September 11, 2001, is a day we will always remember. How many times have you heard that line? It’s cliché because it’s true. It’s this generation’s “moment.” It’s the event that made us feel vulnerable—but that’s just one thing it made us feel. Politically, people were outraged. Emotionally, people were devastated. Just thinking about the first responders and the people who were held hostage on planes makes our eyes well up. The utter terror is unimaginable. I know that’s how so many people feel—even people here in Denver, far removed from the physical trauma of it, people who didn’t know anyone who was involved, or who have never been to New York or the Pentagon.
303 Magazine is not a heavy publication—we might touch our readers with candor, but I doubt that people turn to this publication to find something to pull at their heart strings. But, it’s the tenth anniversary of 9/11. So, we thought we’d take a moment and spill our thoughts. I asked the 303 staff to say whatever they wanted—funny, abrasive, touching, a fleeting thought—if they wanted and now we’re sharing with you our “moments,” in order to commemorate everyone who suffered for even one moment because of September 11 and everyone who stood up for the rest of us.
-Laura Standley, Editor in Chief
I remember the moment I turned the TV on and saw the twin towers on fire like it was yesterday. I’ll never forget it. My heart is with those who lost their lives, were injured or lost their dear ones.
AB Aharonian, Publisher/Owner
I was in university at the time and was working at a local pub to earn extra cash. I had just finished work—it was around midnight, maybe a little later. I was working on the computer when the TV caught my attention. I didn’t see the plane enter the first tower only the billowing smoke coming from the building afterward. I was the only one awake in my house. I didn’t know if I should go wake anyone up or not. I just sort of stared at the TV, in shock and bewilderment, not knowing what to feel. I felt sad enough, like I might cry when I thought of the people who lost their lives, but I also felt disconnected. It was surreal for me as I was at home in Australia on the other side of the world. The reaction in Australia seems different to the one in America. It seems that in the US, everyone was worried about further attacks or the beginning of a World War, whereas being so far away in Australia, I really wasn’t sure what to think. The whole thing was unimaginable, incomprehensible to us. It was like looking from the outside in. At school the next day, it was all anyone could talk about, people shared stories of visiting New York, some people had even been to the World Trade Center just a few weeks before. There was solemn mood that day and a feeling of empathy for Americans. I don’t know anyone personally affected by the attack.
Melanie Watson, Photography Editor, Fashion Photographer
Whole Foods employed me as a stocker for a few years; that’s where I was when 9/11 transpired. I distinctly remember craning my neck toward intercom speakers in the Boulder store’s back room. In the beginning, I wasn’t smart enough or informed enough to be suspicious, but I’ve since come to completely distrust the government’s official version of the story. It’s got more holes than a cheese grader. Call me a tin foil hatter if you wish, but at least one in four New Yorkers feels the same way—and they were there. It’s likely FDR knew Pearl Harbor was coming too, but, at the time, we wanted to be provoked by the Japanese into joining WWII. History repeats itself, unfortunately.
George Peele, Music Features & Blog Editor, Staff Writer
Ten years ago, as I was pacing the kitchen deciding what to have for breakfast, my phone rang. I was a high school student at the time, and I somehow managed to have 1st period off, so I didn’t have to be in class until later. It was my very first cell phone, one of those Nokia giants. My brother, on the other line, told me to turn the TV on, guided me to a channel. The volume on the television was down, and after a moment of silence, I asked him why he had me turn to some violent action movie when I was running late to class. His words didn’t sink in. “What do you mean, reality? Overseas?” Even now, September 11, 2001, seems like a tragedy that couldn’t have happened, not here. But it’s a tragedy that made everyone look around and realize: no one is invincible. I can still recall every detail of that day; I can’t remember every detail of my prom or my graduation, but that morning forever left an emblem.
Vicky Rozenberg, Copyeditor & Staff Writer
Radio alarm clicks on. Drag myself out of bed. DJs say there’s some kind of media prank about reports of a plane hitting World Trade Center in NYC. Everyone sounds confused on the radio. I pause morning ritual: What the fuck? What is this—War of the Worlds Part 2, sixty-some years later? Turn on TV. Just in time to see second plane hit. Panic. My brother works one block away. My father works farther uptown. Phones jammed. Can’t get through. Need Internet, since I don’t have it at home. Drive to work in shock, radio spewing horror of fire and brimstone proportion. Send an email every hour to my family. No word, just worry. Watch the news instead of working. Finally receive email that family is safe. My bro walked through the World Trade Center on his way to work only twenty minutes before the first plane hit. One small miracle in a city choked with ash and death.
Laney McVicker, Staff Writer
So, share my thoughts on 9/11. Right. Here’s the thing: an attempt to summarize the swirling mud of emotions about that morning still swimming around in my brain is about as futile as trying to make Sarah Palin sound like a Nobel laureate. Mixed in with the timeline of events are random tidbits of memories my brain has clung to: how pale my co-worker Eric was as he informed me in the newsroom that a plane had hit WTC1 … Peter Jennings’ tears on live TV when the first tower fell … the smell of my son’s hair as I hugged him before I went back to work … the pungent odor of cigarettes and coffee in the air as we worked. And worked. And worked … trying to report the news that no one could yet begin to comprehend. Macabre images and words flew across the AP wire; most would never make it into print. The truth was just too graphic. I was supposed to be covering a trial that day. Instead, I was awaiting news of family members who worked at WTC, learning of deaths of friends and college colleagues at the Pentagon, and trying to maintain composure as I realized so many would never make it out alive. 9/11 remains the most challenging story I’ve ever covered. And, as a former firefighter, it remains the one event that can still bring a lump to my throat and a hollow sickness to the pit of my stomach. Fact is, there is no way to summarize it all. As cliché as it sounds, that day truly changed us all, individually and collectively. Writing this actually brought to light how raw those wounds still are, ten years later.
