Jay Ellens’ 9/11 Memory

On 9/11 2001 I was treating patients in my clinic in Farmington Hills, Michigan when I received an urgent telephone call from my daughter, Rebecca Ellens (Chino Valley, AZ), a nationally notable therapist and international lecturer, indicating that the first tower had been struck.

She was, of course, anxious and mystified as to what was happening. I immediately informed her that it looked to me like a concerted enemy attack and that she should expect a wide spread set of assaults upon a number of vital points in the USA designed to destroy the countries command and control system and psychological symbols. I told her to expect assaults on vital centers in Washington, DC, the military harbor and shipping system in Virginia, the submarine ports and maintenance facilities in Connecticut, and the San Diego Naval Base. I suggested that such vital psychological symbols as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Statue of Liberty might be hit so as to damage the spirit and morale of the nation. I then switched on the TV and saw the second tower hit and then watched both towers fall. As you are aware, within minutes we received reports of other illegal and unexplainable air-traffic activities and then the assault on the Pentagon. I expected the general assault on the nation to be a broader and more efficiently executed attack than the terrorist operations turned out to be. At that time, I knew our alert and defense system rather well and in depth, so I expected that within hours the counter attack would begin by air and sea and we would be able to shut down any sustained operations by the enemy in a matter of a day or two, but that we could sustain a great deal of damage, nonetheless, before we could fully mobilize our military response.

Jay H. Ellens
Ch (Col) USA

Joyce Parrone’s 9/11 Memory

I was at Lutheran School of Nursing and happened to walk by a TV in the formal lounge of our school and saw the first plane crash into the first tower.  I was shocked and could not understand how the pilot could be so off flight pattern.   I called my husband as he is originally from New York and told him to turn on the TV.  A short time later I watched in horror as the second plane flew right into the second tower and then I knew it was not an accident.  Classes stood still as we watched the towers collapse and then heard the news about the Pentagon.  We knew that the United States was under attack.  My husband and I had just been at the complex of the twin towers about six months before this happened.  We had a friend’s son who was in the maintenance department of the towers and we did not know where he was for over 8 hours.  It was a very difficult day.  We returned to New York to visit family in October and as we came into New York it was very sad and erie to see that whole section of the city black.  Reading all the stories of families whose loved ones died that day was very sobering and heartbreaking.  Our cousin lives on Long Island and he said they attended many funerals and memorials for firemen and policemen who gave their lives to save others.  I believe many more would have died that day without the actions of these brave men and women.  May we never forget them and their heroic deeds so that others could live on.

Joyce  A. Parrone, MSN, RN

WDC’s 9/11 Memory

My family had left for work and school. I was preparing for another long day at WRAMC. More post op rituals. The phone rang and it was my late father, he said, “Bill, turn on the TV.” and hung up. I turned on the television and the first tower was burning. Then I saw the second plane impact. I remember screaming at the television watching the emergency personnel going inside. There was no doubt that they were coming down. I cried and begged God that they would have enough time. I don”t remember leaving that same spot until after my family returned home later before noon. I still had one boot off, I made all of the important calls. I had called my unit immediately and told them I was coming up. They told me not to as they might be evacuating. We live near BWI and the absence of aircraft movement was so unnatural. Walter Reed suspended my appointments for some time. The phone calls, the emails, the faces of people as they silently moved without making eye contact. We all wanted to do something, anything, anywhere, and immediately. I remember how soothing it was to go to the range. There were friends who went to work on the piles. I told them to use the maximum chem protection. I can”t watch the television shows. I still see those images in flashbacks and nightmares. I have so much more respect for emergency service personnel. I thank the Good Lord that one of four aircraft, 25%, had men who stood up. They will always be the true heroes of 911 to me. I bought miniatures of the four aircraft and remember.


Susan Rush’s 9/11 Memory

I was living in Pittsburgh, PA and working downtown. When I heard about the attacks, my boss and I were sitting in a meeting covering postal regulations when a woman came in and made the announcement. There was stunned silence. No one talked for what seemed an eternity. I don’t remember any noise as people began to file out of the room. Most were getting on their cell phones.

My boss and I sat on the front steps of the hotel where the meeting was being held as he attempted to call his family. I sat and looked up at the sky and remember thinking how blue it was and how nothing would ever be the same again. I kept thinking this was Pearl Harbor all over again. Then I felt the anger coming and the desire to strike back, but the more I thought about that the less I wanted to feel that way and the sadder I got. I don’t believe in violence for violence, but I knew that the world had just become an ugly place.

