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Alabama Public Radio listeners share their stories from the 9/11 terror attacks-- Part 1.

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NY Times
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This Saturday marks twenty years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City, the Pentagon and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. We remember where we were and what we were doing when the attacks took place. We bet you do too. APR reached out to our listeners and asked them to offer their stories from that day, and a lot of them responded. Including Sister Margaret Harte. She’s been the principal of St. Patrick’s Catholic School in Robertsdale for forty years
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“I still have a vision of the faces of those children,” recalls Harte. “I can still see them looking at the television, really in horror. It was traumatic and I felt sorry looking at these children thinking ‘goodness they have to witness something like this at such an early, tender age’ and they sat there and then we waited and we actually saw the second plane coming in. That was when it got really. We turned the volume down. I left the picture on, and we prayed. We prayed for our country. We prayed for the people that were victims. We prayed for all that happened in these planes, and it was just silent.”

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Pat Duggins

“My name is Joe, and I prefer you not to use my last name. But on nine-eleven, I was the senior flow controller at Miami International Airport. We got a message on our teletype machine at 8:46 a.m. When flight 11 hit the North Tower that we were to ground stop all aircraft that I'm headed for the New York triangle. And then when Flight 175 at 9:03 a.m. hit the South Tower. We almost immediately got a message on our teletype to stop anyone headed in that direction at all. The weirdest thing, the strangest thing, about all of that going on, was after that the last flight landed, the only airplanes you saw flying were the combat air patrols, police, FBI, all those law enforcement were just flying around.

“Hi, my name is Lauren Barr. I am originally from Las Cruces, New Mexico. During the nine eleven attacks home, my dad was stationed in Maryland. He was supposed to be at the Pentagon on that day. And I was enrolled in elementary school. So, me and my four brothers and sisters were all at school that day. And I remember vividly, sometime in the morning, I started to notice all of my teachers crying. On the bus... I remember...another child telling me that. There had been an attack on the penny. What was on the penny. So in my head I was thinking okay the Lincoln Memorial that's fine. The bus driver corrected this kid and told the kid that there had been an incident at the Pentagon and at the towers, and I was a mess until I got home.”

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Pat Duggins

“My name is Corey Stockman. My hometown is Fairhope, Alabama. On the morning of nine-eleven, 2001, I was at the University of South Alabama attending classes in the morning until everything shut down. And pretty much set in the dorms watching kind of bewildered watching bizarre news unfold throughout that day. I was a naive eighteen-year-old when it happened and wasn't really interested in history, but it sparked some questions in me at eighteen years old trying to understand why someone of the other side of the world living in caves would be willing to get in airplanes and fly themselves in the buildings to attack us. Didn't make any sense to me that still doesn't make a lot of sense, but I'm trying to seek answers to those questions sparked a love of history and now here I am twenty years later as a history teacher.”

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Pat Duggins

“I’m Cindy Fisher and I’m publisher of the Selma Sun. I was on my honeymoon in Cancun, Mexico on 9/11. The first tower was hit while I was in a hot tub. The second hit when I got back to our room and saw it on CNN. I thought it was a movie at first. Flights back to the States were stopped, so we ended up trapped there. We tried to make the most of it, but my new husband caught a sewage based parasite, and I had to take him to a Mexican hospital to save his life. When I found out we got a flight home, I took the IV out of my husband’s arm and loaded him into a taxi to the airport. They ripped the lining of our suitcases checking every nook and cranny for bombs and weapons. When the plane took off from Mexico to Atlanta, strangers held hands across the aisle and prayed out loud for their safety. When the plane landed, passengers erupted in applause and audibly let out sighs of relief and exhaustion.”

These are just some of the Alabama Public Radio listeners who offered their stories on where they were and what they were doing on the day of the 911 terrorist attacks. Like many they either saw it on television, or heard it on the news. Other APR listeners were a lot closer. They were either in New York City or Washington, D.C. or worked as first responders in the aftermath of the attacks. We’ll hear their stories tomorrow. Special thanks for production assistance from Caroline Vincent, Jeff Deneen, and APR Gulf coast correspondent Guy Busby.