9/11 Time Capsule

You probably cannot recall what you did six months ago without looking at your calendar, but anyone who is old enough to remember can recall very clearly what they did on September 11, 2001. I got my driver's license renewed very early that morning, and after listening to the news (and then watching it on TV), I went to work to broadcast more news -in fact my radio station played no music at all for several days afterward.

Rob Walker remembers, too, and recently recovered digital photographs taken in the aftermath of 9/11. He and his wife drove across several states and she took snapshots of signs along the way, to document the mood of the country at that time.

Depending on your age, you will either remember or never really understand what an unusual time September 2001 was in the United States. In the wake of the event that would come to be known simply as 9/11, signals and symbols of patriotism and unity were everywhere. These included a widespread display of flags, unprecedented in my lifetime at least — to the point that cheap miniature flags had sold out practically everywhere.

Similarly, many businesses replaced the usual deal-advertisement messages on their letter-board signs with more emotional sentiments.

Walker noticed how the signs gradually began to include store specials over time, as a sort-of gradual return to business as usual. Link

The Nag at Nag on the Lake posted a link to the pictures along with her personal remembrance of 9/11, which also involved a road trip. Link

How about you? Where were you when you heard about the terrorist attacks of September 11, and how did you spend the rest of that day, or week, or month?


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I live in NYC. On that morning I was getting ready for work. I had the television on as I stepped into the shower, a re-run of the Maury Povich Show where you had to guess who amongst the guests were born women and who were transvestites. When I got out of the shower, the tv was showing a burning World Trade Center tower. I called a friend and asked if we knew anyone working at the WTC, he said yes, and why, and I told him to turn on his tv. What channel? he asked. Doesn't matter, I told him. Thankfully of the three people we knew working in the Towers at that time, one was on vacation, one had a dentist's appointment, and the third had slept through her alarm and was running late for work. Sadly, someone else who didn't work at the Towers was at a breakfast event at Windows on the World and we lost her that day. I never went to work; I ended up at the gym running mile after mile on a treadmill while watching major equipment and refrigerated cars being trucked down Broadway to ground zero. I pretended I was running to the Towers to warn people. I couldn't stop running.
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I remember very clearly that gas was selling for $1.31 a gallon that day. I was the very last person at that particular convenience store (Huck's, a regional chain) that got it for that price before they jacked the price up $0.50 a gallon. A number of places got busted by the Illinois Attorney General's office for profiteering.
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I was a Junior in HS and heard the news on the radio on my drive to school. I didn't take it too seriously (oh HS naivete) . I remember that our Volleyball game got cancelled early that morning and i was really annoyed that something in NY had affected my game in Oregon. It wasn't until we spent all day watching the news, especially in Social Studies, that i really understood what was happening. It was a really intense day and I'm thankful that we had a real conversation about it then.
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Less than a buck and a half for gas? And what is a One Hour Photo...

Too bad we had to engage in a "War on Terror" using the US Military rather than pursue the planners of the attack as the criminals they were by using international police cooperation.

I am still waiting to hear the leader of a Muslim country condemn the 9/11 action publicly.
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I would give what I was doing, except for a professor I knew that on the first day of class would ask his whole class to write down what they did on 9/11. Then he repeated the request on the penultimate day of the course. The resulting stories showed quite a few details differed between the two versions. His course (and his research) was on memory and emotion, and discussed a lot about the disconnect between confidence/vividness of certain memories and their actual accuracy. Most of the students didn't think that would apply to them, until he broke out the write ups on the last day of class, something that ended up being more memorable that the rest of the course. This seems to have lost some of its effectiveness with 9/11 though, as the stories will get more consistent the more years that go by, and may have to do more with remembering the story after telling it enough times than the original event (or that people in his course now would have been ~6-8 years old on 9/11, he used different events before, so might have switched by now). So now I don't worry about where I was or what I was doing...
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