Where were you on Sept. 11? Question brings back vivid memories

Decrease Increase Text size

“They had given us 8.5x11 pieces of paper that just had the word ‘suicide’ on them,” Navarro remembers. “We were instructed if we are (receiving) a suicide call, to hold up that piece of paper and wave it until somebody saw it.”

PHOTOS: Where were you on 9/11?9 Photos

A supervisor would listen in and pull up case notes so that another could contact the local police department. “It was my job to keep them on the phone until the police got there,” Navarro said.

During one particular shift, Navarro received three suicide calls, one of them from a man in Manhattan who told the woman he had lost everything and had a handgun. That call was the hardest.

“What are the odds of one person getting three of those phone calls?” Navarro asked. “That meant a lot of people were getting a lot of those phone calls.”

In the years since, Navarro hasn’t watched any of the special reports about the attacks. “I’ll try to watch it and start to cry and… I have to turn it off and do something else,” the 48-year-old said.

Others, too, find watching the images difficult, and many said they lack the sense of safety they had prior to the attacks.

“I lost a lot of good friends, a lot of families were destroyed – for what? It was just devastating. It was so uncalled for. And you think we’re so secure here, but we’re not,” now 67-year-old Perry said.

She had planned to return to work after her surgery, but was too distraught to continue working at the Pentagon.

“It was too devastating for me, I just couldn’t go back in there,” she said. “There was nothing to go back to.” It still bothers her to talk about that day. She retired at the end of 2001. Every year, the anniversary of the attacks brings back the memories.

Jennifer, the base school librarian, also remembers those who were lost that day, including a friend’s husband. “I haven’t missed a calling of the names,” she said. “This year will probably be the hardest.”

To her, it doesn’t feel like 10 years have passed since then. “The only way for me to tell is by the ages of my children,” she said.

She has told her daughters, now eight and 11 years old, about the attacks, but is wary they don’t watch the most gruesome TV images. Her family went to the Pentagon memorial for the first time this summer.

“If we don’t remember this, if we don’t remember those that sacrificed and those that died for this, we are doomed to repeat it,” she said.

Many of the dozen people interviewed expressed gratitude to the men and women who rushed to the aid of others, from first responders to the passengers of Flight 93 who tried to regain control from their hijackers and were killed when their plane crashed near Shanksville, Pa.

The events are burnt into the memory of a whole generation.

“In my grandparent’s generation, (people asked) ‘where were you when Pearl Harbor happened?’ and in my parent’s generation, it was ‘where were you when JFK got shot?’” the now retired store manager Kregel said. “Not to make light of it, but I think for our generation now, it’s ‘where were you on 9/11’ … I think it’s ingrained in everybody’s mind.”

Where were you on Sept. 11? Share your memories on the map below.

1) Follow this link to our interactive map.

2) Click on the "Edit" button directly above the description.

3) In the upper-left hand corner of the map, click on the button with the blue pin.

4) Click on the location to place the pinpoint. It's fine if you don't know the exact location. 

5) Put the location's name as the title. It doesn't have to be specific - you can say "at a store" or "at home." Fill out the description with as much information as you'd like to share.

6) Click "OK" to finalize the submission.

  1. «
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. »

Would you like to contribute to this story? Join the discussion.

Recommended For You
comments powered by Disqus