9/11/2001 My Memories of That Fateful Day

Sept. 11 2001, will be a day most will always remember if they were alive that day.  I sure do.  It was the day that 19 members of the Islamic terrorist group, El Qaeda boarded 4 different airlines.  They hi-jacked them and crashed them one by one on a suicide mission, killing  2,996 people, injured over 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage.

9/11 World Trade Center Attack

Second in a series of four. The second plane crashes into the World Trade Center.

That morning of 9/11, I went to work.  Rich was off that day.  We were having a sunroom addition put on that morning.  He was going to stay home for the installation.  I was working in the Pharmacy at Advantage Logistics.  We were rather a small dept. at that time.  Maybe 10 or 15, not really sure.  We were expecting our supervisor Pam to come in.  She wasn’t showing up.  I’m not sure if I called her or she called first.

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She said she couldn’t get away from the tv.  I said, “What do you mean?” “A Plane just flew into the World Trade Center Tower in New York.”  Wow, not really understanding what was going on, she said she would be in soon, and before we could hang up, she said…..”OMG, their goes another one into the other tower”.  I think then the idea of something massive and evil was starting to form.  I knew no one else knew what was going on.  I believe I told several co-workers.  Then on our next break, we had a plant wide meeting.  It was conducted by our CEO Don.  He was one of our best Ceos’ we ever had.  He told everyone about the planes that had crashed into the World Trade Center.  He said he would keep us informed as the day progressed as to what was happening.

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010911-N-3031B-001 Arlington, Virginia (Sept. 11, 2001) -Ð Smoke and flames rise over the Pentagon at about 10 a.m. EST on Sep. 11, 2001, following a terrorist attack on the Pentagon in which terrorists hijacked a commercial airliner and crashed the plane into the side of the Pentagon. Part of the building collapsed while firefighters continued to battle the flames and look for survivors. The building was evacuated, as were the federal buildings in the Capitol area, including the White House. American Airlines FLT 77 was bound for Los Angeles from Washington Dulles with 58 passengers and 6 crew. All aboard the aircraft were killed, along with 125 people in the Pentagon. U.S. Navy Photo by PhotographerÕs Mate 2nd Class Lisa Borges (RELEASED)

Later we found out another plane also crashed into the Pentagon, and one more was heading back east and crashed in a field Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

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At home the workers had come to put up the sunroom.  Rich had left to do some errands.  When he came home, the workers and him witnessed a large plane come down really low and circle around and head back to Chicago…..Now we are only 90 miles from Chicago but usually planes are on the way up to their flight path.  They certainly don’t come down low and turn around.  Rich went and turned the tv on and positioned it for the workers to watch as they put up the sunroom.  It turns out all planes were grounded.  They were instructed to go to the nearest terminal and land.  The government was rightfully very worried.  They didn’t know what was going on.  How many more planes up their were being hi-jacked.   How many more would be routed into Washington DC or New York.  For 3 days, I believe the sky’s were void of planes.  I remember how eerie it was.  We were on the flight path into Chicago.  We always saw and heard planes.  The nites were really strange.  You would look in the skys, and not a plane to be seen.  No moving lights.  No sounds.  So Quiet.  Not even the Hospitals Helicopter was allowed to fly.  Finally after 3 days they resumed their flights, but security was stepped up massively.

I remember watching for days and days and even weeks.  It had made such a huge impact on the country.  Such a shock.  Everyone was glued to the tv and watched the video play over and over.  Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York City.

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Within an hour and 42 minutes, both 110-story towers collapsed, with debris and the resulting fires causing partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the World Trade Center complex, including the 47-story 7 World Trade Center tower, as well as significant damage to ten other large surrounding structures.  People were in a panic.  They were running for their lives.  The day at the Trade Center had just begun and the buildings were full of people in their offices.  The planes hit high, so the reports said the stairways were just full of people trying to get out.  They were afraid of the elevators.  The people above the floors where the planes crashed in were panicking.

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Many of them were calling their family’s.  Some knew it was probably the end and were saying their last good byes.  It even got to the point that people were jumping.  Their were many horror stories of people jumping 100 stories up.  Little did anyone know that the towers would come tumbling down.  It only took 1 hr and 42 minutes to bring down 2 110 story towers.  They said the planes all had full fuel tanks that exploded on impact.  The fire super heated the iron and finally, it all came tumbling down, pancaking onto each floor as it fell.  As you watched it, it felt like a dream.  Your mind just couldn’t encompass what was happening.  The streets became a rolling cloud of ash.

