The events of 9/11 affected everyone in different ways, but one thing that is for sure-we were all affected. As the 10th memorial of September 11th approaches, it is important to honor the memories of the 184 people who died in the attack on the Pentagon, the 40 innocent lives lost in Pennsylvania, and the 2,753 victims who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center. Through our remembrance, we honor the 343 firefighters, the 60 New York City and Port Authority Police Officers and the 8 private emergency medical technicians and paramedics who put the safety of others before their own. This memorial is a salute to all of the individuals, civilians, first responders and all branches of the military, who strive to make our country better. At MilitaryConnection.com, we extend an invitation to our users to share where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news about the terrorist attacks against our country. As long as we remember those who perished on 9/11, they will not be forgotten. If you would like to share your thought with us, please send an email of no more than 250 words to [email protected]. We will post it on this 9/11 memorial page and on our blog.
I watched the television on 9/11 in shock and disbelief as planes were flown into the Twin Towers by people who would never know their victims. Such senseless violence is beyond imagination. An enemy had come to our house and shaken our sense of security. The Towers fell and with them fell away some of our naivety. There is evil in the world and it goes beyond anything we can imagine. That evil still exists today and we can’t let ourselves be lulled into believing that it does not. We can’t be ashamed or afraid to call evil by its name. We must not in the name of inclusiveness allow evil to be overlooked or worse yet accepted. I remember 9/11 and that memory will continue to make me less afraid to say that wrong is wrong; to know that there are things worth standing up for; to value The United States of America and the things that she stands for.
On 9/11 I was employed at the FDA located in Southwest DC. About 9:30 am we felt the building shake and we were a little over 2 miles from the Pentagon. When the news broke and we left work, I got my van on the road to pick up my 14 passengers all who work in the same area in DC. One of my riders was a young mother who was 8 and a half months pregnant with her second child. Driving the van through the thickest smoke I have ever seen was something I will never forget. Folks in fire suits directed us through the smoke. They stood in that smoke with flares to guide awesome. Fortunately, the young lady did not go into labor as I feared she might. Her little girl was born a couple weeks later.
New Braunfels, TX
I was sitting in my floor looking at magazines trying to find a new hairstyle. I happened to be off from work that day. I had the t.v. on, but wasn’t really watching it. All of a sudden, everything started happening. I couldn’t quit watching, for days. It was surreal. I remember the eeriness when all air traffic was grounded. Then, when I saw the first plane, that was even more eerie. When it really hit me was the first time after that I saw a plane take off from the Nashville airport. It could have been those people that died that day.
I was at work and saw the events on the TV monitor in our break room. As a member of the 263d AAMDC in the S.C. National Guard we were activated on 10/10. Members of our unit have been on active duty every day since 9/11. We have had deployments all over the world since this happened.
SGM McCord, Harold (ret)
September 11, 2001 was a bright sunny day in Gainesville, Florida. I had no sooner gone out in our backyard for a swim when my wife, Louise, called to me and said, "You've got to come see this!" I didn't come right away because the swim was more important. By the time I did come in the second aircraft had crashed into the Twin Towers in NYC. By lunch time the entire world, it seems, had awakened to the disaster. I kept my previous appointment with my friend, Fritz, to go share the good news of Jesus Christ. As we went through an apartment complex near the University of Florida we met students from across America. Many of them had friends in New York and several had relatives working in the Twin Towers. Many prayed with us for the great tragedy than unfolded that day.
James M. Scott
Major USAF Ret
Daytona Beach, Florida
I was just cut back to part time at work, and was still in bed when my brother woke me up to tell me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I got up thinking I was watching a replay of the first attack, when in reality, I was watching the second plane hit. I remember wondering what was going to happen next, and then seeing both of the towers fall. It is hard to believe that it has been ten years. My heart goes out to the lives lost, and the ones who were left behind. God bless America!
On September 11, 2001, I was working at a day program for people with severe mental illnesses, in West Columbia, South Carolina. A typical day included group activities, and meal preparation. As was often the case, the TV was on, so of course we saw almost in real time as the first plane hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Initially there was a feeling of disbelief, but then as it became apparent that the nation was under attack, several of our program participants began sobbing quietly. The question of “Why?” came up all day long, one which we were ill-equipped to answer. As staff we did our best – in our own shocked state – to help our clients manage and process the overwhelming sadness, confusion, and anger they were feeling throughout that awful day. It is a day and a moment in time I will never forget.
Don't forget the US Coast Guard, who were on scene that tragic day.
I was at Lutheran School of Nursing and happened to walk by a TV in the formal lounge of our school and saw the first plane crash into the first tower. I was shocked and could not understand how the pilot could be so off flight pattern. I called my husband as he is originally from New York and told him to turn on the TV. A short time later I watched in horror as the second plane flew right into the second tower and then I knew it was not an accident. Classes stood still as we watched the towers collapse and then heard the news about the Pentagon. We knew that the United States was under attack. My husband and I had just been at the complex of the twin towers about six months before this happened. We had a friend’s son who was in the maintenance department of the towers and we did not know where he was for over 8 hours. It was a very difficult day. We returned to New York to visit family in October and as we came into New York it was very sad and erie to see that whole section of the city black. Reading all the stories of families whose loved ones died that day was very sobering and heartbreaking. Our cousin lives on Long Island and he said they attended many funerals and memorials for firemen and policemen who gave their lives to save others. I believe many more would have died that day without the actions of these brave men and women. May we never forget them and their heroic deeds so that others could live on.
Joyce A. Parrone, MSN, RN
On 9/11 2001 I was treating patients in my clinic in Farmington Hills, Michigan when I received an urgent telephone call from my daughter, Rebecca Ellens (Chino Valley, AZ), a nationally notable therapist and international lecturer, indicating that the first tower had been struck.
