San Diegans recall 9-11

I couldn't believe this was happening in America

From top, left: Delmy Horman, Father Lousi Solcia, Matthew Warren, Bernard Miller, Shiloh HallFrom bottom, left: Adi Pourfard, Phillip Reed, Joe Fisher, Jamie Hall, and Harry McClellan. "At first, I didn’t know if it was a joke, like in 1984, or if it was real."
  • From top, left: Delmy Horman, Father Lousi Solcia, Matthew Warren, Bernard Miller, Shiloh Hall
    From bottom, left: Adi Pourfard, Phillip Reed, Joe Fisher, Jamie Hall, and Harry McClellan. "At first, I didn’t know if it was a joke, like in 1984, or if it was real."

Just about everyone remembers that moment on September 11 when he or she first heard that hijacked airliners had flown into the World Trade Center. Here, 101 men and women tell how that moment that changed the world changed them.

Pat Runsbold, 63, is a teacher from Carlsbad. “I was getting up to go to school and my husband called me in to the television and said, ‘Look at what’s going on!’ I couldn’t believe my eyes. I saw the second plane hit the tower, and it was just unbelievable. I couldn’t believe this was happening in America, but at the same time, I felt the panic for those people there. I was very concerned, because I didn’t know how they would ever get out. I prayed to God at that particular moment, because I thought that that was the only way that any of this will ever be solved or in any way resolved. I spent the day at class, and I told the children that I teach that a very bad thing had happened in America. Most of them were aware of it, but I think because I teach kindergarten, they weren’t aware of the depth of the tragedy. It was hard to sleep for a couple of nights. The damage had been done, and I had said all the prayers I could say.”

Sheila Sample, 44, is a licensed nurse who lives in Shelter Valley, between Julian and Ranchita. “I was standing in my living room. My husband had the TV news on. It was total horror. All my family’s back there. I have a nephew who is a firefighter, a niece who is a police officer, a sister and a niece who both worked in a restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center. They were all safe, but my nephew and niece both worked in the rescue operation. It was a nightmare. I cried and just watched. When the airplane hit the second building, you knew that this wasn’t an accident. No words can describe it. I was zoned out all day, glued to the news, trying to get through back East to find out if everybody was okay. A lot of people that I knew back there lost family members and friends. It was a real trying time. I was too horrified to sleep, because I didn’t know if parts of the building were going to come down on my family while they were working on the rescue. That lasted about two or three weeks.”

Delmy Horman, 26, lives in Tierrasanta and is a lieutenant in the Navy. “I was onboard the USS Harper’s Ferry and we were almost at Camp Pendleton and we couldn’t come to the pier because of the incident. We had to wait a day or so to come down and unload the Marines. It was total disbelief, I just couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a fire or something, and I didn’t think that the two towers were coming down. There was just total silence on the ship when they announced it. I tried to e-mail my husband to confirm it, but they shut off the e-mail because of Threatcon. The rest of the day I was meditating on what was happening. You think that we’re a world force and we’re invincible and indestructible, but we’re not. It was an eye-opener. I had trouble sleeping. I was thinking a lot, wondering if we were going to make it back to San Diego at all or go back to the Gulf.”

Father Louis Solcia, 70, is the associate pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Little Italy. “I was watching TV, and I started to pray for those people, because I knew that a lot of people were killed. That was my first thought, to pray for them. Then I said the Divine Mercy Chaplet for them. For the rest of the day, I heard the news and continued to pray in the church for them. It was a little hard to sleep, because I continued to pray at night before falling asleep. The first night I didn’t sleep for at least one hour.”

Matthew Warren, 12, lives in Ramona and attends Olive Peirce Middle School. “I was at my mom’s. I just woke up and she had turned on the radio and I thought it was some sort of joke. I went and turned on the TV and it was real. It was just crazy. The first thing I did was call my dad. I just watched the TV all day. It was real hard to sleep, because I was thinking about it all night.”

Bernard Miller, 51, is a custodian from Sherman Heights. “I was at work and I called my friend that morning and he told me that a couple of planes had crashed into those buildings. Then I found out that it was the terrorists, al Qaeda, what have you, that pulled a suicide mission. I thought it was just a tragedy, all the people that died, all the innocent folks. I just turned on the news after that to confirm everything that had happened. I just kind of grieved and mourned for the rest of the day. It was hard to sleep for the next two or three weeks. I ended up going to a little vigil at St. Paul’s Cathedral.”

Shiloh Hall, 26, is a mortgage banker from Carlsbad. “I was getting ready for work in the morning. At first, I didn’t know if it was a joke, like in 1984, or if it was real — like a radio hoax. I went down to turn on the TV to see if it was a joke or if it was real. Then I went about my day and got on the train to go to work. I work in a high-rise — 550 Corporate Plaza — but they closed it down, so I went back home and watched TV all day. I slept all right that night. I had been watching it all day and it was very surreal.”

Casey Matthews, 21, a Carlsbad resident, is a repairman for the City of Escondido. “I was at work, and seeing how I was a city employee, I was sitting on my ass. I didn’t believe it. I thought it was a joke. I’d heard about it on the radio, on the way to work, but I didn’t actually see the footage until I got there. I didn’t do much that day. I left work, because a friend of mine had a bunch of relatives out in New York and he was having some trouble. They said that if we wanted to go home, it was all right. But I was able to sleep.”

Karen Harris, 42, teaches kindergarten at Walker Elementary School and lives in Scripps Ranch. “I was at home getting ready for school and it was on the TV. I really couldn’t believe it. I was away from the TV when I heard, and I turned around to look and was in shock and then disbelief. I sat down and watched the coverage for a while. I had to teach that day and looked at the TV in my room whenever I had a chance. I tried to avoid the topic with my students, because they’re only five years old. I thought that would be too much for them and it would be better for their parents to discuss it with them. I stayed up later than normal watching the news. I was just too keyed up by what was going on.”

Adi Pourfard, 42, is a business owner from Rancho Santa Fe. “I was in bed, watching the financial news. The first thing I thought was like a shock. The first plane disrupted the financial news and they said it was an accident. While we were watching it, they noticed the second plane hitting it. When the second one went through 20 minutes later, we were just shocked. We closed the door so the kids wouldn’t see it. I didn’t even open my store that day. We just stayed home, shocked. We have a lot of family in New York, and we didn’t know if they were okay. For the first week, we started listening to the news in our bedroom instead of letting the kids watch it with us, because we didn’t want them to be scared. They were showing those scenes of people throwing themselves off the building over and over. We didn’t want the kids to be scared of that. They could sleep, but we couldn’t.”

Phillip Reed, 15, is a high school student in San Diego. “I was at home watching the television. I just thought, ‘Wow! What happened?’ I just sat there and watched and wondered why it happened. I spent the day talking about it with my friends. I didn’t have trouble sleeping because it was so far away. I didn’t think they would come over here and attack us.”

Joe Fisher, 65, lives in Ocean Beach and works as a distributor. “I was in Washington, D.C., on business. My initial reaction was shock. I couldn’t believe it. When they came out to tell me, I thought they were joking. It took us a couple of minutes to realize what was happening. We were right next to the FAA building, so we vacated after that. I had no problem sleeping afterward, not at all.”

