Q103 Staff Remember the Events of 9/11
Here we are 10 years after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. You will never forget where you were when you heard the news, or even saw it. Everyone was affected by these events around the country. What did you do when you heard? Cry? Buy a flag? Call someone that meant a great deal to you? Get angry? I think we all felt every single one of those things. So how do you feel 10 years later? Here are some of the views from us here at Q103 on what was going through our minds on this tragic day.
In 2001 I was a junior in high school. I remember being in homeroom, screwing around with my friends like usual when our home room teacher came running into the classroom. He didn't say anything, which was unusual, because normally he would be telling us to settle down. Instead he ran straight to his desk, threw open the drawer and grabbed the TV remote. He then turned on the TV and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. A plane had slammed into the World Trade Center. I remember one of the first things I asked was whether or not this was real or not, because it just didn't seem possible. It was shortly after he turned on the TV that the other plane slammed into the second tower and we all gasped. One of my friends immediately rushed to use a phone to call his mother who was suppose to be down in the city that day, but she was delayed and hadn't arrived. She was fine. Not a whole lot of class went on that day as we all sat there in disbelief, almost feeling violated. A year later we went on a class trip to the city and visited the ground zero site. It was so surreal to see where these two giant building once were, and it was just rubble. Here we are 10 years later, and watching the old news coverage has me feeling the same kind of emotion. The death of Osama Bin Laden is a bit of closure, but the fact there are still thousands of people out there that would do the same thing as him terrifies me. I will never forget any of the people who were lost that day, or how I felt. I will also never forget the amount of patriotism I saw and can only hope that it will continue.
On September 11, 2001, I was a new student walking the campus at Siena College. My best friend and I just left the bookstore and walked outside when she told me that she'd heard a plane flew into one of the towers of the World Trade Center in NYC. I honestly didn't believe her at first and thought that she must have been mistaken. We continued walking to the library when I heard more people talking about it inside. I hadn't seen any of the footage yet, but as I kept hearing people talk, I began to think that it must have been some horrific accident; the possibility that it was a terrorist attack hadn't even entered my mind, and at that point details were still sketchy and rumors were running rampant, so it was hard to know what was true and what wasn't. I went into one of the computer labs and saw the headlines for the first time. Hard to believe, but it wasn't until then that I remembered my mother had gone to Connecticut the day before with her sisters to visit my uncle; they often took day-trips to the city whenever they were all together. I tried calling her, but the phones were already busy; I managed to get through to my house, but no one had heard from her yet. It took several hours, but we finally got in contact with my mother and she assured us that everyone has fine – they had never left Connecticut thankfully. Some classes had been cancelled, in others all we did was discuss the attacks and what we found most frightening about them. Over the next few weeks, I remember being overwhelmed by all the support the entire country came together. This wasn't just something that happened on the east coast in a big city, it happened to all of us as Americans. It's shameful that it took such an enormous, life-changing tragedy to bring it out in all of us together. I don't think I've experienced such a sense of unity before or since, but it makes me proud that I was able to be part of it.
Sometimes it's hard to remember that September 11th used to be just another day. For ten years, it's become such an ominous, somber occasion that it still seems unreal. I admit I get nervous before the anniversary every year because I just don't know what to do with myself. I don't doubt that feeling will be just as potent in another ten years. The only thing I really can do is honor the victims of that day, and continue to support the officers, soldiers, and civilians alike that fight to ensure something like this never happens again.
It was a clear blue fall like day somewhat warm and I had just dropped my 6 month old daughter off at daycare. It was a regular morning as I traveled down the Northway – until I get to the parking lot at the radio station, where my promotions assistant comes running out to meet me to tell me two things. One that our prize we have been waiting for to giveaway finally arrived and that a plane had just flown into one of the towers at the World Trade Center. Of course I don’t think it is a jet, I has to be a small plane. As I walk into the lobby of the radio station, the receptionist screams, and I see on the station’s television monitor the 2nd plane hit the tower. At that point we all gasped, now realizing that it is not an accident. I quickly call the radio station studio in another building to alert them of what was going on – we had a syndicated program on the air at that time. As we were making plans of what to do on air in getting information out to our audience, we get information about another plane hitting the Pentagon. We were under attack. Immediately, all the radio station management met in our General Managers office and decided this was too big of a story for us to do alone and we flipped all 7 radio stations formats to ABC news coverage. As the day went on, we sat in front of television monitors watching the drama unfold. When the first tower collapsed, I just couldn’t watch anymore and started to reflect on my family and life of my 6 month old daughter. I recall in the following days we collected water and supplies for the first responders and drove them to New York City on our way we were passed by the National Guard, giving them thumb ups. I was glued to the television and news in the aftermath hearing stories about people riding the towers down, or the discovery of survivors which were untrue. After 5 or so days of wall to wall news coverage and in an attempt of normalcy we flipped the radio station back to music, the first song I played and spoke over was Staind ‘Its Been Awhile” . To this day, every time I hear that song, I think of that day 9/11. We will never forget.
– God Bless America.
I don’t personally know anyone that died or any families that were directly affected by the attacks on 9-11. And being the afternoon guy, I wasn’t even awake until hours after they had happened. By the time I got to work we had stopped playing music and the microphone had been placed up to the television and we were broadcasting Fox News over our air waives of 103.5 and 103.9. I think we did this for a couple days before we actually began playing music again.
One vivid picture I will always have of 9-11 is remembering some of the people who had lost their loved ones. I remember people trying to get on TV with reporters holding up pictures of their loved ones and crying and hollering into the microphone if anyone had seen this person. Countless people were doing this over and over. It was hard for me to understand that some people thought that loved ones could have survived such an event. But I guess I would have been in my own state of denial if it was a loved one of mine that it had happened to.
