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Remembering 9/11 ten years later PDF Print E-mail

By Jan Rahn
Managing Editor
Every single answer was instantaneous when local residents were asked where they were and what they were doing the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 when terrorism pierced the heart of America.
Many were still at home getting ready for work or eating breakfast when the shocking news of attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York began to unfold.
Now, 10 years later, the disbelief, sadness, and anger seem to easily surface when recalling that day.
Last week, people stopped to reflect on how they felt that morning when our nation lost its innocence and the raw realization set in—terrorism had reached our soil.
Below are the answers to questions of where they were, how they felt, and how it changed their lives.

Glenn Ford, 84, was in the barbershop and saw it on TV.  “I couldn’t believe it,” said the World War II vet who had once paraded down Fifth Avenue in New York for 80 blocks. He was part of the victory parade as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division. He said the attacks have made him aware of more possible terrorism here in the USA.





Ivan Regier, 72, who does land moving, was on his way to a job site near Lake McConaughy when he and an employee heard the news on the radio. The man they met with at the site was in the National Guard so was very quiet and distracted that morning. Regier’s son was boarding a plane in Phoenix to go to NYC that morning. The people he was going to meet were in Tower 5—all got out safely.





Donn Gengenbach, 60, who works for Regier Land Improvement, said he was at his desk at home paying bills when Fox News broke in with reports the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. He had a niece in Boston he was concerned about because she lived near where the plane went down in the field. He also has a cousin close to Manhattan.






Vietnam vet Leon Rowley, 63, was at his home in Grant. “I said holy moly, how can anyone be attacking America?” He said the attack has made him more aware of terrorism.







At home getting ready for work, Jo Ann Bottom, 52,  caught the reports on the Today Show. She said it made her realize how quickly things can change.­ Americans went from feeling safe to having their world turned upside down and becoming afraid, said Bottom from her desk at Heritage Insurance.






Pregnant and getting ready for a doctor’s appointment, Ashley Smith, 28, said what she was seeing on TV seemed surreal. She realizes how much courage it took for families to deal with their loss. Her sister-in-law became a nanny for a mother with two children who lost her firefighter husband in the attacks. The Grant Floral employee said she takes more note of sacrifices people make, sharing with her children how the event has changed our country.





Driving to work in Lincoln at the time, Amy Kroeker, 37, heard the news but said reporters still didn’t know what actually had happened. Everyone was somber and businesses were closing by lunch time, said the owner of In & Out in Grant. Only 27 at the time, it was the first big tragedy that had occurred in her life. It made her realize the U.S. is not invincible and that things don’t only happen only overseas.





Dawnya Dreiling, 36, was getting ready to head home from vacation at her father’s in Plymouth. Her husband, Rick, was in law enforcement at the time, bringing the event closer to home. It has changed their lives in making them realize they can’t take freedom for granted.






Hatch’s Super Foods employee Marnee Roberts, 61, saw the first plane hit while getting ready for work at a former job 10 years ago. She remembers being impressed with the bravery of the men who rushed the cockpit after calling their wives while aboard the plane that went down in Pennsylvania.






The devastating looks on drivers’ faces got the attention of Logsdon & Sons employee Amanda Schmidt, 38, who told her husband to turn on the radio while on their way to Husker Harvest Days in Grand Island 10 years ago. She could tell something was wrong. She knows a woman from Nebraska who was killed. Schmidt, who says she is now more observant of her surroundings, was a kindergartner when the young woman was a high school student who assisted in the classroom. Her body was never recovered in New York.




A friend had called Michelle Poppe, 43, while she was getting ready for work. They watched in disbelief and stayed on the line as events unfolded. The Poppe’s Posies owner said she remembers thinking “now what,” feeling unsafe and wondering whether to get her kids from school. It makes her appreciate things more. “It makes the world a lot smaller,” she said.





Kregg Bassett, 47, was at work trying to wrap things up to go on vacation that afternoon 10 years ago. With flights cancelled, the Alaska cruise was put on hold a year. The current Adams Lumber employee said he felt bad being disappointed that the trip was postponed in comparison to what had happened. He found out later that his cousin’s husband, an electrical contractor, was working near the Twin Towers, but was okay.





Doug Tatum, 57, was doing the exact same thing 10 years ago—cutting hair at The Barber Pole. TV was on in the barbershop and everyone watched events unfold. “It took a while to sink in,” said Tatum. The attacks changed his awareness and the way he thinks about our country’s vulnerability.






Only 13 at the time, Dove Lacey was in band at Hayes Center High School. The principal came in and told the class about the attacks. Band was dismissed and students went to their home room where they watched the news reports. “I couldn’t believe it, I felt awful for all the families involved,” said the 23-year-old who works at Pinnacle Bank. “I don’t take things for granted.”





“We got sabotaged, someone was sleeping on the trigger,” said World War II vet Ted Heinemann, 91. “They should have known they [terrorists] were doing it.” Heinemann recalls a post-WW II attack aboard an aircraft that killed innocent people. He said other attacks occurred later on planes—it’s nothing new. He said it makes him think about our country and how many more enemies it has.