When 'it' all happened --- what they were thinkingThe JoongAng Ilbo English Edition asked residents of different countries how they were affected by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon.
JAKARTA, INDONESIA: Mufti Utomo, 24, management consultant.
"At first, I thought I was watching some kind of a movie trailer on TV. But it quickly became clear that this was a live broadcast. Half an hour later, when the picture of Osama bin Laden showed up, I personally -- as a Moslem -- was shocked. I wondered why a Moslem would dare to do something like that, since this action contradicts Islamic faith. Since then, I have tried not to highlight my religious activities too much. I feel deeply sorry for the people who lost their lives."
NEW YORK CITY: Sharon Choi, 26, investment banker at the World Trade Center. Now working in Tokyo.
"I was shocked and terrified, thinking it was some kind of a bad dream. After evacuating the area, I walked back to my apartment near the World Trade Center, in the smoke, to find a missing friend. I walked for 10 hours in the aftermath."
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Paola Pinoargote, 30, labor policy researcher.
"I was crying as I watched the news coverage. Now, I am more tolerant of delays and long waits at airports. Moreover, I no longer enjoy suspense-thriller movies involving terrorism because they seem more sobering and realistic."
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA: Audrey Rutkove Joern, 25, architect.
"I awoke to the news on my alarm clock-radio and immediately called my family in New York to make sure they were safe. I learned our next-door neighbor in Larchmont, New York, had died in the attack. I was dumbfounded. The incident changed my life, making me feel that no cities are safe anymore."
CARACAS, VENEZUELA: Joanna Klein, 26, law school student.
"I was in a shopping mall with my mother in Caracas, when the planes hit. We were passing an electronics store, and the giant TV screens flashed the images of the buildings collapsing. It was horrible. All I could think of was that it could have been me there in those towers; I had lived five blocks from ground zero only two months earlier. Ironically, I was scheduled to return to New York in early September but decided to stay in Venezuela because my father's birthday is Sept. 12th. I kept thinking, 'I nearly died in there.' Now, I'm just grateful to be alive."
by Choi Jie-ho