9/11/01: Five Years Later - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

9/11/01: Five Years Later

It has been 5 years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  As we mark the anniversary, Action News 5 would like to hear from you. 

Click here to send us an email about your memories from that day.  Where were you?  How did you find out about the attacks?  How has your life changed since that day?  Did you lose a loved one? Email messages will be posted on this page.

As you think back about that day, click on the video links on the left to watch selected segments from Action New 5's local coverage of the attacks, originally broadcast on September 11, 2001.

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9/11 Viewer Memories:

I was an Investigator with the State of Calif and had grudgely arrived to work to review, yet another case.  I was just turning on my computer when my supervisor came in to my office and told me that a plane had crashed into one of the WTC towers.  I went upstairs to one of the break-rooms that had a large screen TV just as the second plane hit.  I just sat staring at the TV unable to remove myself from the chair, all along thinking, this is no coincidence.  Since we did not have a clue as to the magnitude of this attack the Governor allowed State workers to voluntarily go home.  Since I worked close to the Capitol, I left and then spent the day watching this horrific event over and over again, like the Titanic, hoping that everyone survived.
 Though I live in Sacramento, I have ties to Memphis in the form of one of Memphis' finest, a BC with the Memphis Fire Dept.  When I think back on that day and to the present, I  have nothing but the deepest and most sincere admiration for the safety personnel all through-out the world.  My life has changed in many ways since the 9-11 attack, but on a more personal level because my friend just returned back to work from fighting a year long battle with cancer.  The thought of having lost him to cancer or in a situation like 9-11 is indescribable.  Knowing his dedication to his profession and his life-long dream to become a fire-fighter, I can only respect and admire him and all of the safety personnel who put their lives out there everyday to save a life or provide protection for all of us, despite economic status.  What I took before for granted, I cherish daily, and that is to live each day as though it was my last, because nothing is promised tomorrow.
 
Michaela Turner-Stroud
Sacramento, CA

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My family and I had just returned from my daughter's wedding in Jamaica. She is a flight attendant and her husband a pilot who flies out of Memphis. That day, his first day back to work, after the honeymoon, he was scheldued to fly to New York. My daughter dropped him off at the airport and headed to an early morning sale. While standing in the sale line waiting for the doors to open, she heard a plane had crashed at the Trade Center. I work just a few blocks from the store so my daughter ran to my school leaving her car on the store lot. At this time we still had not heard anything. When my daughter arrived at her wits end, I demand the acting administrator turn on the TV. We waited almost 45 minutes before we found out it was an American Airline and not a Northwest plane. The time seemed to creep. Every sound was magnified 100%. My students knowing my new son-in-law was a pilot sat as tensely as my daughter and I did. At last we heard it was not a Northwest plane. Selfishly we momentarily breathed a sigh of relief. But then we realized he was still out there somewhere. And then we heard of the valiant crew in Pennsylvania hearts bleed because we knew but for the grace of God my children could have been members of any of those three crews. Sometime later I remembered by first cousin worked in the Trade Center. My emotions took another roller coaster ride as I dialed my aunt to inquire about her. My aunt had found out through my cousin's mother-in-law in Atlanta that she had been saved. Just the week before she had been transferred to another branch office. Later we found out all of her coworkers perished. So I will always remember the day as the day time stood still. I felt so out of control and helpless. And believe me I still feel the pain of all of those crew members. Not only do I pray for my children's safety but I pray that the families of those people who fly for a living will always remain strong and never have to know that grief first hand. But I know their hearts swell up in their throats every time they hear such news because mine stays there.

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9-11 brought reality home for me.

I am a wife of a Memphis Fireman and we are the proud parents of two great girls. Living our life- as a wife, as a daughter of a firefighter is an emotional journey. You realize that this may be that last good-bye or the last I love you as the door closes and their 24 hr shift starts- they sacrifice many schools events, forgo birthdays and holidays and all for
"strangers"- no questions ask. You often question if it is worth it all- they run in where we run out-they fight the monster only armed with water- they aren't rich at the end of the day but they are proud. Firefighters have a bond among them that any of us would be lucky to be apart of.. I
(mommy) am their (our daughters) fixer, the one who makes things right and their daddy -he is their hero...and if he did not come home in the morning (as he is at the station now) I know that he knows that. He is not a hero for what he does- but for what he may have to do, the ultimate sacrifice.
May we never forget those we lost that day, their families, their children but may we also recognize the job those still serving offer each us every day -365 days a year- 24 hours a day.

In honor of our Memphis Fireman- Todd Conklin
Respectfully-
Melissa Conklin

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After 9/11/01 we were in the Netherlands the following April, and saw a very large banner on a building along the highway that had the US flag, the Netherlands flag, and the words, "You are not alone".  We were deeply touched to find this warm support so far from home.  It reminded us that others in the world were thinking of us. 

