Remembrances of 9/11: A Collection

September 11, 2011

The following is a collection of remembrances from friends, family and colleagues who recollected that horrible day ten years ago:

Taken by Bob Soucy, Sept. 17, 2001 near Ground Zero. Bob, a paramedic, was visiting family in Connecticut on 9/11, and drove to Manhattan after the attacks.

  • Nancy Whitmarsh: I had just got back home from taking my oldest daughter to school and when I got home I was getting ready to feed my son and I turned on the tv and fed him and then went in the living room to change him and I seen it on tv and I also seen the other planes shadow and said out loud in my living room, ” What is that? Turn the camera to it, I think it is another plane!” (Like they could hear me!!!) and about 5 seconds later it crashed into the other twin tower! I was in shock and just couldn’t seem to focus on anything else for quite a while. Just kept watching from there on out! Such a scary thing to watch and had so many emotions. I was crying watching the whole thing and just couldn’t believe my eyes! Such a sad day! 😦
  • Eric Dowell: I was on my way to Eastland Mall when I heard the news on a sports radio station. I was confused because they never discussed ANYTHING but sports on that station. When I got to Eastland everybody was running to the one store that had a TV.
  • Michael J. Mayes: I flew into Little Rock AR and was in a ball room at Embassy Suites in a meeting when we heard. Needless to say I was trapped in LTRK and ended up having to drive home on Thursday with my VP. I flew in on 9/10.
  • Libby Mitchell:I had just arrived at work at Harp’s Mill Internal Medicine. I headed for the break room to stash my lunch in fridge and I heard a frantic reporter on TV saying that a plane had just crashed into one of the Twin Towers. I shouted out to my coworkers what was happening and we were all just staring at the TV in shocked silence. After the 2nd plane hit I remember saying “the world will never be same again” and I was right. All of our morning appointments canceled and no one came in until after lunch. The world literally stopped that morning and sadly I’m not sure if it or if we will ever recover…
  • Talyna McGloin Putnam:I was in the car on the way to class at UNC-W. It came over the radio. I kept thinking it had to be a joke. There was no way something like that could happen here. It didn’t hit me that it was real until the announcers were in a near panic saying that the second plane had hit. When I got to class we were all talking about it. Some of my classmates had been getting ready and watched it happen on the news. Our instructor got to class and didn’t know anything had happened. He didn’t believe us until faculty started getting calls that classes were dismissed. I spent the rest of the day at the student center (the Hawk’s Nest) with most of the campus. All we could do is talk and cry and watch in horror.
  • Mary Figaro Skipper:I was at home alone getting ready for work. I had the radio on and the DJs said a plane had hit one of the twin towers. I remembering thinking it must have been a small private plane and maybe the pilot had had a heart attack or something? I turned on the TV just in time to see the second plane hit. Then driving in, I heard about the pentagon. I just remember vividly the faces of other drivers I saw that morning. Everyone looked so stunned. I remember what a beautiful September morning it was, and thinking how strange all that was going on not really very far away and things looked so normal here. We were all forever changed by that day.
  • Tom Montefusco:I was in a files system class at Microsoft learning about how to rebuild partition tables and the MFT (Master File Table) and the Master Boot Record (MBR) and all that arcane stuff. We took a break and saw it on the TV and that was the end of that class.
  • Kimberly Collette Looney: We were homeschooling at the time, and I was preparing to teach piano lessons to some fellow homeschoolers’ children. One of the parents told me to turn on my television. When I turned on the news and saw what had taken place, it felt as though someone had socked me in the stomach. It was so difficult returning to my part-time job the next day. We all were so paralyzed with sadness and disbelief that we found it difficult to function. I remember that many of those in my church community gathered at the altar and poured out our hearts to
    God……..My daughter was expressing to me tonight how much it bothers her that people in this country can get by with disrespecting our military. She said, “even if you do not agree with the war, you should still show respect and honor to our military.” I’m afraid that we have greatly failed to remember 9/11. We should pray for our leaders and service men and women continuously. America is only free because so many have paid the very highest price, the shed blood of the innocent.
  • Kevin Wilkerson: I was working at the USAirways ticket counter at GSP when our bagroom agent came in to tell us a plane had just crashed into the WTC. We were trying to gather info when he came back a few minutes later to tell us another plane had crashed. We had a small line of customers who were getting calls and just standing there in stunned disbelief. The airport cleared out and was so quiet. I remember feeling worried for our crews and passengers and after all the flights were grounded feeling relieved and just wanting to be home with my family. We closed the counter, went to the break room and watched the news for the rest of our shift.
  • Gerri Russell Holland: The day that changed me in so many ways… It made me sick to learn later that a young man I know was at the Pentagon… but thankfully not in the spot of impact! We were at work & the director heard about it. A teacher who lived close to the center went & got a small B&W TV. We took turns watching it. We took the kids outside & the director put the TV in the playground window so we could see it. I watched the coverage for days. I still watch it every year. I have always appreciated emergency workers after a house fire as a kid… but this made me appreciate them even more. I heard someone say last week that one day 9/11 will be just another day like Pearl Harbor Day… that is just hard to believe… The way our country came together was amazing… It even affected people all over the world.
