Where were you on Sept. 11, 2001?

Sep 13, 2021

We've all been asked, or have asked someone else, "where were you on 9/11," or "do you remember where you were when the planes hit." I sure do.

This is my recollection of 9/11/2001 from the perspective of a Deputy Sheriff who was in Gainesville, Alachua County, FL.

"You woke me up for ... what"?

On Monday, September 10, 2001, I worked my usual 3 pm to 3 am patrol shift. So, on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I was still asleep when my boyfriend woke me up to tell me a plane had hit the twin towers in NYC. My response was, "you woke me up to tell me a plane hit a building"? And he said, "It's bad. They think it wasn't an accident." I was definitely awake when he said that.

Two months earlier...

A few months earlier I had been in New York City, for only the second time in my life, for a friend's wedding. Amazingly, the reception was held at the Windows of the World Restaurant, at the top of the North Tower. We stayed at the Hilton that was attached to the World Trade Center complex. We traveled to/from that site on the subway system that was below The Towers.

The night we were at the reception, it was a cloudy evening/night, so it felt like we were floating in the clouds while celebrating our friends' marriage.


When I watched the towers fall, I couldn't believe it was a place that I had just been to, a place where people just like me were perishing, before our eyes on television, before or after some type of celebration.

It was so shocking.

Going to work on 9/11/2001...

The whole world seemed quieter that day. When I arrived at the station for my 3 pm to 3 am shift there seemed to be no noise. You may not remember, but even after all the planes crashed that day (Washington DC, NYC, and Pennsylvania) we still did not know if the attacks were over, if there would be more, in other cities or states. So, we were told to do nothing other than answers the calls that came in. We were instructed to be available, in case something else happened.

Thankfully nothing else happened. No other planes went down with innocent civilians. No other firefighters were lost. No other police officers died.

Don't forget...

I am honored to have been to the 9/11 memorial in NYC. I believe all Americans should go. The gravity of the size of the space and the seemingly endless number of names inscribed into the bronze railings around the two empty holes commemorating the lives lost really hits hard when you are at the site. The honor and bravery of the firefighters and police officers, all first responders, that lost their lives that day trying to save anyone and everyone should NEVER be forgotten.

I know I won't forget about them.

Even though it's been 20 years, there are still way too many folks, both first responders and civilians, that are still struggling with the after-effects of this traumatic event. If you want help, please reach out to me. I want to help, and want to make sure you get what you need.

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