I was at work, at the exact same place, same desk, same chair, where I am right now. It was a beautiful morning; bright and sunny.
I turned on the radio around quarter to nine, and they were saying something about a sight-seeing plane flying into the World Trade Center. I knew that one of my co-workers listened to a different station (me: news/talk; him: RAWK), so I walked back to his desk to find out what he'd heard, which was basically the same thing (small plane; possibly sight-seers). We were the first two people in the office that morning.
There was a TV in the boss's personal office, so my co-worker and I hooked it up and turned it on. And we sat down and stayed there for the rest of the day. As the rest of the co-workers and the boss trickled in, we all sat down together and watched. Nobody went home until quitting time.
At the time we had a couple of projects under review by the Port Authority, who had offices in the trade center. We wondered if any of our reviewers were killed.
We could only get one channel on the TV, and their coverage had kind of a bad angle of the buildings, and the commentary was spotty and confusing. So when the second tower came down, we were all, "but wait - Where's the first tower?" We couldn't see that it had already fallen until the second one came down.
After the news came on about the Pentagon, I wondered how many more targets would be hit. At the time, I had two sisters living in or near major metropolitan areas, and I wondered if their cities would be attacked. And if so, how. By planes? By bombs?
Morbidly, I remember wondering how many more people would have been killed if the hijackers had waited another half-hour or so. Lots of people don't go into work until nine.
But the thing I remember most clearly was how damn nice people were to each other in the days to follow. You'd try to merge into traffic and someone would wave you in, instead of flip you off. Cashiers would smile when handing you your change. A weak, wavery smile, but a smile nonetheless. People said, "excuse me", and "thank you". That I remember.
Oh, I remember it all. Or at least I think I do. Memories are tricky things.