Stories and Testimonials about September 11th, 2001

Each September 11th, Americans and others around the world reflect on the tragic events that occurred on that date in 2001 and recount the stories of how they learned of the attacks. On Where We Were, ordinary people can now share their stories and view the moving personal testimonials of others about where and how they experienced this extraordinary day.

Recent ‘Where We Were’ Video Testimonials


Martin Erbele – Charleston, SC

As Martin sat in a classroom in rural northern Georgia, he recalls an announcement over the intercom instructing teachers not to turn on their televisions. The full reality of what was happening on 9/11 didn’t set in for him under later that afternoon.


LaChelle Burgess – Fayetteville, NC

The military’s generous education benefits helped convince LaChelle to enlist in the Army. On Sept. 11th, however, the 22 year old soldier stationed in Germany quickly realized that the ongoing attacks were no accident, and that she would soon be going to war.


Jennifer Crane – Coatesville, PA

Jennifer shares how she learned of 9/11 while in Basic Combat Training for the Army at Ft. Jackson, SC. Her unit was informed of the attacks, but she wasn’t able to see any of the images until she went home for Christmas. A year later, she deployed to Afghanistan.


Larry Collins – Charleston, SC

Larry, who had just moved away from NYC at the time, learned of the attacks from the newsroom in Louisiana in which he was working at the time. As events unfolded that day before his eyes, he remembers that day as the day he really grew up.


Maria Caruso – Philadelphia,PA

Maria was in 2nd grade in New York City on Sept. 11th, 2001. She vividly recalls teachers rushing in with news of the attacks on her city, the school frantically kicking into emergency mode, parents coming to pick up their children, and more.


Tim Bergling – Tysons Corner, VA

Tim, a former Marine and current civilian employee of the federal government, recounts his experience upon learning of the attacks on the morning of Sept. 11th, specifically the attack on the Pentagon, and his enduring memory of the blue skies of that morning.


Barbara Dixon – Buford, GA

Barbara, a teacher in Georgia, talks about learning of the attacks as students were filing into morning classes. Suddenly, administrators instruct  teachers to turn off all televisions, leaving her to wonder what is happening and worrying about her own children.


Alex Strzalkowski – Jacksonville, NC

Alex was in the first grade in New Jersey on 9/11, but he still distinctly remembers what occurred that day. Being so close to NYC, the parents of several friends worked in and around the towers across the river.


Aaneesah Amatullah-Benson – Minneapolis, MN

Aaneesah had just begun her day as a teacher in the childcare center at a domestic violence shelter on 9.11.01. She recalls her disbelief that something on this scale could happen at home in the U.S.

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Recent ‘Where We Were’ Written Stories

Phil Pearson – Sesser, IL

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was a 35-year-old correctional officer and staff sergeant in the Army reserve looking forward to a day off with my toddler.My mother-in-law called and said clients were coming into her office and claiming that an airplane had hit the World Trade Center. She … [Read More...]

John-Michael LaLicata – Seattle, WA

I used to stay up late programming on the computer. I had stayed up extremely late drinking coffee and chatting with friends. I had decided to go to bed and I used to turn on the TV for some ambient noise while I fell asleep. My TV was always tuned to a news channel or the … [Read More...]

Lori Ann Curley – Madison, WI

From my journal: Tuesday, September 11, 2001, morning "Last night I began work on my Christmas Crafts. I cut out pieces from a couple of panels. I have a United States map panel for CJ [nephew], and I wrote down all the capitals and symbols for further letter writing. I even … [Read More...]