Where Were You?

Author: Leigh Ann P.

Everyone remembers where he or she was on September 11, 2001.  People love to share their stories, no matter how boring or insignificant, and I am no different:  I was a sophomore at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, and I remember my roommate, Jenn, coming in to our room from her 8 AM class and telling me a plane had flown into the World Trade Center.  I remember still being in bed at 8:46 AM when the first plane hit, so this memory means two things to me:

1. First, this is my JFK-assassination memory moment, and I will never forget it, because like Kennedy’s assassination, it changed everything for a generation of people.  My entire life is now divided into pre-9/11 and post-9/11 memories, and I sometimes make these associations without even realizing it.  (Spice Girls?  Monica Lewinsky?  “Legally Blonde”?  Pre-9/11.  “The Forgotten”?  Justin Timberlake as a solo artist?  “Lost”?  Post-9/11).  The innocence of the last century and the nostalgia I have for it are not simply coincidental.   My entire adult life has been and will always be post-9/11, defined by that most terrifying day; naïveté must be replaced by paranoia out of sheer necessity – not just because I’m now an adult, but because I’m an adult in a post-9/11 world.

2. Second, there was a time in my life when I was able to sleep past 9 AM on a weekday. 

The Daily Pennsylvanian has a great interactive piece with “Where Were You?” stories from current Penn students.  I write as someone who was 19 on the day of the attacks, but many of these men and women were merely 7 or 8 years old on that day.  It is interesting to read about that day from a child’s perspective, and how the situation took on new meanings as they matured.

The DP also profiles five of Penn’s 16 fallen alumni in a touching piece found here.

Tell us in the comments where you were on 9/11/01.

President Obama surveys the 9/11 memorial site at Ground Zero.



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Filed under Historical, Leigh Ann P., Student Perspective

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