May 12

Blog #97 – 9/11/01 Oral Interviews

Michigan Department of Civil Rights – http://www.michigan.gov/mdcr/

Federal Department of Justice Civil Rights division – https://www.justice.gov/crt

3 questions due Monday, May 22 by class.  

 

Subject: The 9/11/01 terrorist attacks and the days afterwards.

Suggested equipment: paper and pen/cil for notes; maybe a phone to record the interview.

Procedure:

  1. Get permission to take notes / record interview.
  2. You can use the questions below or add more / different questions – try to make questions that elicit more than a “yes” or “no” answer. You can always ask follow-up questions for clarification, explanation.
  3. Keep eye contact, nod and smile at appropriate times.
  4. Thank them for their time after you’re done. Also, ask them if they’d like a written transcript of the interview. Provide them w/ one if they say yes.  (For this assignment, you can direct them to the blog website: grovesapush.edublogs.org).

Potential questions

  1. What is your name? How old were you on 9/11?
  2. What is your first memory of when you first heard about the attacks? What kind of conclusions did you come to about the planes crashing into the buildings (did you at first think it was an accident or was it something worse)? Why?
  3. Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other peoples’ reactions to the attacks?
  4. Have you ever been to New York City or Washington D.C.? If so, how did that affect your reactions to the attacks?  If not, how did the attacks alter / change your views of the cities and their inhabitants?
  5. Did you know anyone in the cities? If so, did you try to contact them to see if they were o.k.?  What was the conversation like?
  6. If you were stranded in another city after 9/11, how did you cope with being away from family?
  7. What were other peoples’ reactions like in the days after the attacks?
  8. Could you describe your most vivid memory of that day, 9/11?
  9. How did life change for you in the immediate aftermath of the attacks?
  10. What do you remember of the media coverage of the attacks?
  11. What did you think of President Bush’s address later that night? (Show them the transcript here or video below.)
  12. How did life change for you and your family in the weeks and months after 9/11?
  13. Now that it’s been almost 15 years since the attack, how do you think America has changed since that day? Why?

Your job:

Share a minimum of five questions and answers on Blog #97 (300 words minimum) and include your personal reaction to the interview and the shared memories of 9/11/01 (100 minimum).  If you interview more than one person for this blog, please indicate the persons’ names.

Blog due by Monday, May 22nd by class.


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Posted May 12, 2017 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

64 thoughts on “Blog #97 – 9/11/01 Oral Interviews

  1. Celia Crompton

    Celia: What is your first memory of hearing about the attack? What kinds of conclusions did you come to about the planes crashing into the buildings?
    Scott: OK so I was on a conference call with some of my staff that were in London. England and they told me because I think they must have had some sort of news feed going-this was before smart phones-and we were just doing business as it was a weekly meeting, and they said “Scott you need to get off this call and turn on the TV, the airplanes just hit the twin towers” and I took it in and said “This is really bad because its on American soil, this is really going to be bad, I’ll see you guys later.”
    Celia: So you immediately came to the conclusion that it was an attack and not a mistake?
    Scott: Yeah, well the way the guys had made it sound that yeah it sort of pushed my opinion towards that, I didn’t even think anything else.
    Celia: So you didn’t hear about it until after both planes had hit?
    Scott: I think the guys in England told me and by the time I got to the TV both planes had already hit, yeah. But they hadn’t fallen yet I don’t believe.
    Celia: Where were you when the attacks happened and what were other peoples’ reactions?
    Scott: I was in my office in Novi, Michigan on the phone. And the other peoples’ reactions? There was nobody in the office so I don’t think I saw anybody until I went home.
    Celia: What was mom’s reaction?
    Scott: I don’t think that we were traumatized, it was more like that this was completely new territory what was happening. We were riveted to the TV don’t get me wrong, everyone was riveted to the TV that I remember.
    Celia: But no hysterics?
    Scott: No I don’t remember anyone going hysterical but I remember the CEO of our company literally within hours putting out a statement to everybody about how we’re going to take care of everybody that’s stranded because we were a company that had people flying all over, probably 25% of our company was in the air at that time.
    Celia: Could you describe your most vivid memory of that day?
    Scott: I think it was when, um, the first tower fell because it was so unexpected. A plane hit the building- a big one- but you didn’t think it would take down the whole building, just those floors would be affected. And then it started and the whole thing- it just kept going.
    Celia: What were other people’s reactions in the days after the attacks?
    Scott: Well you know I won’t speak to the TV reaction because you know on the TV, but people I knew, I think that it was, um, I don’t remember there being a lot of fear. I remember people being really mad.
    Celia: And did you know anyone directly affected by the attack, like a relative or coworker?
    Scott; I don’t think there was anybody I knew within 2 degrees of separation. So I really didn’t get that exposure to someone who was emotionally attached to someone in the building.
    Celia: What did you think of President Bush’s address later that night?
    Scott: Well I don’t remember a lot of the specifics but I do remember the whole country being upset. He said exactly the right things. I just remember everybody being united and really patriotic and not as afraid, like they had confidence that the President was going to take care of things.
    Celia: My own question, the Patriot’s Act and all the surveillance that was put into effect afterwards, what’s your opinion of that?
    Scott: So here’s what happened, most of the country was like “he, whatever lets just make sur this doesn’t happen again” but there were a lot of civil liberties that were violated. See its always a continuum as to whether it was violated or not. The government has your SSN, so is that a violation? It’s a continuum. It can be archaic. But in other words you’re ensuring freedom by taking away others’ civil liberties.

