Remembering 9/11

On the 11th anniversary of the devastating terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Patch readers are asked to share their thoughts and memories of the day.

Eleven years ago, terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes, deliberately crashing two of the planes into the upper floors of the North and South towers of the World Trade Center complex and a third plane into the Pentagon in Arlington, Va.

The Twin Towers ultimately collapsed because of the damage sustained from the impacts and the resulting fires. 

After learning about the other attacks, passengers on the fourth hijacked plane, Flight 93, fought back, and the plane was crashed into an empty field in western Pennsylvania about 20 minutes by air from Washington, D.C.

The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people from 93 nations. In New York, 2,753 people were killed, 184 people were killed at the Pentagon and 40 people were killed on Flight 93, according to 911memorial.org.

Though the attacks happened on the other side of the country, the impact was felt nationwide as people all over the U.S. found themselves somehow linked to it.

That morning on Sept. 11, 2001, San Mateo resident Bert Upson was on the 79th floor of the South Tower for a seminar.

Upson still remembers the wails of sirens, the enormous explosion and the white ash that coated faces on Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City like it was yesterday.

But mostly, he remembers the heart-wrenching rush of the World Trade Center towers crumbling.

"Oh God. It’s like nothing else you’ve ever heard. It was like Niagara Falls. It never seemed to stop,'' said Upson, a 79-year-old Palm Desert resident who spends his summers in San Mateo.

Click on the attached videos to view Upson tell his story about how he survived the attacks.

Redwood City firefighter Dan Horton also recalled the horror of 9/11. Though he was not actually in New York on the day of the attacks, he was quickly deployed soon after as part of FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team. 

He and other first responders combed through the mountains of rubble, searching for any sign of life. 

Once he returned home to the Bay Area, he remembered to stay grateful for each day he had. 

“In the blink of an eye, over 2,000 people were killed,” Horton said. “How does that translate into how many parents, children and families were affected? Enjoy your life, enjoy your friends, your family. They can be snatched away in an instant.”



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Belmont September 11, 2012 at 04:13 PM
9-11 was a very sad day for my brother, Thomas Jensen of Oakton, VA. He lost one of his closest college friends, Jimmy Connors. They both attended William and Mary in VA. Jimmy was on the 100th floor and was an executive at an investment banking firm....at the time he was married with three small children and living on Long Island. My Mother said "If anyone can make it out, it will be Jimmy." Unfortunately, he never made it out. My family back East in CT knows several people who were at the towers that day and got out. One friend, James Hopper, saw the plane hit and jumped in a taxi and said take me to CT. He got out as fast as possible. Another friend, Ed Dadakis, telecommuted that day, when he normally would have been in the towers. Another, could not go back to work on Wall Street after the tragedy, it was too painful. He changed careers.....Some of the families lost two sons in the tragedy...Whenever, my family visits NYC we try and visit the 9-11 site and reflect on this senseless tragedy. We went one month after the tragedy and more recently we were there this past August at the 9 -11 Memorial. They are building a museum at the site and it will be open next summer for tourists. St. Mark's Chapel is also worth a trip to. That is where the first responders congregated during the clean up for meals and sleep.
Belmont September 11, 2012 at 05:24 PM
I have added some photos of the 9-11 Memorial for all local Belmont Patch viewers...


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