Kansas City remembers the 9/11 attacks





It has been 15 years since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Nearly 3,000 lives were lost after terrorists hijacked four planes. Two planes flew into the World Trade Center, one went into the Pentagon, and the fourth went down in Pennsylvania.

For most of us, the memories are fresh. We remember where we were and what we were doing on that tragic day. 41 Action News collected more than 200 stories through social media comments, survey responses and voicemail messages where viewers shared what they were doing and feeling when they heard about the attacks.

Many viewers said they were right here in Kansas City watching the news on their television screens, in disbelief and shock.

Hedy Borrowman, from Prairie Village, Kansas, was working for AT&T and getting ready for the day at her office. But then, panic erupted listen when everyone started to hear the news.

For Micki Schulze and her husband Randy, the day was supposed to be a celebration of their wedding day. listen They were both police officers and had thought it would be cute to get married on September 11, 1991. They were exchanging anniversary cards with each other at the moment they heard the news. After the attacks, Schulze said they rarely ever celebrate their anniversary on the actual day.

Jolyn Brooke thought she was dreaming listen

As soon as Dustin Shaw saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center, he said listen he knew it was a terrorist attack.

Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images


A couple of people said they witnessed the attacks in person or were in New York City at the time.

Andrew Miller saw the smoke from the twin towers all the way from his office building in Newark listen.

Clifford Beck was at the Pentagon when he saw the plane hit the building, causing a fiery explosion listen.

Source: Getty Images


Fredi Rios was only 7 years old at the time and didn’t really understand what was happening until his mom explained it to him listen. His dad was on his way to Manhattan for work, and thankfully made it home okay.

Bob Ubert was walking to work in New York City when he heard the first plane hit the north tower. He said papers were flying everywhere listen.

Brent Charles was one mile from the Pentagon and on the phone with American Airlines hoping to change a flight. He ended up carpooling to get home to Kansas City.

"I was in Washington DC one mile from the Pentagon.  I had been on the phone with American Airlines regarding a flight change and everything was normal.  I hung up and called my wife who told me to turn on the news.  Once I started watching the news it became surreal watching the helicopters flying over the Pentagon (I couldn't see the building itself) while scanning the news.  We became concerned as the rescue people were shown wearing hazmat suits in case poisonous gas had been released from the downed plane. As the day wore on it became apparent there would be no flights for an indefinite time, so I was able to share a car to Cleveland with an acquaintance.  I rented a car in Cleveland and drove across Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa to get home and pick my car up at the airport. I'll always remember the military presence in downtown DC, the radio programs dealing with the tragedy, and military again at KCI. My main thought was to get home and be with my wife and our two children."

–Brent Charles (Lenexa, Kansas)

Source: Getty Images


Remembering the day still brings Juan Turello of Kansas City, Kansas to tears.

"I was working at a water re-pipe in Stillwell, Kansas in the basement at the moment it happened, the electricians working upstairs called me saying "hey plumber there is something on the radio.” I went to my truck and sat there listening to the radio for a bit and went back to work. A little bit later one of the "sparkies" came downstairs to tell me about the second one. I went back to my truck and stayed there for a little longer and went back to work. On my way home the filling station was backed up for couple of blocks. That was when it really hit me. I got in line to filled up my truck too. To this day, when I remember these details it still bring me to tears. I was in the States for 12 years when it happened, came here in 1989 at the age of 19. I have been here since '89 and until 1 1/2 years ago I have never felt so much hate among people. At the job sites it’s incredible how some people look at us (minorities) with so much ignorance and hate, I never felt it like this before. It is sad to see my adopted land come to this nowadays. The proudest moment in my life as an immigrant was when I watched my son become a United States Marine. I really hope that ALL of us in this country that I came to love find some solutions for all this issues. "

– Juan Turello (Kansas City, Kansas)

Both, Sherri Mansfield listen and Erin Mela listen had newborn babies and worried about what the future would hold for them.

James Kotterman had just got off his 12 hour shift working on an ambulance when he saw the news. listen It was in that moment, the world stood still for him.

Source: Getty Images


Many tried calling loved ones or family members that day to make sure they were okay.

"I woke up to the sounds of jets scrambling but didn't think anything of it. Whiteman regularly ran exercises. I went back to sleep. Two hours later I went to class and everyone was talking about it. I asked what had happened. I left class and started calling family. It was the worst 45 minutes of my life. Finally my mom answered her phone and said, "I didn't make it to New York, I missed my flight." It haunts me to this day. "

– Jenni Browning

"My dad and I were stuck on the tarmac at LaGuardia in a three hour delay the night before the towers fell, nearly being caught in New York, from visiting my sister who lived near the 14th block of Manhattan. She spent the night in upper Manhattan by chance and was away from her apartment when the chaos ensued. My dad and I made it home in the early morning hours. I was a senior at Fort Osage High School in Mr. Willichs class and he came rushing in rolling a TV in class so we could watch the news as the second tower was struck. The north tower fell and the second tower fell.  It wasn't until later that afternoon she borrowed a cell phone and I heard she was okay. No one had cell phone reception and she couldn't call out. She made it home a few days later." 

