A bronze statue honoring the search-and-rescue dogs involved in the recovery efforts at the World Trade Center and Pentagon at the Essex County Eagle Rock September 11th Memorial in West Orange, New Jersey.
Thu, 09/10/2020 - 11:29pm

Question of the Week

Where were you and what were you doing on September 11 when you heard the news?


My mom and I were getting ready to walk out the door of my house in New Jersey. The limo was in the driveway waiting to take us to Newark Airport to take her home to Florida. The plane hit as I walked over to shut off the TV.

Joan Goldstein, Warren, New Jersey



I was in my office in Morristown, New Jersey, a bedroom community outside of NYC. When the towers went down, I immediately thought of my niece, who worked as a paralegal in the World Trade Center. I could not get her husband on the phone, nor my brother.

I eventually got my niece’s mother-in-law on the phone. Cyrena had been transferred to the midtown office two weeks before. She was safe on her bus, which had turned around in New Jersey and was dropping people off at their pick-up points. Such a relief, you could not imagine.

I lost a number of neighbors. Every morning, I would leave my house at 6 a.m. to go to work. Most mornings I left with two biscuits for the Golden Retrievers of a neighbor who would often pass by with them. 9/11 was the last time I saw him. He died, and so did his wife, leaving four children.

Larry Terricone, Basking Ridge, New Jersey



Pam was at work and I was home, brushing out a dog. We’d had a nice win the previous Saturday at Somerset Hills and asked Perry Phillips, the photographer, to expedite the photo. He called that morning and said, “Did you see what happened at the World Trade Center?” I turned on the TV as the first tower fell, and even then, didn’t believe the second would fall. We never turned the TV off the rest of the week.   

John Mandeville, Somerset, New Jersey



It was like it happened yesterday. Burned into our being. 

I had turned on the TV at 8:30 to check on weather before I headed out for a dog hike. This was really silly, as I could see what a gorgeous day it was. 

The first plane had hit, and the news was all over it. 

I immediately called two friends who I knew worked at the WTC. They didn’t answer. 

Later I found out one of them was headed into the lobby when it hit. He knew something bad had happened and went back to his office across the street. That building was later destroyed, too, but by then he had left the city. 

The other friend was headed up the elevator in the second tower and wisely decided to ignore being told it was safe to stay put. 

Both these people saw things no one should have to witness. Both are alive. Both are still suffering from PTSD.

9/11 brought out the best in people over the months that followed. It really was all about the people and what matters.

Family of 9/11 victims all said the same thing: Live life to the fullest. Live every day like it is your last. Do for others.

Iva Kimmelman, Stow, Massachusetts 



I was there! Right in the middle of it all in the World Financial Center.

We were told to evacuate the building, and after a while started walking up the West Side Highway. I had a choice to walk or go on a boat toward New Jersey. The air started to fill up with black spiraling smoke. At one point I thought I saw debris falling out of the building, but it was a person. We saw the buildings collapse and people with their cameras riding on their bikes toward the towers to take pictures.

My thoughts were to get to the 59th Street Bridge to walk over and find a ride on the other side of the river. It took me seven hours to get home to Long Island. We had no cell-phone service, so I didn’t really know what had happened. Everyone was helpful, assisting with rides. Bus drivers wouldn’t take any money. I must have looked shell shocked.

When I got home, all I could do was stare at the TV and the aftermath over and over again. Not truly comprehending it all. A friend’s daughter-in-law was in one of the towers. She called to say she was OK and had been able to get out. Then she was killed by the collapsed building.

I still have difficulty watching the videos. It took me a long time to be able to go back to that area to see the memorial.

Barbara Parker, Winchester, Virginia  (formerly Long Island, New York)



Being an AKC Delegate, I was in my hotel room getting myself ready for the meeting. The TV was tuned to CNN. I noticed a message coming in at the bottom of the screen: “Small plane hits World Trade Center.” Since my window was facing Manhattan, I pulled the curtain aside just in time to see the American Airlines jet flying into the second tower. I washed in horror, but fascinated by the sight of the two towers burning and then collapsing. That whole sequence of events is engrained on my brain forever. It was a week before I was able to return home.

