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Listening to Channel 9 on September 11, 2001

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Old Dec 3, 05, 11:42 pm
  #16
 
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putt4eagle, thank you for the story. Like so many others it brings back vivid memories of that day....goosebumps for sure. Your writing is special.

I was sitting on an US A320 shuttle flight to BOS at DCA that morning when the flight was pushed back and held on the ramp. Captain comes back and asks some people sitting in the exit row to "look out for things strange". Turns out those people were airline employees on non-rev travel. After the second airplane hit, the flight was cancelled and brought back to the gate and everyone told of unfortunate events and they could get rebooked as soon as we got back in the terminal. I was consulting to the airline then, therefore went to the flightdeck to ask what was up, when talking to the 1st officer, a plume went up to our right.....the Pentagon. At that point, flight crew secured aircraft ASAP and we headed into the DCA C concourse just in time for the fire alarms to start signaling we should evacuate the building. With a plume of smoke, etc. visible up the river we ran down the concourse and out of the terminal. One of the few times I felt pure fear, which doesn't compare to idividuals in flight, in other cities, etc....amazing how that experience affected so many. Strange as hell seeing a mass of people walking up the closed roadways at DCA back to Crystal City to catch the Metro, etc.
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Old Dec 4, 05, 1:32 am
  #17
 
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Originally Posted by DenverBrian
I had flown UA to Spokane the evening of 9/10, and I still vividly remember the bored expression on the security guard's face as I went through the metal detector at DIA. The shoes, of course, stayed on that night.
The weekend prior to 9/11 I spent in Boca Raton with friends. Flew home Monday (9/10) on Delta. I had bought a painting at a gallery exhibition that weekend. I remember going through FLL security asking the screener to let me carry the piece onboard. The piece was too big to put through the scanner and I did not want to check it. Basically it was canvas wrapped in black garbage bags. I could have had anything underneath there, but of course the screener did not think twice about letting me bring it through. He didn't even bother to examine it. He just walked it around the scanners and handed it to me after I passed through. Nothing like that could happen today.

I remember chatting to a fellow at CVG that day while waiting for the second segment to Chicago. He had saved up his money to be in the audience on the Oprah show being filmed on 9/11. He said since it was such a special occassion he had saved his money to splurge on a nice hotel downtown for his two nights there. He was going to fly back on Wednesday. He had never flown anywhere before, and obviously did not have much money. I always wondered how he lasted in Chicago for those extra days with the very tight budget he was on.

I also remember while I sat at CVG that the big breaking news story was some kind of explosion or fire at Newark airport. Quickly forgotten the next day.

I'll always look back and think of all the nuances of air travel that I experienced that day, which always reminds me how much has changed since then.

Last edited by Eric702; Dec 4, 05 at 1:34 am
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Old Dec 4, 05, 1:50 am
  #18
 
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Originally Posted by Putt4eagle
I'll never forget where I was or that Ch. 9 was a part of it. I still have the stub from the flight. UA 1969, ORD to Phoenix, seat 5F.
This post is definitely interesting for me, not only because of the personal emotions it invokes, but in terms of anthropological angle, the use of Channel 9 as an instrument of memory.

Like what many has done already, I want to thank you Putt4eagle for sharing with us this memory, you participated in through listening.
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Old Dec 4, 05, 3:00 am
  #19
 
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Originally Posted by Putt4eagle
Thank you so much for all the kind replies. I am sure there are many similar stories. Writing is a skill I am not usually proficient at but this was easy. The pictures in my memory are as clear today as they were 4 years ago.
Welcome to FT.

Great writing...the emotion really shines through.
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Old Dec 4, 05, 8:34 am
  #20
 
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What a discussion! It's not quite what I imagined coming out of my small post. These memories are important to retain because they show history as we actually experienced it rather than as people with differing agendas would have us remember.
I was fortunate not to be traveling on 9/11, but I remember well the concern we had for several colleagues who were. One was trapped in Miami for nearly a week. Another had left earlier that morning BOS to LAX on United and ended up stranded somewhere in the midwest.
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Old Dec 4, 05, 8:47 am
  #21
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Putt4eagle, Thanks for sharing a difficult moment in such a great way!
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Old Dec 4, 05, 9:12 am
  #22
 
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Sept 11/ channel 9 and other comments

Thanks Putt4eagle it is really something to read this great piece first thing in the morning… I was in Europe during the tragic events. Wasn’t able to fly back to the US before Sept 16. I originally had a reservation on Sept 13 but LH rebooked me on the first or second flight out to LAX from MUC. Tension was high at the airport. Lots of soldiers. Back then, I had just relocated with my American wife to the West Coast. Being from Europe, I was used to tough security checks at airports. Especially in Spain, the UK and France (because of terrorism concerns, in some places domestic ones). Now you almost have to strip down entirely to pass through security in this country too. I got used to it. Don’t know if I can share this but what really drove me crazy back then (and still does) is when I learned that Osama’ s family had been doing business with the Bush family for over 20 years… Anyhow, I enjoy Channel 9 very much. On a flight to DEN to LAX yesterday, asked the FA why it wasn’t available and 2 minutes later I could hear my favorite conversations. I am 100% loyal to UA and will make it to 1K on Dec 15 while returning from LHR. PS: This forum is great. Found out about it just over a month ago and I am addicted to it!
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Old Dec 4, 05, 10:15 am
  #23
 
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Wow Putt4eagle , that gave me chills...
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Old Dec 4, 05, 9:15 pm
  #24
 
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My thanks to Putt4Eagle for sharing his experience on that terrible day. The way he reacted, helping others, underscores our philosophy as a country. Good on him. We have a lot to be thankful for.