Jamie Hall, 22, lives in Pacific Beach and works as a restaurant hostess. “I was getting ready for school. At the time, I was going to school at Chico State, up north. I thought that it was like a dream, that it couldn’t be real. It was confusing. I went to school and went home almost immediately, because the school was just deserted. The only people who were there were in the library in front of the big TVs. It was only 8:30, but I decided to go home. After that, I just sat in front of the TV all day long. I had no trouble sleeping, but it was still on my mind all the time. Even now, still.”

Harry McClelland, 68, lives in Southcrest and is retired. “I remember precisely where I was — in my apartment. I heard about it on television. I was shocked, of course, but I wasn’t perhaps as surprised as those around me seemed to be. Maybe it’s just my philosophical view of the world’s situation today and the history surrounding our country and the Arab world and the conflicts that heretofore had not reached this pinnacle of violence. I was surprised that this hadn’t happened sooner. I started to pray and called a few relatives and friends in Pittsburgh, which is where I’m from. Some who worked in downtown Pittsburgh said that they were afraid that there might be some more terrorist activity pending. I had a hard time sleeping after that. But one element — it may sound Hollywood-ish of me to say it — but what really knocked me out more than anything else, the positive element that I grabbed out of this, was the guy on the plane that was heard saying, ‘Let’s roll!’ That was so American! [His voice chokes with emotion.] That guy is definitely a fixture in history and the group that was with him. We probably will never know the whole story, but it’s so American to go down that way. I was in the Korean War, and a few of my friends are not here anymore.”

Olivia Perez, 46, is a secretary from South Bronx in New York City, spending the summer in San Diego. “I was at work and we were watching television. We heard the news, and we all ran to the auditorium to watch it. At first, I thought it was just an accident. Then I realized that we were being attacked. I cried. They wouldn’t let us out of work, and we had to work very late. Then I went home and sat in front of the television for the rest of the night. It was very hard to sleep after that for months.”

Amanda Chapman, 22, lives in Bay Park and is a development assistant for Christian Websites. “I was in Córdoba, Spain, at the time as an exchange student. We were at school until maybe one o’clock in the afternoon — their time — so that would be right about the time the World Trade Center would be starting to fall. I came home to have lunch with my host family, and they were watching television. I knew minimal Spanish, so I didn’t understand what was going on. I saw it on TV and I thought it was a movie, but it just kept playing over and over and it was on the news. My host family was trying to explain to me that it was the United States and I didn’t know what they were talking about or understand what they were trying to tell me, but I surely didn’t think it was a terrorist attack. I didn’t know what to think when I finally realized the truth, because I was so removed from everything that was going on. When I talked to other people who were here in the U.S., things just seemed so foreign. Everyone was telling me that there were flags on cars and everyone was so patriotic and praying together, and that just seemed so weird to me, because I was so distant from all that was going on. My group in Spain met up later that day. All of us American students had to buy cell phones to call home because we didn’t have phone access. So we met up, and there were some people who were really struck emotionally because they had family in New York. I remember thinking about my cousin who lives in New York. The Americans in Spain all tried to help and support each other, but we had to get on with what we had to do. After we heard the news, we heard a lot of things. One of them was that since Spain is between America and the Middle East, it might be a place for an attack. Córdoba has the great mosque, so for some reason, they believed that our town would not be bombed because of the mosque. I didn’t have too much trouble sleeping after that. But I tried to move up my flight back and it was impossible. I couldn’t get ahold of my agent for a long time, and then I ended up having to wait until a week before I was going to leave and even at that point I had to change some things. Some of us wanted to go home early and some of us wanted to stay. It was a hard thing.”

Daryl Williams, 20, studies computer science at Grossmont College and resides in Encanto. “I was at school. When I came home, my mom was talking about it. She had taken it to heart, but I was, like, ‘It didn’t happen to me,’ so I wasn’t worried about it. I just thought, ‘That’s messed up.’ I just did what I normally did that day, some homework and studying. Then I went to sleep. Later, I watched the news to try to get more details and that’s when it hit me. I started getting sad when they started playing it on BET [Black Entertainment Television] and showing what happened. After I heard that song off BET, I had a hard time sleeping.”

Kerri Lookabaugh, 25, lives in North Park and is an attorney. “I was at home, watching TV. It was just a shock. My stepbrother worked at the World Trade Center, so I called home to try to find him! He was late getting to work, and he was in an elevator going up when it happened. But he only worked on the second floor, so he got right out. I couldn’t get ahold of him, so I called my parents in North Carolina. I canceled my appointments, stayed home, and called everybody that day. It was hard to sleep after that. I kept thinking about my brother, and living in San Diego, this seems like a logical place for them to try to attack. That lasted for a while.”

Devan Ramalingam, 26, of Carlsbad, is a contractor. “At the time, I was a stockbroker, so I was awake and at work. We were watching it on TV while we were doing trades and stuff. Then the exchange closed down. It was just unreal. There were reports that a plane had hit, but I didn’t believe it — I thought it was a bomb. Then when the second plane hit, you knew it was all downhill. I just couldn’t believe it. The first thing that actually touched me personally was with my supervisor. He was from New York, and he had had a brain tumor removed a couple of months before and he was so worried about his family that he had an epileptic seizure, so I had to call 911. It was really weird, because on the worldwide scale, you see these buildings falling, but my personal superior at work is having this very personal thing happen to him and it really touched me in both big and small ways. At work, we really didn’t have anything to do, so we watched it on the news. We stayed, then went home. I was actually able to sleep. For some reason, I knew the world would go on somehow.”

Betty Waller, 68, is a San Clemente realtor. “We were up because of the time frame, New York to California. It was a horrible situation. We had relatives in New York at one time. We turned on the Fox News Network and it was on. Oh, my God! I couldn’t believe that America had finally thrown away the silk sheets and got the cotton out! It was terrible. I called all my kids to make sure they were all right. I was glued for the next 24 hours to that TV. I had trouble sleeping. You know, I still think about it every day. My uncle was in downtown New York, and it’s something you’ll never get away from forever if you’re a good American. I just can’t believe that it’s happening.”

David Rivera, 33, of Scripps Ranch, is a camera salesman. “I was at home getting my daughter ready for school. My first thought was, ‘This is not really happening.’ I just couldn’t believe it at first. I actually saw the second plane go into the other tower live, and I realized, ‘Hey, that’s really happening.’ I just held my kids. It was my daughter’s first day of school, so I took her. It’s funny, I went to pick her up when school was over, but I was 20 minutes early, because I was pretty apprehensive. I spent the rest of the day at work, following the story. I think it would have impacted me more if it had happened on the West Coast. I probably lost more sleep on the anthrax scares.”

Sandy Murphy, 45, is a housewife in Bonita. “We were at home. My husband called, because he had heard the story on the radio on his way home from work. I just thought it was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The first thing I did was pray. I spent the rest of the day watching coverage, talking to family members across the country, and praying for everybody involved. But I had no trouble sleeping.”