    My reaction: I was surprised to find out there wasn’t mass hysteria after the attacks. I thought there would have been more devastation, but I’m also proud to be a part of a country that took such quick action when faced with the insult and degradation well as the loss of thousands of innocent lives. I hear stories from my friends that knew people in the towers or across from them and I can’t even begin to empathize what it must be like to watch people jumping off the building and be faced with the choice to burn alive or jump to your death. Watching the towers collapse and hearing my father talk about his coworkers in planes was very emotional and I can’t imagine what it must have been like. I hope nothing like 9-11 ever occurs again.

  2. Jordan Lesson

    Ken Lesson, Father

    1. Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other peoples’ reactions to the attacks?
    “When the attacks occurred I was in my office watching Good Morning America. At the time, the first plane had already hit one of the Twin Towers. At first, I thought it was an accident but when the second plane hit, I knew it was a terrorist attack. My employee’s at my office were concerned, however nobody left work.”

    2. Have you ever been to New York City or Washington D.C.? If so, how did that affect your reactions to the attacks? If not, how did the attacks alter / change your views of the cities and their inhabitants?
    “Yes, I have been to both New York City and Washington D.C.. I had visited the Twin Towers once and I also visited the Pentagon. However, this had not affected my reactions to the attacks since I live in Michigan and I only visited those places on vacation.”

    3. Did you know anyone in the cities? If so, did you try to contact them to see if they were o.k.? What was the conversation like?
    “Yes, one of my very close childhood friends, Rick Kaufman, was in the city at the time. He wasn’t in the Twin Towers or anything but he was staying close enough that he could see smoke and the rubble from the towers. After I had heard about the attacks I did try to contact him, but all the phone lines were closed probably due to the significant amount of other people trying to call their family members and friends”

    4. How did life change for you and your family in the weeks and months after 9/11?
    “Life didn’t change very much in the weeks and months after 9/11. One thing that did change was that I took a year off from flying until I knew that the airport security had advanced their technology. Another thing that changed was that a lot of people now looked at Arabs and Muslims differently. Every time a Muslim would pass by a lot of people would second guess them because they didn’t know whether they were going to blow themselves up or not. There was a lot of uncertainty.”

    5. What is your name? How old were you on 9/11?
    “My names is Kenneth Gregg Lesson and I was 39 years old when 9/11 occurred. You were just about 4 months old.”
    6. What did you think of President Bush’s address later that night?
    “I did watch President Bush’s address later that night. I thought his speech was very inspiring and motivational. It made me very proud to be an American. It also gave me hope that we were going to come back from this devastation and get payback.”

    My Reaction: I was actually pretty surprised with this interview because I think it was the first time in which I received a first-hand story about 9/11. I was surprised to find out that my father acted extremely relaxed during the attacks since he didn’t leave work that day and he didn’t pick up my older brother and sister. After learning about 9/11 in class and online it definitely sounded a lot worse in class, my dad kind of under played it. However, this interview made me realize that a lot of people had different reactions rather than watching the television in awe.

  3. Joshua Salter

    1. What is your name? How old were you on 9/11?
    My name is Kelly Salter and I was 27 when 911 happened.
    2. What is your first memory of when you first heard about the attacks? What kind of conclusions did you come to about the planes crashing into the buildings (did you at first think it was an accident or was it something worse)? Why?

    My first memory of the attack was being very concerned for my friend Shannon who lives and worked in midtown Manhattan. I never once thought terrorist attack until the news said it.I assumed it was a malfunction on the plane.
    3. Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other peoples’ reactions to the attacks?
    I was at home when the attacks happened. I had two babies at home and I was actually nursing one of my sons when the breaking news came on the screen.
    8. Could you describe your most vivid memory of that day, 9/11?
    My most vivid memory of that day was of Charlie Gibson talking about the plane crash I’m good morning America with the one burning Tower in the background and while he was talking we watched the second plane hit the other tower. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such destruction happen on live TV but it was devastating to watch.
    4. Have you ever been to New York City or Washington D.C.? If so, how did that affect your reactions to the attacks? If not, how did the attacks alter / change your views of the cities and their inhabitants?
    At that point in my life I have never visited New York City. I have been to Washington DC one time in eighth grade. I remember thinking to myself but New York City must be a very vulnerable place for something like that to happen. And I remember being struck by the fact that someone was able to attack the Pentagon, the very building that house the people and departments that protected us.
    5. Did you know anyone in the cities? If so, did you try to contact them to see if they were o.k.? What was the conversation like?
    My friend Shannon and her brother Jared both lived in midtown Manhattan and also worked in the area. I was immediately nervous for both of them but unable to get a hold of them. I put several phone calls into their parents and it wasn’t until early afternoon that I got the OK from her mom and dad. I remember speaking to Shannon a few days after 911 and she was ready to leave the city. She said it was both hard and scary to continue to sleep in live there in the first months following 9/11.
    12. How did life change for you and your family in the weeks and months after 9/11?
    I didn’t feel like life change for me too much in the days following 911. I almost felt secure living in the area we lived in. I thought to myself, “nothing like that could happen here”. If I’m being totally honest one of the ways my life changed was that television was essentially only coverage of the attacks. As a new mom who did a lot of baby holding in nursing, I didn’t have much to watch except for the attacks and those were scary to me.
    10. What do you remember of the media coverage of the attacks?
    I felt like the media did a great job in the first few days following the attack and reporting the events and also the human side of the attacks. I also remember vividly when late-night television returned. I remember thinking to myself what an impact those late night hosts have on our every day life.
    11. What did you think of President Bush’s address later that night? (Show them the transcript here or video below.)
    President Bush’s speech following the attacks was one of my favorite speeches delivered by a president since I’ve been alive. It’s felt like it was spoken from his hearts in that a script, and I loved the fact that he didn’t take time to make sure he was politically correct in what he said.

