Memories of 9/11

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I was on active duty with the Navy as the Operations Officer for a detachment of Tactical Air Control Squadron 12 based out of White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.
We had flown from MCAS Futenma in Okinawa to Nagasaki where we drove to Sasebo for a schedule planning meeting with the air department of the USS Essex. I was staying on the ship and sharing a stateroom with Capt. Jay Aubin, USMC, who was the schedules officer for HMM 265 the Marine Air Group we deployed with. Capt. Aubin came to the room and said, “Sir, you gotta come down to the Wardroom and see this.”
There was quite a crowd there at the time and we watched in silence as the second plane hit.
 Sometime after I had retired from active duty and operations had started in Iraq, the Journal had an enclosure of service members who had been killed in the operation.
I just happened to be scanning through it when now Major Aubin’s face jumped out at me. He, along with three other US Marines and eight British Marines were among the first casualties when the Ch-46 he was flying crashed in Iraq due to mechanical problems two days after the operation started. Major Aubin will be forever in my memory as a true professional, a great guy to work with and a friend.

LCDR W. Shumaker USN (Ret), Los Alamos

I was eating breakfast at a Hotel in Fort Bragg, Calif. and the TV was on.  
It was surreal. I had a hard time believing it was really happening. Later, I was riding my motorcycle, a Honda Pacific Coast on the Pacific Coast Highway with a group of about 30 others riding the same model of motorcycle touring the Pacific Coast highway.
The meeting for breakfast, usually full of conversation and planning for the days riding ahead, instead was quiet and somber.

Roy Cope
White Rock

On Sept. 10, my husband Rick and I drove from Los Alamos to Flagstaff and checked into a hotel.  
On Sept. 9, my parents Art and Sherry Morgan boarded an Amtrak train in Chicago.  
We were all meeting in Flagstaff to drive up to the Grand Canyon where we would spend four wonderful days together seeing all the sights.
My parents arrived in Flagstaff very late on the 10th and went straight to their room.  
I was anxious to see them so I woke early on the 11th and went down to the lobby. Sure enough, my father was sitting there with a cup of coffee and a newspaper, CNN was droning on quietly in the background. There was a “Breaking New” interruption and that’s when dad and I learned of a tower of the World Trade Center being hit by an unidentified air craft. My mother and Rick joined us and we were sitting together in the breakfast area when we witnessed the second plane crash into the side of the other tower. Reports were coming in from Washington and Pennsylvania so we weren’t sure what we should do. Should we cancel our plans and high-tail it for home or should we continue with our plans with possible disruptions?  
When we learned that the National Parks would not be affected by closures, we decided to continue on with our vacation and hope for the best. It was a somber experience and rumors were rampant.Even though we enjoyed each other’s company and the beauty of the Canyon, being the victims of terrorism put a dark pall over everything we did. Even laughter sounded out of place. There were many tears and heartfelt conversations going on during those days together. And one thought kept going through my mind and that was if the worst day in American history had just occurred, I’m grateful I was with the three people I love most in the world. We were a great a comfort to one another.

Candee Haskins
Los Alamos

I was working for a small cargo-aircraft development company at the time.  
On that day, my company president, vice president, and I were waiting at the commuter airport near Atlanta, Ga., to fly to New Orleans to attend the National Business Aviation Association’s Annual Convention. Our plan was to unveil the mock-up of our newly designed cargo aircraft at the convention (the mockup was already on a truck enroute to New Orleans).  
As we were sitting in the waiting room, we watched the “Good Morning America” news showing that a jet crashed into one of the Twin Towers.
We were in shock, but had no idea what happened. While the announcers were talking, there was another jet crash happening right on the same screen and the FAA announced the closure of all airports in response to the emergency of terrorist attacks.
We never got to the convention and our cargo-aircraft design was a dream that never came true.
Dan Gandee
Los Alamos

I was walking in the early, sunny afternoon near the municipal building on the Oude Gracht in Utrecht, an old university town in the Netherlands. A TV in a shopwindow showed burning skyscrapers. I thought it to be just one or another action movie, but a bystander pointed out that this was for real. Just when I started watching, another plane looking like a fast moving little black dot hit one of these towers. It was so far outside my reference frame that it took a long time for the enormity to sink in.
Bernard de Jong

