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Where were you on the day the towers fell?

September 11, 2007

Six years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001, Islamic extremists hijacked four commercial airliners. Two planes were flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York. A third plane was crashed into the Pentagon. The fourth plane crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania.

Here are recollections of that day from members of the Pulse writing team.

Elizabeth Kramer, 15, of Hagerstown

When I heard about the Sept. 11 attacks, I was in the middle of science class at Paramount Elementary School. One of the other teachers ran into the room and had a hushed conference with our teacher. We turned on the TV and watched static-y images of a plane hitting a building. I thought, "An action movie?" I didn't realize what was going on.

Shortly after, there was an early dismissal and I went home, where both my parents were back from work. As a family, we watched the same horrific scene again and again.

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Brigitte Grewe, 13, of Hagerstown

I was in second grade and I heard an announcement on the intercom saying we were on lockdown. At first, my friends and I thought lockdowns were because someone was going to attack our school. Then teachers told us we were going to be picked up early. When I arrived home, I learned that the Twin Towers were destroyed after terrorists flew planes into them. I thought, "OK, that's up in New York. Why should I worry?" It didn't really hit me at the time.

Now, it's all I hear about.

Jason Shockey, 14, of Hagerstown

Sept. 11, 2001 - a typical school day. I had slept in later than usual and quickly grabbed a bowl of cereal. I got my math book and slid into a chair at the kitchen table next to my brother. About one-quarter through a lesson, the phone rang. My dad called from the fire department to ask if we were watching TV. My mom turned on CNN. My brother and I joined her and we sat glued to the TV while my mom picked up the phone and started calling people.

Adeline Cumpata, 16, of Hagerstown

"Daddy, what are you watching?" I asked my father, captivated by an explosion and tinted orange-gray smoke on the TV. "In New York, an explosion," my father said. I thought it was a movie. "I'll take you to school and tell you on the way," my father said. In the car, he said, "What you saw on the TV is actually happening now in New York." I said, "We're in California. How does that affect us?"

At school, TV programs and news were prohibited to students, so all of us were unaware of the magnitude of the attack. When I arrived back home, nothing more was said. Sept. 11, 2001, remained just a memory until now.

Sally Newlin, 16, of Hagerstown

I remember getting out of school early, thinking, "Yay! No school!" I went home and my dad told me to watch TV. He said the Twin Towers fell. I had no idea what he was talking about. I went on my way and didn't think it affected me. At that age, I just didn't care that they had fallen, but now I do.

Al Wunderlich, 15, of Hagerstown

Because we were home-schooled, I remember my dad coming into our house and telling us about the World Trade Center being attacked. He was a volunteer firefighter, so we were worried that he would be sent there to help out.

Sara Martin, 16, of Smithsburg

I was sitting in the media center when we overheard our teachers talking about a plane crash, but we didn't think anything of it. The next period, suddenly we're being pulled out of class to go home. It wasn't until I got home that I began to understand why my mom was so freaked out. Two planes heading to California had crashed, and that very day my father was flying to California. But my mom didn't know his flight number and he wasn't answering his cell phone. We didn't know if he was OK. Luckily, he was.

Bethany Ferguson, 15, of Boonsboro

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was sitting in my fifth-grade math class, wondering why so many students were going home early. I remember the constant beep of the intercom announcing yet another early dismissal for some lucky student. I crossed my fingers each time, hoping I'd hear my name. I was bewildered at the crying coming from some of the adults, and the constant whispering going on between teachers. Our school was on lock-down - doors and windows were locked and classroom lights were shut off. We were told to stay quiet and remain calm throughout the rest of class. It wasn't until I finally got picked up by my mom that I learned what happened that day in New York.

Mary A. Kavanagh, 18, a student at George Mason University

I remember I was in math class, doing box and whisker plots, when Mrs. Novak, the principal, walked into our room and asked Mr. Fleming to speak with her in the hallway. After he came back from the hallway, he told us the news. The entire class was flabbergasted. The rest of the day I only recall feeling extremely anxious.

Sabrina Zeger, 17, of Hagerstown

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