Mrs. Eugene McKenzie

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I am a third grade teacher who listens to NPR for classical music in my classroom. I was shocked and dismayed when the news bulletin was broadcasted that morning. First of all, I feared for the safety of the children in my class and school since our school is very near the airport. Then, I feared for the safety of my own two children who were enrolled in a nearby school. I could not leave and go get them because I would not leave my students unattended. I believe all of us at my school were so aghast that for a few moments, we were immobilized by the enormity of it all.
 
And the terrorism still continues today. I believe it's a sign of the times in which we live, and of the fact that the world in which we live cannot continue as it is.

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Why make movies of it if it shows the government knew they was going to bomb us. Thank you police officers and firefighters for risking your lives to save people!

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What started out as a "normal day", getting the husband off to work, the kids ready for school, when suddenly, while watching The Today Show, my world changed forever. I remember screaming "oh my God, Osama bin Laden, he did it, he finally did it! I don't know exactly why he popped into my head but I just knew. I kept one of daughters home from school, she was so scared as was I.  I immediatly when to the attic to get out American flags to place on either side of my mailbox. No one had to tell me that we all needed to unite & display our colors proudly. I became a better American that day, and also the most patriotic, grateful person to live in this wonderful country, despite some of it's shortcomings.  That afternoon, we let a dozen balloons go, I lit candles for the fallen (as I do alot, i.e. Steve Irwin, Elvis) and we prayed. I started going back to church after years of not going because I needed spiritual nourishment during that terrible scary time. The days following, with no planes in the air for days, Ground Zero were a truly scary time. I became a 'news junkie" & not a day has gone by since the attacks that I haven't watched the news, the first year, 24/7, now I've gotten better, I just check in with it 100 times a day to make sure nothing has happened.  Today, as I have every year on this sad anniversary, I put all of my 9/11 things around the house, flags outside, and a candle burning that I have used every year since the first anniversary. My daughters & I are about to go outside to let our balloons go, this is a tradition also. I want my kids to never forget as everyone should never forget all of the innocent people who died, but also all of the innocent people whose lives were forever changed by Sept. 11, 2001.  I have a glass Twin Towers piece that revolves and it is one of the first things that I do EVERY day when I wake up. I remember this every day & always will It's the least I can do for all those who perished on that horrible, tragic day. I WILL NEVER FORGET!  I hope all of America will never forget as well.

Sincerely,
Susan McGovern

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I just wanted to comment about what my reactions were as the US was attacked in 2001. I had just arrived at work in Atlanta GA. I booted up my computer, headline news was part of my start program. "Michael Jordan may come out of retirement, plane hits World trade Center". My first reaction was, which story will last longer, thinking it was  small plane.  I walked into the break room about 45 minutes later after learning the magnitude of the event. Our President and vice President were there, watched the second plane strike the south tower. The president made the remark, "we have to get the bastards". My reaction was, "Osama bin Laden".
I went back to my desk in a daze and remembered that I had a Nephew who worked near the centers and a friend who landed his helicopter at the center. I did a bunch of checking on these people for the next 10-12 hrs.

Eaden Keith

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As everyone else, my day started at work and seemed to be going just fine.
I went to another building to get some coffee and saw the TV and everyone was standing there watching the breaking news report. I stopped and knew within a few seconds something bad had happened because of the view of the tower and all the smoke. I ran back to my office just to be with people I knew and it was like a child going to a safe-haven.  At that time my boss walked in a major hurry and I ask him if he had heard the news and he said yes.  Seemed very upset and went and turned the news on in the office.  Said he had a daughter and many friends that worked in that area of NY.  No one could get thru to their family or friends.
It was a terrible day from that point on. Seemed very strange at work and a little fearful since I work in a location with alot of people from different parts of the world.  We just didn't know what to expect next. I was really afraid when it was time to go home, traveling alone, but I never told anyone.  Got home and continued to watch the news.  It was such a sad day and for all those who lost friends and family I can only try to understand your hurt that was felt that day and all the days that have pasted. I pray that we will never encounter another day like that.

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I was on my very first cruise. The morning of September 11, 2001, I remember waking up and seeing what I thought to be an airplane flying into a building. I woke my roommate telling her that an airplane had flown into a building. We were both terrified and shocked as the reporters were informing the world that the World Trade Center was under attack.
 
The remaining of that trip was very solemn. I remember the captain coming over the system with this horrific news as well. He also encouraged all aboard to respect the nationalities and religions of all. There was great fear and suspicion, but respect was always given to all. God bless America.

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At approximately 5:30 AM on September 11th my husband and I were downtown Memphis saying good-bye to our 17 year old son who was on his way to Army basic training in Fort Knox, KY.

With anxiety we said our tearful good-byes and left.

Knowing the stress of the day I had planned a vacation day to give myself time to get my emotions under control before returning to work.

After returning home and seeing everyone else off for the day I laid across my bed and cried myself to sleep with the television on.

