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    We Remember: SLD 30 Members' 9/11 Testimonials

    Vandenberg SFB 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony

    Photo By Senior Airman Ryan Quijas | An arrangement of first responders and military gear is presented during a 9/11...... read more read more

    VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES

    09.11.2023

    Courtesy Story

    Space Launch Delta 30   

    Remembering 9/11

    My wife and I had just started dating two weeks before. I heard on the radio about what was going on but was not paying much attention. I went to class and when it ended I saw everything happening on the news stations with the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and the flight that was still unaccounted for. I went home and watched the news and eventually I went to my then girlfriend’s apartment to continue watching. That evening we kissed for the first time (she kissed me). I don’t know why it happened that night because I was taking things really slow but we attribute it to having a reality check about life and its fleeting nature.

    - Lt Col Todd Church, 30 OMRS/Dental FltCC
    __________________________________________________________
    I was 16 years old, half sleeping, and half-awake on our couch and I just remember my dad storming into the house yelling. “America is under attack! America is under attack!” My mom turned on the tv and on every channel there were the images of the towers crumbling to the ground and images of people jumping to their deaths to escape death to end life on their own terms. I just remember not understanding what was happening or why it was happening.

    - MSgt Charitee Pinnace, 30 OMRS SEL
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    I was sitting in my second year of Spanish class (sophomore in HS) when the first plane crashed into the WTC. I remember the complete disbelief that such an accident could possible occur only to come to the realization that it was not an accident when the second plane crashed into the second tower on live TV. I immediately thought of my close friend whose dad worked in the WTC building concerned if he was okay, if she was okay and how all of the families of those victims would heal. The rest of that day became a bit of a fog, every class we sat down and continued to watch as devastation poured in, until my English teacher said we had been watching the same horror all day and there was no point putting off our scheduled quiz (to every student who had not completed the assignment great dismay).

    - Maj Patrick Mead, 30 OMRS/Optometry FLt CC
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    I was just starting my freshman year at Washington State University. I was living in the honors dormitory…it was a Tuesday morning when my roommate woke me up early and turned on the news. I was horrified at what I saw—videos of people jumping from burning buildings. Not many days standout, but I can remember, right down to my outfit what that moment was like, it was as if time stood still. My heart broke (and still does) for all those impacted.

    - Lt Col Tonya Barry, 30 HCOS CC
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    As a college student working in downtown Manhattan, I missed the last train to the World Trade Center that morning and ended up on the next one that was diverted just a few blocks uptown. The first tower had fallen as I tried to get to my University where I thought I could help and still be safe, but found myself running uptown with everyone else as the second tower fell. It took the entire day to get out of the city, across the river, and back to my apartment. The memory of that day doesn’t fade with time, but good prevailed with a city that bonded together like never before to heal and grow stronger.

    - Col Brent Cunningham, 30 MDG CC
    ___________________________________________________________

    “It was the start of language arts, second class of the day. Still new to the school after just moving that Summer, I had few friends in the school, much less the class. The small groups of chatter had been going for the last few minutes prior to the bell ringing. Today was a little odd because once the bell rang, the teacher didn’t hush the pockets of noise. She seemed distracted. Then, she frantically waived her hands at us, shushing us as she turned on the television. We didn’t know what was happening. Was the TV part of the lesson? All of us were confused. Then, we saw it. The plane looking to vanish into the building, where blue sky was replaced by fire and clouds. Some of the students giggled, not knowing what they were seeing was real life and not a Hollywood movie. The teacher snapped at the 3 boys snickering, “stop your insensitive laughter, people have died on that plane and in the building!” The whole image was sinking in. Then, on the small TV screen behind the teacher, we saw the second plane strike the South Tower. Everything was still surreal. Our teacher turned off the TV and tried to settle our class down, but the conversations were too loud and too numerous. She then stepped outside, leaving us to stew in our questions as we awaited some guidance and direction. Some time had passed and our teacher returned. Classes would continue but not until the period was over, leaving us to fill the remaining hour with our own thoughts and misguided discussions on the planes.

