We will never forget


Dear Wayland faculty and staff:
Where were you on September 11, 2001?

Post a comment below and share your memories.


39 thoughts on “We will never forget

  1. On the morning of September 11, 2001, I stood side-by-side with my fellow colleagues upstairs in the Moody Science Building on the Plainview campus. We had huddled around a single TV in Dr. Vaughn Ross’ office. During Trig that morning, I dismissed class so we could all watch the news, but then I wandered around campus to various dorm lobbies and talked to students doing my best to help us all cope with what was happening.

    • Is was in Mrs. Bizzell’s second period English class as a fifth grade student in Hale Center. I was unaware of the events that had transpired until our principal, Mr. Norwood, come over the loudspeaker and announced that America had been attacked. We observed a moment of silence and went to the library to join the other students in fifth grade. I remember watching the news throughout the rest of the day, but as a young child, I was not able to comprehend what was taking place. I remember being sad and scared, but I had no knowledge of the impact September 11, 2001 would have on our country and the future in which I would grow into an adult.

    • I was teaching music theory and retired professor Earl Miller met me as I came out of my class, took me to his office, and showed me what had happened on his computer in his office. At the time I was director of the WBU Handbell Ensemble and we were scheduled to perform that day at an appreciation luncheon for area pastors in UC211. They decided to go ahead with the luncheon even though many of the anticipated guests decided to stay home. The guest speaker was grounded in Dallas and Dr. Davis filled in with one of the most transformational talks I have ever witnessed. My most precious memory came from our handbell students who were quite distressed that, being only a few weeks into the semester, we only knew two musical pieces for the performance and they were both really peppy and upbeat. Some students did not feel like we should play them. At the end of the morning we all decided to go ahead and perform. The students decided God would want the musical offering on behalf of the victims no matter what the style. We all played with tears steaming down our faces to a half-full room of heart-sick Americans. I will never forget that day and the spiritual fortitude of our young Wayland students. Lessons learned…

    • I remember being in school when it happened. I do not remember the teachers stopping to watch the news or anything being different that day. It was just when I got home and watched the news with my dad that I started to sort of understand what had happened. I remember watching the news with my dad for almost two weeks straight and it beign about nothing else. My brother made the comment “Why is this all that is on, it happened over a week ago.” My dad said you don’t understand, America is under attack and this is really important! It wasn’t until then, that I figured out this was really bad and would affect everything from this point forward.

    • Shortly after 5:00 AM that fateful morning I was awakened by a frantic phone call from my daughter in New Mexico, “Dad, they attacked the World Trade Center! Turn on the TV!” Upon doing so, I was stunned after viewing the carnage unfolding before my eyes on FOX News showing two aircraft plowing into the north and south WTC towers. After several years in law enforcement I thought I had seen just about everything in my career, but this tragedy actually shocked me. My jaw dropped to the floor as I was trying to mentally absorb what I was witnessing.

      During that time period I was a deputy U.S. Marshal assigned to the District of Alaska. On that terrible day I was scheduled on annual leave to go bear hunting; however, after notifying the chief deputy of the horror that just occurred in New York my leave was cancelled and I (along with all Marshals Service staff) was ordered back to the federal building in Anchorage. We set up an emergency command center at the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) annex building. While posted there two major incidents occurred. A KAL cargo jet flying in central Alaska apparently was not responding to FAA’s Central control and was nearly shot down by scrambled U.S. fighter jets. It was discovered that the crew had inadvertently shut off its’ transponder. The second incident was a cause and effect of FAA’s mandate to shut down all air traffic in the U.S. As a result, several “fly in” hunters in remote Alaska were stranded, not able to comprehend why their pilot/guides had “abandoned” them in the “boonies”. Their supplies were running low and many of these hunters were forced to walk through rough country until reaching a back country road or heavily travelled river. Once a passerby would inform them of what had transpired they were undoubtedly shocked.

      Since that terrible day our lives have changed forever. The days of carefree and fun air travel are finished, rendering flying a mere evil necessity. Safety is no longer guaranteed on campus or in our shopping malls. The malevolence of terrorism knows no boundaries and can strike anywhere and anytime.

  2. On Sept. 11, 2001, Dr. Bill Hardage and I flew out of the Plainview airport to go to Albuquerque. It was early on a beautiful and clear late summer morning.

