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9/11: A Time To Reflect [VIDEO]

9-11 J
julesantonio, flickr

A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.
America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.
Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America — with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could. -September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush

I will never forget that day ten years ago. I was working as an assistant news director and was in the middle of putting together a newscast when the first plane hit. I had nearly completed my story when the second plane crashed into the twin towers. Initially I was devastated by such an accident, then mortified when I realized it was deliberate. I worked a 15 hour day that day, minutes really in the day of those at ground zero. The hardest thing for me was to arrive at home and look into the innocent eyes of my children. I had to explain why I was so late, tired and sad. I didn’t want to frighten the children, but also felt that they needed to know what was happening in our country. I remember Zachariah being upset that his football game had been canceled. Natasha was quiet and Ashley and Colton, just 5 and 6 were confused. That night we watched the news reports and listened to the president. We cuddled on the couch and reminded each other how much we loved one another.

… I too was in tears thinking about all those people trapped in the two buildings, and angry that it was happening and wanting to know why?
-Lou Anne Daugherty

It was a helpless feeling to see so much destruction and so much fear. I had not known that kind of fear before and have only come close since 9/11. I too was angry and must admit that the anger has not completely subsided.

How could this happen to our country – it was not an accident, you could see that after the second plane hit, it was deliberate and that was what disturbed me the most that this could happen to the USA.
-Eileen Crabill

That was one of the biggest eye-openers for me, that this could happen on American soil. I don’t know if I want to say we were smug, but I do believe that there were not many of us that thought we would ever be susceptible to this kind of attack.

Jacki Witlen recalls getting a telephone call from her son Jake at 7am that morning. He was attending school in New York and only lived 9 blocks from the devastation.

…He left the apartment and we continued to be with him on the cell as he joined thousands of others in the streets running in fear.  He could see the Towers burning, the smoke, dust and debris filling the air.  He snapped photos.  We could hear people screaming in the background and could palpably feel the horror and confusion surrounding him…
(Jay and Jacki are the proprietors of Jays Bistro)

I could not imagine what I would have been going through had one of my children had been so close to this evil. I am thankful that in this time, I was able to hold my kids close to me.

I knew at that moment this was not a freak accident, but an attack on American soil. As expected, within an hour, the Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team was recalled to duty.  I was the Team Leader at the time and we directed our team members to assist in securing vital assets in and around Lincoln.  No one knew if the attacks out east would be the extent of it or just the beginning of it, so agencies here did what agencies across the country did and that was prepare the best you could on a moments notice.  Thankfully the day passed without further incidents  At the time I was also the Flight Sergeant for the 155th Security Forces Squadron of the Nebraska Air National Guard based in Lincoln.  My unit was immediately activated to full duty that day, although they did not recall those of us in law enforcement as they knew we were already busy.  That didn’t last long as a few days later, September 16, 2001, to be exact, I was placed on active duty military orders.  I would stay on active duty for the next year and a half, including a tour overseas to PSAB (Prince Sultan Air Base), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  This is where our forces had been flying missions to Iraq from since the first Gulf War.  There I was selected to serve as the NCOIC of the Joint Patrol section.  Me and my guys teamed up with the Saudi soldiers to patrol outside the secured areas of the base.
-Tom Brookhouser, Sergeant County of Lancaster

I wish that I could share everything Tom wrote, he talks of his family and his return from his tour of duty. He speaks of his children and wonders who we would be today had we not had to live through such a terrible time. He also says that he believes we, as a country and as individuals have all changed since that day. We may not see it everyday, but its there. I am thankful for men and women like Tom, for those who serve us in the military and those who serve and protect on our city streets.

I hope to never forget the people who lost there lives. I hope that I will always be able to recall the sights and the sounds that were broadcast on my tv and radio. These memories will ensure that we stay strong and unified, we must never forget.

This weekend a memorial will be dedicated for the ten year anniversary. There is a long road to hoe in rebuilding ground zero, but the unity can be witnessed in the work completed thus far.

I would like to thank those who took the time to share their memories.


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