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At approximately 8:50 a.m. that day, I received a phone call from my daughter-in-law; a phone call that will never be forgotten.
She told me to turn on the TV and that we had been attacked. At first, I thought it was one of our planes that went astray and landed in one of the twin towers. Boy was I wrong. After I realized what happened, I thought this was the beginning of the end. I still think that way. I have a very difficult time dealing with this horror every anniversary. I was born and raised in New York city. When I saw people flying out of the windows I thought, “I wonder if I knew that person” — was he or she a relative, a co-worker, or a former classmate? I’ll probably never know. When all the people died, a part of me died right along with them. It doesn’t get any easier for me as the years go by. I know life goes on, but always in fear of this happening again.
Please say a prayer for all the families and friends of the victims of this horrific day.

I remember being on vacation, going to the Elm Tree Golf course to play a round of golf with my father-in-law. I was listening to “Imus in the Morning” and Warner Wolfe was describing the first plane going into the tower, thinking that it may have been an accident.
I arrived at the golf course and I was watching the TV in the clubhouse, and then I witnessed the second plane going into the second tower. My father-in-law and I figured we were being attacked and we continued to watch the events.
We decided to go out and play a few holes and I asked a young fellow if he would come out and update us if anything else happened. He came out and said another plane was on its way to the Pentagon but was downed before it arrived there.
We went back in to watch a little bit more and I remember leaving the course going to check on my (liquor sales) accounts — Groton Avenue, Northend, Plaza, Crown, and Varsity Liquors — and was amazed how packed their parking lots were with people purchasing their favorite spirits and wines and taking the rest of the day off from work to watch the days events.
I remember my wife coming home from work and how emotional she was watching the day’s events, she wanted to go down to New York City to help clean up and search for the people under the rubble. It was an emotional day for us and all of us around the country; it will stick in our minds forever.

9/11. I will never ever forget that day, it scared the living day lights out of me. I was in my eye doctor’s office when I first heard about the first tower being hit by a plane out of Boston, I believe. That’s about the time it was clear these were not accidents.
I was on my way home when it hit me. Oh my god! My son was flying out of New York that morning to a meeting out west. Couldn’t get home fast enough. I called his office and the receptionist answered when I asked for Chuck Rote. She paused and said, “May I ask who’s calling?” She never asked before just put you through, and that made me nervous. I said, ‘This is his mother.’” She said, “Please hold a minute.” By now, I was a basket case. Finally, my son came on the line, when I heard him I just burst into tears, I was so happy to hear his voice. He said he wasn’t scheduled to leave until later that morning but wouldn’t be going at all now.
Now every time I hear a low flying plane go over the house or my son has to fly somewhere it makes me very nervous and brings back bad memories of that day.

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was employed as a teacher assistant for Head Start. The teacher and myself were in the Head Start classroom getting the room ready for the students. The K-12th grades were already in session for the 2001-02 school year. Our students were starting a little later, for this was a brand new Head Start classroom.
We had the radio on, and a special broadcast came over the radio about the twin towers. We looked at each other with wide eyes and at the same time, said “Oh no!” She also said “this cannot be happening!”
Then a few hours later, I phoned my mother and asked her if she knew about it and she told me yes. Also, she told me that around 5 a.m. that same morning, my step-grandfather had passed away. So besides the 9/11 events, my family suffered another loss that tragic day.

I remember 9/11 as the most stressful day of my life. I was watching “Good Morning America” on ABC when they showed a plane flying into the World Trade Center.
At that moment, I realized my daughter was training some Internal Revenue Service personnel there. To make sure, I called her husband in Long Valley, N.J. When he answered, I said, “Where is Sheila?” His reply was, “You don’t want to know.”
Yes, she was at the World Trade Center.
The IRS group adjourned their meeting to join another group in the other tower. As they exited, the plane flew into the tower. An IRS director who was late to the meeting arrived in a taxi, as he exited a piece of debris hit him. He was in the hospital for months and later died.
They started north up Manhattan to get out of the city. Each time they found a building to go in, they were told it was closed. There were many acts of random kindness: a store opened to allow women in high heels to get sneakers; a water truck pulled over on the expressway to give out water.
They could not use their cell phones, until one person’s phone started to work. They passed the phone around so that each of them could contact loved ones. Sheila’s message was, “Doug, I am alive.” This was about 10:30 a.m. He could not contact us because all the lines were busy. At 11:30, my other daughter said, “I think Sheila is dead.” This I did not want to hear.
The IRS group finally heard that buses were taking the ferry to Hoboken, N.J. So they took a Circle Line ferry. The pilot was not familiar with the port and as he was docking, he ran into a pylon which crashed into the window next to Sheila.
Buses were confiscated from all over New Jersey and assembled at the port to take the people to their destination, but they did not know the routes. The passengers had to tell them where to go. Sheila’s car was at Journal Square, N.J. When she got on Route 78, she called home.
When she called us, her mother said, “You should not be talking with all the traffic.” Sheila replied, “Mom, there is not traffic, I can see no cars.”

