Marcel Saragena, Photos Editor
Tuesday, September 11, 2001 is the day that changed America forever. It changed my life as well as many others. On that day, I remember waking up early to go to a sports doctor to get an evaluation on both of my knees. It was really a routine day because I’ve been going to the doctors three times a week since my horrific car accident back on June 9, 2001. That Tuesday morning though, something didn’t feel right. There was no one on the road, no one at the mall and literally no one at Walmart. I arrived at the doctor’s office in Mililani Town Center at 7:30 a.m. When 7:45 a.m. came, the doctor finally opened up his office and he said, “Sorry folks. Schofield Barracks is currently on high alert and my office assistant lives on the base and they are under high alert.” The doctor walks us to towards the check in, turns on the TV and someone said, “Look at what’s happening on TV!” We all turned to look and we actually caught the second plane flying into the second tower. It felt as if someone had sucked the air out of the room. The moment that the second plane went into the tower, the mood became so somber that the doctor couldn’t focus and needed time to re-focus. When I left the doctors office in Mililani at 10 am., the island O’ahu became a ghost town. My friend and I decided to get food at Pearlridge Mall and when we got there around 12 p.m., the parking lot was really empty — so empty that I could count the cars in the parking lot. Throughout the day, we just drove around the Leeward side of the island starting from Aiea. Everywhere was empty, parks, movie theaters, grocery stores, and even the beach. It was one of the most haunting events that I have ever witnessed.
Geneva Diaz, News Editor
Ms. McCall’s class was full of surprises. Every 5th grader wanted to be in her class because she always had something exciting planned for the day hidden up her sleeve. On September 11, 2001, she hauled her students into another classroom filled with other students watching, to what it looked like by the teachers faces, a frightening movie.
As I walked into the classroom with nowhere to sit, I noticed my friend Martin waving me over to come sit near the window. He was looking outside, tracing his fingers along the window pane to the direction of a plane passing by. I turned my attention to the television monitor and watched as teachers started to wail. I looked around the classroom at the other 10-year-old students staring at their teachers while looking scared. I wondered if I should feel scared too?
Martin tapped my shoulder and pointed back at the same plane and said something under his breath that I didn’t understand. The second plane that crashed into the World Trade Center had already happened before we joined the other class to watch the live coverage. I couldn’t comprehend what had actually happened on TV, but new it wasn’t good and knew that it wasn’t a game that Ms. McCall had planned for the day. The story being told on the monitor was bigger than our classroom and would eventually end up being the reason students were able to leave early.
Before we left the overflown room, Ms. McCall hugged each and every one of us and said, “Life is cruel sometimes, so say I love you.”
When my godparents picked me up from school at noon, that was the first thing I told them.
Shafkat Anowar, Associate Photos Editor
As a five year old kid, I didn’t know what a terrorist attack was. In my mind, it was just a plane a misdriven by the pilots to the world trade center. As I grew up, the whole scenario started to come to a more reasonable frame.
I was born and raised in Bangladesh, so even though it was an incident outside my country, it had an impact on me on some aspects. My family has visited the U.S. back and forth a lot, and one of my uncles lives in New York. So, at that time, my grandmother was visiting my uncle, and she was supposed to go up to the deck of the trade centers. Around night time, I remember my mother screaming on the telephone, talking to my uncle on the other side. She didn’t know if my grandmother already went up the building or not, but it turned out she was about to leave home but didn’t. Even though my family and I were a thousand miles away from the WTC, the panic which was created that night in my home required time to return to the normal state.
Cassie Ordonio, Managing Editor
I was 10, sitting in my fourth grade classroom back in California. My teacher looked sad, and she explained to us what was going on. Everyone in the classroom was unaware at the time, until she turned the T.V. on. Immediately we saw dark smoke surrounding the top of the World Trade Centers.
What appeared to be parts of the building falling off were actual people falling in attempts to escape the flames of the burning towers. That day I learned was terrorism is.
Once class was over, I ran home to tell my family the news. Turned out that they were already aware, and they asked me to sit with them to continue watching the news. By that time the Twin Towers had fully collapsed, and people were running away from the smoke and debris. There was this one news anchor and cameraman who were running while documenting the smoke spreading throughout the ground floor. The cameraman had shown a lady by a shop who gestured them to come inside. One they were safe, you could see the smoke surround the glass door. Others were not so lucky.
As I continued to watch the news, some people were walking to wherever they may be going in the smoke and debris. Some families used their clothing because it was the only thing they had to prevent them from inhaling it.
Throughout the first week after 9/11, the news continued to play recaps. Some even played the voice messages of people inside the Twin Towers to their loved ones moments after they died. Bodies were still being recovered and identified–it was never ending.
As classes were still held at my elementary school, the school made everyone stand in solidarity with the lives lost at 9/11. Many of us understood what was going on, but maybe some did not. The moment that stood out to me at a young age was that everyone around the nation and stood in solidarity. It did not matter what you’re background was, and it didn’t matter about your stance on politics of what it is to be American. Everyone was in this together.