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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: Katharina Donat
Contributor's location on 9/11: Germany
Contributed on: 14 October 2004

How did you witness history on September 11th?

My name is Katharina and I'm a fiveteen years old girl from Germany. I've never been in the Usa yet, but it has been my dream since I'm ten years old. On 911, I was 12 years old and at first I didn't get to know about what had happened, because I was at school. It was already afternoon, wenn I arrived home and herade what had happened. My mom had been working, so I sat down infront of our TV and switched it on. At first I couldn't believe it, I guess because it seemed so unreal I thought that might not be true. I changed the channels... but each of them were showing the same. Then I knew that it wasn't a bad dream. This was real. I dunno how long I sat there and watched it, but when my mother came home with a friend of her, she already knew about it, because she had listened to the radio. It was pretty bad and it took me a while to sleep in that night. I thought about all the people who might be death or hurt and was shocked that something like that had have happened. Next day at school, we wrote cards to other kids who lived near NY. We didn't speak much English, but we tried our best. when our teacher told us to be silent for minute we did it. But not because our teacher had told us, we did it, because 911 had affected us and we felt sad at all.

Has your life changed because of September 11, 2001?

My life has definately changed since that day, because till 911 I always thought war was something which couldn't get to us, or to america... to europe, but when I saw the terrible pictures I knew that life was really dangerous. I didn't watch the news so often before it, but since 2001 I'm watching it for every day. I'm always afraid when I hear something about it and there doesnn't passes a week, where i don't think about the innoncent victims. I knwo I'm still a children, like lots of other were, but since 911 I think we aren't cildren anymore. Every child has grown a lot that day. We arent so naiv anymore. We saw these terrible happenings and our oppinion about the world changed. it still hurts to see the pictures of 911 but when I feel bad, and thinks about it, I always ask myself when it hurts so deep inside in my self how much has it to hurt the other ones who lost relatives or friends.

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

I think to build a memorial will be the right think. A place where everybody can remember this day. Remember the innoncent victims, the heroes who tried to save the lifes of the other ones.

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

No, but amercia did always mean something special to me. I'm not a citizen of the USA, but lots of my friends lives there. My nationality is german but I wanna live in the USA. in my room there are lots of posters and two flags. A german flag, and a flag from the USA. America means a lot for and will ever mean. So I hoist both flags because my heart has both nationalities.

Cite as: Katharina Donat, Smithsonian Story #6855, The September 11 Digital Archive, 14 October 2004, <>.
Archival Information: 258 words, 1275 characters

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