On 9-11, 2001, I was living in Vienna, Austria with my wife and baby son.
I worked at the IAEA as a safeguards inspector and analyst.
It was late sunny afternoon when my German colleague Eckhard Haas came into my office and in a perfunctory proper Germanic manner told me that his wife had called and said a plane hit the WTC.
In a sweat and in curiosity, I tried to get to CNN and other news Websites on the internet and they all seemed busy. This was disturbing — could this be an attack and not a fluke accident?
I got the Website of the local Vienna papers and found a photo of the WTC smoking. I called my wife and told her to turn on the TV. As she did the first tower began to fall.
This truly was serious. I went down the hall where the training section had a TV rigged up.
The announcer talked about the possibility of tens of thousands of casualties.
“Das ist Krieg.” This is war.
Bob McNair of Brookhaven was in the room. Much later I found out that his brother, a NYC cop, was at Ground Zero and nearly in the carnage.
When I left that day riding the U-Bahn home, I was in a daze.  
It was surreal as I climbed the stairs at the Praterstern train station stop by my home to see the paper-guys selling the early edition of Kurier with the WTC towers burning. Such news instantly there.
Even a continent away people were in shock. The next morning as I entered the Praterstern the Middle Eastern guy who I bought the paper from on a lot of days said to me how terrible these people were who did this act.
I told him I was an American and was from New York.  
He was sad and sorry for me.  
In the weeks around 9-11, people were in solidarity with us from all over. It is so sad how this moment of unity was squandered in the years that have gone past since 9-11.
I just hope and pray our society recovers from that day and what has spun out from it. The only other day like it in my lifetime was when I was in Kindergarten and JFK was shot. The shock and horror of that day marked a turning point where the 60’s became darker and more rebellious.  
Brian Boyer
On that day I was the Program Chairman/VP for the Los Alamos Historical Society.  
We had a lecture planned for the night of 9-11 and our speaker, Mary Palevsky, author of “Atomic Fragments: A Daughter’s Questions,” was already in Santa Fe. Her parents had worked in Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project years and her book described her interviews with significant scientists who worked at Los Alamos concerning their moral positions on the development of the nuclear bombs.  
About mid-day I learned that the county was closing all buildings. Fuller Lodge would be locked up, so we had no choice but to cancel the lecture.  
She was about to drive up to Los Alamos when I notified her of the change of plans. Because all airline flights were grounded, it took Mary several days to catch a train back to her California home.
 Nancy Bartlit

Where was I when I learned about the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US? My two children and I had arrived in Penang, Malaysia on August 27, 2001 to begin work and school at Dalat International School. We lived in a house about a quarter of a mile from the campus and did not have any expatriate neighbors. We had not set up our satellite TV or Internet services yet and were still dependent on the school campus for those resources.
 After hearing about the attacks at the staff meeting the next morning, I sat in the teachers’ lounge for the remainder of the day and watched the news in shock and disbelief.

Sharon Fogle

My husband and I were in northern Italy on a bicycle vacation on Sept 11, 2001. That day we went out for a long bike ride in northern Italy on a beautiful sunny early fall day.  After lunch, we were sitting around visiting with all the other cyclists (we were all from the United States) and someone had seen on CNN what was happening in NYC and the Pentagon.
CNN is the only English channel we could receive there. We watched it non-stop for days it seemed like.
 After seeing the first photos, all we could do was watch in shock the events occurring at home while we were so far away.  One of the things I remember most about that day and the days to follow as we went by train to visit other cities in Italy was how kind the Italian and even German people were to us. One fellow came up to me and  said “I am so sorry what happened to your country.”
 I can recall being concerned we would not get home for a very long time, but on September 23rd we were able to fly from Venice to JFK airport in NYC just as planned. I must admit that security was very  different from the earlier flight arriving in Italy.  When going through customs at the airport, it was awesome to be welcomed back to the USA by customs officials and get our passports stamped with USA!!
Susan Trujillo
Los Alamos