She was, of course, anxious and mystified as to what was happening. I immediately informed her that it looked to me like a concerted enemy attack and that she should expect a wide spread set of assaults upon a number of vital points in the USA designed to destroy the countries command and control system and psychological symbols. I told her to expect assaults on vital centers in Washington, DC, the military harbor and shipping system in Virginia, the submarine ports and maintanence facilities in Connecticut, and the San Diego Naval Base. I suggested that such vital psychological symbols as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Statue of Liberty might be hit so as to damage the spirit and morale of the nation. I then switched on the TV and saw the second tower hit and then watched both towers fall. As you are aware, within minutes we received reports of other illegal and unexplainable airtraffic activities and then the assault on the Pentagon. I expected the general assault on the nation to be a broader and more efficiently executed attack than the terrorist operations turned out to be. At that time, I knew our alert and defense system rather well and in depth, so I expected that within hours the counter attack would begin by air and sea and we would be able to shut down any sustained operations by the enemy in a matter of a day or two, but that we could sustain a great deal of damage, nonetheless, before we could fully mobilize our military response.
Jay H. Ellens
Ch (Col) USA
I was living in Pittsburgh, PA and working downtown. When I heard about the attacks, my boss and I were sitting in a meeting covering postal regulations when a woman came in and made the announcement. There was stunned silence. No one talked for what seemed an eternity. I don’t remember any noise as people began to file out of the room. Most were getting on their cell phones.
My boss and I sat on the front steps of the hotel where the meeting was being held as he attempted to call his family. I sat and looked up at the sky and remember thinking how blue it was and how nothing would ever be the same again. I kept thinking this was Pearl Harbor all over again. Then I felt the anger coming and the desire to strike back, but the more I thought about that the less I wanted to feel that way and the sadder I got. I don’t believe in violence for violence, but I knew that the world had just become an ugly place.
When we got back to the office, we got word that a plane was supposedly in our vicinity and there were fears that it was going to crash into downtown Pittsburgh. Then we heard it had crashed in Shanksville, PA and we all wondered where the heck is that? There were no televisions that worked on our floor so we tried to continue our work as best we could and listened to the radios that people had turned on. There were a lot of tears and fears for family who lived in New York. I think everyone in the building knew of someone who lived there or had a friend who had someone who lived in New York City. The rest of the day was surreal. I honestly cannot remember anything I did at work that day. When I got home, like everyone else in the world, I was glued to my television, flipping through the channels trying to glean the most current information. Both horrified and fascinated by the incredible images. It was like watch a car wreck, somehow you can’t look away.
The next day, when the ground stop had been declared I was a bit unnerved at how quiet the city seemed. I had never seen the sky without the traces of planes overhead.
In 1963, the innocence of this country was destroyed by the assassination of President Kennedy followed by the killings of Bobby and Martin. September 11, 2011 was the final knife in the heart of America. We have been an uneasy country ever since and may well always be looking over our shoulders and suspecting everything and everyone.
I was dropping off my infant daughter with her sitter when the first plane hit the tower….. A few minutes later, I had arrived at work to see the 2nd plane hit the tower. My co-workers and I just stood frozen in horror in front of the TV with our right hands on our hearts. I soon felt the spiritual presence of my father who had passed away years earlier (proud WWII vet). I cried all morning. None of us could concentrate on work or anything else that day. I just wanted to hold my own children and cried for the victims and first responders. I can remember every detail of that day…what I was wearing, how I felt, the fear, the helplessness….I will never forget that day as long as I live.
My family had left for work and school. I was preparing for another long day at WRAMC. More post op rituals. The phone rang and it was my late father, he said; "Bill, turn on the TV." and hung up. I turned on the television and the first tower was burning. Then I saw the second plane impact. I remember screaming at the television watching the emergency personnel going inside. There was no doubt that they were coming down. I cried and begged God that they would have enough time. I don't remember leaving that same spot until after my family returned home later before noon. I still had one boot off, I made all of the important calls. I had called my unit immediately and told them I was coming up. They told me not to as they might be evacuating. We live near BWI and the absence of aircraft movement was so unnatural. Walter Reed suspended my appointments for some time. The phone calls, the emails, the faces of people as they silently moved without making eye contact. We all wanted to do something, anything, anywhere, and immediately. I remember how soothing it was to go to the range. There were friends who went to work on the piles. I told them to use the maximum chem protection. I can't watch the television shows. I still see those images in flashbacks and nightmares. I have so much more respect for emergency service personnel. I thank the Good Lord that one of four aircraft, 25%, had men who stood up. They will always be the true heroes of 911 to me. I bought miniatures of the four aircraft and remember.
How was it? For everyone differently. As for me, my wife and I celebrated her 70th birthday with our daughter in North Carolina, and a few days later we were driving homewards to Indiana. We stayed overnight at a motel and, after breakfast, got back onto I-64 westbound to Louisville. I switched on the radio, just in time when the first hijacked plane sailed into one tower. From then on it was one sheer horror in real time. It was clearly an attack on America. Only later did we hear of the second plane, of the towers' collapse, of the Pentagon, and of the heroic resistance of the passengers on the fourth plane as it crashed in Pennsylvania. But I will never forget the abomination, Pearl Harbor 1941 renewed. Truly, this day too, as FDR said "will live in infamy." It still does and it will.
On September 11, 2001 I was at work at my civilian job, helping keep an old reconnaissance asset serving in the US military. I read coverage of the unfolding events on the Internet news connection, meeting each new development with disbelief, then shock, then horror. By the time I went home that day, my country was at war, in intent if not in fact. The first and most immediate sign of it was the absence of aviation. Where I live, there is usually an endless stream of jetliners overhead, lined up to thread their way into the airports serving the metropolis to the south. On the evening of 9/11, the airplanes were gone. Not even the drone of Cessnas and Pipers tooling around the valley broke the evening quiet. But late that night, about 10:00, a lone fast-mover streaked across the sky. He was cutting across the empty skyways at right angles, something unheard of in normal times. Was is a Falcon? A Hornet? It didn’t matter. A U.S. serviceman was up there, letting those of us on the ground know that the sword was out of the scabbard and we were safe.
