By: Malcolm Mayhew
It's almost hard to believe it's been 16 years since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and still, many of us remember exactly where we were when they happened. At school. At work. At a local radio station covering the events.
Today, as we reflect on the lives lost, as well as the patriotism and bravery displayed that day, we asked our staff: Where were you on Sept. 11?
Here are some of their stories.
While attending TCU, I had just left class and was arriving home. A good friend ran up to my door as I was walking in and asked if I had heard what happened. He broke the news to me and told me that his brother was in one of the towers of the World Trade Center. We both ran inside and turned on the news. Together we watched live as the second plane hit the second tower (which was the tower his brother was actually in). He frantically tried to call his brother to no avail for hours. Finally he got hold of his brother and fortunately he was OK. It was an emotional day that I will never forget.
I was on my way to work at KISS-FM in Dallas. As usual, I was monitoring our morning show when Kidd Kraddick interrupted the show with breaking news about a plane that had crashed into World Trade Center Tower 1. The initial assumption was that there had been a mechanical issue that caused the crash. By the time I arrived at the station, Tower 2 had been hit as well. Very quickly, we started hearing details that made it obvious that there were planned attacks being executed across the nation. Our station immediately stepped into crisis mode and "locked down" our offices as media outlets are often the target of those who want their "message" heard. Hours turned into days of nonstop coverage of the attacks. We all stayed at the station. We were too afraid to leave, not knowing who or what would be the next target. We were forever changed.
I was living in Fort Collins, Colorado. It was perfect weather that morning so I rode my bike to work. Septembers there are beautiful. I remember walking in, shouldering my bike and heading up the stairs. Since I was a little late, I thought it was odd that I was the only one up there, and it was very quiet. After starting my computer, I went to see where everyone was, thinking maybe I forgot a staff meeting. I found them all packed in the owner's office (the only place that had a TV), their faces long and some of their eyes watery. Squeezing in to see what was going on, I found myself there, on that odd choice of a day, looking at that unbelievable scene. I didn't go back to my desk that day.
I worked for Delta Air Lines at the time and was the in flight service coordinator in charge of a flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Fort Lauderdale the morning of 9/11. We had been in the air about an hour when the captain called me to the cockpit and told me there had been some kind of incident in New York, but he didn't know what had happened. He said he wasn't sure if we were at war, but air traffic control had ordered every plane in the air in the United States to land. We had to inform the passengers but still didn't know what had happened. We were close to New Orleans and landed there. The agents that met our flight told everyone to take their belongings and leave the airport immediately. I had to check for bombs on our plane before I left. We spent a week in New Orleans, and I finally had to rent the last pick up truck at the airport to drive my crew back to Dallas-Fort Worth because flights had not resumed. Flying was never the same after that.
I was busy doing things around the house after my son left for school. I had the TV on in the bedroom and had been listening to the Today Show. I was in the kitchen and just as I walked back into the bedroom, the first plane hit the tower. I watched in horror as the events unfolded. It was like being frozen in time. I didn’t do anything else that day but continued to watch the reports coming in.
I was driving to downtown Dallas for a meeting at the Sixth Floor Museum when word came over NPR that a small plane reportedly had hit the World Trade Center and smoke was coming from the building. That changed to speculation about a larger aircraft. Then came the bewildered reporting of a second strike at the Trade Center and reports of smoke coming from the Pentagon.
I was at work at a small design/printing company in Arlington when someone came in and said a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers. There was a TV in the break room, and we piled around to watch in disbelief. One of the girls I worked with rushed for a phone because her uncle worked in the Twin Towers...I think that he was late that day.
By: Malcolm Mayhew