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9/11: A Day of Destruction and Disruption

The events of September 11, 2001, continue to weigh heavily on our society, particularly as we approach the 20th anniversary of the infamous attacks on U.S. soil and as we continue to grapple with instability in the Middle East. The following selection of memories from Badgers shows how 9/11 affected us all, whether you were near Ground Zero, struggling to process the shock, or frantically trying to connect with loved ones.

Esther Seidlitz
September 07, 2021

The events of September 11, 2001, continue to weigh heavily on our society, particularly as we approach the 20th anniversary of the infamous attacks on U.S. soil and as we continue to grapple with instability in the Middle East. As we know, 9/11 did not happen in a vacuum. The Badger community is far-reaching; it could be considered a microcosm of the global community. As such, there were Badgers in New York, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon. It is likely we all had some sort of connection to those on the flights that were hijacked, those in the crash sites, or those who were sent overseas afterwards. The following selection of memories from Badgers shows how 9/11 affected us all, whether you were near Ground Zero, struggling to process the shock, or frantically trying to connect with loved ones.

Memories from New York

I was in New York on 9/11/01 staying at the World Trade Center Marriott Hotel and attending a conference a number of blocks away. It was a beautiful day and I decided to walk to the conference. I left the Trade Center complex at about 8:30 a.m. I was several blocks down Broadway when I heard a low-flying airplane and looked up to see this large jet gleaming in the bright sunshine moving fast but not in any evident trouble — no trail of smoke or erratic movements. I then watched in utter amazement and disbelief as it proceeded to fly directly into the WTC’s North Tower. I was so stunned and shocked at what I had just seen that I didn’t utter a sound at that moment. Nor did those around me on the street. The general consensus when we recovered from our initial shock was that it was some terrible accident. Terrorism was not mentioned and never occurred to me then. I moved along to my conference as first responders in fire engines and EMS vehicles came rushing past. I am haunted to this day by the fact that many of those brave men and woman that I saw in and on those vehicles probably did not survive the day. I did not see the Towers fall, but was close enough to feel the earth shake when they came down. And all of this tragedy on the most gorgeous end of summer day you could imagine.
John Schmoll ’67, JD’70
Rockville, MD


In September 2001, I was the general counsel of a company in lower Manhattan that provided software and IT management for financial exchanges and financial transaction processors. One of our largest U.S. clients was a direct competitor to Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost about 700 employees in the attacks. Our offices were on the 25th floor of a building across a small plaza from the southeast corner of the World Trade Center. I was 33 weeks pregnant, and by September 11, I was suffering from very painful pregnancy-related sciatica, so when the planes hit, I was several miles away on the upper east side at my doctor’s office getting treated. Many of my colleagues were in the office that day. Some of them were injured on the way into the office, and many of them saw the horrors of the attacks while they were happening. I was able to get back home to the upper west side, where I emailed colleagues, friends, and family to let them know that I was safe. I sat at home for the next several hours, incredulously watching the buildings collapse, wondering about all the people who were in the buildings. I was afraid to go outside because no one knew if there would be other, different attacks in New York. On the morning of the 11th, very shortly after the attacks, downtown was blocked off and the subways were halted, so people who were in the office had to leave the area by whatever means possible — by foot uptown or over the Brooklyn Bridge to Brooklyn and Queens, or by boat to Staten Island or New Jersey. Starting that afternoon, we all worked from home or borrowed offices in areas outside lower Manhattan, using our personal email addresses to communicate. No one knew what might happen next, and all of us were terrified at being separated from our loved ones, even those of us who were safely at home. We didn’t know how safe we were or for how long.

What happened in the days and weeks that followed was no less frightening or jarring. The next day, it rained, and the winds shifted so they were coming from the south. From 7 miles away there was a sharp, acrid smell. I didn’t want to think about what we were smelling or inhaling.

It took a while before we could get back into the office legally, and I had some concerns about being in an environment of possibly hazardous air quality. In those first days, the company’s management was getting calls and requests from the SEC and the White House asking us how quickly we could get our client back online once the financial markets reopened the following week. Cantor Fitzgerald had a prominent role in the markets and there was concern that it couldn’t operate properly in time for the markets’ reopening, so our client’s capacity (and by extension, ours, since we ran their operations) to reopen was quite important.

About ten days after the attacks, we were able to arrange a company reunion of sorts in midtown to get everyone together to talk about what had happened, and how they were feeling. I learned then about my colleagues’ experiences that day:

  • Several people were getting out of the subway when the attacks occurred, and were hit by falling debris or were trampled. Several are considered “9/11 Victims” and receive medical care and funds through the federal 9/11 Victims’ Fund.
  • Several colleagues were inside the south tower at a client’s offices, but one of them had been in the WTC during the 1993 bombing and understood immediately what was happening as the first (north) tower was hit. He pushed everyone out of the office quickly and no doubt saved many lives that day.
  • About a dozen employees were out of town on business, with seven having flown to St. Louis on business that morning. They rented two or three cars and spent 18 hours driving back in a caravan to New York.
  • Others were in Sweden (where our parent company was headquartered) and were unable to get back to the U.S. and their families for over a week.

Others spent the weeks after the attacks going to many wakes and funerals. One person lost a brother-in-law who was an NYPD officer. Others had been working in financial services for many years and knew many people who had worked in the towers. One colleague lost two uncles, one of whom worked in the WTC and the other was attending a conference there that day. Neither of her aunts had worked in many years, and one of them had no idea about the family’s finances, including even where their checkbook was. My colleague worked very hard to help them get the assistance they needed.

In the weeks that followed, in addition to the employees who were physically injured that day, we began to see some employees in deep emotional pain. While trying to get the company back on its feet, first remotely and then eventually from the office, we had to create programs half on the fly to protect and help people who were suffering deeply. We did our best, but I’m sure we failed some people. Some of them stopped returning phone calls and emails. I think about them all the time.

It was impossible in the fall and winter to avoid thinking about the attacks more than briefly. Our office conference room looked right into the “pit” — the site where the towers had been, and which was a rubble field for months. We could follow the slow progress in removing the twisted girders and external skeleton of the buildings. Well into 2002, whenever remains were found, all work in that site stopped, and a band of bagpipers from the FDNY began to play in memory of and out of respect for people who died there. It was so mournful, and we could sometimes hear the music from our office.