Sue Lopez, 46, is a Bay Park housewife and homeschooling mom. “I was home getting my kids up. I couldn’t believe it. It was just sheer shock. The first thing I did was call my husband. Then I watched TV and prayed all day. I didn’t have any problem sleeping, because I just figured if I prayed hard and had faith in God, everything will work out okay.”

Robert Woltersdorff Jr., 55, grew up in La Jolla and now lives in Cos Cob, near Greenwich, Connecticut. “I was driving back from dropping my son off at school. I was actually supposed to be down at the twin towers. My first thought was, thank God my wife nagged me into staying home. We immediately went home to turn on the television to see what was happening, because at first they were telling us that a small Piper Cub had hit the towers. We sat with disbelief, watching as the second plane hit the towers. Then we knew it was obviously terrorism. We called family and friends, especially on the West Coast, to warn them, in case anything was happening out here. We then just sat glued to the television in disbelief. I called several friends I was working with to make sure they got out okay. We lost some friends in there, and I had a very hard time sleeping after that for weeks afterwards. You’d take the railroad to New York and you’d see a car that was still there two weeks later, and we knew it was somebody who didn’t make it back that day.” His wife Bonnie agrees. “A lot of people in the Greenwich community worked in that area. We went to church for weeks afterward. It was a lot harder there than here. It was very tough and we’re still not over it. It took us about eight months before we’d get on a plane again.”

Paul Bicanic, 52, lives in Julian where he works as a real estate broker. “I was sitting in my living room, turned on the TV to watch the news, and saw the building burning. I thought, ‘What the heck is this? What’s going on?’ I figured it might have been an explosion, with a big office building burning in New York City, but it became clear within minutes that something else was up. I woke up my teenage son and said, ‘History is in the making, turn on the television!’ Then I just did what I would do normally, which is go to work. But it was an eerie day, especially in Julian — it’s so quiet here that you can hear all the planes and all the jets going over all day long, and it was dead quiet. It was really strange. I slept okay. I realized that it was some sort of criminal attack that I didn’t have any part of, and I’d do anything to stop it, but you get this barrage of negative crap from the media all the time, so it gets harder to make a bigger deal of one thing than the others.”

Buddy Jobe, 51, is a La Jolla businessman. “I was watching the Today show at home. The first thing I thought when they came in and interrupted the show, they said there was a bomb that went off, and I just said, ‘Oh man, not again!’ Then they said it was an accident, and a plane crashed into it. That’s when I went, ‘Uh, this doesn’t sound quite right.’ It just didn’t make a lot of sense. Then, when the second plane came in, it was obvious what was going on. It was so surreal that I was just glued to the TV. I remember watching TV all day. It was such a helpless feeling, watching it unfolding in front of you. It really bothered me. I probably didn’t sleep well for a couple of days. We were just inundated with TV, and all we did for probably a week after that was watch what was going on. It took over our lives for quite a while.”

Jesus Roche, 31, is a contractor from Bonita. “I was at work, at the UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, and they had it on the TV. I couldn’t believe what was happening. It was kind of shocking to see the first building fall. Then the other one fell right after that. I tried to get more information, because it was so unbelievable. But I had to keep working. I thought about it when I was trying to sleep, but I slept.”

Gabrielle di Pietro, 30, is a sales clerk who lives in Bonita. “I was living in Valencia at the time and I was getting ready for work. I was scared, because I didn’t know what was going to happen, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to go to work that day! I took my son and sat on the couch to watch the news. My husband called me on his way to work after he had heard it on the radio, so I turned on the news and saw the second building explode. I went to work, but they sent us home at 9:00 a.m. I work for Bath and Body Works, and we had stores in the World Trade Center. I didn’t really have a hard time sleeping, though. My son wears me out.”

Jan Carlson, 51, is a financial planner who lived in San Diego from 1979 to 1987, before moving to St. Paul, Minnesota. “I was at home getting ready to go to work. I was turning on Good Morning America when I saw the second plane fly into the tower. I was very thankful, because I was supposed to be there that day. I was supposed to be there for a meeting, but my husband is a Baptist minister and we were getting ready for a mission to the Ukraine, so I decided I didn’t want to go to the meeting. When I heard the news interrupt the show, I knew we were in trouble. I sat down and watched. My daughter called me, and we just watched it until the buildings fell down. It was really a scary time. I just wanted to talk to my kids more than anything else. My daughter called me right away and my son shortly after. I ended up going into work because I had a lot of clients coming in. It was a real unsettling feeling, because you didn’t know what was happening. I certainly felt much better when I heard Bush talk and kind of get a little handle on what was happening. I didn’t really have trouble sleeping. I’m pretty peaceful normally, but there was a real uneasiness for a few weeks.”

Lawrence Klein, 47, is a La Jolla salesman. “I was home that day. It was my mother’s birthday, September 11, and my girlfriend was there with her granddaughter, who was six or seven months old at the time. The first thing I thought was that it was just an accident. But when I saw the second one coming, I knew what was going on. The first thing I did was call my mom, because it was her birthday. She was pretty much in shock. She’s a Holocaust survivor, and when it happened, it really brought a lot of fears up for her and ruined her birthday forever. I just stayed glued to the television — I was off that day, amazingly enough. Sleeping was definitely a problem after that. There were a lot of sweats and general worries about what’s going to happen next.”

Joseph Ogilvie, 55, is a security guard who lives in Encanto. “I was right here at work. I heard about it on the radio. My first thought was, ‘What a terrible, terrible thing.’ I started talking to some other people about it. I stayed here at work and talked about it quite a bit. It wasn’t hard to sleep, but I sure thought about it a lot. I get pretty tired, so there’s not much problem falling asleep.”

David Stroud, 45, owns a candy store in La Jolla, where he also lives. “A week before that, my wife and I decided to quit watching TV so much. So we didn’t have the TV or the radio on and a friend of mine called to tell us what happened, so we immediately turned on the TV. My first thoughts were just shock. I was so much in shock that we were all running around in a daze. I called some friends and family and we talked about what happened. I came to work that day. We’re usually open evenings, but we closed early that evening. I had some trouble sleeping. I was disturbed by it.”

Dana Pettersen, 49, resides in Julian, where she owns a shop. “I think I had just gotten up and a friend of mine called me and told me to turn on the TV. I started watching it at about 7:30, 8:00. It was something surreal, outside of yourself, like looking at something that’s not really happening. It was total disbelief and shock. I started crying. I didn’t open my store that day, I just sat in front of the TV set. I was upset, but I wasn’t worried about anything happening here on the West Coast, so I slept that night.”

Katherine Krell, 52, is a La Jolla business owner. “I was in Los Angeles visiting relatives. I was absolutely stunned. It was like a horror film. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I started crying. I was kind of numb the whole day, shocked, depressed — it’s not only that, but just the way so many things are going today in society. I had a very hard time sleeping after that, especially for a week or so. A lot of things bother me about society, so I get depressed about things going on in general. Nine-eleven was just part of it.”