    The person I interviewed was my mom, she has told me her 9/11 stories multiple times in the past because of the significance behind the event, most of the questions I had a pretty good idea on what her answer was going to be, like for example the one about where she was and how she found out about the attack. One question that surprised me was the one about president Bush, before the interview she hadn’t really mentioned how she felt about Bush’s reaction to the attacks. Also I didn’t know that she liked the speech that Bush had following the attacks she never mentioned it to me. She also never mentioned Charlie Gibson and the report following the attacks. So those two answers surprised me. Other then that I knew most of her answers.

  4. Ny'dea Terrell

    Damon Terrell: 32 years at the time of the attack
    2. What is your first memory of when you first heard about the attacks? What kind of conclusions did you come to about the planes crashing into the buildings (did you at first think it was an accident or was it something worse)? Why?
    Was shocked and couldn’t believe what was occurring at the time. Heard that the country was under attack, but didn’t believe it until he saw it on the TV, which lead to even more disbelief “questioned reality”. Did not know what to think, more confusion, because he couldn’t think of why such a thing was occurring. It was not way of knowing of that extent was going to occur. Every other attack in those present years was accounted for and had a sense of knowing that it was present in our future. Of course we had no idea this was in our future, but I would be sheltering the truth if I said it made me think that at this point the saying “anything can happen” really is true. What could happen next?

    7. What were other people’s’ reactions like in the days after the attacks?
    People were horrified and became understanding why other countries wanted to do harm to America. As citizens we don’t have a control of what America does. But innocent citizens are put into harmways or harmed, because of what our country has done.

    12. How did life change for you and your family in the weeks and months after 9/11?
    We became more aware of our surroundings. It wasn’t as if yhe could resume our regular lifestyle knowing that anytime my city could be under attack. I was more vigilant and accented every thing I did with caution. I valued seeing my family everyday more than usual. It would be unbearable to have to deal with what the families of the victims have gone through.

    Dan’elle Nelson-Terrell: 31 years old at the time of the attack
    1. Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other people’s’ reactions to the attacks?
    Sitting at home and received a text message from her friend that said ‘ look at the news’. Her friend was on the phone later and she was flabbergasted. Everytime she spoke she sounded hysterical, everythings she said came close to gerberich, because she couldn’t control the emotions she was feeling.

    10. What do you remember of the media coverage of the attacks?
    Play by play on every detail. Made a list of possible suspects, Osama Bin Laden was the number one. Heard about the Pentagon attack right as it happened because she had the television on. “The media was lying, well doesn’t know for sure, but I’m sure they lied; the media lies about everything “.

    13. Now that it’s been almost 15 years since the attack, how do you think America has changed since that day? Why?
    Thinks America has gotten worse due to the fact that America has become more susceptible to terrorist attacks. Especially with our current president in place.

    Reflection: I never thought about how it affected the citizens during the attack. I always thought of what happened to the families, the rescuers, or the victims of the attack. I understood how it affected the cities of where the attack happened, but I didn’t think about the other states.Theses interviews put into perspective the sorrow casted over America. It would be an understatement if I said I was not changed buy what my parents told me. It is hard to talk about an event that we wish our country didn’t experience, but it would be wrong to try to forget the people who were harmed, because of it. There is no good way of trying to interview/talk about a situation that had people talk about the worse and only images that occur if in the future. From this I now understand the change that occurred over the 16 years and how our country has showed growth in some areas; in terms of the people and government.

  5. Nick Capinjola

    Robert Capinjola, Father.
    33 at the time of attack.

    1.What is your first memory of when you first heard about the attacks? What kind of conclusions did you come to about the planes crashing into the buildings (did you at first think it was an accident or was it something worse)? Why?

    “Like most people i thought it was an accident, the first thing i thought of was if my business partners were in the building, we had many meetings there. I first heard it on the TV at home when i was getting ready to leave for your doctor’s appointment” On the car ride to the hospital to your doctors appointment i heard about the second attack and began to worry if i would be able to contact friends and family”.

    2.Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other people’s’ reactions to the attacks?

    “I was in the car on the way to your doctors appointment like i said earlier, and even though i was by myself in the car i was receiving rapid fire calls, which was unheard of for me in 2001. I could even see the shock on other’s faces as i passed them on the street. My first instinct was to get to you and your mother as quickly as possible, no one knew if there would be another attack and if so where it would be”.

    3.Have you ever been to New York City or Washington D.C.? If so, how did that affect your reactions to the attacks? If not, how did the attacks alter / change your views of the cities and their inhabitants?

    “ I have been to NYC many times, in fact i had an office building in the world trade center. It’s crazy to think about it, but i had just sold that company not even a year before the attacks, and after the attacks the World trade center facility was calling me about the build which i said was sold to another owner. I had a very close bond with the towers, wok, and stayed there all the time, it was very hard to watch them fall, but i was just thankful i was not there at the time”.

    4.Did you know anyone in the cities? If so, did you try to contact them to see if they were o.k.? What was the conversation like?

    “I knew many people in the cities, many business partners and friends. Although i was not too close to them i did reach out to all that i could to make sure they were okay. The most traumatic thing for me was one of my business colleagues did pass in the attack”.
    5.at did you think of President Bush’s address later that night?

    “To put it simply i thought it was great, it truly brought the country together and he suseeded in what he needed to do. It was a hard time for all Americans but Bush truly did unite us all”.

    6.Now that it’s been almost 15 years since the attack, how do you think America has changed since that day? Why?

    “Well i work in software security and the amount of money and dedication these big corporations spend on it has increased dramatically, the government has really stepped up their measures to deal with the widespread fear of terrorism. Over the 16 years since 9/11 it has been amazing to see the advancements in homeland security”.

