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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: Rachel W.
Contributor's location on 9/11: Spokane, Washington
Contributed on: 11 October 2004

How did you witness history on September 11th?

The morning of September 11th, I was sleeping in my living room of my apartment. My phone rang and it was my mom. She said "Rachel, turn on your tv, we are being attacked!" I was half asleep and told my mom " My door is locked no one is in my house!" Thinking she was talking about me, My phone rang again not 5 minutes later, "Damnit Rachel Turn on your tv now!" IT was my mom again. I finally got up and turned on my tv. I layed there listening to it and heard the reporter say "AA plane has been hi-jacked and was crashed into the WTC #1...I thought "What the hell is going on?" I saw the plane being replayed and started crying. Then they showed the second plane, I cried even harder. I just sat there, not knowing what to think. Is this real? Who is behind all of this? I couldn't believe it! Then a thought popped in my head "My grandma is back there!" I called my mom back and asked her if she had heard from my grandma, "no, I'm waiting" is all she said. I sat in my apartment all day long just watching the news.... I can't believe it - our country just got attacked! Well Sept.12th came and me and my mom went to the downtown mall to pick up some things we had on hold and from my moms house to the mall we did not see more than 2 cars the whole way down there. Thats a 12 mile distance between places. Anyway, My grandma called on the 12th, saying she was ok. She couldn't believe the horrific sounds she heard that day. She will never forget! My sympathies go to the families who lost loved ones that day, and to those who are recovering whether it be phsyically or emotionally, I couldn't belive what on saw on that day, I could only imagine what it would be like being there in person, scary.....

Has your life changed because of September 11, 2001?

My life hasn't changed, I now realize life can be cut very short at any time, unexpectantly! I live each day like it is the last and I make sure I tell everyone in my life I love them everyday! It could be your last! This world has such wonderful people in it , its too bad that there are some that have to try and ruin it! And have ruined it for some, such as the families that will never see their mom, dad, sister, brother, what have you again! I can't begin to think where my life would be without my son, mom, or boyfriend!

What do you think should be remembered about September 11th?

I think everyone will always remember the courageous police dept, fire dept, hospitals, paramedics, and random people trying to save their own lives as well as help others...It was a very sad, emotional, tragic day, but it was also a day where NO ONE was selfish except those that took the lives on those planes, and in the WTC. You know here in Spokane, Washington, the teenagers joke that are cops and other authorities are jerks and such, but if that had happened here in Spokane, There little minds would have changed! Thank You for everyones hard, devoted work to help try and save lives! That is something that is never going to be forgotten!

Did you fly an American flag after the events of September 11th?

I had an American Flag on my front porch after the 11th, and now it stays there!

Cite as: Rachel W., Smithsonian Story #6852, The September 11 Digital Archive, 11 October 2004, <>.
Archival Information: 337 words, 1710 characters

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