9-11 Memories

By Jaimie Dannelly

On September 11, Miss Dannelly's 7th grade Reading classes spent the day listening to guest speakers and reading faculty members memories and experiences from that infamous day 16 years ago. They compared and contrasted the various points of view different people had and discussed the impact that event has had on the world. Special thanks to all of the SFJHS faculty that contributed their stories and were willing to have them published for all to read. Also, a huge thanks to our guest speakers Ms. Holley, Mr. Mortensen, Mr. Waters, Mr. Palfreyman, and Mrs. Wilson! 

Chaleesa Warren

 I was in 4th grade. I remember my mom waking me up to watch the news.  We went to school and in every class we watched the news. I remember teachers crying.  I also remember being told that today would change the world and how things would happen in the future. I remember feeling so sad for all those people. I also remember feeling proud to be an American that day and felt like our country pulled together to help the people in New York. 

 Alesha LeMmon

 I was getting ready to go to work and my daughter came running in the kitchen saying a plane crashed into a building in NYC. We were getting ready to leave for school and work, so I dropped the kids off and turned on NPR and began to listen to what was happening. By the time I arrived at work, the second plane had crashed into the second World Trade Center Tower. I was a startled and shocked. We brought a television in to our offices that day. I was in charge of a team of technical support specialists and the phones had stopped ringing. No one was calling. We all gathered around the TV and watched in disbelief as reporting had started on a third plane in Pennsylvania that was headed for the Pentagon had crash landed in a field. Everyone stood around in stunned disbelief. How could this happen on American soil?

 On another note, my aunt's birthday is 9-11 and she lived on a farm in Central Illinois. Because all air traffic was grounded, she said it was so very quiet over that part of Illinois as their farm is in a major flight path. One plane flew over her farm that afternoon and we surmised it was Air Force One taking the President to the bunker located in the Midwest. She said it was eerie.

 Jen Fong

 I was taking an AP Government class (in High School) from a man who was very passionate and had an opinion about everything. We would have discussions almost daily about what was going on in the news. He always had something to say and wanted us to debate things with him and each other and think about the impact on our lives. But on that day, he didn't say anything. The TV was turned on to the news in his classroom when we came in and he was just sitting at the back of the room just watching. We watched the news for an hour and we left his class. I can't say I really understood what it all meant and what would play out for the next days, weeks and years, but his reaction (so different then his norm) always stayed with me. 

 Ashli Brooks

 I was in first grade when 9/11 happened, so I don't remember much. However, I remember my mom doing my hair in front of the news, and I just remember being so confused as to what was happening! I remember her crying, and going to school and having some of the teachers crying. I soon was able to understand what happened, but as a 7 year old, it’s hard to grasp WHY it was happening. 

 Garrett Johnson

 I remember walking upstairs to have breakfast before I went to school ( I was a 6th grader in Middle School) My mom and I were watching the news that the first plane had hit the tower and as we were watching this wondering if it was an accident the second plane hit the other tower.  We then knew it was not an accident!  I remember feeling scared, worried as I left for school that morning.  When I got to school all teachers had the news on in their rooms and in each class we spent time talking about what was going on which made things feel a bit better. 

 I remember how proud I was to be an American and seeing everyone from every state take pride in their country and doing what they could to help those people in New York, Washington, Pennsylvania. 

 Jonathan Lawrence

 I was dropping off my preschooler son at daycare. The sitter had her TV on mute, when I saw the footage of the 2nd plane crashing live I almost fell over. Through live TV I just watched hundreds if not thousands die. I was gob smacked. I extended my best wishes and quickly went to my school and shot my wife a text as she was a teacher as well. I was a first year teacher at the old Spanish Fork Middle (now Diamond Fork Jr.). I was not sure how the school district would instruct teachers on covering the events in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, but I decided I wanted to have it available for those interested in viewing/discussing. It was a terribly difficult day, but mostly I was worried about my little 6th graders and how they would process things that were happening. 