My shocked reaction on Sept. 11 would hardy distinguish me or my story from practically every other caring American. But the next day would. You see, on the day following 9/11, I left my D.C. apartment to donate blood at the AmericanRed Cross building on E Street Northwest.When I left that building, I had a burning desire to see the building which had been evacuated the previous day as a probable target of terrorists, the White House.
As I stood in front, watching the flag blowing at half-staff, I thought of the yet unrolled deaths that the flag honored and represented. Then I suddenly realized that tours had not been cancelled. When I expressed my surprise to two guards near me, they said that they, too, were surprised. I walked to the East Gate. There stood four guards talking, but no line for tours. A guard told me I could go right on in. I did. No need to empty my pockets; the guard there said he could watch me. I took more than an hour just walking through this building with a renewed sense of patriotism. I looked through the window at the South Lawn landing area where just 16 hours earlier President Bush had landed in Marine One under the escort of four f-16 fighter planes.
That evening on the news I learned that only 200 surprised people toured the White House that day, that the safety perimeters of the White House had now been extended, that PA avenue was now closed to pedestrians as well as to vehicles, and the Lafayette Square was cordoned off. The next day, the White House was again evacuated. Then and now, ten years later, I feel fortunate to have experienced the up-close and personal sharing of the People's Mansion.
We were in Vienna Italy so we did not get the full effect. Saw clips on the TV and originally thought it was a movie. Desk clerk had a sign out stating condolences sympathies and support to all Americans. Went to dinner at Harry’s Bar and he brought the entire kitchen and wait staff out to offer sympathy. Tried to fly out the next day and could not. Airport was patrolled by Army with automatic weapons. I checked carefully everyone getting on the plane. It seemed that no foreigners were allowed on the flight. Thorough custom check in NY.
William M. Kurtz
Old Bridge, NJ
I was going into our Administration Building early that morning and saw what was happening on a TV up on the wall. My first reaction was shock that this could happen and that anyone would be so evil to want to take innocent lives. My next thought was how am I going to explain this to my three daughters who are 9, 7 and 4. I wish express my thanks to our firefighters, police and military who put their lives on the line everyday to protect us and help to give us the freedom. Also, I pray for the families who lost loved ones in this terrible event. And I want to thank God for giving us such a great country that can withstand the evil that is always present and hope everyone keeps him in the forefront of their lives as we do not forget our past and push on to our future.
Like many Americans above the age of 25 we remember vividly the events of that day. Most of us witnessed the events unfold on live TV and couldn’t believe what we were seeing.
I had my own small business at the time and upon hearing the news of the initial attack I brought out a small TV, put up the antennae and started watching the incredible events as they unfolded. Many of my customers were police, fire and EMT’s, (my shop was across the street from the largest ambulance company in the area). Their perspective all day was and enlightening experience for me. As those towers fell these professionals knew what it meant to their fellow first responders in New York and I’ll never forget their sense of shock and sadness. Many of them went to NY City to aid and assist in the recovery of those killed and effected.
The direct aftermath of that day and the following days gave this nation a sense of fellowship and support of those immediately affected, that made us truly proud of our fellow citizens who quickly stepped forward to help in many ways.
In the days and weeks that followed the sense of national pride and patriotism came forth as natural as waking up in the morning and putting our feet to the floor. We all gave blood, donated money and prayed for those who needed our assistance and support.
That feeling of helping our fellow man at a time of extreme emergency came naturally to most of us because of the fabric of the American way of life. The three thousand people who lost their lives that day and the hundreds of thousands of family members affected will not be forgotten. We come together as a community every September 11th to pause and remember those victims, and somehow I know we always will.
I have personally worked with our local and state elected officials, community leaders, the police and fire departments, EMT’s and other citizens of our community to come together every year to reflect on this tragic event, and it gives me a great sense of pride to take part in this year’s remembrance ceremony. It is what we do as Americans. America may not be perfect in every way, but we come together to help each other when needed, time and time again. So as we come together again this year to contemplate on the events of September 11, 2001, let us give thanks that we are among the citizens of the greatest country on earth.
On 9-11 I was in Buffalo City Court having coffee with fellow police officers waiting for our cases to be heard when we were notified of the attacks. As soon as I could get out of court I raced home listening to the news reports on the radio. At the time I was also in the New York Army National Guard. Upon arriving home I contacted my unit and was told we would probably be activated. I packed all my gear, went to the armory and spent the night loading gear on our vehicles. The next morning we made the long convoy to the NYC area. I remember every car passing us on the thruway honking horns and yelling at us in support. It was one of my proudest moments as an American.
I was close to the 20 year mark and prior to 9-11 I was going to take my 20 year letter and retire. I ended up staying in another nine years. Those nine years after 9-11 were the most challenging and rewarding of my military career. I retired in 2010 with twenty-nine years of military service. My only regret is that I wasn't a younger man at the time so I could continue to serve my country.
I am a teacher in San Antonio. I was straightening my room when the principal and vice principal came and told me about the attacks. My child was 2 years old and my first thought was, "What kind of a world have I brought my daughter into?" . When my second grade class came back I sat them on the carpet and told them a little about what happened. I remember them looking at me and asking me if the people could have jumped out of the planes before they crashed into the World Trade Center. I was quiet and dry eyed with them because that is what they needed but I cried all the way home. I passed a blood bank I had never really noticed before and the place was full of cars, parked on the street, even on the lawn. Everyone wanted to help and it made me feel strangely proud. The blood bank was packed for at least a wee k and a half and flags began appearing everywhere. This was a side effect our enemies didn't expect. I would like to thank all of the military men and women who have served in the aftermath of this tragic event.
