Readers remember 9/11

Published 6:00 am Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Farmville Herald asked people for their memories of where they were, what they were doing and what they were thinking on Sept. 11, 2001. These responses were solicited in the newspaper, on Facebook and on our website, inviting people to respond via the website, Facebook or email. Below are some of the responses we received. Responses have been edited for spelling, grammar, style and length.

Sophomore year, Air Force JROTC classroom at Prince Edward County High School. We did not go to any of our classes the rest of the day, we all stayed glued to the TV. Our instructors, Sgt. Williams and Lt. Col. McReynolds were just as speechless as we were. It was a Tuesday, which was uniform day for us, so that is vividly ingrained in my mind. A bunch of kids, in military uniforms, watching the footage on the news, not sure what the future held for us, or anyone really.

— Jenny Ragland

I was working at National Geographic TV in Washington D.C. Two colleagues were heading to Dulles to fly to Los Angeles, and I called them to tell them to turn around and go home. I remember being on AIM with other friends at their jobs, comparing what we’d heard, what was going on. Those of us in the National Geographic office were told to go home after the Pentagon was hit. I took the train to work every day, but it was not running back to where I lived in Manassas until much later in the day, so I took the orange line out to Vienna, where I serendipitously ran into a high school friend, and we got a ride back to Manassas with a friend of his from a bus he rode. It was eerily quiet on the Metro, in the car on the highway. I spent most of the rest of the day in bed.

The Pentagon was still smoldering when I went to work the next day. We learned on 9/12 that two colleagues who were escorting teachers and students to California were on the plane that hit the Pentagon. It made an incredibly confusing and somber day even worse.

— Emily Kane

I was working on a church addition in Fluvanna and we heard it on the radio. The preacher took my boss and I to the basement to watch it on a TV.

— Aquafloat Jones

At work at a Furniture factory and everyone realized we had been attacked and it brought many people together for our country — hope it doesn’t take something like that to bring people together again.

— Darla Parker

I was no longer living in Farmville. I was at the post office on the South Coast waiting in line to buy stamps. The TV showed scenes of one of the planes hitting the World Trade Center. I thought it was a Bruce Willis movie. As I stood there and watched the broadcast, it was clear that it was no movie and this was happening in live time. Most people could not believe this was happening.

Willie Maria Wyndham

I was a Junior at Longwood, I had early morning, back to back classes in the same class room in Hull. The 9 a.m. class came in saying that it was all over the news that a plane had hit a building in New York City so we turned on the TV in class. Right as we turned it on we saw a plane hit. We all thought it was a replay but it was actually live footage of the second plane hitting.

Sarah Hamlett BlackweIl

English class, my senior year of high school. #PHS #neverforget

Alicia Haas

I was in the American embassy in Belgrade, Serbia, with my parents, finishing up the final interviews to immigrate to the U.S.

Sue Carter

I was getting ready for class as a sophomore at Southside Virginia Community College. I heard it on the radio but only partially. I thought “What an awful joke.” Then I learned it was not a joke. I remember people saying, “We are at war now.” Still get emotional about it even though I don’t personally know anyone involved.

Rachel Crews

I was on an Air Swiss flight from Zurich to Johannesburg. All of the flight attendants were called back to a meeting but passengers were told nothing until we landed. My sons and I had left Dulles Airport the previous evening.

Laura Rann

Remember that we all cared about one another, skin color didn’t matter, being southern or northern didn’t matter, we smiled at total strangers and offered a helping hand to one another, Confederate or Yankee —it didn’t matter!

We became united, we showed that we all were Americans.

It’s a shame it took something so tragic to bring us together …

Doris Evans

Ninth grade gym class! #neverforget 9/11

Megan Marie

I was 18, newlywed and living in Virginia Beach after having graduated high school the June before. I dropped my husband off on base and heard the reports on the way back to our apartment. I didn’t talk to him for two weeks since he wasn’t allowed to call and even let me know he was being deployed. My brother was also working in Washington D.C. at the time. No one could get through since the phone lines were so jammed. It’s definitely a day I won’t forget.

