My 9/11 story scared the hell out of me.
I was in the U.S. Army stationed in Maryland.
I was working Midnight to 8 AM, I had just got off duty, I sat down in front of my computer and fired up Diablo 2, I flipped on my tiny little TV in my barracks room for background noise. The 300 club was on, I didn't feel like getting up to change the channel as I was PVPing.
When the first plane hit they didn't have video of it happening right away, as soon as I saw the next plane hit the building I knew we were going to war, I didn't know at the time who the target was going to be.
I banged on the barracks room next to mine, I yelled at the guy who also worked nights that we were going to war. He yelled back, "Are we going to war now?", I said "I don't think so" to which he replied, "Wake me up when the war starts." He ended up sleeping through 9/11.
At first everything was pretty calm, some of us jumped in the car to go buy a shit ton of smokes in case we got locked down. I think I bought 10 cartons of Newports. I ended up driving like 100 miles an hour as we were in uniform and if we were stopped the cops wouldn't mess with us.
When we got back to base, things got scary, real fucking scary. Once the Pentagon got hit, shit got real. They starting issuing weapons and live ammo. This is the first time I had ever been given live ammo inside the U.S. when not at the range.
There were rumors of what to do in case of nukes, moving a percentage of soldiers outside of probable nuclear targets to respond if we ended up getting wiped out.
I remember the sounds of jets, my heart stopped for a second until I saw it was a U.S. fighter, I thought it may have been something meaner. The skies were clear for what seemed like an eternity, the fighter came in low and really fast. He then gained some altitude and started circling us. It was a huge relief, but we were still nervously watching for incoming ICBM's.
Many of us were told to go to our duty sections, others were assigned to gates, before 9/11 most military bases were completely open, you could drive in without issue. We put HMMWV's at the gates, starting off I don't think they were armed with anything more than M-16's as we didn't have heavy machine guns like the .50 cal available at that point. They were supposed to ram into anyone coming through the checkpoint, others that were in little makeshift guard posts would pepper them with small arms. I think the guys on perimeter gates were even issued air horns someone had gone out and bought.
Things got scary once again when news of a 4th plane was out there, they evacuated many of the buildings, so many refused to leave, they wanted to continue working. (I can't recall if the fighter actually showed up before or after the 4th plane was announced.)
I have to stop here as I can't really remember the details of what exactly happened next, I think all of us ended up working around 36+ hours straight, it was all an autopilot blur.
Funny side story, I had qualified with the 9mm, all of us that had were issued the M9 pistol, we were allowed to wear it off base even in uniform, normally we weren't supposed to go off base in BDU's for more than pumping gas or buying smokes. Some of us were encouraged to go off base in groups and shop/eat/whatever in uniform while armed to help calm the public.
People were suddenly amazing to us, we weren't allowed to pay for anything at that point on, no one would take our money or someone else would pay for whatever we were trying to buy (I always insisted to buy my own smokes).
Everything went red white and blue, we ended up as a nation with a thirst for blood and revenge. We didn't care who we were going to bomb, we just wanted to bomb someone.