Five years ago this morning, I was asleep. I slept through Flight 11 hitting the North Tower. I slept through Flight 175 slamming into the South Tower. And, Flight 77 ripping into the reinforced wall of the Pentagon.
By the time I found out about the attacks, both Towers were already gone.
I've always felt kind of guilty for missing it all, not even watching or knowing while thousands were dying. I was in college at the time, and I was on my way out the door to an 11 a.m. class when my roommate called to tell me classes were cancelled.
"Because planes have hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Someone's attacking us."
I didn't have any TV reception at the time because I'd just moved into a new apartment. I called my dad and asked, "Is the world ending?" That was the only thought in my head.
I drove to a friend's house, glancing anxiously at the sky the whole way, and camped on her couch for several days just watching the news.
The world did not end for me, but it did for 2,996 others, God rest their souls. Today I'm watching a complete replay on MSNBC of NBC's coverage from that morning. It's just unbelievable-- a trip back to before we understood that something like this could happen.
Several quotes that struck me:
From an eye witness on the ground in NYC: "They must be having air traffic control problems or something."
From Jim Miklaszewski, reporting from the Pentagon moments after the Flight 77 impact: "Thank God that's just a helicopter going by. I'm sorry. I'm a little nervous with aircraft going by."