Manuel Silva, 50, lives in Clairemont and is a bartender at La Valencia Hotel’s Whaling Bar in La Jolla. “I was at home sleeping when one of my coworkers called me and told me to turn on the TV and see what was going on. We had a staff meeting that morning and it was canceled. I was confused, because the television said there were hundreds and hundreds of dead people, and I thought, ‘This can’t be possible. No way. It must be a mistake.’ After I found out, I watched the news and I cried. I was by myself when the president came on, and when he started to talk, tears came out of my eyes. I felt so bad for what was going on in our country. I still have a hard time sleeping. You just don’t know what’s going to be happening. When you work in a place like this, you never know when some crazy guy may come in or something. I cross the border a lot, and believe me, it’s not a good feeling when you’re coming back into the U.S. wondering if someone is planting a bomb down there as you cross the border. It’s just not the same.”

Cole Holland, 26, is a parking valet from La Mesa. “I was sleeping when it happened. I woke up and turned on the TV and saw it. I couldn’t believe it happened, really. It was a surreal thing. It took me a while to believe it. The first thing I did was call my mom. I just watched TV until it was time to go to work. I didn’t have any trouble sleeping. I’m a pretty good sleeper, but it makes you think that life is pretty precious when that kind of stuff hits your own country.”

Cassie Mitchell, 21, is a salesperson from Pacific Beach. “It was right when I got out of the shower in the morning. My roommate’s mom called to let me know. She said the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had been attacked. I originally thought that they just had a gunman go in there and start shooting. When I turned on the TV it was, like, total shock. Very depressing. The first thing I wondered was, ‘Who did this? Why? What could possibly be in someone to have the crazy ability to do that?’ I called my family to make sure they were okay and told them that I loved them, because I didn’t know what was coming next. I had class at State, but I didn’t go. It was way too important for me to care what was going on at school. I had a hard time sleeping for about a month. Every once in a while, I still dream about it.”

Laura Rogers, 18, attends USD and lives in Clairemont. “I was in the dorms at USD, getting ready for class. My first thought was to call my mom in Connecticut. I come from there, Fairfield County, and my father works in New York. I called her up and turned on the TV. I had to go to class. Then I called all my friends in Connecticut to make sure their families were okay. It was kind of hard to sleep at first, just wondering about people.”

Jane Sadler, 34, is a grocer from Carmel Valley. “It was my day off. I was asleep when one of my brother’s friends called. I didn’t believe it, because it sounded kind of strange. So I called my sister to make sure it really happened. I don’t remember if my TV wasn’t working or what, but I was shocked. I had to go to work and they didn’t let us go. I can’t remember having any trouble sleeping.”

Carolina Chioino, 45, is a jeweler who lives in La Jolla. “I was at home on my day off. I was really depressed, scared, and worried about it. I turned on the TV, and while I was watching I just couldn’t believe it. I thought it was like a movie, like a nightmare. I listened to the news the whole day, and I called my family to let them know that we were all right. I had a hard time sleeping for the next month or so.”

Reginald Gates, 43, a resident of Paradise Hills, is the pastor of Spring Hill Community Church. “I was on my way to go shopping when one tower was hit, and when the Pentagon was hit, I was at the supermarket. Customers were coming in, giving us a blow-by-blow description. My first thoughts were of fear and apprehension. We didn’t know if we were next. The airlines shut down that day and everything. The first thing you do is pray in a situation like this, because the whole world, especially the United States, was gripped with fear of the unexpected and the unknown. We didn’t know what was going to happen next. These things were foretold in the prophecies of the Bible. I think it was a wake-up call to this nation. I remember the unity that everybody had — that was the good thing that came out of it — how close people were. They were praying at parks and beaches, and people came together united. But somehow or other, we hit the proverbial snooze button and went back to sleep, because this thing can happen again. We’ve got to watch ourselves. This could happen again; in fact, something worse could happen. My eyes were glued to CNN, watching it unfold, pulling out the bodies and all the firemen and policemen that lost their lives through this. I slept okay, but the news was blanketed for the next several months with what happened. I feel a lot can be learned from this, and I think we need to rethink our policy of dealing with the Middle East. Some people think America is finally reaping what we have sown, but I think we can learn something. We need to be united. You don’t see the United We Stand buttons anymore. You don’t see flags on every car anymore. We done went back to sleep. What’s it going to take to wake us back up again?”

Tom Kendall, 54, is a retired firefighter who lives in Julian. “I was getting ready for work, putting my boots on, when I turned on the TV. At first, it looked like one plane had hit the first tower, and I thought it was a big accident. When I realized what happened, I knew the nation was under attack. It broke my heart. I went to work, and it was pretty routine. I took the crews out to do some project work, but we were glued to the TV after that. I don’t think I really lost any sleep.”

Nancy Vance, 37, is a nurse’s assistant and lives in Clairemont. “I was at home in bed. I turned on the TV, saw it, and I knew right away that it was a terrorist attack. I knew a pilot would not run a plane through a building like that! The next thing I knew, my girlfriend called me on the telephone and we talked about it. When I turned the TV on, she was calling at the same time. It was on every channel. I was in a daze. I had to go to work that day, crying — everybody was crying. I don’t think I had a hard time sleeping, but it stayed with me every day for a long time.”

Charles Wilson, 60, manages a federal government agency downtown and lives in Carlsbad. “I was driving to work and heard it on the radio. My first thoughts were panic. I called my wife, got her up, and she turned on the TV. I was leery of going to work myself. I looked up in the sky, because I work at Symphony Towers. I just kept listening to the news all day long and didn’t do much of anything else that day. It was hard to sleep for a day or two.”

Alli Dixon, 23, commutes to UCLA from Solana Beach two days a week. “I was watching the news as it happened. I thought it was an accident until the second plane hit. I called my family. Some of my family is in the military. I also have family in New York, and my mom was in a really tall building in downtown San Diego. Other than that, I just sat and watched the news. But I slept okay. Nothing I do is really a target. I don’t work in the Statue of Liberty or something.”

Wilbert Brewer, 61, resides in Encanto, where he manages a restaurant with his wife. “I was at home. I saw the plane when it hit the building — the second one. I couldn’t really believe it. It was stunning. It was like something out of…my wife, she was looking and we saw it. I went to work after that. I didn’t really have any trouble sleeping, but I thought about it. I had a fear of flying afterward, and I still do. I’ve only flown once since then, to Las Vegas.”

Brian Wu, 17, lives in Carmel Valley and attends La Jolla High School. “I was on my way to school and heard the news report on the radio. I couldn’t believe that it happened. I thought the DJs were joking, then it was on every station, so I knew it was pretty serious. When I got to school, everyone was talking about it. We tried to go about school like a normal day, but a lot of classes stopped and we watched news reports for the rest of the day. It wasn’t really hard to sleep after that. It was always on my mind, but it was far away so it didn’t seem like it could happen to me.”

Jeff Harig, 39, is a Carlsbad salesman. “I was in the car, driving to the office. My initial reaction was amazement. It was hard to believe, especially when they reported that it was a small plane at first. The first thing I did was call my wife. Like everybody else, I just watched the news all day — that, and I logged on to the Internet to see it as it took place. I didn’t have any trouble sleeping. I think that here a lot of us weren’t as closely attached to it as we would be if we were living closer. Distance has some calming effect on you.”

