Eighteen years ago, the day the earth stood still: an attack on two towers changed the world forever. 9/11 would come to represent one of the most wicked displays of terrorism to date, as thousands died in an attack on the World Trade Center in New York City.
September 11, 2001, people across the continent and the world were listening to the news and watching images that would be burned into their memories forever.
We asked several friends what they recall about that day. As we share them with you, we hope you reflect on the lives that were taken and given, the first responders and accidental heroes.
Lorne Mathews: “The 2nd Tower. Saying we’re at War!”
Parker Jonathan: “I remember getting a phone call from my wife shortly after the first plane hit. I was asleep in a hotel room at NQC in Louisville, Kentucky, when she woke me up and told me what had happened. I was half asleep when she told me, so it didnt really register at first, but when I finally fully awakened, I turned the TV on and of course every channel was covering it. I remember a very somber mood over the entire NQC, but I also remember a very real sense of unity not only at NQC, but it was something that you could sense was sweeping across the country.
Mike Moran of the Torchmen: Sitting in a hotel, in Louisville, in disbelief.
Jimmy Reno of Mark209: I was sitting in my office, at my former job where I was part of the Safety and Security Department, for a Christian television network station. We immediately had to take steps to secure the station as we reached over 90 countries and had been identified by the FBI as a potential future terrorist target. While doing this, we also were monitoring the media coverage. I remember praying for all of those so tragically taken and their families.
Vonda Armstrong of Hope’s Journey: September 11, 2011, I was at work at the Dr.Kennedy’s dental office in Alabama. I’ll never forget when we saw on the TV the people running from smoke everywhere. I think it took a while for it to really sink in what had just happened. I remember watching television and saw when the second plane hit the tower.
That day will never be forgotten…..
Steve Ladd of Old Paths: Waking up in Louisville at NQC, turning the tv on in my hotel room and watching it play out in front of my eyes. It was a somber concert that night. I’ll never forget.
Patrick Drummond of the Drummonds: I was sitting at the Gate at Ft. Rucker, Ala., getting ready to exit. We were told what happened and that the Military base was locked down. A terrible feeling not knowing what was happening to our Country!
A day our Country should never forget; many lives lost because of hate!
Brent Gibbons: That the building imploded like a professional precisely placed explosives so nothing around it was touched.
Jason Oxenrider of the Riders: I was teaching my 10th grade world history class when the counselor walked in and whispered about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. We immediately turned the tv on and watched the horror unfold. A day that America should never forget and still should be a day that brings all of America together!
Kristina Cornell: I was pregnant with Isabella when the attacks came on September 11, 2001. She was born on October 1st so I was so scared to bring my baby into this crazy world! I could not believe what I was watching on TV, I could not believe this happened in our safe haven… over the past 18 years, I have learned that you truly NEVER know what tomorrow brings. Sometimes we even experience tragedy on our home soil. BUT GOD! He restores even the worst of our nightmares. He is the great healer! He is sovereign and enough!
This is a song that I recorded about the children who lost their parents on 9-11. I hope it encourages someone!
Yvonne Dodrill of the Dodrills: Luke Dodrill had a construction clean up business then, he had 5 or 6 employees. That morning I was still in bed, and Luke woke me up and said that something bad was happening (the second plane hadn’t hit yet). I walked into my living room and all of his employees are sitting there watching the tv report. I was 12 weeks pregnant with Annie, and I wasn’t a Christian, and I thought, as I watched that second plane hit, that the world was ending and I wasn’t ready to meet God. All of us sat there watching in horror and disbelief bawling our eyes out. It is forever etched into my soul! The horrors just kept happening that day with the towers falling, the plan crashing in PA and also the Pentagon. A day that changed my life. We started going back to church within a few weeks of that day, and eventually we gave our lives to Christ.
Carolyn Echols: I remember the horror, the sadness, and the fear.
Jaquita Lindsey of 11th Hour: I was in cosmetology school at the time. All the students were watching a technical video as my instructors all gathered around the TV. I could tell by the looks on their faces that something very bad had happened. I walked across the street to a store where I worked so that I could watch television in the lounge. I was watching as the second plane hit! The real crazy part was that my hometown of Camden, Arkansas was on the top ten terrorist list due to a major missile factory in our area.
Tammy Young: Utter chaos and sadness!
Angie Mizell: Tim and I were both at home that morning with our boys. The plane hit the first tower. I commented that the pilot must have had a heart attack or something terrible. Tim looked at me very seriously and said that it was intentional. I fussed at him and accused him of being negative. Shortly, the 2nd tower was hit. He just looked at me with those eyes of, “see!” I cried, we prayed. We had to take our youngest, then 8 years old, to the doctor. Our oldest called to tell us about the Pentagon. We were in shock. Everyone we met that day could talk of nothing else. Everyone walked around in a daze. Sad day in history!
Leslie McKay of the McKay Project: I was pregnant with Mary Katherine (she was born in Dec) and I remember standing in the living room watching the Today Show about to leave for work and saw the second plane hit the building. I remember saying to her, “Oh no baby girl, what in the world are you coming into.” So hard to believe that it’s been 18 years now. That day changed so many lives.
