Where were you on 9/11?



For each of us, there is an event in our lifetime that is etched forever in our memory. 

Sept. 11, 2001, was a day of infamy. 

We all have stories of where we were and what were doing when hijacked airplanes deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center (WTC) and Pentagon, and Flight 93 crashed into an empty field in Pennsylvania. 

Our nation, and the world, was transfixed.

We asked friends of The SUN to share where they were on 9/11. The following are their unedited answers.

Melanie Cowan: “I was on my way to work, about a week after starting my teaching job here in Pagosa. I heard it on the radio as the second plane was hitting the second tower.”

Chris Rourke: “I was 9+ months pregnant living in another state. I was frightened about the world my son would soon be born into. A friend told me he would be someone to make this a better world, and he was born the next day. He’ll turn 20 on the 12th and he has made this world a better place.”

Gail Nichols Hershey: “I was working half time in the afternoons as the elementary GT facilitator. I had NPR on the radio in the background and it said something about a plane hitting the Twin Towers. I pictured a small private plane. So I turned on the TV to see what was going on. I watched the special news report showing video of the a commercial airliner flying into the middle the tower. The announcer said, ‘This is not a mock up.’ Then I sat down and watched the unbelievable live coverage when the next plane flew directly into the second tower. At work that afternoon, everyone was in shock.”

Kimberlie Fleming Hamilton: “Lived in Lewisville, TX. getting ready for work. Our house was right in the flight pattern of DFW airport. VERY eery not hearing planes go over our house for a couple of days.”

Kathryn Andrea Grace Woodward: “Cleaning the kitchen in Boca Raton, FL. My husband called from work asking if I had the TV on. I said no. He said ‘Turn it on.’ We watched together, but apart, as the 2nd plane hit. I dropped to my knees in the middle of the family room floor.”

Proving that it truly is a small world, S.j. Cooper wrote: “Kathryn Andrea Grace Woodward ... I was leaving a service call in Boca. My buddy and I were listening to Neil Rogers when he broke the initial report.”

He added: “Driving to the construction site my buddy and I were working at in Florida, after a morning service call...

“The morning talk show radio host broke his usual comedy routine to announce that a small aircraft had hit one of the towers. Got to the jobsite and called in my materials order ... My friend at the supply house was watching coverage on TV and described what was going on.....

“Called my Dad in midtown Manhattan, and he described the smoke 

“I had visited the towers a few times, and had even eaten at Windows on The World.

“All those souls ....

“We later found out that Mohamed Atta and part of his cohorts were living one block away from my ex and kids. Jackson st. in Hollywood Fl.”

Danine Smith: “I was dropping my two year old son, Conner off at Martinez’s home daycare when I first learned of the Twin Towers being struck by the airplane. I then went to work at High Country Title and we listened to the radio to learn what else was happening throughout the day. I am proud to say that my son is now 22 years old and defending our country in the United States Navy.”

Julie Dockery Taylor: “Sleeping in on my day off.”

Jennifer Dawn Torrey-Segura: “Cleaning up after a 2 year old. I thought he changed the channel and it was a movie.”

Roxanne Lattin: “8th Grade math class...the teacher turned on the news and instead of doing math work, we watched it all happen.”

Cheryl Ward-Bowdridge: “We lived in Las Vegas. I was just pregnant with my son. My husband called me, woke me up and said turn on the T.V.”

Lauri Heraty: “A group of us Realtors, 20 maybe, were on a Realtor Caravan... we were touring homes pre-smart phone, so our only info was radio or calls to others who were watching on TV or computers. It was surreal. Then we got to a seller’s home and they invited us to watch the TV. We all stood quiet and stunned. 20 quiet Realtors (also a once in a lifetime thing). It was silent, other than the tv.”

Helen Richardson: “Pete and I were in Nova Scotia for our first summer there, starting to renovate the old house that we bought. We heard the news at home and then later in the day when I was out shopping locally, people stopped me when they saw the Colorado number plate and said how sorry they were to see the news. We knew someone who volunteered at the Red Cross and he helped out at the Halifax airport with stranded planes. I’ve always been fascinated to read about the kindness of the people of Gander who hosted thousands of stranded airline passengers when the planes were diverted to their small community. The award winning play Come From Away has been very successful and we are going to visit the local Gander museum later this month and learn more about both the history of the airport and the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Never forget.”

