Did The Tribe Win Last Night Remembers September 11, 2001
Ten years ago today, terrorists high-jacked four different planes, crashing them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon before the fourth plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It is a day no American will ever forget. Instead of talking Indians baseball this morning, the DTTWLN staff shares their memories of that tragic day.
Ryan Hohman: I was a senior in high school, sitting in history class, when the news came in that the first tower had been hit. Shortly after class ended and I went home. At the time I was taking college courses, so on off days I had a 2 hour break for lunch. This was an off day. I went home and told my mom what happened. I remember the shocked, puzzled look on her face when she reponded, “What?” She came into the living room right as the plane hit the Pentagon.
At the time I was 17 years old and had never been to New York City. Now, I’m 27 and I’ve been living and working in NYC for 5.5 years now. I’ve been to Ground Zero several times. I know people who lived here when it happened. I know people who lost friends. I know people who lost family. I’ve heard their stories.
Mike Brandyberry: That Tuesday morning was still the beginning of my third week as a teacher. Of course, my lesson for the day was planned and everything prepared down to the most minute detail, when the guidance counselor came to the door and said, “I’m not sure what you have planned today, but you might want to turn on the television.” I remember my immediate thought being, why would my new school want me to scrap my lesson to watch television?
She continued to say, “Two planes just ran into the World Trade Center.”
Since that day, I have always thought how safe Americans felt that day and how our world was shaken that morning because when I heard the news I instantly wondered what drunk pilot was flying a plane at 8:45 on a Tuesday morning. I always feel silly now for that being my immediate thought, but I guess that explains how safe and naïve I was as an American until that day. As a twenty-two year old at the time, I had never experienced any threat of terrorism. Since ten years ago today, it is something that is all part of our basic vocabulary and something always in our mind.
For the rest of the day we watched the events on television. I remember my freshmen students asking me questions like, “Is this going to start World War III,” and, “Do you think anything could happen to us?” I honestly didn’t know how to answer.
I do remember driving home with the radio playing news and patriotic music. I remember noticing the world seemed so quiet and surreal. Very little traffic and nothing in the sky.
Mostly, I remember thinking our world would never be the same. I didn’t know how, but I knew the reality I had grown up in, was now gone. Certainly that has been the case. I’ve had friends sent over seas to fight the war on terror and they haven’t all come home. September 11, 2001, touched everyone in different ways, but it certainly touched everyone.
Jason Kaminski: I was just starting college that fall and still living at home. That morning as I was getting ready for my first class of the day, Algebra with Mr. Koleno, I remember my Mom was watching the news and told me to come into the living room to see what was being broadcast. I was surprised to see smoke pouring from the World Trade Center and thinking “wow, that’s crazy”. The thing about it was, we didn’t think it was anything other than an aircraft accident. I left for school and I figured that was the end of it.
It’s funny to think that it was only ten years ago, yet if it happened today with our technology everyone would be up to date on the happenings. As class started people were of course asking if others had heard the news, but we didn’t watch the news. Class was conducted as usual and we all were aware of one plane hitting the tower. It wasn’t until I came home afterwards that I found out there was a second plane to hit and now it was evident that it was a terrorist attack. I didn’t know what to think, I was nervous. What was next? Soon after I arrived back at home I watched the towers fall. I couldn’t believe it. My next class was at 11 a.m. so I had to leave, expecting to finish watching in class.
English Composition class was in the Stocker Center at Lorain County Community College. When I arrived the topics of conversation were all about the attacks. At this point we all knew what was going on but nobody was sure of who was behind it all. To my surprise, we did not get to watch the news in class. Once class ended I couldn’t wait to get home to see what had happened. By this time it was reported that a plane had hit the Pentagon and another was crashed in Pennsylvania, assumed to also be headed towards D.C. The rest of the day is a blur. I can remember hanging out with my friends and just trying to get our minds off of what had happened. Classes were cancelled for the rest of the day and nobody knew what was about to change in our world. Being 18, I had just gone through several life changes myself. It was a weird time and I do think our world has changed significantly. That fall when baseball resumed I remember rooting so hard for a Yankees/Mets World Series, like so many were. I couldn’t say for sure that the attacks made us stronger but I can say that it made us more aware that we are not invincible. If anything, we were vulnerable.
Craig Gifford: At the time I was a senior at Bowling Green State University and Assistant Campus Editor for the BGNews. I was still in bed, when a frantic Entertainment Editor called me up and told me I had to get to the newsroom as fast as possible as there was a terrorist situation going on in New York. Still groggy and not really thinking much of what I had heard, I pulled myself out of bed and went to watch the morning SportsCenter. When ESPN was showing breaking coverage of the attacks rather than game highlights, that’s when I suddenly awoke from morning haze and knew something monumental had gone down. I was wide awake and quite nervous at that point. I spent the rest of the day digesting what happened in the newsroom on campus and helping to write about the events that forever changed our world.
In an instant, the sports I wanted to watch as started my day no long seemed all that important. Instead, I was helping to report on one of the most historic, scary, unfortunate, horrific events of my time. It was a day I will never forget, as I’m sure no one old enough to remember will.
Vince Guerrieri: Ten years ago yesterday, I was bored to tears covering a Peters Township council meeting for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
My mind wandered, probably thinking about the trip to PNC Park in two days to see the Pirates and the Mets. I went home and fell asleep, thinking about all the things I had to do at work the next day.
Ten years ago today, I actually entertained the thought that I might not return from work.
Two planes had crashed into the World Trade Towers, which collapsed. Another plane crashed into the Pentagon. There were reports of planes exploding on runways in Chicago and Cleveland. The troops were marshalled at the Trib’s main office on the North Shore. We were putting out a couple extra editions to try to sell in a downtown that was emptying out. I’d never seen rush hour in Pittsburgh at 11 a.m. Worse still, I was going in the other direction.