    I knew most of these things about the way my dad felt about 9/11 before this interview but it was very interesting to learn about how he knew so many people in New York. I was also very interested in how my dad felt after the second plane hit because it was 2001 and cell phone technology was not as advanced as it is now so it’s hard to imagine how people communicated at that time. I was very happy I interview my dad I and felt that he has a lot to share to others about his experiences during 9/11.

  6. Tania Miller

    Alice Miller – 33 at the time
    What is your first memory of when you first heard about the attacks? What kind of conclusions did you come to about the planes crashing into the buildings (did you at first think it was an accident or was it something worse)? Why?
    I was confused, I did at first assume it was an accident. I was home with my 1 year old baby tania. A friend called me and said “Are you watching the news” I said no why whats up? He said somebody had just crashed into the twin towers and then I turned on the tv which stayed on for days.
    Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other people’s’ reactions to the attacks?
    At home, I was getting ready for work I think. Everybody was very confused and then we all started to wonder if we knew anybody. News kept coming in, we just didn’t know what the situation was. And then we heard about the other two attacks, it seemed that as we were acclimating to one attack there was another and another, it was just very frightening.
    Have you ever been to New York City or Washington D.C.? If so, how did that affect your reactions to the attacks? If not, how did the attacks alter / change your views of the cities and their inhabitants?
    I’ve been to new york many times, I used to go once a month with my sister to buy stock for her store. And I’ve been to Washington DC three times. Because I knew exactly where it was happening and I realized how close the proximity wsas to everything else in manhattan. As far as washington was concerned I was just um worried for our country’s infrastructures, our president our national buildings.
    Did you know anyone in the cities? If so, did you try to contact them to see if they were o.k.? What was the conversation like?
    Many people, there was no way to contact them, there was no cell service. It took days to be able to reach people. I never really reached anybody, it was more like I was trying to absorb everything that had happened, people kept being interviewed who had lost family members, the news was just endless, endless.
    If you were stranded in another city after 9/11, how did you cope with being away from family?
    I was home
    What were other people’s’ reactions like in the days after the attacks?
    Everybody was confused.
    Could you describe your most vivid memory of that day, 9/11?
    I was holding my daughter when the phone rang and the next few days were just a blur of watching news, it just wasn’t enough. You woke up to the news went to sleep with it on. Everyone just wanted answers, it was just us learning that there were these horrible people who killed others. People were being pulled out of the rubble and there were rescuers who had gone in that didn’t come out so the deaths went on for days and weeks.
    How did life change for you in the immediate aftermath of the attacks?
    I had a lot of anger because there had been a previous attempt at the twin towers not long before then there was all this fear about where it was going to happen next and then there was all this anxiety of how this was going to change travel and how it wouldn’t be so easy anymore to say let’s go here or there now we really had to think if we really needed to go somewhere because there was a great possibility that we could be killed. We cut back traveling significantly after 9/11.
    What do you remember of the media coverage of the attacks?
    Relentless, never ending.
    What did you think of President Bush’s address later that night?
    Perfect, I loved it. Didn’t rile anyone up, tried to comfort some families, did not give information on some things that could have been inaccurate.
    How did life change for you and your family in the weeks and months after 9/11?
    Every Time a friend or family member traveled I’d be nervous and say call me when you get there. All of a sudden when before we were sad and wanted information we became angry and just wanted to get the people that did it. When we watched the news and they were all chanting death to america and celebrating I realized that the world was really in trouble.
    Now that it’s been almost 15 years since the attack, how do you think America has changed since that day? Why?
    Well travel isn’t as easy as it was, I think when we stand in line at the TSA we all look at each other for the bad guy. We really have to think about what we pack and I think it’s more expensive as well as when traveling with children it’s more complicated. You just don’t look forward to the whole airport experience.
    Did you know anybody that was hurt in the attack?
    Probably but I can’t tell you who there were thousands of people working in those buildings and as a result with the carcinogens people have contracted diseases and died. It was just the people in the towers, it has been and will continue to be many many more people. I wonder the suicide rates of children and other family members of people who lost them in the crash. I do remember in the news for a while after when someone gave birth and their husband had died in the crash everyone came together to really celebrate the birth.

    It was surprising to hear how much it scared my mom. I have never experienced anything like 9/11 so I can’t understand how it felt. My mom was really scared – I mean she had a baby and with the news the way it was who was to say that another crash wasn’t going to happen? It was a scary time and the news was sporadic, everyone had questions that couldn’t be answered. It was chaotic and overwhelming. I’m glad I got to hear about the experience from my mom, I feel like I’ve learned more about her and seen another side of her.

  7. Henry Van Faussien

    1.) What is your name? How old were you on 9/11?

    Patricia Van Faussien. I was 36 on 9/11.

    2.) What is your first memory of when you first heard about the attacks? What kind of conclusions did you come to about the planes crashing into the buildings (did you at first think it was an accident or was it something worse)? Why?

    I was watching Good Morning America at home with you, Henry. The show began broadcasting the towers and interviewing people on the streets. Nobody knew the planes were terrorist attacks until the second plane hit.

    3.) Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other peoples’ reactions to the attacks?

    I was at our house in the family room watching GMA like I always had. I had to stay home with you while your dad was at work in the Ren Cen. I was a little worried after the Pentagon because no one knew how widespread the attacks were and the Ren Cen is a landmark of Detroit. Your Aunt Kate called me on her way to work in Lansing crying because she was worried about your cousin Joe and she was in shock. She decided to skip work and go get Joe from his daycare.