Carol Oldham Hazel: “That morning we did not turn on the TV to watch the news like we usually did. When my 5th grade students came to class they told me about the attack. We watched it on student news and discussed what was happening. My students wanted to make something to show they were proud to be American, so we spent the day making a gigantic American flag out of red, white, and blue cutouts of our hands.”

Diane Bower: “Waiting for the birth of my grandson in Dallas.”

Kathleen Grams: “At work!”

Danny Colvert: “Working in a call center in OKC. When the planes hit, the phones all went silent.”

Susan Nossaman: “I was driving to work in Durango. When I left home, everything was fine. By the time I got to Bayfield, 30 minutes later, it was as if the world had turned upside down.”

Leslie Lattin: “Had just got off a Grave shift, laid down on the couch, turned the TV on, ABC, just started to report it, my Mother was on a trip in England, Called my Dad at Fire Dept, told him to turn on TV..It was Bad.”

Susan Kanyur: “I was with Leslie’s mother in London. We walked into the lobby of our hotel when the second plane hit the second tower. It was on the TV there. We were stunned and sick. It was difficult to be so far away from our families.”

Joanne Monteleone Irons: “We were living on Long Island about 40 miles from NYC, I just dropped the boys off at their schools and headed downtown Huntington to get some film developed from the weekend. When I walked in the store everyone was huddled around the TV watching things unfold. I called Karl who worked 20 miles from NYC and asked him to come home. I picked up the boys from school and we stayed home to sounds of helicopters..sirens and eventually a smell I will never forget. One of the 1st grade teachers husband was a firefighter who perished that day trying to save lives. Chris Sullivan ..... I will never forget!”

Katelyn Lopez: “I was about 9 years old in the 4th grade living in Michigan at the time. I remember we were in the middle of an English lesson when all lights were turned off and a TV was brought into the room. Our teacher informed us of the evil that exists in this world and that today was one that needed to be remembered. It didn’t really hit me till I got home honestly.

“My teacher did the right thing by not censoring us from the world and I’m thankful for that. I didn’t understand at the time but through every memorial it is one that will never be forgotten.”

Linda Barber: “I was at the office where I worked as a therapist with mental health services. We were having a staff meeting and started to hear the news, so turned on the TV and stood together in shock watching the horror unfold. Stood in silence while we realized what a challenge this was going to be to so many people’s mental health.”

Tammy Boen: “I was living in Masury, Ohio and at a friend’s house. Our children had just gotten to school. 2 hrs later, we received phone calls telling us they were shutting the school down and asked us to pick up our children.”

Kim Kelly Collins: “My husband and I were watching the news as he was getting ready to go to school to teach his class and I was getting ready to take my Mom to Disneyland. We watched it unfold on live TV to our horror. Needless to say my husband came back home early as classes were canceled and they actually closed Disneyland. We lived in Tustin, CA, at the time, and we watched the entire nightmare that day and being close to a Marine base there were fly overs that night. Very scary times.”

Henrietta Siron: “I was at home. Just got up and turned on the t.v. to hear ALL airports were closed. Then seeing that plane crash into one of the twin towers..... still haunts me today.”

John Sharp: “I was at home when the planes hit watched them both, the the towers fell while we watched in school.”

Judylee Patton: “I had just started my day providing Occupational Therapy services to my differently abled students. I was lifting a student out of her wheelchair, when a teacher rushed over to tell us that something horrific was happening. Someone turned on a TV in the classroom. We all stared in shock at the television replays of the first plane hitting the tower. Soon the second plane struck, as I continued to hold my student in my arms....too frozen with shock and fear, to lower us both down onto the mat. Immediately, we turned the TV off, and started getting ready for the onslaught of parents that were already calling, and arriving to pick their children up.”

Starla Pribble: “I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was in my apartment during my sophomore year of college when my roommates father, from California, called. He didn’t tell me what had happened but just started screaming at us to get out of Colorado. He was freaked out that the terrorists were gonna hit NORAD next. After that i turned on the tv and remember being in shock watching the planes hit the towers.”

Kelly Rizk: “Yes, driving into the office in Austin, TX. My whole family was scheduled to fly from Newark, NJ to San Diego that afternoon to attend my brother’s wedding at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma. AZ. I called my father as soon as I got in the office. He was a professional pilot and told me with no doubt that the first plane was an airliner, not a ‘small plane’ as the reports were saying. We were still on the phone when he watched the second plane hit.”