Dr. Sophia Kaluzniacki, Green Valley, AZ



Westchester weekend was beautiful, the weather was perfect, the Lindhurst Estate was in her late summer glory. Everyone was there, of course. 
The Kerry Blue Scarf Michael was Best at Westchester. I don’t remember who judged. 
On the morning of September 11, one of the dogs in the kennel had a vet appointment. I was listening to Howard Stern on the radio. He was ranting on about Dolly Pardon’s huge chest when someone interrupted him to say that a plane had just hit one of the Twin Towers. Howard made a crack about was Dolly flying the plane and couldn’t see over her huge chest. I arrived at the vet office, 
Did my business there, came back to the van, and the whole world had changed. 

Andrew Green, Flemington, New Jersey



I had judged a Portuguese Water Dog trial the day before. I was sitting in my yard watching my new puppy gambol about. She had just arrived a few days before, and thanks to the ever-helpful network of breeder friends, I was able to judge a full day, knowing that she was being well cared for while I worked. 

It was a beautiful morning, blue sky, and I was musing over the bright promise of a future that a new puppy evokes.

I looked up to see my neighbor on her deck. I asked her why she was home instead of at work. She replied, “Haven’t you heard? Two planes flew into the World Trade Center Towers, and they sent us all home. We are under attack.”

Scooping up my shattered dreams of a bright future along with the puppy, I raced inside to the television. The next few hours of horrible replays over and over, along with the news of the heroic efforts on Flight 93, will never be removed from my memories. 

Kathryn Monroe, Mahtomedi, Minnesota



On that sad and tragic day I was packed and ready to go to Australia to judge a show and see some very dear friends and their dogs. It is a long trip, but they always made it worth my while with fun, food, great dogs and plenty of laughter.
My sister called me at around 6 a.m. and said turn on the TV: A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center. I immediately thought, “How horrible,” but thought it must have been a small private plane. While any loss of life is tragic, it was overwhelming to think of the magnitude of those planes full of wonderful and some most hideous people dying such a needless, senseless death.
I did not get to travel to Australia that year, but so many lost so much more than a trip. Family and friends lives turned upside down in a few minutes of vile hatred because of our way of life that is so precious to us. 
9/11 should never be forgotten and we should constantly remind ourselves how lucky we are to live in the USA.

Jan Dykema, St. Helena, California



We were at home watching TV and realized what had happened. I was an AKC field rep, and I took some time to think of everyone in the New York office and at the Delegates meeting.

Never forget.

Delores Burkholder, Rockton, Illinois



Driving overnight from New England shows
A stop at Shot Tower park 
My dogs running around free 
Listening to a rock station 
drinking coffee 

The station interrupted 
with the news of the first plane 
breaking the peace and calm
An accident omg how horrible
a plane over Manhattan 
What’s up with that

I gathered my pets
Back on 81 
Still so far away
Calling home 
Then the second plane

The kids are at school
Moms going to get them
How far are you?
7 or 8

Then the pentagon 
Then news of somerset
The children are scared
My mother the rock  of Gibraltar 
Get off the road 

I stop north of Charlotte 
The buildings fall
Don’t drive anymore 
Everything ok here 
stop somewhere 

Glued to TV at clients 
Watching a horror movie of real life
Gathered up at first light
Listening to radio news non stop
White knuckling down empty highway 

Where nothing the same ever

Jan Swayze, Columbia, Kentucky



I was waiting for a class to start in the South Building of USDA within sight of the Pentagon and across the street from the Washington Monument. This was a one-time seminar, and I was there a bit early.

Another “student” walked in and said, “Did you hear about the plane that just landed ON the Twin Towers?”

Of course, this made sense to no one, and those with smart phones tuned in the news. Clearly we were shocked and amazed when, shortly after the class began, the Pentagon just across the river incurred the same type of attack. 

The instructor did not know how to proceed. The class voted to continue and not let the disruptors win, but one person shouted out, “Aren’t we going to be killed?” The instructor could not continue after that. 

Walking to the Metro, we were actually flagged down by a bus that was not quite full. (Hallelujah!) The wait at the Metro station was over 30 minutes and the wait for a bus to the commuter lot at the end of the Metro was over an hour. The news carried instructions NOT to make calls as the phone systems were essential to first responders. 

I was SO lucky to make one of the first buses to the commuter lot, before the absolute SLAM to the interstate and Beltway that followed. 

