I posted this as a comment on another blog. Thought I'd repost (and add some more info):
I was a new RN in L&D. I was in a fetal monitoring class, off site from my hospital. Someone came in our room, and announced that a jumbo jet just crashed into one of the towers. The instructors tried to keep going with the lesson on fetal monitoring. The students, however, couldn't concentrate. We asked if we could stop, and go see a TV to find out what was going on. We all went and hovered around a TV that barely got the local channel (no cable!), so all we could see was fuzzy images of the planes hitting the towers. "Many casualties" was what they announced. "What does that mean?" we asked. It was such a state of denial. Yes, health care workers were in denial that people were dying before our very eyes.
I tried to call my aunt - she sometimes works in the Towers - couldn't get through to her. I was able to get through to my other aunt locally. She hadn't heard from her sister (my aunt who works at the Towers sometimes), nor had she heard from my other aunt in D.C. It was panic. All of us students in class called it a day, and left. I remember driving home, trying to get a hold of my (then) husband on the phone. He was working at another hospital. When I did get a hold of him, he acted like it was no big deal. (Insensitive jerk!). I drove home. The kids were sent home early from school. I watched in living color, with horror, as the crashes were replayed over and over on TV. My oldest daughter thought it was France that was bombing us....she was terrified. I ended up turning the TV off and sitting down with my kids (they were 11 and 9 yrs old) and talking to them about what was going on. They were worried that our house would be next. I tried to reassure them that the bad people weren't interested in bombing a small town like where we live, and we were safe. I contemplated packing them up in our minivan and hiding. But where could we hide?
For days afterward, I stared at the sky in amazement - we lived under a major flight path - NO PLANES. None. It was so eerie.
To this day, I still flashback on those planes, when I see planes in the sky. I cannot help it. I imagine them blowing up midair.
As for flying post 9/11? I've done it twice. Psychologically, I prepare to die on each flight. Always wondering......is it my turn next?
My aunt in NYC was safe. She hadn't gone to the Towers that day. She was at work at JFK Airport. (Ironically, she works in security). My other aunt in DC was safe also. She was just a few blocks from the White House. She was evacuated from her building that day, for safety reasons.
On a sad note, my uncle went into NYC from Long Island that day, to try to see if he could help out with anything, anywhere. He wasn't a firefighter, rescuer, or medical person. He was just a nice guy. He was never seen or heard from again. Whether something happened to him, or he used that day as an excuse to leave his wife and children, we'll probably never know. RIP Uncle Bob, wherever you are!
Also, I filed for divorce and left my insensitive jerk of a husband, one month later.