    Everything was going great until we were over Clovis, NM. Through my headset, I could hear someone telling Dr. Hardage (the pilot) to turn around and go back to wherever he came from. No other explanation was given. Having no other recourse, Dr. Hardage turned around and we flew back to Plainview.

    When we landed, Dr. Hardage stopped by an office at the Plainview airport and was told that a plane flew into one of the World Trade Center (WTC) buildings in New York. As we drove back over to the campus, Dr. Hardage talked about how small planes had hit other buildings. His knowledge of aviation history was amazing. I loved hearing his stories as we flew.

    Of course, when we got back to our offices, we found out quickly that it was not a small airplane that hit the WTC. As my staff in the IT department watched the news, we saw another jet airliner hit the second WTC tower.

    Wow, what a sobering and silent morning – interrupted only by the occasional “Wisdom is down” (our clunky old database system).

    During all of this, my wife, Debbe, was with Lindsey Black in Newport News, VA. There were there for some kind of training for the Business Office. I’ll let Debbe tell the details of how she and Lindsey got home. It was a difficult two or three days as I waited for them to finally drive home.

    My mother used to tell me and my siblings about being on a school bus out in the sticks north of Sweetwater when the radio announcer broadcast that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. That was 10 years before I was born. She never forgot that moment (the bombing or the birth).

    People who remembered the bombing of Pearl Harbor had to tell us what that time was like.

    It is up to us to tell future generations what 9-11-2001 was like.

    Never, never, never, never, never forget.

    Jimmy Fikes

  3. I was a missionary in Kosovo, leading worship in a church plant in the city of Rahovec. I learned of what happened when I returned home late that evening.

  4. I was in Dallas recruiting for Wayland. As I was packing up my bags for my next flight to San Antonio I got the call to turn on the TV. I sat in shock watching…desperately trying to find a way to get home to my 10 month old son. Never forget!

  5. I was in Davis Hall, getting ready for class, when my (almost) fiancé told me a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. I took little notice and continued on to Mrs. Smith’s French class, where the full import of the situation dawned on me. Christa chose not to cancel class; instead, she sat with us, prayed, and wondered. A few months later I learned that Jessica, a friend I met while serving as a summer missionary in Massachusetts the previous summer, died in one of the towers. I post this in her memory.

  6. I was doing the morning show on KKYN radio in Plainview along with Waldo Wesley. We had a tv monitor in the studio in case of breaking news so that we could report those things. It was set to FOX News when I first noticed that a plane had flown into one of the towers. We began to piece information together from tv and Associated Press reports. Not long after the second attack, we switched our programming to ABC radio news for the remainder of the day.
    I remember the wide range of emotions as we watched and talked about the events on the air. Sorrow, anger, sympathy, fear. It was a morning I will never forget and never want to experience again.
    Tom Hall

  7. I was getting ready to come to work when my daughter came and had me watch the TV. My first thought was that the pilot had had a heart attack and I was so sorry for the passengers and people in the building. As we sat on her bed in sadness, we saw the second plane enter the screen. I wondered why they would send the plane for a rescue operation. When it hit the second building, my stomach dropped and I realized we were under attack. Shock set in and tears began to flow. I did not want her to go to school that day but stay with me at work. She wanted to go to her boyfriend’s (now son-in-law) house and be with him. We saw the coverage of the Pentagon and I realize that the attacks were nationwide. When I got to the office at WBU-Lubbock, I learned of the Pennsylvania plane. Our office gathered together and prayed and encouraged all who came in that day to focus on the sovereignty of God. Even though we were at a loss of what was going to happen and what it all meant, we focused on God and the fact that He was still in control. Someone brought a TV and we watched the events unfold all day. Tears and uncertainty were common; but I could see our faith in God grow stronger as we had no where else to turn for strength.

  8. I was in 7th grade choir class when we heard about what was happening. My dad worked at NASA and a majority of the students at my school parents also worked at NASA. We were all very scared because there was talk that NASA was also a target. They evacuated NASA and most of the students at my school where checked out by their parents. It was a very scary day because we didn’t know if NASA would get hit, we lived only 5 minutes from NASA.