As the years have passed, since the 9/11 terrorist attack on America, I have noticed on one hand a waning of patriotism toward the flag, but on the other hand a dramatic increase in patriotism towards our hero's fighting the war against terrorism. In other words, I think there is a feeling of ambivalence, but I hope I'm wrong.
As an Army veteran, I can't do enough to support our country and our warfighters who put themselves in harm's way to defend our freedoms.
All I can say is, America, wake-up and get involved both in supporting our troops and in the democratic process living in America affords us.
God Bless America!
Dennis from Oak Forest
September 11 was a sunny late-summer morning in Chicago's west suburbs. On my way to teach my 1st class, I turned on my car radio just as the 1st plane struck the Tower. Incredibly, reports from the local news stations seemed stupidly confused and contradictory, as if unable to grasp the reality of what was happening, the announcers appeared clearly out-of-their-depth.
By the time I reached the university, everyone had crowded around TV screens in the hallway, lounge areas, and in the cafeteria, all watching in stunned silence while the 1st Tower burned. Over the public address system an announcement came that all classes were cancelled for the day. I bought a coffee and sat down at an empty table. My hand was shaking. A male student, whom I didn't know, sat down beside me. His face was ashen. "It's the beginning of World War III", he said somberly, "It's our Pearl Harbor." I nodded, and we both watched the coverage in silence. The 1st Tower collapsed a few minutes later.
On September 11th 2001, I was working nights in the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke AFB, AZ working for the USAF. In my bed on base in the dorms, surrounded by my co-workers and friends and my phone rang while I slept. Durring this time my mother, then my grandmother next my father and others called leaving messages. As I woke it was probably the 7th call to my cell phone, alarms in my brain went off as I dawned my BDU's, called my mother on the phone assuring her everything was going to be fine and ran to the day room. Once in the day room I found my co workers who watched as not more then seconds after entering the later the second plane struck the second tower. Not long after that, reports from DC, New York and others came in about the tragedy that our nation had entered. Quickly, it was apparent that we were at WAR, in the back of my brain I knew my God, Jesus was in control, but I was gripped with fear and confusion. The bubble of safety that I had as an American was popped and we were no longer safe, but a resolve came that we are going to get those who have struck us back! It was not shocking to me however because just a few days prior there was a dream that I had about these events. I was proud to be an American as I am today and ready to work as if unto the Lord at my job fixing and maintaing F-16's. Change had occurred and it was my honor to Serve the country and the Commander in Chief George Bush Jr. That was a Tuesday morning and later I reported to my squadron to see if they needed help, we scrambled jets to patrol the Nuclear power plant and the city.
I remember that date very well. We were watching television around 6 that morning. My husband was getting ready to go to work and we were in the kitchen, in our condo in Southern Calif. My husband yelled that a plane had hit the Twin Towers. We thought it was an accident since planes have done that to the Empire State Building previous times. Then another plane crashed into the Towers and all of a sudden we knew there was a problem! The next day we were due to leave from LAX to British Columbia for a week's cruise to Alaska. We went about our business the rest of the day. I even went to have a pedicure. We actually thought we were going to leave for the cruise. We even packed. Of course, that never happened. We then drove down to Coronado to spend a few days. The freeway was pretty empty except for Marines coming from Camp Pendleton. There was a sign above one of the freeway overpass praising the USA. The shock of that day still lives within me. I think about the passengers on Flight 93 and the "Let's Roll" motto. I still get tearful remembering that week.
Bullhead City, AZ
I was with a family member in the car when we heard about a plane hitting the twin towers...it was almost taken in stride,as did a lot of people-thinking it was just a rare bad accident. Then within minutes-they said another plane had hit and it was like the whole world when dead quiet! As more news came forth, and we realized we had been attacked,the streets cleared of traffic. We had to visit an automotive store,and we're the only customers.We then went home and sat by the tv-life as we had known it,was to be changed for years to come.
My wife Helen and I were living in our retirement home in Hilton Head, SC. After breakfast that morning she left to attend her ladies' weekly Bible Study, while I remained at home to attend to a few chores. The phone rang. My wife said; "Turn on the TV!" I was appalled at what I saw, and canceled all morning chores. I sat spell bound at my TV watching first the destruction of New York's Twin Towers, then the attack on the Pentagon. The ladies turned their prayers to those lost in the destruction. I learned later that the part of the Pentagon that was destroyed included the office I had worked in 42 years previously ... one of the officers killed was my successor (many time removed).
Howard Holschuh Captain U.S. Navy (Retired)
I was living in San Francisco. I woke up earlier than usual on September 11th, and for some unknown reason, I turned on the TV (which I never did in the morning). At first, I thought the that the news I heard and saw was all a terrible accident. As I got ready for work, my son came upstairs, and he had also woken up early and turned on the news. He, however, did not think it was accidental. When I arrived at my hospital job, many of the patients were watching TV. By then, the second plane had crashed and it seemed less likely that this was an accident. As the day progressed, the news became more bizarre and the feelings of paranoia grew. The Golden Gate Bridge, and other essential routes for travel were closed. Security guards were posted at the doors of the hospital, and such a measure had never been done previously, during the 12 years I worked there. I tried to avoid watching the images on TV, instead I listened to the radio. But those images of planes crashing continue to remain imprinted into my brain. They still remain ten years later, along with all of the phrases about how our country had lost it's innocence on that day (a similar phrase was used when JFK was killed, but this time it seemed that the whole population was vulnerable and in harms way). About two months later I needed to fly in order to attend a conference. Friends and family were worried, and the armed military officers and heightened security at the airport were so different than what I'd ever experienced in the past. The aftermath of September 11th remains haunting.
Corrales, New Mexico
It was a beautiful September morning. My mom had just called my wife and asked if we were watching the news. Our relaxed state of mind vanished quickly as we began watching the events unfold.