Robert Turner, 65, is a retired aircraft mechanic who lives in Encanto. “I was sitting on my couch, watching TV. I looked at it and a friend called and asked if I was watching it, and I couldn’t believe what I saw happening before my own eyes. I didn’t really know what was happening at first. I thought that maybe it was just an accident. I really didn’t know what to think. I got up and I and my friend, who’s a retired Navy chief, went over to his house and sat around and talked about what was happening. It was just a shock to me. My wife was working at Grossmont Hospital and I had to do a little cooking to try to ease my mind, but when I saw that building coming down and all that dust that came out of it, I knew there were a lot of people that were in there. I know all those people lost their lives in there, and I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t lose any sleep over it, but I was watching the news a lot. I just kept thinking about all those innocent people who got hurt.”

Michael Leyba, 45, is a planner who lives in Otay Mesa. “I was at work that morning. We started early and we had heard reports that the World Trade Center was on fire. We have a TV in the facility, and we went into the conference room to watch the coverage. I couldn’t believe it. It was unbelievable. The first thing I did was call my wife. There was very little production that day, as we all just watched the news. A lot of people were coming in and out of the conference room, and we were glued to the TV, radio, and Internet, trying to get what was actually happening. I had a hard time just trying to go to bed, just trying to catch up on all the coverage they were having.”

Peyton Bradford, 34, is a Carlsbad business owner. “I was online and happened to see the pictures come up on the New York Times website. I was shocked. Speechless. There was no explanation whatsoever. I just sat there. I tried to call my friends back East, but you couldn’t get through. I just stayed at work, watching TV all day. I had a real hard time sleeping. It was scary. It’s hard to get over, to think that somebody could do that.”

Laura Noble, 47, lives in Julian, where she manages Mom’s Pies. “I was in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, at a family reunion. I woke up in a hotel, turned on Good Morning America, and the first plane had just hit and we were wondering what had happened. Then we saw the second plane hit. I didn’t think it was terrorism until about 15 minutes later, when my dad said that we were being terrorized. At first I just saw the smoke and didn’t know about the first plane, so when I saw the second plane go in, I thought it was an accident. We drove to Morehead City to be with my relatives. We spent the whole day by the TV, watching the news. It was very hard to sleep after that because I just wanted to come home. I was very worried about getting back to San Diego. We talked about renting a motor home, renting a car — we looked at every avenue we could. I was happy to get back because I went back there with my mom and dad, and my husband and kids were back here.”

Pamela Bradford, 35, is a Carlsbad attorney. “I was sleeping and my best friend, who travels a lot, woke me up with a phone call. She said, ‘I’m not traveling today, but don’t worry.’ Then she told me what happened. I turned on the TV, because I still thought that maybe I was still sleeping or didn’t hear her right. As I turned on the TV, they were playing the whole thing again. I was trying to get through to people there and calling people all day. The courthouse closed for the next two days, so I had to call clients to let them know that their hearings weren’t going forward and stuff. It was hard to sleep, because I was up watching TV. I just knew San Diego or Los Angeles was next, so I wanted to know what we needed to do if there was an emergency.”

Angie Mason, 39, lives in La Jolla and is an executive assistant. “I was getting breakfast ready and preparing to take my son to school, and I got a call that something had happened, so I turned on the TV. At first, I didn’t think it was a terrorist attack but an accident, and I thought, ‘What a terrible tragedy.’ I cried. So I dropped my son off at school and went to work and they sent us home at noon. So I watched TV and cried. They kept my son at school and turned on the TV, which is what I was hoping they wouldn’t do and that’s why I initially didn’t pick him up. But he saw it too. I had a hard time sleeping for about the next week. You would wake up off and on, hearing helicopters and planes flying over, and you would wonder if it was another attack.”

Bill Washburn, 43, lives in Escondido and works as an operations analyst at Cal State San Marcos. “I had just got up to go to work and put the morning news on and saw it on TV. My first thought was, ‘Holy shit!’ It was unbelievable. After spending 20 years in the military and seeing something like that, I just couldn’t believe it. I just stood there, not believing it. Then I woke my wife up to tell her. I spent the rest of the day in a daze. I went to work, but they sent us home at 9:30 — nothing was getting done, everybody was in front of the TV. I don’t think it was hard to sleep after that, but it might have been. I don’t remember.”

Lisa Robertshaw, 40, is a retail clerk who lives and works in Julian. “I was on my way to work in Ramona, and I heard it on K-LOVE. My first impression was that it was an Orson Welles War of the Worlds…that somebody was playing a practical joke. When I realized it was real, I called my family in Santee. I stayed at work but got very little accomplished. It wasn’t really hard to sleep that night, but that’s because my husband and I have a very strong faith. We put it in the Lord’s hands that whatever was happening was happening for a reason.”

Daniel Moline, 47, is a contractor from City Heights. “I was just waking up and my wife was on the phone, sounding very upset. I saw the television and it looked like a re-enactment of what could happen, but the next thing I knew, it was live. It seemed like the world was ending in front of my eyes. I thought, ‘This is insane. Crazy. Who are they?’ The first thing I did was cry. I went to work and felt sad all day. No one was talking, and no one wanted to talk about it. It was hard to sleep after that and it still is.”

Jessica Harris, 17, lives in Valencia Park and attends Lincoln High School. “I was at school when I heard about it, but when it actually happened, I was in my bed asleep. Everybody at school was talking about it and it was all on the news. The first thing I was wondering was how many people were in there and if anybody was going to survive. I just wanted to watch the news. We didn’t get sent home early, but in all of our classes we were watching the news and talking about it. It bothered me, but I slept okay. I mean, things happen, but you can’t let them stop you from doing what you have to do. If you have a death in the family, you’re going to have a hard time getting over it, but eventually you will. You can’t stay up all night, you gotta go to sleep.”

Tony Hill, 31, is an engineer from Serra Mesa. “I was waking up to the radio and heard about the first plane. My first thought was, ‘I should put the TV on to see if it’s an accident or what.’ I stayed at home, watching until ten, then went to work to watch more. It wasn’t a productive day. I don’t think I had any trouble sleeping after that.”

Kimberly Lockwood, 42, is a YMCA club coordinator from La Costa. “I was out for a walk and when I came home, my husband and daughter were watching the news — it was about 6:30 in the morning. At first, I felt a great sadness, then terror. I just watched the TV in disbelief. Then I called her school to make sure it was okay to send her. It was, but I picked her up early, anyway. I was watching TV and talking on the phone all day. It was a little hard to sleep after that, but not for long. I feel that we’re secure in our country and they’re doing what they can.”

Scott Michel, 27, is a Carlsbad salesman. “I was getting ready for work. It was on the radio, and I just thought it was a tragedy, that so many people were dying. I saw the building go down. Then I called my mom, who lives in central California. I spent the day at work because they wouldn’t let us go home. It wasn’t really hard to sleep after that, but it was disturbing.”