I can tell you this though. I think of 9-11 everyday that I’m at work. Prior to September 11 2001, whenever someone won on the Mystery Riff I would always ask “Who rocks?” and the listener would respond with ‘The Edge” (as that’s what we were at the time). Well, when it was time for the Mystery Riff on that first day that we came back on air and started playing music again, when asked “Who rocks?” the guy that won said “The Edge… And God bless America!” I loved it and announced that from there on out anyone that won the Mystery Riff would have to respond that way. Although the station name has changed, that part has remained the same. As even now 10 years later, any weekday just after 4pm I will ask our winner “Who rocks?” and you will always hear them say “Q103 and God bless America!”
At the the time of 9/11, I was in middle school at the time and had never understood anything about war aside from what I read in text books. It was my first time I've ever been able to see the hate and conflict that our world was filled with. Before 9/11, I'd seen the twin towers only once, and at that point in time they were nothing but tall buildings in New York's concrete jungle. Seeing them collapse and seeing the fear in people's faces on tv opened up my world. I never expected to have classmates that sat in class with me that very day of the attacks to be overseas fighting against this terrorist act ten years later. I feel a major step has been made finally killing Bin Laden 10 years later, but the death of this monster does not serve justice for all the lives that were lost in the attacks or at war. My thoughts and prayers go out to anyone directly affected by 911, and I am so thankful for all of our heroes.
I was home on a day off from work with my then wife. We had found just a few days before that she was pregnant with our first child. I remember going about my regular morning routine of eating breakfast, then checking emails. I logged on to my MSN messenger and immediately got a message from my co-worker Tanya to turn on the TV. When I did, the first plane had hit one of the towers. I remember just sitting in front of the TV watching them showing different angles of the building on fire. Then I saw the second plane hit and just sat there stunned. I kept watching them replay the video of the plane flying into the tower over and over wondering what is going on. How could this happen? And when the towers fell, I remember feeling numb. And thinking this was an accident, this was something someone did. I'm sure the news kind of helped that thinking along. But from that point on, I couldn't imagine what was going to happen. I knew someone was going to get the entire US military knocking on their front door, but I sat there for half the day watching the news trying to get every scrap of information I could. It came to a point that my wife had to turn off the TV and tell me to go do something else. Since that day, I kept wondering what kind of world my child would grow up in. I still think that to this day sometimes too.
On August 30th, 2001, I was at a Yankee game. A nice walk-off victory in the 11th inning for my bombers. Going that game decided my place in time for the tragedy of 9/11. On the way home that evening, I injured my foot pretty badly and the doctors had me on bed rest. Small things like getting to the kitchen for food became difficult, so the couch and I became good friends. The night of September 10th, I fell asleep watching the news. There was a special on about Timothy McVeigh, the man convicted of the Oklahoma City bombing. McVeigh had been put to death June 11th of that year and the news special had been showing clips of the bombing. That's the last thing I remember as I fell asleep with the TV on.
The morning of 9/11, I woke up to the same news channel on TV. I thought, “wow – they're re-running the same news story.” After I changed the channel several times, it appeared every station was running the McVeigh special. Something wasn't right. After a minute, I realized that New York City was under attack. Every time the house phone rang, I heard someone asking what will happen to Mike. Mike is my first cousin. Though, the family would argue, he's more of a brother. My mother raised Mike, he lived with us for many years before he enlisted in the military. That day, his life certainly changed.
Not long after the attacks, Mike was assigned to guard Grand Central, taking him away from his family and relatives for quite some time. I spent a lot of time on the comfort of my couch, I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be removed from my home and posted smack dab in the middle of NYC at that time. Later, we've watched Mike complete a tour in the war and now, he's a fire fighter.
I'm not sure where I would have been had I not been at the Yankee game and I were able to walk on that horrible day. My life may not have changed at all, perhaps I still would have been on the couch. I do know that Mike's life would be drastically different. My mom, his wife and his children sure would worry a lot less every time he went to work. 9/11 changed all of our lives in one way or another. Even if you didn't know anyone at the towers or in the military. It was just a decade ago I could walk into a Yankee game and not be frisked, walk through a metal detector and have to throw my bottle of water a way before entering the gate. A decade ago, my heroes wore pin stripes. Today, they wear camouflage.
The morning of 9/11 I was at JFK on a plane getting ready to taxi down the the runway. We sat on the plane for a half hour then were asked to get off and head back to the terminal. From the shuttle bus window someone noticed one of the towers was on fire, but none of us knew what had just happened. When we got back to the terminal all the tv's were off and an announcement came on stating we needed to exit the airport. We were not told why, just that we needed to leave, that the airport was closing. When I got outside I waited in line for over an hour just to take a shuttle to the rent-a-car area of JFK. And it wasn't until I walked in to the Dollar Rent-A-Car that I learned what had taken place.
I met a flight attendant who was supposed to land in Albany and we decided to rent a car together. It took two hours before we could leave the airport and another four hours just to get outside the city. The truly eerie thing about the beginning of the drive was all the traffic going out, and only military vehicles and black SUV's going in to NYC.
While we were driving back to Albany she was gettting calls from her co-workers. It turns out she knew the whole crew of the flight that went down in DC. To hear her conversations about these men and women and their personalities, relationships, and children is something that I will always remember about that day.
If my flight wasn't delayed from San Francisco the night before, I would have been back in Albany and on the radio that morning. Instead I was in a rent-a-car, driving through parts of New York I couldn't find on a map today if I tried, looking for an open road to get me home and driving alongside a person I had never met, who I will now never forget.