"Wake up. The World Trade Center is gone."
That's how Sept. 11, 2001, started for Gwen Navarrete. And maybe for you, too.
The shared nature of the tragedy both broke and — paradoxically — strengthened the heart of a nation.
So we've asked people like FFXIV Gilyou to share again, nine years later. In a collaboration between Yahoo! News and Associated Content, we've gathered reflections from people across the country about what they went through and what they learned (or didn't) from that terrible time. "Our day of infamy," contributor Melissa Danysh calls it. She's just one of the many we heard from.
And here's just a sampling of what they had to say.
An aid worker has to step back
Not all of the people affected by the Sept. 11 attacks were in New York and D.C. In Norfolk, Va., where I worked for the American Red Cross, the local schools shut down and children were sent home. Two hours after Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, I answered a call from a 12-year-old girl during my shift.
Her voice shook with fear. Sniffles came through the line and my own eyes misted. Both of her parents worked at the Pentagon. She couldn't reach them.
When the call ended, I shared her FFXIV Gilinformation with the volunteers answering the phones. I waited at the office for her call until I was ordered home to rest. At 5 a.m. I returned to find myself being hugged by two volunteers, as they told me the girl's mother called. She and her husband had escaped the disaster without injury.
For those brief seconds, there was joy in hell.
The bond forged during a disaster between relief workers is different from any other type of friendship. Back then, I watched and prayed for safe journeys as my friends headed out to help. When most Americans struggled to find something useful to do, we knew what was needed and we did it.
It's easy to burn out when doing volunteer work, especially in disaster services. Often, people remember to complain but forget to express their gratitude. I never burned out, but I did grow to understand that my future meant deciding between my wants and my family's needs. …