21 Years Later – Memories of September 11, 2001
Do you remember where you were September 11, 2001? I do, just as I remember where I was when President Reagan was shot, when the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded and believe it or not, when Apollo landed on the moon for the first time. September 11, 2001 was a day that changed America.
On September 11, 2001 I was working for WABI AM 910 and WWBX 97.1 in Brewer. I was in my office when the first plane hit the World Trade Tower, and received a phone call from my mother. I immediately went in to see George Hale, who was doing his morning show on WABI AM 910. He had just heard from his wife, who had told him the same thing. No sooner had we spoken to each other, when we each received another call, saying that a 2nd plane had hit the Twin Towers. We both knew that one plane could have been a tragic error, but two planes meant that there was something much more dire. George Hale switched over to CBS Radio (I think it was CBS), and we kept that on for the rest of the day.
I went home, brought in a small television back to the station, and just watched and listened to the scenes unfold throughout the day. I went home early, as my sons were in middle school, and I wanted to be there when they returned home, so I could tell them what had happened, and answer any questions they had. How do you explain that war had come to America's shores?
That night in Little City Park, there was a candlelight gathering of neighbors. There must have been about 50 of us up there. We had American flags, sang patriotic songs, and tried to console each other. As I write this, I still get chills thinking about that. We watched TV all night, looking at the horror, trying to fall asleep, but unable to, knowing that the world had changed.
The next morning, I remember the Bangor Daily News. The entire top half of the paper, completely above the fold said in bold capital letters "America Attacked". We have copies of the papers from that entire week saved up in our attic. Driving around, I had never seen as many American flags on neighbor's houses. As a matter of fact, if I remember correctly, there was a run on American flags, and they were sold out in the area for a few days. The skies around Bangor were silent, except for the many Air National Guard planes and Air Force planes flying from Bangor International Airport, as all other planes were grounded for days. I remember marveling hearing that NATO planes were helping to provide air support over the United States.
For days it was non stop coverage from Ground Zero. Baseball games were cancelled. I can't remember if they cancelled the NFL games. I do remember the sense of unity and resolve that most Americans felt. Unfortunately, that unity has dissolved. America is divided now.
I hope that America never forgets September 11, 2001. I hope that we remember what it felt like to be united. I hope that we as a country can regain that sense of unity. I hope that we will ever be grateful to those who have served our country and to their families who have persevered while they were defending America.