John Slaughter’s 9/11 Memory

I was going into our Administration Building early that morning and saw what was happening on a TV up on the wall. My first reaction was shock that this could happen and that anyone would be so evil to want to take innocent lives. My next thought was how am I going to explain this to my three daughters who are 9, 7 and 4. I wish express my thanks to our firefighters, police and military who put their lives on the line everyday to protect us and help to give us the freedom. Also, I pray for the families who lost loved ones in this terrible event. And I want to thank God for giving us such a great country that can withstand the evil that is always present and hope everyone keeps him in the forefront of their lives as we do not forget our past and push on to our future.

John Slaughter

Vance Garnett’s 9/11 Memory

My shocked reaction on Sept. 11 would hardy distinguish me or my story from practically every other caring American. But the next day would. You see, on the day following 9/11, I left my D.C. apartment to donate blood at the AmericanRed Cross building on E Street Northwest.When I left that building, I had a burning desire to see the building which had been evacuated the previous day as a probable target of terrorists, the White House.

As I stood in front, watching the flag blowing at half-staff, I thought of the yet unrolled deaths that the flag honored and represented. Then I suddenly realized that tours had not been cancelled. When I expressed my surprise to two guards near me, they said that they, too, were surprised. I walked to the East Gate. There stood four guards talking, but no line for tours. A guard told me I could go right on in. I did. No need to empty my pockets; the guard there said he could watch me. I took more than an hour just walking through this building with a renewed sense of patriotism. I looked through the window at the South Lawn landing area where just 16 hours earlier President Bush had landed in Marine One under the escort of four f-16 fighter planes.

That evening on the news I learned that only 200 surprised people toured the White House that day, that the safety perimeters of the White House had now been extended, that PA avenue was now closed to pedestrians as well as to vehicles, and the Lafayette Square was cordoned off. The next day, the White House was again evacuated. Then and now, ten years later, I feel fortunate to have experienced the up-close and personal sharing of the People’s Mansion.

Vance Garnett

Dick Walsh’s 9/11 Memory

Like many Americans above the age of 25 we remember vividly the events of that day. Most of us witnessed the events unfold on live TV and couldn’t believe what we were seeing.

I had my own small business at the time and upon hearing the news of the initial attack I brought out a small TV, put up the antennae and started watching the incredible events as they unfolded. Many of my customers were police, fire and EMT’s, (my shop was across the street from the largest ambulance company in the area). Their perspective all day was and enlightening experience for me. As those towers fell these professionals knew what it meant to their fellow first responders in New York and I’ll never forget their sense of shock and sadness. Many of them went to NY City to aid and assist in the recovery of those killed and effected.

The direct aftermath of that day and the following days gave this nation a sense of fellowship and support of those immediately affected, that made us truly proud of our fellow citizens who quickly stepped forward to help in many ways.

In the days and weeks that followed the sense of national pride and patriotism came forth as natural as waking up in the morning and putting our feet to the floor. We all gave blood, donated money and prayed for those who needed our assistance and support.

That feeling of helping our fellow man at a time of extreme emergency came naturally to most of us because of the fabric of the American way of life. The three thousand people who lost their lives that day and the hundreds of thousands of family members affected will not be forgotten. We come together as a community every September 11th to pause and remember those victims, and somehow I know we always will.

I have personally worked with our local and state elected officials, community leaders, the police and fire departments, EMT’s and other citizens of our community to come together every year to reflect on this tragic event, and it gives me a great sense of pride to take part in this year’s remembrance ceremony. It is what we do as Americans. America may not be perfect in every way, but we come together to help each other when needed, time and time again. So as we come together again this year to contemplate on the events of September 11, 2001, let us give thanks that we are among the citizens of the greatest country on earth.

Dick Walsh
Braintree, MA

Steve Malkowski’s 9/11 Memory

On 9-11 I was in Buffalo City Court having coffee with fellow police officers waiting for our cases to be heard when we were notified of the attacks. As soon as I could get out of court I raced home listening to the news reports on the radio. At the time I was also in the New York Army National Guard. Upon arriving home I contacted my unit and was told we would probably be activated. I packed all my gear, went to the armory and spent the night loading gear on our vehicles. The next morning we made the long convoy to the NYC area. I remember every car passing us on the thruway honking horns and yelling at us in support. It was one of my proudest moments as an American.