Pat

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Sep 11, 08 at 12:41 pm Reason: removed quote to now-deleted post
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Old Dec 5, 05, 2:46 am
  #25
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Originally Posted by flightpath844
Don’t know if I can share this but what really drove me crazy back then (and still does) is when I learned that Osama’ s family had been doing business with the Bush family for over 20 years…
This post saddens me... breaks my heart, actually. I don't know what happened to us. We... blue states, red states... Yankee fans, Red Sox fans.. pro-life, choice, black & white, ... weeee were so together the days following the horrible events of 9-11. We watched our POTUS climb on top of the debris pile with that fireman and talk through that bull horn. "and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear from all of us soon." I remember thinking we are on the verge of next "greatest generation". We weren't. We are not "we" anymore. This country is groups of "us" and "them" again. How did we get here?

And please.... before you reply with your political view, right or left, stop. I don't want to hear your opinion. I am an intelligent person. I read the papers, watch the news. You people who have to constantly score political points insult my intelligence. You offend me. I will make up my own mind about the people who run this country and cast my vote accordingly. It was a rhetorical question. I just thought the Bush/bin Ladin reference made in this post was the kind of cheap shot that has reduced us to the bickering a-holes we have become. We could have been like our grandfathers... the greatest generation. But we didn't. We all collectively have failed our children. That is sad... so sad.
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Old Sep 11, 06, 6:12 pm
  #26
 
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Originally Posted by Putt4eagle
This post saddens me... breaks my heart, actually. I don't know what happened to us. We... blue states, red states... Yankee fans, Red Sox fans.. pro-life, choice, black & white, ... weeee were so together the days following the horrible events of 9-11. We watched our POTUS climb on top of the debris pile with that fireman and talk through that bull horn. "and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear from all of us soon." I remember thinking we are on the verge of next "greatest generation". We weren't. We are not "we" anymore. This country is groups of "us" and "them" again. How did we get here?

And please.... before you reply with your political view, right or left, stop. I don't want to hear your opinion. I am an intelligent person. I read the papers, watch the news. You people who have to constantly score political points insult my intelligence. You offend me. I will make up my own mind about the people who run this country and cast my vote accordingly. It was a rhetorical question. I just thought the Bush/bin Ladin reference made in this post was the kind of cheap shot that has reduced us to the bickering a-holes we have become. We could have been like our grandfathers... the greatest generation. But we didn't. We all collectively have failed our children. That is sad... so sad.

Man, you should be an author honestly, like whenever I read your posts it seems like I'm reading a book. I agree with what you said
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Old Sep 11, 06, 7:02 pm
  #27
 
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Originally Posted by Putt4eagle
This post saddens me... breaks my heart, actually. I don't know what happened to us. We... blue states, red states... Yankee fans, Red Sox fans.. pro-life, choice, black & white, ... weeee were so together the days following the horrible events of 9-11. We watched our POTUS climb on top of the debris pile with that fireman and talk through that bull horn. "and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear from all of us soon." I remember thinking we are on the verge of next "greatest generation". We weren't. We are not "we" anymore. This country is groups of "us" and "them" again. How did we get here?

And please.... before you reply with your political view, right or left, stop. I don't want to hear your opinion. I am an intelligent person. I read the papers, watch the news. You people who have to constantly score political points insult my intelligence. You offend me. I will make up my own mind about the people who run this country and cast my vote accordingly. It was a rhetorical question. I just thought the Bush/bin Ladin reference made in this post was the kind of cheap shot that has reduced us to the bickering a-holes we have become. We could have been like our grandfathers... the greatest generation. But we didn't. We all collectively have failed our children. That is sad... so sad.
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Old Sep 11, 06, 7:23 pm
  #28
 
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Putt4eagle: Thank you for sharing your story with us all. I think its fitting that this thread is again showing up at the top of the list on this day.

I wish we as a country didn't need to experience such a tragedy to be as united and patriotic as we were following 9/11.

Last edited by l'etoile; Sep 11, 08 at 10:41 am
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Old Sep 11, 08, 8:57 am
  #29
 
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Exclamation

Originally Posted by Putt4eagle View Post
On 9/11, I was listening to Ch. 9. I was on a flight out of ORD to AZ (757) seated in 5F. We had just taken off and where climbing to cruise. A flight out of Rockford, IL was squeezing between us and the UA in front of us. I watched as he lined up to get on the highway westbound. Then, abruptly, the Rockford flight called ATC and requested immediate clearance to return to home. ATC responded with some quick direction and asked if they were experiencing trouble. No, just directed to return home by company pronto. Hmmm, strange I thought.