– Andrew Gallaher (Blue Springs, Missouri)

Source: Getty Images


"I had ran away at the time, I seen it all unfold over the news stations in Idaho. I felt like the worst person in the world. I scared my parents and they had no idea where I was so I left where I was and went to the closest payphone and called home, told them how sorry I was and I wanted to come home. They told me to call the cops there was a run away report on me and my parents drove down that night to get me. I never did that again and now I'm 29 with a 4-year-old son and I thank god every day that I went home that day. It made the whole world stop turning. Bless the firefighters, paramedics, police officers, and all the people who lost loved ones that day it was such a tragedy and a horrific act. I'll never forget that day. "

– Hilliary Steele (Grandview, Missouri)

"I worked for a company that handled conference calls for most of the Wall Street investment companies. I talked to several of my clients just 30 minutes prior to the attacks. After the first plane hit I tried calling a few people to see if they were ok. Got dead air. No ring, no dial tone, nothing! As the day progressed we did not hear a word from anyone. It was 3 days before we got word if our people were okay or not. Most were. We lost a couple. It was a horrible feeling not knowing if people you know and talk to everyday for years are alive or dead. It still haunts me every year. Some of the stories I heard from those people later were just heart wrenching. We used the old Hallmark slogan. As close as you can get without really being there. That was how it felt. "

– Julie Myer (South Kansas City)

Jennifer McGehee and Tom Jensen were both getting ready to go to funerals.

Jensen listen was in the mortuary getting ready to bury his father, a WWII veteran. He saw the planes hit the towers on a little 4-inch black and white TV that the mortician had in his office.

McGehee was on her way to one of her teacher’s funeral and says she is thankful to all of the veterans who serve listen.

Source: Getty Images


As soon as he heard about the attacks, Zachary Clark made up his mind and joined the military.

"I was in class in high school, I knew it was an attack that moment. I planned on joining the military, but was teetering on maybe college before joining. That day made my mind for me. I graduated early and right away I enlisted in the Marine Corps, as an Infantry Machine Gunner."

--- Zachary Clark

William Hanes was working for KCI airport and recalls the very chaotic day listen.

Ty Willoughby was in Overland Park when he saw all of the planes circling the sky getting ready to land at KCI listen.

Patricia Gallow was living in Lake Charles, Louisiana and immediately started praying listen.


Source: Getty Images


Nancy Kwak of Independence watched the news just before walking her granddaughter to school that morning listen. Later she found out that her granddaughter was the only one there in her class, after parents took their kids out of school listen.

Marilyn Ryman said her children were at school, but she remembers the feeling of wanting all of her family to be together at that time listen.

Lori Vossler was late to school the day of the attacks. Later that evening, she recalls cars lining up at gas stations in KCK to get gas because everyone was afraid they would run out listen.

Carol Bower was in Bucharest, Romania and remembers the whole world watching the events unfold.

"We were in Bucharest, Romania, serving as missionaries.  We were having a Team-Kids Club Meeting in our apartment, which included missionary kids.  We started receiving phone calls from the missionary parents saying they were coming to get their kids and that we needed to turn on the TV as there was something terrible happening in the U.S.  We did not turn on the TV immediately as we did not want to upset the children.  After we finished our club and all the children were collected, we turned on the TV to experience the devastation.  The most gratifying part of the whole experience during the coming days was that even the "street kids" would come up to us and give their condolences regarding the tragedy.  The whole world was watching and everyone, in our realm of influence, was shocked that such a thing took place.  People who have never lived overseas do not understand how closely everything that we do or that happens in America is being watched and felt by the whole world. "

– Carol Bower (Independence, Missouri)

Source: Getty Images


Stephanie Beydler was already going through tough times when the attacks happened.

"My husband was dying of terminal brain cancer and we were going to North Kansas City Hospital for radiation treatments. I remember my husband saying there's always someone worse off than us. "

--Stephenie Beydler (Grant City, Missouri)

Today, 1.3 million lives have been lost in the war on terror and about $2 trillion has been spent. It is an event that changed the world. Even though the years since the attacks get greater, the lives lost and the impact will not be forgotten in the hearts of many.

Source: Getty Images



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