It’s hard to believe that six years have passed since September 11, 2001. It is definitely one of those days that everyone alive will never forget. I know I won’t.
The second half of 2001 was an odd time for me. I had finished my MA program at Maryland but declined my PhD admission, so was in a six-month period of underemployment that ended when I found my current job in December. I was working 15 hours a week at the university and spent the rest of my time “looking for work.” Tuesday, September 11th was my day off, so I resolved to get up early (probably around 8:30 in those days) and send in a couple resumés. However, the previous Sunday, like this past Sunday, was the first week of the NFL season, so I decided to check my fantasy football team first.
I popped open one window for Yahoo! Sports to check my team and another for ESPN.com to check the results of the Monday night game. That’s when I first realized something was wrong. The internet was horribly slow. I noticed Yahoo! was running a ticker at the top of every page saying something like “Planes hit World Trade Center. Partial collapse reported.” Then I tabbed over to ESPN, who had not MNF, but something like this on their front page.
I scoured the internet a bit for more updates, visiting cites like that of blog pioneer Instapundit, which I had discovered earlier that summer (see his 9/11/01 updates starting here and scroll up). But the web was just too slow, so I eventually moved into the living room and turned on the television just a few minutes after the towers came down.
Let’s just say I didn’t finish any applications that day.
It’s funny what else you remember from days like 9/11. My roommate at the time was working in downtown DC, in a building you would consider a prime terrorist target. He let me know fairly early in the day that he was alright, but I received phone calls from various family and college friends throughout the day wondering about our status. I remember cell phones were basically useless for the next 24 hours in the Washington area, as all the circuits were clogged. I remember emailing my friend Joe in Philadelphia repeatedly with updates, as his company had banned web surfing for some reason. As it turns out, a lot of the information I sent him was bad. Instapundit and other blogs were usually faster than the mainstream media in getting news out, but no more reliable. I remember reports of car bombs at the State Department, reports of other hijackings and crashes, and rampant speculation on what the terrorists would do next and how we should retaliate.
I was safe in my Maryland apartment most of the day. I can’t imagine what it would have been like had I been in my current job, which is in visual distance from the Capitol. I might have freaked out like one of my now coworkers did, who drove to Kentucky and stayed with her family for the rest of the week.
For a history project dedicated to collecting 9/11 remembrances, check out the 9/11 Digital Archive.