Then the UA in front of us requested emergency clearance back to ORD. Loooong pause from ATC. Now, this is Chicago Center air space. There are no pauses. Certainly not 30-40 seconds of dead air. Hmm, man that is weird, I thought. Then like a starters pistol went off, the comm light up. Another plane req. clearance, then another, another.... boom, boom, boom. Nothing from ATC. I nudged the guy next to me and said put on Ch. 9. He could see by the expression on my face, I was serious.

ATC got on the air and started by saying this was going to go quick and pilots needed to listen up. "Protocol responses are not required, just do exactly as I say quickly". Then it began. "UA ###, turn right heading blah, blah expect Springfield airport. SWA ###, turn left heading blah, blah expect Rockford. Delta ###...." This went on for about 3 solid minutes before I rang the bell for the FA who was passing out breakfast. Our number had not yet been called. The FA came by and I said "We are all going back to O'Hare, they are landing every plane in the sky. What is going on?!?" She looked at me in disbelief and kind of leaned down to look out the window. I could see that she was about to start to tell me not to worry about it when we pitched right at about 45*s. It was so quick it nearly dumped the FA in my lap.

Her expression changed quickly. I could see she knew that was no turn you make in a 757 under normal conditions. She said, I will be right back and picked up the comm. She went flush. Not saying a word, not "ok", not "goodbye", not "I understand"... nothing, she hung up the phone. I don't know why I remember that she did not respond so vividly in my mind but it took the whole thing up a notch for me. I knew she thought this was very serious and was scared. She walked right back to me, scooped up my tray and said in a voice full of authority, "Pull up your chair, put away your tray table and buckle up, now. We are landing in a few minutes. The pilot will be on with more instructions in a few minutes." I was frozen. In the ten steps it took her to get from the phone to me, her whole demeanor changed from shocked to pissed.

By this time, ATC comm on ch. 9 had been cut off. We were pitching left and right, then right and left and descending fast. It was about 5 minutes before the pilot came on and said "Ladies and gentlemen, please listen very carefully, We have been instructed by the FAA to land immediately. There has been a security breach in the system and we will be on the ground in Chicago in a few minutes. Listen carefully to the FAs instructions and do as they as say please." click. Huh!?! Instructed by the FAA? Not ATC... FAA!! Whaaa?!? Security breach in "the system"? What does that mean? Did some guy run through the check point at the airport? Now, I was scared.

A couple more minutes of quick turns and fast drops go by. The pilot (a woman, I don't know why I mention that but I remember it clearly) comes back on the comm. "This is the captain. We will be landing quickly in Des Moines, IA. Flight attendants, please prepare the cabin." click. Hard turn right, hard turn left... the FAs are barking out instructions on the comm. Now I can see planes everywhere around us. There had to be a dozen so close I could tell the company clearly. I could discern the 7-5s from the 7-3s, the AB320s from the 319s.

We were at about 8 thousand by now. It was less than 3 minutes since we last heard from the pilot and she was on again. "This is the captain. We will be landing at the Quad Cities airport in 4 minutes. When we land we have been instructed not to approach the terminal. Please remain calm and we will back with instructions as soon as possible." click. Now I could hear a woman crying a few rows behind me.

Our last turn to hit the glide path was so sharp I could see the corn rows in the fields below. There was a SWA 7-3 easily within a mile and a half behind us as we fish tailed, it seemed, into runway alignment. Gears go down way late. We are going much faster than a normal approach. 2k now.... 1500, 1... touchdown... hard. Heavy brakes for a good bit then they release and we roll all the way down to the end and turn right toward the terminal. I look back down the runway and the SWA 7-3 is about 500yrds off the end of the runway. This would have been a "go around" under normal circumstances. Behind Southwest, they are stacked up on a string. 8-10 planes maybe... boom, boom, boom. Big ones too.

"Oh, my God! Oh, my God!" I hear a voice behind me. I turn, it's a man on his cell. 'Two planes hit the WTC. They are on fire...both buildings." We are in the terminal in a flash it seemed. I made a few calls and went to the rental counter and secured a car (a fire engine red, Dodge minivan) before I sat in this tiny airport and watch TV for about 4 hours. By the time I decided to go back to Chicago, the rental counters were chaos. I slowly made my way through the crowd announcing rides were available back to ORD for any takers, follow me out. Outside I turned around to see I had five takers, 2 men, 3 women. One was a UA FA. We barely spoke a word the whole way back. I don't even remember any of their names. ORD was closed and I dropped ‘em off one by one at various places around the city. Then home for me. I'll never forget where I was or that Ch. 9 was a part of it. I still have the stub from the flight. UA 1969, ORD to Phoenix, seat 5F.

I think its appropriate that this post comes to the top on this day.
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Old Sep 11, 08, 9:12 am
  #30
 
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an amazing post; thank you for bringing it to the head of the queue again today.... Putt4eagle's post near the end of the thread is also amazing.... i wish they were posting more frequently!
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