It was a relief when I went on maternity leave in late October. Working with unreliable phones or internet service was stressful, but doing it with all of the sadness and horrors staring us in the face, having to stop work to help a colleague who was suffering, was unspeakably difficult. Things were somewhat better when I returned in February — we had gotten used to the ways in which life in New York had changed. Starting sometime during my leave, our office building held regular drills to help us evacuate the building and area safely and quickly, and it was strange how soon that felt normal.

Months later, I went to a farmers’ market a few blocks from my office. It was the first time since August 2001 that I had gone to a Tuesday morning farmers’ market in the financial district. I was so happy to see several of the vendors who, a year ago, would have been on the WTC plaza that Tuesday morning. I don’t know how they survived.

I was lucky — I have had no physical or psychological effects, my son and husband were both safe. Not being downtown during the attacks was just dumb luck, but I am so aware of the suffering of the victims, the survivors, and their families even twenty years later.
Anne Wolfson ’80
Great Neck, NY

I live in New Jersey. My husband told me about the first plane when he came to work (I went in early — he got the kids off to school). We tried to work but were afraid our research building might be a target. My daughters’ schools were all locked down. My oldest (in high school) had a classmate whose father was on flight 93. My best friend’s husband worked in the Trade Towers. We were told to go home and stay home. By Saturday, things started to open up — but the soccer teams were all upset — many of the volunteer coaches had worked in the Trade Towers and never made it home. It was certainly something that hit our area HARD.
Dianne Thompson ’79
Red Bank, NJ


Twenty years!

We were in New York on business. It was a perfect fall day. I had breakfast with a friend. As I walked her to her bus-stop just before 9:00 a.m., it seemed I heard more than the usual noise of sirens. I heard a snatch of conversation in back of me, someone saying, “Terrorists!” My thought was someone was just being an alarmist. When I got back to my hotel, a man exited the elevator telling me that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. From then on, I was glued to the television set, anxiously waiting to hear from my husband, who had gone to the garment district on business. No cell phones! He called. The showroom he had been in told all their employees to go home or stay with coworkers who lived closer by. He walked 30–40+ blocks back to our hotel. When we finally went out, you could see clouds of smoke at the southernmost end of Fifth Avenue. (Later, even though we were miles away, you could smell smoke in our room, coming in through the air ducts.)

Even though the disaster was only a few hours old, it was amazing how quickly Manhattan adapted. There were handwritten signs taped to lamp posts telling people where to go to give blood. Bloomingdale’s had a somber display in their corner window: a vase of flowers in front of a black curtain. Every church we passed had someone outside inviting us to come in to pray … except Temple Emmanuel, the largest Reform synagogue in the country. It was locked up because people feared the attack may have been antisemitic or anti-Israel terrorism.

I’ll never forget seeing a couple embracing. The man’s hair seemed to be snow white. In fact, his hair and clothing were covered with ashes. Obviously, he had been at the scene.

The next challenge was getting home to Southern Indiana. We had plane tickets for Thursday, but were afraid we might get stranded at the airport, sleeping on the floor, as we had seen on television. There wasn’t a rental car to be had in the city. We took a train to Westchester, where a friend met us and drove us to the car rental office at Westchester Airport. The airport itself was closed. The man ahead of us in line said he was driving to Seattle.

Before we left New York, we had an errand to perform. Our Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra conductor had called me to ask if we could pick up the music for Rosemary Clooney’s benefit concert that coming weekend. It was at her music director’s house in White Plains — he was stranded elsewhere. The piece of sheet music on top of the box was “It Never Entered My Mind.” Indeed! So we drove back to Indiana, a two-day trip, listening to local talk radio programs spewing wild conspiracy theories.

Re: the concert. It was Rosemary Clooney’s second-to-her-last concert. She was wonderful, and less than a week after 9/11, it felt good to be with people.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to put in writing a tale I have told countless times over the past twenty years. I imagine you will be receiving some amazing stories.
Carol Kobak Abrams ’62
Evansville, IN

On 9/11/2001 I was working, as usual, at the Verizon/NY Telephone building at 140 West St., immediately north of the World Trade Center towers. I had arrived around 7:30, and as was often the case, our building had scaffolding up around it for whatever maintenance was being done. I was at my desk on the 21st floor when there was a loud crash and the building shook. I thought they had dropped something REALLY heavy on the roof. Soon thereafter I noticed a bunch of employees looking out the window and I went over to join them. I saw a large hole in one of the towers, and lots of paper raining down. Eventually some small flames were visible on the bottom edge of the hole. Then a message came over the public address system to evacuate the building, so we started filing down the stairs. On the way down we could hear another announcement over the public address system, but could not make out what was being said. But when we got to the bottom of the stairs it was pitch black, with no visible way out (it ended in a sub-basement full of equipment). So we turned around and went back up until we found a door that we could get out (maybe on the second or third floor), and found another stairway there which we took down to the lobby. Many employees were milling around in the lobby, and we learned that the second announcement had been to NOT evacuate the building because of the danger of falling debris. At one point the lights in the lobby flickered, which I deduced later was probably when the second plane hit.

Eventually someone I had worked with came in and said the police were saying to evacuate the building and go north. So I walked north up West St. and the West Side Highway, and those roadways were deserted except for emergency vehicles going south. Along the way I passed people gasping in horror looking south — apparently they were seeing people jump out the World Trade Center, but without my glasses I could not see anything. When I got to 42nd St. and Grand Central Terminal, to take a train home to White Plains, NY, the building was closed and lots of people were milling around the streets in the area. I heard someone say the Twin Towers had collapsed and how strange it was not to see them down Madison Ave., but all I could see was lots of smoke.

At one point the doors to Grand Central were opened and people streamed in, but then the police wanted everybody out of the building. Some other time, the police wanted everyone to be north of 45th St., so we went there, but eventually everyone drifted back to 42nd St. Eventually, Grand Central was opened, and said there was one train being run on each of the three lines, which would make all the stops on the line. So I got on my train to White Plains, and sat on the train for a very long time waiting while people were boarding. When we finally left the station, the first stop was 125th St., and we again sat in that station for a long time as more people boarded. After that, the train made all the stops through the Bronx and lower Westchester until I finally got to White Plains sometime around midday. I heard later that 9 World Trade Center, which was the city emergency center, and was east of 140 West St., had collapsed that evening. I had to work from home for two weeks until the company found space available in another company building for us to work in (and it looked like the people who had been working there before had just abandoned their office, leaving personal photos, etc., on their desks).
Nancy Moore ’73
Madison


While I was at work in Manhattan about three miles north of the towers when the planes crashed into the towers, my observation while at lunch that day was historically illuminating. I observed hundreds of persons walking north away from the World Trade Center area. The emotion visible on most of their faces was anger.