Like millions of others we watched in disbelief and horror as the towers fell and the Pentagon was hit.
Then the events from that day began to hit home.
My aunt JoAnne had called my mom expressing concern that her son, my cousin, Kenny hadn’t called when he reached California. Kenny was a flight attendant for American Airlines (AA) and was supposed to have reached Los Angeles the day before with his wife and fellow flight attendant, Jennifer, working on the same flight. They were flying together so they could launch their 3-week vacation together when they reached LA.
My mom wasn’t able to muster up the courage to call American Airlines to ask about Kenny and Jennifer so she asked me to help. Always the optimist, I wasn’t overly concerned and was eager to relieve my aunt and the entire family so I got busy calling.
By mid-afternoon I was able to get through to the right people at AA who were fielding calls from concerned family and friends. I carefully stated and spelled the names of Kenny and Jennifer and the woman told me that their names were NOT on the Flight #77 list, which was the flight flown into the Pentagon. Elated I immediately called my mom. Unfortunately the lines were clogged and I wasn’t able to get through for quite a long time. In fact, I had enough time to go out and grab a 6-pack of beer so I could celebrate. I will never forget the emotional high when I heard they were not on that list.
Finally able to get through to my mom I gave her the good news. Surprisingly, she calmly asked me if I had told the person I spoke with at AA whether I had mentioned that they were part of the flight crew or not. I had not. When I called them back late in the afternoon they gave me the news that none of us wanted to believe. They were indeed on Flight #77 on 9-11 working to make sure passengers were safe and comfortable.
Kenny was an only child and one of our closest cousins. He and Jennifer were two of the happiest people I’ve even known. The pain isn’t as sharp as it had been for years, but it still hurts whenever I think of them. Unfortunately, there is no avoiding the hurt each year when we all reflect on the terror inflicted on our people that day.
Kenny and Jennifer Lewis
My father and I had mixed emotions that morning; we had just buried my mother a few days before. The thing I remember was the way the small community of Marysville, Ohio came together, flew flags and opened the churches for prayer, and I got to spend an extra week with my father until I could fly home!
USAF, CMSGT (Ret)
I was getting ready to take my kids to school that day. After I dropped them off, I went to my Mom’s house. I re-enlisted in the Army Reserves because of 9-11 and have spent the last 5 years on Active duty.
Teri M Goode
Pueblo West, CO
We were sitting at the kitchen table having breakfast. It was only when the second plane flew into the second tower we realized what was happening. As our son often flew out of Logan International airport in Boston, we just sat frozen in our chairs. Soon our phone rang and it was our son saying he was alright, that he was on the ground. We thanked God but our prayers went out for the many who weren't so lucky. We are one country under God, and we should not let that be taken away from us. With Him and all those who fight in his name we will continue to be strong.
Just as when JFK was killed I’m sure anyone of age you ask could tell you exactly where they were that fateful day. On September 10th I had traveled to Denver from my home in Massachusetts the night before and what stood out to begin this whole week was that when I flew out from Connecticut’s Hartford Airport, On that flight I was SEATED next to an Air National Guardsman who just happened to also be a recruiter and being an eight year USAF veteran myself we struck up a nice conversation which helped pass the time and at the end of the flight he had giving me his business card. The next morning waking up at the hotel in Denver just before our annual one week sales meeting was about to begin. I was watching the Today show when all hell broke loose and like all my colleagues from around the country needless to say the sales meeting was a bust as we all basically just hung around the TV all week watching as this horrific ordeal unfolded. Having lived in Denver some years ago it was a very eerie site to go outside that week and look up at this big blue beautiful sky and not see one contrail from a high flying jetliner. I don’t believe there was ever another time in my life I needed and wanted to be with my family back home in Massachusetts as this feeling of helplessness was unbelievable. All anyone could do was hope and pray for the first responders, victims and possible survivors of this horrible act of terrorism on our country.
When I was finally able to get back home at week’s end once the airports had all opened up is was as if I had been gone a year, it was good to see and hug my family again. A few months later my youngest son who had wanted to be a fire Fighter for some time just as his Grandfather had been for forty years. He seems to have been motivated by the fire fighters at ground zero to kick his future into high gear but was not having much luck getting into a department . To make a long story a little shorter, He ask me what I thought he could do to make his dream happen. Funny enough I still had that Air Guardsman’s business card so I handed it to him, Today my son Andrew has been a USAir guard fire fighter for 8 plus years as well as a civilian firefighter at the same airport. As horrific an events as 9/11 was, out of that tragedy I have to believe it also motivated people from all walks of life from all over the world from being victims of such acts of violence to become very positive/strong role models for future generations.
I'm french and on 9/11 I was travelling in Vietnam. When I saw that horrific attack on TV it was unbelievable, I thought it was a movie, a very bad movie. Then I realised it was real and I was so shocked that I can't find any right word to describe my feeling. I felt guilty to be so far from our western countries in a former enemy of USA but most of the Vietnamese people around me were shocked too. I had to continue my travel but for the first time I phoned to my family from a stay in a foreign country, I needed to share my pain and sadness. I've been loving USA since I was a teenager and even after 10 years I still feel a pain that's like a scar in my hart. In 2007, I've been in New-York and the first place I wanted to go to, was Ground Zero. I needed to be with American people around that place, watching pictures and testimonies in the little church, I cried, I felt very bad but it was necessary for me, I had to go there. Still, each time I see videos about 9/11, I feel a great injury and I can't help crying. I 'll never forget all those victims, what our enemies did to us and how precious are freedom and democracy. I thank so much american soldiers who fight to protect our freedom and our way of life, I also think to their families who know the expensive price of democracy. Next 9/11, I'll be with you in thought.
Anticipating offering an economic crime lecture at Cambridge' Jesus College later in week, I telephoned a London-based daughter who told me to put on the "tellie." I did so and saw the second WTC hit.