Joan Jackson, 37, is a La Jolla housewife. “I was sleeping and my husband called me from his job and told me about it, so I turned on the TV and watched it. I thought it was shocking, but it just looked like a big fire until we saw the planes coming in. I was shocked by it more than anything. I called my husband back and he was very upset — everybody was. I watched the news all day on TV, and my husband came home early that day. It wasn’t hard to sleep because I’ve been in fires, but it was upsetting for everybody.”

Michael Ma, 18, lives in Escondido and attends Palomar College. “I was in school, at San Marcos High, first-period genetics. I was, like, ‘Whoa,’ because everything at school just stopped. Nothing was happening. They made an announcement and my teacher was really sad about it and he just stopped teaching. I remember other kids telling me that the first-period teachers just sat there, listening to the radio. When I saw it on TV, I was just blown away. All we did was just talk about what was going on. Actually, I found out about it on the way to class on the radio, then when we got into class, it really hit me, because I had never seen a teacher that distraught before. I was walking around in a daze all day, going from class to class, but we didn’t really do much. The teachers didn’t teach because they weren’t really there. I didn’t find it hard to sleep. I guess it didn’t affect me that much.”

Kenneth Peterson, 26, is an engineer, originally from Denmark, now living in Rancho Bernardo. “I remember I just got home from a trip to New Orleans a few hours before, and I woke up when my colleague called me. It was amazing. I thought it was a movie. It was unreal. I called my family in Denmark at first. It was like a regular workday, but obviously not like a regular workday. I guess I slept all right.”

Rodney Keaton, 29, is a Marine who resides in Oceanside. “I was on my way to work at Camp Pendleton and heard it on the radio. I was mad, angry. I just sort of sat back and thought about it. I couldn’t believe what was going on. I spent the whole day in a daze. It was kind of hard to sleep after that, on and off. That lasted for two or three days.”

Stacey Anderson, 22, is a financial analyst from La Jolla. “I was at USD at the time, and I was getting ready for school when my mother called to tell me. I was scared because I had just been to the top of the World Trade Center three weeks before. I just wanted to know what had happened and how. I woke up my roommates and let them know after that. I was kind of in a haze, going to school and not doing much. We met in classes and talked to the professors about what was going on. It was hard to sleep, because you just kept thinking about it.”

Deisha Woodmansee, 26, is an administrative assistant who lives downtown. “I was getting ready for work. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I was living with my grandmother at the time, and someone called her, so we turned the TV on. The first thing I thought was, ‘How am I going to get my senior executives back?’ because they were back in New York and at the Pentagon. I called my mother in Washington state and spent the day in a daze, trying to figure out how we were going to get the executives back. We had it all on TV at work. I didn’t have a hard time sleeping after that. I like sleep too much.”

Michael Mattern, 26, is an insurance claims adjuster. Although he now resides in Mission Valley, he was living in Baltimore at the time of the 9/11 attack. “I was about 45 minutes from the Pentagon. I was about to walk out the door to head to work, and I called my dispatcher to get my assignments for the day. She was all upset and asked me if I had turned the TV on or knew what was going on. I turned my TV on, and at that time, the one plane had just hit the World Trade Center, and maybe a minute after I turned it on, the second plane hit. At first, they weren’t sure if it was an accident or a terrorist act. But when I saw that second plane hit, I knew it wasn’t an accident. Obviously, someone was doing it on purpose. You had no idea what was going on, because then you heard about the Pentagon and then the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. You were afraid to do anything, especially there, because in Baltimore, you’re pretty central and close to D.C. We had World Trade Centers in Baltimore, so we didn’t know what was going to happen. I just sat there in awe, shocked to see what was going on. To think that somebody would do that on purpose… I was just glued to the TV and radio all day. I went to work, but we later closed for two days. No one was working, we were just huddled around TVs and radios, trying to figure out what was going on. People in the office knew people that worked in the World Trade Center, so it hit really close to home. It was hard to sleep after that. I wasn’t really scared, it was more thinking, ‘How could somebody do that? What’s going to be next?’ If somebody could do something like that, you can’t help but think about the next worst thing that can happen to your family or neighbor. It could happen anywhere, anytime. We were fortunate that it didn’t happen to us in Baltimore.”

Charles Terry, 50, is a mechanical engineer and lives east of Alpine. “I had just gotten into the office — I’m an early riser — it was about 6:00 a.m. and I turned on the radio and they said something about a building collapsing, and I said, ‘What?’ and turned on the TV in the office. I started watching it on TV, which is what I did all day long. My first thoughts were disbelief, more than anything else. By the time it became apparent that it was a terrorist — it began to dawn on everybody that it was planned when a plane went into the second building — it was just absolute…I don’t even know how to describe what I felt. It was just shock, anger, and disbelief all rolled into one. That night I had a hard time sleeping, but after that, I didn’t. I had a lot of important work I had to get done, and none of it happened. It took about two days before I felt back up to doing any reasonable work.”

Sam Magneta, 26, resides in Santee and attends National University. “I saw it on the news right before I left to go to work. Then I listened to it on the radio on the way to work. I just thought that it couldn’t be real. I can’t really remember doing anything, except trying to do my job — I worked at Cox Communications then. I worked all day, but really watched the news all day. It was hard to concentrate. But it wasn’t hard to sleep that night. It was on my mind, but it didn’t keep me awake.”

Sophia Tovar, 15, lives in Encanto and attends Lincoln High School. “I was walking home from school. I had forgot something and I had to get it, and when I got there, the news was on. My mom was telling me about it and I was really shocked, because I didn’t think anyone would do that to the United States. When I heard the war was going to happen, it was really surprising. The first thing I did was watch the news. I sat there and watched it all day and night. I stayed up to watch the news until I fell asleep.”

Mary Kelly, 50, is a cashier at Lake Cuyamaca and lives in Julian. “I was at home and I saw it on the news. I couldn’t believe it. I felt amazement, terror, horror. I just stood there. I couldn’t move. I think I had to come to work, and I was in a state of shock. Somehow, I slept all right — just because I tend to sleep well.”

Eventa Brown, 44, is a hospital credentialing specialist who lives in Encanto. “I was at work. My radio was on and announced that there had been a crash in the towers. I first thought that somebody had to have done it and it wasn’t just a plane crash. I was just telling friends at work that I couldn’t believe it. We talked about it all day, trying to figure out what was going on. It didn’t affect my sleep. I had just lost my mom, so things were kind of rough for me anyway, so with all of that combined, I wasn’t sleeping anyway.”

Bonnie McKesson, 31, is a waitress in Julian, where she also lives. “I was living in the Woodland Hills area of L.A. at the time. I was waking up and it was on the radio. It wasn’t very clear what was going on and it wasn’t until I actually got to work to turn the TV on that I saw everything. I was in a state of shock, and I didn’t believe it. It was just, like, too unreal. I remember thinking how I didn’t think people were capable of doing something like that. I was at work and had to go on with my day. I worked at a bar-restaurant and we didn’t have any customers that day, but I still had to be there. Nobody showed up. I had lunch and drove home. It was just too many images on TV throughout the day, so at night, I decided it was just too much. I didn’t turn on the TV or radio that night, but I just put some CDs in and started cleaning my house. It was hard to sleep that night. It was too hard to handle. I stayed for a few months and moved down here. It had a huge impact on the hospitality industry in Los Angeles. The business at the restaurant completely died. L.A. is a strange city to be in when something like that happens, because people aren’t compassionate there to start with and that’s what you try to get when some big tragedy happens. People hope they can turn to each other, and there wasn’t anybody to turn to.”

