where were you?

September 18, 2010
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“Two airplanes have hit the world trade centers; another hit the pentagon and a fourth plane is missing,” Said a tear struck reporter on channel 5, “President Bush is saying this is an act of terrorism from the Middle East.”

I was at school sitting in my history class (how ironic) thinking to myself that this was not good, then I felt sick to my stomach as I realize that my uncle and aunt work at the pentagon. I asked to be excused, but my teacher said not a word. I took the opportunity and walked out of the classroom and into the hallway which no one was in, because everyone was watching the events fall into action.

“Yes dear can I help you?” said the nice office lady we all call Mary Lou.

“Um, can I please use the phone to call my mom?” I said trying not to cry

“Sorry Linda no one can use the phone right now, do you not know what’s just happened?” she replied calmly

“Yes I know what has happened, that’s why I need to use the phone, I need to call my mom because my uncle and aunt work at the pentagon and I need to know if she has heard from them. And we are a very close family. I NEED TO TALK TO MY MOM!” I shouted this last sentence I was so scared of what my mom would say.

“Very well then Linda you can use the phone, remember that the time limit still apply here,” She say’s tears running down her face, “Oh and I hope your family’s ok

“Okay time limit 3 minutes, and thank you I need this.” I picked up the phone and dialed my house phone hoping someone was home.

Ring, Ring, Ring. Click, “Hello, who is this.” Said my mother’s voice.

“Mom it’s me. I heard what has happened. Do you know if Uncle James and Aunt Dolly are ok?”

“Well, um, Aunt Dolly had the day off, but James had to go to work we have not heard anything from him yet but were hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. Linda just keep praying that everything is okay go back to class and if you feel the need to come home just give me a call. Have a great day.”

That was that, at least I knew my aunt was okay. I was walking back to class when I remembered my mom said “have a good day” now that was kind of weird considering the events that just happened. I walked back into the class room expecting to be yelled at but instead I was greeted by my tear stricken classmates, which were among the thousands of American’s that have just been read the first list of the missing, my best friend Sarah walked up to me, “Linda your uncle was on the list.” She said this in her cracked voice.

“I know I just called my mom, but thank you.” I cried.

Ding, ding, ding. The bell went off we all jumped, then no one moved. No one wanted to do anything, all we wanted to do was cry, cry over the loved ones we may never see again, we cried for stranger that we saw jumping from the top of the twin tower, who didn’t wait for the fire fighters that were climbing the millions of stairs to help them. Then it happened the first tower came crashing down. We all started weeping, we were so scared that we were next, but we had no idea.

“Attention, attention all students we have rounded up all the bus drivers and you are all going home. Please grab your stuff from your lockers and go. All home work that was due or given this week will be exempt from your total grade. Go home and be with your family.” The intercom turned off and we all just sat, sat with fear on our face.

“You heard what Mr.Kemenes said grab your things and go, go home and be with your family.” Said our history teacher Mr.Tudman.

I slowly gathered all my things and walked out into the crowded hallway. I stopped at my locker and turned the lock to the all familiar numbers 67-32-8 and grabbed my book bag and left. I walked in the front door of my apartment building with my best friend and we slowly started the climb up to the 5th floor to my apartment 5d, where I knew my mom would be waiting for us. I turned the knob expecting it to open because my mom was home, it was locked and I did not own a key. I started to pound on the door thinking that if my mom was being attacked the attacker would open the door so my mom could get free. Still the door stayed closed, and I felt a tap on my shoulder it was Sarah, “You’re at the wrong door.” I looked up she was right I was knocking on the door of an abandoned apartment, I felt stupid.

“It’s okay; it’s been a long day. You just need to relax when you get home.” Sarah said. She walked me to the right door; made sure I was okay and walked down to the end of hallway to her apartment.

“Your home, thank goodness I needed to talk to you. Aunt Dolly called me and said that she still has not heard from James, and that the fire there is so hot it may be hours before firefighters can even get into the part of the building that was hit.” She looked so sad as she said those words.

“So basically your telling me that Uncle James is dead. How could you give up like that mom I thought you loved your brother. Why would you, why could you…..” I was sad and tired and scared and I could just not finish the sentence.

“Honey, I never said that he was dead and I am never going to give up on him. Honey I think that you need to calm down and lie down.” My mom said with disappointment on her face.

I lie down just as my mom suggested and turned on the television to channel 5, to see what has happened after I left school as it turns out the second tower fell and with it just like the first on made a big cloud of dust and debris that was left from the first tower. I also found out that the fourth missing plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. This day was just getting worse and worse. I don’t see myself going to school tomorrow I told my mom and she said she was not going to make me go but she said to hold off until tomorrow and see what’s going on then. Then I fall asleep.

“Linda, honey are you awake? I just want you to know that I am going to run down to the store and buy some grocery’s Sarah is here in case you need to talk, by the way super will be done any minute now could you take it out of the oven.” Mom said.

“Super? Already its only like 11:30, isn’t it?” I asked so confused

“Um, dear you came in here and slept and now it’s 5 in the afternoon. I will be right back.”