  9. I was in high school at Derby, KS (near McConnell, AFB) during study hall. All my friends and I were stunned and couldn’t believe it. The rest of the day in all our classes we watched the news. Despite the devastating terrorist act each one of us knew we would overcome. One of my uncles was working at the Pentagon and fortunately he was late that day. This was also the week in 2001 that my oldest brother was finishing up boot camp. It still saddens me to think about the loss of life on that day. We’re blessed to have men and women who stood up and volunteered to fight for our country and I have had friends and family who have continued to sacrifice in the War on Terror. May we never forget all the men and women who died on 9/11/01 and the first responders who ran towards disaster to save as many as possible.

  10. My family and I were in the small farming community of Welch Texas.
    We were leading the Music for the Revival that First Baptist Church was holding. We woke up that morning to the radio broadcasting the news that the first WTC building had been hit. We turned on the TV and began to watch in disbelief at what was taking place. I remember trying to explain to our two boys what was going on. That was so hard! The Pastor came to our trailer to check on us, while he was trying to contact his own son. He was an Air Force Pilot, and they had just been given orders to report for duty. The services that evening were very heavy! You could tell that most of the folks were visably shaken and some beside themselves, because of family members that were in the Military and been called to report for duty.
    I can still feel the overwelming scense of helplessness and knowing the only thing we could do to help was pray!
    My family and I will never forget!

  11. I was a teenager, on vacation with my family on the East Coast. We had flown into Boston the night before, and were planning to fly to New York that day to see the sights. At the last minute, my dad decided that we would drive down to Plymouth Plantation first. As we got into our car that morning, my dad got in after checking out of the hotel, and told us, “A plane just flew into the Pentagon.” We heard reports on the radio all day, and watched the TV that night. I had a younger sister, so my parents did not want us to watch too much of it with her around. We had people constantly calling us, making sure we were alright, because they knew we had planned to fly into New York from Boston that day. We ended up driving to my grandparent’s house in Virginia and staying there until we were able to fly back home about a week later.
    One thing that stuck with me from this experience is that you never know what each day will bring…Realize what’s really important, invest in your relationships, and treasure them today.

  12. I was finishing the field work for my dissertation and that morning I was earning some extra money spraying mesquite for a friend. My wife and little boys were at home. It was hot, so when I’d return to the pickup to refuel and refill the sprayer tank, I would start the truck and listen to the radio while the tanks were filling. I’ll never forget how lonely it felt to be out in the middle of that pasture, listening as the reports came in, and my family somewhere else. The other things I’ll never forget: the silence on the American Airlines flight to a meeting ten days later, right after they opened the airports again; the fighter jets flying over my home town; the trainloads of military equipment that passed in front of our little rent house on the way to the Port of Beaumont later that winter; and all those who have given their lives for our freedom and safety.

    • I was a BSU intern at Lamar University during the buildup for the First Gulf War. I remember driving day after day under the railroad tracks with tanks and other equipment sitting on railway cars waiting to be loaded at the Port of Beaumont. I especially remember the day when I saw the sudden change in the equipment. Every day before that, the camouflage had been forest green. That day, however, the paint jobs had been redone to desert gray.

  13. At the time of 9-11-01 I was working as the administrative assistant for the department of education at DePauw University in Indiana. My husband was working nights at the time. He called me on his way home from work and said that he heard on the radio that an airplane had hit one of the towers in New York. We had one classroom in our area that had cable TV, there was a class going on at the time. I went to that classroom and told the professor what I had heard and she dismissed the information. DePauw recruited heavily from the east coast and especially New York, we had many students with family in the center of the madness. As the events of the day unfolded on television, radio and cell phones, a group of us gathered to pray, but we had to do it behind closed doors because we were not allowed to pray openly or in public at DePauw. I know this may seem really silly considering there is much worse persecution elsewhere.

    There were several students that were unable to locate parents, older siblings and relatives. These students were so scared and I was scared for them. Several students and staff (we wanted to support these students) gathered and began praying on the grounds outside our library; but were asked to disburse and leave because their praying was offensive to Muslim students and students of other faiths.

    Once I got home my son, husband and I prayed together, sat closer to each other and just listened to each that evening. With my husband and I being ex-military we wished there was something we could do, but we realized all we could do is pray.

    That afternoon, night and the next several days were so weird to me; I still to this day enjoy watching airplanes go across the sky, there were none in that time.

    • Annette that is interesting. On the day we’re being attacked by Muslim terrorists, you’re told you cannot pray because it might offend some people at the college. We’re still dealing with those problems internally in the U.S. Keep praying. Thank you for sharing your story.

