Remembering 9/11: Where were you when the world stopped turning?

Published 6:02 pm Monday, September 10, 2018

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda carried out a coordinated attack against the United States.

The group hijacked four passenger planes with the intent of crashing them into well-known U.S. landmarks, including the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and another target presumably in Washington, D.C.

Both towers of the World Trade Center were hit individually that morning, and both had collapsed within the next two hours. The Pentagon was also struck by a hijacked plane.

Almost 3,000 people were killed in the attack and over 6,000 were injured.

9/11 was the most devasting attack on United States soil since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Many who witnessed 9/11, whether in person or on television, were not alive for the attack on Pearl Harbor. The attacks on Sept. 11 marked the single most devastating day for the majority of Americans living at the time, if not the most for everyone involved, as far as an assault on national security was concerned.

Each passing anniversary of the terrible event marks another day of remembrance for those we lost in the attacks and those brave first responders who gave their lives trying to save others.

The day has come to mark and honor their sacrifice just as much as the horror of the attacks themselves.

We remember people like those who overcame the hijackers on United Airlines Flight 93. The plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania instead of carrying on to its intended target in Washington, D.C.

We remember people like Welles Crowther, “the man in the red bandana,” a private citizen who gave his life saving others in the South Tower of the World Trade Center after it was struck.

We remember the 343 firefighters and 72 police officers who gave their lives helping others during and after the attack.

Country singer Alan Jackson penned the song Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning) centering around reactions to the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Clanton Advertiser recently asked for submissions on social media for firsthand accounts of what people remembered about that day, specifically where they were at and what they were doing when they heard the news of the attacks.

Below are some of the responses given to The Advertiser. Comments are shown as they were received.

Shayne Roberts — I was at a truck stop in Selma Alabama. I was 14 years old at the time and I was buying a newspaper and overheard two elederly gentleman talking about a planes crashing into the world trade center. I was thinking maybe a small plane, I never imagined that it was it was.

Chris Cox — Getting ready to teach the class “Train the Trainer” at Dover AFB when someone told us a plane hit the Tower. I can remember us all standing around watching, and thinking how will they put the fire out? Not long after, one of the Towers fell. We went into lockdown almost immediately afterwards. Still stirs the soul to this day.

Kathy Boling — I was off work from South Baldwin Hospital that day…so I was at home in Gulf Shores watching the news and having coffee when my husband called and asked if I was watching what had just happened… I felt like the world was ending….. I remember sobbing as I looked at the TV…. it was the most horrible day in America’s history.

Laura Elisabeth Leavings — 3rd grade at Jemison Elementary School. Didn’t really know/understand what was going on. I just remember my peers and teachers talking about a plane crash. When my mom picked me up from school that evening, I asked her about it. When we got home she let me watch the news. A day I will never forget.

Missy Kromer Early — Working in front of the jail for Mr. Friday at a cabinet shop. Couldn’t get good reception with the tv antenna but what I could see and hear sent me into tears. All I wanted was to get my hands on my baby girls and never let them go. The fear and heartache I felt and still do watching people jump from the buildings were devastating.

Amy Pilcher — I saw the first hit at home & left for work, heard about the second strike driving to the office. It seemed like the beginning of a war & I guess that in many ways it was. I was pregnant & I wondered what kind of world am I bringing this child into.

Audrey Lincoln Chance — I was driving to work and the radio station went out for a second. When it came on one of the DJ’s joking said something like maybe we were attacked or bombed. He didn’t know what happened and when he found out he was very apologetic because we were attacked. I made it to work and we turned on the TV. I sat there watching it and thinking how I was going to get to my husband (exhusband now) and my kids and what our plan of action would be. People need to remember the horror of that day, the lives lost and who did it. We cannot forget nor let our guard down. Another attack is likely with the mind set of people in this country and those that hate us.

James Adams — Eating breakfast at the Thorsby Service Mart. I was watching the today show when they said it appeared a small plane had crashed into one of the towers. They then switched their cameras to the towers and saw it live as the second plane crashed into the tower. Such a sad day for America and the families of those that perished that day. America came together that day but have now drifted apart.

Susan Meyer Hilyer — I was in the waiting room at Shelby Baptist, my husband was having cataract surgery. I was reading a book, happened to look up at the TV to see the 1st plane hit the tower. At first they thought it was a small plane, and it all went down hill from there.

