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Southbury Remembers: 9/11 Twenty Years Later

9/11 was a monumental day in American History.  As the 20th anniversary is upon us we wanted the Southbury Community to share their remembrances of where they were on 9/11.  

Join us as we remember 9/11.  Share your memories of that day to be compiled for the 20th anniversary of 9/11.  You can fill the form out online through a Google form, or pick up a form in person to fill out and return.  

 

To fill out the form click here.

For a printable version click here.

 

Responses

 

 

Where were you on 9/11?

 

I was in school. The teachers didn't tell us what happened, but everyone went home early.

 

How old were you?

 

6 years old

 

Name or initials: Rhys M.




 

Where were you on 9/11?

 

Having dinner in Paris, France. The waitress came to our table and told us the Twin Towers are gone. It was our last night in Paris but we were not able to leave until the Sunday after the incident. It was a quiet, nervous flight home.

 

How old were you?

57

 

Anything else you would like to share?

The French people were very kind and sympathetic.

 

Name or initials: Patt Beloin





 

Where were you on 9/11?

In Downtown Stamford about to inter a construction site.

 

How old were you?

50

 

Anything else you would like to share?

Just sat in my car and listened to the radio for 5 hours.

 

Name or initials: TJB

 

Where were you on 9/11?

Having recently been laid off from my job, I was home watching the Today Show. Matt Lauer was interviewing a book author (back then, new books and music released on Tuesdays. I often think of that author and how a big moment in his life was shuttered that morning in a way different from most others). Matt interrupted the author to report a plane had crashed into one of the towers and they quickly shifted to live footage. Glued to the tv, I watched as many did, the second plane hit the other tower and instantly knew this was no horrible accident, but an intentional attack. The morning news continued to unfold with the Pentagon strike and the crash in Pennsylvania, and in watching it all, I wondered how many more planes would come down that day or in the coming days. By late morning, my then boyfriend, who never showed up announced, left work, pulled into my driveway, didn't speak a word, and sat in front of the news with me, where we remained well into the evening. 

 

How old were you?

33

 

Were you or someone you know directly impacted?

My middle sister was an Army officer working at the Pentagon and living in VA, and my youngest sister lived and worked in the financial district in NYC. I could not reach either of them by phone because the land lines were out and cell phones were a rarity for many in 2001. I was only able to communicate with my mother in NJ, who also had no information about either of my sisters. By late morning, my sister in NYC was able to place a call to me and let me know she was safely in her apartment, but it would be a couple of days before we would hear from her again. My sister at the Pentagon was able to call us by the end of the day. We counted ourselves quite fortunate that day considering their odds based on proximity to these tragic events, but it was a long day waiting to know they were both safe. 

 

Name or initials: SS

 

 

Where were you on 9/11?

I was working in New Milford as a corporate travel agent for Merrill Lynch, located in the south tower of the financial center in NYC, when I started that job in 1994, I trained in NYC. I remember the wonderful 3 weeks taking the bonanza bus to NY, then transferring to a subway going all the way to Chamber St, the World Trade Center’s final stop. I shopped before I went to the office, walked around many a time to stores, even going up to the Estee Lauder store at the top of the south tower.

On 9/11, I was in New Milford when I heard on the radio that a small plane crashed into the north tower. Then little by little the story changed. I was on the phone with my NY Merrill Lynch office manager, Kelly Moran. She advised me that the office was evacuating, and just what she thinks happened. My boss in New Milford brought in a small TV, and I watched a nightmare. I saw the second plane hit and I thought they were rerunning video of the first incident. I and my 3 co-workers wondered if the people we knew in the financial center had evacuated in time. That afternoon, my husband and I had a trip to the Jersey shore planned, so I left my office, not knowing that it would be for the last time, and we drove past what used to be the beautiful trade centers and the financial centers....it was approx. 1:30pm and the sight we saw will forever be etched in my mind....smoke....that plume of smoke followed us all the way to wildwood, where there was to be a firemen's convention...the town was eerily quiet, and that plume was there..along with 3000 souls.

 

How old were you?

50

 

Were you or someone you know directly impacted?

My co-workers in the south tower of the financial center.

 

Anything else you would like to share?

20 years seems like an overnight...we must NEVER FORGET.

 

Name or initials: Grace Platt

 

 

Where were you on 9/11?

