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Remembering 9/11 Fifteen Years Later

911 Memorial flowerFifteen years ago this September 11, many of us sat transfixed by the events unfolding on our televisions. Emotions ran the gamut – shock, disbelief, anger, horror, sadness, confusion, and grief. And like many events that have shaped our world, it’s easy to remember where you were on 9/11. Here are just a few memories from our community.

Van – I was sitting at my desk on the morning of 9/11 on a call with someone in another state. The person I was talking to said, “Wow, a plane just crashed into one of the towers at the World Trade Center”. My response was “Wow, that’s awful!” And we continued our conversation. When the second plane crashed into the second tower the gentleman I was talking to said, “Uh…it just happened again!”. At that point I knew something was up and we ended our call. I will never forget gathering around the television watching the coverage with many of my residents. Several of them responded that this was bringing the same feelings as Pearl Harbor in December 1941. I was overwhelmed with the instant sense of bonding and patriotism as we shared thoughts and feelings across generations to the horrible impacts of war on our shores.fema_-_7611_-_photograph_by_jocelyn_augustino_taken_on_09-11-2002_in_virginia

K.J. – I was in 5th grade at Walter Stokes Middle School. I remember going into class and it didn’t feel like a normal day. There were a lot of parents in the classroom and a lot of commotion going on. The TV was on and I wasn’t exactly sure what was happening. I was slowly able to pick up what was going on. I think my teacher was trying to explain it to us but it was hard to make out through all the children and parents talking. I watched the second tower drop on live TV while I stood next to my desk. I hadn’t even sat down for the day yet. I can’t remember anything else from the rest of the day but I remember the morning. People kept telling me over and over again that I would “Never forget this moment” and that “You will always remember where you were when it happened.” I think that’s mainly why the memory has stuck with me ever since.

Lena – I was eating breakfast and watching TV – when it stopped the program and showed us what happened. I was scared to death. My thoughts were where are they going to hit next?

Julie – I was at a breakfast meeting at a restaurant thousands of miles away from New York City. A waitress had said that a small plane had hit the World Trade Center. By the time I returned to my office, the first tower had collapsed. I managed a call center for a tourist bureau at the time. None of the phones were ringing that morning. Later in the day, however, a few callers were asking for help to find rental cars and hotels since all airlines were grounded. If there was a television in a conference room or office, it was on. I didn’t sleep that night. Instead, I stayed up to watch the coverage, still in disbelief.national_park_service_9-11_statue_of_liberty_and_wtc_fire

Valerie – Actually it’s because of 9/11 that I moved here. My husband was working for a Wall St. bank located next to the World Trade Center. They lost all their data for 3 days and the federal reserve bank mandated that the bank must relocate far away form NYC to prevent the chance of this happening again. So the Bank of NY chose Nashville to build their 65,000 square foot data center and relocated my family here. We moved her from NJ and  have lived here since 2005. Living very close to NY at that time I have many sad memories, but thought I’d share this positive one.

Marilyn – I was interviewing with Southwest Airlines when it happened. Southwest management group came out of the lobby and told us if we wanted to go home and not interview then we could, also they put on the large TV in the lobby so we could watch it.

Rhonda – I was working for the SBC Phone Company on 9/11 and remember everything coming to a complete halt while glued to the television watching the unimaginable unfold.  Other than the shock of such a horrendous event the fact nobody in New York City had cell phone service and only landline telephones, which I worked for, still haunts me.

Dolores – My most vivid memory is the sight of people jumping from windows near the top of the tower. My eyes filled with tears as I prayed for them because it was more than helplessness. It was hopelessness.

“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.”  – Sandy Dahl, wife of pilot of Flight 93 Jason Dahl

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