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Everyone was running for their lives.  Their was a thick ash everywhere.  I read where some people couldn’t out run it and ran into buildings or under cars to try to escape it.  The ash turned out to be the buildings that pulverized as they came down.  People were just covered with it.

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All the rescue crews came in.  Firetrucks, rescues vehicles, ambulances, and police departments.  Some of the crews had parked near the bottom of the towers before they came down.

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Rescue people climbed the stairs to the towers trying to rescue people who where trapped.  Unfortunately, when the towers fell, many of them perished also.   9/11 was the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed respectively.

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UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 11: Firefighters Todd Heaney and Frankie DiLeo, of Engine 209, carry injured firefighter from the rubble of the World Trade Center., (Photo by Todd Maisel/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

The searchers worked for hours and hours, days and weeks.  The hospitals prepared for many patients.  We all waited to see the patient count go up or the body count……..But it didn’t happen…..They just couldn’t find hardly any body’s from the towers.  Turned out many of them were also pulverized when the building came down.

  1. American Airlines Flight 11 was the first plane to crash at 8:46 into the North Tower at floors 93-99 killing all 92 people on board.

2.  United Airlines Flight 175 was the second plane to crash at 9:02 into the South Tower at floors 75-85 killing all 65 people on board.

3.   American Airlines Flight 77 was the 3rd plane to crash at 9:37 killing 59 aboard and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the Pentagon building.

4.  10:07 am – After passengers and crew members aboard the hijacked Flight 93 contact friends and family and learn about the attacks in New York and Washington, they mount an attempt to retake the plane. In response, hijackers deliberately crash the plane into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all 40 passengers and crew aboard.

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The Passengers were very brave on Flight 93.   This was their way of protecting the country by sacrificing themselves and not let the terrorist achieve their goal.  It was said later, they thought the plane was heading for the Capital in Washington DC.   The flight impacted at 563 mph at a 40-degree nose-down, inverted attitude.  The impact left a crater eight to ten feet deep , and 30 to 50 feet wide.

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Suspicion quickly fell on El Qaeda.   The United States responded by launching the War on Terror and invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, which had harbored El-Qaeda.

It took them until May of 2002 to finish the clean up of the Trade Center.  Plans were made to rebuilt.  The Pentagon was repaired within a year.  On November 2006 the new construction began for the New Trade Center, and it was finished and open on November 3, 2014.  A new National September 11 Memorial & Museum was built on Ground Zero, a Pentagon Memorial was also built, and out in  Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Flight 93 National Memorial was built in the field where it crashed .

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We must never forget this day.   Take nothing for granted. Appreciate our freedoms. Count our blessings.  Reach out and help our neighbor.  Cherish your family.  We have a Great Country.  We must never let anyone take that from us.  Remember, all those people were innocent people who bought a ticket for an airline flight that day or simple went to work.  Think of the terror during the last hour of their life.  They didn’t deserve that.  The people on Flight 93, died protecting our country.  Lets continue to preserve our freedoms that we have.  Educate our children and our future generations on what happened so it can NEVER happen again.

America is a Great Country…..Land of the Free….Home of the Brave

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Hurricane Harvey, 2017

We were very lucky.  “Harvey” missed us.  It came in on shore a little over 200 miles north of us.  It directly hit Rockport, Port Aransas, Victoria, Refugio, and Port Lavaca.  Corpus Christi was just a little south of the eye.

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One thing we realized down here in Texas living near the Gulf is, Hurricane season is taken very seriously.  The weathermen are always reporting on storms coming off the coast of Africa.  We knew this season started in August and ended the first of Nov.  Here is Eastgate we knew that all annuals or anyone who left their camper here for storage, had to anchor their units to the concrete pads.  Now after this past week, I understand why.  438842BA00000578-4818354-Hurricane_Harvey_is_expected_to_become_a_major_storm_once_it_mak-a-80_1503611478314

This storm started a week or two earlier as a depression #91.  As they watched it cross the Atlantic it escalated as it reached the Yucatan Peninsula.  It slowed down over land and then as it crossed into the Gulf of Mexico it started to escalate from a tropical storm to Hurricane.  They initially knew it could come ashore as a Category 3, but the warm waters escaladed it to Category 4, which meant it contained winds of over 125 mph.  It was predicted to land a little more south.  The Rio Grande Valley started to prepare.  Everyone was stocking up.  South Padre Island closed all beaches and they started boarding up windows.  If the winds reached over 45 mph, they would close the bridge to all traffic.  They have an Emergency text system in place for their residents, that you can get this information as it develops.  We took down our screen room, and put in all our awnings.  When Rich put up the shed, one of the requirements was also to anchor it.  So he constructed a wire anchor system that runs through both sides of the shed and is anchored to the concrete.  The park went around putting all the pool chairs and anything loose away.  They also inspected some of the homes of people who were not here and made sure everything was safe as possible.  We were suppose to receive up to 70mph winds at one point.  Also 4″ – 6” of rain.  Well, not a whole lot happened.  I woke up at midnight to hear the pitter patter of the rain.  The wind wasn’t bad.  It was suppose to escalate in the morning.  Nope, we were very lucky.  It came ashore around Port Lavaca, which is a little over 2 hours north on the coast.