  14. On 9/11, I was a student staying in the Caprock dorm. I didn’t have classes or work that morning, so I slept in a couple of hours. I got up, took a shower, and sat at my computer to check email. While I waited for my email to download (on dial-up!), one of my roommates entered the suite in a style similar to Kramer on Seinfeld. He said, “Planes hit the World Trade Center!”

    I looked at him like he was on something. That could not possibly happen, it sounded like a hoax, and I told him as much. At that point, my email was done downloading. There were a lot of news alerts about plane attacks. I brought up CNN.com. There it was, pictures and everything. Someone flew planes into the World Trade Center. And other places, too! I learned later that the plane in Pennsylvania crashed about thirty miles away from my grandmother.

    America was actually attacked. It was unbelievable, and yet the news kept showing us the impossible. People were glued to the news in their dorms, in the lobbies, and in the cafeteria. I don’t think any of my classes were cancelled, but I did hear of other classes being cancelled so that folks could go deal with what happened. My friends, who normally engaged in lively theological debate every night, could only discuss what had happened and say prayers. It felt surreal, like we wanted to deny it happened but knew we couldn’t.

  15. I was a student at Stephen F. Austin, and my daughters meet me as my math class was getting out. They asked did I hear what had happened? I replied no that I had been in class the whole morning. They then informed me what happened. We all then began to think of my husband who was stationed at NAS Ft. Worth. We tried calling by all phone were tied up. Being in a town that does not know much about military couldn’t understand why we were upset about not reaching out to their dad and husband. My husband later called and stated that the base was on shut down and the government was gearing up for overall protection.

    Wow what a day, as we continued to watch one event after another. The horror of how the families must feel, and yet we all felt a loss. Our country dearly beloved was attacked and why was the question.

  16. I remember as I ironed my uniform for what started out as an ordinary day, I had the TV on “The Today Show”, but the volume was turned down low. I remember I looked up from ironing and seen the images of the North Tower of the World Trade Center burning. I remember as I watched the screen, I thought “what a horrible movie!” I walked over to the TV and turned up the volume because of what I thought was a movie trailer, seemed so real. I sat stunned and in tears on the side of my bed as I watched in disbelief, as terrorists flew United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. As the events of the day continued to unfold, I remember thinking, “our lives will be forever changed”.

  17. I had a 9 a.m. class to teach, so I turned off my television (set to the Today show every morning, then) just before the news came on about the first tower and drove to Canyon (I was teaching at WT then). I taught my class and as I was leaving the classroom, I saw one of my students from another class who looked very shaken. Not realizing what had happened, I asked what was wrong. He couldn’t tell me then, but he came to my office a few minutes later and told me the news. The rest of the day I spent in the Department’s office watching the only television that could receive network broadcasting. All the faculty and many staff and students were in the offices at WT doing the same thing. What we saw seemed unreal and horrible.

  18. It was just before 4am when I turned the key in the van’s ignition and heard a frantic voice on the radio, “Oh my God! The South Tower has just collapsed.” I was teaching at the WBU-Hawaii Campus, and was used to getting up very early, as I taught a MWF 6:30am class on Hickam. Even though it was a Tuesday, I was up early and running to the store to pick up some milk for the kids’ breakfast. As I drove down the hill to the store, I started to figure out what had been going on while Hawaii slept. While it was early, there were other customers in the store and I remember looking in the eyes of those whose path I crossed. You could see whether they had heard the news or not. I should have told the ones I didn’t think knew, but I was still in a bit of shock. When I got back to the house, I woke Lucy up and we turned on the television. Very soon after, the North Tower collapsed.
    My sons, who were 6 and 4 at the time, slept through the whole thing. We got them up and ready for school. Lucy and I decided not to tell them what had happened, because we didn’t want them at such a young age to know this type of evil was in the world. As we walked them down the road to the school, however, I heard the loudspeaker come on and an announcement state that the students would gather for an assembly in the central courtyard. Knowing they were going to hear about the tragedy anyway, we pulled them aside and I tearfully told them what had happened and what they would hear during the assembly. I remember holding them tight and not wanting to let them go, since I wouldn’t be able to protect them.
    Our townhome was on the western Waianae mountain range with a straight view down to the ocean. We loved the view, and liked to watch the Australian and Asian incoming planes as they would come around the range at a low altitude and fly over the Ewa Plain below us on their approach to Honolulu airport. Not that day, however. We watched every incoming plane as it approached, hoping that it would keep on its course to the airport. Then, the eerie stillness for several days filled our ears while all air traffic was grounded. We never realized how used to the roar of planes we had become until they suddenly ceased. We also “felt” for the first and only time just how remote we were on an island in the middle of the ocean.

