I watched the replay, over and over, like everyone else in the country. I felt numb. Those poor people, both in the airplanes and the buildings.

When I walked into work that Tuesday morning, Ralph Routon and Brenda Shoffner were huddled under the TV set hanging in the corner.

I asked them something like, “What’s going on?” and Ralph said something like, “A plane crashed into the World Trade Center.”

The screen displayed the Twin Towers, one of them wounded and a pall of smoke pouring fourth.

Small, private plane, I told myself, turning on my computer to start my workday. I had to get the Food section out and at least start work on the Sunday Lifestyle section.

Ralph hurried past my desk. I spoke aloud my assumption about the small, private plane and he looked at me, his expression frantic, and said something like, “No! It was a commercial airliner, flown deliberately into the building.”

I didn’t believe him. I went into the Art Department, which also had a TV. I turned it to CNN.

When the screen appeared, a second airplane was striking the other tower, and in one chilling moment I knew this was no accident. I instantly felt sick to my stomach.

I watched the replay, over and over, like everyone else in the country. I felt numb. Those poor people, both in the airplanes and the buildings.

Later at my desk, the phone ringing like crazy, suddenly everyone in the newsroom, I see a bulletin from The Associated Press about an explosion at the Pentagon.

Back to the TV. Smoke is pouring from the building as people run.

Then back to the towers. People are falling off the skyscrapers — no, they are jumping.

Another AP bulletin — explosions and gunshots at the Capitol building. An airliner has crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

It’s too much.

Throughout the day, a flood of horrifying photos from the scene — blurry photos of airliners careening toward the Twin Towers, balls of fire exploding from the buildings, people falling, a smoke cloud hanging over Manhattan.

And then the towers fall, billowing in on themselves, and we stand there watching this calamity, knowing that maybe thousands of people are dying before our eyes.

That night I check the TV to see if they know anything new. I feel the anger surging, the unalloyed hatred of whoever did this. I feel myself hoping we wipe them from the face of the earth.

And then I can’t stand it anymore and turn the channel to HGTV.

Del Stone Jr. is the online editor for the Daily News. You can contact him at 850-315-4433 or dstone@nwfdailynews.com