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We caught some of the outer wind bands but not fierce.   Up around Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, Victoria and Port Lavaca, it destroyed the towns, hotels, homes, Rv Parks, and Boat Harbor’s.  Some of the smaller towns evacuated.  One of the Winter Texans from last year, said she had workamper friends in one of the parks.  They could not leave until all the guest campers were gone.  Then they could leave.   I don’t know if I like that or not.

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The towns were really tore up.  The rain was horrible.  They said that some areas around Houston could receive 50″ before it was over.  Just imagine that much rain and it comes ashore at 125mph.  “Harvey” came ashore and hovered for awhile.  It actually moved like it was a drunken soldier on shore.  It was downgraded finally to a tropical storm, but the tail end was still feeding the bands over the Gulf with water.  It continued to rain.  Houston started to flood.  Houston is a very low city.  It is only 50 feet above sea level.  It was built on flat marshy ground. It is prone to flood but nobody expected it to flood this much.  Reports started to come on tv of all the rescues.

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The interstates started filling up.  Some of the drivers just didn’t understand.  They continue to think they are almighty and can drive right through, including semis.  We seen reports of so many people just walking through the water to safety.  Abandoning their vehicles or homes.  The 911 calls were coming in.  People were beginning to be trapped in their homes.  The water kept rising.  Some were in their attics with nowhere else to go.  They were advised to bring an axe with them so they could chop a whole in the roof if needed.  …….”Get out of your house”…..”Stand on your roof”….  “Bring a piece of material with you that you can wave to draw attention”.  The calls kept coming in.  The people were told they were on the list.  But the Emergency people couldn’t help until daybreak, and even then, it was still impossible in many places.  Finally you seen boats coming down the streets.

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Individuals were going out with their own boats, canoes, airboats, even jet skis.  They were going out into the neighborhoods and picking up people and bringing them to high ground.  The local Convention Center opened up for the victims.  They kept running short of cots for them to sleep on.  Some people slept the night on the floor.  But at least they were safe and dry.  This flood had overwhelmed everyone.

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The news showed so many people being rescued with dump trucks.   Many times they used ladders to help the people get in and out.  So many people, young and old were carried through the water.  In one case, Nursing home residents were trapped and needed someone to come get them.  No one came.  Finally the nursing home owners were so devastated and helpless, they took a picture of all these poor people sitting in chairs and the couches waist deep in water looking so forlorn.

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I can’t even imagine their thoughts.  I’m sure they thought they were at deaths door.  She sent the picture to her daughter for help.  Her daughter put it out on Social Media and the news.  In less than 2 hours, Help Arrived.  Here’s all those people today smiling, happy, warm and dry.  So Happy to be Alive.  How awful for them.

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The National Guard was called out.  National Guard brought in around 30 helicopters for air rescue.   The US Coast Guard also brought in their helicopters Every available resource, was called in.  Fema, Red Cross, so many agency’s arrived, their was help arriving from all over the US.  Even the Border Patrol from the Rio Grande Valley came with over 30 different types of boats.  Of course all the news people arrived.   The reports and pictures on tv were constant the first 2 days.  It was ongoing for so long.  The storm stagnated in the Houston area, then went back out over the Gulf.  It reentered east of Houston around the Beaumont area and headed north west, slowly dissipating, but did much more damage and dropped a lot of rain in the Beaumont area.  They faced so many dangerous issues.

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Now they also had floating islands of Red Fire Ants.  They had come out of the ground and attach themselves to each other and become a floating colony.  You certainly don’t want to get into a nest of them.  Also, now the bayous had filled up and the city had to release some of the water in the reservoirs so they wouldn’t break.  Now Alligators were also swimming in the water along with Snakes Sewage and Chemicals had been leaked into the waters by now.  It was so dangerous to be in the water, but many had no choice.  Now here it is a week after “Harvey” landed, and the city still has water.  They said it may take weeks in some areas to totally empty.  Another occurrence they may find is floating caskets.

