Southern Oregon Rehabilitation Center & Clinics (SORCC)
20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001
SORCC Employees, in Their Own Words “Where was I When the Events of 9/11 Occurred?”
W.A. Being a native NYC’r / Manhattan & Brooklyn, it cuts close and additionally as one of my best friend’s lost her husband (NYFD) in the towers collapse.
I also lived in battery park city (trade tower area and two city blocks away) and my building was gutted and so many were hurt. Miraculously I had just moved to Miami weeks prior for professional reasons.
It was heartbreaking and it is still chilling to watch the images and footage. So long ago but never has lost impact for me.
D.H. We were living in the East Bay Area. The striking thing to me was how polite people were in traffic that day. It was quiet. People seemed to see each other that day.
A.B. I was at work at a printing company, where I managed the Customer Service Dept. We had a tv in the conference room tuned to CNN, and when the coverage first started, several of us stood in total shock. Many of us were Veterans, so this hit especially hard for us. I was so proud of our upper management when they shut down the shop and turned on all of the televisions around all three buildings so that everyone could sit down or stand and watch. Our buildings were silent as we watched, 300 plus employees strong, united in grief. We cried, held each other, and lent one another strength in those horrible moments of our shared devastation. I will NEVER forget.
D.G. I was home. I just had come downstairs to leave to care for my grandfather when my roommate turn on the television and I saw the towers fall. Our family had an apartment just down the street from the towers. I spent much time in NYC.
M.B. I was in a woodshop class in middle school.
R.H. Home, eating breakfast before going to work. Left for work just after the first tower came down, found out about the 2nd one when I got to work
G.G. 8th grade history class for first plane and English for 2nd, 3rd and 4th plane at Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary in Lexington, KY.
A.W. I was in my second year of PA school enrolled at Saint Louis University and in the USAF Reserves. I was participating in my surgical clinical rotation in Springfield, Missouri. I was scrubbing in with the surgeon getting prepared for the first case when one of the surgical nurses came in and told us a plane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. The same nurse came back in about 15-20 minutes later and told us a second plane had crashed into the other tower. The room became totally silent as we were trying to process the information and what had happened.
E.P. It is a day I will never forget. I was in middle school. My mom had just woken me up to get ready. She had the news on and told me to hurry up and come watch. My small mind couldn't fathom what was happening. She walked away from the TV and I sat and watched. I was watching live when the second plane hit. I yelled for her and told her a second plane hit! She was sure that I had just seen a replay. It was a very dark day. I will never forget the feeling I got when that second plane hit; watching people jumping from the buildings. It was 20 years ago and it feels like yesterday.
C.P. I was on a family reunion trip in southern Italy (Amalfi Coast). My uncle was calling back to the US about his job and one of his colleagues told him about what happened re: 1st plane hitting the 1st Tower. I found a small cafe that was playing a transistor radio in Italian trying to understand what was happening. As I was listening, on the wall behind the server was A LOT of post cards from all over the world and I happen to see the Twin Towers (Manhattan, NY); it was an eerie feeling knowing something significant was happening but not fully sure either. It was not until we got back to the villa were, we able to get the news and updates in English.
D.P. I was working for the Department of the Navy as a civilian. Right next door to my office was my boss, a Lieutenant (Navy Pilot) yelled over to my office and told me to come to his office right away. He had his TV on and we just watched it over and over and over again. Pretty soon all the Sailors were crammed in his office too. We could not believe what was happening in front of our eyes. The Naval Air Base where we were was instantly put on lock down. Less than a month later I reenlisted in the Navy Reserves and was activated in November of that year for 20 months. That was one of the best decisions I made in my life. I spent some time in Japan, Iraq and retired in 2015 with 22 years of total service.
J.J. On a live fire range at Ft. Lewis. We were in the middle of an exercise when all the Scouts were called back into the barracks. Once back, the platoon gathered to watch the news and coverage knowing that we’d probably be called to deploy.
J.M.F I was driving to work when the first impact was reported on the radio, just getting off the freeway at South Medford. By the time I had arrived at my job at the infusion center and RVMC a few minutes later, the second plane had hit. The nurses were all looking at the TV, several were weeping, and I was bewildered – not quite ready to believe what I was hearing and now seeing. What I remember most about those days directly following was the horrible hollow feeling in my chest, the eerie silence of there being NO aircraft in the skies, and the confused faces of my kids, then 9 and 12, and the feeling of helplessness in providing an explanation to them for what was unexplainable. I had an opportunity to visit ground zero in November of 2002, and again in November of 2003. It was very emotionally distressing but also very moving; hard to see but I was grateful to have the opportunity to pray and pay my respects at the place where so many treasured humans met their end.
K.S. I was in class about 30 minutes from the Pentagon. We saw F-15’s flying overhead, and our professor said, “We are under attack.” and told us to go home.
C.H. Portland, OR...PDX. I slapped on my uniform, kissed my husband goodbye, & said I don't know when I'll see you next.