Steve Dover: I was working in law enforcement at the time. I was off that day but was activated and pulled a guard post at one of the entrances to a military base in our city until the national guard could be deployed. Nobody come on or off the base without a full search of their vehicle and person. Things were very tense for several days.
Dianne Wilkinson: Like so many, I was at NQC at the Executive Inn Hotel…awake but still in bed and watching TV…grazing through channels. I came to one that I assumed was HBO…a disaster movie…and suddenly the news channel broke in, and I learned that my country had been attacked…by cowards…on its own soil. I felt a kind of fear I had never felt. I began to pray as I never had before. Like so many, I chose to go to Freedom Hall that night and be with folks I loved. If the evil ones bombed it, too, we’d go to Heaven together. One big word to terrorist heathens…you can do horrible things…but you can’t destroy children of God! HE is in control of our destiny!#neverforget
Jack Armstrong of the Bibletones: I had a meeting at the capital in Jackson, Mississippi, that Monday and I stayed on my cousins’ houseboat that night and his satellite dish was not working and I didn’t have the news on that morning. I pulled up to a service station that morning to fuel up and I heard what had happened on my car radio. I will never forget it hard to believe that had happened on US soil.
Darien Southerland: I was doing a radio show on WGKA in Atlanta. I always kept Good morning America on. The first plane hit and we thought it was a accident. The second hit and we knew something was wrong. They pulled me off air at 10am. We then went back on at 12 noon till 6 pm. We took calls all afternoon from listeners.
Dianne Campbell: Watching on TV the second plane hit. Then watching the towers collapse. The pain in my cousin’s voice when she called me from Florida.
Pauline Patterson: That it was horrific! A sad, sad day.
Deborah Baker: My cable had been turned off. My pastor’s wife called me and told me what happened. I went to their house to watch for a while. Lines were forming at the gas station. People were afraid that another attack would come and was getting gas.
Rusty Rowan of Pardoned: I was returning from the post office, I had just opened my car door when the radio station made the announcement. I remember walking into the building and people’s faces being very cold, and blank with shock. Several of us gathered in my office to try and find out exactly what was happening. I remember going through several different emotions throughout the day; sadness, fear, anger, and even an elevated level of patriotism. The next morning there were flags and signs of support everywhere. It was a time of great concern and uncertainty, but also a time of even greater unity across America. I will never forget 9/11. It changed our country forever!
Tammie Scott: Sitting in my parents house in front of the tv, and I also had a school friend who was in the service who got killed at the pentagon when one of the planes crashed into it.
Kristen Stanton: I was sitting in the library researching and I was the only one there so I had no idea until I got home and saw the news.
Penny Walters: I was at work and someone came in the office and said come look on TV. We stood there watching and then the second airplane hit. We all went silent. I was so scared and just numb. It was just like the world stopped moving.
Jennifer Campbell: Concerning 9/11, my mom and I were at home, watching the news when the breaking news of the attacks began. We immediately started praying for the injured, the families affected, the first responders, and everyone involved. Having heard personal accounts from friends who were in Manhattan when the Twin Towers were struck, it is heart wrenching to know the true horror of this day. Although I may not understand the “whys” of horrific events like this, I know God is in control. Jesus said we would have trouble in this world, but He also said that He has overcome the world (John 16:33). As such, I do not place my hope in governments, organizations, or even religion. I put my hope in Jesus Christ, for He is the only eternal hope. He is the Lord of lords and King of kings. When we put our trust in Him, we do not have to fear the future. We can rest in His unconditional love, knowing that He loves us more than we could ever imagine.
Nikki Bernardo: I was sitting in my high school Biology class. My teacher got a phone call and left the room in a panic. Another teacher came and got our class and took us to the library where there was a TV on playing the live footage. Our Biology teacher came in sobbing…. (Her son worked in one of the towers) and she could not reach him. Thankfully she was able to reach him soon after. Turns out, he was out of the office when it happened. Wow!
Jason Dyess: I remember sitting at work watching the towers fall on tv and feeling absolutely helpless. Then at home that night, the eerie silence of no planes flying over my house like I’m accustomed to hearing and seeing. Just had an emptiness in my gut and praying a lot.
Bonita Eileen: I was cleaning my house and saw it on the tv and I went to the school and picked up my children. My Ashley was alive then and I brought her and my oldest son Adam home to be with me!
We got on our knees together and prayed for our country and all the families that lost their loved ones!
All the ones who were hurt and needing medical attention!
Cami Shrock: I was a junior in high school sitting in class when they announced it over the intercom. The teacher brought in a tv and we watched the news the entire period.
Donna Hoffman: We lived in Montana up in the mountains way back on a dirt road. It was common for our TV service to get knocked out. My daughter called from school to tell me what was going on. I got right on the phone and said to fix the signal problem. I told the service lady what was going on and she got me a signal right away. I was home alone all day and it made me think of all the people who would now be alone because of this.
