CECIL COUNTY — Everyone who was around can tell you where they were on September 11, 2001. We asked members of our community to reach out with their experience on and after that day. Printed below are the responses we received.
For background, my wife and I were both Flight Attendants for United Airlines on 9-11 and had just returned to our home in Elkton, MD from a trip the previous evening (9-10). We of course had no idea that the events the following morning would change our lives and those of the entire world forever.
I am an early riser, so I was up at my usual 5:00am or so and began watching the news and working out. I watched the initial reaction by the media that there seemed to be a “small airplane” that must have gotten lost and somehow crashed into one of the World Trade Towers in New York City. As I watched the coverage by several news channels (CNN, Fox, MSNBC) I was wondering how on a beautiful September day could an airplane crash into a building unless there was some sort of terrible incident onboard or engine problems.
I thought about waking up my wife to watch what was going on but thought I’d let her sleep; however as I continued to watch the coverage there appeared to be another plane (United Flight 175) headed towards the second twin tower at a high rate of speed. It just shocked me to no end because I then knew at that point that we (America) were under attack. I could actually see the United Airline logo on the plane and my first thoughts were if one of my friends were on the flight – even though it really didn’t matter because my colleagues and innocent passengers were on the flight and would likely perish.
Long story short, I went upstairs to wake up my wife and we watched television coverage for what seemed like the entire Tuesday (9-11-2001) as we attempted to contact friends and colleagues to see if they were ok. My wife’s sister was in NYC at the time attending New York University and we were unable to reach her for about 5-6 terrifying hours because cell systems were jammed or inoperative. We did finally reach her about 3:00pm when she was able to contact us via landline.
The events of 9-11 changed my life dramatically because as a military veteran (United States Air Force) and a United Airlines employee (at the time) I wanted to do whatever I could to support my country in this difficult time. I applied to become a United States Air Marshall within a week of the tragic events; however I was unsuccessful due to my limited law enforcement background.
What I did next was apply to work for the newly created Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which was created as a result of the events of 9-11-21. I started working for the TSA in October 2001 and was very proud when the Homeland Security Act led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in March 2003. I really wanted to do my part and civic duty to secure our nation and hopefully make a difference.
I have worked for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for the past 19 years as a federal employee and there has not been one day that has gone by when I have not been reminded of why I serve my country and the sacrifices made by of all those who lost their lives on that memorable day.
A lot has happened in this country and the world over the past 20 years — to include a once in a 100 year global pandemic (COVID-19), which might be considered this generations 9-11 in magnitude. My wife and I are proud citizens of Elkton, MD since 1999 and welcomed our only child (a son) in 2005.
I will shed quite a few tears on Saturday, September 11, 2021 as I do each year on this date; however I remain resolute that the fight to secure our country and the memories of our fellow citizens lost on that day will never be forgotten. Life is truly a series of adjustments and it is not what happens to you, but your response that determines your path in life. I am so proud to be a citizen of the greatest country in the world.
Tierney F. Davis
I was getting ready for work that morning and had the Today Show on as usual. I watched as the show cut from commercial to show “an explosion” at wtc. Confusion sadly turned to horror as I watched live along with many as the second plane hit the second tower.
I gasped and knew our world would never be the same again. I went into work and everyone was just in shock as we all listened in horror over the radio as the events unfolded. A mass decision was made that several businesses would close down. Like ours. We all needed to be home with our families at that moment. As I left work and got onto Rt. 40 to head home, I had my windows down because it was a gorgeous weather day and I had my radio on of course, still following what was happening.
I will never forget this next part… as I sat at the light, listening… I realized that every one else around me was doing the exact same thing. Everywhere I looked at that moment, all I saw were stunned faces staring ahead. All I heard was the sound of reports on the radio. All in sync with reports. There were no other sounds at that moment. It was as if time was standing still and in a state of shock along with us. It was the most eerie feeling I’ve ever felt. I went home, gathered my family and we watched everything and cried and prayed together.
For a moment, this country stood together as one. For a moment, we were all united as brothers and sisters. They say “never forget”. Dear God, we certainly have.
I remember the bright blue sky that day and to this day I call bright blue sky a 9/11 sky. I remember all the horrible things happening that day...the buildings collapsing, people running in the streets with soot on their faces, and people looking for their loved ones.
I was watching my 4 year old granddaughter Amber that day. I was keeping her away from the TV. She was playing with legos. She knocked the legos over and said “Mommom, there were 2 towers, right?” I realized at that point I could not keep her or her sister safe. Last year on 9/11, Amber sent me an email thanking me for trying to keep her safe. I remember going to church and everyone coming together.
People expressed their love for United States and were kinder and more thoughtful. Now 20 years later, people can’t seem to agree on anything or care about this country.
Fair Hill, Md.
I was stationed with the MFO in Sinai Egypt at the time. Because of the time difference we had just come home from work for the day and were waiting for the chow hall to open to go get dinner. As was normal for any other day I was hanging out with a friend decompressing from the day and we had the TV on in the background for noise. That’s how we learned about the attacks.
We never did make it to dinner that night and instead stayed in and ate whatever snacks we had on hand in the room and stayed glued to the TV for the remainder of the night trying to glean whatever information we could from the news highlights that we were getting. The following morning we went to work and while little real work got done we spent a lot of time in conversation with co-workers and local workers. Phone calls back to the states were difficult to be had at the best of times and during the first several days there were none at all so getting any information was difficult at best and your best hope was to get a sporadic email through.
Although I was reasonably sure that my kids and my parents were OK, it was a few days before I knew for certain that was the case. The contingent in the Sinai is made up of forces from multiple countries with many diverse backgrounds but none were more concerned for us and supportive of us then our Egyptian counterparts, the majority of whom are of Muslim faith, many of whom were close personal friends with whom I’d shared stories and meals. And none were more vocal than they were about their disdain for what had happened and just how little it represented their own people.
Throughout that day many conversations were had and feelings shared. By that evening the base was completely locked down and for the next several months we made do as best we could without the help of local workers who had been barred from post while things were sorted out. Mail slowed to a trickle as did supplies etc. and we picked up the slack and covered the various jobs as best we could.
After about 3 months things slowly started to get back to normal and we were able to leave the camp and workers and supplies got back to normal levels and it was good to see my friends again. Things eventually got back to “normal” if a somewhat different normal, more security awareness, etc., but also closer friendships from a shared experience.
Robert W. Moreland II