The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 happened across the country from Cullman County, but everyone has their own memories of that day.

Several followers of The Times answered a question on Facebook about their feelings on Sept. 11 and the following days.

Some residents were in Cullman County on Sept. 11 and shared their reaction as news of the terrorist attacks began to spread. 

“I was a rural mail carrier in Cullman County. We had just loaded our vehicles and our postmaster told us about the first tower being hit,” said Susanne Cadle. “We went out on our routes but kept our radios on for information. By the time I got home, the first videos were on TV. The scenes were horrifying and so sad.”

“I had just left work in dispatch on 3rd shift at the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office and had stopped to eat breakfast at William’s BBQ and as the waitress was sitting my plate down I had been watching about the Pentagon and as her and I was talking about it we looked up at the TV and watched as the 2nd plane hit and went through the 2nd tower,” said Candy Robertson Reeves.

“At the time I was working at Cracker Barrel,” said Amy Emmert. “My three children were at school. I had to take a test that morning, and when I came out of the room, everyone was talking about what had taken place. I was shocked, scared, and in that moment I still couldn’t even fathom what was going on. I just wanted my babies.”

“I was getting ready for work when I saw the aftermath of the first tower get hit. I worked at Goodwill at the time, and I walked to work,” said James Rodriguez. “When I got there, no was working or shopping. Everyone was at the back of the store watching the news about the second tower being hot. I just remember this feeling of numbness and disbelief at what I had just witnessed. I consider that day, to be one where our world was changed forever.”

Lori Cole said she was on the vacation at the time, and had her memories of visiting the World Trade Center on her mind as she watched the scene unfold. 

“My mother and I were on vacation in Orange Beach. I turned on the TV when I got up and after seeing what was happening in New York I woke up my mother,” she said. “We’d been up in both WTC towers on a trip to NYC several years earlier - we’d eaten at Windows on the World in the north tower and visited the observation deck in the south tower twice (both day and night). The next several days were rather eerie. Many of the businesses along the beach road changed their marquee signs to reflect what had happened that awful day.”

One follower described his experience as a member of the military. 

“I was in the US Navy,” said Ricky Bennefield. “I was stationed at NAS Oceana. We were in the shop working and our Chief yelled for us to get in the training room. We were watching the 1st tower burn when the 2nd plane hit and I immediately knew I was witnessing something terrible and historic at the same time. I’ll never forget the feeling that I had of anger and sadness in that moment.”

Mike Davitt described his experience in Washington D.C. as the Pentagon was attacked. 

“I went outside my office to get a better look at the coal black smoke billowing above the Pentagon across the street,” he said. I looked up and a burning object about twice the size of a Frisbee was circling down and landed at my feet. It appeared to be a piece of foam insulation that I would later learn was from the airplane that crashed in the Pentagon.

“The black smoke reached the sky several times higher than the Washington monument and a white ash was falling like snow everywhere. The white ash reminded me of my Holocaust readings when white ash fell from the sky when the camp’s crematoriums were in operation,” he said. The Pentagon was a blur from my vantage point in the south parking lot similar to looking at smoke rising from a backyard grill where it is clear but blurs everything.

“The air was pierced by siren after siren of arriving ambulances. I did not know the Washington area had so many ambulances. The parking lot was filled with my fellow DoD employees frantically trying to make cell phone calls on the jammed circuits,” Davitt said. “I learned we were dismissed for the day and took an alternate route home that went by the airport. The airport was a scene of panic as travellers were evacuating and running down the grassy embankment with their luggage. I finally made it home and went to bed as the smoke at the Pentagon had triggered my asthma. Not since the Kennedy assassination had an event so affected the country. It is a memory I would like to forget but will never be able to.

Tyler Hanes can be reached at 256-734-2131 ext. 238.

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