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Readers share their memories

For many people, our coverage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was a key turning point, not just for, but for online news as a whole.

It wouldn’t be a birthday party without some friends over to help us blow out the candles, so we asked you to share your memories of the last 10 years.

For many people, our coverage of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks was a key turning point, not just in how they saw, but in how they saw Internet news generally. Some people wrote in to praise gone-but-not-forgotten tools from the early days, such as News Alert, while others wrote in to say they were new fans of

Teachers told us of using our content in their classes; new mothers told us we gave them a way to stay connected to the outside world. Two women even wrote in to say they’d met their future husbands on our old message boards.

We also heard complaints, both old and new, about video, about Firefox and about all the ads. Others wrote angrily about our politics (both too left and too right), or about whether celebrity news belonged on the cover. One reader suggested a proofreader would make a nice birthday present.

What follows is an edited selection of your e-mails. Individual e-mails may be edited as well. And don’t forget to weigh in with your views on our 10.

‘I will never forget 9/11’
On the morning of September 11th, 2001, your website was where I first learned about what was going on in New York City. … It was one of those moments where you had to stare for several seconds at the fireball and smoking black hole two-thirds of the way up the WTC towers, under the headline "TRAGEDY IN NEW YORK", before reality finally kicked in. In those early moments and hours, time basically stood still in our office as everyone tracked the attacks and their aftermath through I remember it clearly to this day.
Mike, Hartford, CT

The site was extremely busy (on 9/11), but did an excellent job of keeping me well informed during the crisis and also confirming my instinct -- Bin Laden was behind the terror. This is most certainly a defining moment in my lifetime, and provided complete coverage to not only my defining moment but also a pivotal moment in our country's history.
Jennifer, Round Rock, Texas

I will never forget 9/11. was a great site to get up to the second information when it mattered most.
Matthew Carpenter, Plano, TX

I think most Americans would agree that September 11, 2001 was the biggest news story in which the Internet played a crucial roll. For all of us East Coast office workers that had already arrived at our cubicles for the day, was the main connection between our windowless offices and the outside world that day.
Stacy, Greenwich, CT

I'll never forget listening to the live radio feed on the morning of September 11, 2001. In the middle of the morning broadcast, a reporter mentioned early reports of a commuter jet hitting the World Trade Center in New York. As reports began coming in that it was something more than that, I stayed glued to my live feed, listening to the most traumatizing event of my life unfold.
Ariel Boggess, Charleston WV

I have been reading my news on MSNBC since 9-11. I was at work as a school nurse and heard the news from one of the teachers. We turned all the TVs off because of the students (2nd and 3rd graders). I still wanted to know what happened so I got on MSNBC and watched it all day until I got off. It was slow that day as I'm sure many people were doing the same. I have been using MSNBC as my daily news since then.
Alana Maddock, Joplin, Missouri

I remember on Sept. 11, we didn't know what was going on. I was at work, and everyone in the office kept "refreshing" the MSNBC web site to find out the latest updates. It was the first time that I remember the Internet, and especially this site, being central to the general public for up to the minute (and accurate) information.
Kristel, Cleveland, OH

Katrina, the shuttle and more
I recall when the jury had reached a verdict for Timothy McVeigh, I didn't have a television or radio but had at work. The home page gave the time that the verdict would be read, and I refreshed the page every few seconds. After a couple dozen clicks to refresh, the page was changed to read "GUILTY". has been my home page at work and home for several years, and I have never been disappointed.
Moses P., Lakewood, California

My earliest memory of came during the attacks at Columbine High School. I had taken the afternoon off from work and was surfing the net when I clicked on There were photos of the chaos changing every few minutes. It was surreal to sit at the computer and watch the tragedy unfold. I stayed with it for over 3 hours on that eventful day.
Chris, Quincy, IL

During the confusing and upsetting days after the 2000 election, you were my source for the very latest updates on who would end up being president. I worked in an office and there were no TVs or radios, so I kept you on my computer desktop. Even though the result wasn't what I'd hoped for, I appreciated the coverage. Thanks and keep up the good work!
Debbi Greene Barer, Easton, CT

The morning the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated. … I was awoken by a phone call from a friend saying "something happened to the shuttle" ... the first place I turned was, where to my horror there was a picture of the flying debris and the headline COLUMBIA LOST. Your coverage of the whole story was applaudable.
Jeff Kupke, Flanders, NJ

MSNBC was a critical link during Katrina. The blogs from your great reporters (especially the stories on the pets) were awesome. I take your news quiz every Friday and I look forward to it. I also appreciate the link to Newsweek and Washington Post articles.

