Grey Havoc

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Archibald

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Astronaut Frank Culbertson was onboard the ISS that day and took photos of Ground zero from high there.
Only to learn that a friend and colleague of him, Charles Burlingame, had been Flight 77 pilot that fateful day.

A month later early October he saw the invasion of Aghanistan from his vantage point.
 

Grey Havoc

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uk 75

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I was in a very boring office conference in Frankfurt until I escaped at about 4 o'clock to visit a shop I knew dealing in old toys.
The owner of the shop tried to explain to me what had happened. As I waited in the evening for the train back to Dusseldorf big TV screens showed the awful scenes.
Frankfurt is sometimes nicknamed Mainhatten because it's on the river Main and has skyscrapers in its business district.
No day before or since has left me feeling so helpless. I had visited New York and Washington and knew the places like I knew London.
Today I can only think of all the families for whom today leaves them helpless all over again.
 

sferrin

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Was sleeping off an all-night "crunch time" for one of the PGA Championship Golf PC games back then. Girlfriend called me from work and I turned on CNN. If I'd had access to the "red button" I'd have happily pressed it.
 
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Grey Havoc

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Archibald

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I was in Toulouse at the Citée de l'espace. My sister was a science student in Toulouse - and only 10 days later was badly shaken in the AZF disaster, when an ammonitrate plant launched itself to the Moon killing 30 people and rocking southern France 100 km away.

I went to this very exciting place with my other sister.


You guess, being a space nerd since the craddle, I was like a kid in a candy shop on Christmas day. The full size Ariane 5 mockup you can see on the Wikipedia picture - I ate my picnic there that fateful day.

Since it was mid day (12h) in France, it was 6' in the morning in New York so the carnage hadn't started yet.
I remember having checked my watch at 11h37 - 5h37 in the USA East Coast so before the hijackings even began.

First aircraft hit at 8h46 in N.Y = 14h46 in France - in a very shinny, boring, and ordinary tuesday afternoon. Late in the summer but the week after schools and works started again. A TV no man's land, really. Few people were in front of their TVs.

Last thing I did was going to the gift shop to buy Airfix Lunar Module 1/72 kit, complete with a plastic lunar landscape. I made a diorama out of it, with plaster of Paris. Still have it, intact, today.

So in a nutshell - I commemorated
- America's most glorious day ever (July 21, 1969)
- on America's worst day in history (September 11, 2001).

The irony is still sickening, 20 years later.

After the gift shop we tried catching a bus to return my sister home, got lost in the countryside under scorching heat; went into a shouting match with my sister.
She finally phoned my other sister - who rescued us with her car, then returned to her Faculty.
Left alone at her home, my sister and I got bored, finally lit the TV - and saw the carnage unfolding. Must have been 15h30 in the afternoon, can't remember.
It was such a shinny and exciting day... until late in the afternoon.

10 days later, September 21, 2001: I had another shouting match with my sister, then her mobile phone rung: my mom, to tell us Toulouse AZF had blown up, and my elder sister was shocked but unhurt.


September 2001 was hell. No more shouting match with my sister, I swore. It's getting closer each time - don't tempt fate a third time. Enough exploding cities.
 
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Foo Fighter

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I will never be able to forget the things I saw reported that day, another Pearl Harbour if there ever has been. I've been out of sorts all day, I just cannot settle and anything that just goes wrong bugs me. Much like it did that day. When are we humans going to learn to live together respectfully? Allowing others to live as they will. RIP to a hell of a lot of good people and many more who will never heal.
 

Grey Havoc

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Graham1973

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I was watching a TV cop show with my sister, it would have been roughly half-way through the show when they switched to a live feed from New York, but at the time we thought it was a movie promotion, so we changed channels and found the same footage on all the channels. I stayed up till midnight local time sending emails to people.