Clark Cathcart, 36, lives in Ramona, where he manages a bicycle shop. “I was just waking up, getting my kids ready to go to school. I heard about it on the radio. I remember I could not believe it, until I turned on the TV and saw that it was real. I checked with the schools to see if they would be open, but I made the decision to keep my kids home from school that day. I talked to my kids about what was going on and tried to explain what was going on in the world and why people would want to do this to the United States specifically. I could stay home because it was my day off. By the end of the day, the attacks were over, and it was all pretty much East Coast driven, so I didn’t have a hard time sleeping at all.”

Calli Stampfly, 18, lives in Ramona. She works as a cashier at a local drugstore and attends Palomar College. “I was at my house sleeping when my mom came in and woke me up to watch the news with her and find out what was happening. I was just shocked. I didn’t really believe it at first. It’s not something you expect to happen. I just sat down and watched the news. Then I had to go to work for the rest of the day. We were listening to the radio, getting all the news. It wasn’t hard to sleep — not for me.”

John Larson, 48, is a construction worker who lives in Julian. “I was working on a job out of town, down in Poway. I heard about it on the radio when I got up. Just to be cautious, I thought it might be widespread. I don’t really remember what I did right away, but I went ahead and worked the rest of the day. The conversation amongst the people at the site…we were all kind of down and out about it. I had a little trouble sleeping, thinking it over and stuff.”

Major Warren, 67, is a retired air traffic controller who lives in Ramona. “It was early morning, and I was at home watching TV. I felt disbelief…disgust…anger. I just sort of left on the news and absorbed what was happening, trying to figure out what we were going to be doing next. I spent the day glued to the news. It was a little hard to sleep, because it was a scary thing, wondering what was going to happen next, with the kind of mentality that we’re dealing with.”

Seth DeLong, 26, is a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Virginia who is living in Hillcrest while writing his dissertation. “I was visiting my mother in San Francisco and awakened by a phone call she got and we watched it unfold all day on TV. My thoughts were sheer incredulity. I couldn’t really grasp what was happening. I had eaten dinner at the World Trade Center just three months before, and it was like watching a movie — a bad movie. I tried to get in touch with a friend in New York, but I couldn’t, so I just watched TV that day and called friends and family. I didn’t even try to sleep that night. I just kept calling and talking to people. I probably just slept sometime the next day.”

John Whann, 27, lives in Ocean Beach and is a part-time bartender and works for the City of San Diego as a recreation leader. “I was at school, in class, when I heard about it. They put it on the classroom TV. It looked like a movie to me. I didn’t know if it was really real until I saw it a couple of times. I was just in shock. All I could do is sit in class, but I called my sister in New Jersey when I got out of class. The whole school was canceled for the day, so I went home and just stayed at home, watching the news. I felt uncomfortable and depressed, so it was a bit hard to sleep.”

Carol Anderson, 65, resides in Ramona and works as an interior designer. “I was in Mesquite, Nevada, on my way home from Denver. I got up in the morning and saw it all on TV. I was horrified, like most people were. My friend was in the shower and I ran in there and started yelling about what was happening and he came out and he was just as upset as I was. The rest of the day was real quiet. We were real pensive. We had to drive through Vegas, and we’d heard about a lot of things being canceled and a lot of hustle and bustle going on there. We just listened to the car radio. More than likely it was hard to sleep that night. It was very upsetting.”

Al Cesena, 75, lives in Lemon Grove and is retired. “I was home, having breakfast, watching the news on TV. Then I turned the radio on too. The first thing I thought after I heard about the third plane hitting the Pentagon, I couldn’t believe it. I think that was a dirty trick they pulled on us. The first thing I did was pray for those people in those towers. The rest of the day wasn’t very good. I just kept it on all day. It was a little hard to sleep that night. It was hard, because I wanted to turn it on again at 5:00 in the morning. All those firemen and all those people…I wish I had been over there to help them.”

Bernard Brown, 30, lives in Point Loma and is a manager at Vons. “I was working part-time at McDonald’s on the morning shift. A customer came through the drive-through and said, ‘You gotta turn the TV on! The towers have just been hit by a plane!’ I ran to the lounge and turned the TV on. I was in horrible disbelief. Then I got on the phone and called my friends. The first thing I thought is that we should turn their country into a parking lot. That same day, I finished my shift and quit. I said, ‘Life is too short.’ I just spent the day thinking about how a country like ours could let something like that happen. I had trouble sleeping for three days after that.”

Kathy Hill, 41, lives in Rancho Peñasquitos and owns a beauty supply store. “I was sleeping and my sister called me. The first thing I thought was that it was unreal. I just couldn’t believe it. She told me to turn on the TV and that’s what I did. I just kind of cried, actually. I came to work later and it was really somber. My customers and I just talked about it all day long. I didn’t really have trouble sleeping, but I thought about it a lot.”

Sherrie Meyer, 19, is a receptionist who lives in Poway. “I just woke up and I was getting ready to go to school and my mom told me to look at the news. I was in shock. Just shock. I couldn’t even say anything. I had my mom call my family in New York — outside New York City. I pretty much just laid back at home with family all day. I can’t remember how I slept.”

Lori Arena, 41, is a grocer from Ramona. “I was getting ready for work, and my son’s friend called us on the phone, so we turned on the TV and started watching the second plane hit the second tower. My first thought was, ‘Oh my gosh, there’s been an accident!’ But when we saw the second one hit, I thought something was wrong, and my third thought was, ‘How are these buildings still standing?’ We got in the car and drove to work when we heard that the Pentagon had been hit. That’s when I thought, ‘We’re at war.’ I spent the rest of the day in a fog. Everyone at the store and the customers were the same way. I think business was way below normal too. I was depressed that night — not enough to lose sleep, but I was kind of in a funk.”

Chris Gomez, 53, is a dental receptionist from Valley Center. “I had just gotten up and heard something on the radio, so I turned on the television. Much to my dismay, I actually saw the second building get hit as it was happening. I was astounded. I was terribly upset and it wasn’t until we actually knew what was going on that reality set in. Unfortunately, I had to come to work. I was terribly upset all day. It was a very difficult time to concentrate, and only one person canceled their appointment that day. I was able to sleep though. It’s just my personality. I never lay awake thinking about anything, no matter what it is.”

Michael Kosti, 76, is a retired aerospace engineer who lives in Escondido. “I found out on the Internet. I was either at the CNN site or Drudge Report. I wasn’t sure what was happening. My first thoughts were that this was a very, very bad accident. I didn’t expect it to be what it turned out to be. I then turned on Fox News or CNN and spent the rest of the morning watching it unfold. Like a lot of reports, there was a lot of sketchy information and repetition, so we would check in every hour or two throughout the day. It wasn’t hard to sleep that night. When I was working, I had a lot of stress, and my military service gave me a lot of stress, so I’ve just learned to sleep when I have to.”