This observation explains the failure of strategic bombing during World War II whether the target was England, Germany or Japan. Proponents of strategic bombing wrongly believed civilian populations would lose morale and support for the war. Now I know that strategic bombing increases anger against the bombers.
Jerry Alperstein ’64
New York City

I lived in Manhattan, was there on what started as a beautiful day — election day [New York mayoral primary] — had just voted, coffee donut at fave street vendor, all was wonderful with world — went in to change for work and world changed.

Came back outside and looked down 6th Ave. — standing in street with others — I said “don’t worry, they’ll get the fire out” (on first tower) and then it collapsed.

I offered all day for people to take showers, etc. as they all tried to walk home as no cabs, buses, etc. I offered blood but lines were too long. Offered to help at recovery center — no use as none survived.

But our country came together — I wish that was the case today.
Linda Philipps ’66
Tampa, FL


I moved to New Jersey in 1971 to take a teaching position at Rutgers University. On September 11, I was teaching a graduate seminar in the English Department building in New Brunswick, New Jersey that began at 9:50 a.m. One of my students was listening to something on her transistor radio but I didn’t ask her about it and she didn’t volunteer any information. When the class was going to start a 15-minute break between seminar halves around 10:30 a.m., she or another student brought to my attention what was happening. At that point we all went down the stairs from the second floor and joined all of the other faculty and students who were streaming, wordless, from their classrooms, down the stairs, and out of the building. All classes were canceled for the rest of the day.

Later in the day I went to an open park in my city and looked toward New York City, thirty miles away. All along the horizon were clouds of smoke, but no flames. I watched there for some time, trying to think if there was anyone I knew who might have been in one of the affected buildings. Later it turned out that one of my Rutgers colleagues, who lived a couple of blocks from the Twin Towers, in Tribeca, had come out of her building, had seen the second airplane crash into the tower, and started to run south toward the towers, wondering what had happened, but was greeted by shouts that she should turn back, run to the north. She did that, abandoning her three cats in her apartment building. She fetched them the next day with the help of a passing man, who carried the heavy cages, but she was unable to return to her apartment for six weeks or so. She camped out at a colleague’s apartment on the upper west side of Manhattan and continued teaching her classes without books and clothes. Her apartment had to be thoroughly cleaned, every little thing in it, but in spite of that, years later, in 2017, she passed away prematurely from a cancer most likely caused by the unhealthy debris floating around over the city for a long time. She was one of the registered victims of the attack who received compensation. Her loss was a terrible one for my colleagues, her students, and myself.
Janet A. Walker ’65
Highland Park, NJ


We live in downtown NYC — 2ish blocks from the World Trade Center. We were up at our office in mid-town when the planes hit. Our windows were open and in the path of the ash clouds. We had pets … Couldn’t get a taxi, didn’t want to take the westside subways so we tried to grab an express at Grand Central. We were blocked from the first train by people mobbing the doors (although there was plenty of room in the middle of the car). Caught the next express which ground to a halt just before 14th Street — it sat and sat and sat and sat — no news. After about 1, maybe 2 hours, it crept into the 14th Street station and discharged. We half walked, half ran the 1.5 miles downtown going against a tide of ash covered people and dashing towards an immense column of smoke. I was in backless leather shoes and completely blistered [the soles of my feet] within a few blocks. At Canal Street, we learned the towers had fallen and that there was nothing standing behind the smoke; in the Chinatown area, people were standing, sitting, staring, trying to get through to someone, anyone on their cellphones — no luck. Except for the shifting column of ash, the sky was an astonishing beautiful clear azure. We eventually got to our building. Our apartment was covered in a thick layer of grainy dust; the pet birds were alive but terrified and utterly quiet. The landscape was covered in a much thicker layer of that dust that dust-deviled in the light winds or as a stray person passed by. We (and the pet birds) later evacuated out, walking in the dark through a mile of dark, empty streets. [We] finally were able to hitch a ride uptown with a TV crew (one of the very, very few vehicles heading out of the zone). We were out for several days but were able to move back on the 15th.

The following is an email sent to friends on September 16, letting them know what the above entry writer came home to after returning to her apartment.

Fred and I are back home as of yesterday — 2 blocks northeast of what was the World Trade Center. It’s a very strange world down here. We’re right on the edge of the frozen zone – our building door is in the open zone, our apartment is in the frozen (forbidden) zone. Our windows are all intact but locked and taped down against the acrid smoke still rising from the remains.

Outside our front window, City Hall Park is green and sparkling with the elaborate Victorian fountain flowing again (though the gas lights are off). The pigeons and starlings are flocking in the streets and on the lawns, but the crows, squirrels and people are missing. The street below our windows is empty except for police and a flow of police cars. Army Humvees and ambulances going in, and semi-trailers piled high with debris and 30-foot-long steel beams rumbling out. Desolate, but a far cry from Tuesday when it was awash in smoke and fumes, a refuge for people fleeing the WTC complex and then an ashy ghost town as the area was evacuated, and Wednesday, an otherworldly mechanical graveyard as incinerated, obliterated cars, vans, police cars, ambulances and fire trucks were pulled from ground zero.

Up on our roof. The insects have returned with butterflies and dragonflies flittering past, crickets skreeking in the distance. And looking up in the nighttime sky – two dozen stars (four times more than you’d see on a normal evening); police, Army and Coast Guard helicopters; the occasional F-16 still on patrol and the slow-moving multi-colored lights of passenger jets as the commercial airlines return to the NYC sky.

Looking up towards the north — the city as usual with the Chrysler Building lit up in the distance. Immediately to the south and east — the first skyscraper district, a glowing, crenelated, variegated tracery of 12-story brick and granite 1880s buildings (with names rather than addresses — the Temple Court, the Potter, the New York Times and the American Tract Society buildings) — all whole and undamaged and beautiful. Further south, down the canyons of Nassau Street — the pediment of the New York Stock Exchange glowing salmon in the sodium lights; the other massive skyscrapers of modern Manhattan alight and brash (though dark at their spires with the airplane warning lights still out), the streets are washed, vacuumed and covered with rivers of freshly laid electrical and phone cables as the financial district readies for Monday morning.