J.L. Thermopolis Wyoming working as a Deputy Sheriff
R.S. Salida, CO
C.S. The morning of 9/11 I was arriving at school as a 6th grader as our class huddled around the TV to watch the morning news. As a child it was hard to fully comprehend the impact of what had just happened, however, I vividly remember the video from the news of the destruction of the fallen towers and the stunned faces of my teachers. I remember the rest of that day being pretty bizarre as more tragic events developed and our teachers trying to explain what was happening.
P.C. On my way out the door for work. The tv was on and I caught a glimpse of the first tower to get hit. I stayed and watched as the second tower was hit. Work did not take place that day.
K.P. I was at home on leave from the Oregon Air National Guard to care for my wife after having surgery. Needless to say, I called for her mother to come and I was recalled to work!!
M.K. I had woken up for school and my alarm was a new radio station and they mentioned the WTC and I honestly was so young I didn't think anything of it. I got dressed, they mentioned the second plane. I walked into the kitchen and my dad, who never went a morning without the news, dove to turn off the TV so I didn't see what was happening. When I got to school, I realized what had happened and that it wasn't a terrible accident. We found out some days later that my mom's cousin died in the north tower. I was 11 when the attacks happened and while my generation had already seen such terrible trauma, this was the first time I remember asking my father why something happened and with tears in his eyes, he painfully admitted that he had no idea and THAT above everything else scared me to my core. I was too young to understand what a terrorist attack was, but I knew that if my dad was afraid and crying, something was horribly wrong.
L.T. I was on my way to work listening to the radio and thought it was a huge joke...this couldn't be real.
S.K. Working here at what was then the Domiciliary as a contract technologist
D.J. In class
R.H. My family and I were up getting ready for work and kids for school, living in Phoenix OR. Every morning my husband watched the news as we got ready. When the regular news was interrupted, it wasn’t clear at first, when the first tower was hit, and what was going on. Then we saw the second tower was hit. When I got to work it was very somber. When I got off work I didn’t want to go home, because there was no one there. I stopped over to a friend’s house who was the optical manager at COSTCO. When he opened the door, of course I didn’t have to say a word. He said, “you think that was eerie”, he then showed me a million dollar add promotion, COSTCO was due to run the next day. It was a picture of the Twin Towers and they were bent in opposite direction so a plane could go between them. Needless to say, COSTCO dropped the ad promotion.
T.G. At home in Bed
C.T. I was going to my first class of the day for 8th grade at Ponderosa Junior Highschool in Klamath Falls, Oregon.
M.S. I was working in the scale shack at Roseburg Forest products in Weed California. My co-worker/friend and I were listening to the radio as everything unfolded. It didn't take long before our truck drivers were arriving with flags on their trucks. It was a very somber day and we knew we needed to do something no matter how small. So,my friend and I purchased candles and ribbon. We wrapped our candles in red, white and blue ribbon and those candles out to our drivers who came across the scales. That was the day I decided to join the military.
B.C. Graduating from RCC LPN program.
J.T. At Home, just waking up to the News. It was my day off.
M.S. Dutch Bros coffee shop in Grants Pass, OR
D.G. I had just come to work here at the VA when I heard what happened. I didn't believe it at first but quickly found out it was real!
S.F. I had just gotten married on Saturday, but on that Tuesday morning I woke up in a hospital room that I had been admitted into late the night before. I turned on the tv, saw the twin towers falling and thought I was seeing a movie. My husband (being from Brooklyn himself) was frantically calling me to see if I was watching the news. We were very worried as his parents had been in route via air travel back to New York, but they returned safely.
M.M. I was in a college classroom for a prerequisite for my nursing program. We had a TV in the classroom, we were alerted to the disaster and someone turned it on as we watched the tower fall...never forget that moment of this group of people witnessing that terrible vision.
J.A. I was in bed. My husband called me and told me to turn on the TV, that the Twin Towers had just been bombed (that is what the news was reporting at that time). I did just in time to watch the second tower get hit. We lived in the flight path for Ontario International Airport at the time, so not only was I frightened for my family due to the close proximity to an international airport, but for 4 days we listened to the eerie silence brought on by the absence of airplanes in the sky. And that in itself, was a frightening new reality.
S.L. I was dropping my son off at day care. Television was on and it came on the screen.
Manuel Ramirez: I was working the BNSF railroad on the rail the morning it happened, and we had to stop at the nearest siding and waited for many hours.
L.H. Stationed at the Heidelberg, Germany MEDDAC- US Army Europe
A.M. On Active Duty, US Navy Seabees, Port Hueneme, CA. driving to work.
D.B. JOINT RESERVE BASE FORT WORTH TX
P.M. Walking up to the VA in Oklahoma City, everything just went silent and then people were yelling and crying.
D.P. I was working for Department of the Navy and saw this on the T.V. in our boss' office. On September 29 of 2001 I enlisted in the Navy Reserves and was mobilized in November 2001 and retired in 2015, with 22 years of total service. I was also mobilized in Iraq 2007-2008.