 Brenda Kay

 I was at home in my pajamas, starting my day with my toddler who is now almost 18 years old. My husband, who had had just left for work, turned on his radio during the drive and found out that one of the twin towers had been hit by an airplane. He called me and told me to turn on the news. Every news station was covering the unfolding story. I watched in horror as images of the burning sky scraper were shown. It wasn't long before the second tower was hit by a plane. This was SHOCKING because it was now evident that the first crash had NOT been an accident. Something horrific was happening. Someone was doing this on purpose. Two planes just do not end up crashing into sky scrapers by accident. The horror intensified as I learned that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon. This was equally unsettling because the carnage was taking place in TWO locations, not one. How many more sites would be hit? How extensive would this become? How many people were going to get hurt or die? Who was doing this? Why?

 As I watched the news coverage, the first tower to be hit COLLAPSED--imploded, live, on t.v.  At first, I thought to myself, "It's a good thing they evacuated the building" but reality soon settled in:  the building had not been evacuated and people had just been killed ON LIVE TV. I sat there stunned. This could NOT be happening in America. The feeling of disbelief was SO intense. It was scary. What was happening? Nobody knew. Not the reporters.

 Footage of New Yorkers running from that area of the city, covered in gray dust--some injured, almost all dazed--brought a new level of pain to the situation. I realized that the air was filled with dusty particles, making breathing difficult. The force of the falling building, plus all of the materials falling to the ground, were injuring and killing people on the street. People were running, unable to drive their cars or take public transportation. They couldn't get home, so they started to walk. Phone lines were jammed because so many people were trying to call loved ones. People were visibly panicked and distressed because they had loved ones in the towers. 

 Firefighters and rescue workers worked to save as many people as they could from the second tower.

Trapped by the fire, some jumped to their deaths. 

The second tower fell too soon.

Firefighters died along with those they were trying to save.

Air traffic control was frantically and quickly landing every plane in U.S. airspace. 

There was speculation about terrorism, war, retaliation. 

A plane went down in a field in Pennsylvania, clearly short of its intended target (wherever that was--we didn't know).

President Bush looked furious when he addressed the nation on national t.v. FURIOUS!

 I began having nightmares. Months later, hearing a plane overhead would frighten me. I didn't feel safe anymore. 

 Jaimie Dannelly

I remember walking down the hall to go to my fourth grade class. The door was open, but the lights were off, which was weird. I went in anyway. As I walked through the doorway, I saw that my teacher had the TV on and was watching the news. I glanced at my teacher and saw that she was engrossed in the news and other students were at their desks sitting quietly. I looked back at the TV, and as I did, I saw a plane hit the World Trade Center. My mouth dropped open. I was young, but I knew something bad was happening. All we did in class that morning was watch the news and my teacher, with tears in her eyes, tried to explain what was happening, but who could really explain it? We watched replay after replay of the planes hitting the towers. We watched as the towers collapsed on live TV. That didn’t seem real to me. I was too young to really understand that thousands of people had just lost their lives, and I had watched it.

 That day I went to St. George with my mom and dad and the only thing you could hear on the radio stations was news. My mom and dad talked in hushed tones about everything, and all I wanted was to listen to music to get rid of all of the sad feelings. I remember people having a sense of pride along with the tragedy of Flight 93. Those passengers died as heroes and everyone was grateful to them for saving who knows how many lives.

 The next few weeks had a sad undertone and everyone just wanted to talk about 9-11 and what it meant for the future of our country. I had no idea at the time how much that event would change the world I grew up in.

 Kathy Thacker

 I had the news on while I was getting my kids ready for school and daycare.  They broke into the regular news to report that a plane had hit the first tower.  At that point, they didn't know why the plane had hit the tower.  The newscasters thought that it had been an accident.  It wasn't until we all watched the live footage of the second plane hitting the second tower that anyone started to realize that it was anything but accidental.  I remember feeling shock and fear like I had never felt before as I watched the plane hit the building.  I remember watching newscasters as the same shock and fear came over them, and realizing how hard it must be for them to keep any sort of professional composure as they had to continue reporting on the horror that was unfolding before them without even having a chance to begin to process what they were seeing. 