Then to the west — the frozen zone, ground zero and the rescue zone. Standing sentinel, the glistening gothic Woolworth building — the tallest building in the world from 1913-1929 —intact but dark. The surrounding streets still covered in ashes but bristling with the glitter of emergency vehicles. The buildings along Broadway to the north abandoned and empty but aglow with the lights left on as people fled on Tuesday. The buildings behind, silent and dark. And to the south of the Woolworth building, an eerie, intense, bone-white light illuminating a shifting, ground-hugging cloud — a cloud of smoke from the still smoldering building 7, a cloud of dust floating up from the remains of the two towers. Briefly the cloud shifts and instead of the towers you can see the remaining buildings of the World Financial Center and in the distance, out across the Hudson, the lights of New Jersey. And an image of dreadful beauty and heartbreak — the graceful delicate spire of an 18th century chapel and just behind it an austere modern spire — a jagged 5 or 6 story piece of the exterior lattice work of the South Tower sitting high on the hill of debris. And finally, up where the 85th floor of the North Tower should have been - a single star glinting through the smoke and dust.
Teri Henry ’78
New York City

Memories from the Pentagon

Driving into DC from Arlington, Virginia, that morning, I heard on the radio about a plane crash into the World Trade Center. Speculation was it must have been a small plane, pilot error. Minutes later I’m in the office, just south of the National Mall, watching the news with co-workers, now knowing it was a large plane — intentional. The channel we were watching happened to have a reporter at the Pentagon. As he was reporting, he said “the building just shook.” I ran to my boss’s office that overlooked the National Airport and the Pentagon. I saw — live — the Pentagon on fire before it was shown on the news. I could also see airplanes still lining up for take-off at National Airport. I called my husband, “what’s next?” Rumors abounded — that the Metro was bombed, the State Department was hit, the Capitol must be next or maybe the White House. Running back to my office, which was next to our emergency coordinator, he told everyone to get out and head home. I was lucky to get across the 14th St Bridge out of DC before gridlock. Pedestrians avoiding the Metro were walking away from DC, I gave one a ride as far as I could before our paths separated, as others were doing too. We all could see the thick black smoke coming from the Pentagon. I arrived home to hearing fighter jets flying back and forth. The main road near our house was constant sirens since all emergency crews from outlying areas were rushing to the Pentagon. Our little historic fire house had the smallest fire engine so it actually was able to get closer to the fires. Traffic coming from the direction of the Pentagon was limited to emergency vehicles, sirens blaring as they brought casualties to the closest hospital nearby. Once home, we took turns watching what was happening as the other distracted our almost 3-year-old daughter. Surreal.

We were told not to report to work into DC the next day. The day after, we all shared a range of incredible stories that continued through the week. A man who was driving by the Pentagon as the plane was coming in past him. People surviving in the Pentagon based on where they randomly sat at a conference table — half died and half made it out. Drivers picking up those walking home and taking them home no matter how far it was. Some stories were from friends in NYC too. For weeks after, I often went home via the route where the wreckage was being placed in one of the Pentagon parking lots, passing the Humvees aimed at the sky with surface to air missiles.

Years later I was lucky enough to receive a Pentagon tour including a moving memorial inside that overlooks the memorial outside where the plane hit the building. Please come and visit. It is most magical at dusk.
Linda Callies Kingsley ’84
Arlington, VA


At the time, I worked for a non-profit near Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. That morning, one of the people I worked with went outside to move her car off a street with restricted parking. She came back and said she’d heard on the radio that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers in New York City. Of course, we assumed that it was a small plane and the pilot had a medical emergency. Then word came that ANOTHER plane had hit the Twin Towers, and then that one had hit the Pentagon. That sounded so bizarre that I followed some fellow workers to the roof of our building, where you could see the city and across the river into Virginia. We could see the smoke coming from the burning Pentagon. That sent chills up my spine; it was obvious something terrible was happening. The staff set up some TVs in the lunchroom so we could see what was happening. The administration said we could leave work, but the rumor was that the Metro (subway) might get hit next, so that wasn’t an option. There was also worry for those who drove home into Virginia that the Key Bridge might be a target, since there could be bombs planted in DC. There was an eerie sense of calm that was probably more robotic disbelief. It was a beautiful day, so many office workers decided to walk home, with some of the women removing their heels and walking barefoot. I helped a friend navigate her car crammed with Virginia residents to another, smaller bridge over the Potomac that was on my way home.
Nora E. Carbine ’73
Washington, DC

At the time, I was a Finance Rep based in the Miami office of Caterpillar, Inc. I went to Washington, DC, for two seminars — one with the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank and one with the World Bank. I flew in on September 9. I remember thinking how odd it felt when the plane banked and turned as much as it did as we approached Reagan airport. I guess with all of the restricted airspace, that’s the way it is. That night, our group had a great dinner in Georgetown. The next day, Monday, September 10, was a quiet day of meetings at EXIM Bank. After dinner, we walked around and stopped in front of the White House. I remember how proud and in awe I felt about the buildings, memorials and monuments around me. On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we walked from our downtown hotel to the White House for a tour. It was such a beautiful day — a perfectly blue sky. We were told on the tour that the White House was preparing for a big BBQ that night with George H.W., Barbara and President Bush. Interestingly, someone asked where the president was, and a Secret Service guy said he was in Chicago. In hindsight, it turns out he was in Florida. The thing I most remember about the tour was the painting of JFK with his head down and his hand on his chin. To me, this was the perfect display of the magnitude and weight of the office of the president. I was absolutely fascinated by it and stood there for a while just contemplating the decisions one has to make in that position.

After the tour, we walked back to EXIM Bank. We were being given a presentation when the guy that was coordinating the seminar interrupted our speaker at about 9:45 a.m. and told us that there were some threats and that we needed to cancel the day’s agenda and leave the building because it was not safe. He went on to say that a plane had just crashed into the Pentagon. After he finished, another EXIM Bank employee who had earlier entered the room, stood up and told him to tell us about New York. He did, and everyone was just in shock. In fact, the speaker that was interrupted broke down in tears. We left the room and had to go to another office in the building (we were on the 11th floor) to find another Caterpillar employee. We found him watching the events on TV with several other people. At that time, one of the office employees told us to look out the window. We did, and what we saw was the Pentagon engulfed in billowing smoke.

