It was 18-years ago today that the United States would come under attack by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda. The events of September 11, 2001 would forever change not only our nation, but the world. Thousands of lives were lost that day and in the years to come as wars waged.
I recall exactly where I was when tragedy struck. I was in the Marine Corps, stationed in Twentynine Palms, California. We had just got done with morning PT (physical training). With the three hour time difference between the east and west coast, it was still very early morning. I remember sitting in my barracks room, just staring at the TV, uncertain of what would happen next as we went to work that day. I remember trying to call home but the lines were busy and when I finally got through to my parents I could hear fear in the voices. In the coming days, security measures would be escalated and nobody knew for sure what the next moves would be. I lost several friends in operations conducted in both Iraq and Afghanistan, lives taken way too young.
Nearly two decades later and I remember it like it was yesterday. I wanted to see if some of the UFC fighters I speak with time to time might recall just where they were on September 11, 2001. Sure enough, they too all remembered it clear as day.
Carla Esparza – “I was at home before school, watching it on the news. I was in Middle School.”
Jessica Eye – “I was in high school history class when they announced over the loud speaker what happen. My teacher turned on the class tv on and every station was showing the live updates . We were released from school early and every gas station was loaded with people getting gas and water.”
Tim Means – “I was switching high schools. I remember my dad was doing the paper work at Moriarty High School and all I remember was the staff walking in and out of the front office, many of them crying. All I thought is it seemed like a sad school, I didn’t want to attend. I didn’t realize what had happened until my dad and I left to go eat and heard what happened on the radio. Sad day.”
Matt Brown – “Man, I have a crazy story. I was tripping balls the night before at a Pink Floyd laser light show and stayed the night at my friend’s house, who was a real weirdo, that was tripping balls too. He woke me up after it happened and we were all still kinda tripping or at least not clear minded yet. So I figured it was some side effect. Then I seen it on TV and thought I was in some alternate reality with him. I was in Xenia, Ohio, close to Wright Patt Air Force Base and we could hear the sonic booms of the jets taking off which is what woke him up originally. We basically figured it was red dawn in our alternate reality. After about 30 minutes or so we realized it was all real and we were safe, but the first ten minutes of waking up after an intense acid trip with my weird hippy friend screaming ‘we’re under attack’ and hearing a bunch of jets taking off nearby was f**king scary man.”
Shane Burgos – “Man, I remember that day very clearly. I was in 5th grade and attended a private Catholic school in the Bronx. Both my parents worked in the City at the time and i had some friends that had parents who worked in the actual towers. I remember the fear on their faces, I’ll never forget that. Thankfully they’re parents made it out and my parents were able to get home as well. Kids were getting pulled out of class left and right and when i made it home i remember seeing all the stories on the news but being only 11 years old you don’t really realize the magnitude of it at the time. Looking back it’s wild that i wasn’t too far away from it and so many of my friends and family were directly affected.”
Justine Kish – “I was in 7th grade at Cramerton Middle School. I was walking into my class room and both TV’s were on the news channel. I remember seeing two very tall buildings up in smoke. At the time I didn’t think it was such a historical landmark. I recall feeling really upset that people were still getting hurt trying to escape. School was quickly dismissed, but my teacher gave us a brief history lesson until our parents could pick us up.”