International media played reactions in big cities including the USA embassy facing Grosvenor Sq. For the balance of the day in Cambridge, my wife and I were overwhelmed by Brits and others - real people, not pols - going out of their way to say "We are with you. Let's get the bastards."
When in Cambridge, I usually visit the nearby American military cemetery. Media did not report the flowers from Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire folk mounded four feet high and ten feet wide around the principal flag pole. We read some of the cards. A common sentiment, again from real people, was to effect "Your boys died for us in the two great wars. We're with you this time."
My daughter attended the memorial at St. Paul's during which, at personal direction of H.M. the Queen, the Star Apangled Banner was played along with the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Watching on TV, I wept. Francis Scott Key celebrated resistance to Brit invaders of the USA and the well read Queen knows that very well. I wept. I also wept as sometime Jesus Dean Barry Rider later arranged a memorial in Jesus' ancient Chapel. I did not weep but was filled with pride when still later viewing a photo of an FRG Destoyer displaying - quite unauthorized by pols, I'm sure - "We are with you" when passing American Naval units.
The real people know that terrorists posing as exclusive possessors of the truth must be exterminated. Only pols wish to play nicely-nicely.
Dr. John A Maher, LCDR, USNR-Ret
I took off on a flight to Miami from Washington Reagan at about 0730 on 9/11/2001. While in the air the pilot told us a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center Towers. He didn't say what kind of plane so I thought maybe a small private plane. A little longer he said a second plane had hit and I immediately knew it was a terrorist attack. Shortly after we were put quickly on the ground in Charleston SC. As I got off the plane I saw the TV showing the collapse of the twin Towers. It was surreal. I rented the last available car and drove back to DC. I could smell the smoke from the Pentagon as I turned off of 95 onto Rt 1 through Old Town Alexandria. As I pulled into the parking lot at Reagan Airport to retrieve my car and I was met by heavily armed police who told me to come back tomorrow. I drove home around midnight right past the still burning Pentagon. My thoughts were how easily I could have been on one of those planes. As it turns out I lost two of my cousins who worked at the top of the Twin Towers, a classmate from Annapolis who was the pilot on one of the planes that hit the towers, and the plane that hit the Pentagon hit the Navy Command Center that I had commanded just 6 years before. Since then both of my sons have volunteered to serve our nation in the war to bring those responsible to justice. My oldest was an Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan and Iraq as an Army Captain, and my youngest is a 2nd LT in the USMC. We will never forget, and I will never forget how what started as such an ordinary day would change the world we live in so dramatically.
Tom Flanagan USN Retired.
Yes I have memories and plenty of thoughts. I am a seventy-five year old Marine. You know the theme...Once a marine always a marine! My first thought was "How dare they!" then...Ok, find out who, then dig them out! Hit them so hard they will be remembering what they did a thousand years from now. We remember the Revolution, the Civil War, the Spanish American, WW1 and WW2, Korea, Vietnam and all the brush wars from the Banana Wars to the Sand Box. Lets never forget the Americans who gave all they had on 9/11. B.C. in Washington State.
I was stationed at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) in Washington, D.C., as an USAF enlisted pathology technician. My rank was Master Sergeant. I recall stepping outside earlier that morning and noticing what a clear and delightful fall day seemed to be shaping up.
Once word got out something was going on, Army, Navy, USAF and civilians came into the break room to monitor the TV; initial consensus was that some idiot had flown his plane into the WTC. When the second plane made contact, I looked at the Navy Senior Chief and we both nodded to each other; at that point everyone knew what the deal was.
A couple hours later, we were all in the auditorium, being briefed. The Pentagon had also been hit, and there was word going around that the Department of Labor building had too been hit. The Director asked for volunteers; I was then detailed to the command post where we went to work coordinating the recovery, post-mortem examinations, identification, and forensic evidence gathering for the Pentagon and Shanksville, PA.
Lastly for that day, I noticed that it was relatively easy to drive away from the District, but the DC police checkpoint for vehicles coming in evidently was deliberate in its security procedures; the line coming in was backed up well into Maryland, foreshadowing future airline security procedures. Two weeks later, the detail ended, by then we had relocated to the Dover AFB Port Mortuary.
MSgt, USAF (Ret)
I was reading the morning news when I got a call from Berlin, Germany. "What is going on in New York?" "Turn on your TV." which I did and just in time to see the second plane hit the tower. My thought at the time was, "Lets take these nit wits out!" My President, George Bush, did just that. Thank God for him.
I has just gotten up, watching our local news show while I was getting ready for work when the towers were hit and I was so shocked. I called my bosses at the pharmacy and told them to get the TV out, that the towers were hit. I think the rest of the day was so solemn, we didn't fill to many prescriptions. I cannot even imagine what I would have done if I was there and survived. And now it's 10yrs.
I am 75 years old this year 2011. The night before the Trade Centers fell to the ground I was playing with my "Microsoft Flight Simulator 98". The night before I started my flying in a Cessna 172 out of Beaver-marsh, OR, a dirt runway and heading north to Bend, OR. There was not much to see so I went to Christmas Valley, OR and headed west, and again there was not much to see. Therefore, I chose a ready made flight over New York City and it started out at about 5000 feet elevation heading north and as I looked down to my left there was the city with a lot of tall buildings. I like the challenge of flying between the tall ones. Just before heading down and between these two real tall buildings I realized that I had almost over shot my approach to go between them, but knowing that this game would reset itself I was going to try it any way. It happened, I didn't make it between them and I ran into that first one that was hit in the same area the next day and fell to the ground. Now you can imagine the surprise I had the next morning when I saw the news and saw the same building fall to the ground after it being hit by a real aircraft. I almost felt that it was my fault.
James Webb Sr.
