Where Were You On 9/11, When the Planes Hit?

Athenians remember how they got the news of the attack on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon.


Where were you on that crisp, brilliant September morning? The day that was so sparkling an announcer for the Weather Channel said it was a great day to eat lunch in Windows on the World?

Here's what some Athens residents remember:

Cassie Bryant was in the throes of writing her dissertation. She was home, preparing to write, getting dressed for the day, and she had the television on. She saw the second plane hit the tower. "I will never forget it, moment my moment." For days, she remained glued to the CNN.

Massage therapist Amy Bramblett was home lying in her bed. She had her clock radio set to come on with NPR, and she was a little drowsy when she heard the announcer on Morning Edition mention a plane hitting the World Trade Center. "They said, 'We think we have a report, but we're not sure,' and I thought I had dreamed it because they went right back to playing music and I figured they would still be talking about it if it had really happened." When she got into her car to go downtown to her office, the radio announcer was talking about it. She went into Wolf Camera downtown when she understood what had happened. "I got back into my car and drove to a friend's house who had a television. I've never seen the pictures of people jumping from the buildings, and I'm glad, because you can't unsee something like that."

Susanne Warrenfeltz was working in a wet lab for McNeil Specialty Products and didn't know anything had happened. When she left the lab to share her results with someone, he told her what had happened. She turned on a radio and kept working.

Dan Lorentz, president of the Boulevard Neighborhood Association, was working for the Wisconsin Legislature and living in Madison. He said he was home (at 8am Central Time)and was getting up a litttle later for work. In the office, he leared that a small priate plane had crashed into the tower. People said a jet had crashed, but I didn't believe it untl I looked online. By the time I left for lunch, the state police had put out those concrete barriers around the capital. It was a surreal day.

ACC Commissioner Alice Kinman was the undergraduate coordinator for English Department at UGA and was working out of Park Hall. She was in her office, wondering why she couldn't get on the Internet. The business manager, who was in deep chock, told her there had been some kind of accident in New York. Then the second tower got hit and people started saying it wasn't an accident.  With spotty Internet service, she drove home and got a radio and brought it back to the office and plugged it in so they could monitor what was happening. She refrained from picking up her daughter Mary Louise at pre-school.

Charlest Apostolik was working part-time as director of operations at the Madison Morgan Cultural Center in Madison. He had resigned his job and was staying on to help his replacement. So he was on his way to work, "and i wondered whynothing was happening on the radio in the car. There was no Morning Edition, just Robb Holmes saying that something bad had happened in New York. I didn't find out what it was until I got to work. I broke into a meeting and told them, and they went home to watch it on television. But it was a long time before I could bear to see it on television. "Another (probably irrelevant but nonetheless vivid) recollection was driving to Madison the next day, along a stretch of 2-lane highway in Farmington, where I had a near-panicky feeling that there was nothing keeping the 18-wheelers from crossing the center line and taking me out -- nothing except the fact that 18-wheelers normally don't do that, but 757s normally don't fly through buildings either."

Karen Chenowyth knows exactly where she was: "I was asleep in bed. I was living at home and going to college at Auburn. My mom woke me up and told me a plane had hit the World Trade Center. She went to take a shower and while I was watching television, the second plane hit and the news came about the Pentagon. I remember going to class at Auburn. The first class was an accounting class, and the professor cancelled it. Everybody was just wandering around campus. I went to the radio station and then wandered over to the paper and we started planning our next edition. My boyfriend was at UMass., and he said there were already people setting up to protest against a war in Afghanistan."

Writer and editor Dot Sparer was in her office at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, working on her computer. "All of a sudden, I saw a flash from Google News that a plane had gone into the tower. I jumped up and ran to others in the office and they didn't believe me at first. Then it went around the office like wildfire, and the entire office spent the rest of the day starting at a TV, mouths open and tears in our eyes, wodering how such a thing could happen."


Where were you? Share your memories in the comments if you wish.



















Carol Lindsey September 11, 2012 at 02:07 PM
I was in DC, doing a rotation. One of the girls I was with had a mother who worked in the wTC. There were Natl Guard reps on every corner, there was a smell like burning dirt. I was told to be ready to go to our hospital to help with the injured, but there were none. . My daughters were allowed to leave class and call me from the school office. We cried. The next weekend, i drove from DC to Cape Cod. As I crossed the GW bridge, I saw the column of smoke at the crash site.
Rebecca McCarthy (Editor) September 11, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Carol, I had to fly to New York City about a month after the planes hit, and we flew right over the site, still smoldering. It was ghastly, and most people on the plane started to cry. Then I met up with friends from New Jersey and we went to a park on the other side of the river and looked back where the towers used to be. What I remember most was how kind everyone, and I mean, everyone in New York was the weekend I was there.
Edwin Beckham September 11, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I had just completed the first leg of my morning commute that year, from our home in Roswell down to a parking lot at 8th & Spring in Midtown, Atlanta, just across from the (in)famous Cheetah 3 strip-club. The minibus that would take us from there to Coca-Cola's HQ campus on North Ave. had just picked me up and was full of other Coke employees & consultants like me. Immediately someone said aloud they'd heard a plane had hit one of the WTC towers in New York. The only image I could conjure was of a little Cessna; an accident, obviously. Upon reaching our offices at Coke in the next 10-12 minutes, we surfed the web and discovered what was actually happening. Soon, I'd left my desk and with a couple of others gone down to the building's elevator lobby, where there was a large TV always tuned to cable news. By that time the second tower had been hit, and after a few minutes of watching with others, waiting for the fires to be put out, I remember saying out loud: "They're burning like a couple of candlesticks. It's like they're just going to burn down to the ground." Rumors began to fly that Coke's corporate campus might be evacuated, and around 11:00 AM that's exactly what was ordered, so we all headed home. They were still worried there was a broader attack afoot and that Coke, as our most famous American brand, might be targeted. Up in Roswell, my wife was leaving work & picking up our 2nd-grader & preschooler, staying in touch by cell phone. An anxious and painful day.
Dave Ballard September 11, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I was working a swing shift those days, and was sleeping in because it was a "day" off. I was awakened from sleep because someone had heard that a plane had hit the WTC, and what in the world is going on? I thought she meant some private 2-seater propeller plane. Not a jumbo jet. I turned on the TV and was watching smoke come out the side of one of the towers as the commentators contemplated whether the latest Spider Man movie release would be delayed because of its theme of terrorism in the big city. As they talked, a full two minutes after I turned the TV on (the view never changed the whole time), I saw a jumbo jet scream into the side of the second tower, and the commentators never paused. I assumed I was seeing leaked footage from the new film. I didn't find out until later that I had just seen United Airlines Flight 175 strike the South Tower on live television. The commentators didn't react for several seconds, maybe 20 or 30. Then, as though they had been tapped on the shoulder and told to look out the window, they began reacting: "What? Another one? It can't be... Ladies & Gentlemen, I'm being told that a second airliner has just struck the World Trade Center... a second passenger aircraft has hit the Twin Towers... It appears to be the South Tower that's been hit this time... Unbelievable... I just can't believe it." Who could?
Dave Ballard September 11, 2012 at 08:58 PM
*Comment cross-posted to http://oconee.patch.com/blog_posts/rising *
Rebecca McCarthy (Editor) September 12, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Thanks for commenting, y'all, and sharing those memories.


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