We were in no danger at that point, but who knew it? After all, the passengers [on the plane that crashed] in Pennsylvania prevented the Capitol from being destroyed 14 blocks from me and across the street from where my sister was working.  

Dr. Larry W Dosier, Rhoadesville, Virginia



I was getting ready to go the Delegates meeting in New York. I had the morning news on and all they could say at first was an airplane had struck one of the Twin Towers.

But after the second strike, I knew I would not be attending any Delegates meeting.

Missy Wood, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania



I was up early caring for a litter of 5-week-old pups. Over the radio, news came that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center.

Immediately I called my close friend, whose brother Paul was a lieutenant in the FDNY. Needless to say, no news – the city was in panic mode. Well, it took months before the few remains of Lt. Paul Martini were found by another firefighter from Engine Co. 201. 

Because of the pups I had been home on vacation, but when they were in their forever homes, it was back to work. I will never forget the sight as the bus exited the tunnel. Tears fell – it looked like a scene out of a war movie. I still fight tears and anger, as a born and raised New Yorker, for what was done to my city, for Paul Martini, and the relatives of friends I then started to hear about, and every person whose life ended that day. 

9/11 is a day that is never forgotten here on Staten Island. You can't drive a few blocks without seeing the name of a Staten Islander who was murdered that day. This borough had the most residents killed than any other; many were firefighters, police and those who worked in NYC.

Personally I never listen when the names are read, nor did I ever want to go to the 9/11 Memorial. The firefighters in Paul’s engine company never did go, either. They honor him every day, and still share the memories he left them with. Sometimes, there are things that are just too painful, too personal, so they stay in your heart forever.

Ann Lettis, Staten Island, New York



It was about 6 a.m. Pacific time. I was fast asleep and the phone rang. It was a call from a friend and Lakeland Terrier owner/exhibitor who said, “TURN ON YOUR TV!” Like everyone else, I sat in front of a TV ALL DAY, transfixed on what surely had to be a nightmare. It was, in fact, a living nightmare. 

From the bombing of Pearl Harbor to 9/11 to the coronavirus pandemic today. Dear Lord, ENOUGH ALREADY!

Jean Heath, Pleasanton, California



I was at the quarterly delegates meeting in Newark. Walking out the front door of the hotel, I saw the “contrail” from the first strike. As a volunteer fireman, I thought that it was odd a small plane hitting the first tower on such a crystal-clear day and that, so high up, it was going to be really problematic. I did not envy the NY firemen their job. 

By the time I reached the second hotel where the meeting was to be held – I had driven down from New Hampshire the day before – the second strike had occurred. Parking, I looked up and down the street and saw already more than one ubiquitous Ford Interceptor police sedan blocking off roads and access to the airport. Entering the lobby, immigration and customs officers had already begun combing the records at check-in. F-16 fighters already were flying low level across the runways at Newark Airport.  

When the meeting was called off a couple of hours later, I was able to leave and head west on I-78. Westbound was as empty as a late night. On the other side of the highway, heading inbound to the city, were lines of “buses,” ambulances from local communities, towns and the type I was used to working with, already heading to try to help with casualties; however, it would be difficult to get into the city as traffic was already stalled and backed up to Newark.

I can close my eyes and picture the day still.

Jay Phinizy, Acworth, New Hampshire



I was flying to Denmark on September 10 to meet some people who had purchased a dog from me and then on to Norway for a judging assignment. Sitting next to me was a young man from Warsaw, and as we looked out the window, I pointed out the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and the Twin Towers, all beautifully lit in the dark night.

We arrived in Copenhagen at around 10 a.m., and my friend was there to greet me. It was a three-hour trip back to his house, and when we arrived, his wife had lunch ready for us. Then, because he had gotten up at about 5 a.m. to meet my plane, he asked to go take a nap. I assured him that his wife, who didn’t speak English, and I would be just fine. We had dogs to look at! 
Five minutes later, he came downstairs and told me a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. I laughed and replied that he must have been watching a movie, but when he turned on the TV I saw the smoke coming out of the first tower. I couldn’t believe what I was watching, and the news was all in Danish, so I couldn’t understand what was being said!