After we evacuated EXIM Bank, our Caterpillar host, who was based in Washington, DC, decided that we should get out of the city and go to his house in Virginia. We walked back to our downtown hotel, passing streets full of people, firetrucks and ambulances, and grabbed the bare essentials. We headed to the subway. The subway was a madhouse. The subway station and cars were packed with people like sardines in a tin. Everyone was trying to get out of the city. People were crying, and many expressed concern that the subway was a terrorist target, as rumors were being heard of car bombs having gone off around the city. The subway took us to a park-and-ride facility where our Caterpillar host’s car was. We could not all fit in his car, so he and two people went in his car, and I and two others stayed behind to wait for a taxi. On top of everything, I couldn’t reach my family — cellphone calls just weren’t going through. While we were waiting in the taxi line, one of the most beautiful and touching things I’ve seen happened. People who had parked at the park-and-ride were pulling their cars around to the very long taxi line and offering rides to people — complete strangers — so they wouldn’t have to wait. I’ll never forget that.

We got a taxi and made it to our Caterpillar host’s house. We watched the news all day. Later in the day, we got rooms at the local Marriott and then went back into the city to get the rest of our stuff from our downtown hotel. Downtown Washington, DC, by that time was an absolute ghost town. Though still basked in daylight, it was a stark contrast to the vibrant city I woke up to that morning. So quiet. Only an occasional moving car, no buses, and no planes overhead. I remember seeing one person on a bike but, other than that, I don’t remember seeing another soul walking or biking. It felt like something out of an apocalypse movie. That night, we had dinner together and watched more news. The next day, the three of us that were based in Miami went to Reagan airport to rent a car to drive back to Miami since flights were going to be locked down for an unknown number of days. It took us two days to get home. Two long, somber days.
Brian Liebzeit ’98
Las Vegas

Memories from Campus

I was a sophomore on campus that fateful day. I had just come back from a morning jog and was headed to my Sellery dorm room. People kept their doors open, and I noticed that several people had the morning news on TV. Nobody was speaking — just watching the TV. The first plane had already gone through the tower. I turned on my TV in time to watch the second plane. Like everyone, I was scared and asking lots of questions — How could this be happening? Who did this, and why? Where is the next target?

I remember attending my ROTC class (with Jim Leonhard!) and we all discussed what happened. I asked if campus could be another target, and was put at ease by the instructor stating most likely not. The next few days are a blur. I think a lot of people, including myself, were in mild shock. The dorm eateries had TVs rolled in to watch the news. I didn’t get too absorbed into it all because it made me too scared. I tried to glean the latest info, to get answers to some of my questions, but otherwise tried to focus on my classes. I’m so thankful that campus stayed safe. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years.
Jessica Staff ’04 Milwaukee
Milwaukee


I was at home getting ready for class that morning when I saw the chaos on TV. Watched the first tower smoldering when all of a sudden the second plane swooped in on a sinister and deliberate arc and blasted into the other tower. Astonished and completely rattled, there was no way I was going to class in the WARF building, which is one of the tallest towers on campus. We were all scared that attacks might happen throughout the country, and nobody wanted to be in a building that stood out that day.
Michael Davis ’00, MS’01
Round Rock, TX

I was a member of the Wisconsin marching band during 9/11. We had practice that afternoon. There was discussion about if that made sense; was it the respectful thing to do, were we in the right mental capacity to have it. For me, I was relieved to be with my friends during a time of so much uncertainty. It was a cloudy afternoon at the start of practice. We historically played a section of the 1812 Overture during pregame. The sun shone through while we played that segment. For a brief moment there was a feeling of quiet and calm on a day that there wasn't much to be found.
Erika Helgerson ’05
Madison


It was my freshmen year, and I had been on campus since August 27th for training at the Liz Waters Cafeteria. That morning, I woke up early as per usual — a habit that did not last! — and ate breakfast while watching the news. Usually I would keep it on until I left for my first class, but I turned it off early. I swear it was 7:45, and my roommate, who is also a friend from high school, asked me if there was anything going on in the world of news. I replied, “No, not really.” I got ready for my Spanish discussion section across the street at Van Hise and left not long after that.

After Spanish, I walked to Birge Hall, and it wasn’t until I got to the front doors that I realized something was amiss. Two guys behind me took the door after me, and one remarked, “Yeah, I saw it on the TVs on State Street.” I noted to myself that there had been some news, and I would find out when I got to work. The day became even more of a mystery when my professor started class with, “I am sure all of you know what happened, so I am not going to go into detail. Let’s just take a moment of silence.” I put my head down and then looked around, wondering, what just happened!? He then stated some sort of platitude about loss, and I spent the entire lecture floored and confused.

On my walk back to Liz, I thought about how this was a moment where I was going to remember not knowing what happened. I would no longer be in the dark.

In the changing room, two of my coworkers were discussing the news, and I cut in with, “Ok, what the hell happened? My professor held a moment of silence but didn’t even explain why!” Tara turned to me and told me everything. The planes hitting the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and crashing into the field in Pennsylvania. Instead of music in the dishroom, we listened to news reports for hours. I went to my dorm room for lunch and had the TV on for hours. We watched President Bush’s speech. Anytime we turned on the TV for that week it was filled with memorials and news coverage.

We still went to class, though discussions about the 9/11 terrorist attacks were ever present. It may seem like we were in a bubble in the middle of Madison, Wisconsin, and in some ways we were. But that bubble was pierced quickly. Our house fellow was from the DC/Virginia area and knew several people who worked in the Pentagon. My Spanish TA’s sibling had been planning on adopting a baby that week, but government services had been shut down, and the adoption was delayed. A classmate, as a Marine, went on to serve at least one tour in Iraq. I have had several family members serve tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. As UW–Madison students are wont to do, there were anti-war protests.

One of my classes that first semester came with a subscription to the New York Times. I read obituaries of the dead that day for months.
Elaine Steele ’05
Milwaukee

I was a junior at UW–Madison the day the towers fell. I had pulled an all-nighter, stitching away on an assignment due in one of my textile design courses. I watched a lot of Family Ties while sewing, well into the morning hours, but when it was almost time for class every station seemed to switch over to the news.

I had missed the towers being hit, but I was glued to the TV as the towers fell, and I will never forget the fear I felt that day. I called my mom and asked if it was real. Eventually I gathered my things and walked to class. It was such a beautiful early fall day and such a contrast to how we all felt. In my class, there were many students who were from New York and were crying and frantically trying to get in touch with their friends and family in the city. My professor also had many contacts in NY they were trying to reach. But classes hadn’t been canceled yet, so we all tried our best to focus on fashion in class.

