time I'd heard anything like that
    What? What was he talking about? It's amazing to me now that at 19, I had zero knowledge of anything the US had ever done that would have angered any Middle Eastern countries. I was completely naive.
  18. I stayed after class for two hours with two other students
    The professor told us the basic history of the US's involvement in oil countries, arming the Afghanis in the 80s during the Cold War, Rumsfeld being friends with Saddaam. I can only describe this as being beyond mind blowing
  19. I went from being a caring, uneducated liberal to being radically anti-government
    I joined a radical group on campus to protest invading Iraq, I read Chomsky. The next ten years for me were decidedly anti establishment.
  20. Now I'm pretty chill about it all
    I don't have the anger anymore. I was so angry for so long. It's too draining. There's so much flawed policy in our overseas relations in dealing with Muslim countries. But I also just want peace.
  21. I had no idea why 9/11 happened when it did while it was going on
    For me personally, it changed my worldview in a dramatic way, overnight
  22. 15 years later, I just want peace
    9/11 led to Iraq War led to ISIS. How can we bring more love. How can we bring peace to all the wounded hearts in the world?
  23. To me, now, honoring the victims of 9/11 means searching for peace
    Every day I ask myself, what can I do to make the world a better place? Is what I'm doing serving this purpose?