Blog #146 – Oral Interviews on 9/11/01
This past weekend, we commemorated the 21st anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in American history. Many people remember where they were when they first heard about this traumatizing event and have vivid memories of watching the events unfold. But since you were born after the attacks, you’ve only heard about it in stories and learned about it through videos. However, one of the ways historians learn about recent events that they haven’t lived through is through oral interviews of people who lived through the events either directly or indirectly.
Subject: The 9/11/01 terrorist attacks and the days afterwards.
Suggested equipment: paper and pen/cil for notes; suugest that you use a phone to record the interview.
- Get permission to take notes / record interview.
- 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.
- Keep eye contact, nod and smile at appropriate times.
- 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).
- What is your name? How old were you on 9/11?
- 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?
- Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other peoples’ reactions to the attacks?
- 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?
- 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?
- If you were stranded in another city after 9/11, how did you cope with being away from family?
- What were other peoples’ reactions like in the days after the attacks?
- Could you describe your most vivid memory of that day, 9/11?
- How did life change for you in the immediate aftermath of the attacks?
- What do you remember of the media coverage of the attacks?
- What did you think of President Bush’s address later that night? (Show them the transcript here or video below.)
- How did life change for you and your family in the weeks and months immediately after 9/11?
- What are your opinions about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Explain.
- Now that it’s been over 20 years since the attack, how do you think America has changed since that day? Why?
Share a minimum of five questions and answers on Blog #146 (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 Tuesday, Sept. 20 by class.
Link to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum – https://www.911memorial.org/
My reflection of 9/11 is that there was just a lot of fear. No one knew what was going on, even the president was surprised by the attack while reading to a kindergarten class. It also seemed like everyone saw the attack live. I’ve heard lots of peoples accounts of 9/11, an everyone one of them, including my mom, saw the attacks live. I also feel like a lot of people knew someone in New York that day. My mom has lived in Michigan her whole life, and even she knows someone who was trapped there on 9/11. To conclude my reflection, i would say overall, 9/11 had a massive impact on all people old enough to understand what was going on.
-What is your name. How old were you on 9/11
-John George. 27 years old during 9/11
-What was your first memory bout the attacks
-On the drew and mike radio show. My mom was on a plane on the way to dallas and he had tried to call her to tell her. When the second plane hit I realized that it was more of a planned thing and got worried for amanda.
-Where were you and what were other peoples reactions
-Port huron. I was in the car when I heard on the way to a meeting. The people in the meeting where also just as in shock as everyone else. Nobody understood the magnitude of it when the planes hit because the towers hadnt come down yet.
-How did your life and the lives of people around you change
– The company that I moved to work for in the following year lost 358 people in the attacks. The next job that I moved to lost 178 in the attacks and I got to speak with multiple people that were minutes away from not being able to come down.
-If you were stranded in another city after 9/11, how did you cope with being away from family?
-My wife was stranded in dallas for three days. From what she had said it was a weird environment in the city. She had landed after the second plane hit and went to their Dallas office. She just sat in the breakroom and called me while listening to TV
-What are your opinions on the war in Afganistan then Iraq
-Initially understanding of the war in Afganstanistan because of the actually connections to the terrorists. Moving to Iraq though I disagreed with because there didn’t seem like there was any cause.
-What do you remember of the media coverage on 9/11
-The footage of people at ground zero in full business clothes covered in soot was rattling. I remember the footage of multiple medical tents that were empty because there where almost nobody that was injured. There was footage of dogs going through the rubble and getting depressed because they werent finding any survivors.
My Reaction: I think that it’s interesting to see how people in the U.S. just stood still for an entire day. This situation I think is unlike any other in recent history because for a moment it brought together the whole of America. It’s very unfortunate that it takes an event of mass tragedy to bring Americans together. The thought of my mom being on a plane during this time where no one had a definitive answer of what was happening is terrifying. I think that question that stuck with me the most was the media coverage after the attacks. My dad telling me about the vile things that were said and shown is very depressing.
On September 11, 2001 I got to work at the normal time around 8:45. I was working in a trailer by myself behind an office building. I remember going into the main office building to get a cup of coffee and there being a commotion about a plane hitting the world trade center. People were suggesting it was a small plane. I went back to my desk and didn’t think much of it. After hearing of the second plane most of us gathered around TVs for the rest of the morning. There were unconfirmed breaking news reports that planes crashed at the Pentagon and something had gone wrong with a plane in Pennsylvania. Working at a radio station, the morning show stayed on the air into the afternoon. I checked the streaming dashboard and saw there were listeners to the radio station’s webstream in Afghanistan. After tower 7 collapsed, most of us went home. There was a lot of uncertainty and anxiety over the next few weeks because we did not know if there were additional attacks on the way. The stock markets and all flights closed and SNL shut down for a while. The country slowly began to open up again after a couple weeks, but in October, media outlets began to get packages of anthrax, which we were sure was part of a second-wave of attacks (these were never solved).
