Today we honor the memory of a tragic event that changed America forever. Ten years ago, terrorists hijacked four passenger jets, American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 77 and United Airlines Flight 93, crashing them into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, killing almost 3,000 people. The incident had a dramatic impact on the lives of all Americans, in one form or another.
Below, residents of Parker County weigh in on that fateful day in our country’s history.
I never had the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C. ,or see the Statue of Liberty. In September 2001, I talked with my friends, James and Jan May, and decided to go because of the weather.
We took Southwest Airlines, renting a car to use the time we would be there, and stayed with one of my former students and his family. Their home was just in Maryland, not far from Washington, D.C.
The morning after arriving, we decided to go on to New York. We packed and were ready when James’ daughter called his cell phone and asked if we were watching television.
He answered calmly, “No. Why?” She told him to go see and hung up.
We went into the kitchen and saw the TV just as a second plane crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Center. The other plane had already crashed and the north tower was in a blaze. We were all stunned and couldn’t believe what was happening.
Soon after, we saw another plane, but thought nothing of it. We then heard a loud blast and later saw an ominous, black cloud of smoke rising in the sky. The speaker on the car radio said the Pentagon had been hit, and that a plane had also gone down near Pittsburgh.
The president had ordered all planes to clear the skies and find a place to land. James got in touch with Southwest Airlines to see whether or not we could fly home, but they told us no.
If it had not been for Todd Beamer and Jeremy Glick, that plane would have hit the Capital and perhaps the White House. If it had, we might not be here.