The Daily Light asked several Waxahachie residents to share their reflections of the moment they learned about the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists attacks and how that moment in history has changed their lives. Be sure to check out the video extra coverage including additional interviews on the Daily Light online edition at www.waxahachiedailylight.com and click on the video tab at the top of the home page.
Addie Ryan, Waxahachie:
I’m a retired school teacher, and when it happened, I was in my classroom. I heard something from the office about something happening. I went to check with other people to see what was going on, and I just couldn’t believe it.
How it changed my life? Just being more aware of security when you fly – or just anytime. When you’re in a big city I think you think a little more about whether or not you’re secure. It saddens me to think that you have to worry about things like this.
Hazel Shawver, Waxahachie:
I was coming out of the (optical) clinic, somebody came out of the double doors and asked if we had heard that New York got bombed. Then I ran to the car where my husband was, and we started listening to it over the radio.
How has it changed my life? It floored us for a long time – I think we were sort of numb – just couldn’t believe something like that could happen here in the United States.
Chondra Pena, Waxahachie:
I was driving to massage school and was listening to the radio. When I got to school, people were freaking out I’m like what’s going on. They were just showing it on TV and about that time the second plane hit.
How has it changed my life? I haven’t flown on a plane yet – I just drive everywhere.
Lynn Kuckuck, Waxahachie:
I was just home – because I’m just a housewife – my husband came home for lunch and he had heard it on the radio. We turned the TV on, and there it was. I remember how sad it was to think how many people that were still in that building and didn’t have a chance to escape. I was overwhelmed with the inhumanity of it all – that humans could do that to each other. I was so saddened by it.
How has it changed my life? I feel more aware of my surroundings, more cautious about going places. More aware about what other people are doing – a heightened sense of caution – if somebody is acting weird. making sure that if I park the car, I don’t park it very far away so I can be closer to the building and not have to walk very far by myself.
Bob Cochran, Waxahachie:
I was working, and we had the TV on there. I saw both planes hit. I remember how it affected everybody at the time. I don’t think you realize it until the next day or two or three or four.
How has it changed my life? I don’t really think it has, that I know of.
Billy Crawford, Waxahachie:
I was working up in Dallas. We had a TV on in one of the offices. The ladies called me up there so I could see what was going on. It was just unbelievable. You just couldn’t believe what was happening – that something like that could happen in the United States and we just weren’t prepared for it. It made me sad and mad. I think it makes you more aware of things and more skeptical of things and makes you question more things.
Rogers Sonnier, Waxhachie:
I was at work – I came around the corner and saw people watching it as the second plane was about to hit.
How has it changed my life? Makes me leery when I get on a plane to go anywhere.
Charlie Grindstaff, Waxahachie:
I was at my brother’s house in Bruton, Minn. I got up that morning and my sister in law was glued to the television. I thought, “she doesn’t watch horror movies – What is that?” Then I realized that it was real and it was happening that moment.
How has it changed my life? I would like to think it changed all our lives. We all have to be more thankful for being alive every minute. We can’t take things for granted – you never know what’s going to happen.
Gail Cosgrove, Waxahachie:
I was at work in Pittsburg, Calif. I was just glued to the TV all day we couldn’t handle business, all we could do was sit there in horror and watch what was happening.
How has it changed my life? I think I’m more worried about our country, and that we’re not doing enough to protect our citizens. We’ve just got too open borders – but on the other hand, what can we do? We’re a big nation.
Joyce Kruckeberg, Waxahachie:
I was at work teaching, and my friend who was a service person came to me and told me what was happening. We all went to the TV and was watching it. We were very shocked – upset.
How has it changed your life? It’s made me more aware of what can happen to America, and it’s made me even more proud of our American service men and women.
Bob Kruckeberg, Waxahachie:
I was in my classroom teaching English in Pasadena, Texas. Teacher next door came in, and we were all shocked. We tried to get all the televisions working – we sat and watched it all day. Probably one thing that bothered me most, the next day when I went to school, everything was the same, but the people in New York – their lives were turned upside down. I had a friend who was teaching in New York she had students who were waiting for the parents to come, and some of their parents never came all day. It made me more aware – more appreciative of what we have, and hopefully the government will keep us protected.
Mark Miller, Maypearl:
I was watching the Today Show – turned on the TV – saw the smoke. They said they thought a small plane had flown into one of the buildings. I called my wife – we were sitting on the edge of the bed watching the TV in the bedroom. I saw the plane going around behind the other building – and I saw the fire. I looked at my wife, and said, “we’re at war.” Two of them don’t hit accidentally.
How has it changed your life? We’ll never be the same. (My wife) doesn’t watch TV anymore. They played it over and over, and she just won’t watch it anymore. You know, folks our age – we grew up worrying about the atomic bomb and Russia – now I worry about a man with a back pack – anywhere. A guy could show up here with a backpack and wipe out 70-80 people and make the national news. It’s something we’re aware of all the time. It’s affected the economy and really every aspect of our lives.
Jennifer Atteberry, Waxahachie:
I had taken my son to school, and was on my way to work. Just stopped at work and listened to what was going on.
How has it changed your life? This makes you look at your surroundings a little closer, because we all think we’re safe, and you just don’t know.
Jenny Strength, Waxahachie:
I was actually in bed, my mother called me and told me to turn the television on. So I turned it on, and was watching it before the second plane hit. You just wake up in a daze and don’t know what’s going on. But in the days to follow, you start realizing “this could have been someone we knew – a neighbor. you just don’t know.” When we were growing up, kids could play where they wanted to. You could ride your bike down the street – leave your doors unlocked. It totally makes you take that aspect of your life into perspective. You realize life isn’t like it was years ago.
How has it changed your life? It has changed my life in regard to security for my children and family. You no longer leave your doors unlocked or leave your kid in a car while you run into a store.
Shirley Jones, Waxahachie:
I’m a kindergarten teacher. We were in class, and stepped out to go to the bathroom. A mother came through and asked, “Did you guys hear what happened?” – and then told us about the twin towers. That’s how I found out. In the office they had the television on, and we started scrambling and trying to find out what was going on.
How has it changed your life? I don’t take things for granted. I try to make sure every moment I do what I need to do. I get up every morning and say, “Lord, help me to make this the best day I can make it.” Because I may not get tomorrow. I want to fulfill everything I need to do for that day. I’ve really made myself slow down and take it moment by moment – and worry about what’s going to happen the next minute – the next hour, but give me this day and help me to be the best I can be.