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Remembering 9/11

What are your thoughts on that day now?
The front page on Sept. 12, 2001
The front page on Sept. 12, 2001 [ The Times ]
Published Aug. 23

I was at the dentist that morning.

As he worked on a filling (only one I’ve ever had, by the way), an assistant walked in. A plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, she told us. She assumed, and we did, too, that it was an accident. And probably a small plane, with a pilot who’d had engine trouble.

The truth didn’t take long to come out. We were under attack. When I arrived for work, at a newsroom in Virginia, one of my reporters walked in with a message that we both thought was insane: Someone had emailed him to claim that the U.S. was about to shoot down a domestic airliner, one that appeared on track to hit Washington. That plane was ultimately brought down in Pennsylvania by its passengers, and that rumor? Turns out, federal authorities considered doing just that.

Sept. 11, 2001, became a new generation’s Pearl Harbor. If you’re old enough, you remember what you were doing that day. You remember seeing those planes hit the buildings, and the towers falling, because the videos played over and over and over on TV. You watched first responders run toward the World Trade Center and toward the Pentagon and toward that field in Shanksville.

And you experienced a range of emotions — that day and in the days and weeks that followed.

With the 20th anniversary approaching, we wanted to capture your thoughts now. We’d like to marry short videos from our readers into a collection that we can share on the anniversary. Some of the comments also would be published in our print edition.

We’re looking for people of all ages, including those who grew up learning about 9/11 in their classrooms and were too young to remember the day itself.

If you’d like to share your thoughts, here are some questions to think about:

What are your recollections of 9/11? Did it influence your career choice or other aspects of your life? What conversations do you have with friends or family about that day? What special meaning does this anniversary have for you?

To participate:

Record yourself using your phone or web cam. Keep it horizontal.

Tell us who you are, what you do, where you live and your age.

Try to keep the videos to under 1 minute.

Send them, by Sept. 1, to video producer Jennifer Glenfield, at jglenfield@tampabay.com.

Jennifer also can help record an interview and answer technical questions.

We appreciate you giving this idea some thought and hope that some of you will choose to participate.