Story Produced by Lee Hill and Ben Markus
Through our Public Insight Network, we've been asking how 9/11 affected you, then and now. Lee Hill is Colorado Public Radio's Public Insight Analyst and Reporter. He joins host Ryan Warner to share some of your stories, including memories of where you were on that Tuesday morning in 2001, how you reacted to news of the attacks and how your life has changed in a post-9/11 world.
Below are some additional responses we received through the Public Insight Network.
"After watching the towers collapse on TV, knowing there would be hundreds of firefighters and police officers in the building trying to rescue victims, I realized they were likely all dead at that moment. I am a firefighter and was normally not an emotional person, but I sat at my desk that day with my door closed, crying like a baby. I was totally overwhelmed by the events of that Tuesday.
-John Bollinger, Louisville
"I just sat in front of the TV for about 5 hours in disbelief. Then I realized that Jessica, the little girl that we were adopting, was coming home from first grade soon. And I turned off the TV as I remembered when Kennedy was shot and how my mother sat me in front of the TV for his funeral and kept crying and saying that I need to watch this because it was history. I decided that i would protect Jessica from the memory of 911 and not let her watch it. At dinner I told her about it and the next day she came home with lots of questions. I got out the papers and showed her the pictures."
-Joan Poston, Denver
"I was at home living on Nassau Street a block and a half away from the WTC. … My partner and I had moved into our new loft on Nassau Street on September 1 from an apartment in Tribecca. Construction delays had shifted our move from July to September. The niht of September 10th, I finished unpacking the last box and hanging the last piece of art on the wall. The next day our life changed. I returned to our loft after the attacks to save our dog who we left behind. I climbed down bridges, crossed baracades, and evaded police cordones to retrieve the little beagle mix. The witness of that scene was fodder for years of nightmares. We were forced out of our space until the early weeks of 2002. Having only been able to return once to collect a few belongings. Nearly everything had to be diposed of because of contamination. We were resilient and started over - sperately. The stress of that day took a major toll on our relationship."
-Christopher McGinness, Denver
"I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 7 pm the night before. At work I was telling my supervisor of the diagnosis when we were called in to a management meeting and told of the attack. It really put my diagnosis in perspective rather quickly. Every year it is a continual, in my face, reminder of my cancer and now how long I have survived."
-Kathy Banning, Aurora
"I have deployed to Iraq in 2003-2004 and to Afghanistan in 2010. I met my current wife during the Iraq deployment and we both deployed to Afghanistan in the same unit. My son from my first marriage is now a Marine and is currently on his second deployment in Afghanistan. All three of us were in Afghanistan at the same time in 2010. I would say I have mild symptoms of PTSD and I have friends who suffer to greater or lesser degrees."
-Steve Ferencik, Arvada
"I was hired on as a Federal Air Marshall later that year. I spent 4 1/2 years in that position and got to see the government's response to the unfolding events. The more I learned, the more I realized that most of the response was a knee-jerk reaction rather than a meaningful strategy to keep our country safe."
-Tobias Schunck, Niwot
"The only real problem that I have had is when my husband was flying back on Christmas day and his mother had given him a little bottle of bad smelling after shave and the TSA took it from him because it was more than 3oz of liquid. and I was soooooooo grateful to not have that smell in my house."
-Joan Poston, Denver
“On September 11, 2001 I worked in a shelter with abused and neglected children. As the horrors unfolded, administration ordered us to limit the children's contact with the outside world to "protect" them. … In a week or so the kids found out; one kid had talked to his mom and the floodgates opened. The children were angry at us for keeping them from knowing, feeling, and being a part of the world that they would live in from now on. For children whose own small worlds had already been blown apart by family violence, abuse, or neglect, the events September 11, 2001 were less overwhelming than we would have guessed. … they had little compassion, empathy, or imagination for the plights of others; what they could give of their own humanity had already run low.”
-Sigrid Asher, Denver
"I hate airline security. I hate that I can't meet my family at the gate anymore. I understand the reasons for increased security, but I feel it's reactionary. If we truly want to prevent terrorism, we need to be *proactive.* I mean, taking off my shoes before boarding a plane? Really? There was *one* incident that cause that reaction from our government."
-Lannette Johnson, Federal Heights
"My first airplane ride was in 1966 at age 17 (DC3 across the Atlantic); I have flown all my life. But I have not set foot on a commercial airliner since September 11, 2001- I do not trust the for-profit airlines to provide adequate security INSIDE THE PLANES."
-Jay Haygood, Parachute
"I don't feel any different. I didn't feel unsafe before and I don't feel unsafe now. The only way American's image abroad will change, such that our safety won't be compromised in the future and we won't find ourselves fighting seemingly endless wars, is for us to change the image of ourselves that led to the attacks in the first place."
-John Van Hoven, Denver
[Photo of Broomfield 9/11 Memorial, City and County of Broomfield]