Lithia Ann — I was at home, grabbed the phone and called the people I loved and cared for, went to school and got my children, then I stayed glued to the Tv for the next few days and prayed.

Valerie Porter — I was on my way home from work and started hearing on the radio, “I think we are under attack”. I called my mom to find out what was going on. When I got home, I turned on the tv and watched as our nation was experiencing the worst moments in history. It was absolutely heart wrenching to watch, but I was unable to pull away. I will never forget the pain for the days that followed, but I will also never forget how our country stood together united. There was no right or left. There was no hate. For a few short months, our country was strong and united. You saw people helping others. People coming together to pray and carry those that were hurting. In our country’s darkest hours, it was also some of it’s finest moments!

Nicole Littleton Bolton — I was sitting in my dad’s (Coach Littleton) history class at Isabella High School. We turned on the news and watched with the rest of the world. It’s something I’ll never forget watching as a teenager.

Raymond Danner — I was at a friend’s house. We saw both planes hit the WTC, thanks to the live coverage and seemingly endless repeats. To this day, I still occasionally get nightmares from it, and I know people who lost friends and family to the attacks or the attempted rescues. As a writer, what I wrote for nearly two weeks was totally unusable and it was destroyed rather than allow the material to ruin my novels.

Karen Barr — I had just drop of my kid at school and it came over the radio a plane had struck the twin tower a few minutes later they said This can’t be happening another has plane had struck I rush home to turn on the TV when they were talking about the had hit he Pentagon and passengers had taken over another plane but it crashed. Seems like people forget about the other 2 planes.

Brandi Logan Lawrence — In Chesapeake Virginia, just outside of Norfolk Virginia, the largest Naval Base in the world. I watched and prayed that my then spouse and friends in the military would come home safe and the days after hearing jets overhead praying that they were US jets and helicopters, since the US was a no fly zone for a few days. To not know or have contact with my husband and his shipmates was a very horrid time and the days and weeks after are times I will never forget. We are blessed to have such an amazing military, police officers, medics and fireman, we should never forget the many men and women that ran towards the danger when most run away.

Regina Cicero Hunt — I was walking into work going through the normally very busy trading floor of a securities company, but the TVs were not on the NY Stock Exchange they were on live coverage and showed the second plane as it crashed into the second tower of the World Trade Center, a trading floor is normally a loud and robust environment but on that morning of 9/11 you could have heard a needle drop. It was confusing as co-workers tried to wrap their heads around the pure evil that was taking place right before our tear filled eyes, as the story progressed I witnessed more honor and pride of being an American as I’ve ever seen in my 53 years of life, our Nation was United as one, we came together to stand against such evil as I had ever seen, we prayed together, we wept together and we stood together. The heroic efforts of first responders I will never forget, I watched as people leapt to their deaths as opposed to suffering from being burned alive, in the months and years following I watched as our Great Nation fought against and destroyed those who were responsible for such reprehensible acts. I will never forget and you shouldn’t either.

Robin Bradberry Yeargan — I was at work on the Medical/Surgical floor at Chilton Medical Center in Clanton, Al. I walked into the ICU room to watch it on TV. The entire hospital was devastated. We were then on alert because no one knew where the next attack might take place. We prayed, cried and pledged our allegiance to the United States. Our thoughts and prayers were for the victims and first responders risking their lives to save total strangers.

Heath Nivens — Never forget that day. I was pumping engine 31 for the local ema making a training video. There was multi station there for the training excersie. Right in the middle of the training right in front of Thorsby school Bill Column stopped excersie to tell about what happened. We all picked up our equipment and ran to station to turn on the news. That one moment ill never forget especially know 343 fire fighter and first responders died that day.

Gloria Halko — Was at home with husband when his sister called telling us to turn on the TV. She was frantic. Their brother lived in new York and his restaurant was only 6 blocks from the twin towers. It was 3 days before we got word that my brother in law and family were ok. Very scary times.

Jason Fulmer — I was in Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, SC. The Drill Instructors came in and told anyone from NYC, or with family there, too report to the Senior Drill Instructor’s office immediately. After those recruits left, they told us what happened.