I was close to the 20 year mark and prior to 9-11 I was going to take my 20 year letter and retire. I ended up staying in another nine years. Those nine years after 9-11 were the most challenging and rewarding of my military career. I retired in 2010 with twenty-nine years of military service. My only regret is that I wasn’t a younger man at the time so I could continue to serve my country.

Steve Malkowski

William Kurtz’s 9/11 Memory

We were in Vienna Italy so we did not get the full effect. Saw clips on the TV and originally thought it was a movie. Desk clerk had a sign out stating condolences sympathies and support to all Americans. Went to dinner at Harry’s Bar and he brought the entire kitchen and wait staff out to offer sympathy. Tried to fly out the next day and could not. Airport was patrolled by Army with automatic weapons. I checked carefully everyone getting on the plane. It seemed that no foreigners were allowed on the flight. Thorough custom check in NY.

William M. Kurtz
Old Bridge, NJ

Stacey Sealy’s 9/11 Memory

I was just cut back to part time at work, and was still in bed when my brother woke me up to tell me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.  I got up thinking I was watching a replay of the first attack, when in reality, I was watching the second plane hit.  I remember wondering what was going to happen next, and then seeing both of the towers fall.  It is hard to believe that it has been ten years.  My heart goes out to the lives lost, and the ones who were left behind. God bless America!

Stacey Sealy

Stephen Kissling’s 9/11 Memory

On September 11, 2001 I was at work at my civilian job, helping keep an old reconnaissance asset serving in the US military. I read coverage of the unfolding events on the Internet news connection, meeting each new development with disbelief, then shock, then horror. By the time I went home that day, my country was at war, in intent if not in fact. The first and most immediate sign of it was the absence of aviation. Where I live, there is usually an endless stream of jetliners overhead, lined up to thread their way into the airports serving the metropolis to the south. On the evening of 9/11, the airplanes were gone. Not even the drone of Cessnas and Pipers tooling around the valley broke the evening quiet. But late that night, about 10:00, a lone fast-mover streaked across the sky. He was cutting across the empty skyways at right angles, something unheard of in normal times. Was is a Falcon? A Hornet? It didn’t matter. A U.S. serviceman was up there, letting those of us on the ground know that the sword was out of the scabbard and we were safe.

Stephen Kissling

Andrew Lenard 9/11 Memory

How was it? For everyone differently. As for me, my wife and I celebrated her 70th birthday with our daughter in North Carolina, and a few days later we were driving homewards to Indiana. We stayed overnight at a motel and, after breakfast, got back onto I-64 westbound to Louisville. I switched on the radio, just in time when the first hijacked plane sailed into one tower. From then on it was one sheer horror in real time. It was clearly an attack on America. Only later did we hear of the second plane, of the towers’ collapse, of the Pentagon, and of the heroic resistance of the passengers on the fourth plane as it crashed in Pennsylvania. But I will never forget the abomination, Pearl Harbor 1941 renewed. Truly, this day too, as FDR said “will live in infamy.” It still does and it will.

Andrew Lenard
Bloomington, Indiana

Stacey Day’s 9/11 Memory

On September 11, 2001, I was working at a day program for people with severe mental illnesses, in West Columbia, South Carolina.  A typical day included group activities, and meal preparation.  As was often the case, the TV was on, so of course we saw almost in real time as the first plane hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center.  Initially there was a feeling of disbelief, but then as it became apparent that the nation was under attack, several of our program participants began sobbing quietly.  The question of “Why?” came up all day long, one which we were ill-equipped to answer.  As staff we did our best – in our own shocked state – to help our clients manage and process the overwhelming sadness, confusion, and anger they were feeling throughout that awful day.  It is a day and a moment in time I will never forget.

Stacey Day

David Lorange’s 9/11 Memory

Don’t forget the US Coast Guard, who were on scene that tragic day.

David Lorange