  19. I was a sophomore in high school, and my small private, Christian high school took an annual retreat in September in the middle of nowhere for prayer, worship, and bible teaching. We did not have television or internet at the retreat–and this was before high school students (and only few adults) had cell phones. One of our administrators had been to “town” that morning and heard the news. It was almost noon before they told us students anything, and by then, we all gathered around a radio to listen to events unfold. There was one land-line phone, and we took turns for hours, trying to call our families.

    My parents were in Florida for a conference, my sister was away at A&M, and my brother was in Snyder. I could not get ahold of anyone, bu later that evening, my parents got ahold of me and told me my siblings were okay, too. Even though I knew none of them was immediately in danger, I remember being so upset not knowing for certain, especially when nearly all my classmates had been able to talk to their parents immediately.

    It wasn’t until we returned home that I saw images and video of the actual events, and I think that was the first time I realized what an impact 9-11 would be for us as a country and for everyone affected personally.

  20. I was teaching part-time English and speech in a small rural Missouri high school. I first heard about it as I was dropping off my girls at the babysitter’s house, when she met me at the door in tears. The television at school was on pretty much all day, as we tried to process the magnitude of the actions of terrorists against our nation. The days and weeks following saw increased security measures at school, students with feelings they didn’t know how to process, and increased patriotism community-wide–all opportunities for ministry.

  21. I had a spooky experience the night before at a friend’s home in Roswell. I was on pro-pilot with my friend and I took off an airplane and flew it into one of the twin towers. I then took off another plane and flew it into the other twin tower. He asked me why I had done that and I told him I don’t know. Just wanted to see what it would look like if I did that. Just seems kind of weird.

    The next morning I wasn’t expected in until noon and after hearing the news, I rushed in to find out more. We set up TV’s to sit and watch. We were all stunned at the Lubbock Campus. It felt like the JFK assassination all over again.

    We must never forget that on that day, we were all Americans standing tall and proud for our country and the people we lost.

  22. I was the principal at a private Christian school near San Antonio. Shortly after 9:00 a.m., I believe, one of the church elders called and asked me if I had heard the news about the first plane. I had not. I turned on the radio. I previously worked for the FAA and so was thinking that this had to be an unbelievable example of pilot error and air traffic control error that I had ever heard of. Within a few minutes the second plane crashed into the tower. I had a chill down my spine and knew that this was no accident; it was an act of terror. I knew then that the world had just changed. I prayed, took a deep breath and then went to each classroom over 5th grade and told the teacher and the class what had happened; done with a broken voice on my part. After separating after 13 years in the Air Force, I could guess what was going to follow in our nation and others. After I had told everyone, the 9th grade English teacher came to my office in partial tears. One of the girls in the 9th grade asked “what happened to those people who were killed in those buildings?”. The teacher replied “those who were Christians went immediately to heaven; those who were not….. did not”. The girl broke out in tears and said “I am not sure if I am a Christian or not” as did three other students as well. The teacher asked me “what should I do?”. So, I went into the 9th grade and shared the gospel (not for the first time, but this time was obviously a bit different), and 4 kids accepted Jesus as their Lord and savior.

  23. On 9/11/01, I was the Director of Sports Medicine at Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis. As I was pulling out of my driveway on the way to work, the radio DJ interrupted the music to say that a plane had just hit one of the world trade center buildings. About 30 minutes later, just as I was crossing the Missouri river bridge into St. Louis county, all the music stopped as they announced the impact of the second plane. No one had to be told at that point what was going on.

    I hurried in to the office to find a group of students and other science faculty crowded around a TV set with the rabbit ears up (you could still get broadcast TV back in those days). In what we later decided was the best use of our time, the faculty members and students sat together and talked about what it meant. Classes were cancelled; not officially, but by about noon much of the campus had crowded into the science building to be a part of our group instead of going to class. It was a great time of fellowship, somber but still bonding, between the faculty and the students, and I won’t forget it. (Yes, the Provost forgave us.)