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With the ground being so saturated, some caskets may just surface and float.  How awful it would be to come across a casket.  The latest count of deaths was 39, which I thought was pretty good.

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Through all of this their is always “HERO’S” that give selflessly of themselves and their money.  In Houston Jim “Mattress Mack” Mcingvale has 2 very large furniture stores called “Gallery Furniture”.

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He opened his doors to anyone who needed shelter.  They made his new furniture their home.  A place to rest and sleep.  He fed them, and donations of all sort came in.  He even gave out his cell number for anyone who needed help and couldn’t get it.

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He not only let the flood victims sleep in his beds, he also let the National Guard rest.  “What a hero”.  He also did this for Hurricane Katrina.  He wants to help and share all he has to the people who need his help.  It was said he was losing $30,000 a day.

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Hotels and Motels all over are filled.  Some people left before the storm and some left after and found a place to go.  I believe Fema or the Red Cross is paying for the rooms for most of this month to give the families time and everyone to make plans for the future.  They are located all over Texas and probably Louisiana.  I do know that here in the Rio Grande Valley, we have many families that are in our motels.  All across the valley, the school systems are going motel to motel, enrolling the children in school.  All they want is the child’s name and info.  Their not requiring Birth Cert.  or papers.  They just want them in school so their life can continue as normal.  Country Suites here in Harlingen posted on FB the other day, the items they needed.  It contained from a Wheelchair and cane, on to clothes and personal care items and food.  They alone have 22 families.  We have at least 6 motels full.  Before you knew it, the word got out.  They have so many contributions that they are sharing across the Valley.  One person thought it was important to give the families a Cook out on Monday for Labor Day.  So many people have volunteered to help to put on a Celebration.  H-E-B is a huge chain grocery store in Texas.  In fact in the valley, their is no other.  …..No Krogers, Hyvee, Albertsons, just H-E-B…..  They deployed a convoy of 15 vehicles including 2 Mobile Kitchens, water and fuel tankers and H‑E‑B trailers, that will deliver much‑needed relief supplies and services to the communities in the affected hurricane area

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The H‑E‑B Mobile Kitchens, are two 45‑foot‑long food preparation facilities that are each designed to serve up to 2,500 meals per hour, will set up and serve hot meals to first responders and storm victims.  Also H‑E‑B’s DRUs that are fully equipped with an H‑E‑B Pharmacy and Mobile Business Services unit, which allows displaced residents to fill prescriptions, cash checks and pay bills, as well as provide access to an ATM.  One of the kitchens stopped in the Victoria area.  The other went on north to Houston.  Another fact to mention is the pets.  Anyone who had a pet, it was rescued with them.

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Pets have become a family member and they were treated as so.  The shelters have included them.  Their were pictures and stories of all the pet rescues.  So many people came out of their homes with their cats and dogs in carriers.  The ones that are found without owners have been taken to shelters.  Some are being shipped out of state to no kill shelters to find new homes.  Our shelter in Harlingen has made several trips up to take homeless animals.  They are all asking for donations of food, blankets and money.  The animals are being taken care of which is wonderful.  They all need a home.

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A week later, everything is still in turmoil but they are getting a handle on it.  Their were 3 large shelters open in Houston, but they are back down to one.  Their were actually around 142 shelters open around the area.  Over 100,000 homes are affected with flooding in Texas alone.  Over 300,000 homes were without power.  A state of disaster was declared in 50 county’s.  The discussion has been ongoing…..Should the mayor have evacuated Houston???.   It had happened in the past for another Hurricane that never happened after all.  Their was traffic jams and people died in the heat.  The mayor didn’t evacuate do to that reason.   I do agree with him.  Houston is the 4th largest city in the US.  How do you evacuate a whole city.   Where do they go.  If you’ve ever been through Houston in rush hour, you would know how bad it is.  That is only a small portion of the people.  To my understanding he made the right decision.  When you realize only 39 lives were lost, that is a small percent considering the population.  Some of those lives were lost in vehicles trying to escape the flood.  Some of those did not use common sense when traveling in flooded waters.  So many near fatal accidents happened that we seen on video.  It is sad that anyone died but you have to pick the best scenario for all.  I believe they were so fortunate that only 39 lives were lost so far.  It could have been much worse.  But I’m sure it may go up as they continue the search.

 

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White Caps on the Houston Interstates

 

Now we start watching the weather forecast…..Another storm coming off the coast of Africa.  Already a massive Hurricane.……IRMA…..Of course their are many storm tracks.  This one they think,  will follow up the East Coast of the US…..So we Wait and Watch