It was a picture perfect fall day, sunny, comfortable temperature. I was packed and ready to drive to Albany for a conference. It was a beautiful day for a drive and I was excited to leave Cortland for a couple of days.
While I waited in the office that morning, someone listening to the radio brought it to our attention that a plane had crashed into the towers.
We were all shocked, and as the morning progressed, the reality of the day became real. I didn’t feel safe, this was too close to home, just a few hours from our little community, people perished in a matter of minutes. It was surreal and quite frightening as the reality set in.
I’m not sure I felt anger but more helplessness and sadness for the victims and families. Watching the news that evening, the reports of survival, people demonstrating acts of heroism, comforted me somewhat, but the tragedies unfolding in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., made me question our world that day. I hugged my family a little tighter that evening and had an empty feeling in my heart.
Going to work the next day seemed strange, yet life would continue despite the horrific events in our country. Since that day I often reflect if we will ever feel safe again. I don’t think so. Life as we know it is forever changed, and for that I feel cheated.

I am reminded every day of the changes brought about by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
I was at my desk that Tuesday morning (at Cortland Travel Center) when our office received a phone call from a client. The caller reported that a plane had just crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. We watched, in horror, as a second plane slammed into the other tower. We knew, at that moment, our business would never be the same.
Shortly after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, security measures in our country changed drastically. The travel industry, especially, would change forever. Many new security requirements were immediately put into effect. These new security measures, while some think inconvenient and obtrusive, are meant to keep us safe.

Like all of us, I recall the horror of that autumn day and remember the souls lost. I reflect on the complex reasons of what may have motivated the perpetrators and reflect on the events that followed.
For me there is an everlasting connection with the tragic events of 9/11 and the formation of the Center for the Arts of Homer. I am chairperson of the Founder’s Group and founding chair of the board of directors for the center.
The birth of the center started in the spring of 2001. In 2000 the First Baptist Church of Homer announced that it would sell its historic building in order to build a larger church. The village of Homer commissioned a study to determine the best reuse of the beautiful brick structure built in 1891 and which was an important part of the village landscape.
The study concluded that a community-based organization like an art center would be the best new use for the historic building and adjacent buildings. David Yaman was selected by the church as their real estate agent and he set off the make this reuse a reality. To this end he sought volunteers to consider the potential reuse. Among others, he asked Ann Siegle, and it wasn’t long before she asked me to attend a meeting.
We soon saw the need for a single organizer of this effort and I jumped in to begin making this a focused effort. The Founder’s Group was created and we prepared our first proposal describing our vision of an art center at what was to become the former First Baptist Church of Homer.
Linda Hartsock was a member of the Founder’s Group and as the economic development director for Cortland County she encouraged us by letting us know that grant money was available for such an endeavor.
That was before 9/11. After 9/11, Linda reported that grant money would be hard to come by for a long time. We had good reason to be very discouraged and needed a miracle.
Enter Tom Knobel: Tom grew up in Homer and moved to Texas at the age of 19. He became a successful chemical engineer and business consultant and life was good until the tragedy of 9/11 took the life of his wife and mother of his newborn daughter.
He was left with a dream he and his wife had to retire and move back to Homer. A few months after 9/11, Tom and his young daughter did just that. He purchased and moved into the house across the street from mine and two doors down from the proposed Center for the Arts. Dave, Linda and I encouraged Tom to join the Founder’s Group and get involved in creating the center — and well he did.
Tom helped prepare a business plan, prepared the 501c3 application and provided seed money for The Founder’s Group to hire a professional fundraiser and cover other expenses. Years later Tom helped fund the purchase of the building and even held the mortgage for a few months.
Although many people helped make the center a reality, I believe that Tom’s contribution of time and money really made it possible. I once asked Tom why he was so supportive of the center and he simply said, “It was time to give something back to the community.”
When I think of 9/11, I can’t help but remember that out of the ashes of that awful day, the Center for the Arts of Homer was born.