I recorded the news all day that day on a blank tape in my VCR. I still have it, and I have never watched it. But I was obsessively watching that day, and I think it pushed me into a deep depression that year. On September 12, I woke up hoping it had all been a nightmare. It was the first of many days that year that I struggled to get out of bed and go to class.

There were some notable divisions in our country at the time, particularly aimed at anyone of Middle Eastern descent. But for the most part it was a time of unity, community, support. Never could I have imagined people would vote for a man who went on TV to boast about his building not falling and later falsely claimed that “Arabs” in New Jersey were celebrating the towers falling.

I also can’t believe it has also been more than 20 years since I voted for Al Gore in my first election, primarily because I believed we needed to take drastic action for our environment. And yet, here we are with an even more drastic need to address climate change and our politicians do next to nothing. My generation, and those after mine, have been let down by our leaders.
Crystal DeGrote Heppe ’04
Madison


I was on campus that day. As was the case most days, I was practicing my French horn in the basement of Humanities. Someone came and knocked on the door of all the practice rooms and dragged me and the others in the area up to the administrative offices. About 30 of us all gathered around an old black-and-white TV in the main office as the second plane ran into the Twin Towers. At the time, I remained unmotivated to practice for months afterwards. What good was a French Horn when things like this could happen? It took me years to realize that, as a music major, I was bringing joy to a world where such atrocities were possible. And THAT, that was real gold.
Cara Sawyer ’04
Chicago

I hadn’t heard the news and found a young woman sobbing hysterically in the bathroom. I asked her if I could help and she said she had a friend who worked near the towers and there was nothing I could do to help. It was hard to understand her between sobs and I left very confused and went to class. Classmates coming into class had heard the beginnings of what was happening but we didn’t have the technology we do now to check online. I told them about the woman in the bathroom. Our professor arrived and tried to start class, but we were all in a state of curiosity and uncertainty, so she finally asked if we wanted to go to the lounge (we were a small group of social work graduate students) and watch TV. It was then we realized the gravity of what was happening. We didn’t return to class that day.
Lori Pacourek MS’02
La Crosse, WI


I was in my first week of classes in pursuit of a master’s degree in Library and Information Studies (now the iSchool). Further, my husband was an airline pilot and had left for work out of Cincinnati early that morning.

As the lab I was in progressed, the professor came in and told us what was occurring. He gave us the choice to continue or leave. My lab partner asked what I wanted to do. I replied that my husband was a pilot, that I didn’t know where he was, and we might just as well stay on until I heard from him. There were TV monitors broadcasting all over the SLIS floor in Helen C. White. After my husband called (he was still in Milwaukee; the news came just as he boarded his flight to CVG, and he stayed to help out with the chaos), I headed for my son’s apartment on campus (he was a sophomore at the time). The girl waiting for the elevator with me was visibly shaking. It turned out she was from New York, and her brother worked in the Twin Towers.

Subsequently, our lecture class for the evening was held. I saw the girl again; thankfully, her brother was ok. Needless to say, my husband got a warm welcome later that evening. Little did we know how that day would impact his profession.
Kathryn Rausch ’73, MS’03
Ocala, FL


I was in my junior year. I had a 2:25 geology class that day and woke up around 11 a.m. to see my roommates watching the TV. It looked like a controlled demolition. Then I saw the planes hit the building. Helicopters were flying all over Madison that day and night.
Eric Olsen ’03
Huntington Beach, CA

I was student teaching in my final semester of undergrad when 9/11 happened. The kindergartners went out for morning recess, and the principal came in to tell us to turn on the TV. She also instructed us not to talk to the children about what’s happening; their parents knew them best and would know how to approach the conversation in the right way.

The replay of the plane hitting the first tower is still burned in my memory. Teaching the rest of the day was definitely a mental and emotional stretch — we turned on the TV any time the kids were out of the classroom to hear the latest. At the end of the day, we walked out with the kids to go home to our loved ones. I called my mom as soon as I got home and cried throughout the conversation. She did too. When my roommate got home from classes, we cried together some more. There were so many questions on that first day; why did this happen? Was it planned? How would they rescue the survivors in the Twin Towers?

In the days that followed, we saw the best of humanity come out to house their neighbors, feed the rescue workers, comfort those who were mourning. We will never forget.
Mandy Madderom Quainoo ’01, MS’11
Madison


September 11, 2001, was my second day of my sophomore year in college (Not at UW — I attended here for graduate school.) I was starting my job in the language resource center that day, so was heading in early to do training on the computer system before they opened. As I was walking, I saw two students ahead of me on either side of the street. One yelled to the other “Hey, did you hear what happened?” to which his friend replied “Yeah! Did they get Bush?” I was confused, but shrugged internally and figured if it was important I’d hear about it eventually, and finished walking the few blocks to work.

Eventually came a lot faster than I anticipated.

At work, my boss sat myself and a coworker down and started going over what we needed to know. He had been talking for maybe five minutes when we were interrupted by the phone ringing. My boss answered it, and my coworker and I got to hear a very one-sided conversation. “Oh, hey. … What? … Oh my God.” And then he hung up the phone without saying a word to us and turned immediately to our television system, which he switched from the Spanish language station it was on to CNN.

He was just in time to see the second plane fly into the tower live on camera. My first coherent thought after several seconds of being unable to form any at all was “Oh my God, did I just see people die?”

He left the televisions on, so we had quite a crowd once people started hearing what was happening. He tried to keep training us, but I don’t think either myself or my coworker learned much that day. Not with the immensity of what was happening on the television screens behind us.

Once I got off work, I had to go straight to class. See, at my small, private, liberal arts university, classes were small and class caps were strict. If you didn’t show up on day one, you were probably going to lose your seat in the class. So we all went, some students very clearly having just rolled out of bed without a clue that our world had changed drastically while they were asleep. The professor came in, asked if we all knew what had happened, and then had those of us who did explain to those who had no idea. Then he took roll, handed out the syllabus, and said, somewhat helplessly, “Go home. I can’t teach today.” To which we all, I imagine, were thinking “Thank you. We can’t learn today.”

I remember calling my parents five or six times, just to hear their voices. My best friend, who was a student at Madison at the time, messaged me that morning. She was on campus, and this was before everyone had a cell phone. Her brother worked in Washington, DC, a stone’s throw away from the Pentagon. She asked me to call her mother for her, in the hope her brother was all right. I did, and Mom had heard from him, thankfully, so I was able to provide at least a small measure of relief on a day where relief didn’t seem possible.

