Sept. 11, 2001. For those Americans alive on that day, it’s a day they will likely never forget. The day saw terrorists used hijacked airliners to attack American institutions and symbols of American culture and power. They destroyed the World Trade Center in New York, badly damaged a portion of the Pentagon in Washington, and crashed an airliner in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to regain control of the plane.
Almost 3,000 people died in these attacks. More Americans died on Sept. 11, 2001, than died in the Dec. 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In New York, there was no much devastation and loss of life in the financial district of lower Manhattan that, by the end of the day, the New York Fire Department was putting out requests to neighboring communities for mutual aid. That had never happened before.
The attacks had profound effects on America. It led to greater security at airports and transportation facilities in general. It led to our long-term military involvements in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Most Americans saw the terrible events of that day unfold on television. The image are indelibly etched on the minds of anyone who saw them.
It’s been 20 years since the attacks. The day is now called Patriot’s Day. The Pioneer asked its readers for their memories of that day. We asked where they were, what they were doing, and how they reacted when they heard the news or saw the images on television. Here are the responses we received:
I went to my sister's place of work in Colorado. She drug me to the back to see the television and was in tears. We hugged and cried as we watched. I remember feeling angry, scared and so heartbroken as the day unfolded, those feelings escalated. By the end of the day, even being so far away from where it was happening all we all felt drained emotionally. I'll never forget the need to have our country make those responsible pay for the heartache and pain they caused. Get emotional just thinking about that day, even 20 years later.
- Dani Bull
On my way to work in Tucson, Ariz. Had the tunes on and changed it to the radio show that morning. I got to work and one of my employees was loading up his backpack and work boots.
“I’m going back, Fabe,” he said.
He was a Marine that had just done his time. Never seen him after that.
- Fabian Castro
Getting out of the shower getting ready to go to PHS my sophomore year. My mom was watching it unfold live on TV.
- Mara Castro
Living in Palm Desert, CA. I was getting ready to go to the first class of a women’s Bible study.
- Joanna Gerbitz Hermes
Standing at Blake School Desk talking with Mary. Tears flowed.
- Buni Hooper
I was at work. I actually, viewed, on television. I was devastated, when I realized, that it was attack on AMERICA!
- Stephanie Hunter
Heard it on the radio on the way to work at a medical office in Scottsdale. We watched it on TV with great emotion all that day.
- LaDonna Reese
I was the Valet Manager at BlueWater Casino when it happened. I watched it unfold on the TV's at the bar. Most of the customers went on and kept feeding their machines but I stood there in disbelief as my phone, the phone at my desk, rang off the hook. Chills and good bumps overtook me. I thought we were at war. Only one thing was comforting...that I was in the insignificant little town of Parker and it didn't seem like we'd be attacked.
- Martin Sudicky
My daughter was 11 at the time and a student at Parker Dam Elementary School. Heard it on my car radio on my way to drop her off at school before going to work.
- Debra Vitali