September 11th, 2018

Never Forget! My 9/11 Remembrance

I was blessed to work for WDUN in Gainesville, Georgia for 15 years. On September 11, 2001, I was broadcasting from 8:30 AM to 10 AM that day. Andy Maddox was my co-host. We were on the break at the top of the hour at about 8:55 AM that morning. I thought I had a coup in getting our current County Commission chair, Gary Gibbs and his biggest rival on the commission, Commissioner Brenda Branch to appear together in the 9 AM hour. We were all standing in the studio and looking at the bank of three TVs on the wall. We had noticed there was smoke coming out of one of the towers of the World Trade Center before the break but had thought, like most people, it was a tour plane or some sort of fire in the building. In that minute, we all saw the second plane come around and hit the second tower. We knew—this wasn’t an accident. The world changed in that moment.

Andy’s brother worked in the financial sector. He was able to get in touch with him. He had a meeting in the World Trade Towers that morning, but noone showed up and he was walking out of the building about the time the first plane hit. How many stories like that are there. While the loss of life was massive, it could have been so much worse.

I was on the air that day until about 4 pm.  The satellites that carried our syndicated programming were out and we were live without commercials, commenting on what we saw, until about noon.  From noon to about 4 we were getting somewhat normal reports about what was happening in New York, The Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. If you could call any of that normal.

When I got home, my daughter met me at the door. She was 9 years old and she said, “Mommy, someone knocked the World Trade Towers down!” How do you explain terrorism to a 9 year old.

We had a young lady who had stayed with us from the Joffrey Ballet and we knew she was in New York. We were able to get in touch with her and found out that she and her colleagues had to walk from lower Manhattan to Harlem, which is more than 100 blocks.

Over the next months and years, I interviewed many who survived that day, lost loved ones that day and ultimately went to Iraq with family members of those who were killed and made one other trip to Iraq with a father who lost his son in the Global War on Terror.

I will never forget that day and it is our responsibility, those who remember, to tell the story to those who are too young to remember. Also, we must never forget the first responders in New York, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania who went toward the tragedy when others were running away.

We are blessed to live in the United States of America and I will always love her. The only thing the victims of 9/11 did was get up and go to work or on a trip that day and cowards hijacked planes and killed them for no reason. We must Never Forget.

I look forward to finishing my graduate degree and teaching people about our great country and making sure we know the facts of our history.