    The weight of what happened did not hit me for a couple days. 9/11 was on a Tuesday, and on that Saturday morning, I was on my riding mower mowing my 3 acre lot, and I glanced up at the sky. There was nothing there. It finally hit me how big a deal this was, and how much everything had changed. I had to stop the mower and have a little cry. This was one of only about three times I’ve cried as an adult. It was an unusual moment, to say the least.

    I’ve gotten cynical since then about stuff; it is good to stop and remember and lose the cynicism. Thanks to Dr. Franklin for putting this blog up for us.

  24. I was driving to Lubbock, going back to work after taking a few days off for my father’s funeral. I kept hearing bits and pieces on the radio, and I thought that something like the Oklahoma City bombing had happened. When I got to work, we spent a couple of hours watching the news, then were all sent home, too unnerved really to work. I am not old enough to remember Pearl Harbor, so it was my first time to be shocked that someone had attacked us.
    It looks as if the forces behind that attack will be with us for decades to come. The world has changed completely, and we have had to change in ways that we don’t like to respond to it. Our teenagers, who have only known this changed world, now identify with dystopian tales. It is as if the world before 9/11 is no longer entirely real…

  25. Craig and I are now at the Anchorage campus. But on Sept. 11, 2001, he was stationed in Germany. At the time he was the senior American USAF meteorologist in Europe. We were attending a NATO Meteorology conference in Prague, Czech Republic. There were four Americans in the contingent and another wife and I had returned from our day’s activity. We were back in our rooms. I had turned on CNN International television and watched as the second tower and the Pentagon were struck. Craig had also been assigned to the Pentagon. A renovation had been ongoing in the area that was hit, and was where his previous office was, and collegues had their work areas. There had been a delay in re-occupying that area which by God’s providence meant there were fewer casualties and deaths.

    In our former Commmunist hotel, I had to inform Craig of the news when he returned from the conference. In respect for the loss of life and horrific occurrences, the chairman of the meetings cancelled that evening’s functions. The conference included not only NATO participant countries, but also, at that time, ‘Partners in Peace’ member nations.

    The most remarkable thing occurred next. The director of the hotel wrote a touching letter to ‘Colonel Clayton’, in English, expressing the heartfelt sympathy on behalf of himself and his staff on the dreadful and tragic occurrence. His support of the United States in our nation’s loss is something we will always remember!

  26. I was at Sao Paulo State University in Araraquara city, Brazil. I was about to enter in one of my specialization classes – Clinical Biochemistry Lab -, when I heard some faculties commenting about a plane that flew into the WTC. I couldn’t believe on the news. I was like: “no way it is true”. I went to tell a more close friend faculty and she and I went to find a TV on campus to check it out what was going on… She also couldn’t believe on what the radio was reporting. Both of us were in front of the TV in the student room and I STILL couldn’t believe on what I was watching on TV. I even told her: “that is NOT true. This is a fake movie to scar us!”. I wish I was correct. However, I was blind and couldn’t believe that such cruelty was being committed against the population of the USA. Classes were cancelled for the day. By the end of the day, after watching the news throughout the day, I still couldn’t believe that all attempts were not attempts anymore, they actually happened for real. It was not a fake movie. It was real people that got really hurt forever. I cannot forget 9/11.

  27. I studied abroad in Oxford, England during the fall semester of my sophomore year in 2001. While in Oxford, I lived in a dorm populated by American study-abroad participants. We’d had our morning medieval history lecture in the large lecture hall of our dorm and had come as a group up to the kitchen to make our lunches. Immediately after I sat down with my small mini-pizza, I heard a loud commotion in front of the TV in the next room over. I abandoned my food and ran to the TV only about a minute before the second tower collapsed. We were glued to the one TV in the dorm for the entire rest of the day and night, watching BBC news report on the attacks on the WTC towers and the Pentagon, as well as the downed planes. Several of my peers in my dorm were from New York and were beside themselves trying to get in contact with their families. I eventually was able to contact my family through email and then phone late that night, but almost all the international phone lines were unavailable.

    As scheduled, our large group went to Stratford-upon-Avon, the hometown of Shakespeare, the next day to tour the town and then see Julius Caesar performed by the Royal Shakespeare company that night. None of us felt like being tourists. We didn’t want to hear English accents. We didn’t want to read London Times headlines of our country’s tragedy. We huddled together as we walked the cold, rainy streets. Around 6 in the evening, the group of four that I was walking around with happened upon an Anglican church that was all lit up, and we could hear music inside. We went inside and saw that every single seat was filled, and all the aisles, corridors, and hallways were filled as well. The service was a prayer and meditation service in honor of the lives that were lost on American soil the previous day. Although I’ll never be able to think of 9-11 without seeing the BBC news logos in my mind or hearing the news from a non-American point of view (…this is happening to THEM, not US), the most meaningful memory I hold of 9-11 is of that church service on 9-12. Hundreds of people who were not our countrymen or women were on their knees praying fervently for our country’s losses.