Amanda Carter — I was babysitting. When they were showing the first plane hit the first tower, my little cousin said “Come look at the airplane.” As I walked into the livingroom, the second plane hit the second tower. It is an image I will never forget.

Kimberly Wright Johnson — I was pregnant with my middle son and was in my classroom at Isabella High School teaching English when someone stepped in and told me what was going on. We turned on the television and watched. The most ironic thing is we had been reading the story “By the Waters of Babylon” which is a futuristic short story about New York being destroyed by a nuclear war.

Lacey Carroll — I was a senior at CCHS. I was baking cookies to sell in the school store. I remember all of the classes just stopping and turning on all the tv’s and watching the news. I remember the tears and the feeling of fear of what was happening.

Heather Bryant — I was teaching first grade at Verbena when someone came in & told me what had happened. I didn’t have the opportunity to watch the events as they were unfolding because we didn’t want to upset the children. I remember feeling so empty & heartbroken for all involved. It was very difficult to carry on with the normalcy of the day knowing what had happened & wondering what might come next. I’ll never forget that day!

Kelley Mathews Pace — I was sitting in the waiting room at the hospital waiting to have an ultrasound to see if my first born child would be a boy or a girl. We watched as the second plane hit the twin towers live on the TV in the waiting room. I sat and cried scared to death.

Bianca Taylor — I was drying my hair, getting ready to go in for my shift at associated foods in town & my boyfriends grandmother called & told us to turn on the T.V. after the 1st plane but before the 2nd, I went on to work & watched in fear as every car in town lined up across the street at the ammaco station to buy gas. It was the same way at every station in town. Nobody knew what was going to happen next but I remember being afraid to go anywhere for a couple of days afterward.

Mayra Gonzalez — 10th grade history class at IHS, our counselor walked into the classroom because she knew there was a tv available in that classroom. They turned on the news and our entire class watched with uncertainty and fear as we watched the 2nd plane hit, and then as footage of the wreckage at the Pentagon came up.

Sandi Giddens Cullen — I was in my classroom teaching at Jemison High School. Remember it so well. Mrs. Margo Gibson was principal at the time and she came to each classroom and told us we may want to turn our TV’s on. You could have heard a pin drop.

Amy Veazey Pinkerton — I was teaching my second graders at Clanton Elementary. When we found out what had happened, the teachers that taught beside me, gathered at our doors in complete shock. As we were discussing the evil that had just attacked our country, I looked in at my precious students-they were balancing pencils on their noses!!! Pure innocence-sweetest thing I had ever seen, on such a sad day.

Selena Short Price — Junior year at THS, I was lying on the playground covered in fake blood volunteering for a disaster drill being conducted with local emergency personnel. I heard an EMT run by and yell that someone had blown up the World Trade Center, and I thought he was making some sort of sick joke to play up the drill. It was in the back of an ambulance later that I found out what had happened. Once we made it to Clanton hospital, they had to keep making announcements that we were only part of a drill because people there kept seeing bloodied teenagers rolled past on gurneys and thinking that something had happened here.

Kelly King Meeks — I was at work at US Pipe on the phone with one of my customers from New York. We talked business for a few minutes and then she asked if I had heard the news. That people were saying a plane had hit the trade center. I asked what kind of plane? she didn’t know it had just happened a few minutes before our call began. Before we hung up she said she had just got an email that they were evacuating the building as a precautionary measure. She said she would call me later. I then told the rest of our customer service group what she had just told me and we found a tv to find out what was happening. We watched in horror the rest of the events that unfolded. It was 3 days before they got back in their office.
I had tried her cell several times but signals were down. We have several customers in and around New York and we were glad to hear from them all when we did. Everyone at the office formed a prayer circle and prayed for everyone affected.

RickSheri McKee — I was in Room 5 at Chilton County High School with my English class when another teacher knocked on my door and told me the news. I actually watched the second plane hit and thought it was film of the first one. What a nightmare!

Lindsay Hayes Guin — I was sitting in Ms. Ellison’s AP Calculus class at CCHS when they came over the intercom and told us to turn on our TV’s. I was so scared and worried because my stepdad worked in NYC, and I had no way of getting in touch with my mom to see if he was okay. We watched as the second plane hit. It was horrible…just horrible.