sorry i posted the wrong paste. I started asking my dad about his experience and it’s as follows. “On September 11, 2001 I got to work at the normal time around 8:45. I was working in a trailer by myself behind an office building. I remember going into the main office building to get a cup of coffee and there being a commotion about a plane hitting the world trade center. People were suggesting it was a small plane. I went back to my desk and didn’t think much of it. After hearing of the second plane most of us gathered around TVs for the rest of the morning. There were unconfirmed breaking news reports that planes crashed at the Pentagon and something had gone wrong with a plane in Pennsylvania. Working at a radio station, the morning show stayed on the air into the afternoon. I checked the streaming dashboard and saw there were listeners to the radio station’s webstream in Afghanistan. After tower 2 collapsed, most of us went home. There was a lot of uncertainty and anxiety over the next few weeks because we did not know if there were additional attacks on the way. The stock markets and all flights closed and SNL shut down for a while. The country slowly began to open up again after a couple weeks, but in October, media outlets began to get packages of anthrax, which we were sure was part of a second-wave of attacks (these were never solved).” After the second tower was hit my mom was going home after an incredibly stressful day. She was teaching and when the first tower was hit the assistant principal came in and she said she had the same reaction when George Bush was informed. She made the incredibly hard decision to keep teaching becasue some other teacher was showing the news on their class tv’s. She didn’t want her sixth graders to see the people jumping from the buildings before they collapsed. When she was driving home she was speeding to see my dad becasue “i thought bombs might start to fall from the sky, i didnt know what to predict”.
Q1: (What is your name? How old were you on 9/11?)
My Dad’s name is Brad Mann, when the attacks in New York on the World Trade Center towers, he was 27 years old.
Q2: (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?)
the first tower was hit, his first emotion was simply confusion, on the morning radio, there was little information about the attacks, it was mostly overlooked, as there was little good video or news at all on the subject. My dad specifically remembered that a different plane had hit another tower recently but it was very small so he thought nothing of it. The internet was still not great, so there were few videos online if any, so it was overlooked for the time being as my dad had no TV in his office. This carried on mostly until the second plane hit when people realized that this was no accident and that it was an attack on the United States. My dad’s employer sent out a message that people could go home and watch the news on TV if that would make them feel safer. My dad went home and turned on the news and specifically remembered seeing replays of the first tower collapsing.
Q3: (Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other peoples’ reactions to the attacks?)
During the attacks, my dad was both on the way to work in the morning during the first hit, and at work when the second plane hit.
Q4: (What were other peoples’ reactions like in the days after the attacks?)
People were extremely patriotic, people had a huge sense of community and everyone was extremely polite.
Q5: (What did you think of President Bush’s address later that night?)
My dad thought that president Bush had a great take on the situation, he thought that Bush did a really good job. The country was freaking out and he helped them calm down. Set a plan for the next weeks and how the country could rebuild and hold those with anything to do with the attacks accountable.
Q6: (Now that it’s been over 20 years since the attack, how do you think America has changed since that day? Why?)
He said unfortunately we are back to where we were, all that national pride and patriotism has sadly gone away. Too many people focus on themselves and of course, the pandemic didn’t help that.
I thought that the memories he shared were a bit sad, he was very worried about his wife (my mother) and how there could possibly be an attack in Detroit. Knowing that something like this could happen again to me or to my family is simply heart breaking. I’m sad that this was ever a problem but I did think, I am so thankful for the technology we have today, that I wouldn’t have had to stress out that my family members may not be ok, or I could check the new news on the subject at any time. Overall, this happening makes me feel so sad about those that were lost and the families of those affected, if this was traumatic for my dad, I wonder how bad it would have been for those involved.
Interview I did of my father in regards to 9/11. I changed things slightly to shorten and clean it up, but left hte majority of it the way it was.
What were you doing when you first learned about the attack?
I was in my home office, at my desk, working at my computer- I worked for the steel industry back then. I think I was doing emails for potential technical trials. I had the news on. I was watching the news, which I did a lot. I had it in the background while I worked at home and I saw breaking news: I saw a plane accidentally hit the tower. That was all they knew at the moment. And they were trying to figure out what happened. They thought it was an accidental plane crash that went in and they were trying to figure it out when all of a sudden, a second one hit the other tower. And then they discovered it was no accident.
What did they discover that it was?
I don’t know how fast they came to the conclusion but after it happened twice. They assumed it was intentional and a terrorist attack and then everything got locked down. And then Pittsburgh they sort of locking all the tunnels down and locked the airport down. So it was hard to go in between because a lot of Pittsburgh has a lot of like going through rivers with their mountains and they have a lot of tunnels and those things were being closed.