Reva Hoskins of the Hoskins: At NQC…at the Executive Inn…we were leaving our rooms to go to a interview….We got on the bus turned the news back on….I immediately called my Mom and Dad… we were all so scared and away from home….But we didn’t leave!
Robin Tanner: We were at NQC in Louisville. I watched it in the hotel room. Our hearts broke and we prayed. A very sad day for America.
Denise Hankey: I was working at the American Red Cross Greater Ozarks Chapter in Springfield, MO. It was such an emotional day with hundreds of phone calls coming in desperately wanting to get in touch with family there and us not able to give many answers, just comfort and support. A memory that will never be erased.
Chuck Kidd: I was with Dr. Buck Morton, at his table about to do his morning Bible Study, at the N.Q.C., in Louisville, Kentucky.
Debra Wilson of Eagle’s Wings: Darryle and I were at home. My sister, Rhonda, was there, too. Matthew called from his job and told us to turn on the TV – that a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. We originally thought perhaps it was an accident. We soon learned different. Then the second plane hit! We sat HORRIFIED – glued to the television. I remember crying for days.
Joan Walker of SGNScoops: My sisters and I were at N.Q.C. in Louisville… very scary, eerily quiet in the sky… will never forget!
Lorraine Walker of SGNScoops: We were heading into the Cracker Barrel by Freedom Hall in Louisville. I remember the quiet. It was freaky. Surreal. Tense. And yet it broke down barriers. Everyone talked like friends. Quiet…the Louisville airport was shut down. At night the exhibition hall of NQC was half empty. Those walking around were either watching news footage or talking about the events. Being a Canadian in a foreign country when that country declares war and borders close is a frightening experience. The hotel allowed us to stay over until our borders were open. Many Canadians were also killed in those attacks. We were all deeply affected.
GW Southerland: Possibly the worst day since I’ve been alive!
Crystal Jonathan: I was at the office when my mama called me. My brother Grant lives in NYC, he was out of town, but his friends witness people jumping and gruesome things at the top of their building. I did turn the tv on and the second plane hit. We have a tiny piece of the towers in the shape of a cross, given to my father from fellow ironworkers.
Sheila Blackwell: 16 yrs ago tonight we were packed , ready to head to the airport the next morning ! Little did we know what lay ahead. We flew from Raleigh to Atlanta, changed planes then were set down in Memphis, never reaching our destination. Two days later we finally were able to get a rental car and drove back to Raleigh to get our car. We were so thankful NOT to be on one of the planes that went down that day ! A day no one will ever forget…….
Mark Jenkins: I asked Jeff (Steele)… but that year at NQC he rewrote lyrics to “We Want America Back.” He never re-recorded it and doesn’t remember lyrics. But it was awesome.
Greg Fox: I was in my hotel room at NQC and just finished shaving. I called Robin on the cell phone from my room, sat down beside the desk and turned on the television. She answered, “Good Morning, Honey…“ She spoke with such happiness in her voice as we were to be wed on the sixth of the upcoming month. As I flipped the tv channels from weather to sports and finally to the networks, I exclaimed, “Baby, turn on the TV now to Good Morning America!” Robin’s excitement went to a complete silence, marching mine…. no words, just an audible crying on both ends.Then the second plane crashed into the second tower as we watched, together yet apart… You see, she hadn’t begun her trek to Louisville to bring my fallen Father to NQC. It was just an awful cold time, emotionally. The unnerving feelings of, “What do we do?” …. And then “The Comforter” filled my heart as Robin quickly and quietly said, “Pray for us, Baby, and the kids and family….(pause)….. then through her tears, “And God will protect and bless and protect everyone, and our Country!” With that, we both prayed aloud, together yet apart. All day was a day of unknowns. Would the convention go on? How could I get back home to my family, my children, my mother and ailing father and mostly Robin. Thank you, Father, for sending the comfort and peace! As the day and week moved through the NQC, many times I cried to Jesus, “Father what do I do? What is Your will for me now? Then the answer came. Saturday night after the morning of 9/11, a Reunion of all the Kingsmen on stage for an wonderful time of singing and fun and tears. As I stood beside my father in his wheelchair, with his lifeless left side, Dad never stopped raising his only available hand to the Heavens. He motioned for me to lean down. I did, just as he whispered in his failing voice, “Son, this is it! …. (pause) and then through his tears he spoke again, “Greg, sing my verse on ‘Old Ship,’ and then let’s go back to mama and the house ……” At first, I didn’t really know what everything he said meant, but the next morning, those words rang loud and clear again in my head, and moreover, my heart. That afternoon, Sunday 9/16/2001, God comforted all my fears and questions, and I received the call: ‘It’s time!’ I wrote a closing letter to Maurice Templeton, to tell him that the reunion in the NQC stage would be the last time “The Kingsmen” would be performing as group together again …….That’s what I have go through my heart every year and every day and every hour and every second on 9/11!…Thank you again Father, for your words of peace and comfort and for the discerning knowledge to heed Your call!