Anyone who was alive on September 11, 2001 can tell you where they were and what they were doing when America was attacked. I was getting around for work and heard the DJs talking about it on the radio. I immediately turned on CNN and started watching. I called my dad to turn on the news, he was in shock too. As I drove to the tv station, I listened to the coverage on the radio. Every station was reporting on the attack. The first tower collapsed. I was just settling into my desk in the newsroom when the second tower fell. There was a rare silence in the newsroom. We get jaded as journalists, not easily bothered by horrifying news, but this was different.
I remember directing the noon show that day, breaking away from national coverage, to tell our viewers what was going on in Wichita and the rest of the state. We did the occasional cut-in through the day, but stayed with the national feed from NBC. Most of the cable channels had switched to coverage from their parent company. Those that didn’t ran black screens telling viewers they should watch the news, not their programming.
After a very long day I remember driving home. I went through Old Town, the restaurants and bars were empty. One I got home I took my dog, Ayden, for a walk. I could see the blue flickering light in almost every apartment. It was safe to assume everyone was watching tv. I ran into the apartment manager and she was about to take the flag down for the night. She asked if she should leave it up. I told she should. After the walk, I turned on the BBC to get an outside perspective on the day’s events. To be honest, I just needed time to absorb it all. After all these years, I’m still trying to absorb what happened.
There are many memorials to that terrible day in U.S. history.
Anthony, Kansas calls their memorial the Official Kansas 9-11 Memorial.
The Anthony Memorial represents all three of the sites affected by the terrorist attack. The biggest part is made using three pieces of steel from the World Trade Center. A local group designed and created the memorial. Their mission was “to honor not only the victims and heroes of that horrendous attack, but also the triumph of the American spirit as Anthony responded with compassion, resolve, and care.”
There are plaques around the memorial telling Anthony’s story. Right after the attack the mayor tracked down a firehouse in New York and found a family that lost their dad. The city adopted the family and did what Kansans tend to do… they overwhelmed them with kindness. The city has a website dedicated to the full story. It is a great read. https://www.anthonykansas.org/9-11-memorial-of-kansas
Another part of the memorial features limestone from the Pentagon. The block was from the wall hit during the attack. The 250 pound block has numbers carved into it, to show its location on the original wall.
The third part is a box with a glass front that contains dirt from the field of the crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The Flight 93 Memorial Committee sent soil and ashes from the area of the Pennsylvania crash site. The soil and ashes were the most moving to me. Those people, seeing the attack on America, decided to risk their lives to prevent another target from getting hit. They consciously made the decision to die for their country. How many people would be willing to do that now?
Anthony’s website says it best, “The memorial shows that something so horrific can unite our country as one, and show that we can be proud to be Americans.”
Anthony’s Memorial Park was a charming old school playground. It was worth showing off, but I did not want to post it with the 9/11 part. Check it out.