As a newspaper reporter, I’m trained to keep my wits while all around them are losing theirs. I thought that day was the beginning of Armageddon. Downtown was being evacuated amid reports of a hijacked plane over Pittsburgh — the plane that ended up crashing in a field in Somerset County.
Initial reports were that a plane had crashed outside Pittsburgh. They neglected to mention that it was 90 miles outside of Pittsburgh, something that would have given my parents a little more comfort. They were fairly panic-stricken until I called them to assure them I wasn’t dead. I was just one of the 275 million walking wounded.
I did what I could to contribute to the extras. Then I retreated to the South Hills bureau and finished up all the work I had planned to do that day. My friends in New York and Washington reported their safety, giving me a little less to fret about.
Mike Ray, my brother from another mother, happened to be coming to town that night. We dealt with the national calamity like I saw fit to address many problems. We went out drinking.
I remember my grandparents talking about the weekend that John Kennedy was killed. There were three TV networks at the time, and they scrapped all their programming for wall-to-wall news coverage. I grew up in the era of cable. There was no great news moment in my life – the Challenger blowing up, the Gulf War, Columbine, the recount in Florida – where I couldn’t change the channel, until Sept. 11. It was inescapable. ESPN and the Disney Channel were running ABC News. FX and Fox Sports were running Fox News. The Cartoon Network had CNN.
With a belly full of bar food and a liver full of whiskey, I went to bed that night.
I continued on. I talked to a woman whose daughter was missing and presumed dead in the World Trade Center. I made the cop rounds. I talked to local government officials. And I postponed plans for a baseball game in Pittsburgh for a week.
Pete Rozelle said that of all the decisions he made as commissioner of the NFL, the one he’d like to have back was continuing to play the schedule of games after Kennedy’s assassination. Nobody was making that mistake this time. Baseball was canceled for a week. The NFL schedule was postponed, including the opening of Heinz Field. Week 2 became Week 17.
Major League baseball resumed September 17. Two days later, I was at PNC Park for the Pirates-Mets game I planned to attend the week before. The atmosphere was muted, even for a meaningless Pirates game in September. Mets players had forsaken their traditional blue caps with orange lettering for NYPD and FDNY hats. Todd Zeile, Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura all homered for the Mets, who won in a walk, 9-2.
On September 30, I was in Cleveland for an Indians game against the Twins. One of my friends at the Trib was a Minnesota native and a Twins fan, so we’d make a trip to Cleveland once a year to watch the Indians and the Twins. It was supposed to be the last game of the season, but the week’s worth of games postponed after 9/11 were tacked on at the end of the season, so we got to watch the Indians beat the Twins and clinch the American League Central.
The Indians took the Mariners to five games in the Division Series, but succumbed. One of my co-workers suggested I root for the Yankees. “How can you not root for the Yankees this year?”
“Simple,” I said. “President Bush said we have to get back our normal activities. For me, hating the Yankees is normal.”
Matt Van Wormer: Tuesday, September 11th 2001 is a day I will not soon forget. It started out for me like any Tuesday. I was taking classes at LCCC at the time and didn’t have class until 10 o’clock. I woke up around 9:15 and did what I always did, turn on ESPN to see Indians highlights from the night before. There were no sports on though, just an image of the two World Trade Center Towers with huge holes in the sides of them. I quickly learned everything that was going on and also that my classes had been canceled for the day. Shortly after turning on the television, the crash at the Pentagon took place and then, not even half an hour later they were talking about the crash in Pennsylvania. The nation stood still for weeks before the return to normalcy began. I still remember ballplayers from every team wearing NYPD, NYFD, USCG and pretty much every branch of law enforcement or rescue that helped the victims of 9/11 in the first games back from that National tragedy.
Cody Gunselman: When the world stopped turning that morning of September 11, 2001, I can remember sitting in my fifth grade classroom, having no idea what had just occurred. Throughout the day the attacks on the World Trade Centers and Pentagon had been kept quiet by the staff of our elementary school. Recess was cancelled, and there were principals and teachers coming into our classroom the entire morning having private conversations with each other so no students could hear of the terrorist attacks. On top of that there were parents frantically coming in all day picking up their kids from school and taking them home to be with their families. My mother was a school employee in the district and she later told me that the plane that was brought down by passengers in the field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania actually flew directly over Brush Elementary school before changing paths. Although my classmates and I were too young to realize the magnitude of the events that had just occurred, we still could tell something was out of the ordinary in the way the school day had progressed. It wasn’t until I got home that I heard the news of the planes being hijacked and crashed into the Trade Centers. I remember coming home to the television screen showing the smoking buildings as they were about to collapse.
In the days that followed the 9/11 attacks the teachers finally discussed what happened with all of the students. I can remember going in that next day and it just being completely silent until our teachers spoke about it. Even as a fifth grader I could sense the panic and the fear in the adults of not knowing what was going to happen next when they spoke to us about it. I remember just feeling like everything else in the world had been put on hold and rightly so. It was a huge tragedy and devastating blow to our country.
Of all the things that were put on hold the one that affected me most was sports, in particular baseball. Games were postponed for a week in the wake of the terrorist attacks. When games finally resumed I can remember huge flags being stretched out to the size of the field during the national anthem of games. The biggest memory of baseball after 9/11 I have is when President Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch of Game 3 of the World Series in Yankee Stadium. He was the first sitting President to throw out a World Series first pitch since 1956 and he fired a perfect strike from the mound on top of it. It was truly one of the best moments in sports. Honestly, I really feel that in the days after the attacks sports was one thing that brought the country together and helped us get past what had happened that September morning.
Photo: Gary Hershorn/Reuters