I remember on one of my calls home, I said to my father, “The world’s never going to be the same again, is it.” As a historian in training, I knew what was happening and what we had seen was going to have the same impact that Pearl Harbor did for my grandparents. Twenty years later, I don’t think I was wrong.

It was strange that when I started working with university students, they were in middle school when it happened. Then it was elementary school. Now, the students I work with likely weren’t born at all. It’s an odd feeling that comes with age, I suppose, knowing that something so life-changing and earth shattering for you is just a historical fact to them. Unfortunately, they will likely have their own in time.
Laura Linde Turnes ’12
Madison

Memories from the Workplace

I was working in a new career in health information management. I was operations manager in the medical records department at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore. We had recently installed and implemented an electronic health record system. At that time, we were one of the few hospitals in the Eastern region to be using electronic health records. We had visitors that day who were there to discuss the electronic implementation process. They were members of the medical records department at Johnstown Hospital in Pennsylvania. As we were discussing how to manage implementation of such a new process, we heard the announcement about the Twin Towers attack. We gathered around a TV to watch the horror unfold. Then we hear about the hijacked plane crashing into the Pentagon. Then comes the shock for our visitors, the announcement about the plane heading to Johnstown which had also been hijacked! Our visitors immediately headed out the door, into their cars and drove back to Johnstown to their hospital. They knew they would be needed there when the plane landed or crashed. I can only imagine the fear they were facing — were any family and friends on that plane; would the hijackers crash into the area and kill others as well; would the hospital be filled with those wounded and hurt by the attackers?

If you’re ever near Johnstown, take time to visit the memorial to those civilians in that plane that gave their lives to take out the hijackers. To get to the memorial, you drive up to the top of a steep hill that overlooks the exact spot where the plane crashed in a large field. Listen to the recordings of the heroes in the plane as they call and send their love to their families. See their photos and the pictures of their families and the loved ones they gave their lives to save.
Monna Spiering Nabers ’67
Glen Burnie, MD


When the aircraft were hitting the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in 2001, I was presenting a training in Madison to county staff from around Wisconsin about “safety.” The irony was not lost on anyone, since our conversation about how families and communities can provide safety for children depended on us being able to define what safety IS so the workers who respond to child abuse and neglect could know whether they were observing a child in danger or not. The lack of safety determines what steps must be taken to secure safety for a child and family.

I remember the attendees noticing that staff in the facility we were in were distracted, were coming and going, crying and obviously disturbed about something. Finally, someone said a plane had hit the WTC in NY. Several of my colleagues were from New York, so they were immediately trying to contact family and friends to ascertain their status. Eventually, the news in the media was so overwhelming that we adjourned the training, and folks began to head home to their families since additional potential target cities were being identified. Chicago, Milwaukee, and possibly state capitols were mentioned. We were all potentially targets, at least that’s what we feared in the initial moments after the first planes hit.

The conversations about safety that I and my colleagues had been having for years became standard fare for all U.S. citizens after that day, and in the 20 years that have passed, I’m quite sure we’re not all in agreement about what constitutes safety for everyone. In the recent years of Black Lives Matter, Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Me Too, and other movements, it is now very clear that certain people are safe and too many others are largely not. Our collective advocacy for those who are still not safe in this country remains as morally essential as ever.
Jeanne Ferguson ’73, MS’84
Oregon, WI

I remember that Tuesday, 9/11, very well. I was on a long-term consulting project in California and staying at a Hyatt in Valencia, California, and had just flown from Chicago the morning before.

I was exercising with four others at the hotel fitness center and watching the news when they cut live to a report of a plane hitting the WTC tower. We then watched live as the second plane hit the second tower, and we became speechless and wondered what was happening. All of us slowly went back to our rooms to call home and also to get ready and drive to our client while listening to any news we could get.

The client told everyone to go back to their hotels, and we spent the day trying to understand what had just happened that morning.

Because of the shut-down of air travel, I wasn’t able to finally get home to my family until the following week — and then travel to the client the next few months became hell, traveling between O’Hare and LAX, but our lives continued.
Bill Mountin ’79
Park Ridge, IL


I was at work the day of the 9-11 attack. I was 7 months pregnant with my only child. We had TVs and everyone had them tuned to the news. It was horrible. I watched in horror. My coworkers and I watched in stunned silence. I did not know anyone directly impacted, but it gave me such doubt about bringing a new child into the world. It was my unforgettable day.
Jeanne Rotter ’91, MAC’01
Madison


I was on the phone with Dr. Bob Hobson, chief of vascular surgery at New Jersey Medical School in Newark, New Jersey. He was leading an important national clinical trial on carotid artery stenting which exclusively used our product. Both towers had been hit when we started the call but neither had collapsed. We ended our update call early when his beeper said their hospital was starting to prepare to treat the injured. Bob never mentioned during our in-depth early review of what would turn out to be a groundbreaking clinical study that his son worked in one of the Twin Towers at a financial services company. His son perished that day. We saw each other a few months later at a medical conference. We hugged. No words. Dr. Hobson passed away, unexpectedly, a couple years later. He lost his son, and the field of vascular surgery lost a terrific doctor.
James Neupert ’75, MBA’78
Atherton, CA


I graduated with a JD in 1988. I now live in Wausau. On 9/11, I was on my way to the federal courthouse in Eau Claire for hearings, and listened to news channels all the way across Highway 29. The orders to close all federal buildings came in the middle of my trial. We finished (hurriedly), and the federal marshals locked the doors as we left the building together. I couldn’t get gas on the way back — the stations all had lines and were running out of fuel.
George B. Goyke ’85, JD’88
Wausau, WI

I was teaching school on 9/11. My morning started with playground duty before classes began. A parent walked up to me and told me what had happened in New York. My radio came to life, and I was told to line the children up and get them into the building as quickly as possible. The day went from strange to stranger. No recess, lunch in our classrooms, and at the end of the day we were not allowed to release the children unless we knew the parent or they had an ID to prove who they were.

The children, of course, wanted to know what was going on. Fifth graders are innately curious. How do you explain that our world is “falling apart” because there are “crazy people who don’t seem to value life the way we do?” Fifth graders are more aware of the world than you would think, and they asked hard questions. We discussed the events of the day, and then I said they should talk things over with their parents before they watched any TV. Then the day ended, the kids all went home, and we had a teacher meeting to discuss the schedule for the next day.