Did you live in Pittsburg?
I did… I lived in Mount Lebanon with your mother.
Where in Pittsburg?
What did you do as soon as you found out?
I stood up. I was like ‘Oh my g0d’. And then I called your Mom.
What is your current profession?
I work for the Department of Justice, I’m an FBI Agent.
Why did you become an FBI agent?
That’s a long answer. I wanted to help protect people.
Did 9/11 influence your decision to become an agent?
I wanted to do it before 9/11. I wouldn’t say 9/11 is the direct reason why I did it, but it pushed me in that direction.
Can you elaborate?
I wanted to work counter terrorism.
Why? What motivated you to work counter-terrorism?
I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help people. After seeing that, I even more so wanted to help protect our society.
So how did 911 impact your decision to become an agent?
It made me realize that I wasn’t doing enough of my part to help protect our way of life.
When did you decide that you were going to be an agent?
I was looking into it beforehand, but I sent in my application about 6 months after 9/11.
Did the occurrence of 911 affect your job now? In what ways?
Yes, in many ways. Every year we’re on alert because we’re still concerned there might be an attack around that day. National terrorists like symbolism, they use similar dates. It also changed the shape of the FBI. There was intelligence (information) out there, but the government didn’t communicate information well back then between different parts of the government, not as good as they do today, it’s continually changed. I also spent my first seven years on a joint Terrorism Task Force, which after 911, those became more important and better funded.
So what do you do in that task-force?
We investigate international terrorism. That’s all I can say. I can’t answer that.
Have you ever investigated anyone in the same group as the people who did the 911 attack?
It influenced other investigations. I haven’t had major investigations into those same individuals. But I’ve had leads have come off of it and and stuff I’ve had to look into because of it. I’ve never looked into the specific individuals who did the attacks.
When you first joined the FBI, on that task force, what did you have to do because of 911?
9/11 changed the shape of the country and the current threats afterwards. The priority became international terrorism rather than investigating criminal matters.
What did you think of president Bush’s address later that night?
I don’t really remember. I think it was an encouraging speech. He made it sound like we were gonna go and find who did this, who attacked our country, and kill those individuals.
So what did you feel about the attack? Like what went through your head when it happened?
I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked. I wish I could have helped. That’s exactly what went through my head. I was a volunteer firefighter at the time. And I remember thinking, I wish we were closer by. I wish that we could have helped.
If you were a firefighter in that area, would you have gone into the scene of the crime?
Yes, I would… I’d like to say that I would. I’d like to hope I would. I don’t think anybody knows until that happens. But I would like to say yes.
You’ve been to New York and Washington, how did that affect your reaction to the attack?
It didn’t until I went to the museum, the empty space- ground where the twin towers were. and you can’t help feel in awe I mean, the lives that were lost. It me made me angry. It’s just a reminder of the price of freedom and how people take it for granted but it has to be protected. As mch as we hope it would just be there, it is not there without protection, our values. We are a free society. And that’s the cost of living in a free society, which is worth it though. I guess I got off on a tangent… My effect of going to New York, I saw it and you can’t help but feel solem and sadness for what happened. You hope it never again. And never again on my watch. I mean, me as a law enforcement officer.
So, if something like that were to happen now in the area that you live in, what would you do as a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer)? Or just as a father?
I mean, because of the job I have, I would have to go respond to it and investigate it. As a father, I’d want to go and protect my kids, my family. Make sure they weren’t near there.
What would you do first?
There is no first. I can do both simultaneously. I can go respond (to the incident), but make a quick call on the way to make sure you guys are safe.
What’s your most vivid memory of that day?
Watching it happen live. Standing up, going ‘what the hell just happened?’ while I was watching it, did I see what I saw? And while that was happening, to see another plane fly in, and I’m like ”What ios that?” And then see it crash into the other tower. I wasn’t there, but I was watching it on live television. But don’t forget, I lived in Pittsburgh at the time and another plane went down right near our house. But 30 minutes away from us. That’s why the airport was shut down. It’s they started closing tunnels. So another plane went down. That’s the plane where they fought back and took the plane and made it crash. And I went to that scene a year later. Foursome firefighter drill or something close by, and I saw the field.
What did you think?
Wow. You can’t imagine how that happened. It makes you feel angry. It makes me feel angry. It makes me want to make sure that I want to help stop anything like that in the future.
What was mom’s reaction to 9/11?