    4.) Have you ever been to New York City or Washington D.C.? If so, how did that affect your reactions to the attacks? If not, how did the attacks alter / change your views of the cities and their inhabitants?

    I haven’t been there but Bobby is going there this summer and I’m a little anxious about that situation.

    10.) What do you remember of the media coverage of the attacks?

    Every channel was covering it and constant feed of the buildings. And I remember when the building went down thinking hundreds of people just died.

    After this interview it was strange because I had really never talked about it with my mom. Putting myself in her shoes it was even more strange worrying about her husband father of her four children in a large building. Also her sister working in Lansing a large state capital would have been very scary. I too am a little fearful about my brother going to New York but I hope since the attacks its much scarier.

  8. Andrew Beggs

    I interviewed my mom about her 9/11 experience. My first question to her was What was your first memory when you heard about the 9/11 attacks. What did you first think about when you hear about the attacks. My mom answered “I first heard about the 9/11 attacks when I turned on the tv at about 9:30 in the morning. You (me) had woken up and were eating breakfast when I heard about it. I instantly felt by stomach drop because I had remembered my good friend, Kelly Ann, worked in the World Trade Center at the time. I instantly tried calling her over and over again with no answer. I cried pretty much the whole morning with you in my arms. I waited for an answer all day long but didn’t receive anything. That was my first memory.” My second question was “What was the world like in the days following the attacks? Did you notice a difference in the atmosphere around town and at work?” My mom answered explaining how the energy was definitely different in the days after. People seemed very cautious around town, maybe thinking that there were more attacks to come. People seemed sorrow as well, she said. That nation seemed to be a bit depressed and sorrowful after the attacks. I asked my mom if there was definitely a difference between the day before 9/11 and the day after 9/11 and she answered “110%”. My next question was “How did life change for you after the 9/11 attacks?” My mom answered saying that not much really changed for her. “Many people experienced losses in the attacks and their lives obviously changed tremendously after. My life stayed the same, I was obviously shocked and frightened by the attacks and I thought about them from time to time, but I felt my life stayed the same from day to day.” My fourth question was “What do you remember of the media coverage on the day of 9/11?” My mom said that pretty much every channel portrayed footage of the attacks and it was everywhere on pretty much every channel. The newspapers were filled with the topic and my mom just described it as being all over the media because it was such big topic on the day and the days after. My fifth question to my mom was “how has America changed since 9/11?” My mom said that the security has tremendously changed and it is way more complex then it was in 2001. They didn’t have to go through as much security as we had to today. She said that was the main transition that she saw was security increased a lot.

    My reaction to my interview with my mom was pretty basic because I knew most of the stories and experiences that she told me. It was interesting to hear about them though because I could really vividly understand how terrifying the attacks were on our nation. I wasn’t surprised at all by my mother’s answers because her answers were probably very similar to other families responses. Her story about her friend in the Tower was very interesting to hear about because it was a personal story of hers and it really related to many other families who had friends or family members in the towers during the time of the attacks. My mom didn’t seem upset while she talked about the stories though which surprised me. I expected her to get kind of sad when we discussed the attacks but she told them with a straight face. Overall, I thought my mother and I had a great discussion and I learned a lot more about the 9/11 attacks from personal experience.

  9. Gus Koza

    I interviewed my aunt for this blog her name is Kari and she was working in New York City when the attacks occurred thankfully she was not injured the following questions are what I asked her.
    What was you first memory of when you first heard about the attacks?
    When I first heard about the attacks I immediately called your mother but what I first thought of was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to work looking at the towers amazed that such a building could stand tall across the New York City Sky Line. Once I walked across the bridge without seeing those towers I became sad for those lives lost that day.
    Now that it’s been almost 15 years since the attack, how do you think America has changed since that day?
    I think we have changed greatly as a country due to the attacks our security has greatly increased in order to stop anything like this from happening again. I also think our nation was brought together during this tragic event and I have always looked at New York City differently ever since.
    What were other peoples’ reactions like in the days after the attacks?
    On that day I saw great panic within everyone, fear reined the city after that day for several weeks and people were scared to even come back on the sight. After the actual event I saw many upset because some people didn’t know whether or not their family members would make it out alive.
    What did you think of President Bush’s address later that night?
    Though I disliked Bush I felt like he did a good job responding to the attacks and a good job attempting to keep America calm. He also did a good job responding by implementing security.
    What do you remember of the media coverage of the attacks?
    I remember the media didn’t get the first plane but captured the second plane on live TV. I also remember there were rumors about the amount of planes in the air not responding. I think over 10 planes didn’t respond so that scared me more once I got home. The media just wouldn’t stop talking about it for weeks after which kept the horrific memories replaying in my head.
    My reaction to the interview was surprised but she told me this earlier when we went to NYC and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge slowly as she reimagined that day. Most of the things regarding media I wasn’t surprised about since we learned a lot of it in apush. I am surprised that my aunt supported bush after the attacks. I personally think he did a good job also but it was weird hearing my aunt say it. Overall I had a good conversation with my aunt about that day and helped me have a better understanding about the attacks.

