Kennebec Journal | Sunday, September 11, 2011

WE REMEMBER A3

“I was in my history class in eighth grade in Alabama. I just remember someone running in and telling us to turn on the TV, we were being attacked. The second tower hadn’t fallen yet. I remember watching as the plane came in and hit the second tower. This brings it all back. There was this weird air in the school.”
WHITNEY GRIMES, 23, AUGUSTA

BRIDGEO

KIRSCHNER

MARSHALL

“I was in high school, at Mount Ararat. I remember it was unbelievable. People were running around the hall (saying what had happened) but I didn’t really believe them. Then we put on the TV and saw it. To be honest, there was this kind of nervous excitement. At first no one understood, really, what that meant. And that all these people were going to die. Terrible.”
BEN WHATLEY, 27, TOPSHAM

“September 11 was a workday. At the time, the director of city services was Kelly Gray, a retired Navy captain, whose last assignment had been at the Pentagon. After the first plane hit, we were riveted to the television in my office. (When) the live feed was from Washington, D.C. I said to Kelly, ‘There’s smoke coming out behind the White House. He said in a chilling tone, ‘No, that’s coming from the Pentagon.” As Augusta’s public safety director, I began to wonder: Is there some sort of larger thing going on with more expansive attacks targeting state capitals? I contacted the police chief and we agreed to be prudent and put on double shifts of police at public locations to reassure people. I think for the rest of my life I will have a vivid memory of that morning, the uncertainly of what this meant to our own community and just the horror of watching it on television. It’s been ten years, and it’s still like it was yesterday.”
WILLIAM BRIDGEO, AUGUSTA

“At the time I was the owner of the flower shop on State Street. My sister called me and said turn on the television. I turned it on and stood there. I was flabbergasted that someone would do this to our country. I just had this terrible, terrible feeling that life was not going to be what it used to be. I couldn’t function the rest of the day. It was just so much devastation.”
ARLENE GAGNON, MANCHESTER

“It seems like so much has changed, I can’t think of one thing. As far as our kids go, we keep them close. Travel has changed; it’s terrible now.”
CATHY KIRSCHNER, 51, AUGUSTA

“I was living in Richmond, Virginia. I was taking my cats to the veterinarian’s and saw a news playback on the TV in their lobby of the first tower being hit. When I got to work, people were running around everywhere, gathering up all the TVs and putting them in all the open ‘play’ spaces. Some were crying, some were swearing. I called my son and asked who would do such a thing. He replied ‘only Bin laden had the money to pull off such a feat’. I had never before heard that name. People covered every inch of open space, on floors, on chairs and couches, on every floor of the building. No one even attempted to work. I was terrified. I envisioned fleets of airplanes raining down bombs over the country like we see in old World War II movies.
MAGGIE RICKER, 63, CHELSEA

“I was in Bermuda at a convention over the weekend prior to 9-11, and I was supposed to travel back to Maine on 9-11. But there was a tropical storm coming, so I arranged to travel back a day early. It sounds odd, but I wasn’t able to relax at all while I was in Bermuda. I felt uneasy the entire time. I didn’t want to be stuck there because my sons, 6 and 9, were starting school. I got back home on 9-10. Then, on the morning of 9-11, I was in my public relations agency office in Kingfield when the attacks occurred. My employees and I turned on the TV and watched the news coverage. It was surreal. It felt like a movie, because I couldn’t imagine that such horror could be happening in real life. When the second and third attacks happened, I wondered if the world was coming to an end.”
NANCY MARSHALL, NANCY MARSHALL COMMUNICATIONS, AUGUSTA

“I had the news on my computer, CNN I think, while I was working. The bulletin came up about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. I was watching the bulletin when the second plane hit. My first thought after the first strike was it was a bizarre accident, even with such a bright and clear day, and it would be a long hike down to ground level for survivors. With the second strike I thought, ‘This can’t be good,’ which turned out to be a monumental understatement.”
PHIL LINDLEY, HALLOWELL