On 9/11/2001, I was employed by Chapel Hill (N.C.) Transit Co. as a transit driver. The following is a transcript of the handwritten notes that I made as a memory of that day.
The bus passenger said, “Planes flew into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon!” Driving a transit bus, I had stopped at the UNC Student Union and picked up a young female passenger. I said, “What? What’s going on?” The student repeated what she had said as she took a front seat.
“What does it mean?” she asked. The question just rattled around in my head. It was my last round and the relief driver got on. I took the switch car back out Airport Road to the Chapel Hill Transit garage for my morning break. The relief driver had said nothing of importance.
The TV was on in the lounge and all eyes were watching what was apparently a replay of a shadow of a plane disappearing behind one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City. There was an explosion. The backs of blue-shirted bus drivers were between myself and the TV. Someone exclaimed, “My God, look at that!” One of the towers billowed smoke from the upper floors and then, like an accordion closing, the tower collapsed.
The cameras focused on huge billow of gray smoke and white ash chasing people through New York City canyons. What is wrong with me? I don’t feel anything. I don’t believe what I’m looking at. It can’t be real — it looks like an action flick.
TV cameras switched to the Pentagon in DC. It was a conflagration.
Talking heads reported that four huge passenger planes had been hijacked to become flying bombs. Have I seen this on film somewhere? The banner running across the bottom of the TV screen tells me that “America is under attack!” The President of the United States is in hiding. Questions are posed, theories are speculated; they analyze and critique. Where do they think answers will come from?
A street reporter is looking for the person who saw the most bodies falling at one time. Microphone in hand, firemen are being asked over and over again, “Where do you think your partner is now?”
Four planes hijacked at the same time? Where are the interceptor jets who should scramble to save us from an enemy who is flying planes? “We need to take them out,” “Are we at War?” “With who?” “Why are ‘they’ mad at us?” “How many dead?” They don’t know. The commentators are left grappling for a big enough number — 10,000?
There are now ghosts emerging from the dense fog of ash and smoke, stumbling past the abandoned hulks of emergency vehicles filling the streets. Paper, glass, body parts, and ash that did not spew from the ground, but from the sky. Bloodied faces turn to look back, then start running again.
One hundred and ten stories roar to the ground! The second tower accordions straight down! This is not real. Oh! Yes it is! I see it and hear it but curiously I do not feel it. I wonder how businesses will be affected. All planes are being grounded, bridges and tunnels closed. The President is hiding.
The cell phone caller said, “We’re being hijacked.” That plane, they report, plowed a deep hole in the ground somewhere in Pennsylvania. I wonder where that plane was going? Pittsburgh, the Sears Building in Chicago, the White House, the Capital, Camp David.
The sky is so blue. Summer is releasing it’s grip on North Carolina in early September in Chapel Hill and I am moving about as though nothing has happened. Then strangely something fearful moves me toward the bank. I withdraw my money just in case the banks and ATMs are affected. I’m sure ‘they’ can do that. Power failures, no gas, no ice, no computer or Internet or TV? “Twenty thousand dead!” How will they know? Who is officially counting?
Finally, I feel sadness and nervousness, — and guilty. Palestine, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Iran, the Balkans, Columbia — a world at war with its poor and dispossessed — the Have-nots have brought war to the Haves — to my country — to my home on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, at 9 a.m., over coffee.
June 3, 2011. Today, among my papers, I found my handwritten description of that day. As I transcribed the notes, a shudder moved through my body and goose bumps covered my arms. They did count the dead.
Thousands died in the United States of America that day.

I was getting ready to work as an election inspector when I heard the first plane crashed into the Twin Towers. I thought it was an accident. Then, when the second plane crashed into the twin towers, I told my husband that it was terrorists.
I drove to Cortland to work on the elections but Gov. Pataki canceled them.
I was very sad and upset seeing the buildings go downward and knowing there were many people who had lost their lives.
In the years to follow, I was grateful that I didn’t live in a big city.
I still fear that there will be another attack and I pray for the women and men who are fighting to protect us.

9/11. I will never ever forget that day, it scared the living day lights out of me. I was in my eye doctor’s office when I first heard about the first tower being hit by a plane out of Boston, I believe. That’s about the time it was clear these were not accidents.
I was on my way home when it hit me. Oh my god! My son was flying out of New York that morning to a meeting out west. Couldn’t get home fast enough.
I called his office and the receptionist answered when I asked for Chuck Rote. She paused and said, “May I ask who’s calling?” She never asked before just put you through, and that made me nervous. I said, ‘This is his mother.’” She said, “Please hold a minute.” By now, I was a basket case.
Finally, my son came on the line. When I heard him, I just burst into tears, I was so happy to hear his voice. He said he wasn’t scheduled to leave until later that morning but wouldn’t be going at all now.
Now every time I hear a low flying plane go over the house or my son has to fly somewhere, it makes me very nervous and brings back bad memories of that day.

The day of the attacks I was at work in a small office in Whitney Point. A woman who worked across the hall came in and told us to turn on our radio. She was from England and I loved to listen to her accent. That day her voice was so odd and her expression so grave, I knew something terrible was happening.
In the days that followed I was glued to the television and horrified by what I heard and saw. Certainly the attacks and losses were terrible. What bothered me, as well, was the generalized anti-Muslim-or-anything-that-looks-like-it attitude that I saw developing in our supposedly tolerant and free country. I called my friends who are Sikhs and Muslims and told them I loved them and pleaded with them to be careful.
I was further appalled by the mounting deaths and injuries suffered by civilians in Afghanistan. In 1975 I spent some time in Afghanistan on my way home from a three-year tour of duty as a Peace Corps volunteer. That was before the Russians destroyed much of that beautiful country and before the Taliban took power.
Wherever I went, I saw very few women who were veiled. Women in Kabul wore business suits and carried brief cases. They were more modern than I was.