It was the day after that was the worst part, I kept expecting the same thing to happen where I lived.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Watched 9/11 : Control The Skies on Netflix which was all about how Gander ATC had to land hundreds of US-bound planes n tiny airports in Newfoundland when US airspace was closed. Pretty interesting.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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I've removed or edited some offensive posts and my reaction to them. If you want to discuss it lets use private conversations.
 

Archibald

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The second impact had, by far, the most powerful emotional contains of the entire day.
Just think about it
- WTC Impact 1 was AFAIK only captured by Jules & Gédéon Naudets by pure luck - being with firemen at the right time and right place.

- Pentagon was only caught by a surveillance camera

- Shanksville was a remote corner of the countryside.

But that second aircraft... at least 18 cameras caught it, some of them so close from it. That's really the one that brought absolute terror across the entire world, TV networks and people.

Everybody was still stunned, having not seen the first impact and wondering WTH was happening. Barely time to think "what kind of stupid pilot did that..." and there come the second one, lumbering but determined, that black silhouette against the blue, shinny sky.

I can still remember I lit the TV after the second plane hit but before the towers come down, so probably around 15H30, french time.
I first saw the first tower, smoldering; only one second to think about the B-25 striking the ESB in 1945 when wham, second impact immediately thereafter, and the anchorman insisting "unbelievable events, this is no accident, this is a deliberate attack".

Dear God. I'm one ocean away from being American, and still have chills typing this, 20 years after. I just can't imagine what was it like to be in New York that day.
 

shin_getter

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Edit: posted in wrong thread


He had to adopt a strategy of initiative and offense as well as defense. As I saw it, the President decided that, in dealing with the terrorists, he had the choice of changing the way we live or changing the way they live.
Sending only Tomahawks would be like sending a letter saying, “We surrender.” We must have troops on the ground. Otherwise they’ll think we’re weak. Rumsfeld concurred: We don’t want to run the risk of being laughable, he noted.
For weeks, Rumsfeld had been concerned that our initial military action after 9/11 would look puny. If our efforts were “not confidence-inspiring,” he feared, we would signal to the world—in particular to state supporters of terrorism—that the United States was still not serious about destroying terrorist network.
A more impressive display of power was needed to create the international environment the Bush team sought. Yet the parallels between the two invasions are legion: Just as Feith and his team were did not see a “stable, post-Taliban Afghanistan” as a central goal of Operation Enduring Freedom, so they refused to plan for building a stable, post-invasion Iraq. Rumsfeld was resolutely against anything that smelled of ‘nation building.’ In both Iraq and Afghanistan Rumsfeld argued against taking sides in inner political disputes or expending resources to strengthen the capacity and authority of the newly installed regimes.
Yet large post-invasion commitments to Afghanistan were not compatible with Washington’s determination to reshape the entire region. Money and troops that might have been used in securing Afghanistan’s future were needed for “changing the way they lived” elsewhere. Tying American resources down to one locale dampened their coercive potential.
Later that year Hamid Karzai would be in a position to accept a Taliban surrender. He pushed for a negotiated settlement with Taliban leaders that would offer them amnesty and perhaps a role in the new Afghan government. If the primary ‘military mission’ in Afghanistan was securing a stable political order that would not shelter terrorists, a negotiated surrender of the remaining Taliban leaders would be the ideal solution. Karzai understood this. The Americans would have none of it. They not only announced that they would not allow the Taliban any role in the new Afghanistan, they made a list of some 30-plus high-level Taliban leaders that American and Afghan officials were banned from negotiating with. This stand makes sense in the context of the actual ‘military mission’ of U.S. forces–not post-invasion stability, but “making an example of [the Taliban] as a state sponsor of terror.” Refusing to give defeated Taliban a role in the new order was a powerful way to enforce this lesson.


Never forget, but do forgive~
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I guess it is kind of unfortunate that on this day that there is no accessible discussions of the other side's thoughts on the matter and we do not get a full picture of the human factors that led to this. I do not think it hasn't all but been a disaster for all sides.
 

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