  10. Megan D

    My dad, John Darby, was 41 on 9/11/01. That day both my parents were in the hospital because they had planned an induced labor. Later that day my mother had a sea section and I was born at 10:52pm.
    What was your first memory of the attack?
    “My first memory was, I was sitting in beaumont hospital with my wife, your mother. We were watching the today show, we were waiting to be induced, for labor, and we were watching the today show and… they finished some interview and they cut away and said ‘a plane has crashed into the World Trade center. At that point in time they thought it was a small plane, they had no idea what they were talking about.”
    What conclusions did you come to when the plane crashed into the tower?
    “At first everyone thought, nobody thought it was a terrorist attack. Nobody could figure out what happened because it was a perfectly clear day and the first reports were that, they didn’t say it was a passenger aircraft, they seemed to indicate that it was a smaller plane, so nobody could figure out what was going on, why would a small aircraft in a perfectly clear day fly into the world trade center”
    What were the people’s reaction to the attacks?
    “Well, as the day went on, we saw the second plane hit live and we were seeing that and I said ‘He did that on purpose!’, and again, we were in a hospital room… in the hospital itself, people were working, I don’t know that they knew.. Unless you were watching the news I don’t know that you knew. Later that say, like afternoon probably, until word got out and filtered out. It was pretty normal where we were because we were in a busy hospital.”
    I then asked my father to talk about my grandfather because I knew that he was flying a plane that day. My dad said,
    “Your grandfather was flying a plane from Asia to Minneapolis, and the story he told me was that they were somewhere over the pacific ocean, flying for Northwest, they overheard an Air Canada pilot communicating with their Air Traffic control, and he heard them mention that the US airspace was closed and upon hearing that he then contacted Northwest Air Traffic Control, and they said that the US was closed and they told them to barricade themselves in the cockpit, lock the door, don’t let anybody in. And again it was probably still dark because it was a red eye flight from Shanghai to Minneapolis… Since US airspace was closed, they directed them to land in Vancouver, but don’t alert the crew because at this point in time, they didn’t know if there were other terrorists out there. So they were on final approach to Vancouver and nobody in the aircraft knew about New York or that they were landing early. So all the sudden he gets on the PA right before landing and he says, ‘flight attendants, please prepare the cabin for landing’… I’m sure those people were confused as to why they were landing, you know, three hours early and then after they landed, he said, ‘Welcome to vancouver and once you get to the gate you’ll have more information on why we are here’ and I’m sure the people on the plane were kind of curious why they landed there. And… because what they had to do then was once they deplaned all the people, they had to check the manifest to see if there were any potential terrorists on that flight, which is why they didn’t tell anyone until they got off the plane.”
    Most vivid memory of that day? At first he talked about me opening my eyes for the first time at my dad.
    “As far as 9/11 goes, it was probably watching it live on tv, when that second plane hit it was like, whoa, I just saw a big aircraft fly into that building. Watching it live was crazy… and then of course, also we saw both towers come down, I know I saw the second one.”

    I had heard all of these stories before because I was born on that day. I remember when I was very little, not knowing why my birthday was so important and why when I told people they were surprised. One woman told me I was born on a special day, but she said I would find out in the future. Because of that curiosity, I have asked my parents a lot about that day, but I had never really heard the full story about my grandfather. I knew he had been flying a plane, but I didn’t know what exactly had happened. I didn’t realize the extent of how much he had to do. I realize that there must have been hundreds of flights grounded inside and out of the US and how scary it must have been for my grandpa to be flying and hear that his passengers might be terrorists. I can only imagine how weird and confused the people on the flights must have been when they found out they landed in Vancouver instead of Minneapolis and when they found out what had happened in New York. My dad said that he didn’t know much more about the days following the attack or anything, but I remember my mom telling me how scared she was for him. I also remember that my mother said that her doctor asked if she wanted to postpone the birth because of the stress she was experiencing, but she said she wanted to proceed with the seasection.

  11. Gabe Liss

    Nine Eleven Interview

    Jennifer Liss, 32 at time of attack.

    2) What is your first memory of when you first heard of the attacks? What kind of conclusions did you come to about the planes crashing into the buildings (did you at first think it was an accident or was it something worse)? Why?

    “I was watching the morning business news and was with 5 month old you.. you were born almost exactly 5 months before 9-11. Shortly after the airplanes struck 9-11, it was pretty evident from the news coverage that we were under attack. I called Dad and we both expressed our belief that Osama Bin Laden was responsible. I recall him being the biggest enemy to the US that was known at that time as wanting to harm the US so we just knew. I called my parents, your Grandma and Grandpa and they both also believed that Osama Bin Laden was responsible. I started to cry when the buildings collapsed.. I was on the phone with Grandpa and I remember a chill running through my body and just immense sadness and grief. We saw people jumping off the burning buildings.. it was devastating to watch. I probably scared you a little bit because I was so upset! It was impossible not to be. It was hours from what I remember that we knew 2 more airplanes had been hijacked. It was awhile as I recall before we understood that an airplane had caused the Pentagon damage. Then we heard about the airplane in Pennsylvania. It was one of the most memorable days in my life.”

    9. How did life change for you in the immediate aftermath of the attacks?

    “In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, we were scared. We stocked up on supplies, we weren’t sure if we were going to get attacked again. It took awhile for me to be comfortable going out in the world again.. I stockpiled water and canned goods.. it wasn’t that I was afraid of being a victim of an attack,.. I was more worried about what might happen to the economy and commerce. Airline travel had come a standstill, shelves were empty with water.. it was eerie. After awhile I felt comfortable again, but it took a good week plus to realize we were all going to be okay and that our way of life would go on.”

    10. What do you remember of the media coverage of the attacks?

    “The media coverage was incredible. I could not get enough of the news. I just wanted information. The anchors and commentators were comforting. I could not get enough of the coverage. We saw the airplanes hitting the towers, the people in the towers, the collapse and the devastation throughout lower Manhattan. The footage of people running covered in dust and debris and the thousands of people streaming across the bridges.. I will never forget that chaos. I remember being in shock when we came to realize that no one had survived the collapse of the buildings. I think for some reason I thought we would find people. We never even found bodies. Seeing the thousands of “missing people” photos in the news coverage was heartbreaking. The media really made it real for me.. I did not know anyone personally affected but the media helped us all to feel the sadness of the families who lost fathers, mothers, children.. the media was very responsible in their reporting. The coverage of the economic aftermath was also fascinating, I could not turn off the TV.”

