NEWBERRY COUNTY — Tuesday will mark 17 years since the September 11 attacks, a coordinated terrorist attack by the Islamic terrorist group Al-Qaeda on the United States, orchestrated by Osama bin Laden, killing thousands.
The attacks, which occurred between 8:46-10:28 a.m., left such a lasting effect on the United States that many people are still able to recall what they were doing the morning of the September 11 attacks.
Newberry Mayor Foster Senn recalled the day as he and his father watched the coverage together.
”I was in my office in the Parr Building when my 82-year-old father stopped by as he was downtown that morning. He said he had just heard on the radio a plane hit the World Trade Center. I cut the small T.V. on in my office, and we watched the coverage. It was just stunning. As the day went on, I remember the news was just devastating, awful and sad,” Senn said. “I remember watching a few days later when President George W. Bush toured the World Trade Center grounds and gave a really inspiring speech. That seemed to turn the country around and gave us some momentum.”
While Senn was watching the attacks unfold with his father, Prosperity Mayor Derek Underwood was at home taking care of one of his children, who was sick.
“I saw the aftermath of the second plane hit and it all seemed surreal. The faces, the victims leaping to their deaths and the brave first responders who rushed in without hesitation was inspiring,” Underwood said. “My initial emotions were of anger and I was very anxious how President Bush would react and how he would bring the country together.”
He added that we should never forget September 11 and continue to remember the sacrifice and destruction that resulted from the attacks.
“We must keep reminding ourselves of why and how this occurred and never forget of all the sacrifice and destruction that followed in its aftermath,” he said.
Darryl Hentz, mayor of Pomaria, remembers being at work when the attacks occurred.
“A lot of people at work were talking about it and how could this happen on American soil, it was just kind of a sad day, it’s hard to believe its been 17 years, it seems like it was just not that long ago,” Hentz said.
For Little Mountain Mayor Jana Jayroe, it was just a normal morning of housework and taking her children to school.
“I was watching The Today Show, Matt Lauer appeared on the screen sitting in a chair in front of a window. He said something along the line of ‘we are going to turn the camera around so you can look out at the window. A plane has just hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.’ The camera focused on the first tower, it was on fire. I just stood in front of the television with my mouth open. I thought how on Earth could the pilot have been so lost,” Jayroe said. “Then when the second tower was hit it dawned on me that we were being attacked. I suspected Osama bin Laden’s men were behind the attacks because of the bombing of the World Trade Center parking lot under President Clinton. I went to my office to tell our employees. We turned on the radio and listened to the news the rest of the day as we worked.”
Jayroe added that the remainder of the day was confusing and frightening and she wondered how she would explain this to her children when she picked them up from school.
“When I picked my children up from school, one was fourteen years old and one was nine years old, they asked a thousand questions. I tried to answer calmly and accurately, mostly I did not want them to be frightened. It was a horrible, tragic, sad day,” she said.
Representative Rick Martin was returning from dropping his daughter off at daycare when he heard of the attacks, he said it was a horrible feeling seeing our country being attacked and going through every emotion one could think of.
Martin also said he remembers the exact shirt his dad was wearing the day of the attacks, a striped shirt that still hangs in a closet to this day.
“It does not seem like it’s been 17 years, growing up I remember old fellas talking about Pearl Harbor being attacked, they always remembered exactly where they were at, that’s something you will never forget, that’s a date that if you are old enough to remember it you will never forget what you were doing,” he said.
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.