I was lying in bed watching the today show with Matt and Katie when all of a sudden they showed a plan flying into the tower, I thought I was dreaming or it was a simulated trick of some kind. That day did and will always remind me of how life can change so suddenly, the innocent lives that were lost, families torn apart, children without fathers or mothers and mother and fathers without children. Such a senseless act. I learned that America is no longer viewed as a super power and that we too are vulnerable. Let’s learn a lesson and never forget 9/11, let us all be prayful, mindful, steadfast, watchful and do all we can as individuals to keep us all safe.
The news of attack by terrorists on 11 September 2001 came and startled me awake. I had worked nights in a labor and delivery unit in Cartersville, Georgia. My husband, a newly retired Air Force executive drove the 8th grader and 10th grader to school. My bedtime habit was to go to bed with the Today Show on and "sleep-time" the remote. Typically I fell asleep somewhere in the first thirty minutes or so, the TV went off at some point and I slept until about 2:30 in the afternoon - to make the pick-up at school. On September 11, 2001 I had that I had drifted into a sound sleep when an urgency in the voices of the news team at NBC studios in New York woke me. The experience was truly terrifying. I left the bedroom to find my husband in the kitchen making himself breakfast and oblivious to the events. I told him briefly what I knew and turned on the television so he could make some sense of it.
He knew nothing, of course. We could make no sense of it. I knew I wanted my children home - right then. I dressed and went directly to the school to find traffic all around the school and other parents with the same idea. Parents were hugging kids, kids hugging kids, parents hugging parents. We had a common enemy, but we could not positively identify them.
The patriotism and consuming nature of the tragedy gave me something on which to focus my attention. I was glad to put some of those feelings of fear to rest. I hope to never forget the circumstances and to be involved in change that focuses attention on patriotism.
Susan Spencer, MSN, RNC, IBCLC
As secretary of the USS ESSEX Association I was registering attendees at our reunion in Atlanta, GA when I received word of the attacks.
C. Leonard Schlamp
I was at home on that fateful day. I was in the kitchen doing dishes and my then husband called me to turn around, as I did, I saw the plane hit tower two. I couldn't move. I started crying and shaking and thought to myself why is this happening? My phone started ringing like crazy, friends were calling, family was calling, we all discussed what just happened. A lot of my veteran friends and I started talking about going back in or being possibly recalled back to active duty. I thought of my family, could I leave them again? I was scared but if my country needed me I would have gone back in. All we could do was pray, and pray we did.
Ms. Audy Woodham
I have vivid memories of that day. I was watching ABC news and Diane Sawyer broke in and said there was a fire in the trade center. They went to a video of the event and Diane and Charlie were watching out their window when another aircraft came into view went into a slow banking turn and crashed into the far side of the Trade Center. If you have the tape of this event you see will see the two of them watching and they were speechless. I spent the next two days glued to the TV to track all that was happening. It is one of the numerous events since my career began in 1949 that, to me ,were earth shaking.
Dave Haas, USAF retired
On that tragic day I was working at Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove, FL. There are two campuses and I was driving from one to the other when I was called on my cell and told something that I had a hard time believing. By the time I arrived at the other school campus, all eyes were glued to the television and, not long after that, we saw the second plane hit the second tower. We all knew at that moment that the America we knew had ceased to exist and that the implications stretched far beyond our borders.
On September 11, 2001 I was just getting up when my mom called and told me to turn on the TV. Every channel had the towers on, front and center, my heart stopped. I called work and asked if they wanted me to come in, but the base was shut down and I was to stay home and close to the phone. Years later I bought a VW Bug and decided to paint it and decorate it to "REMEMBER 9/11". I go to many car shows in California and to this day people are glad I honor the memories of those who died. We as a nation should never forget and I shall always remind people with my car.
Leslie Armstrong, NAVAIR
I was living in the Fairbanks, Alaska area and got a call from my middle daughter who was attending college on the East Coast. She called after the first tower was hit and I watched in shock as the 2nd plane hit. I was working for the Alaska Dept of Fish & Game at the time, and attending school full-time pursuing a Social Work degree. I went to my first class of the semester that morning and it was my main Social Work class. Our instructor used the event as a teaching opportunity and we did a “Crisis Debriefing” about the attacks. Working for Fish & Game, it was the middle of hunting season and we had a lot of hunters out in remote areas that could not be picked up (planes were not flying) and some were very upset to hear from others who were floating down the river and were told that the United States was under attack. It was a pretty helpless feeling for a lot of the hunters and fairly confusing for those who didn’t know what happened until the planes could start flying again and get out to pick them up. Living in Alaska is different. For those vacationing, if you miss a flight in the States, you can just go get a rental car. It’s not that easy in Alaska!
Hard to believe it's been 10 years since that awful day. I was in the Pentagon, has just left that area before the plane hit where my friend, SGM Larry Strickland and I were chatting as he was to join my team 1 Nov. Unfortunately he was killed. I lost 6 friends that day. Funny thing was when I finally got home and my daughter, a HS Senior ran out to hug me in the yard, knocking me down (strong soccer player!). After burying her face in my chest for a moment, she reeled up saying "Wow, Papa, you stink!!!" LOLOL
I remember that day as if it was yesterday. Although I was in Florida at the time, I'm originally from New York, and I felt like they invaded my back yard, and will never forget that and those who lost their lives. I was watching the morning news and for a brief moment thought I had the wrong channel on watching an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, and then reality hit me, hit me hard. I still have family living in New York, so I immediately called one of my sisters but the phone was dead. She and her family live but a 15 minute drive from the Big Apple, and my brother in law works in the garment district. Now I'm frantic and feel helpless, so I call my other sister who was at work and witnessed this horrible act from her office in New Jersey. Thankfully, my family was spared, however, my heart goes out to families of the firemen and police who put their lives on the line, and to the thousands of innocent Americans from Pennsylvania and New York.
I guess I felt the same as I did when I was in high school during WWII with one more year to graduate. Everyday I heard about all the ships being sunk off our east coast, and me sitting there in my high school classes doing nothing about our country being defeated by mostly German U-Boats laying out there sinking all our ships.