When we got back to the office, we got word that a plane was supposedly in our vicinity and there were fears that it was going to crash into downtown Pittsburgh. Then we heard it had crashed in Shanksville, PA and we all wondered where the heck is that? There were no televisions that worked on our floor so we tried to continue our work as best we could and listened to the radios that people had turned on. There were a lot of tears and fears for family who lived in New York. I think everyone in the building knew of someone who lived there or had a friend who had someone who lived in New York City. The rest of the day was surreal. I honestly cannot remember anything I did at work that day. When I got home, like everyone else in the world, I was glued to my television, flipping through the channels trying to glean the most current information. Both horrified and fascinated by the incredible images. It was like watch a car wreck, somehow you can’t look away.

The next day, when the ground stop had been declared I was a bit unnerved at how quiet the city seemed. I had never seen the sky without the traces of planes overhead.

In 1963, the innocence of this country was destroyed by the assassination of President Kennedy followed by the killings of Bobby and Martin. September 11, 2011 was the final knife in the heart of America. We have been an uneasy country ever since and may well always be looking over our shoulders and suspecting everything and everyone.

Susan Rush

Melanie Hamilton’s 9/11 Memory

I was dropping off my infant daughter with her sitter when the first plane hit the tower….. A few minutes later, I had arrived at work to see the 2nd plane hit the tower. My co-workers and I just stood frozen in horror in front of the TV with our right hands on our hearts. I soon felt the spiritual presence of my father who had passed away years earlier (proud WWII vet). I cried all morning. None of us could concentrate on work or anything else that day. I just wanted to hold my own children and cried for the victims and first responders. I can remember every detail of that day…what I was wearing, how I felt, the fear, the helplessness….I will never forget that day as long as I live.

Melanie Hamilton
Geneva, IL

James Scott’s 9/11 Memory

September 11, 2001 was a bright sunny day in Gainesville, Florida. I had no sooner gone out in our backyard for a swim when my wife, Louise, called to me and said, “You’ve got to come see this!” I didn’t come right away because the swim was more important. By the time I did come in the second aircraft had crashed into the Twin Towers in NYC. By lunch time the entire world, it seems, had awakened to the disaster. I kept my previous appointment with my friend, Fritz, to go share the good news of Jesus Christ. As we went through an apartment complex near the University of Florida we met students from across America. Many of them had friends in New York and several had relatives working in the Twin Towers. Many prayed with us for the great tragedy than unfolded that day.

James M. Scott
Major USAF Ret
Daytona Beach, Florida

Harolds McCord’s 9/11 Memory

I was at work and saw the events on the TV monitor in our break room. As a member of the 263d AAMDC in the S.C. National Guard we were activated on 10/10. Members of our unit have been on active duty every day since 9/11. We have had deployments all over the world since this happened.

SGM McCord, Harold (ret)
263d AAMDC

Ellen Lee’s 9/11 Memory

I was sitting in my floor looking at magazines trying to find a new hairstyle. I happened to be off from work that day. I had the t.v. on, but wasn’t really watching it. All of a sudden, everything started happening. I couldn’t quit watching, for days. It was surreal. I remember the eeriness when all air traffic was grounded. Then, when I saw the first plane, that was even more eerie. When it really hit me was the first time after that I saw a plane take off from the Nashville airport. It could have been those people that died that day.

Ellen Lee

Larry Glaze’s 9/11 Memory

On 9/11 I was employed at the FDA located in Southwest DC. About 9:30 am we felt the building shake and we were a little over 2 miles from the Pentagon. When the news broke and we left work, I got my van on the road to pick up my 14 passengers all who work in the same area in DC. One of my riders was a young mother who was 8 and a half months pregnant with her second child. Driving the van through the thickest smoke I have ever seen was something I will never forget. Folks in fire suits directed us through the smoke. They stood in that smoke with flares to guide awesome. Fortunately, the young lady did not go into labor as I feared she might. Her little girl was born a couple weeks later.

Larry Glaze
New Braunfels, TX

Bonnie Trown’s 9/11 Memory

I watched the television on 9/11 in shock and disbelief as planes were flown into the Twin Towers by people who would never know their victims. Such senseless violence is beyond imagination. An enemy had come to our house and shaken our sense of security. The Towers fell and with them fell away some of our naivety. There is evil in the world and it goes beyond anything we can imagine. That evil still exists today and we can’t let ourselves be lulled into believing that it does not. We can’t be ashamed or afraid to call evil by its name. We must not in the name of inclusiveness allow evil to be overlooked or worse yet accepted. I remember 9/11 and that memory will continue to make me less afraid to say that wrong is wrong; to know that there are things worth standing up for; to value The United States of America and the things that she stands for.

Bonnie Trown