Originally created 09/11/04

Most Americans have vivid memories of terrorist attacks



Seven in 10 Americans say their recollection of what they were doing at the exact time they learned about the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks is among their most vivid memories. Even more, 98 percent, say they can remember what they were doing when they learned of the attacks, according to an AP-Ipsos poll.

Here are some of their accounts:

Mark Little, a 41-year-old pastor from Knoxville, Tenn.

"We were on vacation in Hilton Head. My brother and I had gone out jogging together and when we were coming back, a guy stepped out of his house and said, 'You guys need to turn on the TV, the World Trade Center is on fire....' He had a cordless phone up to his ear. He was obviously talking to other people and calling them. Our immediate reaction was confusion. it was still at that point where everybody was trying to figure out what was going on."

Katharine Lustig, a 66-year-old retiree from Honeoye, N.Y.

"I was sitting in my family room getting ready to go to a dentist appointment and having coffee and breakfast and it happened. I ended up not going to the dentist appointment after the second hit. I canceled everything that was going on that day. It was the beginning of a war. It was like Pearl Harbor. ... I didn't cry at first because I didn't see that much, but when I saw the people running out of the towers, jumping, I was totally devastated by it all."

Gary Field, a 42-year-old dentist from Colorado Springs, Colo.

"I was on my way to work and picking up a co-worker. We heard it on the radio. As soon as we got to work, we watched it on TV. We thought it was a small plane, didn't realize it was an airliner. ... The buildings collapsed - that was probably the most startling of all. I'm not an overwhelmingly emotional person, but I was saddened that it could happen and that it would happen on our soil and the thoughts I had were whether it would happen again."

Richard Twidle, a 62-year-old clergyman from Ocean Grove, N.J.

"I was at my health club. I was on a treadmill," watching it on TV. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I had children who were in (New York City) who were about two blocks away from the attacks. I couldn't reach them. It was hours before I could get through. When my son got off the subway near the east Village, he saw a plane and said, 'That plane is awfully low.'

He said the attacks had an impact on his grown children. "My daughter had to have some counseling as a result. She was really afraid to go back to the (high-rise) building where she works. My son lost his job (in the securities business near the World Trade Center) as a result of the attacks."

Brett A. Luke, a 28-year-old from Apple Valley, Minn., who works in mortgage sales.

"I had recently been laid off and I was at home and watching it on TV ... I watched the towers fall and everything. Initially, I just couldn't believe there was an error (when the plane flew into the World Trade Center) ... It was such an odd day, it was surreal. Holy cow! How did that happen? You know? Most of the day revolved around it. We just couldn't believe it," he said, referring to his mother and his then-fiancee. "Then we went out to get groceries" and spoke to strangers at the store about the attacks. "It was small talk, 'Can you believe what happened?"'

Results of the AP Poll on public attitudes about terrorism

The Associated Press-Ipsos poll on people's attitudes about terrorism is based on telephone interviews with 1,000 adults from all states except Alaska and Hawaii. The interviews were conducted Aug. 27-29 by Ipsos-Public Affairs.

The results were weighted to represent the population by demographic factors such as age, sex, region and education.

No more than one time in 20 should chance variations in the sample cause the results to vary by more than 3 percentage points from the answers that would be obtained if all Americans were polled.

There are other sources of potential error in polls, including the wording and order of questions.

1. How often do you worry about the following things - frequently, occasionally, rarely or never? How about ...

A. Getting hurt in a car accident

-Frequently, 14 percent

-Occasionally, 41 percent

-Rarely, 30 percent

-Never, 15 percent

B. Not being able to pay your bills

-Frequently, 24 percent

-Occasionally, 26 percent

-Rarely, 28 percent

-Never, 22 percent

C. Getting cancer

-Frequently, 15 percent

-Occasionally, 32 percent

-Rarely, 34 percent

-Never, 19 percent

D. You or someone in your family losing a job

-Frequently, 18 percent

-Occasionally, 27 percent

-Rarely, 28 percent

-Never, 27 percent

E. Becoming a victim of terrorism

-Frequently, 14 percent

-Occasionally, 27 percent

-Rarely, 33 percent

-Never, 25 percent

-Unsure, 1 percent

F. Having your home burglarized

-Frequently, 11 percent

-Occasionally, 28 percent

-Rarely, 38 percent

-Never, 23 percent

G. Becoming a victim of a disaster like a hurricane, tornado or earthquake

-Frequently, 8 percent

-Occasionally, 21 percent

-Rarely, 39 percent

-Never, 32 percent

2a. How concerned are you about the chance that you or your family might be the victim of a terrorist attack?

