I would like to tell you a little bit about how 9/11 affected me. I am a full-time F-15 fighter jet crew chief with the Massachusetts Air Guard at Otis ANGB. As you may know, our alert jets were the first on the scene after the towers were hit. It wasn't long before we were very busy getting all the jets on the base loaded and ready for war. We began flying Combat Air Patrols over NYC, Boston, and DC that very day, and continued to do so through the holidays, into Feb. We worked 12 hour or better days, 7 days a week during that entire time, with only sporadic, single days off. We were activated about a week after the attack, and remain so now. Thank Goodness that we are at least still Stateside!!!!!!
"Crew Chief" is the Air Force term for a mechanic who "owns" his own jet, and is responsable for it's airworthiness. My jet is F-15A s/n 77-105, aka "War Pig" (a nickname I picked - not the pilot). In spite of the horrible events of that day, it felt GREAT for the Guard to finally be doing what it was designed for - defending America at HOME. We worked our you-know-whats off for a long time, but we'd have done more and longer if called to. It was indescribable to watch the jets take off and head south, fully loaded with missiles. Those were grim days, but we felt proud to serve, and it felt good to be doing SOMETHING.
The response of the local population was terrific, and I'm sure was a reflection of the public response across the country. We were rolling in more donated coffee and home made foods and desserts than we could handle. It was wonderful.
I was reading what you had to say about the Sept. 11th attacks and I thought I would share with you my personal experience. I work on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, and live less than a half mile from the Pentagon in Arlington, VA and I can say it was a terrifying experience. I was sitting at my desk in Senator Tom Carper (D-DE)'s office when it came on CNN that the WTC had been attacked. I was also sitting there when we were notified of the Pentagon attack. We were evacuated from the Capitol and I spent the afternoon at a fellow staff member's house with the majority of my coworkers. Given the location of my apartment building in Pentagon City, VA, I returned home that evening to realize that my 14th floor apartment looks right out on the section of the Pentagon where the plane hit. I can still see into the side of the building. In addition to the attacks on the 11th of September, I have also been effected by the Anthrax problems on Capitol Hill. My Senator's office is in the Hart building, right across the hall from Senator Daschle's office, so I am one of the 400 hill staffers taking Cipro for 60 days. This is a lot to handle for all of us, but after living in DC for the past 4 years (I went to George Washington University), I am still not ready to leave.
Thanks so much, glad to hear that all is well in the family and that we have managed to survive tragedy once again.Rachel Chute
“I’m Elizabeth Emery Chute, born in Manhattan, NY but living in Helena, Montana. My brother Robert C. Chute was also in the vicinity of the World Trade Center on September 11th. He walked to Trinity Church when his building was evacuated. Showing more sense than I think I may have, he jumped on a subway and went to Brooklyn.”Elizabeth Emery ("Libbie") Chute
On Tuesday morning, I was on an express bus, on the approach to the Lincoln Tunnel; this places us directly across the Hudson River and slightly north of the Towers. For a few minutes already we could see a fire in one tower and were already aware that some disaster had taken place, but did not know what had happened; certainly we were all upset and horrified about seeing the first tower on fire and hoping people had gotten out safely - we had no idea a plane had hit the first tower at this point, nor were we aware that it had been caused by terrorists. As we watched, a jet plane passed overhead, with a huge roar. We all knew immediately that it was way too low for a jet of that size to be flying, and the noise it made was horrible. Everyone's first thought was that we were witnessing two disasters simultaneously: a fire in one tower, and a jet crashing into the Hudson River. Everyone began to cry out, "It's too low, it's too low", and then we all realized that it was going to fly into the second tower. It was like a slow-motion horror that you could not imagine witnessing in a million years. In videos shown on CNN you've seen other angles of that second airplane striking the second tower and heard people screaming: that is what I remember first about that morning, except on our bus, everyone was screaming before that horrible fireball went up, because the airplane had passed over us and we saw where it was going before the impact.
Tuesday - a combination of many emotions: the smell of the burning, the dust clouds rolling up Broadway after the collapse, everybody screaming as the Towers collapsed (have you ever heard an entire city scream at the same moment?), and feeling the faint thunder through the soles of your feet when the Towers collapsed, fifty blocks south of me - a 2.4 earthquake rolling through New York City as those towers came down. Thinking for a few seconds that there would be a domino effect of collapsing buildings as a result. Learning that a plane had also crashed into the Pentagon and thinking this was some mass wave of suicide plane crashes ... terror at the sound of any airplane in the sky, expecting more planes to crash into buildings at any moment. It was obvious that New Yorkers had never needed to become familiar with the sounds of our own military ... for most of that morning we kept hearing the roar of planes and were all expecting to die in particularly gruesome fashions - not realizing until later that the sounds we were hearing were the roars of our own F-15's flying overhead, protecting the Eastern seaboard and New York City.
We had only one way to get out of the city, by ferry over the Hudson, as every other bridge and tunnel was closed. A large group of us walked 30 blocks to the ferry at around noon. Lines and lines and lines of people trying to get out of Manhattan, and through these lines, rescue workers were bringing shell-shocked and dusty, blood-streaked people from south Manhattan. They just threw us blindly across the Hudson by boatload - our ferry ended up in Weehauken, a shuttle bus took busloads of silent, shell-shocked people to Hoboken and the train station - during that silent ride, all eyes were fixated on the still burning towers across the River, and no one was speaking. One of our own home-grown criminals decided this was the perfect moment to call in a bomb scare to the now packed Hoboken Train station ... I finally got home nine hours later ... without a complaint, because I was alive and coming home, and so many people would never come home.
Phone lines were down, and I was finally able to contact my family from the train itself that evening - I finally was able to get a cell phone connection. My parents had two family members to worry about - me in New York, and my nephew, Jim Jr., in Washington, D.C., working as an electrician in a government building near the Pentagon. They couldn't find either one of us for most of Tuesday. (Jim Jr., was okay also). The effect of the stress of Tuesday on my mother hit her in the form of a stroke the following Friday night. My brother Jim Sr., and I, spent this past weekend with her in Newport, until she was transferred to a bigger hospital in Providence. She is slowly improving; we're considering her one of Bin Ladin's lesser known and still surviving victims.September 21, 2001
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KEY TO SELECT EVENT ABBREVIATIONS: EMIG=Emigration, naturalization MILI=Military Registration, Draft or Activity POLI=Political office, elected or appointed CITI=Applied for or obtained Citizenship CENS=Census Record ALT=Conflicting or Alternate Record RESI=Residence AKA=Alternate Name IKA=Incorrectly known as   AWRD=Award TRAV=Passenger Record not related to Emmigration LAND=Land Purchase GRAD=Graduated ORDN=Ordained BUSI=Business related event DOCU=Document signed NEWS=Newspaper date INTN=Marriage Intention MAR2=Remarriage MOVE=Change of Address WILL=Event assoc with own or other's will ORDN=Ordained PROB=Probate SCHL=School Record NAME=Name Change
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