    11. What did you think of President Bush’s address later that night?

    “I don’t remember President Bush’s speech being so short. I don’t think I felt that it was too short at the time because he, along with Mayor Guiliani and then NY Senator Hillary Clinton and others were so visibly present during the aftermath. I also knew that he was in protection because we learned that the 4th airplane was headed to the White House. There was much criticism of President Bush during his time in office which I thought was very harsh. I did not vote for the man either time and sometimes questioned whether he had the work ethic and intellect for the office. However, in part because of I know he went through during 9-11, I grew to really like him and believe he had a good heart. I ended up reading his autobiography to better understand him and what he experienced during 9-11 and the financial crisis. He had the most difficult of circumstances imaginable for a President.. his years in office were much more turbulent then Clinton or Obamas.. looking back at that video, I feel kindness toward President Bush. I think he was devastated that this happened during his Presidency and truly grieved with the families who lost so much on that day.”

    13. Now that it’s been almost 15 years since the attack, how do you think America has changed since that day? Why?

    “Now that it’s been almost 15 years since the attacks… America changed in some concrete ways.. air travel of course has become more burdensome but I find that okay, I’m so impressed with the hard work that TSA and the airlines have done to keep us safe. I feel that government changed, new agencies, new emphasis on where we spend our resources. As a society, in some ways we are becoming to attacks, though still shocking and upsetting, I now expect attacks. I don’t like how Americans have changed how they feel about Muslims, I hate prejudice of any kind. I am bothered by the negative associations we as a society now have against Islam. I love diversity and feel such pride that America is so diverse and so open. This last election of Trump seems to have set us so far back in terms of tolerance and acceptance of all different nationalities and religions.. I can’t imagine someone like him getting elected pre-9-11. I think America will be okay, but I worry.. I think economically we are in for hard times ahead and I worry that more prejudice and intolerance will continue to grow as income inequality grows.”

    After conducting this interview, I was shocked to find out how powerful the attack was on people that weren’t even near the attack. My mother was crying and horrified at the attack, and it only made matters worse when thousand of innocent lives went missing. I was also interested to hear the perspective from my mother about her optimism towards Bush. I know that many people hate Bush and his reaction towards the events, but this interview showed me that he was a good hearted man put in difficult circumstances. I also found it interesting that both of my parents know it was Osama Bin Laden right away. There was huge tensions between Bin Laden and America, so my parents were not surprised to find out he was the mastermind behind the attacks. I cannot recall memories from the precise moment of the attack as I was very young, but I remember growing up and hearing all different perspectives from teachers, family members, and articles and they all can confirm that this was one of the worst days that happened in American history.

  12. Jacob Kroll

    1. What is your name? How old were you on 9/11?
    My name is Michelle Kroll, and the incident happened when I was 26.
    2. What is your first memory of when you first heard about the attacks? What kind of conclusions did you come to about the planes crashing into the buildings (did you at first think it was an accident or was it something worse)? Why?
    My husband called me in a panic to keep me and you (Jacob) safe, and to keep the news on. I was extremely scared and anxious during this and couldn’t believe what was happening. When I first heard about it I new it was real, and I knew our country was under attack.
    3. Did you know anyone in the cities? If so, did you try to contact them to see if they were o.k.?  What was the conversation like?
    Ya my friend Nicki lived in the city at the time. Yes, as soon as I saw the news. It was really difficult to get through to anyone by cell phone, because everyone was calling her at the time. When I did contact her the conversation was very quick, and was tense as she was telling me that she was trying to get out of the city as fast as she could.
    4. Could you describe your most vivid memory of that day, 9/11?
    Watching the news, as the buildings fall one by one. No words could describe how I felt, as I was crying in awe of the sight.
    5. Now that it’s been almost 15 years since the attack, how do you think America has changed since that day? Why?
    Are you kidding me? Many aspects of America have changed since. Homeland security was invented, with greatly heightened security everywhere, especially the airports.
    This interview was emotional as it brought back troubling times for both the interviewee, and me, the interviewer. I pictured how I would have felt if I was truly conscious at the time, and not just an infant. I thought about if I had friends during this, or anyone that I’d be close with, how would they be affected. Lastly I thought about how all of the people within the twin towers must have felt during this. The intense fear within them beating as each tower fell truly horrifies me. I’m happy that our country has figured out a way to combat such events.

  13. Brooklyn

    1. What is your name? How old were you on 9/11?
    Carole Scott – 35 yrs old

    2. What is your first memory of when you first heard about the attacks? What kind of conclusions did you come to about the planes crashing into the buildings (did you at first think it was an accident or was it something worse)?

    I was getting ready to go to lunch with my friends. I was at home watching TV. I at first thought it was a accident until I saw the 2nd plane hit the building and I knew that it was not an accident, but something terribly was wrong. I felt that there were many people who did not like Americans.

    3. Have you ever been to New York City or Washington D.C.? If so, how did that affect your reactions to the attacks? If not, how did the attacks alter / change your views of the cities and their inhabitants?

    Yes, I’ve been to NY city, I felt that the attacks were unnecessary and by traveling to NY, it was observed that Americans were supporting each other despite the attacks. Traveling to NY city after the attacks, the mood of the city was peaceful when I visited the Twin Tower site (Ground Zero).

    4. Could you describe your most vivid memory of that day, 9/11?

    The most vivid memory that I have of 9/11 – day was actually seeing the plane hit the tower and thinking of all the lives that were going to be affected.

