September 11, 2011

My 9/11 Story

Ten years have passed since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Everyone has their own story from that terrible day. The previous generation had JFK's assassination and the moon landing; I think we will always remember where we were on 9/11.

I was serving an LDS mission at the time, living in Boca del Monte on the outskirts of Guatemala City, Guatemala. Having been in the country for 6+ months, I felt pretty comfortable and was kind of in a groove.

My companion and I lived in a second floor apartment, with the owner's family living in the main house below. After our morning scripture and language study, we'd gone down for breakfast, which Doña Audi prepared every day.

Soon after we sat down to eat, Doña Audi came in and told us that the morning news was talking about something happening in New York City, and how we needed to see for ourselves. As missionaries, we don't usually watch TV, but it felt like we needed to this time. Maybe 30 seconds after we started watching, the second plane hit. Shocked horror and stunned silence. I couldn't take my eyes away from the broadcast, trying to comprehend what I was seeing.

I remember my feelings clearly, but much of what followed is hazy in my memory. Plane crashes into Pentagon. Phone call from zone leader informing that everyone in our mission was okay, but President Lemmon (mission leader) orders precaution of not leaving the apartment. Flight 93 goes down in the Pennsylvania field. Lots of praying, both verbal and silent. Lots and lots of worrying over family and friends in the U.S. and around the world.

The rest of that day and over the next couple days, we learned more about the attacks from the newspapers and through mission leadership. President Lemmon called individually to make sure we were doing alright and see if we needed anything. That comfort was greatly needed and appreciated by us young boys, serving far from home and family during a time of uncertainty. Receiving a letter from home the next week also helped, because then I knew for sure all of my family was safe.

While I didn't personally lose anyone in the attacks, I still get a bit emotional hearing stories from that day, like the ones recorded (and subsequently animated) by the StoryCorps. Here is one such story:

Sadly, there are far too many stories like this one.

That was a tragic Tuesday, and on this day we unite in memoriam and sorrow with those who lost relatives, loved ones, and friends in the attacks.

We will never forget.


  1. I did this same post idea today. It's interesting to hear where others were on that day and how they remember things. I'll be doing service today to honor those that died. Thanks for sharing your story!

  2. Hey, I was also in Guate, in Villa Canales and had a very similar experience. Crazy how time flies by!!