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Writing Resources from Fifteen Minutes of Fiction

The following is a piece of writing submitted by Scott on September 11, 2011
"I had forgotten just how many details I remembered."

Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?

"Where were you when the world stopped turning, on that September day?" So asks the popular country song. After ten years, I still remember where I was, and I still remember the emotions of the day: anger, terror, anguish.

I had been at work for about a half an hour when Karen came in from across the hall. "A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center!"

"Are you serious?" someone asked.

News spread quickly throughout the employees of the three story building. A television was brought into our section of the floor. Not having cable in the building, we relied on the grainy signal we got from the set's lone antenna. However, the picture was devastatingly clear enough to see a second plane smash into the second tower.

Shock and disbelief were etched on each of the twelve faces viewing the events. Though we understood, somehow, that this was no accident, we desperately hoped it was. Perhaps the pilot of the second plane was blinded by the smoke from the first plane?

It seemed then that a flurry of reports began to come in: a plane crashes into the Pentagon; a plane crashes into a field in Pennsylvania; air traffic has been halted across the country; rumors that fighter jets had been given orders to shoot down aircraft that failed to heed the directive; schools across the country initiated what was probably the first lockdown ever. My God! When would it end?

I become aware that our normally busy office was eerily silent. The phones had stopped their incessant ringing and I realized that on this day, all eyes would be turned toward New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

I found myself amazed over how life imitates art as portions of New York were sealed off, just as had happened in the movie "The Siege" starring Denzel Washington. There, too, terrorists struck New York.

Later that day as I drove home, my radio was turned to the news. Not that there was anything else on. Tears flowed freely as casualty counts came in, then the reports of the towers collapsing. Even now, seeing the images on television and talking about the events with others, there is still a sense of disbelief.

In High School, I was required to interview someone about an event in history. I chose to interview my grandmother about where she was when Pearl Harbor was attacked. I remember thinking that day that one day my grandchild will come to me and ask, "Papa, do you remember where you were on September 11th?"

"Yes, my child, come and sit and I will tell you about it."

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