Saturday, May 14, 2011

My 'Tuesday Morning in September' An Pham's account of 9/11

On September 11th, 2001, I was in class at King Philip Middle School in West Hartford, CT. I was thirteen years old and in eighth grade at the time.

The day started off like any other day during a school week. That was until about 11:oo am or 12:00 pm. The students were summoned to homeroom at this time. We were not told exactly why we were going to homeroom, but we were told that we would know more once we were there.

We heard the news from a memo that was sent out to all the teachers to read to their homeroom students. It was disturbing to say the least. Surely we believed it was some sort of an accident. Or perhaps we were hoping it was an accident.

Shortly after hearing about the news, the television was turned on. It was now clear that the tragedy was a delibrate attack on the World Trade Center. I now knew that things were going to change because of this tragic event.

After that, all I can remember is that we were let out of school early.

It was odd, but the first thing I did after getting home was go to my local park. Once there, I played basketball with some close friends. Looking back now, I believe I was trying to reassure myself that somethings did not change. I did still enjoy the company of my friends.

The following day, I went to buy the September 12th, 2001 edition of the 'Hartford Courant.' Needless to say, the headline was about the attack on the World Trade Center. I felt compelled to have something tangible from this tragic day. I never did read the article.

A week later, my father decides that this event was important enough to make the trip out to New York City to capture photos. During these few days, I formulated what 9/11 meant to me.

I had been to New York City before, but it was definitely a different feeling on this visit. The pace of the city had seemed to slow down quite a bit.

The entire experience was bewildering. It was rather surreal. People carried themselves differently. It was difficult to not see an American flag in every direction. It seemed as if just about every car driving around had one mounted on the radio antenna or window.

To this day, I feel the most horrific experience I had from 9/11 was seeing the missing people posters. I could not believe how many of them there were. They were posted all over the city. I could only imagine the feelings of those that were trying to find their loved ones.

One of the first things I realized when walking on the streets of Manhattan, were all the vehicles that seemed to be abandoned on the side of the road. They were covered with dust and debris. It was New York City, but the scenery seemed to be out of place because of this.

On one of the evenings that were there, my father and I went to Rockerfeller Center for dinner. This is another odd memory I have of the visit. I believe it was a Wednesday night, but there was no one else in the in dining area. There were only a few people at the bar. It seemed as if everybody was afraid to go out.

Even to this day, I remember what I was eating. It was a Steak and Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Broccoli. I remember this because the Steak did not come with Mashed Potatoes. When I ordered the Mashed Potatoes, it was a matter of minutes before I had it. There was no one else there, so there was no wait time. That felt odd to me, that I was in New York City in Rockerfeller Center and there was no one around...

This is my account of 9/11. The few days that I was there in New York City created the memory that I go to when I think of 9/11. What is it that you think about when you think about 9/11?

Please visit and post up your 'Tuesday Morning in September' account.

Here are a few more photos from that trip to New York City:

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