Laura Keeney, Staff Writer & Blogger
Like always, my 5th grade self looked impeccable: hair glued down with gel and saliva, t-shirt fresh out the L and skin like a porcelain doll. I trotted downstairs to see dad dressed in his daily Navy uniform towering over the TV, and mom doing shuttle-runs between the kitchen and living room. Dad’s still home, shoes are on indoors, my Toaster Strudel isn’t ready and mom has energy? Something’s off. I was told to sit and mindlessly watched as an airplane hit one of the twin towers. Wait, did a silly plane just fly into a building? As a child, I couldn’t comprehend the gravity of the situation or the horror felt by the adults around me. After one decade, however, my generation and I have come to not only know, but also, feel the emotion behind the headline—I hope we’re not the last.
Henry Bae, Staff Writer, Editorial Intern
I ignored it as long as I could. I evaded calls from my extended family because my parents were abroad. I avoided neighbors’ comments about turning on the news rather than going to school. I immersed myself in classes—despite many professors and students not showing up. I’m not sure if it was disbelief or disengagement, but it wasn’t until the evening of September 11, 2001, that I began to realize the significance of the day’s events. I feel lucky I had the opportunity to live in New York City a few years after 9/11. I got to feel the unity and resilience of the city and its impervious citizens. There are definitely continued feelings and indications of tragedy, but those are underscored by the city’s overwhelming determined spirit. As we acknowledge the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 this week, it’s important to honor those that lost their lives, as well as the heroes, survivors and those who continue to feed NYC’s soul.
Rachel Salter, Fashion Blogger
The phone rang waking me up. It was my husband. He had just landed in London and asked me to turn on the TV. I sat up and did as he asked. He sounded shaken, and I had a strong husband. I was confused. I remember being surrounded by my bright yellow bed sheets with the huge red flowers and green vines. They were bright, happy colors, which is why I loved them so much. I don’t know why that sticks in my head. I turned on the TV and couldn’t grasp what I was seeing. Blue skies, smoke and the twin towers. Big, plumes of smoke…and then a plane. A big plane tilting, veering and then… slamming right into one of the towers. I watched it happen, in bed. My husband and I just held onto our phones, holding onto each other the only way we could. And all I could think of was, “Would he survive a plane ride home?”
Patricia Bainter, Food Blogger
Watching television at school was a rare moment. It’s no wonder I still remember sitting in that classroom back in 2001. At thirteen, I had no political context as I watched the towers crumble on CNN, but I knew it was important. In the decade that followed, I saw 9/11 used by so-called patriots as justification for the invasion of our privacies. Some have used the date as a call to arms, or our resilience after the fact as another roundabout way of proclaiming us the Greatest Nation on Earth. For me, 9/11 is less a rallying cry than it is a constant reminder that we, too, are vulnerable.
Austin Wulf, MMJ Blogger
It was only two weeks into my first year of college in Tampa. A guy down the hall from me came running into my room saying, “There’s airplanes flying into buildings”. I didn’t understand what he was talking about so I followed closely behind. There it was—the twin towers were ablaze and consumed with black smoke, utterly destroyed by the planes. I was in such a state of shock; I was totally speechless. It was such a horrific scene which only got worse. As I watched people jumping to their death out of windows, the survivors and helpers in chaos on the ground, and, ultimately, the collapse of the towers, I was overcome with grief. With each day, the stories of those trapped, the number of victims and the amount of destruction increased immensely. And, then, finding out it was a terrorist attack… I never imagined something like that would ever happen in America. The horror and tragedy just kept getting worse, creating a blanket of depression and anger over the nation. It was an absolutely devastating sight. It pained me to think of all those who had lost dear, loved ones and those who would have to try to rebuild their lives, while holding life-altering traumas. We experienced a magnitude of loss that day. It will forever be a day in history to remember, a day that has been imprinted on our hearts.
Dana Yurglich, Production Assistant
I was living in my first apartment as a sophomore in college—studying journalism, of course. My dad woke me up with a phone call, saying he hadn’t boarded his flight, so I shouldn’t worry. I was half-asleep and didn’t know what he was talking about. I wasn’t even aware he was flying anywhere. I thought he was talking about the World Trade Center on the 16th Street Mall. “Why would someone fly a plane into that? Was it an accident? Was the pilot drunk?” I turned on the news. I made a lot of noise. I saw the second plane hit. My roommates woke up, pissed, then joined me. Classes were cancelled. We cried. We yelled. We screamed. We talked politics. We talked ethics. We tried to fathom. We couldn’t. I still can’t. And, here we are, ten years later. My heart goes out to those still healing and to those who have healed, to the celebrated and unsung heroes and to those who risked their lives and gave their lives willingly or whose lives were taken.
Laura Standley, Editor in Chief
Where were you on 9/11?