-A great deal, 7 percent

-Somewhat, 31 percent

-Not too much, 34 percent

-Not at all, 28 percent

(ASKED ONLY OF THOSE WHO SAY IN Q. 2A THAT THEY ARE CONCERNED A GREAT DEAL OR SOMEWHAT ABOUT THE CHANCE THEY OR THEIR FAMILY MIGHT BE A VICTIM OF A TERRORIST ATTACK)

2b. How much does this concern affect how you live your life?

(Percentage of overall sample in poll on how it affects how they live their lives)

-A great deal, 10 percent (4 overall)

-Somewhat, 38 percent (14 overall)

-Not too much, 33 percent (13 overall)

-Not at all, 19 percent (7 overall)

-Not concerned, NA (62 overall)

3a. Thinking about the terrorist attacks on the United States that took place on Sept. 11, 2001 ... Do you remember exactly where you were or what you were doing when you first learned of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. or not?

-Yes, 98 percent

-No, 2 percent

(ASKED OF THOSE WHO SAID IN Q. 3A THAT THEY REMEMBER EXACTLY WHERE THEY WERE OR WHAT THEY WERE DOING ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001)

3b. How vivid would you say your memory is of the moment when you first learned of the attacks? Would you say it is ...

-One of your most vivid memories, 72 percent (70 overall)

-A somewhat vivid memory, 26 percent (25 overall)

-Not a vivid memory at all, 2 percent (2 overall)

-Do not remember NA (3 percent)

4. I'm going to read some ways that people felt when the first heard about the terrorist attacks and I'd like you to tell me whether that statement represents your very deepest feeling, a feeling that was somewhat deep, whether they statement crossed your mind, or whether it never occurred to you.

A. Felt angry that anyone should do such a terrible deed

-Very deepest feeling, 59 percent

-Somewhat deep feeling, 21 percent

-Crossed your mind, 12 percent

-Never occurred to you, 8 percent

B. Were worried about how this might affect your own life, job and future

-Very deepest feeling, 19 percent

-Somewhat deep feeling, 21 percent

-Crossed your mind, 31 percent

-Never occurred to you, 29 percent

C. Felt that the attack could have been prevented

-Very deepest feeling, 19 percent

-Somewhat deep feeling, 20 percent

-Crossed your mind, 30 percent

-Never occurred to you, 31 percent

D. Wondered if anybody could really be safe in this country these days

-Very deepest feeling, 17 percent

-Somewhat deep feeling, 21 percent

-Crossed your mind, 37 percent

-Never occurred to you, 25 percent

E. Felt ashamed that this could happen in our country

-Very deepest feeling, 20 percent

-Somewhat deep feeling, 16 percent

-Crossed your mind, 17 percent

-Never occurred to you, 47 percent

F. Felt that in many ways, the United States had brought it on itself

-Very deepest feeling, 11 percent

-Somewhat deep feeling, 14 percent

-Crossed your mind, 22 percent

-Never occurred to you, 53 percent

5. How much of the blame, if any, do you think each of the following deserves for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks - a lot of the blame, some, only a little, or none of the blame? How about ...

A. The terrorists themselves

-A lot, 92 percent

-Some, 6 percent

-Only a little, 1 percent

-None, 1 percent

B. The CIA

-A lot, 26 percent

-Some, 44 percent

-Only a little, 15 percent

-None, 13 percent

-Unsure, 2 percent

C. Airline security

-A lot, 25 percent

-Some, 44 percent

-Only a little, 16 percent

-None, 14 percent

-Unsure, 1 percent

D. The FBI

-A lot, 20 percent

-Some, 44 percent

-Only a little, 18 percent

-None, 16 percent

-Unsure, 2 percent

E. The U.S. Congress

-A lot, 13 percent

-Some, 39 percent

-Only a little, 21 percent

-None, 26 percent

-Unsure, 1 percent

F. President George W. Bush

-A lot, 22 percent

-Some, 29 percent

-Only a little, 17 percent

-None, 31 percent

-Unsure, 1 percent

G. Former President Bill Clinton

-A lot, 14 percent

-Some, 35 percent

-Only a little, 19 percent

-None, 31 percent

-Unsure, 1 percent