Community remembers 9/11

Photo by Scott Aust. Members of the Garden City Fire Department Color Guard prepare to raise the flag during Monday’s ceremony.

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A large crowd of students, community members and first responders joined together Monday morning on the Garden City Community College campus to reflect and remember those lost on September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the nation.

During the ceremony, the Garden City Fire Department Color Guard raised the U.S. flag and lowered it to half staff and speakers noted the nearly 3,000 Americans, of all creeds and colors, who were killed 16 years ago in New York, the Pentagon and western Pennsylvania.

Before holding a moment of silence, the timeline of events of that day were cited (Eastern time zone):

  • 8:46 a.m.: The first plane hits the north tower of the World Trade Center
  • 9:03 a.m.: The south tower is hit
  • 9:37 a.m.: A plane crashes into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
  • 9:59 a.m.: The south tower collapses
  • 10:03 a.m.: Passengers on Flight 93 fight back against the hijackers and the plane crashes near Shanksville, Pa.
  • 10:28 a.m.: The north tower falls

For those old enough, the events of that day are easily remembered. Monday morning’s bright blue, nearly cloudless sky was eerily similar to the western Kansas sky 16 years ago.

For me, I was just leaving for work at the Hays Daily News when I heard the first report that a “small plane” had crashed into the World Trade Center. After getting to work, I saw the second plane hit live on the newsroom television, which told everyone this wasn’t just some random accident.

From there, the things I remember are getting a county commission story done quickly so I could help localize our coverage; interviewing the local hospital’s public relations director who happened to be in Washington, D.C., during the attack and had called us because he couldn’t reach his family; trying to stifle feelings of panic; going outside and realizing there were no airplane contrails overhead because all flights had been grounded; and weeping at the end of the day during the impromptu bi-partisan singing of “God Bless America” by members of Congress on the steps of the Capitol.

Feel free to share what you remember on this story’s Facebook posts.