9/11 memories: Where were you?

If you are of a certain age, chances are the date September 11, 2001 is seared in your conscience. Probably forever. Hopefully forever.

Sept. 11, for many Americans, is the date, like Dec. 7, 1941 — Pearl Harbor — was for an earlier generation. It arguably changed things forever, more than almost any other event. Other burned-into-your-mind dates may include when President John F. Kennedy or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were shot and killed. Life-defining, life-changing moments. With 9/11 being the most recent game-changer. But recent is a relative term. Even for those of us who lived it, it’s still a long time ago. And fading fast for some people. That would be a shame.

Many of us can remember exactly where we were, what we were doing, what we thought was happening. Up close and personal, whether you were in Pittsburgh or Seattle. One of my sons was catching a ride outside the Pentagon when the aircraft slammed into the other side. His brother, my other son, was at a conference at Dulles Airport, which is where the aircraft that hit the Pentagon took off from before it was hijacked. I watched the Pentagon burn from our 5th-floor office, which gave us a look-down view of the Pentagon. We got reports that the State Department, the Pentagon, the CIA and the Capitol Building were hit. We heard that unidentified aircraft were heading toward the White House.

Many people worked frantically that day. Most in the D.C. area were told to go home and wait. Churches and synagogues were filled by people saying prayers or seeking answers. Professionals — especially in the government and the military — went into pro-mode. I later spoke to an FAA manager in Atlanta. She dropped her kids off to school then pulled into work just as the first aircraft struck. As she was being briefed, she was told the Trade Towers in New York City had been hit. Then the Pentagon, as well as many false alerts. She was told Air Force One had left Florida for an unknown destination. And that it was being tracked by 3 unknowns.

After a long, terrifying day at the Pentagon, a friend went home, got his fishing equipment and went down to the Potomac. To think! May sound crazy now, but it was that kind of event.

So what about you?

Lots of you were there on the job, or watching, or both. This is the kind of memory your kids, family, neighbors and fellow citizens should hear. Or at least be able to read. Which is what we’d like to do. Either in written form, or your actual voice on the radio. A reminder for friends and family about where you were, what you felt and how life changing it was for us.

We want to hear from you

Federal News Network wants to commemorate the anniversary of the attacks on New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. with the help of our audience.

What do you remember most from that day? And with the benefit of 20 years of reflection, what have been the most significant impacts to your agency’s mission and operations?

We think the best way to tell this story is through feds’ own voices — both current and former. To do that, we’d like to ask you to record your own voice, telling us, in your own words, what you think your fellow citizens should know or remember about Sept. 11, 2001.

The recordings you leave with us will be used as part of our coverage of the 9/11 anniversary, both on-air and online. There’s no requirement to tell us your full name or any more personally-identifying details than you feel comfortable with sharing, but context is valuable. We’d ask that at a minimum, you share your first name and where you were working on that day.

You can share your reflections with us in three ways:

  • Record an audio message on your smartphone via its built-in audio recording app. On iPhones, the app is called Voice Memos; Android devices have similar apps, but the names vary. Please record memories of 1 minute or less. Once it’s recorded, you can email it to us at fnncomment@federalnewsnetwork.com.
  • Although we prefer the voice memo option because of higher audio quality, you can also call us (toll-free) and leave a voicemail from any telephone. Dial (844)-305-1500, and record your message after the tone.
  • Please submit a written memory of no more than 150 words to fnncomment@federalnewsnetwork.com or send us a message on Facebook.

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