We saw the second plane hit, and the towers collapse. Tears started streaming down my cheeks and an overwhelming feeling of wanting to go home came over me. My friend tried to translate as well as he could, but it felt like a bad dream! I was with them for three days before I flew to Oslo. I was nervous about getting on a plane, but security had been tightened and I had to get to my judging assignment.
I was so impressed as we drove through the cities in both Denmark and Norway; the outpouring of sympathy for the United States was overwhelming. Flowers 10 feet deep surrounded the U.S. embassies. The show committee and the exhibitors offered their heartfelt sympathy to me because I was from the U.S. My trip home was delayed by about three days, but it was a great feeling to be home again.

Bobbie Wood, Cranford, New Jersey



I was at the Delegates meeting, at lunch, sitting across from Bob and Polly Smith. I live about 50 miles from the meeting, and when I saw our town’s EMS headed near to New York with the others, it reinforced how bad it was.

Marcy L. Zingler, Ringwood, New Jersey



We had a group at an AKC meeting at a hotel next to the airport in Newark, New Jersey. When we heard the TV report about a plane crashing into a tall building across the river in NYC, we went to the window to see if we could see the smoke. As we stood there, we realized that there were no planes on the airport runways. Then we saw a plane coming from the southwest across the Hudson River. And when we saw it crash into another NYC building, we knew it was not an accident.

Nina Schaefer, Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania



I was on a commuter train going into Chicago for work, talking to Steve and Marieann Gladstone, who were at the Delegates meeting. They saw the plane hit from their window while we were talking.

Immediately, every phone on the train rang, and we all were in tears.

Sulie Greendale-Paveza, Fort Pierce, Florida



I was in New Jersey at the AKC Delegates meeting. Boy, did the big boys get out of there in a hurry – and left us to fend for ourselves. I was able to rent a car on Thursday and drove back to Missouri.

Thomas Carneal, Maryville, Missouri



I recall a beautiful early fall New England morning. I was at the office, on a conference call with long-time clients whose headquarters were on West Street in NYC.

Our call was going well when suddenly there was a commotion on the other end. I heard garbled voices and the sound of fire alarms. Then the line went dead. I attempted to call back several times, however the message I got was all circuits were busy.

The medical director came into the conference room to tell us what happened. Someone else rolled a TV into the room. The mood was somber and one of worry, disbelief, concern and fear. 

Some members of our client team were lost. I will never forget them or those moments.

Ray Filburn, Newmarket, New Hampshire



On September 10, I was on a commuter bus coming from NYC to return to Pennsylvania. Prior to living in Pennsylvania, I had lived in Brooklyn and worked in Manhattan. I watched the Citicorp tower being built not too far up the street from Grolier, Inc., where I worked. By the way, Ellsworth Howell was one of the executives at Grolier, and also did something with some kind of dog books … it was lost on me at the time. Oh, how I wish I could return to those days to become reacquainted with him. Although I knew him at the time, I didn’t really KNOW him, as I now know about his place in the dog world. I even knew the name Seymour Weiss long before I became involved in the sport of purebred dogs!  

On September 10, I was returning from dropping off a concept vehicle for Ford Motor Company. It was dropped off at Audiovox in Long Island for the installation of a wide array of onboard, in-cabin electronics. As the bus came up from the Lincoln Tunnel, the sun was setting. Manhattan was bathed in a gorgeous golden glow. I looked at the Twin Towers, majestically rising at one end of the Manhattan skyline. Further north, I spotted the Citicorp tower and recalled watching the construction take place while I stood in the Grolier Building on a stairwell that had an opening that allowed me to have a magnificent view of the construction project. I thought to myself, “I wonder how much more this skyline will change during my lifetime?” It was a gorgeous, glorious sunset — probably one of the most beautiful I’d ever seen in Manhattan.  

The next morning, I was home in Pennsylvania. It was a beautiful, sunny morning. The sky was clear and blue. At around 8 a.m., a friend called to tell me it seemed like some type of attack was taking place and the World Trade buildings were being hit. I recalled my thought the night before, and realized I was indeed witnessing a significant but horrific change to the skyline I admired.

At Ground Zero, the husband of my sister-in-law, Sharon Parr (Lab breeder and judge), who was a battalion chief in the NYC Fire Department, was literally crawling on his hands and knees with a line of people hanging on him as they desperately worked to escape the impending collapse of the towers.  

