Wired magazine has a good piece on the technology we had on September 11, 2001. To summarize, video cameras were more rare, cell phones were uncommon, and the Internet was not as widespread as it is today.
I would say that we were in the modern era when it happened. Sure, HDTV was not a mainstream reality yet, TVs were still big CRT boxes, but the Internet was around, digital cameras were starting to become common, and there were even handheld PDA computers which could access the Internet. Indeed, I was emailing family and updating my web page (from a desktop computer, mind you) as the attacks were happening; I was in the middle of writing an email when the North Tower collapsed.
One focal point where a lot of people discussed the attacks was Jerry Pournelle’s mail column, where Dr. Pournelle would publish letters sent to him. It gives a pretty good sense of how people were reacting to the September 11 attacks as they were happening.
Jerry Pournelle passed away in 2017; while I did not see eye to eye with him on a number of issues, he was a very intelligent and articulate writer who was a key focal point in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks.
Father James Martin posted his memory of that day and how it affected him, saying that it felt that he “was in hell” when he arrived at ground zero, and that “Working at the World Trade Center was one of the most profound experiences of the Holy Spirit I've ever had”.
I was in Mexico at an immersion Spanish language school when the attack happened. I was in an extended four-month program, and did not have to leave yet, but I remember the graduation dinner we had together a few days after the attacks, where a number of other students were figuring out how they would get back home with all of the flights grounded; a number of fellow students who were ending their classes had to take buses to get back home.
I remember a couple of fellow students decided to go to New York to help any way they could in the aftermath of the disaster.
Since I did not have to go back home until December, I was able to fly back, as planned, but with an increased military presence in the airports.
My September 11 experience, where I wrote in 2012 about what September 11 was like for me.
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