TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Emilie Voss – Anchor
Thirteen years have gone by, but it's like it was yesterday. We will never forget. I was in college on September 11, 2001 at USC in Los Angeles. I remember waking up to a phone call from a friend telling me to turn on the TV. Those first images I saw when I did will forever be burned in my mind. There was no way I could even wrap my head around what I was looking at, and in some ways I still don't understand it to this day. That day changed all of us but I am especially grateful for the men and women who rushed in to help when everyone else was rushing out. And my heart goes out to the families who lost someone they love. We will never forget.
Robert Shiels – Meteorologist
I was painting the dining room in my house that morning while listening to music on CDs. My phone rang through several times. When I finally answered it was my brother on the line telling me to turn on the television. I turned on the radio instead. Hearing the description of events I could not muster the will to turn on the television. In fact I did not see the video of the impact or the collapse until much later in the afternoon. My feelings could best be described as angst. Worry, anger, disgust, uneasiness. I imagine many of us felt the same that day.
Tim Miller – Anchor/Reporter
On September 11, 2001, I had the morning off and was planning to play my weekly tennis match with my friend when he called me to tell me about the World Trade Center being attacked. I immediately turned on the TV to the shock and horror of what was going on. I called into work, WJET-TV in Erie, Pennsylvania, and immediately drove to work to help in any way that I could. I spent the day tracking down local U.S. Congressmen to get their reaction to the terror attacks and what the U.S. should do to respond.
I also can remember being worried for my parents back home in Western Pennsylvania. I had heard on the radio on the way to work that a hijacked plane had crashed in Westmoreland County. I couldn't help but think my family was in danger. It turns out that Flight 93 crashed in Somerset County, the next county over. I was relieved but then deeply saddened to hear what had happened to the passengers.
As it turns out, the Flight 93 passengers may have saved a family member of mine. My cousin is a lawyer in Washington, D.C. and she was in the U.S. Capitol building at the time that flight would have arrived in Washington. My family strongly believes the Capitol was the terrorists' target for Flight 93. We will never forget the brave victims of 93 who took a stand against evil and said famously, "Let's roll."
Vanessa Fayz – Reporter
I was in 7th grade, and was going to the orthodontist so I left school just after the news broke. I remember my ortho office, which was usually very up beat, being completely silent and the radio was on following the story.
Kimberly Newman – Meteorologist
I remember walking through the halls of my high school seeing some of the most poised and professional teachers breaking down and crying. As a student, nothing rattles you more than seeing the authority figures that you respect and learn from every day so emotional and upset.
Also, knowing my uncle worked in DC (but not knowing exactly where) I remember my family's phone tree to make sure he wasn't near the Pentagon that day. He works with the DC bus system, so he could've been anywhere in the city. He was lucky.
Dava Brothers – FOX Toledo General Manager
I was at my TV station in Atlanta. Our National Sales Manager was in the air on his way to NY we heard a plane had hit the first Tower. Everyone was so confused and concerned that he was on that plane. Thankfully he was not. There were TV's everywhere, but we all gathered in one office and watched as the first Tower collapsed, not truly believing what we were seeing, followed by the horror of the second Tower falling. There were no words, no tears, no movement, just stunned silence and shock. We all seemed to know someone in New York and everyone was calling at once and no one could get through. The we heard about The Pentagon and the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. The news reports were becoming so frightening as no one knew if their hometown was next. We were hearing reports that CNN in downtown Atlanta and the CDC (Center for Disease Control), just a few miles from the station, could be potential targets. We were all allowed to go home, but the schools had been put in lock down mode and we were not allowed to retrieve our children yet. Everyone stayed at the station, leaning on each other for comfort in the face of the most frightening event any of us had ever experienced in our adult lives.
I was fortunate to have stood on the rooftop observation deck of the World Trade Center not long before this tragedy occurred. A few months after 9/11, I visited New York again and remember seeing all the missing person signs and feeling the sadness that had enveloped this city. My cousin's husband worked in the Federal building across the street from one of the Towers and his story of that day is chilling. I will never forget the people who were lost, the bravery of our heroes who ran towards this disaster, this forever change to the NY skyline, to appreciate our freedom, and to cherish the love of family and friends. In Memoriam.
Bari Soash – Executive Producer
I was 16 years old and I had just finished running at morning cross country practice. After showering, I walked into my coach's classroom to wait for the morning bell. But it was not like most mornings. My teammates were sitting on top of desks watching a small TV mounted to the wall. They were silent. I asked what was going on? Someone said a plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City. I immediately sat down and started watching the news coverage for myself. Moments later, we watched the second plane hit the second tower live on TV. We all gasped. Were we about to witness World War 3? I remember thinking I'm 16 years old and my life will never be same. This country will never be the same. How could someone do this? Later that day, when I arrived home from school I went into my bedroom, turned on the news, and put a blank VHS into my VCR and hit record. The red button was on for 6 hours.
Lisa Stromme-Warren – Assistant News Director
I was in college at the University of Oregon, in bed, and my mom called. My roommate woke me up, and I turned on the TV just a minute before the second tower fell. I called to tell my dad, and I'll never forget hearing his emotional reaction.
