I was driving to work, listening to Howard Stern. Mid-conversation, he said he just heard that a plane hit one of the WTC towers. But he said it in the same voice he usually talks on the show with, so I wasn't sure if it was some sick joke or what. As they kept talking about it, it became obvious that it was real. He was still at the microphone but he was talking about people in the studio seeing smoke and flames coming from the tower. But I think at this point I still assumed it was a little private plane that would just damage an office or two. Or maybe it was Howard who first communicated to me that it WASN'T just a small plane like he had thought. I forget...
2. What country/group did you suspect immediately?
Nobody. "Immediately," all I knew was that a plane hit a tower. I didn't know it was an American Airlines jet, or any of the other details that would indicate it was any sort of deliberate act. It seemed like an accident up until I heard that the second plane hit.
3. Who were you with? How did you react?
Once I got to work, I was among coworkers who were all gathered around radios and few were talking on phones, and the rest were yammering about this and that, speculating quite immaturely about what was happening, since we didn't have a TV and were just listening to radio news. Eventually we did get a TV in the break room though. When we finally heard about the second plane hitting, I think we figured it must be an attack. Then later I heard someone in a cubicle shout that "they hit the Pentagon!" I didn't believe that at first. But sure enough, it showed up on the news, and then it sank in that maybe I should be a little more fearful about what's going on.
4. Who did you call first?
Call? I didn't have an instinct to call anyone. I suppose I might've if I knew any family or friends who lived in or had any reason to be visiting NYC. But being that I didn't, I guess I figured I should keep the lines free for other people who DO need to make important calls.
However, one time when I lived in an apartment on campus and a nasty storm front came through, making the wind howl and blowing the front door open and soaking the floor in a few seconds, I was so scared I might get caught in a tornado that I called my mom. So maybe that sort of answers the question - who I would call in such a situation, if I had reason to. And in the case of the storm, I probably only had reason to call because I didn't trust the old apartment structure to withstand much more than it was taking at the time. :)
5. What did you do the rest of the day?
Worked and kept checking news web sites. None of the streaming video links would work, but opalcat pointed her webcam at her TV and I viewed that to at least see the images they were broadcasting live since we didn't have a TV initially.
6. Did you have any friends or family killed in the attacks?
7. Do you think 9-11 should be a holiday?
I think it will be remembered anyway. Turning it into a holiday is like forcing people to remember it, which is sort of an insult, to suggest we wouldn't remember if the calendar didn't tell us to.
Did Japan make holidays out of the atom bombings?
8. Do you think even a % of the money donated really made it to the families?
Surely some of it did.
9. Did you feel an increased sense of patriotism? Did it last?
The next day as I drove along the interstate to work, I passed a large convoy of military vehicles that I could only guess were heading towards NYC. Seeing how the country reacts filled me with a bit of patriotism I think. In general I've seen a huge increase in the number of flags displayed everywhere, but is that really an increase in patriotism? I'm not sure. Every little thing counts. But I'm tempted to think you need to do something more than just wave the colors to be patriotic, although I'm not sure what.
10. Have you flown since the attacks? How soon did you fly again?
I'd never flown before the attacks (except as a baby). I had my first flying experience this year on my trip to Boise. I got searched once but other than that I saw no impact from the attacks. I didn't see any of these guards in uniform that people speak of. To answer the question, I don't have any aversion to flying, before or after the attacks.
11. Have you been to Ground Zero?
Neither before nor after.