    Then, another teacher burst in the door and announced that my father was ok and not injured in the incident. My head spun. “Why was my dad at the World Trade Center? Was anyone else in the class affected? We’re we going to war?” The next thing I know I was getting excused to get picked up by my mom. She had my brother last with her already and took us home. The TV was on and looked to be on repeat, showing the same scenes and images over and over again. We sat there and watched. I finally got clarification that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon, on the side of the building my dad worked. We wondered when he would get home. Our mom kept us as busy as she could, but our dad didn’t get home until 2200 that night. He came in scuffed and dusty, with some scraps and cuts. After we all embraced, he cleaned up, came back to the living room, and stared at the TV screen. We went to bed, not really knowing what happened that day until years later.

    I always revered my dad and grand pap for their service in the military, and my desire and passion to serve sparked that day. That passion would not grow until I learned what my dad did around 0945 on September 11th, 2001. Without regard for his own safety, he escorted dozens of individuals outside the Pentagon amidst debris, smoke and the chaos. He was 50ft from the impact area. His new office, which he was set to move into the following week, was destroyed. I wanted to serve as my dad did that day.

    - Capt. Nicholas Cunningham, Operations Officer, 30 SFS
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    On 9/11, I was working at a publishing company in midtown NYC when we first heard about a ‘small’ plane hitting one of the trade centers. We worked directly next to ESPN so when the second plane hit many of us went back and forth between offices watching the horror unfold on ESPN’s big screen TVs. Most had not yet realized the enormity of what was happening - some were cracking jokes, my boss was giving me work, and the professor who called demanding a status update on his manuscript was not so politely asked if he knew what was currently going on in our country.

    My sole focus was getting through to my mom to see if she'd heard from my sister, who worked in abuilding connected underground to the trade centers. After hours of trying to make a call, I learned my sister escaped on one of the first ferries to Bayonne. When the first plane hit and their building started shaking, she assumed it was a bomb, ditched her heels and ran. Sitting on the ferry covered in debris, she watched as the first tower crumbled. Months later, I picked my sister up from work and was struck by the word ‘morgue’ spray-painted on a building across from Ground Zero and where she worked.

    Once I knew my sister was safe, I remembered my serious boyfriend also worked downtown. The power of the mind to protect us from dealing with too much at once is truly amazing. After seeing the 2ndtower crumble, he ran to my office and convinced me to leave the city despite the guidance from leaders in my building to shelter in place. Public transport was shut down so we walked from midtown to Queens over the 59th street bridge. I was angry with the people who were sitting outside having lunch and carrying on as if nothing was happening (in retrospect, I'm sure they weren't aware of the attack).And grateful that my significant other waited until we were completely over the bridge to tell me he was concerned it would be bombed. Eventually we made it to Queens and it was not until the following day, we found out that it was not 8 planes that were hijacked, but 4. Getting accurate information about what was happening was near impossible.
    When the tunnels and bridges opened up again days later, I made my way back to Clinton, NJ - the small sleepy town I grew up in and commuted from. The 'park and ride' lot, typically packed with hundreds of cars from commuters going to Wall Street (Ground Zero) or the Port Authority, was near desolate save for a handful of cars of those who likely never made it home from work that day. When I got to my car, I found a simple small bouquet of red, white and blue flowers on the hood. It was the first time I was able to cry.

    For weeks after 9/11, I made the walk from the Port Authority bus terminal to my job on the east side of Manhattan. Every day, Amazing Grace played over the speakers as I passed massive columns and walls plastered with thousands of missing person posters made by loved ones desperate for information and hope. A decade later, I worked for the Army organization that suffered the most casualties at the Pentagon on 9/11. Every year, it was usually the same small group of us who volunteered to escort family members who lost loved ones working in the G1. It wasn't until years later, I learned many of these volunteers repeatedly risked their lives to save others that fateful day.

    - Jessica Gallus, Ph.D.Lead, Guardian Resilience Team, Space Launch Delta 30
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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 09.11.2023
    Date Posted: 09.11.2023 19:15
    Story ID: 453202
    Location: VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA, US

    Web Views: 63
    Downloads: 0

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