Meg Marie

I was in Biology class, freshman year at Longwood University.

Maggie Jacobsohn

I was at the dentist having my teeth cleaned. They had the radio playing as background noise when the first plane struck the tower. We all thought it was a sight seeing plane at first.

Jeff Postans

I was back home in Georgia in the hospital and had just had our first child.

Jessica Harrelson Childers

I was no longer living in Farmville. I worked in a large Federal building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C., between the White House and the Capitol. News reports initially made it sound like the city was far more under attack than it actually was. Co-workers and I walked across the city and fled on foot to Virginia via Georgetown. I still remember seeing the smoke from the Pentagon as clear as day.

I had also flown through Newark just a few days earlier and saw the World Trade Center towers across the river. Never could have imagined what was to come. All of it hit way too close to home for me.

— Ryan Irving

I was in my first-grade classroom at White Marsh Elementary in Maryland.

— Miles Sadler

I was a freshman at a high school in Kentucky. I was in Business and Accounting class when the first plane hit. My teacher got word and turned the TV in the classroom on to the news. We all watched in horrer and disbelief as the second plane hit on live TV.

— Cherish Chumley

I was a waitress at the Olive Garden in Jacksonville, Florida and we watched 9/11 on the bar TV. We had no customers on that day — people were scared to leave their house.

— Margaret Smoot

That was when people stood together and looked out for each other. Now nobody looks out for anyone. You should be asking the question what is going to happen on the 20th anniversary with all the refugees coming to the U.S.

— Jason Wharam

I was at my home in Rice, getting my 1-1/2 year old ready and going to pick my parents up to drop off at the airport in Richmond. They had planned a trip out west, something they had wanted to do for years. Neither had flown before, that day was to be their first flight. My husband, who was a police officer at Hampden-Sydney College at the time, called me and told me that I needed to let mom and dad know they wouldn’t be able to fly today. I did not know what was going on. He told me to turn on the news. After that it was just slow motion. I picked Hunter up and went on over to my parents. We sat and tried to piece together the information that was coming in.

— Allison Williams Travis

I was at work in the United Kingdom. We knew something had happened but the internet crashed. We managed to hear a radio report, but nothing could prepare anyone for the TV news reports showing the planes crashing into the towers, the smoke, the people jumping from the buildings. It was scary. America had already hit Japan twice with nukes in WW2. The end of the world seemed possible. It changed life forever. There would be no more taking big bottles of shower gel on holiday, or even a bottle of water from one side of customs to the next. A sad day.

Sue Mennell

I was a fifth grader and remember us leaving school early. I remember wondering if airplanes were just going to start crashing into other places like school or our houses. I remember asking lots of questions and not understanding why people would want to do that …

Miranda Gresham

Freshman year of high school. Every teacher but Ms. Pim (third grade English) allowed us to watch the news. My Grandfather worked at the Smithsonian and I remember getting upset and nervous when the Pentagon was hit.

Eventually our school system went on lockdown because President Bush was at another school about 75 miles away and almost every school in the area went on lockdown. Reasoning was, I believe, it was known he was at a school doing a video shoot with the kids but it wasn’t publicly listed which one, so for safety we all went on lockdown in the tri county area.

Ryan Taney

I was working in Bowling Green, Ohio. All of us in the office gathered in the conference room to watch the events unfold on TV. One by one — almost wordlessly — we left and went to our homes even though the workday was not over.

Jes Simmons

Working at INOVA Fairfax hospital.

Kirsten Huber

I was in elementary school and had absolutely no idea why my mom was picking me, my brothers, and a friend up from school early.

Brittany Lynn Williams

I don’t know why you would want to put so much significance on something.

Merle Watson

I was home. Saw some of it live on TV.

Catherine Ramsey

I was in the Pentagon.

Rucker Snead

Eighth grade World Geography class watching Channel One News sitting next to Brian Henshaw. I’ll never forget.

Tabitha Toney

Eighth grade science class.

Dawn Ang