One of my professors was talking about how hard it is to empathize with those who died on 9/11 because empathy requires that one be able to fully imagine themselves in the plight of another. He went on to say how the situation faced by those trapped in the World Trade Center was so bad that it's incredibly difficult for many people to truly imagine themselves in that kind of situation - for example, the idea of imagining yourself at the top of the building feeling terrified of the fire but having no choice but to be forced to the edge of the building and even jump out. He mentioned a saying "out of the frying pan and into the fire." It got me really thinking about just how the unimaginably horrific the situation was for people who had no hope of survival.
I've dealt with "no hope" situations before. As bad as they were, they were a millionth of the situation that these individuals were in yet I still felt extreme dread that I could barely handle. I guess that means I just can't comprehend the fear felt on 9/11.
I know this forum is mostly college guys and analysts, so most people were not past elementary school when it happened. An alum was giving a talk at my school last year about how he was in the South Tower when the first plane hit. He mentioned how all the non traders at his firm evacuated but that the traders had to stay because because the magnitude of the situation hadn't been realized yet, and they later all died.
I was an infant during this, but I just can't imagine the fear felt by the people involved.