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My 9/11 experience September 10, 2011

Posted by Mike C. in Commentary, Football, Hockey, Media, Music, News, Personal, Radio, Sports, TV.

The following is an excerpt from a written summary of a 9/11 portfolio I made at the end of the Fall 2001 semester (December 16) at C.W. Post for my Broadcasting 1 course, edited for brevity and accuracy:

It was 9:10 a.m. on September 11.  I just wanted to see what Regis [Philbin] and Kelly [Ripa] were talking about [on Live with Regis and Kelly].  So, I put on Channel 7 (WABC), and [saw] John DelGiorno in NewsCopter 7 showing smoke rising from both towers of the World Trade Center.  I had no idea how it had happened, but after flipping from station to station, and seeing the various replays, I knew.  At the time, it was considered that two planes accidentally crashed into the two towers, especially after the first plane hit, and that perhaps these were [small planes].  But, of course, they were two Boeing 767s; one was American Airlines Flight 11, and the next was United Airlines Flight 175.  As more time passed, we got a better idea that this was a terrorist attack of some sort.  It was made clear when it was reported that two planes had been hijacked and disappeared from radar, and especially clear when at [9:37], there was a fire at the Pentagon, which turned out to be from American Flight 77.  As all this was going on, I tried to go about my regular activities and get ready for my day at C.W. Post.  At [9:58], I was in my parents’ bedroom, standing, towel in hand about to shower, watching Channel 4 (WNBC) and listening to Howard Stern, which my parents had on.  We were looking live at the two burning towers, and then, as I looked away for a second [at 9:59], I turned back as my dad made a shocking remark.  “The building just collapsed,” he said in horror.  “Oh, my God.”  And I indeed saw the South Tower collapsing in on itself.   My heart sank as many stories as the tower; it was the most chilling thing I had seen since United 175 crash[ed] into that same tower.  I continued to get ready, now further terrorized, and then at 10:29, as my mom and I were getting into our car to head up to campus, my dad came out the front door.  I lowered my window, and he told us that the other tower had collapsed [one minute earlier].  I didn’t know what that looked like until I saw the replay on CNN at the Hillwood Cinema.  As I watched the North Tower, with antennas and transmitters, collapse, I let out a long, horrified groan.  That is all I will say about how September 11 was for me.  …

Classes were suspended in the afternoon and didn’t resume until Thursday.  So, I needed a ride home in the mid-afternoon.  I couldn’t get through to either of my parents for that ride.  When I walked past Humanities Hall, I found my Human Values professor from two semesters prior, John Lutz.  Dr. Lutz was gracious enough to give me the ride home I needed.  We listened to 1010 WINS for much of what turned out to be a long ride.  Traffic was heavy nearly the entire way home.  Lutz is still teaching at C.W. Post, now as an associate professor of English (9/10/13: and Chairman of the English Department).  If you happen to read this, Dr. Lutz, I can’t thank you enough for your help on that chaotic day ten years ago.

I was so overcome with emotion that I wasn’t in the mood to listen to any music (on CDs or MP3s on the computer) for up to a week.  Yet, I had a song in my head that I couldn’t repress.  As the song looped, I kept visualizing either the two towers on fire after being hit or the image from NewsCopter 7–one that got replayed repeatedly–of United 175 flying diagonally into the South Tower.  It was chilling, as I said in my summary.  When I wasn’t watching the nonstop coverage on that day and the days ahead, I watched syndicated reruns of The Simpsons that I had been taping for a year.  (I gave that up in 2006.)  It was a therapeutic escape from the insanity of real life.

I’ll conclude this post with a few pictures.  These were taken on a return trip to Ground Zero while shooting my senior project: a documentary about Joe Falco, a now-retired FDNY firefighter who survived the collapse of the South Tower:

And the following links:
Rick Folbaum Recounts Horrors of Reporting From Ground Zero on 9/11; Reveals Chilling Video From the Scene
Remembering 9/11: Incredible Raw Video Shows Rick Leventhal Interviewing Survivors at Ground Zero as North Tower Collapses
Janice Dean’s look back
PHOTOS: 10 Years After Sept. 11 Attack, Amazing Before-and-After Photos of Ground Zero & World Trade Center Site
TV News Reflects on 9/11/01: CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, NBC’s Anne Thompson
TV News Reflects on 9/11/01: Bloomberg TV’s Michael McKee, FNC’s Shepard Smith and Rick Leventhal
VIDEO: Flashback: 9/11 as it happened
AUDIO: Steve Somers’ 9/10/11 monologue on WFAN

H/T for six of the eight links to Johnny Dollar’s Friday and Saturday links pages.

Further addendum: I want to be fair and share this link passed along to me via e-mail by Liz Potter: My Fellow American
Ms. Potter contacted me after I brought up Joe Falco in my Bolder Fresher recap:

I went with my dad and we were joined later by family friend Joe Falco.  Joe is a former FDNY firefighter who survived the collapse of the World Trade Center’s south tower on September 11, 2001.  My college senior project was a documentary featuring his recollections and a return to Ground Zero where he retraced his steps.

Since it was a passing reference to 9/11, I politely declined linking.  Now that I’ve made a direct reference with this post, it’s only fair that I link.

9/12 UPDATE: I have another video link: Fox Sports and the NFL’s 9/11 Remembrance. (9/10/13: Link no longer works.) Just over three minutes in, there is a rousing rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” performed by Jim Cornelison at Soldier Field.  Here’s a little background on from his YouTube channel:


1. Candace - September 11, 2011

It had to be horrifying to watch New York’s skyline be transformed that day.
I was on my way to work and hacked off because I could not find any music on the radio. I was one of those people that never watched the news or cared about anything unless it was directly affecting me personally. 9/11 changed me. I could not help myself. I just had to know everything that I possibly could about everything going on in the world. I became a real news junkie. I simply could not get enough. I have eased off a little but I am still drawn to the news. I will not go around being uninformed again.

2. Lori Downing - September 11, 2013

Thanks for sharing. I would like to view your documentary one day.

3. Mike C. - September 11, 2013

You’re welcome, Lori. I’d be glad to make a copy for you.

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