    I remember flying home for Christmas and seeing ribbons and flags everywhere–in the airports, on school fences, on billboards, and in people’s windows and yards. It was jarring to see so much patriotism and support three months after the fact since I’d had no idea how much everyday sights had changed while I was overseas. These are a few of my memories from 13 years ago.

  28. I was serving as the principal of Pampa Middle School in Pampa, Texas. I was standing outside the front of the building watching the students enter school for the day. Someone came out and informed me that one of the WTC Towers had been hit by a small plane. My first thoughts were that a small plane pilot had experienced some mechanical difficulty and couldn’t avoid the towers.

    It was only after I had entered the building that I began to understand that this could have been a terrorist attack on our country. I began to walk around the building and tell the teachers separately what had happened. Many of the teachers turned on their TV sets to watch the news accounts.

    I was watching the TV as the second plane hit the other tower. I stood there in disbelief and just could not bring my mind to grasp the horror of the situation. Through the day, or at least the morning, it seemed like the situation just got worse with the attacks on the Pentagon and the crash of an additional plane.

    We spent the day reassuring our students that they were safe and that the U.S. would bring the terrorists to justice. We all knew that this event would change the way we conducted “business” from that day forward.

    Never, ever forget!

  29. Hello all,
    I was stationed in Misawa, Japan and I was in the bed when a friend of mine called and said turn on the TV, as I laid there half awake I remember thinking why is she calling me in the middle of the night to watch some movie. Immediately after that thought the second plane hit the 2nd tower, I asked what movie is this and that is when she said…Roxanne it is not a movie but is happening right now in the states. I quickly woke up and was in state of disbelief. The base spent the next 3 days on lock down with minimum movement outside, school was canceled and it was hard to get a phone line out. It’s amazing to me how I sometimes forget what happened 13 minutes ago, but I clearly remember so many details about that day 13 years ago.

    Be blessed….

  30. I live in Anchorage, Alaska, which is four hours behind the east coast. My late husband was an early riser (I am not) and he would wake me up every morning with coffee in hand. On 9-11 he sat beside me on the bed, gently touched my shoulder to wake me up, and said, “Wake up, something terrible has happened. We are at war and we have to pray.” In my morning haze I asked him what had happened and he said that the WTC had been hit and was on fire. Still resting my head on my pillow I simply said, “Oh,” thinking it was another bomb in the parking lot like the one a few years earlier. Then he said, “And, the pentagon.” I shot straight up, nearly knocking him over. After praying with him, I ran to the TV. In horror I watched as the second tower tumbled down in real time. Through the shock I remember noticing how strangely straight the annetna looked as it submerged into the pillar of smoke and debris. A millisecond later the full impact of what had just happened hit me. My cousin and his wife (from Tennessee) were visiting us. As the day progressed she panicked and felt trapped when she realized the planes were grounded and there was no quick or easy way home from Alaska. I went to work that day, and as I stayed glued to the radio, I realized the whole world had changed in a matter of minutes and America had lost its naïve feeling of security forever.

  31. At the time I was the commander of the US Air Force Weather Agency at Offutt AFB, NE. I had just convened a week-long strategic planning session involving members of the agency who had travelled from across the U.S. We were in the first hour of the session when the news came on. After the second tower came down it was clear that the US was under attack and we adjourned the meeting. The attendees swarmed rental car agencies to return home across the US, as air traffic was grounded and it was unknown when it would resume. Those of us stationed at Offutt AFB, home of US Strategic Command, went back to our jobs at the Air Force Weather Agency.The military went to alert DEFCON 3 for the first time in almost 30 years. That afternoon Air Force One, which departed from Florida and stopped at Barksdale Air Force Base, LA to address the nation, landed at Offutt AFB to use secure facilities to convene the National Security Council. The thundering sound of Air Force One landing, and later departing the base, was an unmistakable footnote that one of the few planes allowed in the air over the US that day had been on the ground with the President.

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