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September 11 lives on in infamy

By KATE THURSTON - kthurston@newsexaminer.com

Seventeen years ago today the United States faced a tragedy that changed the country forever, while also pulling the country together during a desperate time of need.

Commercial aircraft hijacked by terrorists crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Another jetliner that was headed toward the U.S. Capitol crashed in a Pennsylvania farm field after passengers and crew fought the terrorists who had commandeered it.

Many local residents recall 9/11. Some shared their memories on the Connersville News-Examiner’s Facebook page.

Beth Hisle: “I was at working at the hospital. I was registering a patient and headed back to ER when the first plane hit and the Today show was reporting. It was a prop plane hit the tower. By the time I returned to my desk the second plane hit. It was so surreal. Everyone stopped what they were doing and watching the televisions around the lobby. I remember later that day I needed to go to the store to get something to make dinner with and I looked up, the sky was a crystal clear blue and there was only one jet in the air and I knew whose plane it was. Couldn’t sleep and couldn’t stop praying and watching TV.”

Judi Smith: “We were in our kitchen on Tulip Lane. I had just given my husband his birthday gift when the news came on the TV. It seemed like the whole world went quiet that day. We stood in our back yard, and a neighbor behind us stood in hers. A military jet flew over, and she said, ‘Ours or theirs?’ Our oldest grandson, who was a baby at that time and has no memory of the day, is now poised to become a U.S. Marine.”

Roxi West: “I was a senior in high school. I remember people talking about it when school started. However, I had no idea the magnitude of terror and fear that was unfolding on U.S soil. I was sitting in government class when it had become fully known. I broke down in tears and was excused from school, my fiance’ was in the National Guard and I was terrified. We sat around the phone waiting on orders, which thankfully never came for him.  My senior year became the class of 9/11; my life forever changed that day. I know I will never forget.”

Agnes Ervine Wilcher: “I was at home in Morristown. I was getting things ready to fly to Canada for my daughter’s wedding. I had the TV on the Today show and seen the second plane hit. My stomach went into a knot and my first thought was that they have us. You could tell it was an intentional hit but didn’t know what was really going on. All flights were cancelled and my daughter my daughter-in-law and I ended up driving to Camrose, Alberta, for the wedding. People were so sympathetic along our drive. Such a heartbreaking time.”

Sheryl Myers: “Mike and I was at our office when the planes hit. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I started into a panic wanting to know where my brother was who lived and worked in NYC. My dad called him and he didn’t know what had happened. He went to his office window and watch the second plane hit. He seen the towers come down. Then we lost contact with him. On the top of the buildings were the cell phone towers. All cell phones in and out of NYC were down. It was a few days before we heard from my brother. Thank Goodness he survived.”

David Pollard: “I was on my way to work, at Sears Optical in Indianapolis, and heard it on the radio. I listened all the way to Indy, and after a short meeting, the store was considering closing along with all of the mall stores. I found gas on the way back home that afternoon at $6 a gallon. I will never forget, I will record all of the stories on TV for my grandson, for history sake. It changed how I look at people and the way I am more in tune to my surroundings.”

Paul Hillman: “I was in Scottsdale, AZ on a work/vacation trip. I looked into taking Amtrak home, but it sold out very quickly. My flight home was delayed by one day. It was a sad day in our history, and it seems in only 17 short years, much of the nation has forgotten the lessons we should have learned on that day.”

Some recall the events of that day. For others, it’s just another day.

“One of the things that really breaks my heart is seeing how few businesses place the flag at half mast so many years after this tragedy,” Stephanie Ruf said. “It’s something that affected and still affects us all. Two years ago I went around to businesses in Batesville to remind them of the day and why that respect should be shown. I was literally laughed out of several establishments while thanked by others. Those that laughed absolutely crushed my heart.”

The Connersville News-Examiner sends a heartfelt thank you to the first-responders, medical, police, firefighters and citizens who rushed into the falling buildings in order to save the lives of strangers. Those who lost their lives or their families will not be forgotten. 

Patriot Day service

Sept. 11 is known as Patriot Day. A local remembrance has been organized by the Fayette County Ministerial Association.

A 15-minute service starts at 6 p.m. today at Western Avenue Baptist Church, 2800 Western Ave., and then moves to the city’s three fire stations, Connersville Police, Central Dispatch, Emergency Medical Service and Fayette County Sheriff’s Department, where they will deliver cookies and cupcakes along with messages of thanks.

The public may participate.

Sept. 11 Timeline

7:59 a.m. – American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 with 92 people aboard, takes off from Boston’s Logan International Airport en route to Los Angeles.

8:14 a.m. – United Airlines Flight 175, a Boeing 767 with 65 people aboard, takes off from Boston; it is also headed to Los Angeles.

8:46 a.m. – Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 11 crash the plane into floors 93-99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.

9:03 a.m. – Hijackers crash United Airlines Flight 175 into floors 75-85 of the WTC’s South Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.

9:37 a.m. – Hijackers aboard Flight 77 crash the plane into the western façade of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing 59 aboard the plane and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the building.

9:45 a.m. -- United Airlines Flight 93 crashes and burns near Shanksville, Penn., after passengers and crew overpower terrorists who had put the plane on a course for the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

Timeline by www.history.com