Fear and concern. Your grandfather was going to be out that morning. And your grandfather had a meeting in the Twin Towers. Your grandfather was in Minneapolis and was on a plane but he either missed his flight or it was delayed, but his boss was there at that time. He worked for Cummins engines back then. They were in the second tower and the first tower got hit. And they said just stay where you are. Stay safe. There’s been a fire, a plane crash, next door but just stay where you are so you’ll be safe. But the guy in charge of the meeting said “No, i’ve been here before,” a couple of years earlier somebody put explosives in a car and tried to blow up the Twin Towers. But the guy goes, “we’re getting out.” And they all got out and they left. They took the stairs and walked down flights of slate and started walking out and then bam. The second tower got hit and the tower came down. So they all would have died if they’d stayed in that building. But, your grandfather was supposed to be there.
Would he have survived since that guy told them to get out?
If he was in that meeting, yeah, maybe. But a lot of people got out and still got hurt. They got lost in the ash and smoke. I know FBI agents who died because they went in there to help people and they breathed all the poisons in the air and they died of cancer. 911 continuously kills people. Every year we get messages about fallen people, fallen agents who were there, who were helping and when investigate and just the stuff they breathed, the plastics, the fuel exhaust from the planes, it caused health problems for numerous people. It’s been years, but there are more people who didn’t die during 9/11, but who’ve died since. And more people continue to die because first responders went in to help people without any protective gear. They just ran in to help people. They got out, but the stuff they breathed in caused cancer.
Do you know anyone personally who died?
I don’t know people who died, I know of people who died, But, I know people who were there and have to get checked continuously because of it.
For this post, I Interviewed Debbie Loftus, who was at work on September 11th 2001.
Q: What were you doing when you first heard about the planes crashing into the twin towers?
A: “I was working at the Ford Motor Company Distribution Plant, in Livonia, MI, on Sept 11, 2001. I was the Fitness Center Manager and I was surrounded by TV’s and saw it happen on TV and thought it was some sort of sci-fi show. I turned the channel and it was on every single channel, I was devastated.”
Q: What were the reactions of other people around you?
A: “There were a few employees working out in the fitness center at the time and they immediately got off their equipment and came close to the TV’s and we watched in devastation. We were in shock. Everyone immediately started calling their family and friends to make sure they were ok. People were crying and were just standing there in shock.”
Q: Could you describe your most vivid Memory of that day?
A: “Honestly, everyone was just staring at the TV as they replayed it over and over. The news covered the first crash into the North Tower of the World Trade Center and while we were watching TV LIVE, the next plane crashed into the South Tower. Then, a third plane flew into the Pentagon. The news for weeks and weeks was about al-Qaeda, the islamic extremist terrorist group that was responsible for this terrible act of terrorism. Then it was really sad as friends, who were good people that were islamic, were shunned by certain groups, as people were so suspicious of everyone around them. I think it was labeled as the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil as almost 3,000 people were killed.”
Q: What immediately went through your mind when you first heard the news?
A: “I was born in New York and have many relatives there, my uncle and aunts and many cousins, so my first thought was to wonder if they were involved and survived. My cousin’s husband was a first responder to 911 and he thankfully survived.”
Q: What do you remember from the Media/News coverages from the attacks?
A: “Initially as I said before, the media was focused on terrorism. Security at airports and all major places were on the highest alert and everyone was afraid to travel. Then… Like a breath of fresh air positivity did prevail as stories came out of survivors coming out of the rubble and heros were being honored for working for weeks and weeks without rest. Stories came out on the news of people who used their boats to help evacuate people and reunite them with their families. Fundraisers started for those families that were left behind, especially the children of officers and firemen that were lost while on duty. Famous people started writing songs like “where were you when the world stopped turning ” and others that inspired people to donate for the cause.”
My reaction to this interview and takeaway from 9/11 is that It was a heartbreaking day which left tons of families and tons of people in shock, sadness, and utter disbelief. My family has a very personal connection to this tragedy which is that my Mom’s brother, my uncle, Eric Bennett lost his life while working at the world trade center in New York on September 11th, 2001. Every year, september 11th is a very hard day for my family and we all Remember My uncle and others whose loved ones also passed.
For this post, I interviewed my dad Saman Wickramasinghe who was 30 at the time and at work in Saudi Arabia during 9/11.
Q: 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?
A: I was watching the news and it was talking about how the plane hit the tower and then we saw the 2nd plane hit the tower. I thought it was an accident at first and then after the 2nd plane hit, we knew it wasn’t an accident.
Q: Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other peoples’ reactions to the attacks?
A: I was living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The majority of people were panicking and were worried but some of the people around me were celebrating because they thought it was Jewish people who hit the building and they were proud of the attack. Your mom was crying and everyone was freaking out since people were saying America was under attack and Sethmi (family friend) was very confused.
Q: 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?
