Inevitably, this question comes up every anniversary. You've probably had this conversation with your neighbors, coworkers, acquaintances all day long. It's a question that every one of us can easily answer because although it's been eight years.... it still feels like yesterday.
I was a senior in college at the University of Texas at Austin. I was in class when the terrorists struck. My professor's cell phone kept ringing (she's originally from New York), but she turned it off without answering. We had a strict policy on cell phones.
For about an hour, none of us in class had a clue that anything happened.
When class got out, I walked to my bank near campus. There were tv monitors in the lobby and dozens of people gathered around them. I walked up and caught site of the pentagon on fire. I didn't stick around. I turned and ran out of the lobby and onto the street. I ran full-speed to the student news station about five blocks away.
I tore through the front doors and took the stairs two at a time to the second floor news room. When I got there, a handful of other student reporters were already inside watching the national news. Before I could even speak, my eyes wandered to one of the tv's showing video of the plane hitting the second World Trade Center tower. Until then, I'd had no idea New York had been hit.
I remember wondering if I was dreaming. It took me several minutes to even grasp what happened and to make the connection between what I'd seen unfold in Washington D.C. to New York and later to Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Classes on campus were cancelled and throughout the morning, more and more student reporters began migrating to the newsroom. None of us felt like being alone. So, we did the only thing we could do. We grabbed our cameras and put on a news show.
We covered the cancelled classes, the security concerns on campus, and the university-specific angles we thought were important.
We didn't know what else to do.
I don't know why I blindly ran to the newsroom when I first saw the news. It's not like I was a professional, paid reporter at the time. We didn't even have a newscast planned for that day. I must have needed to feel busy and avoid the helpless feeling that would hit me later that night when I finally did go home to watch the non-stop national news coverage.
Everyone of us has a story about that day. What's yours?