Recollections of 9/11by Molly Bloom, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesotans recollect where they were when they first heard of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Joe Craven, Eagan
I'm a pilot for Delta Airlines. I had the day off that day. My wife called me up and said, "Turn the news on, something's crashed into the World Trade Center."
I watched the whole thing unfold. I didn't know what to think. I was actually about to head over to my children's school to take them out of school.
Being in the airline industry, we took on quite a few changes, probably more than the general public. One aspect was all of the security procedures we had to implement. A more profound aspect was that the airlines took a terrible economic hit. A lot of employees lost their jobs, the airlines were losing money.
What ended up happening ultimately is that we took pretty big pay cuts. That changed quite a bit lifestyle-wise. It is a lot safer. I don't see how anyone could get into the cockpit anymore. We're locked up like a bank vault. It's good for security, bad for getting a cup of coffee.
Justin Crum, Brooklyn, New York (originally from Bloomington)
It was my very first day of college at the University of Minnesota. By the time I got to my first class of the day, there were lots of folks talking about it. By the time our professor showed up a couple minutes he late, he immediately told us to go home, call our loved ones and watch the news.
For my generation, there had been no sense of vulnerability in the past and seeing that and seeing the buildings fall was an enormous, enormous shock. I work for the Food Bank for New York City and the office is actually just a few blocks from Ground Zero. When you see tourists wearing 9/11 hats and things like that that are sold all around the streets around the office - the fact that the new Freedom Tower has been rising and is part of the skyline, it becomes normalized.
Hopefully soon it will be less of a place for people to go and gawk and more of a place for people to go and contemplate what happened there and to be able to celebrate the lives of the people that were lost that day.
Rhonda DeBough, St. Paul
I was raising little ones at the time. I took them to a friend of mine's house. While I was en route, the second tower fell.
I went there because I needed to be with somebody. I was a stay-at-home and there weren't a lot of people around. We were just very shocked, we were just very shocked together. We just sort of sat together and dealt with it and said a little prayer that people keep their heads and stay calm through this disaster.
It probably took a couple weeks for that initial feeling to leave and then - I don't think it ever stopped. I still am affected by it. I think a lot of us are. One of the things that is such a little thing but it's a big thing is that I stopped watching television. I was a big All My Children fan and that just stopped. They would have newsbreaks and those breaks would just make my blood leave because I just never knew what they were going to say next. I couldn't enjoy it because I'm on the edge of my seat wondering when the next shoe is going to drop.
Neil Elliott, White Bear Lake
At that point, I worked for the US staff of a Haitian non-profit. I was on a conference call with two colleagues - one in New Jersey and one in Washington, D.C. My colleague in New Jersey said, "Gee, there are a lot of sirens outside, fire trucks and ambulances going past. There seems to have been a plane crash."
A few minutes later she said there had been a second plane crash. Not long after that, my Washington colleague said there were reports that a plane had flown into the Pentagon. So as we're talking about this project we're trying to organize in Haiti, we realize that the country is under attack.
I'm grateful for that experience, for having been on the phone thinking of somewhere else. There are other countries where 9/11 means other things. In Haiti, it's the date of a famous massacre.
For us, it was a terrible day, a terrible crime, but the suffering in the world is bigger than that. The week after 9/11, I started that week commuting to Chicago to go to seminary to prepare for ordination as an Episcopal priest.
The day of 9/11 I had been watching news and was feeling very stressed out, I needed to go to church. Just in those first days after 9/11, people were leaving their homes to go to restaurants just so they could be with other people, the sense that we need to be connected. It lasted about a week. I wish we had come back to that and I hope we still can.
Ivan and Jeanne Gilbert, Arden Hills
At the time of the attack we were in the air, en route to Hawaii for our daughter's wedding. We were going to land in Dallas for a transfer. When we arrived, we learned what had taken place.
All planes were grounded. The airport cleared out very quickly. People were trying to rent cars, rent motel rooms, even buy cars to drive someplace else - they just weren't available. We stayed at a motel, we did find a room. We were there for about three days before we got a flight out. We were able to get the first flight back to the Twin Cities.
Our daughter and son-in-law made some plans to have their wedding in the Twin Cities in their backyard. It was on Sept. 15, four days after the big event. Obviously emotions are indescribable.
We initially had a moment of silence in honor of those who did meet such tragedy and the ongoing suffering. It was hard not to be thinking about that, but at the same time the wedding was joyous because we were all safe and all together and were, in fact, all intact.
Marie Listopad, Minneapolis
I remember it being an absolutely beautiful, gorgeous day. When I got to work, the TVs were on. Someone said that a plane had flown into the Pentagon and my brother has an office at the Pentagon.
The first thing I did was get on the phone and I called my parents. They hadn't had the TV on yet and I told them to turn it on. I heard my father saying, "Oh, God. Oh,God. Oh, God."
I told them to stay off the phone because more than likely my brother would be calling them. I just waited at work. Many people went home. About 1:30 I heard that my brother had made it home.
That night I felt a sense of sorrow that things might change very quickly. I remember walking around the neighborhood just looking at everything, calling friends and just saying that right now I'm just remembering how everything should be because things were still as they should be.
Erik Shetney, Minneapolis
I was at work in Eden Prairie. I watched the TV for about 15 minutes initially. I came back a couple times during the day. It was certainly riveting. It was the topic of conversation everywhere: what happened, who did it, what are we going to do, what direction is the nation going to go in.
I do remember at the time being glad that we had a Republican Texan in the White House. I did feel immediately that it was important for the United States to respond strongly and forcefully to an attack of that nature. I think we stayed too long.
There's a huge debate that this country needs to have on how we see the role of the United States in the international community, and we don't seem like we're any closer to having that debate.
Bea Larson, Duluth
I was at work at the Duluth Adult Learning Center where I was teaching an adult class of English Language Learners.
Our secretary came into the classroom and asked me to turn on the TV, as she'd heard on the radio about a plane crashing in New York City. I turned on the TV, and my students sat spellbound as we watched. My students came from around the world, and as soon as the second plane hit we all knew it was an attack of some sort.
Many of my students had come out of war zones, and so their level of fear was heightened. The class became a support group of sorts as we watched and tried to understand what was happening. When class was over for the day many of the students were reluctant to leave for work or home.
I spent a lot of time in the following days explaining that there were four planes that crashed and that it was not a continuing event, even though the television coverage made it seem recurring. It was horrifying.