I woke to the telephone ringing and my Dad asking "are you watching the news" .... "You need to watch". Within just a few minutes the 2nd tower was hit.

The news was reporting that all flights were being grounded!!!! Seeing that we had no exact time that the new recruits would be boarding their flight, I spent several hours walking the floors, crying and praying!  The phone was ringing off the hook with friends and relatives while I waiting to hear something, anything. Finally around noon I received the call I had been waiting on all morning. My son was still at the armory, they had not left yet. By mid afternoon we had received the call to come back and pick him up and wait for updates. Three day's later we said our good-byes for the 2nd time not knowing what his future would hold.

Needless to say, there has been many stressful day's since then and our son is currently at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, MS getting ready to deploy to Iraq on his 2nd tour.  God had kept us thru it all and I have no doubt that he will keep us this time as well.

 "God Bless the men and woman who are willing to risk their own lives to protect us and our way of life in the United States of America".


Pamela Branch

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I have a night time job, I was sleeping the morning of the attack on the w.t.c.  My girlfriend called and woke me up crying not know what was going to happen to the world next. she told me what had happen at the w.t.c. and was telling me good bye and that she loved me .
She was thinking the world was coming to and end. I ask her to come to my house so if it was true we could be together. That morning is  hard for me to forget . The love we have will never be forgot. We dated her when she was 14yr.old. now she is 45yr.old God bless and be with everyone.

Billy

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This is Travis S from Collierville emailing you.  Today, Sept. 10 is by 16th birthday.  9/11 was personal to me because the following week, I was scheduled to travel to New York and probably would have visited the twin towers.  For my 11th birthday, I planned to watch Cal Ripkin Jr.'s final series against the Yankees, but due to canceled flights everywhere, my trip was cancelled.  Although this set-back was extremely minor given the other extreme circumstances, this is another reason why there MUST be a war against terror, so these terrible acts of evil will not happen again!

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September 11, 2001 started out as a normal day.  I was driving to work (down Poplar Ave), talking on my cell phone, and listening to the radio when I heard that a plane had hit the world trade center.  When I got to work there was only one other person there but she had also heard about the first plane.  Shortly after, others arrived and the second tower was hit.  We immediately turned on the TV and started watching the news. 

I had gone to my office to send my brother, who worked at the pentagon, an email to see what his take of it was and to also try to get a little work done… but then, moments later, a friend came in to see if I had heard about the pentagon being hit….  I remember the chills and I will never forget the rest of the day waiting….hoping….yet somehow knowing what was about to unfold.  That was the last email I sent my brother and one of the only ones I never got a reply to.  It was later that evening when we had confirmation from the pentagon that my brother, LTC Jerry D. Dickerson, was considered “missing.”  Thank goodness I worked with some truly great people who helped me get through that day and many to follow, (not to mention my wonderful family).

To this day, it is somewhat hard to believe that the events of that day unfolded the way they did.  It is truly a day that I will never forget and one that I hope we never have to relive.

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Hi,i'll never forget the day of 9/11.I took my three children to school and was watching t.v.,then everything broke loose.The news was playing live feed of the trade center and showed details of what was happing in NYC.The first plane they thought was an accident.No one knew what was going on.I was so scared that we were getting attacked that i called my husband at work and asked should i go and get the kids out of school.I keep watching and saw with my own eyes the second plane hit the tower,it was nothing like i have ever seen before.

Then as the reporters were on the air with all the t.v. footage,the said something about the pentagon,(then they went live there)then all you heard from the t.v. was a blast and the reporter saying we were under attack and the pentagon had just been hit.

But the scary part was that you saw it all live and heard the sounds before the reporters said it had been hit.I stayed still wondering if a bomb was just going to drop out of the sky on us as well....i just sat and prayed,prayed,prayed.

I saw every thing from people that jumped from the towers and all the screams and people running for their lives.It was the worst day in our history that i can remember.My husband (at work)was scared as well and was watching the skies for something to fall out of them.I heard about the third plane and it was so hard to take in....... all the screams.

I even saw when the trade centers fall to the ground.It was something like a nightmare,but was very real.No other americans should ever have to go through that ever again.My heart and prayers go out to all those family members who lost their loved ones on that day.And all the rescuer's (Firefighters,Dr's,Paramedic's,and everyday people who put their lives up,to save another)May God bless you and your family for all the effort you put forth to save lives you didn't even know.The other picture that will stay in my mind forever is the one of the firefighter that was carrying the little girl in his arms.That was such a sad day and will be remembered in my heart forever.May God watch all of us and never let this happen again,in God's name i pray AMEN.

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My father is a clergy and a retired police officer; he went to New York after 9/11 as the disaster relief team from Ohio. He worked in a gymnasium of a high school blessing the fallen bodies around ground zero. He was given this CD from some of the local fire fighter's in New York and he sent me a copy.

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