September 11, 2001. It's one of those infamous days in human history where just about everyone can tell you exactly what they were doing when it happened or when they heard the news. Just like the Challenger disaster (January 28, 1986), or Columbia (February 1, 2003), or JFK (November 22, 1963). I wasn't around for JFK though.
I remember vividly what I was doing that day. It started off as a normal routine day, as it probably would have for anyone else. I had a couple of bone density units to survey that morning. I recall walking around the department, making my daily rounds. As I was finishing up, I happened to walk by one of the waiting rooms where for some reason everyone was clustered around the TV. It was a news report about how a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers. My first thoughts were "Holy crap. Bad bad accident".
It wasn't a terrorist event yet. Just a tragic accident, a plane gone out of control and hitting the WTC. Went back down to my office to grab my equipment to start my surveys. Sent my wife a text message to her cell phone saying a plane had crashed into the WTC. She was in class at the time, but being from NYC I knew she'd want to hear about it. Then headed back up to Ultrasound where the bone density unit was.
There were even more people clustered around the TV now, and more events had unfolded. I remember telling the bone density tech asking me what was going on. Told her about the plane crashing into the WTC. Everyone was glued to the TV, but I had work to get done, so I set up the scanner. While I was waiting for it to start up, the news came that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon. It was certainly shaping up to be a very odd day. What are the chances that two planes would crash into buildings on the same day...the same morning even.
Then, while I was testing, reports of the second plane hitting the other WTC tower were broadcast, and I started thinking that these were no accidents. After I finished, I went back down to my office, unloaded my stuff and went back upstairs to the TV. Watched the news for a little while longer and then headed off to see what other people were saying.
I didn't see the towers collapse until I saw the news after I got home. Everyone was buzzing that day. I don't remember what happened with the rest of my afternoon. I think I spent it talking with other people about what happened. All the news sites on the web were slow, or not responding, so there wasn't any info there.
My wife took the rest of the day off after she received my message. The rest of our evening was spent glued to various news stations watching the aftermath of the disaster. For several days after, the news was about all we watched. There was much speculation about who was behind the attack and why. The rest I guess is history.