    5. Did you know anyone in the cities? If so, did you try to contact them to see if they were o.k.? What was the conversation like?

    Yes I did, my cousin actually was in New York at the time the attack happened. Her family (my other cousins and great-aunt were trying to reach her all day. They finally reached her and luckily they had other family in Virginia. So my cousin had to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and wait for her family to drive and get her from New Jersey.

    I think the interview with my mom went very well. I feel like my mom was affected by what happened since she knew someone personally who was affected and I know the person too. I now see that person as stronger than before. I think if I was my mom in that situation, I would be terrified. Even though my mom was living in Michigan, she had me about four months ago and I would be scared about not knowing what exactly is happening or where it is exactly happening. Knowing me I would be an absolute mess. I wouldn’t have the strength my cousin did to walk across the bridge. I would have had to been carried or persuaded because I would have froze.

  14. geoffwickersham (Post author)

    Bryce: What is your name? How old were you on 9/11?
    Mom: Sharon Ulep. I was 32 years old and 8 months pregnant with Bryce on 9/11/2001.

    Bryce: What is your first memory of when you first heard about the attacks? What kind of conclusions did you come to about the planes crashing into the buildings (did you at first think it was an accident or was it something worse)? Why?
    Mom: So, at the time I worked at Henry Ford Hospital in an administrative role in the Quality department. I didn’t work directly with patients, but more in an office environment. It came through on the internet that something was happening. People were saying something is happening in New York. The information coming through on the web was so rapid fire that we felt we needed to find a television. So, we found an old television on a cart that you would use for a conference and set that up. Everyone from the office, about 35 people, piled into this small conference room that was made to hold about 10 people comfortably. At that point in time, the first tower had gone down and they didn’t know if it was an accident, like a plane had gone off course or something, or if it was a terror attack, or what it was. It was just an Oh My God thing where a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center Towers. We stayed in that conference room off and on for the next hour or so. During that time, the second tower came down. The feeling in the room when the second tower went down was intense. It was a moment where we all went, this is not an accident, this is intentional. And because we had been watching the television, we actually saw the 2nd plane fly in and hit the 2nd tower and then eventually watched the tower collapse. You have to imagine working in a huge hospital like Henry Ford, our immediate context was thinking about the human casualties, the number of people in the buildings who were trying to get out and the sheer shock and awe of watching that tower come down and knowing there was no way the people could have escaped. It was absolutely horrific. For me, being pregnant at the time, you knew that the world changed that day. The way that we interacted with the world changed that day. And to be bringing a baby into that world was most profound.

    Bryce: Did you know anyone in the cities? If so, did you try to contact them to see if they were o.k.? What was the conversation like?
    Mom: I knew people in and around NYC, but no one that worked in the financial district. What was also going on, which people don’t always remember is that there were also planes being used to target the Pentagon. Your uncle Dennis worked at the Pentagon at the time and was housed in the Intelligence division. Where the planes hit the Pentagon was right next to where his offices were located. Through whatever stroke of luck, the majority of the folks in the Intelligence offices were out of the Pentagon that day attending a conference in another state for Intelligence whatever. So, Uncle Dennis was not actually at work that day when the planes hit the Pentagon. But, if he had been there, he would have been caught up in what happened.
    The other piece people may not remember as well because it doesn’t have the same kind of memorial site to it that the World Trade Center has is the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. The plane was headed to DC, and the passengers and crew of the plane chose to overpower the terrorists on the plane and crash it sacrificing themselves. You can only imagine what that was like as there is no video or live stream of what was actually happening. But, based on what communications were available, the passengers and crew of that plane made the ultimate sacrifice. That was horrible. For as much as fly for work, I can’t even think about what I would do in that same situation. It is a sacrifice a lot of people would have a hard time making.

    Bryce: How did life change for you in the immediate aftermath of the attacks?
    Mom: So, it is interesting that we actually ended up going to church that night where we had a service. People were so freaked out and crushed. I think that was a very meaningful thing to go and be with people. You have to recognize that for me, working in healthcare, upwards of 50% of physicians are foreign born foreign educated medical graduates. They are not John Smiths. They Khallil Haddads. They are coming from countries that are not going to be Christian. They are very likely going to be Muslim or Hindu, or Buddhist, or something other than Christian. I found for me that I was horrified by some of the responses of people around our country to Muslims in general. And it horrified me even more because the men and women that I work with at the hospital, that are great physicians, that save peoples lives every day and have devoted a huge portion of their life to the welfare of their fellow man. Watching these people be treated like they are bad people, they are all terrorists, like they can’t be trusted. Put that in juxtaposition to the people I work with who are likely to save your life when you show up in the Emergency Room. It really changed my perception of how we are called the “Ugly American” sometimes. What happened on 9/11 was God Awful, and the people who did it were terrible people, but to paint a brush over anybody who happens to come from that same country or same faith is the same as calling every Christian a member of the KKK. It’s not realistic and it is hurtful and painful to the people who come to the US from a majority Muslim nation.

    Bryce: What did you think of President Bush’s address later that night?
    Mom: President Bush, I think, grew up overnight. When he was elected, he was not my favorite person and not my choice, but he was a guy who hadn’t really taken the presidency and hadn’t been faced with an obligation to take it very seriously. He wasn’t doing any serious harm to the country, but he wasn’t necessarily leading us in the right direction. He took a lot of vacation time, played a lot of golf, and had sort of vanilla type attitude about policy changes. 9/11 galvanized him to step up and become Presidential. I think that Bush was ill prepared for that moment, but I think he stepped to the plate the best he could and I respected the effort that he made.

    Bryce

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