For many days afterward, life became eerily quiet.  I remember the changes after that to air travel, as I used to fly quite frequently for business. We spent many years after that wondering whenever we attended large events, including dog shows, if we were going to remain safe or face another attack.  

Here we are again, this time facing another unseen threat causing everything to shut down and things as we know them to change. Perhaps to change forever. Back then as now, there are heroes who remain on the front lines. My former brother-in-law is now retired, but two of Sharon’s children and her grandson are on the front line. Her daughter is a nurse on Long Island, her son is a lieutenant in the NYC Fire Department, and her grandson is an EMT. I hope they will see a better, safer future.  I hope we all will see a return to doing the things we love.

Karl Stearns, Mountainhome, Pennsylvania



I was on the 38th floor of an office building with a window office facing southwest overlooking the Hudson River, six blocks north of the World Trade Center. I was enjoying my breakfast on a beautiful sunny morning when I heard the roar of a plane and thought to myself, “That sounds really close.” As I turned to the river, the jet came by on a descending path straight into the WTC. I walked down the stairs and headed for the subway, which was still running, and was able to make it out to Queens before they cut off the power. From an elevated train platform, I saw one and then the other tower come down.

Steven Lisker, East Rockaway, New York



I was working at The Animal Medical Center in New York City when the first plane hit the tower. Like many, I thought it was a horrendous accident, but honestly worried about a skyjacking gone horribly bad.  

AMC was part of the mayor's emergency response team, so a group of us managers gathered in a conference room to watch TV and plan. When the second plane hit,  planning became reality. Will never get over the events of that day and I will never forgive the terrorists who detonated so many lives in NYC, DC and Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

I lived at AMC that week, grabbing naps when I could. We mobilized care of the search and rescue dogs at Ground Zero by Dr Micheal Garvey, and cared for dogs at AMC that needed more than triage care.

On a few occasions I did go out, once to donate blood shortly after the towers collapsed as I am O negative. The city was in shock and so united in its response. There was ash in the air and I cradled ashes in my hands and said a prayer for the victims and brave heroes whose remains were incinerated. 

Two small things gave me comfort: seeing the tribute at Yankee Stadium on TV and Lee Greenwood singing God Bless the USA. I still cry every time I hear it.    

The other was the ribbons that Rau Dog Shows gave out that weekend of the Lehigh Valley Dog show. I had made it home late the night before, and desperately needed the hugs from Randy and Peter, and also something familiar and comforting. So I went to the show fully expecting that maybe I couldn't even get out of the van. I treasure that flat ribbon from Rau

I am crying typing this. Still not brave enough to visit the museum or the Flight 93 Memorial

Anne Marie Kubacz, Jackson, New Jersey



I was teaching an 8th-grade English class. The Asst Principal came to my door and beckoned me to come out into the corridor. I went out, leaving the door ajar. He told me to shut it and explained what had happened. Then he said to act normally and not say anything until they decided how to inform the students. It was a totally surreal experience that I shall never forget.

Wendy Willhauck, Port St. Lucy, Florida


The high: On September 11, 2000, I went Best in Show at Des Moines, followed by a trip to the Garden in February 2001 for the Westminster show. We took the subway to the station under the towers and toured the building as part of visit to New York. The low came September 11, 2001. I work for an insurance company and was busy in the claim center back in Minnesota. I heard about the first plane hitting the towers from a customer. It was not long before the entire office was watching the event unfold on television. I could not help but think back to February, the size of the buildings and sheer terror the occupants must have felt. I will never forget the bravery of first responders rushing to the scene and the people who gave their lives during the event.

Pat Cunningham, Brainerd, Minnesota 


I was recovering from major foot surgery. Matt Stande called to say he was going to join me for breakfast. I was in a wheelchair sitting at the kitchen table when he arrived. We munched on bagels and coffee. Matt left just as I received a telling me a plane just went into the World Trade building. I turned on the television and couldn’t believe it.  As soon as I saw the second plane I realized it was terrorism. 

My younger son had an appointment at Cantor Fitzgerald, one of the Towers tenants.  It took  most of the day to make contact with him because the cell phones were down. 9/11 was a day none of us will ever forget … nor should we.

Barbara Miller, Brookville, New York



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