Tracy Hayes - Account Executive
I was working my last month as an HR manager for a department store called Parisian in Dayton. We were unloading the truck that morning when my assistant came down to the dock and told us that the World Trade Center had just been hit by a plane. We all immediately thought it was a horrible accident until she came down again to report that the second tower had been hit. At that point all the sales associates wanted to go home so our store manager let anyone go that wanted to. The managers had to stay to finish unloading the truck so I wasn't able to see any of the news coverage until a little later in the morning. I finally got to our TV in the break room when the towers collapsed and went down. My husband was living in Toledo so we talked on the phone that night when I got home as we watched all the news coverage. It was a horrific day I will never forget.
Nick Bade – Digital Executive Producer
What strikes me about my memory of September 11, 2001 is how little I understood about an event which would influence my world-view so greatly as an adult. At 13 years old, I did not understand terms like "Islamic extremist" or even "terrorism." I knew people had died. I knew other people had killed them, intentionally. Now 13 years later, I'm still struggling to comprehend what motivated the hijackers and those who helped them.
Michelle Zepeda – Reporter
I was a studio camera operator at WTMJ in Milwaukee throughout college. I was on the floor crew that morning as the news was coming in. We were doing live news cut-ins informing people what was going on before the national news took over the coverage.
Amanda Fay – Anchor/Reporter
I was a junior in high school at the time. I remember I was on the bus heading back to the main campus of my high school in Lakeland, Fl from a class at the museum when we heard it on the radio. We all thought it was a joke, but once we got back to school, we all watched the TV as the towers came down and knew it was real. I remember being really sad and in disbelief and not totally understanding what exactly was happening. I also had a job interview that day at JCPenney. Many stores and shopping malls were closed that day, so the interview had to be rescheduled.
Ron Johns - Account Executive
I can remember the day of September 11th I was in the 3rd grade and got sent home from School for reasons unknown to myself. When I got home my mom told me and my sister what happened to the towers from the attack. In an instant the feeling of being home from school went from pure joy to absolute sadness. Afterwards we all wept together and prayed for what seemed like the whole day with my father joining once he got home. The next day everyone I knew still had a mutual sense of sadness but unifying pride of being an American. During the next day I remember hearing the song God Bless The USA everywhere and anywhere multiple times and every time it played it had the same deep emotional impact.
Erin Sifuentes - News Promotion Manager
I woke up on September 11th about 11am after working the night shift at my old TV station. I turned on the TV and didn't understand why the news was still on. Then the gravity of the situation hit me. Not 5 minutes later my director called me and asked me to come into work. My roommates came home from the University of Toledo saying they had cancelled classes. We all sat around just staring at the TV. I don't think we turned it off for days. When I made it into the newsroom all I saw were reporters, producers even our news director lined up at the assignment desk staring at our TVs. The newsroom was eerily silent as we all came to grips with what happened.
Linda Rightnowar-Haddix – Account Executive
I was standing at the copy machine at our station in Evansville. They were showing video of the first plane hitting the first tower. It was surreal. I just kept staring, everyone was trying to guess what had happened. Then plane number two hit.
Everyone started crying. I started trying to call my friends who live in the city. I'm thankful all of them were ok.
This morning I hung out my flag just like everyone did on September 12th 13 years ago.
Where were the flags today?
Jay Schell – Broadcast Engineer
I was sitting in a VCT class at BGSU. My professor left the room and came back a couple of minutes later to tell us what happened. I remember trying to call up CNN.com but it wouldn't load. I then decided to check my e-mail and there I found an e-mail from my mom explaining what happened. She also said that my cousin had not been heard from and was known to work in the Pentagon. We learned later that he was okay. After class I went home to get lunch and watch the TV coverage for awhile. I can remember sitting in my living room in shock. I had a 2:30 class so I went back to campus where it was pretty empty for a Tuesday afternoon. In my class the professor said, "This is your pearl harbor so you need to go home and remember this." That night I went to my church and played in the band as part of a special gathering to remember the victims and pray for the country.
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Nicole Church Branson
It was a beautiful technicolor blue day in the Nation's Capital. The cotton ball clouds were there as props. I was 26 yrs old and working next to the White House. Our receptionist was out for the day so we were taking turns just grabbing the phone. It rang, I picked it up with the usual greeting and was met with: "A plane flew into the World Trade Tower." Click. I thought, now what idiot couldn't see that?! A second call, another plane the second tower. We all went into the conference room. Clearly this was not an accident, but it was in NYC, we were in DC. It really wasn't effecting us. The phone rings again. The Pentagon was hit and it seems they may have been aiming for our next door neighbor. We fled. I imagine it was much like the mass exodus of the Jews in Egypt. It was slow, a whole nation seemed to be on the road, and it seemed to take 40 yrs to make it to my home in Alexandria, VA. I drove right past our wounded but not destroyed Pentagon. It was heart wrenching to see the gaping hole and the billowing smoke and knowing a plane of people and servicemen and women were killed in this horrible act. But I will say that after the attack, seeing the military protect us and the increased presence of seeing the Flag flying proudly was a comfort and a source of strength. I will never forget 9/11.
I was in the Pentagon that day. Pentagon was still burning for the next day or two. I acquired Dr masks for my soldiers and I to filter out some of the stuff in the air.
I was in basic training at Fort Jackson! That will be a day I'll never forget!