A:Yes, some of my friends from work. I tried to contact them but service wasn’t good where I was. We ended up contacting them later but they were ok since they weren’t in the area. My friends were very emotional about it since they had their friends in the towers.
Q: How did life change for you in the immediate aftermath of the attacks?
A: Nothing changed for us since we were in Riyad and we weren’t around but we were upset about what happened. We were just surprised about how it worked so well and how people let it happen. However, we had a lot of Muslim friends who were living in America at the time and they told us about how people were yelling slurs and hateful things at them because they were Muslim. It was horrifying.
Q: Could you describe your most vivid memory of that day, 9/11?
A: Watching the peoples reactions of what happened and how America was falling apart. Even though we were in Riyadh, it was still very emotional
My reaction to this interview and takeaway from 9/11 was that it was a very emotional time for everyone in the world no matter where they were and left families heartbroken. It scares me that this can happen at anytime in the world but the fact this was even able to happen and that people have started targeting Muslim people over this attack is very heartbreaking to me since we have alot of Muslim friends who were targeted. My parents have also had hateful things yelled at them for months after the attack and it was a very dark time for them and other South Asian and Middle Eastern people. Overall, it was a very emotional and dark time for everyone all around.
I interviewed My mother. Her name is Johanne Pearson and she was 28 on 09/11/01. When my mom heard about the plane crashing, she was driving to work on the freeway when she heard about it on the radio. The host on the radio thought it was an accident and so did my mom. She thought it was an accident but she did say it was a little weird for a plane to hit a building because it would never need to be that low. When both planes hit she was on the road. After she got to work it was established that it was not an accident but an attack. She has been to both D.C. and New York. She said that since the attacks the cities have had more security. My mom’s college roommate worked in the towers so she instantly contacted her. She was okay just very shocked by the events. It was a short conversation but the conversations was about how she got out and if she was going to be good. Since my mom was not in new york she said that it was a very big deal that the city was shut down.She has since seen many documentaries and programs about how the boats in new york took thousands of people away from the city. She said the country instantly locked down in hours. People wanted to know if it was an attack,if it was they wanted to know who carried it out. Her most vivid memory was being at work and the whole building was crying. She said everyone was in a sad mood for the following days. She said she instantly changed because she realized tomorrow isn’t promised and that anything could happen. I asked my mom questions 1-9.
I interviewed my mom. The information she gave me about September 11th was sad. All I can think about is the people in the towers and their thoughts. It is also crazy to me how the whole united states was fearing what could happen to their city. It was a mysterious time as people were figuring out why this happened. The information she gave me made me feel sorrow towards anyone who lost their lives during the attacks or anyone who lost a loved one, not only to Americans but to other people who were very affected by the war 9/11 started.
Q: What is your name? How old were you on 9/11?
A: My name is Amy Kruntovski and I was 24 on 9/11.
Q: Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other peoples’ reactions to the attacks?
A:We were in Las Vegas when it happened. We went into the elevator and it was all people were talking about. We saw people crying , just in disbelief that it had occurred. We were actually supposed to pick up our rental car and leave for california but it was like the city just stopped. Our car was no longer available and we ended up staying in Las Vegas for a few days because no cars were available to rent. It was the first time vegas just seemed somber almost dark.
Q: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?
A:My sister’s husband had a very good friend that worked in the buildings, when we were there for the visit he was the one who took us to the restaurant and showed us the whole campus. Right when I heard what happened I immediately called my sister to see if he was ok. It was an unreal story, he had an offsite meeting that morning so he did not go to the towers that day for work. I felt so relieved yet so sad as he had others that either lived through it or knew people that did not make it.
Q:How did life change for you and your family in the weeks and months immediately after 9/11?
A:I think really the effect on travel on the border was really an impact on us. We also felt like this could happen again? Would we want to travel again? Would it be safe at the airport? All of these questions would run through our heads , thinking about what would be safe to do?
Q:Now that it’s been over 20 years since the attack, how do you think America has changed since that day? Why?
A: I feel like security will always be a concern, although there has not been an attack of that magnitude in the US since 9/11 people are more aware, and just tend to honestly feel more cautious. Airports are very secure and our borders are secure as well. Those are some of the constants that I feel will always remain and keep us safe.
My reaction and takeaways that I got from this interview about 9/11 is that the tragedy was an awful time for many families. It scares me to know that things like this happen in the world today and have changed so many peoples lives. My parents lived in a different country at this time making the grieving harder away from family and overall a terrifying experience. Overall I can’t help but feel sorrow for all loved ones lost on this tragic day.
