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The Big Question: What Were You Doing On 9/11?

Library of Congress

We want to hear from you about the big (and small) questions that shape our lives. We want to put you, our listeners, on the air. Each month, we’ll ask a new question, collected your recorded responses, and air some of the responses on All Things Considered with host Peter Biello.

In light of the recent news from Afghanistan, we're reflecting on the event that started the U.S. presence abroad. With the 20-year anniversary of 9/11 coming up, we want to hear your stories about how that moment impacted your life.

This month’s question is:

“What were you doing on Sept. 11, 2001, and how did it change your perspective?”

And we heard from so many of you about what you were doing and thinking on that day, 20 years ago.

"I remember getting up. I remember it was an absolutely gorgeous [day], cloudless sky, little bit of fall in the air day and had the TV on in the background and there was smoke and fire and horror. And I thought that the TV station actually changed to some type of movie." -Deb, Weare

"I've got reporters knocking on the front door of the agency, they want information. I was the public information officer, so I was supposed to give information. Unfortunately, I didn't have very much." -Jim van Dongen, Concord

"In the evening that same day the interfaith community in Cambridge had a church service for people of all faiths, and we were invited to light a candle to symbolize a prayer or a question that we had during the service. They read a lament from the Bible, and while they were reading, they dimmed the lights gradually until the entire large church was in total darkness, except that there were the candles burning and that on that table, our prayers and our questions." -Celeste Hemmingson, Hopkinton.

"The US has been at war for ⅔ my life. I have watched some peers and adults older than myself foster resentment and distrust of certain communities because of this event. If I was meant to learn in school that the US is the best country on earth, that has failed. I see an America with two faces: one that projects nobility and morality outward, but exits in a grey, complex, fractured state inward (this has only been exacerbated by the last 18 months). Growing up adults would say, “Your generation will be the one to fix the problems in the world,” and that burden has been feeling heavier and heavier." -Megan B.

Peter Biello is the host of All Things Considered and Writers on a New England Stage at New Hampshire Public Radio. He has served as a producer/announcer/host of Weekend Edition Saturday at Vermont Public Radio and as a reporter/host of Morning Edition at WHQR in Wilmington, North Carolina.
Julia Furukawa is the host of All Things Considered at NHPR. She joined the NHPR team in 2021 as a fellow producing ATC after working as a reporter and editor for The Paris News in Texas and a freelancer for KNKX Public Radio in Seattle.

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