Remembering 9/11: 20 Years Later

IFM staff shares their experiences surrounding major world event

Published online: Sep 10, 2021 Articles, Lifestyle I.F. Magazine Staff
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If you were old enough to walk and talk, then you remember where you were the day 9/11 happened. It is a day that not only shaped the history of the United States, but that of the world. The unprecedented loss of life changed security protocols, relationships with the Middle East and the lives of thousands of families. With the arrival of the 20-year anniversary, we thought it appropriate to honor the day and lives lost by sharing where we were the day the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon was attacked. Here are a few experiences from our staff members:

As I recall, Jeff Hunter, who was our Houseboat Magazine editor at the time, had just finished up an interview with a houseboater at York Harbor, NYC, on Sept. 10. He then flew out of Boston the next morning on a Delta flight at the same time hijackers were boarding another plane there. (In the confusion and chaos that led to planes being grounded across the nation, it was reported that a Delta flight had also been hijacked, although that turned out to be false.) 

Meanwhile, Brad Anderson and I were in Somerset, Ky., prepping for a full day of visiting clients. Right after news broke about the second plane hitting the World Trade Center (WTC), I got a frantic call from my wife, Shelly, who had no idea which day I was supposed to be flying home, let alone which flight I would be on. 

Brad and I ended up being stranded for 3 days in Nashville. 

My daughter, Sheridan, who was only 5-years-old at the time, knew that I was supposed to be back in Idaho Falls soon, but not HOW soon. She saw a recap of the WTC explosion footage and asked Shelly, “Was daddy on that plane?” It just about brought me to tears when I heard that, and made me realize what was probably going on in the hearts and minds of so many other Americans that day.

Just before we finally boarded our plane on 9/14, we learned about United Flight 93, and how the passengers had banded together and overpowered the hijackers before their plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. 

When our plane finally landed in Salt Lake City on 9/14, the whole cabin cheered.

–Steve Smede, Editorial Consultant

September 11 is my wife’s birthday. I had a great surprise day lined up for her that day, but we literally just sat at home watching the news. It felt way too wrong to be out celebrating and having any kind of fun.

I also recall a neighbor who was stranded in San Diego. Desperate to get home he hailed a cab to take him to a local truck stop where he found a Doug Andrus Distributing truck and hitched a ride back to Idaho Falls.

–Jason Harris, Publisher

I happened to be right in Washington D.C. visiting my parents as my dad was recovering from surgery.  They lived 2 blocks from the White House. 

We were sitting around visiting and my sister called frantically and asked if we were ok.  She said, “Haven’t you heard?? Put on the TV!” 

We just couldn’t believe it. We silenced the TV, held hands and prayed!  Then I went to the rooftop to see what was going on. I could see the Pentagon burning, Hummers blocked all intersections to the White House, helicopters circled and there was this eerie feeling of silence in the heart of the city. All cars headed outbound. 

I just thought, what could I do to help. I went down to the street and walked over to give blood but they were not accepting anyone at that time. I walked back to the condo and we prayed some more and were glued to the TV the rest of the day.  I still have a copy of the Washington Post from that day. We didn’t get a flight out until Sept. 14.  It’s like it was yesterday.

–Chris Sheetz, General Manager 

 To read more of the September issue click here.


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