  • Lt. Bob Soucy, US Army: I was visiting family in Connecticut when I got a phone call telling me to turn on the TV. It was after the second plane hit. The news radio stayed on the rest of the day. I watched as one of the buildings came down…my first words were, “They just killed hundreds of firemen.” The following Tuesday I was wandering the streets of Manhattan. It was a complete ghost town…hardly anyone there. There was a smell in the air…it was a mixture of rotting flesh, smoldering debris and construction dust. A police line was set up on Canal Street and it was manned by NYPD, NY National Guard and NY State Police. Vendors were selling pictures of the towers before they came down and it was the first time I actually saw an FDNY engine driving down the street. There wasn’t a square inch of open space that didn’t have pictures of missing people…they read “Mommy, please come home, we miss you” or “If you find FF XXXXXXXXXXX please tell him to call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX, his wife and kids miss him”…literally thousands of pictures telling where the missing people worked or were last seen or when they were last hear from. I saw coroner staff manning the mortuary area outside of Belleview Hospital and the lined up refrigerator trailers holding the remains. In Washington Park there was a peace rally going on. It sickened me. I will defend the right of the protestors to have their peace rally but I will NEVER agree with them. There was a palpable evil in the air. I will never forget.
  • Shane Alan Swaim:I had just sat down in the dentist chair getting ready to have some teeth filled and the news was on TV right in front of me. I saw the first plane hit the World Trade Center at 8:46AM. I got my teeth filled, went home, and watched TV the rest of the day. I was very concerned and my heart went out to those who were killed or injured that day.
  • Jed Cooper:I was working alone on a new home in the Miranda neighborhood in Long Creek. Listening to the usual gibberish on Ace and TJ’s show when I first heard the news. I thought uh oh some poor shlep f’d up and flew his Cessna into the tower. Then my wife called and told me what she had seen on the tube. so The job site I was working on was in the flight path to CLT. The silence and lack of air traffic was a terrible silence. I never felt so alone.
  • Maria Bolick Martinez: I was at home, talking to a friend on the phone when the first plane hit. We wondered if the pilot had had a medical condition and then saw the second plane come in and hit. We both knew that the second one was no accident. I continued to watch TV during the morning and watched as a news correspondent at the Pentagon, who was on air, suddenly stopped and said that the building just shook. He then said that “we are being told to leave the building” and a few minutes later, it was announced that the Pentagon had been hit. Around 11:00, I left for my job as a lunchtime aide at the jr. high school. On the way, it was announced on the radio that contact had been lost with a plane in Pennsylvania and that the plane had turned around over Cleveland, which was a little too close for comfort. When I arrived at the school, I was met outside by the safety officer and the fire chief and told that the school was in lock down. The principal told me that they were trying to say as little as possible to the students to prevent panic, but it was too late. Many of the classrooms had TV’s that had been on during the morning news and students saw the planes hit the twin towers. I had two students come to me in tears; one because her uncle was a pilot and the other because his grandparents lived in New York City. I sent them to the office to call home. Finally, the principal announced what had happened and the school became a very quiet place. Many parents came to get their kids, especially the ones of Middle Eastern decent. It was the longest day ever.
  • Glenda Lane Skinner: I was at home getting ready to head to High Point to visit my mother in the Alzheimer’s Unit when the first plane hit. We were in the car when the second one hit. At first we thought it was just a pilot error or something. But when the second hit, we KNEW it was something much bigger and scarier!!
  • Bill Andersen:I was working at NC State University, in the Solar Center. One of our directors came in and said a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I immediately thought, it was a small cessna or something. No big deal, right? Well I couldn’t even get online because I guess so many people were doing the same thing. Eventually I was able to pull up MSNBC.com. When I saw the fireball from the World Trade Center, my jaws dropped. And when the second plane hit, I knew something was going on. Everyone was watching t.v. in the McKimmon center (where I worked) and I remember seeing the towers fall. I was in absolute shock, angry, sad, words weren’t able to describe how I felt that day.
  • Judi Moore: That morning I was working in a classified lab at Lockheed Martin with no windows/communication with the outside. As I walked back to my desk, I got an eerie feeling when the head of security brisked past me with an “it’s go time” look. I had made plans to take my sister’s kids to lunch that day so, I left work and met them at my parents’ house. There, I watched the events unfold on TV like everyone else. It was one of the most beautiful Ohio September days that I can remember but so surreal as not one plane or contrail crossed the sky once the US airspace was shutdown.
  • Cathi G. Cates: I was asleep. I was working at Raleigh-Wake 911 center. I was sleeping with the radio on, and I woke up around 12, and they were talking about planes hitting the Wrold Trade Center. I got up, and went into the den to cut the tv on. When I got to work that night, we were put on certain dispatch channels according to the strengths. I had people calling complaining about helicopters flying, when the airspace was closed. I explained to them that the military and police helicopters, and the hospital helicopters were still allowed to fly. Some people call 911 for the strangest things. It was the scariest feeling I think I’ve ever had. When Marty came home from school we hugged and I didn’t want to let him go.
  • Lauren E. Haywood:  I was in Green Bay, WI on a business trip.  I called the office around 9 EST and heard that a plane had just hit the world trade center. I immediately turned on the TV and watched the events unfold. I was talking to my boyfriend at the time when a plane hit the Pentagon. I called my Dad to let him know I was not in DC.  “Good,” he said.  “Stay where you are.” My business is a membership organization so 4 of my colleagues and I headed to the closest airport and rented 5 cars so our members would have a way to get home.  Hertz was charging an additional $500 to rent a car.  I have never rented from Hertz again.  Me and 3 colleagues then drove from Green Bay back to Northern Virginia. We rarely spoke, just listened to the news on the radio.  It was eerie. There were no cars on the roads. We breezed through Chicago – there was no traffic. There were no planes flying overhead.  The country had stopped. And when it restarted it would never be the same.
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