Carol Bowden: “I was reading a book to a third grade classroom. A student who returned from the school library told the class that a plane flew into a tall building in New York City. He had seen it on tv in the library because the librarian and other staff was watching it unfold.”

Barbara Clabaugh Pugh: “I was driving to work at the Police Dept. when I heard about the first plane hitting. Shortly after that, we bought our property in Pagosa. Never forget.”

Ann Thomas: “I had just arrived at work in Denver and a teammate had a TV on. The first tower had been hit and there was a plume of smoke. Unbelievably a second plane flew into a tower and then the first tower collapsed. It was just awful and our Manager sent us home for the day. I learned later about all of the workers in the Twin Towers who walked down all of those flights of stairs, throwing away their high heels and then walking all the way home. I lived in Boulder at the time and every night I heard the military helicopters patrolling over Rocky Flats.”

Janet E. Santopietro: I was working in the Archuleta County commissioner’s office at the time. I had just arrived at work and started hearing more and more details about the incident. Finally one of the young techies brought the coverage up on his computer. We all huddled around and watched in disbelief.”

Dave Martinez: “Working at the old Sears in downtown Pagosa (where McCabe creek passes under the highway). I remember it was a fairly quiet morning. Then the news all went to the same story on every TV we had on the display wall. It was surreal. Once the news started airing the story it seemed like the world stopped. Pagosa was like a ghost town. No airplanes in the sky, no cars on the road. Just me and one other person in the store.... watching a terrorist attack in New York on a wall of TVs. I’ll never forget that day.”

Connie Stone Knief: “At work at Academy Sports and Outdoors in Katy, Texas.”

Jaime Akers: “I was in my sophomore year at the University of Northern Colorado studying to become a teacher. I had been in my Colorado History class (8:00 a.m. start) and was in route to my English Comp class when a friend told me about what happened.”

Iris Warren: “I remember standing in dispatch in the court house in downtown Pagosa Springs with then Sheriff Tom Richards and the girls working the radios in dispatch... we were all stunned into silence and shock!! We were all looking up at the small tv above their monitors trying to comprehend what we were seeing...the disbelief turning to anger was a day never to forget!!”

Joan Scott: “Camping at the beach north of San Diego. My daughter in law called to let us know something terrible was happening. We drove to Costco to see it on TV. Everyone was standing around stunned, especially as we watched the 2nd tower come down.”

Annie Stone: “I worked the night shift the 10th and slept in late. My husband woke me that ‘we’d been attacked’. Never Forget.”

Kathy Wilcox: “At home watching the news that morning. I had just retired the week before and I’m so glad I didn’t have to face a class full of fourth graders that morning. I couldn’t function.Just stared at the TV.”

Donna Schroeder: “High school/trade school in Massachusetts. We were immediately put on lockdown and then they rolled in the TVs to all classes and shops to watch what was happening until they could safely release us to our parents. Our instructors were afraid Boston was next to get hit. We had all kinds of police and state troopers on the school property and that was when it kinda kicked in on us high school kids the severity of what was going on.”

Dee Yates: “My brother and I were hunting. My dad drove up to the mountain to find us and tell us what happened. We had been talking about how there weren’t any jet trails in the sky but we didn’t know why til our dad showed up.”

Paula Maria Montoya: “Passing through the house getting ready for work. My husband had the TV on and said OMG look at this! I thought at first it was an ad for a new movie. Totally devasted, worked right by there for over 20 years.”

Sylvia McDaniel: “At work in Dallas, when someone came in and said a plane went into the towers. We had a big screen television down in the cafeteria. There were people running in the halls to get to the cafeteria. We got in there just in time to see the second plane go into the towers. Such a sad day. I immediately called my family and asked about a cousin who flew out of Boston all the time. Thank God he was safe. A friend was supposed to fly out of DFW that morning. All of a sudden the TVs were turned off and they were told to leave the airport.”

Carrie Weiss: “At a Rotary Board meeting at Pagosa Fire Protection District.”

Robin Shafer Kautz: “My cousin was in his office in Navy intelligence in the Pentagon. We didn’t hear from him for days because they were all evacuated to a safe place and worked 24/7.”