I quit my last year of school, and enlisted in the U.S. Marines, fighting almost three years in the pacific against fanaticial japanese till the war was over.
Unfortunately this time I Had to leave that job to my many grandchildren to take my place, of which there is still 3 of the original 7 that served our country.
I had just arrived at my job in Shreveport when I heard the news about the attack. It was so hard to work that day. The shock and horror of what transpired was consuming. When I got home that evening, I was transfixed to the TV and thinking about what people were going through. I started to write my thoughts but it came out more like a poem than anything else. This was unusual because I don’t keep a journal or write poems. I guess the last poem I wrote was in elementary school. But like I said the tragedy had consumed me like it had most Americans. Anyway, it only took about half an hour, except for a tweaking here and there (at first we thought it was about 6000 people). I shared it with my sister-in-law who attached a night view picture of the twin towers with the statue of liberty showing in between them and made a bookmark for me. What happened was unimaginable and I pray it never happens again.
Carter Z. Overton
Virginia Beach, VA
On September 1, 2001 I was at home here in Arizona watching the attack from the first News Break. I contacted my family in New Jersey to make sure my cousins who work in the Twin Towers were ok. Thank God they were not in the building during that time. My brother Joseph was directly across from the towers in Newark, N.J. where he was employed. He did suffer some trauma as he told me he saw the second Tower come down. For many years he would not go on or near an aircraft with the fear of flashbacks, PTSD. Today he has overcome most of that fear and is able to travel to Florida to see our older brother. I am a Vietnam Veteran, and I love our Country.
Ralph L. Ricciardi
The morning of Sept 11, 2001 I was in San Francisco. The radio alarm went off that morning, tuned to NPR as it usually is. Typically we both take our time getting out of bed, but that morning my husband leaped out of bed and ran into the living room to turn on the television. We both saw the second airplane strike the WTC. I was in shock.
At that point I was not in the military, but had been considering joining the Reserves for many years. That event tipped me over, and over a year later I became (and still am) a proud member of the USAF Reserves Medical Corps.
I find it especially fitting that I will be pinning on Col this year on the Sunday of our UTA, which happens to be Sept 11th.
Meredith Goodwin, Col, MC, FS, USAFR
919 MDS, Eglin AFB, Florida
On 9-11-01, I was the National President of the League of Postmasters and was representing our members at a Board of Governors meeting held at Postal Headquarters in Washington DC. The meeting was on the 11th floor of L'enfant Plaza and I was seated next to the window with a view of the Pentagon. Shortly after the first tower was struck, postal inspectors interrupted the meeting to notify us of the "accident". They came back after the second tower was struck and notified us it was no longer an accident. After the Pentagon was struck, the postal inspectors notified us we were in the next tallest building in that part of Washington and advised us to leave immediately. I could see smoke billowing from the Pentagon as we exited.
I left and drove by the Pentagon on my way back to League headquarters in Alexandria. As I viewed the mushroom shaped cloud of smoke over the Pentagon, I remember praying that I was dreaming all this.
Joseph W. Cinadr
I was working the 7-3 shift at work when we heard that bombs had gone off in the World Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon. later we learned that planes had been crashed into these buildings and that there were an undetermined number of casualties. In any case, i stopped my forklift in sight of everyone and said a short prayer for everyone involved, including the hijackers.
formerly US Navy submariner
I arrived at RadioShack Corporation at 8:15a to welcome the three financial analysts and to facilitate their meetings with our CFO, CEO and President. Their meetings started at 8:00a with the President of RadioShack, so when news came of the first airplane hitting the towers, we were curious. When the second plane hit minutes later, someone in New York contacted the analysts and warned them to reserve a rental car back to New York, which was immediately arranged. I checked with their office in NYC to make sure there was not something else we could do and I conveyed my thoughts and prayers.
The analysts continued with their meetings while those of us not in meetings gathered in the Investor Relations office around the only television on the executive floor. We watched in horror as the buildings fell. The NYSE floor trader called a few minutes later to say trading was halted. I conveyed my thoughts and prayers to him. A few minutes later, I talked with our NYSE representative who told me the Exchange was closing and she was heading home. I was barely able to hold my emotions in check as I told her we would be praying for her and everyone else in NYC. Then the plane hit the Pentagon. As a former military brat, I knew we were under attack. My immediate thought was, "Shut down the borders, bring home the troops and lock this place up against any intruders."
Our analysts showed the most control as they completed their meetings and left to pick up their rental car. They had lost many friends when the towers fell, but their offices were not housed in the WTC. One of our bond analysts died in the WTC collapse. She had been something of a maverick and had left an indelible impression on all who knew her. I later learned that one of my high school alumni died in the Pentagon.
That evening was eerily silent in my home near the DFW airport. The shock was wearing off and I realized our country would never be the same.
By 2003, our NYSE representative had two children and then retired. I left the corporate world then as well.
The morning of the attacks I was in Milwaukee spending my last day with my family I was due to arrive at Navy Bootcamp on 9/12 my recruiter picked me up and took me to MEPS where we were told our country was under attack and did not have to proceed... On 9/13 I made the 2hr drive to bootcamp and eventually became a cryptologist.
CTR3 L. Gudell
My husband and I found out about the attacks about 15 minutes before leaving for my mother-in-laws funeral. After the funeral, most of the day was a mix of trying to honor my mother-in-law and watching the news. We also were waiting to hear from some friends that were stationed at the Pentegon, but it took almost a week before we found out they were okay.
I was at my parent's house in Ohio watching the news on television with my mother when I saw on the news what at first looked like an "accident" of a plane hitting the first tower. I then actually watch the second plane hit the second tower live on the news and I immediately perceived that it was not an "accident". I knew that there were people who did not like the United States, but why this? It was hard to add up what was going on.