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Where Were You During 9-11


I still remember it like it was yesterday. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 17 years

Here is my story…

I was on vacation…

We (my friend and I) had just flown out to Venice the day before (9/10). We got in late, ate a wonderful meal just outside of St. Mark’s Square, and the very next morning we turned the tv on…

And saw video of the first twin tower smoking.

They kept showing the footage over and over again. And we didn’t understand it because it was all in French. We turned the channel, same thing, smoking tower; French. It looked like a movie. We couldn’t comprehend it, didn’t think it was real

“What is this? Is that New York?”

We finally found CNN, and learned that it was a terrorist attack on New York City.

We sat there dumbfounded. It couldn’t be… New York? It felt surreal. We thought it was some kind of televised show, shooting a film, something made up

But as we sat there, listening to the live breaking news, correspondence, chatter, mass confusion, we realized there really was an attack on American soil. It was happening at home.

And then the second plane hit…

We were speechless. Paralyzed. Seeing it happen on live tv… We felt so helpless. Especially being so far away

We tried to call home but all the lines were busy. We sat watching the broadcast for hours, like a dreamscape. We watched tv on and off the entire day, still trying to call home with no luck

All that day and the next we felt numb…

We went walking about Venice, and exactly at Noon, on 9/12, the entire city stood still. Every place, every store, everything shut down and stopped for a full 5 minutes. All the businesses closed their gates, people halted, paused for a moment of peace and silence. It was all in remembrance of 9/11 victims. The aura was quiet, calm, and very heartfelt. All around stores and shops hung American flags that blew beautifully in the wind.

Everywhere you looked; red, white and blue!

9-11 Signs In The Windows

American Flag Hanging in Venice

9-11 Remembrance Signs In The Venice Store Windows

A couple days later we traveled to Florence (Firenze)…

We ventured around the city and sights, and saw more signs of remembrance, posters, signs, condolenses everywhere we went…

9-11 Sympathy Signs In Italy

But not everyone was supportive…

As the days progressed, and President Bush retaliated, we felt it across the globe. We ran into protests going on in the squares. Mobs of people with signs and flags… Protesting against Bush. Some of the folks didn’t want to be part of his war (our war)… And it actually made us a little scared to be there, to be American. It was a volatile time. We moved away from the public outcries and stuck to the more touristy areas.

We didn’t encounter any ill-will, but could have…

We were in Florence for 5 days (just like Venice). And the entire time we had no idea whether we would be able to fly back as scheduled, or not (All flights were grounded). We got lucky though, our flight was one of the first flights allowed back into the states. And it was packed…

Aboard the plane were tons of people who had been trapped overseas for a week and couldn’t get back to their loved ones.

And when we finally did touch ground in the USA, the entire plane erupted in cheers of joy. Everyone was clapping and shouting, happy to be safe… It brought tears to your eyes.

To this day I fully remember the support, and the protests as well. Seeing all those American flags was bizarre… After all, if the attack had been on Italy instead, do you think we would put their flags up???

It really makes you think.

Sure they had a lot of American tourists there at the time, and maybe they wanted to make us feel better… But you know what? It worked. It was touching. Especially at such a traumatic time…

9/11 is still painful to me. All the footage, the stories, the loss… It’s hard to imagine… I have stacks and stacks of newspapers, memorials, magazines stored away from that awful tragedy.

My hats off to all those that were affected and directly involved by 9/11. All those that helped save lives… All those that perished. The red line, the blue line, we will always remember you, the twin towers, and the spirit of the nation. We will stand strong together.

We have to!

So what about you?

Where were you, what were you during 9/11?

Let me know in the comments below…

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