 I was going to Utah State University at the time.  USU didn't cancel classes that day, but lots of students didn't go to class. Some were too shocked and scared to leave their houses. I think that those of us who went to class were trying hard to hold on to any shred of normalcy.  However, things were anything but normal on the USU campus.  

 Silence! That's what stood out to me the most.  A college campus is usually anything but silent.  There are usually students hanging out, laughing, talking, playing Frisbee, and riding bikes.  On September 11th none of that happened.  Random students wandered the campus in what felt like slow motion.  In place of the usual laughter of friendship, there was the silence of shock and numbness, the silence of reverence towards the lives lost, the silence of tear drops falling down cheeks when no words would come that could possibly describe our feelings as we all tried to process what was happening in our country.  The only sounds that were heard were the occasional muffled cries as students hugged each other, or the sounds of professors suggesting that the lesson that they had planned somehow didn't feel all that important anymore, and instead we should just love and support each other.

 Shane Waters

 I remember turning on the TV and not believing that it was not real. The images that are burned in my mind forever are the one watching people jumping out of the buildings to fall to their death. Over the past two years I have spent some time in NY. This year I went into the museum. I don't think I will ever go back. Even thinking about it now brings back a ton of emptiness and sadness.  These pictures show the following: the foundation of Tower one. World trade Center Sphere. Only surviving tree left. Plaque and monument for the firemen who died from this station.


Alyse Freeland

 I was getting ready to go to school in 6th grade at the old middle school (Diamond Fork), and my parents were getting ready for work and I heard them starting to panic over something.  I went in their room and Matt Lauer was on the Today Show saying that someone accidentally flew an airplane into the WTC.  My mom's eyes were watering and my parents said how many people worked in that building and we were all so sad that something like this could happen and how sad for that captain who had made a horrible mistake!  I left to go to school and I was in Mr. Tuckett's (who used to teach here) class and he told us that another plane had hit the second building and none of it was a mistake.  We watched the news all day in school and I remember it was so crazy to see because all my teachers were crying and sad.  Everyone kept saying "you'll never forget where you were when you heard about 9/11 and it's been 16 years, and it still gives me chills to think about.  


PS: I also remember where I was when we captured and killed Bin Laden and that too gives me chills!


Chris Thompson

Just minutes before my alarm went off on September 11, 2001, I awoke to the ringing of the phone. It was my husband calling from his construction site.  “Hey, go turn on the t.v. and tell us what’s happening.  We just heard the World Trade Center was hit by a plane, and they think it might be a terrorist attack.”  Still half asleep, I woke my two boys for school and tried not to stir my my seventh-month-old daughter as I made my way downstairs. Shocked by the on-screen images, I returned my husband’s call and read to him the CNN Newsline that was slowly making its way across our TV.

“Oh my gosh, hon, another plane just hit! Oh my gosh!” We stayed on the phone as news reporters confirmed the obvious. We were witnessing our generation’s Pearl Harbor--a first-of-its-kind attack on our own soil that was meant to wake up an entire country. Not only was this an act of terrorism, this was an act of war.

I sat glued to the TV for the rest of the day, watching as my fellow countrymen jumped from fiery buildings while others waved white shirts out of windows, hoping to be rescued. I watched thousands emerge from clouds of black smoke covered in soot, while others ran toward the destruction, hoping to care for the dead and wounded. My heart swelled with pride (and anguish) as the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 took down the plane that was reportedly headed to the White House, sparing the lives of our country’s leadership while sacrificing their own.

It was a day that seemed to go on forever--one calamity after another popping up on the TV screen, leaving reporters in a teary loss for words as America played the lead role in one of the world’s worst domestic tragedies ever imagined--the plot eventually revealing the best and the worst in humanity.  


Joe Anson

7 September 2017

             Most mornings I listen to sports talk radio or a book on CD on my way to work, but on the morning of September 11, 2001, for some reason, just before 7:00 MST, I decided to switch to the news. I heard the report that an airplane had struck the north tower of the World Trade Center. I figured it was a catastrophic accident—some poor amateur pilot or something.

