Every American remembers where they were on the morning of September 11, 2001. It is a day that none of those who lived to see it will ever forget. Each year we honor those that lost their lives on that day with moments of reflection. This year we wanted to share our memories and reflections from our own lives.
“In 2001 I was just 13 years old. I was attending Worthingway Middle School and was in the middle of gym class when we were all called inside from our activities for an announcement by the dean of students Bill Mosca. I won’t forget the words nor the expression on my teacher’s face as the words came over the loudspeaker.
At first I didn’t know what to think. None of us did – we were 12-14 years old. The only thing we had worried about up to that point was on the lunch menu for that day and when our next break from school was.
Our gym teacher Mr. Chadwell attempted to take questions and answer them to the best of his ability. An extremely difficult task I’d imagine to explain that type of horror to a group of middle school students.
I remember walking into the library and watching the video of the second plane hitting the second tower. It was like nothing any of us had ever seen. Some students were crying, others were so confused they just didn’t know how to act; almost like a catatonic state.
The next thought I had to myself was this, ‘I’m glad my grandfather didn’t live to see this.’ He had passed away just weeks before.
Now after 12 years of growing up and understanding those events more with each passing year – I find myself saddened on this day. The hate that was required to carry out such actions on innocent people is something that I’ll never understand fully. The only way that we can overcome this type of hate (in my opinion) is through the power of spreading overwhelming love in the world.
Those are my reflections and memories this year.”
– Harry Watson (grandson of the Flag Lady)
And now some recollections from the rest of our staff.
Tyler, another of the Flag Lady’s grandsons and current member of our Flagpole Center team, had just started his freshman year of high school. He was in English class when his teacher announced to the class what had happened. His strongest memory of what had happened was the shock that settled into him as realized the magnitude of what was happening.
Rich has been our Graphic Artist for over fifteen years. He was driving his son to preschool when he first heard the news report about the attacks. After leaving his son’s preschool he came into work. His normal work day of designing flags did not happen for awhile. The demand for Old Glory was so high that he was assigned the task of putting grommets into the U.S.A. flags that we were producing for our customers. He also remembers that within a couple of days he was driving home one evening and noticed that virtually every house on his block was flying a flag.
Andy, The Flag Lady’s son and our Flagpole Center Director, was operating a cleaning business that specialized in cleaning new homes that were ready to be occupied. He was finishing up a second floor room when an employee called upstairs asking if they heard the news report. The news caused their day to come to a stop.
Martie, our Seamstress of about three years, was home from work that day. After a phone call from her daughter, Martie turned on a television to learn what was happening. As she watched the news she remembers a slight feeling of survivor’s guilt that so many families were losing loved ones but she was not personally affected by the incident. But her more overwhelming feeling was of deep sorrow for those who were personally affected that day. She also remembers a sense of unity as she spoke with and prayed with strangers.
Patricia, our Custom Supervisor of over twenty-five years, was at work when she heard a news report on the radio. A coworker who lived nearby went home and brought in a television for their room so they could keep up to date with what was happening. Soon, the store was filled and customers were lining up out our doors and Pat was busy finishing U.S.A. flags for our community members.
Parween, another Seamstress here, was at home when she received a phone call from her husband about the news. She turned on the news and wept as she thought of all of the innocent people who died simply because they showed up to work. One of the harder moments for her was when she had to explain to her four-year-old daughter why she was crying. She also remembers thinking how much this day would change America.
Kevin, our Operations Manager, was a sophomore in college in 2001. He had just finished breakfast when a friend offered him a ride to his 9:00 class. A report came over the radio that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. It was a non-detailed report; he assumed it was a small personal plane that had not caused any damage to the building itself. By the time his 10:00 class started, it was clear that it was not an accident but both towers remained standing. That would be the last class he would attend that day. He was frustrated in that he could only watch what was happening.
Glenna, our newest team member, distinctly remembers watching the news coverage and hearing a repeated beeping noise. It was the vests of firefighters caught in the rubble alerting responders where they could be found. It was a chilling moment for her that captured the sadness of the events of September 11, 2001.