"Where were you when the world stopped turning?" – Every time I hear that Alan Jackson song I go back to the exact time – 9-11-01 – My husband and I were driving back to Greensboro, NC from a vacation stay in North Myrtle Beach SC. We were somewhere between Rockingham, NC and Asheboro, NC, listening to our morning show Big Paul and Aunt Eloise on my hometown station 104.1 WTQR talk about it. I remember thinking their report of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center was a radio bit, a stunt, like a War of the Worlds re-enactment, but something in Paul's voice told me differently. I was supposed to have the day off. Someone else was to do my air shift that day. When I realized what was going on was real, we drove straight to the radio station. I knew that was a moment that I needed to be on the air sharing it with our listeners. A moment that would change our lives forever and I wanted to help inform our listener family of what was happening.
The radio station was (and still is) located 5 miles from the Piedmont International Airport. Tim and I took the exit off of I-40, and as were were sitting at the light, I remember seeing the jets coming in one after another in rows across the sky because they were using every runway they could to land after being grounded. I remember the eerie, helpless feeling of seeing the final jet fly over the station to land and then the sky was quiet.
I remember our entire air staff hugging and my boss, our leader, Big Paul praying with us asking God to give us guidance, to share the information properly, and comfort ,because we all really just wanted to be home with our families but knew it was our duty to inform the public.
I remember sitting in the studio behind the mic at 10 am to take over my shift and waiting for the next attack that thankfully never came after 10:03.
What did start rolling in, however, was news of the loss of lives, the missing loved ones, and the knowledge that the beeping sound during live TV and radio shots was the firefighter PASS signal...signaling they had not moved for more than 30 seconds...signaling most of these heroes had made the ultimate sacrifice trying to save others.
Our September trip to North Myrtle Beach SC was an annual event and during our visit the following year on the 9/11 Anniversary I took this photo. Every year we were there after the local firefighters in North Myrtle Beach SC would suit up in full gear and walk the beach in memory of those who lost their lives on 9/11. They carried new American flags followed by the tattered and faded, but still flying, American flags that were flying on 9/11/01. This year, they climbed 110 flights of stairs.
I know that I will never forget, and I am so grateful for them and everyone Remembering 9/11. #GodBlessAmerica