“I was in Augusta District Court and a clerk went and got a small TV set and brought it to the court house front counter. I was worried about my son (then a student at Thomas College).”
ANN VIRGIN, 53, OF FARMINGDALE

“I was just getting to work (at the Kennebec County Government Building in Augusta), and someone came in and said a plane hit the World Trade Center. I thought it was an accident. I heard it on the radio, and upstairs cooperative extension had a TV and we watched the second one fly into the tower. I was speechless, just numb; you knew it wasn’t an accident then.”
TERRY YORK, 60, OF FAIRFIELD

“I was just arriving to work and going through the routine of getting the Gardiner Public Library ready for the day. My habit is to turn on the computer and read CNN.com while I drink my coffee. Obviously it was a headline that just shocked me; my first thought was that some poor airplane had major problems landing in New York City. As the news became more ominous, I realized that we did not have a working television at the library and I needed to find out what was happening. I went to the day room at the Fire Department. I sat in quiet disbelief as we came to the realization this was no accident and many people were not going to make it out of those buildings. Watching this event unfold in our local fire and police department was surreal. I stole a glance our personnel and saw looks of such great sadness and determination on their faces. It was at that point I realized their jobs could take them into such grave danger. I will always have such a profound respect for all of our public safety departments be they local, regional or national.”
ANNE DAVIS, DRESDEN

“On 9-11, I was at home on my computer, also looking at the news when the first plane hit the tower. I could not understand how a plane can be that far off course and in daylight hit that big building. As I was watching it, I saw a plane in the background turning. I thought nothing of it. Then it went into the other tower. I was in shock, but as a military retiree I knew then what we had to do. I pray this never happens again. To the men that we have lost from Maine since 911, I have all of their names on my ’97 Lincoln, never to forget.”
LARRY DEARBORN, 76, RICHMOND

BASFORD

CARR

ERSKINE

“I was in Montpelier, Vt., sitting in a Laundromat waiting for my laundry. They had either a radio or a TV on at the Laundromat. One of my first thoughts was the Bush administration was going to do something stupid in response. Sure enough they did: They invaded Iraq.”
BILL BASFORD, BENTON

“I was in Wiscasset at Lincoln County Probate Court and I was talking to my mom. She told me that a plane had gone into the World Trade Center. Then she said, ‘Oh my God, another one crashed into the Pentagon.’”
JANE CARR, 59, OF WINTHROP

“I was in school — I was an elementary principal, in Brunswick. I remember the shock. And, of course, with the TV it’s so instantaneous. We had the TV on for the older kids. I remember getting our guidance people ready to talk about it with kids. We met, as administrators, about how we could help kids as they came to grips with it, especially as it was played, over and over again. It was devastating. We found, even months after, dealing with some of the kids, they were still scared. They still needed help coming to grips with it.”
SCOTT SNEDDEN, 59, AUGUSTA

“On the morning of September 11, I was in a University of Maine literature class. At the beginning, a student mentioned he’d heard something terrible had just happened in New York City and we were being attacked. No one had any more information and our professor continued the class, which lasted over two hours. When I left the classroom and walked around campus, it was instantly clear the world had been forever changed in those few hours. Students were crying and the news was playing everywhere. I'll never forget walking across the UMaine campus so overwhelmed by the news and feeling as though everywhere I looked people were crying or overcome with sadness for our country.”
HILLARY ROBERTS, KENNEBEC VALLEY HUMANE SOCIETY

“I think people are a lot more afraid than they used to be, but they’re a lot more patriotic, too.”
BRANDY ERSKINE, 29, DAMARISCOTTA

“Once I saw it on television I was so devastated seeing it all and (thinking of) all those people and their families. So sad.”
HEATHER PEASE, 28, LEEDS

“I was home watching television when they showed the plane hitting the tower. It was quite upsetting and kept me there all morning watching the news. I was really upset. My wife worked for the state and I was worried about her coming home. I didn’t know how extensive the attack was. I’m surprised where we are nationally now, nothing seems to be resolved. We’re still the target for a lot of people who don’t like the United States.”
BILL CALLAHAN, MANCHESTER

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