In Paris.  We had walked from the Chunnel to our hotel.  Our hotel asked us if we had heard yet. No, we did not know what they were talking about.  We tried to contact our daughter for hours because she worked in NYC.  We had CNN and saw some of the footage.  Once we spoke to our daughter she had to tell us that the towers were down because the news had not caught up.  Americans were checking other Americans for news whenever seeing someone on the street since not all hotels had English speaking televisions.  We were on one of the first planes home that was mostly empty even though many Americans were waiting for passage in the airports.  Car services went to the airports with hopes that planes would be arriving.were at the airport and were taking passengers home on very indirect trips. 

 

How old were you?

58

 

Were you or someone you know directly impacted?

Friend and of my son-in- law.

 

Anything else you would like to share?

Very worrisome time as we were not sure how we would get back home.  Luckily we were on one of the first planes back from London.

 

Name or initials: Dorrie Johnson


 

Where were you on 9/11?

I was a Sergeant in the NY Army National Guard and was called up that morning to spend over a month at Ground Zero.

 

How old were you?

38

 

Were you or someone you know directly impacted?

Yes, many of the Soldiers in my unit were NYFD and NYPD.

 

Name or initials: Russ Sundlof

 

 

Where were you on 9/11?

Cruise ship left NY 09/10 heading to Nova Scotia and 3 east coast ports.

 

How old were you?

50

 

Were you or someone you know directly impacted?

Yes, Traveled with a flight attendant who worked for United Airlines

 

Anything else you would like to share?

Cruise ship (900 passengers +-) was mostly booked with NY Police and NY firefighters. On way to Nova Scotia 9/11 coast guard escorted our ship. Upon arriving in Nova Scotia NY firemen Ny Police wanted to return to NYC as soon as possible...But all flights, etc were canceled... Residents offered cars at no charge for their return to NYC.

 

Name or initials: Jim Mable




 

Where were you on 9/11?

"We were in an airplane going from JFK to San Francisco with a plane change in Chicago. We landed in 

a small town in Michigan where we heard of the the first plane hitting 

1st tower. When in airport building we saw on TV the 2nd tower hit. It was horrible!"

 

How old were you?

65

 

Anything else you would like to share?

Shortly after we spent a weekend in NYC to encourage other people to visit the city that seemed dead at the time.

 

Name or initials: ASC

 

Where were you on 9/11?

Pomperaug High School. I was a Senior. I forgot my books for class. [My classmate] stopped me in the hallway in front of [our teachers’] classrooms. Told me to get back to class because we were being attacked. I went back to [my] Science and Technology class upstairs. TV was on. The first plane already hit. We were devastated and watching rescue efforts. That’s when the second plane hit. We knew we were being attacked. We questioned [our teacher] and you could see he didn’t have any answers as it was live. We watched people hold hands and jump to their deaths. There was nothing we could have done. It was petrifying. I wondered if we would be safer staying in school or safe at home. I wondered if we would be attacked again. When I got home, the only clouds in the sky was from the fires of the trade centers. 

 

How old were you?

18

 

Were you or someone you know directly impacted?

[A] math teacher at Pomperaug High was worried sick as she could not get ahold of her husband. No cell towers. It took time for him to get ahold of her. He was in NY for business. The look of fear she had on her face couldn’t be hidden. I wanted to hug her. She’s a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” kind of person - and she continued to teach our class.

 

Anything else you would like to share?

The efforts of Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG)  class led by [one of my teachers] was the start of my healing. Running blood drives and working with the American Red Cross really made me feel I was making a difference - it was the only thing that stopped me from driving down there to help. 

 

Name or initials: Victoria Rebecca Thomas

 

*Some identifying information was redacted to protect the privacy of those who did not sign this project’s consent form.

 

 

Where were you on 9/11?

At work on the 43rd floor of the Midtown New York offices of my employer, Marsh and McLennan Companies (MMC).

 

How old were you?

58

 

Were you or someone you know directly impacted?

Yes, over two hundred of my fellow employees perished while in their MMC and Subsidiary offices located on a number of different floors in each of the towers of the WTC. Some, who usually worked at the Midtown office (including several long-time friends and immediate coworkers), were there only to “attend a meeting.”

 

Anything else you would like to share?