I will never forget that day. I worried about my children and my grandchildren. I worried about family that I have that lived in the New York area. Needless to say, life has never really been the same since that day. I have retired from teaching, and we are going through a pandemic, but that day will always stick in my mind!
Renee Miller ’62
Morton Grove, IL


I was working for Metavante Corporation, a subsidiary of M&I Bank Holding Company. We were in a meeting going over final plans and reviewing presentations for an international user group meeting for the software that we sold. Someone came to the door of our meeting room, walked right in and said a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers in NYC. They had a TV going on another floor, and we all left what we were doing and went upstairs to watch as things developed. We saw the second tower collapse, and everyone was in total disbelief. This couldn’t be happening right in NYC, right in our country. There were many people in the room but there was little noise, no conversation, only sighs and exclamations expressing mainly “I can’t believe that I am seeing this.” There were lots of tears and lots of fear and prayers as well. We all eventually just left and went home where we continued to be glued to our TVs. Our user group meeting was canceled but one of our international participants had arrived a week early to attend a training in Chicago. I received a call from her manager in South Africa saying that she was stranded and had no place to go. I finally got to talk to her. We made plans, and I drove to pick her up and bring her to my home. She stayed with me for two weeks until she was able to get a flight home. We spent hours focusing on the TV and trying to understand and hoping that there would be no more violence. We went many places and she got to see life in America. On a lighter note during the awful terror, she took multiple photos of our Piggly Wiggly store and every time she saw a sign or ad she laughed and thought that was just the funniest. Our time together was wonderful. We visited many cities around Wisconsin, and we continue to this day to communicate with each other. I will never forget the fear and the total terror trying to figure out how this could happen in our country. I have not been to “ground zero” but hope to someday visit. The one thing that still stands in my mind was the very strong feelings of patriotism and support for our country that people expressed openly and how everyone wanted to stand together.
Barbara Zander ’69
Stoughton, WI

I was in Hawai’i, and heard about it from my friend. She told me about it, and I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a hoax, like the one Orson Welles pulled back in the day. But as I turned on the TV and heard the newscaster talk about it, I was shocked. What was going on??? After we found out it was really true, the subsequent attacks on the Pentagon and other planes that were “kidnapped,” the reality set in for me. Subsequently, the increased scrutiny at airports and the anti-Muslim reaction was inevitable. But I would like to have the reports of the investigations into the events of 9/11 publicly revealed. We should know what the investigation uncovered, just as we should be told what the Mueller commissioned investigation uncovered about the 2016 elections.
Lynda Asato ’68
Honolulu


On 9/11, I was attending a conference in Miami Beach with 5 colleagues from my law firm. One intended to fly back to Chicago that morning. He was on a plane at the Miami airport when all air traffic was grounded. He returned to the hotel where the scene was chaotic. I have no idea whether the conference continued. It seemed that everyone was in the lobby trying to figure out how they were going to get home. Between us, we had two rental cars. Rather than waiting to see if we could fly home the next day, we decided to drive back to Chicago. Others had the same idea and, by midday, rental cars were in short supply. So, we signed one of our cars over to another group of Chicagoans. The 5 of us piled into the remaining car. Before we left, I purchased 5 sandwiches, apples, chips, cookies and bottles of water. We left Miami Beach in the early afternoon on 9/11 and drove around the clock. Even though we rotated driving in 2-hour shifts, I don’t think any of us slept. In the morning of 9/12, we occasionally passed under an overpass where someone stood waving an American flag. After stopping for breakfast in a restaurant, we made it to Chicago in a total of 22 hours.

That experience was surreal. But, it was more surreal when we arrived home and realized that, even in our familiar surroundings, everything had changed.
Elizabeth L. Gracie ’80, JD’83
Chicago


I was driving into the check station at the United States Air Force Academy where I was the Distinguished Biology Professor for that academic year. I noticed a higher security check. When I entered my department, people were gathered around a TV with the news that a jet airliner had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. As we watched, another jet crashed into the other tower. The immediate reaction was that of an enemy attack. A truly horrific experience that I’ll never forget.
Lawrence A. Jahn ’63
Macomb, IL


I was on a travel agent familiarization trip to Belize. We were on a bus to an excursion when our tour leader announced that the U.S. was under attack. Although some of the agents wanted to immediately return to our hotel as they were from the New York and Boston areas, we proceeded to the start of our excursion and spent time listening to the radio report (in Spanish and translated for us). It was decided that since “the internet and phones were down and planes were grounded,” we were safer continuing our tour. By the time we got back to the hotel around 5 p.m., we were greeted with television pictures of the Trade Center buildings falling but were able to send emails to those at home. Our scheduled Friday return flights were canceled, so we faced staying in Belize until the unknown date when flights would be allowed. I considered renting a car to drive home, but car rentals were almost impossible to find. I even considered buying a used car but decided I was better off not tackling an almost 3,000 mile trip. Some of our group decided to stay in Belize until our rescheduled flights would be available. Others (like me) decided to pay additional and grab the few seats available to fly home on Saturday when the first flights allowed were announced. Needless to say, when we landed in the States, we all applauded, and our pilot thanked us.
Lynn C. Lang ’69
Saint Cloud, MN

I had finished my MS in CS in the summer and accepted a job that was to start with a 3-month training in Sweden followed by a move to a new office in Boston. The company had applied for an expedited work visa in early July, and I planned to fly to Stockholm in time for a Sept. 3 start. On the 11, I was still staying with my parents in MD just outside of DC waiting for the Visa when it was clear the absence of a Visa was irrelevant to my plans. A few days later I was in the car up to Boston to open the office and meet with customers. Training ended up as 6 weeks starting in late October. Needless to say, I never forget the start date for my career.
Ross Dickson MS’01
Arlington, MA


Because I was working nights as a page designer at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, usually ’til about midnight, I was still asleep. The phone rang; it was my wife, who was at work. She told me someone had flown a big plane into one of the World Trade Center buildings.

Immediately I said two words: “Bin Laden.”

I thanked her for letting me know, went downstairs to turn on the TV and knew I’d have a day like no other at work.
Robert Friday ’76
Milwaukee


My husband Jim and I were in England on 9/11. A few days later we attended a memorial service at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Among those walking past our pew were the Queen, Prince Phillip, Prince Charles, Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Archbishops of York and Canterbury. Outside an additional 2,500 English and Americans listened via loudspeaker. The service ended with the singing of “Amazing Grace.” Our countries grieved together.
Karen Klopf Spaulding ’52
Williamsburg, VA

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