“So did the nation get attacked by terrorist or was that all a bad dream. Please tell me it’s a bad dream.” I said trying to believe that it was a bad dream.

“No honey it’s not a bad dream, I really want to tell you that it is but it’s not. Now I got to go I will be back.” And she left.


“Pumping’ up the volume, breaking down to the beat, cruising through the west side, we’ll be checking the scene….” I awake to this song, as my radio alarm clock was set to do on school days, is today a school day? I turn on the television and sure enough there was school and they were still talking about what happened yesterday. Well I guess I should get ready for school. What do I wear, what do I wear. I know what I was going to wear, my mom had this Yankee Doodle Halloween costume that was red, white and blue I knew I was going to look a little silly but what else could I do to show my support to my country? I walked into the school that day wearing my Halloween costume and nobody laughed in fact a couple of other kids were wearing the same thing, I felt a little disappointed that I was not the only one but that’s ok because it was a new day and I was alive…it hit me my mom did not tell me about uncle James, I wondered if he was ok. My first class was science and all we did was listen to the radio, as they announced the list of the dead, “Andrew S Redman age 42, Sally E. Redman age 40, Mike P. Redman age 6, Courtney L. Gosa…..” they were into the list about an hour before I heard James P. Coulenhound, my uncle. HE WAS DEAD! I burst into tears right in front of my class something that I would have never done before. I asked to be excused and I was. I went right to the office, and on the way bumped into a couple of other people but I didn’t care I just wanted to call my mom and see if she knew yet.

“Mary I need to call my mom, right now.” I said kind of upset.

“Linda go ahead and there is no time limit until this is over. And I am so sorry for your loss.”

“Mom, mom are you there,” I said into the phone, “Did you hear Uncle James is dead, he is gone mom he is gone. What is aunt Dolly going to do now, how is she going to work and take care of Zack, Emily and Nicole. Mom, mom I am so scared.” I say so fast I don’t know if she understands what I am saying.

“Linda I heard alright, and its ok I am scared to. Aunt Dolly has invited us to stay with her so I can take care of the kids and she can then go to work, but I wanted to see if it was ok with you because you would be going to go to a different school, making new friends and so on.

“Yes mom its ok with me, I mean if you want to do it. Hey do you know if and when they are doing a funeral?” I asked afraid of the answer.

“Honey there was nothing left of him all they found was his old dog tag from when he was in the war. So if they do a funeral it will be a closed casket and it will just be a pair of his clothing and his dog tag. I will see you after school.” The phone went dead. Now came the challenge telling Sarah I was moving.

Sarah and I had lunch together today, “Sarah I have bad news, I am moving.” She looked at me with a glare

“But Linda, I will miss you.” She said

“I know I will miss you too. I won’t be in school tomorrow today is my last day. I will write to you and call you, but I will never forget you.” I walked away my mom was waiting for me. My mom and I went home and packed up the few things we owned, it didn’t take us long. Then it was time to leave, and all I wanted to do was put everything back into its original place, and cry.


I am moved, I live 40 minutes away from the pentagon, at night you can hear the screams of people after finding out that their loved one is dead, it scares me and gives me nightmare’s. My mom tells me every day that she loves me and I say it right back. Tomorrow is the funeral for my uncle. I think I am going to get sick.


The day started with everyone in black, getting into the red SUV. We pulled into the funeral home at 9:30am and the funeral went well it was the burial that was the hardest. It started off with the casket being covered with the American flag, and the gun shots and my aunt wrote a speech it went a little like this “James was a great person. He was a brother, uncle, cousin, father and a husband. He served his country well and loved his family like no other. That’s what cost him his life. On September 11, 2001 a plane crashed into the pentagon, his work place he had no idea, what was going to happen that day as he kissed us goodbye that day hoping to come home for supper. Now where were you on that horrible day?” That was my favorite part of the whole thing.


It’s been one month from the time of the terrorist attack on the United States, It been a very hard month. Aunt Dolly has quit her job and started her own store it’s called “hope for you” and she raise’s money for people who have lost love one’s in the 9/11 terrorist attack or if their loved one was killed in the war that was started that day. She has help three families’s already and has a waiting list four months long. She is doing just fine. As for my mom and me we started a campaign to promote awareness about terrorism and we will start our “tour” next month, so I will be missing a lot of school. We are also back in our old apartment and I am back in school with Sarah, everyone is still a little shaken up about the events but I have a good feeling that our country is going to go back to normal sometime soon, and as I come to the last page of my diary, I just want to say that I hope we as a country never forget September 11 of 2001 or the day my life changed forever.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

summerdreamer This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 2, 2010 at 5:46 pm
that was a nice storyline but I think you should expand your vocabulary a little bit, besides that it was really meaningful :)
halo said...
Sept. 26, 2010 at 3:09 pm
that was a great story
sallysunshine said...
Sept. 26, 2010 at 12:28 pm
i really like this story, it probably hits home to some people. you used really good descripted words and you made me cry, i will show this to all my friends.
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