It seems everyone else is doing it, so what the hell... During the first semester of my freshman year, on Tuesday, my first class wasn't until 11:25 if not later. So on Sept. 11, 2001, I played computer games until around 10 a.m. When I wandered out of my room, I saw half a dozen people around a TV in the room of someone else on the hall. I stopped to rubberneck, and hey, that smoking tower on CNN looked familiar...
My first class that day was an English literature class focused in part on the literature of war (how appropriate). So soon after the attacks, class discussion was mostly uninformed speculation. Later that day a couple friends and I tried to go give blood, but the place we went was closed. As far as I can remember it was just the confusion of trying to put together a, you know, blood drive on less than a day's notice. There was one a week or so later, but I didn't go.
Some time that morning I talked to my mother, and the first words out of her mouth were "are you OK?" I found this a little annoying, because Rochester, N.Y. is even farther from New York City than Middlebury, Vt. The main topic of our talk was what, if anything, would happen to my cousin's wedding. It was scheduled for the coming Saturday, Sept. 15 — in Manhattan, since that was where he and his fiancé lived. (At least, I think it's where they lived. They're distant relatives, sort of my dad's step-cousin once removed, and I think the wedding was the first time I met the groom. But anyways.) Was the wedding still on? If it was, would we be able/expected to go? In the end, the wedding happened and we went, but the honeymoon was postponed a few months because both bride and groom were doctors of some kind.
So, not much of a story or a personal connection. People are saying accurately enough that this will be my generation's version of JFK being shot or Pearl Harbor being bombed, and they're probably right, but mostly just because America wants it that way. For 90 percent of individuals, it was meaningful to their own lives because they knew within a day that in 2006 or 2011 you would be asked "Where were you?"
But then, I think "9/11 changed everything" is one of the more destructive ideas in modern America. I'd change the writing or some sweeping summaries in these previous posts a bit, but overall, I think my earlier comments on the subject put it pretty well.