My name is Elin Betanzo and on 9/11 I was 26 years old. I was at a meeting in Washington D.C. It was before cell phones and at a break somebody heard that a plane had flown into the world trade center. The meeting was in a hotel so we all crowded into the fitness center to figure out what was happening. Once we understood what was happening, they canceled the meeting and sent us all home. When I exited the hotel I saw the column of smoke rising from the Pentagon. I had to get a ride home with a friend because they shut down the metro. I always take the metro to work. I did not think it was an accident because after the second plane hit it was very clear it wasn’t an accident. And as soon as I saw the smoke rising from the Pentagon I might also be in danger. The people around me were in shock. I don’t remember talking about what happened. It was more like how to get everyone home safe because most of the routes we took to get downtown weren’t in operation. I have been to both Washington D.C. and New York City. I went to the top floor in the Trade Center to see a friend and I took pictures of the World Trade Center from the Empire State Building. I had been to both buildings in D.C. and New York City that were hit. I knew people who were just like me who were working those buildings. I knew people in both cities. I called them all to see if they were ok. It was hard to get a hold of people in NYC. I had my wedding scheduled that week and we had to reconsider whether to cancel or to keep the wedding on. Planes weren’t flying so some weren’t able to come. Other people were in shock, sadness, confusion and grief. Me and several colleagues made changes in our career paths because of 9/11. The three things I remember most of that day were cramming in the fitness center of that hotel, driving home in a convertible because it was a beautiful day, and sitting in the church parking lot waiting to see if we were going to have our marriage preparation class that day. I had to make a lot of last minute changes to the wedding plans. My mother in law was visiting from Chile. We had to extend her trip because of the travel bans. I don’t think I was listening to Bush’s address. I had protested his election and I was too busy with wedding plans anyways. We are definitely much less in agreement with what is important and how to treat each other. Much less agreement with what our values are. Immediately after 9/11 it was probably the most unity and support of each other that I’ve seen in my entire life. I always carry a pair of walking shoes on me in case I have to escape where I’m working.
My Reflection: I knew a couple things about where my mom was and how she had to stress about wedding plans. We used to live in Maryland on the outskirts of D.C. so hearing that she saw the smoke rise from the Pentagon and how close that was to my old house was scary. I am sad to hear that my mom says that there hasn’t been any unity and support of the U.S. citizens since a literal terrorist attack so I hope that moving forward we see more unity and support. Being so close to the Pentagon and not having a way home probably caused a lot of stress on my mom.
Q: What is your name?
My name is Kelly Ruggirello
Q: How old were you on 9/11?
i was 34 years old on 9/11
Q: Where were you when it happened?
I was at work when it happened, I was with your dad and we started hearing about it. They let us leave and it was the most terrifying ride home we had ever experienced. we didn’t know if it would happen again or even what had happened fully. The traffic was terrible. Everyone was coming home and everyone was scared. no one knew what to do at all. All I knew was that I wanted to be home. in the comfort of my own home. I didn’t really know what to think and I could n’t start thinking about it.
Q: What did you think about it?
I honestly didn’t know what to think. I knew it wasn’t just some plane crash though I thought it was done. We saw it on the news and on the radio and I could only think. how could someone do something so terrible. and why would they do it? my heart went out to all the innocent victims that died in the event.
Q: 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 to New York or D.C since it happened. but i’ve always wanted to see the memorials that they made.
Q: Now that it’s been over 20 years since the attack, how do you think America has changed since that day? Why?
I remember people were a lot more scared then they were before. I think it’s probably still very hard for the residents of New York.
My reaction to my mom’s interview and what I took away from 9/11 was that it was a very emotional time for everyone in the world no matter where they were and left families heartbroken. I can’t imagine how it was for the people who were in their cars or with family, and they heard the attack on the radio or on tv. I can’t imagine how scared people must’ve been. Basically the whole U.S came together and the whole tragedy brought people very close. It’s quite disappointing that it takes a mass tragedy to bring Americans together. Hearing my mom’s side of the story was very interesting and I think I’m going to interview my dad just for fun to see what he thinks and his side of the experience.
The following answers are from my mom, they are direct quotes.
My name is Amy geissbuhler and I was 30 years old when 9/11 happened
“When I first heard of it I had no interpretation of the situation other than confusion and first thinking it was a joke
“I was standing in line at the post office and I heard people in line saying something about a plane crashing into one of the towers in New York City and at that moment I wasn’t certain if it was real when I got to my car and turn the radio on the DJs were explaining what was happening and again I thought it was kind of a joke and then they kept saying that this wasn’t a joke that this was actually happening.”
“I have been to New York City and actually my husband and I were there in July of 2001 so when I heard the news it was really hard to comprehend what was happening cause we had just been there and kind of wrapping your brain around what was happening was very difficult.”
8. “My most vivid memory of that day was after learning of the news and that it was real driving to a friend’s house who had once lived in New York City and she had friends that had worked in those buildings so I immediately drove to her house and just the nonstop news coverage of what was happening that day will be something I never forget.”