            To my astonishment, I was listening live via KSL when another plane smashed into the south tower. I was idling at a stop light when I caught the reporter’s off-guard reaction. My own, a lowly mutter: “Oh, crap.” Both towers started coming down before I pulled into the school parking lot.

            In my classroom I turned on the television and absorbed report after report as they rolled in with a play-by-play of the collapse of the towers, the bravery of the first responders, the climbing death toll. Shortly, it was the story of the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 crashing into a nondescript Pennsylvania field.

            We stood on a turning point in American history.

            The previous day, my 9th graders read a short story—“American History” by Judith Ortiz Cofer: Elena, a young Puerto Rican girl, remembers the day President Kennedy was shot. She was in the ninth grade, and she hated school. The only bright spot was her crush on a boy named Eugene. On the day of the assassination, she had made plans to study with him. It would have been her first visit to his house. School was dismissed early, and she wandered home, thinking of Eugene. When Elena appeared at Eugene’s door, however, his mother turned her away. She did not want her son making friends with a Puerto Rican girl. Returning home, Elena found her building silent and everyone in mourning. Absorbed in her own tragedy, Elena couldn’t share in the public sorrow (summary courtesy of McDougall Littell’s The Language of Literature 9).

            That morning, in the midst of public tragedy, I witnessed several parallel stories woven into the lives around me. Like Elena from the story, several complained about trivial concerns such as how embarrassing it was that someone else was wearing the same shirt. Why a certain girl hadn’t responded to a note. Why a young football player was going to quit because he didn’t get any minutes until the fourth quarter of a blowout. How the copy machine was still broken. I even overheard a few students unsympathetically shrug off the morning’s attacks with an indifferent “So what? Who cares?”

            In class we drew the parallels between the story from the day before and the current event still happening in our country. The conversations of my classroom that day dealt with putting life into perspective. Both teenagers and adults uncovered truths of human existence and relevance—discoveries similar those of Robert Fulghum’s 1959 experience with Sigmund Wollman (Seattle Times, August 29, 1991) or Henry Smith in Gary D. Schmidt’s Trouble. Despite the apathetic few, national pride inflated. Compassion grew. Where the stereotypical teenage blinders once held fast; eyes of empathy and worlds self-discovery opened. With the world on a perpetually pessimistic fast-forward, sometimes, unfortunately, tragedy is compels us to stop and scrutinize our personal perspective. Once back in check, we realize what really matter and we uncover our best selves. Only from the ashes can a new phoenix rise.

 David Thacker

The morning of September 11, 2001 started as every other Tuesday for me. I was a student at Utah State University and had a 7:30 am class so I had to be up early. I had just finished my morning shower and had stepped out of the bathroom when Mrs. Thacker (who was watching the morning news) said to me that a plane had hit one of the twin towers in New York. I walked over to see the news report, which was happening live, and saw the second plane hit the second tower. I remember thinking exactly what the news reporter was saying: “Two planes hitting two separate towers in the same morning is not a coincidence. This is an attack.” I stayed to watch more of the news until I had to leave for class.

 Once I arrived on campus, the mood was rather subdued. The usual ruckus that I had come to associate with being on campus (even at 7:30 in the morning) was absent. My classes that day were somber, and in some, there was no attempt to even have class. News reports were on all the computers and televisions. People huddled in groups and talked quietly, or comforted one another while sharing tears.

 I was in a state of unbelief. This was The United States of America! This does not happen here! And yet, it had. It really drove home for me when I went to work that night. I worked for Convergys, which is a call center. I took incoming customer service and billing calls for Sprint PCS. That night we were flooded with calls from all over the country. The attacks had knocked out all cell towers in the area. People were trying to contact their loved ones in New York and were unable to do so. I had such a sense of despair as I had to repeatedly tell the customers that I talked o on the phone that there was nothing that I could do to connect their calls. I cannot tell you how many hundreds of people I could not help that night, but each one hurt. Knowing how much they were scared and worried, and knowing I could not help them…That is a feeling I never want to have again.