R.S. Salida, CO
R.C. 4th Grade; Mrs. Daley’s class
R.G. I arrived at my college classroom prior to the class beginning, with students watching the news on tv in the classroom. My wife saw the news while waiting in lobby of doctor's office.
D.R. Key West, Florida at work. I was born and raised in NYC and I remember trying to get ahold of loved ones and could not. My uncle lived near the Towers. I also remember the story of my mom being pregnant with me and going to the towers as they were being built. She also took me to them after they were completed.
R.E. Coming off the midnight shift when I was a millwright.
E.S. I was at boarding school and had recently came out from my side of the dorm to see the second plane crash. At first, I thought that the other students were watching an action movie, but then was shocked when I realized it was real. We were all in shock and we did not go to school that day but instead started praying for everyone and our country. There was nothing else you could do at that point. I graduated with 13 people, 4 of those high school students were later killed as they all decided to serve in the military after this experience and serve their country.
M.H. Out looking for my missing dog, when I got back to the house, I walked into the living room and saw a smoking building and a jet liner and thought someone had changed the channel to a disaster movie. It didn't look real. It was. All too real.
K.H. At home preparing for work.
L.C. I had just graduated high school, working at the Local auto parts store, Littrells. I was working that summer job killing time for college to start. College was put on hold as I ate Army Chow Turkey in basic training for Thanksgiving 2001.
K.P. I was actually at home on leave from the Oregon Air National Guard caring for my wife after having surgery. All leave was cancelled immediately and we were recalled to Kingsley Field. I worked as an aircraft maintenance technician in the Hydraulic Shop at the time. Being a training base, we continued to our normal mission, training pilots for combat, but also ramped up and were ready to deploy at a moments notice.
M.R. VA Biloxi Mississippi in the audiology dept.
G.S. Walking onto the children's unit at a psychiatric hospital in Smithsburg, Maryland. Everyone was frozen staring at the TV screen.
P.W. Just started a morning run at Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA.
M.C. I had finished covering night shift at the Brecksville Ohio VA. I went to the library that morning and I heard a broadcast about a plane hitting one of the Twin Towers. By the time I got home and turned on the television, the second plane hit. It was horrible and confusing to bear witness to what happened. Wondering why and worried about the people there is a sad memory.
D.H. On 9/11, I was teaching an early morning Bible study class of high school teenagers when one walked in late to the class and said she had just seen on TV a plane hit the World Trade Center. At the time, the news did not know the cause and she thought there was heavy fog and a plane accidentally ran into one of the buildings. Others came in late, adding to the story until the full scope of what happened was pieced together.
S.M. On the USS Enterprise CVN-65, just a few miles outside of the Persian Gulf.
A.S. I was sitting in my Freshmen English class at Granite Hills High School when the towers were hit, and my teacher had the news on her T.V. in the classroom.
E.W. At the gym.
T.B.I was stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ where I was serving on active duty in the United States Air Force as a Security Forces (Military Police) Airman. My spouse and I had just started some much, needed leave time after experiencing a high operations tempo. Right when we were about to literally get into the car to start a small vacation road trip, I was alerted via telephone that all leave was cancelled, and I was under direct orders to return to work IMMEDIATELY. I spent the next 48 hours securing the Air Force base under THREATCON "Delta" (which means that an attack on the U.S. had just occurred). After about 36 straight hours of working I was able to finally go home to get some rest and catch up on the news as to what happened.
These 9 video stories capture a range of experiences and emotions from that day through their military service and beyond:
- VA Remembers 9/11 Commemoration Playlist: VA Remembers-20th Commemoration of 9/11 - YouTube
- Antwain Vaughn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68KAFuIFNDE&list=PL3AQ_JVoBEyxOvOHWaVrKvgQY7z1hSChy&index=1
- Regina Briscoe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYvoCqPwjTI&list=PL3AQ_JVoBEyxOvOHWaVrKvgQY7z1hSChy&index=2
- Doug Hayes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M_39HdNE_o&list=PL3AQ_JVoBEyxOvOHWaVrKvgQY7z1hSChy&index=3
- Robert Acosta: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvCviUnDZYw&list=PL3AQ_JVoBEyxOvOHWaVrKvgQY7z1hSChy&index=4
- Scott Switzer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMSzfa0N1OM&list=PL3AQ_JVoBEyxOvOHWaVrKvgQY7z1hSChy&index=5
- Lauren Sandmire: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJFFuruuG60&list=PL3AQ_JVoBEyxOvOHWaVrKvgQY7z1hSChy&index=6
- Matt Campbell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPD40BeLlfQ&list=PL3AQ_JVoBEyxOvOHWaVrKvgQY7z1hSChy&index=7
- Anna Lopez: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-dcw6G-gUM&list=PL3AQ_JVoBEyxOvOHWaVrKvgQY7z1hSChy&index=8
- Miguel Marcos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01ktCMHTClw&list=PL3AQ_JVoBEyxOvOHWaVrKvgQY7z1hSChy&index=9