Li Stout, 50, lives in Scripps Ranch and owns a restaurant. “I was at home, watching TV. Somebody called me and told me to watch the news to see what was happening. I was just shocked. It was crazy. I just started calling friends and watching TV. I opened the restaurant that day, but everybody that came in just wanted to watch TV and talk about it. It was very hard to sleep. I have daughters who live in New York, and one works in a hospital. The hospital wouldn’t take a message. Later she called me to tell me she was safe but the city was very dirty.”

Patrick Madriaga, 20, lives in Carmel Mountain Ranch and works in sales. “I was at school at Palomar [College] and we were in class and everyone was talking about it. We were just stunned. I remember the disbelief. I called all my friends just to make sure what was happening. I just sat through class and we talked about it. They canceled all the rest of the classes. I went home and watched the news all day. It was pretty hard to sleep that night. I just watched the news. It was weird.”

Jan Clark, 62, lives in Ramona, where he owns and operates a furniture store. “It was in the morning when I was just getting up and it was on the TV news. I was angry…and shocked. They kept running it over and over again, and I finally turned it off because I didn’t want to see it anymore. I went to work, but that was about it. I tried to do everything that I normally do, because I felt that’s what we needed to do. It hurt my business terribly. We were down $17,000 in September and $14,000 in October, and we’re still trying to recover. It was real hard to sleep after that. I think it’s really sad that there’s people in the world who can’t sit down and communicate. Instead, they’ve got to use violence to get their point across. I think the Palestinians would have had autonomy decades ago had they not utilized violence to get their message across. What they really want, they’ve never achieved. You’ll notice that the countries that follow that are all Third World countries. They can’t seem to elevate themselves, yet Israel, in the same environment, has succeeded.”

Joann Eccles, 38, was born in Britain and now lives in Carmel Mountain Ranch, where she is a wife and mother. “I was living at Oxford in England. I had come home and it was two o’clock in the afternoon there, and I watched it live on television. My mother-in-law phoned me up and told me to put the television on. I just didn’t believe what I was seeing. It just really didn’t sink in. I wasn’t sure whether the pictures were live or not. I phoned my mother-in-law back. Then I ran out and got a friend to watch it with me, and we did that for the rest of the day. Funny enough, we had an American friend who was coming to stay that evening, and we watched it and talked about it all evening. She was pretty upset. It wasn’t hard to sleep. I had just had a baby one month previously, so you get all the sleep you can!”

Tim Latta, 42, is a business owner from San Marcos. “We were still asleep in bed, and my store manager called and asked if we were watching TV. She said, ‘Turn on the TV quick! Something’s happening in New York!’ So we turned it on and that’s how we found out. It was surreal. Something like that couldn’t happen. It was just unbelievable. You just can’t fathom something like that happening. We just sat there in awe with our mouths open, looking at the TV, trying to process what was happening. We came into work and hooked up a TV and listened to the radio, and it was just a stunning day. We didn’t get much work done but just went through the motions of attempting to do business. I can’t remember how I slept that night.”

John Luongo, 49, is a printing salesman from Imperial Beach. “I was getting ready to go to work, and my significant other called me from her doctor’s office and said to turn on the television, that they were blowing up the country — she’s from Guatemala. The first thing I thought was that somebody else was as smart as Orson Welles and it was all just a put-on. I watched the whole thing and just knew that it was fake. I realized it was real when they started talking about the plane crash in Pennsylvania. I just watched it totally enthralled and spent the whole day watching, with two TVs going simultaneously. It was hard to sleep. It had an impact on me, because when they hit the sides of those buildings, the first thing they said was ‘Allah be praised’ and the first thing we did was say, ‘God bless America.’ ”

Nick Romanoff, 34, is a printer who lives in Escondido. “I was in bed. The alarm clock went off and I heard it on the radio. I first thought it was an accident. I just got out of bed and went about my business of getting ready for work. The phone started ringing, because my brother lives just a few miles from the World Trade Center, and it was my mother, calling to say that he was all right. That’s when I realized that it was more serious and turned on the TV. I went to work that day. It was distracting but not hard. I slept okay that night.”

Laura Neuman, 21, lives in Escondido and is a student at Cal State San Marcos. “I was actually sleeping, and my boyfriend at the time called me to tell me. Then my roommate’s boyfriend called me. I was kind of sleepy, and it wasn’t really clicking yet. When my roommate’s boyfriend called, I was more awake and we were kind of stunned. After we started watching the news, it really hit. It was really sad, to see this horrendous thing that had happened. I just cried. I couldn’t do much, being so far away. We had class that morning, and the teacher just had the information online for us to watch. Then they canceled classes for the rest of the day. So we went home and watched and listened. We discussed what was going on. We were really hurt that the Muslims were rejoicing at this. We just cried for everybody that was hurting. I don’t remember sleeping. I was up most of the night, watching everything.”

Dave Bottom, 50, is an art gallery owner and custom framer from Ramona. “I had just got back from my run and turned on the news. I thought, ‘What am I seeing?’ It was disbelief. I don’t think we moved from the TV for quite a while. I know that within the hour, I called one of the elders of my church and recommended that we have a prayer meeting that night and begin the prayer chain, calling around and letting people know that we would open the church at seven o’clock — that was Grace Community Church in Ramona. I guess I didn’t have a hard time sleeping.”

George Rangel, 39, is a shoe repairman who lives in National City. “I was at home, sleeping. One of my kids woke me up to tell me. I turned on the TV to see the news. I didn’t think. I just know I didn’t feel too good. I went to my mom’s house to tell them about the twin towers. I just thought about it and watched the news all day. I went to bed at 2:00 a.m., but I couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night, just thinking about it.”

Cindy Palermo, 39, lives in Rancho Bernardo and works as a receptionist for a veterinarian. “I was getting ready for work. I heard about it on the radio. I was in complete shock. I was devastated by it. I called my husband, then I went to work. I just watched TV at work, because it was very hard to concentrate on anything else. A lot of clients canceled, and a lot of them were crying. It was real hard. And it was real hard to sleep. I was very depressed when I went home.”

Michael Foster, 40, lives in Sabre Springs and is retired from the Air Force. “I was in bed and received a phone call from a relative, telling me about it. I just remember thinking, ‘Oh my God!’ It took a while to register, but when I ran to the TV and saw the second tower getting hit, I thought, ‘Oh my God! What in the hell is going on?’ I just couldn’t believe it. I was in shock. I was in front of the TV for the rest of the day. I honestly don’t remember, but I imagine it was hard to sleep that night.”

Steve Adsit, 25, lives in Clairemont and works as a clerk at Trader Joe’s. “I was here at work, at about eight in the morning. We were listening to the radio, and it was interrupted for a special bulletin. We then switched to KPBS and listened to that. It was a big shock. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. I thought that this could not be real and could not be happening to the United States of America. No way. I was really shaken up. It was a sad day. I just stayed focused on the radio. I went home and was in front of the television all day. I remember waiting for the president’s speech and watching that as it came on live. It crossed my mind in bed, but I managed to sleep. It’s unbelievable that the first-year anniversary is coming up.”

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