Where Were You and What Were You Doing When You Heard the News 22 Years Ago Today

Today is a Day of Remembrance! 

22 years ago today, America was attacked.

I am curious, if you were then alive and old enough to remember:

 

Where were you and what were you doing when you heard the news?

 

What do you remember about that day?

 

If you were on a trip – away from home, how did you get back?

 

[Please share your stories in the comment section below:]

 

For those of us old enough to remember, it is a day none of us will ever forget!

Here Are My Stories:

Where were you and what were you doing when you heard the news?

I was on a Delta flight from Dallas to Orlando.  Our plane that morning was only about 1/3 full and all of the passengers were spread out.    Somewhere over the panhandle of Florida the Captain came on the intercom and repeated 3 times, “Ladies and Gentlemen I need your full attention.”  By the time he repeated it the 3rd time he had all of attentions.  I instantly wondered what was wrong with our plane.  He then shared, “Apparently there has been some kind of terrorist event on the East Coast and all planes in the sky over the U.S. have been ordered to land at their nearest airport.  We will be landing in Jacksonville, Florida.  That is all that I know.  I am sure we will find out more when we land.”  Instantly the passengers on my flight became a community – all of us speculating on what might have happened.

The moment we touched down in Jacksonville, I turned on my cell phone and it lit up with messages.  But before I could check the first message, it rang and I answered.  It was my son – asking where I was and if I was Ok?  “Yes, I am fine – we just landed in Jacksonville, Florida.  What has happened?”  And he told me that two planes had hit the twin towers in New York and a 3rd plane hit the Pentagon in DC.  The twin towers had not yet collapsed – but they would soon.  He did not yet know about the 4th plane.

I think we were on the plane for about 90 minutes before a gate became available for us to deplane.  I used my cell phone to call Alamo to rent a car and discovered when I got off and walked past the car rental counter – which was packed – to go directly to the rental car lot – that had managed to get one of the last cars available.    I drove on to Orlando – riveted to the radio,  intermingled with phone calls with family and friends.  It was not until I got to my hotel room in Orlando and turned on the TV that I saw the images of that day!

What do you remember about that day?

Like all of us – I was stunned!  One thing I clearly remember from that day is that there were no Republicans and there were no Democrats – there were only Americans!  And I remember when the Members of the U.S. Congress stood together on the steps of the U.S. Capital and spontaneously broke out singing, “God Bless America.”  We experienced a “Unity” that perhaps Americans had not experienced since they heard the news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 – which was before my time. 

If you were on a trip – away from home, how did you get back?

The next morning – it was clear that no planes would be flying for the foreseeable future.  My meeting in Orlando had been canceled.  So I got in my rental car and headed back to Dallas.  I called Alamo to tell them that I was driving my rental car back to Dallas.  The  Alamo staff member told me that what I was doing was very unusual and would be very expensive.  I told her, “Whatever it costs makes no difference to me – I am just letting you know that I will turn this car in at the DFW airport where I have left my personal car.”   By the time I got home the next day – all the rental car companies in the U.S. had waived all their normal fees for doing what I did.  Of course, I was one of the lucky ones to have gotten a rental car.  I had friends who rented U-Haul trucks to drive back home.  And other friends who were not able to get home for days.

Today, take time to ask your colleagues, friends, family – actually all those you encounter, “Where were you and what were you doing when you heard the news on 9/11?”  I have never experienced anyone old enough to remember, not being eager to share their personal stories from 9/11!

 

Bob Tiede

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bob has been on the staff of Cru for 52 years. He currently serves on the U.S. Leadership Development Team and is passionate about seeing leaders grow and multiply their effectiveness. Bob and his wife, Sherry, live in Plano, TX and are blessed with 4 incredible children and 8 remarkable grandchildren.

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5 thoughts on “Where Were You and What Were You Doing When You Heard the News 22 Years Ago Today

  1. Joe Petersen says:

    Bob, I was in DC at an early morning breakfast with a congresswoman and one of her staff. I remember her being interrupted by another staff member and then excusing herself. I went up to the lobby of the hotel (The Willard Hotel just east of the White House) and people were gathering around a TV monitor. The hotel was evacuated so I stood in the middle of the mall under the Washington Monument. Loud speakers were announcing that the city was closed and everyone should evacuate immediately. Smoke was rising from the Pentagon and you could hear a series of explosions. Cell service was down and everyuthing was moving so fast ans so slow at the same time. What a crazy, confusing and heart crushing time.

  2. Sharon L. Joyner says:

    My husband & I lost our youngest daughter in May 2001. She was murdered. We were on the train taking her ashes to New Mexico. We were in the dining car, having breakfast, when all of a sudden the train began to speed up & we found it hard to drink our coffee without spilling, No one seemed to know what was going on.
    Afterward, we wended our way carefully into the Club car. We sat next to a gentleman who was talking on his cell phone. He turned to us & said he was talking to his brother in New York and a plane had hit the twin towers.
    He gave us blow-by-blow descriptions of what his brother was seeing when suddenly an announcement came over the loudspeaker to go back to our seats and gather our things so that we could all get off the train in Albuquerque and open our bags. The train would be stopping in Albuquerque and everyone would have to get off and make other arrangements. We had rented a car but it was hours before we were able to get it. We were going to where our daughter had one day wanted to live. My husband’s long-time friends were going to let us spread her ashes on their property. Then we went to Truth or Consequences to visit his cousin and were there long enough to see The whole thing play out on TV. it would be several days before we could return home because all the planes & trains were grounded. I will never forget it.

  3. Guy Lane Arbuthnot III P.E. says:

    It was an ordinary day for me. Twenty-two years ago I was walking out of a doctor’s office when I heard about the event. My feeling turned from my normal contentment to anger towards the terrorists then sadness for the families of all the people who had perished. As the deaths mounted, I prayed. After a while’ I became very disappointed in our national security organizations.

  4. Debbie says:

    Les and I were in Nepal – we only heard the news the morning of Sept 12 there (which was the evening of Sept 11 in the U.S.) Les had gone to work and the kids to school, and I had turned on my shortwave radio to VOA while I was cleaning up the house – and I heard that planes had flown into the Trade Center buildings in NYC. At first I thought it was a joke or a drama or something – but then realized it was true. I was able to phone to my parents and speak to them – (in the U.S.) – it was just important to hear their voices. We had no TV so only slowly saw what had happened that day. We had no plans to travel right away, and the people in Nepal who were our friends, neighbors and colleagues were so kind and appalled at what had been done! And travel has never been the same since!

  5. Margie Neugebauer says:

    Hi Bob,
    I was in Pierre, SD attending a School Counselor workshop. During a break, people started getting messages on their phones about what was happening. As I left my motel that morning, I did see the planes hitting the twin towers but didn’t know what else was happening around the country. We were a bit leery being close to the dam and wondering if someone would attack the dam to bring down the flood waters and interrupt electricity flow. I called my oldest son to see where he was and he was safe. It was unnerving to be away from home but we were all safe.

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