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Casey Matthews, 21, a Carlsbad resident, is a repairman for the City of Escondido. “I was at work, and seeing how I was a city employee, I was sitting on my ass. I didn’t believe it. I thought it was a joke. I’d heard about it on the radio, on the way to work, but I didn’t actually see the footage until I got there. I didn’t do much that day. I left work, because a friend of mine had a bunch of relatives out in New York and he was having some trouble. They said that if we wanted to go home, it was all right. But I was able to sleep.”

Karen Harris, 42, teaches kindergarten at Walker Elementary School and lives in Scripps Ranch. “I was at home getting ready for school and it was on the TV. I really couldn’t believe it. I was away from the TV when I heard, and I turned around to look and was in shock and then disbelief. I sat down and watched the coverage for a while. I had to teach that day and looked at the TV in my room whenever I had a chance. I tried to avoid the topic with my students, because they’re only five years old. I thought that would be too much for them and it would be better for their parents to discuss it with them. I stayed up later than normal watching the news. I was just too keyed up by what was going on.”

Adi Pourfard, 42, is a business owner from Rancho Santa Fe. “I was in bed, watching the financial news. The first thing I thought was like a shock. The first plane disrupted the financial news and they said it was an accident. While we were watching it, they noticed the second plane hitting it. When the second one went through 20 minutes later, we were just shocked. We closed the door so the kids wouldn’t see it. I didn’t even open my store that day. We just stayed home, shocked. We have a lot of family in New York, and we didn’t know if they were okay. For the first week, we started listening to the news in our bedroom instead of letting the kids watch it with us, because we didn’t want them to be scared. They were showing those scenes of people throwing themselves off the building over and over. We didn’t want the kids to be scared of that. They could sleep, but we couldn’t.”

Phillip Reed, 15, is a high school student in San Diego. “I was at home watching the television. I just thought, ‘Wow! What happened?’ I just sat there and watched and wondered why it happened. I spent the day talking about it with my friends. I didn’t have trouble sleeping because it was so far away. I didn’t think they would come over here and attack us.”

Joe Fisher, 65, lives in Ocean Beach and works as a distributor. “I was in Washington, D.C., on business. My initial reaction was shock. I couldn’t believe it. When they came out to tell me, I thought they were joking. It took us a couple of minutes to realize what was happening. We were right next to the FAA building, so we vacated after that. I had no problem sleeping afterward, not at all.”

Jamie Hall, 22, lives in Pacific Beach and works as a restaurant hostess. “I was getting ready for school. At the time, I was going to school at Chico State, up north. I thought that it was like a dream, that it couldn’t be real. It was confusing. I went to school and went home almost immediately, because the school was just deserted. The only people who were there were in the library in front of the big TVs. It was only 8:30, but I decided to go home. After that, I just sat in front of the TV all day long. I had no trouble sleeping, but it was still on my mind all the time. Even now, still.”

Harry McClelland, 68, lives in Southcrest and is retired. “I remember precisely where I was — in my apartment. I heard about it on television. I was shocked, of course, but I wasn’t perhaps as surprised as those around me seemed to be. Maybe it’s just my philosophical view of the world’s situation today and the history surrounding our country and the Arab world and the conflicts that heretofore had not reached this pinnacle of violence. I was surprised that this hadn’t happened sooner. I started to pray and called a few relatives and friends in Pittsburgh, which is where I’m from. Some who worked in downtown Pittsburgh said that they were afraid that there might be some more terrorist activity pending. I had a hard time sleeping after that. But one element — it may sound Hollywood-ish of me to say it — but what really knocked me out more than anything else, the positive element that I grabbed out of this, was the guy on the plane that was heard saying, ‘Let’s roll!’ That was so American! [His voice chokes with emotion.] That guy is definitely a fixture in history and the group that was with him. We probably will never know the whole story, but it’s so American to go down that way. I was in the Korean War, and a few of my friends are not here anymore.”

Olivia Perez, 46, is a secretary from South Bronx in New York City, spending the summer in San Diego. “I was at work and we were watching television. We heard the news, and we all ran to the auditorium to watch it. At first, I thought it was just an accident. Then I realized that we were being attacked. I cried. They wouldn’t let us out of work, and we had to work very late. Then I went home and sat in front of the television for the rest of the night. It was very hard to sleep after that for months.”

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