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The September 11 Digital Archive

Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Behring Center Smithsonian “September 11:
Bearing Witness to History”

     Story of September 11
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Contributed by: Patricia Hale
Contributor's location on 9/11: Chicago
Contributed on: 7 October 2004

How did you witness history on September 11th?

Like many others, I too will never forget that morning. Even though we were very far away - leaving Luxemburg for Belgium on vacation, we were completely numbed. We were in the train, when a woman had a radio to her ear and had a horrified look on her face, but we were oblivious until we reached our hotel and saw CNN on TV. Then it was the strangest experience. Normally these terrible attacks are in some very distant place and one reads about it from home with a sense of guilt but security. This time, we were far away and it was back home where the insecurity was. And strangely too, we really felt that we wanted back home. In Europe, people on the street and the media we were exposed to were sympathetic and supportive. It seems that for many people the sense of loss and shock is gone and they are moving on. But I still struggle with the whole experience and feel that my sense of security is really divided into the simple life 'before' and the realization of 'after'. I will never forget.

Cite as: Patricia Hale, Smithsonian Story #6850, The September 11 Digital Archive, 7 October 2004, <>.
Archival Information: 198 words, 1026 characters

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