From just after the first plane hit, through the pancaking of each tower,  I witnessed the unbelievable devastation through the large south-facing windows of my 43rd floor office which had an unobstructed view straight down Sixth Avenue.  I will never forget the horror of standing next to “Don” whose wife (another fellow employee) just happened to be attending the “meeting” that day.  To this day, my heart still breaks when I think of the loss of so many beautiful souls; I will never forget them.

 

Name or initials: Maureen Fitzgerald

 

 

Where were you on 9/11?

At home, Southbury.  We received a call from our oldest son. The world trade center has been attacked. Our lives changed forever.

 

How old were you?

52 and 55

 

Were you or someone you know directly impacted?

We lost our son Sean on that horrific day.  He worked at the WTC for Cantor Fitzgerald. Sean left behind his parents, Ken and Patty Schielke, his older brother Ken Jr, twin brother Brandon and the love of his life Sarah Christie.

 

Anything else you would like to share?

We will never forget those lost on that horrific day and those who continue to be affected as a result of the greatest terror attack on American soil.  WTC Rubble ... and the flag was still there. 

 

Name or initials: Patty and Ken Schielke



 

Where were you on 9/11?

In my eighth grade class. We heard an announcement that there would be an assembly at the end of the day. The teachers refused to say what it was about. I remember hearing the sound of a military plane in the air.

 

How old were you?

14

 

Were you or someone you know directly impacted?

No one I know died. My father had two coworkers who were supposed to be on one of the flights, except they had to stay home due to a "stupid meeting". I had a cousin that worked for the Pentagon, but he was not there that day.

 

Anything else you would like to share?

That day was a changing point of American History.

 

Name or initials: Rebecca R.

 

 

Where were you on 9/11?

I was in my apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, reviewing my financial records for a 2PM meeting with my stock broker on the 84th floor of the WTC.  It was originally scheduled for 9AM, but she called the previous day to reschedule because she had a very hectic morning.  (Since I love the morning, I didn't want to change.  She begged me since I was a friends as well as a client, so I agreed) 

 

How old were you?

62

 

Were you or someone you know directly impacted?

My broker was a Floor Captain (after the bomb event in 1993.  Morgan Stanley hired an Israeli Commando to train staff how to survive an event) and she led her team off the floor and down the steps when the building first shook.  They didn't know the cause, but they were told to return to the office. There were no problems on the South Tower.  When she got back to her office, she looked out the window and saw plane parts, and massive papers falling.  She blew her whistle and guided everyone from the 84th floor down the steps, the only viable exit.  Fire was erupting everywhere, but she kept them going. When they finally reached the bottom, she yelled for everyone to start running and not look back.  Moments later, the south tower collapsed.

 

A mutual friend of ours was on a jitney heading out to East Hampton.  As the jitney left the Midtown Tunnel and turned, she saw the towers in flames.  She knew that we had an early meeting scheduled in the WTC, and was frantically trying to reach us.  When I answered the phone, she gave me the phone number of our friend's daughter to see if she was safe.

 

I called and her daughter answered.  I explained who I was and she said, "Hold on, mom's right here."  To illustrate our resiliency and the New York sense of humor:  My friend got the phone and I started to sob.  She told me she was ok and to stop crying.  I couldn't.  She told me to stop crying because she had something to tell me. I stopped and she said, "Carole, our meeting is postponed."  We both nervously laughed.  She was able to save everyone on her floor.

 

 

Anything else you would like to share?

At some point, huge numbers of people who fled the area were walking uptown.  The scene was horrible, yet miraculous, they survived, but looked like the "Walking Dead," covered in ashes, their clothing torn, many in shock.  Neighbors from the area formed a brigade and stood on the corner of Amsterdam Avenue, handing out bottles of water.  

 

The following week a friend and I went down to Ground Zero, but we started to cry uncontrollably when we saw the shell of the building, the rubble, the firemen, and all the others digging and searching.  We had to leave-- it was too painful. 

 

The scene in every apartment building was the same--- photos of people missing, with the caption: "Have you seen...."

 

I'll never forget that day, or the stench that permeated the city, or how New Yorkers tearfully came together.  Although we were horribly shaken, kindness was everywhere-- for a number of years. 

 

Name or initials: Carole Grant

 

Published by on July 30, 2021
Last Modified September 27, 2021

Type:

News