9. “Life changed not immediately following the incident however the weeks Following air travel specifically was changed forever the security processes that we had gone through prior to 9/11 where are much different than after 9/11 directly affecting us being aware of Foreign Affairs brought to light how much more we need to pay attention to those things and how important our national security is.”
10. “What I remember about the media coverage was every media Outlet was covering this 24 hours 7 days a week for probably a good few months following this incident obviously because of the devastation and all the different places learning all of the stories of the people affected of all the laws that took place it was truly something we knew was historic and that we were living through.”
13. “In regards to the wars that came from this incident I think initially after the president spoke and pledge to our nation that he wanted to keep us safe and secure and that we would go after those that does harm to our country In the Heat of the Moment I think the country was behind it not knowing the depth of terrorist involvement and Iraq and Afghanistan all of these things probably was much more in in-depth and looking back now we’re not sure if that was the right thing to do however In the Heat of the Moment that’s what we did.”
I honestly didn’t know all this information. I did know where she was and how old she was, but I never knew what the media coverage was about, and that she was in New York City a few months before the attacks.
-What is your name? -Chimaraoge Ajaero. -How old were you on 9/11? – 31 years old. -What is your first memory of when you first heard of the attacks on 9/11? -I remember the thought of the skyscrapers falling down, many people screaming and dying. -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 felt it was an accident. I just could not fathom the thought that people would want to waste people’s lives, and their own, for no reason. So I felt it was an accident, I thought the plain just lost communication, I could not imagine that it was real. -Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other peoples’ reactions to the attacks? -I was in Africa, I was in Nigeria, everyone was yelling and really worried and bothered about the situation. They were wondering what actually happened, there was a panic around. -So even though the attacks didn’t occur in the U.S. people were still worried about it? -Yes, because a lot of people have relatives in the United States. It really hurt. Seeing pictures of the collapse was really terrifying, because those were lives like us really being lost. -Have you ever been to New York City or Washington, D.C.? -Yes, I’ve been to New York City. -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? -The much I could say about New York is that it was too busy. When I came to New York, it was already after the attack. So I wasn’t really to be able to place things together, because like I said, “I’m from a foreign country”. So I don’t know what it was before the attack but what I saw in New York after the attack, it was still too crowded and too busy. I only stayed in New York for a short time. -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 knew a family friend in the city I tried to contact them, but I couldn’t get them that day, but later on they called us to let us know they were okay.
I interviewed my mom and she was 26 on 9/11.
What was your first memory 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?
My first memory was watching it on TV at work and not thinking that it could be real. I thought it was something much worse. I remember being evacuated outside of our building and seeing police and emergency services with riot gear.
Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other peoples’ reactions to the attacks? I was at work in Detroit, everyone around me was in states of shock and in disbelief that something like this had happened.
How did life change for you in the immediate aftermath of the attacks? I would say I definitely tried to connect with those that I work with and others in my life. And I would also say that I was much more aware of everything around me.
Now that it’s been over 20 years since the attack, how do you think America has changed since that day? Why? I would say we are less tolerant of differences with each other and everything is much more cautious and many changes have been made to prevent something like this from ever happening again.
My reaction: I think what happened on 9/11 was a terrible time, and I would’ve probably reacted the same as so many other people did. I would have been just as scared. I feel so bad about those who had to live through this horrific event and hope that something like this will never happen again. I think the changes made to keep people safe and to prevent this from happening again do a lot to keep us safe but I feel like more could have been done. I think learning about this from someone closer to us than learning about this in school felt so much different because we know them.
Apush Interview on 9/11
What is your name? How old were you on 9/11?
Jeff Kucab, 24 years old.
2. Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other peoples’ reactions to the attacks?
I was at my office in Troy, Michigan, mostly with a reaction of disbelief. It had been such a long time since there was any type of attack on American soil. This made it hard to believe that it was happening. It was surreal because there weren’t many social media ways to find out what was going on. I was listening to the Howard Stern show as it occurred. As they were figuring out what was happening there was more panic and no one knew what to do. They believed they could be in a direct line of fire due to the show being made in New York.
3. What were other peoples’ reactions like in the days after the attacks?
Anger and sadness. We didn’t come into work for the next couple days as we tried to learn what happened, why it happened, and who did it. Once we returned to the office there were many mixed emotions. One person in my office who was an army vet. She was extremely mad and wanted to wage war instantly. We didn’t have a very big office but there was mostly confusion. We knew the towers went down and tere were terrorists but not much pastthat point becauyse information was so hard to get a hold of.
4. What do you remember of the media coverage of the attacks?
Every single station we had for TV was solely focused on it. Itv was the topic of conversation and there was a swell of American pride saying don’t mess with us.