Favorite features
I can't imagine my Fridays without being able to check in on "This weeks Photos" and I'm already looking for to the Year in Review Photos. Always a highlight for me.
Bazi, Lincoln, NE

I loved your little app -- MSNBC alerts. I really miss it. And I'll never forget it -- it's how I found out about 9/11. I was running late to work, booted up my computer, and a little yellow breaking news alert popped up in the lower right-hand-side of my monitor -- "Plane hits World Trade Center." I'll never forget that.
Cathy Dee, Ft. Wayne, IN

You're co-owned by one of the 10 largest defense contractors-GE, and that gives me great pause and doubts that hard core issues like the mountain of evidence about 9/11 will ever be dealt with. However, the flyouts are back and, so thanks for that and doing the best you are able to.
Barry Rifkin

Your website changed my life forever, but maybe not the way you think. During the Elian Gonzalez fiasco … I met a group of people (on your message boards). When you all started shutting the boards down because of the nastiness, we created our own message board. A year later, I flew to Miami to meet everyone including the man that is now my husband. Thank you MSNBC!!!!
Vicki Hobb, Coconut Creek, FL

Complaints, you have a few
MSNBC has been my home page for at least nine years. …  Your requirement that I use IE browser before I can see a video presentation however, has been a bane to my enjoyment of your site. Consequently, I refuse to watch your videos even though I already use Windows Media Player as my main source for videos.
Jack Tancredi, Sun City, CA

It's too bad that the best news page on the Internet is bogged down by advertisements at the opening of every page.
Bruce Stanley, Cedaredge, CO

You need to make your site compatible with the Firefox browser. It is annoying to see the poor displays on some stories.
Steve, RI

If I could afford it, I would buy your website a proofreader for its 10-year birthday.

You like us, you really like us
My husband and I keep MSNBC on our home page on our lap top which is always plugged in on our counter in our kitchen, so MSNBC is a part of our lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whenever we share news with family or friends, they ask, "how did you find that out" and we say
Lisa, East Haven, CT

I think is the best and most thorough American online source for news. … I use articles all the time to teach current events, vocabulary and reading comprehension.
L. Werner, Chicago, IL

For the past seven years I have been a stay-at-home mom who has relied on the quick trips to the computer to see what is going on in the world that is not related to Elmo! It is faster than turning on the television and waiting for the commercial breaks to be over. Thanks for keeping me an up-to-date mom who never feels out of place at dinner parties.
Shannon, Maineville, OH

I have been reading MSNBC o line for two years now and LOVE IT. I read it everyday and have been more informed than I have been ever in the world news. I love it when I go home and my husband starts reading an article out of the local paper, and I stop him to say "I know all about it," then continue to finish the story." He says "How do you know all about it already," and I tell him I read it online this morning on MSNBC.
Colleen Hinson, Stuart, FL

Every weekday for the past six years, has been my main source of news. Timely articles, finely crafted editorials, and an intuitive menu system have kept me coming back. If only my employer knew how many hours have been lost to your "killer app" of a website. Here's to 10 more!
Berkeley Goodloe, Richmond, Virginia is a part of my life - just like breathing.
Barbara, New York

Looking to the future
I continue to get most of my news online. I will soon have to find a new source of print paper for use in the litter box and unfortunately the paper carrier may soon be obsolete.
Janine,Elizabeth City, NC

The Internet has changed how I read and watch news. Before the Internet, if I had time, I would try to catch the nightly news or a morning program before heading off to work. What makes the Internet so special is that it's being updated every half an hour or so. Breaking News events can be sent directly to your e-mail. We get the critical information at our finger tips. MSNBC is the best news site on the Internet because of all the highlights and in-depth analysis and streaming video. … In the future, news on the Internet will expand to high-definition news sites and really show the environment where these gutsy news journalist expand coverage. Some news sites will charge extra for live coverage of certain events: maybe war coverage, a sporting event, or a political party rally (Democratic or Republican convention). It won't be like live TV, it will put the viewer in the action. This may be another 10 years away, but I think MSNBC will likely be the news site that will bring the best coverage. Good job, MSNBC. Happy 10 years!
JW Tucker, Fishers, Indiana

10 years ago reading the paper was a necessity and surfing on the internet a luxury. 10 years later, for better or worse, the opposite is true. The paradigm shift to today's 24x7 cable TV/internet driven information on demand world, has made reading my newspaper a Sunday morning "luxury".
Jack Harding, Hillsborough, NJ

MSNBC has evolved from a mere novelty to the prime real-time connection with the outside world - international, national and local. Newspapers are fine for opinion and local items but are useless for breaking news. Television news is a slow and cumbersome way to acquire information, dumbed down to a fourth-grader's interests and abilities while its intrusive commercials waste time. Thus, the Internet is the current modern standard until direct brain reception of the news becomes a nightmarish reality.
Michael S. Lehv, Columbus, OH

We feel old, too
Ten years? Wow, that makes me feel old. I had just graduated and moved to Los Angeles as the first official hire of one of many internet startups sprouting up at the time. I've probably been on several times a week since your initial launch. You're doing much better today than the startup I was a part of. Congrats and thanks for keeping me informed.
James Lamb, Seattle, Wash.

Wow! Ten years? It seems so much longer. Ten years ago, I was still reading the newspaper every day and using the Internet news sites mostly to get the late-breaking news and updated stories. But it's got to be two years or more since I picked up a paper (except to read the funnies), since virtually everything is online now. The best parts are that I get great news service AND I don't lug twenty pounds of pounds of old newspapers to the recycling center anymore.
Judith, Youngstown, Ohio

No, no way can you be 10? Where did the time go? How did you grow up so fast? You don't look one day older. You are just as fresh faced as when I first knew you. I have been a fan for all these 10 years and I remain a loyal viewer. My home page has always been Did I grow old and complacent with my choice? No, I daily view other websites but no other website is so informative and eye pleasing as you are. Happy Birthday. Just don't be a Terrible Teen!
Beth Warner, Round Rock, Texas