5. Now that it’s been over 20 years since the attack, how do you think America has changed since that day? Why?
Going to an airport is extremely different. Extra precautions were added to ensure nothing like this ever happens again. We view the Middle East very differently now then we have. The rules around terrorism are more defined, it’s something we are constantly more aware of.
6. Could you describe your most vivid memory of that day, 9/11?
The thing I always remember is the fact that I was listening to the Howard Stern show,it’s the first thing I tell anyone about that day. It’s just the fact that something so dumb and not serious, very american was what I was listening to when something so serious and heart breakeing was happening while I was listening to it.
When I first asked my dad these questions I was in shock. He wasn’t in New York, stuck in another country, know anyone near or in the towers at the time. I was shocked how despite losing a loved one he was still deeply affected by this day. I don’t think that it’s an event anyone could forget. Although my dad’s situation isn’t nearly as bad as others I don’t think that anyone should have to live through a tragic event.
What is your name? How old were you on 9/11?
Kristi Petrovitch, 19
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?
Kids didn’t know what to think at that time, many had different theories about what happened
Where were you when the attacks happened? What were other peoples’ reactions to the attacks?
College, other people were confused, surprised, scared
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 never been to new York or Washington city before, and people started to act wary around other races
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?
One of my friends worked in the building or around I can’t remember and when it all happened I called her to find out what happened and found she was fine
Could you describe your most vivid memory of that day, 9/11?
Going to one of my classes and finding them watching what happened on the television
How did life change for you in the immediate aftermath of the attacks?
Everyone was more cautious and people started to become a bit more racist against others, specifically others of middle eastern dissent
What do you remember about the media coverage of the attacks?
They talked about how and why it happened and how many were affected
What did you think of President Bush’s address later that night? (Show them the transcript here or the video below.)
I don’t quite remember
How did life change for you and your family in the weeks and months immediately after 9/11?
Everyone was just way more scared and cautious
What are your opinions about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Explain.
Don’t have any
Now that it’s been over 20 years since the attack, how do you think America has changed since that day? Why?
Not very much, after the attack people only became more aware of what others are doing.
1. My name is Kiddada Green. I was 24 years old.
2. My first thought and memory was confusion and uncertainty. I thought someone was forging war on us by the time the news got to me if was for sure it was a terrorist attack. It was pandemonium because American has done so much stuff to people what makes us think we were above a terrorist attack.
3. I was teaching a second grade class in michigan. The people I was around were in shock. We left the kids in the room and huddled around a tv to see what was going on. A lot of the parents were coming to pick up their children.
4. Yes i had been to both of those places but it didn’t affect it at all.
5. I’m sure I knew people but no one I could think of that was in need of calling.
6. I wasn’t stranded.
7. There was a lot of speculation trying to figure out what was truth or propaganda were we going to war what would be like now.
8. For me it was just like parents were picking up their kids from school looking at the news and just seeing dust and smoke.
9. I continued with my day to day. There was no immediate change to life we had to continue.
10. I remember with the attack on the pentagon they were praising the heros on the plane who disarmed on of the terrorist.
11. I think the speech was very presidential.
12. Nothing changed I think because we were right in New york.
13. In general I would like all peace in the world and all wars to end.
14. I think America has not changed. People have a common sentiment and emotion the occurred on 911 i think that resounds throughout the country regardless of one’s background of belief so that may be something we all have in common
I interviewed my mom, Lisa Thiele who was 30 years old when 9/11 occurred.
Where were you when the attacks happened?
She was in West Covina, California when the planes hit.
3. What were other peoples’ reactions to the attacks?
She was with her family and they were sad, tearful, and in shock
6. How did you cope with being away from family if you were stranded in another city after 9/11?
She was with her mom, sister, and cousin visiting her Aunt and Uncle. Thankfully she was with her family so being away from home was not as stressful.
8. Could you describe your most vivid memory of that day, 9/11?
Her most vivid memory was when she was sitting by her aunt and uncle’s pool and not hearing any air traffic since all of the planes were ordered to the ground.
9. How did life change for you in the immediate aftermath of the attacks?
She was not able to leave West Covina, California because no planes were allowed in the air in fear of another terrorist attack. She felt worried, and heartbroken for all the families affected by the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
10. What do you remember about the media coverage of the attacks?
The media was live all over showing the devastating events occurring in New York. The broadcasting went on for days, interviewing people who had lost loved ones, interviewing police officers and firemen, showing the rescue process, and the cleanup of the aftermath of the attack.
11. What did you think of President Bush’s address later that night?
She thought his response was outstanding. 9/11 was such an unexpected, tragic event, one you are unable to prepare for. President Bush, the government, and his staff acted purely out of confidence, and knowledge to the best of their ability.