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9/11 stories from Team United

  • Posted on September 11, 2021
September 11, 2001 memorial

"This day will allows be etched in my mind and heart for many reasons. One being that this was my first day on my new job with United. Each year of the anniversary day of 9/11 is also the exact anniversary day of mine working with United. I was getting the tour of the bank when we first heard the news of what was happening. At the time we didn't know exactly what was going on other than the devastation and lives being lost. I remember of the uncertainty that was fresh on my mind of what was unfolding that day and how it would look in the days ahead." - Zachary W. | McCaysville, GA

"I was at the hospital with my mother who was in ICU on a ventilator at the time. When I came out to the waiting room I saw the 2nd plane hit the world trade center on TV. No one really knew what was happening at that moment. I sat there in shock as I watched the event unfold. I remember as I stared out the window as my husband drove me home later that morning how blue the sky was and wondered how such a terrible thing had happened. I will always associate that day with 2 terrible events." - Pam S. | Robbinsville, NC

"Ironically enough, I was sitting in my 10th grade World History Class when the unbelievable events of 9/11 of unfolded. A teacher rushed into our classroom, yelling for my teacher to turn on the TV, that planes hit the World Trade Center buildings. Us students had no idea what the World Trade Center buildings were...but as soon as we saw what was happening on the TV, we knew it was really bad. We still followed our schedule and went to our different classes but in each class we would just watch the news. There was no school work done the rest of that day." - Mandy A. | Athens, GA

"I was sitting at my desk working here at UCB that morning. My mother had passed earlier in the year. I was struggling with missing her. It was a beautiful morning in Blairsville, GA and on the way to work, I thought how could the world go on? Everything seemed so normal. A lady in our department received a call from her mother to let her know what was happening, she shared the news. It was seemed unreal. When I saw it on TV, the smoke billowing, the second place hitting the tower, I closed my eyes and and asked God not to end the world. I prayed for God to please let it go on as normal. What a change from earlier that morning. I'm sure millions of people, same as me, thought it was like any other day. So many lives lost and so many other lives forever changed all over the world." - Debbie C. | Blairsville, GA

"That morning I was running a little late but it started pretty normal. I made it to the subway station and jumped on the E train from Queens to Downtown Manhattan. As I was getting close to my destination the train stopped and that’s when my biggest nightmare began. The train stopped on Chambers Street on the Westside of downtown Manhattan. I was so worried of being late to an appointment which was just a few blocks away from the World Trade Center. Then my thoughts of worry were interrupted by the conductor informing us that there was a situation at the World Trade Center. So we waited for further instructions, people start saying there was a fire but we would have never ever imagined what we were about to find out. After a few minutes we were told we had walk off the train, which we felt was such an inconvenience. As we were reaching the upper platform of the station and getting ready to exit the station, there was a sense that something was not right and the vibe turned from annoyed to concern. From that moment on I will never forget. None of us would have imagined the scene that would unfold in front of us that morning when we walked out the subway station on Chambers Street. I can remember the bright blue clear sky, perfect fall day in NYC and then we walked in to what was like a movie war scene thousands of sirens, fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, detective cars just speeding by from all directions and all going towards the World Trade Center. Feeling engulfed with confusion I tried to figure out what was going on, people were scuffling by with expressions of terror, fear, lost and disbelief. Then I turned the corner and there it was only 1 tower and the top of building was burning lite a cigarette. Then, as everyone stared at it in horror, the 2nd tower collapsed and disintegrated in slow motion into the gound. I felt numb and fell to my knees I could not believe what I was seeing. I got myself together and I frantically tried calling my job from a pay phone since all cell service was down and I learned that the towers were hit by a terrorist attack. I was able to reach my family as well to inform them I was walking home. Everything after that was just mechanical really…I walked from down town over the 59th bridge to Queens. On my way uptown, I walked with a tourist very pregnant that was by herself, so I walked with her to make sure she was okay. I remember the fear of walking past the Empire State Building, because you didn’t know if some other landmark was going to be blown up that day. I didn't learn about the magnitude of the situation until that evening. At the time, I worked for Time Warner Corporate and they had set-up databases by the Chelsea Piers to help family members locate their loved ones through DNA on items being found at the sight. I had to help somehow, so volunteered but I only was able to do it for a few days because that is all my soul and heart could take. I remember the first responders just lying around trying to get a few minutes of rest before they were back searching. Also, the thousands of pictures put up by family members throughout the city as they frantically searched for their loved ones, listening to the heart wrenching cries and screams from mom, dads, sons, daughters, spouses, etc…the sound and images will be vividly sketched in my brain and soul forever. This was my experience and this is where I was on 9/11/2001, which of course is nothing to what others experienced or their losses on this tragic day. It was a time that can’t ever be truly be imagined unless you lived it somehow, it effected so many in so many different ways. This is why you remember always and it’s impossible to forget!! I visited the WTC site after it happened and I also visited the new memorial. I still can hear in my mind the load music playing outside the towers at lunchtime. The most important lesson for me is that we should never take anything for granted, do what you want to do now and don’t wait for later because tomorrow is not guaranteed. Finally, never let life get in the way of saying I love you often or giving those extra hugs and kisses to those you love….because we just never know. Always remembering those lost and all the Heroes of 9/11…WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!!!" -Marilyn T. | Seaside Ponte Vedra 

"I had just graduated high school in May of 2001. On the morning of September 11, 2001 I remember I was at my best friends mothers hair salon in Clayton, NC. The tv was on & we all gathered around & watched in horror. I could not believe my eyes! My dad called my cell phone to let me know what had just happened. I left to go home & be with my parents & we watched the news all night. Hard to imagine it is coming up on 20 years already! My husband & I visited NY city in 2018 & ran the tunnel to towers 5k, which was an amazing & emotional experience. We also toured the 9/11 memorial museum, which I highly recommend to anyone. 9/11 was the day the whole world stood still & I will never forget." - Amy V. | Smithfield, NC

"I was working for a non-profit in the SunTrust Bank tower in downtown Orlando. While the location seems irrelevant at this time, it was also the location where the Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, had offices. When the planes hit the towers, security rushed into our building and required immediate evacuation. It was a blur at this point; a flurry of emotions were running through my head. I could not reconcile what was happening. No one knew what was happening. One-by-one we were escorted to the stairwells, which were packed with frantic people. Once outside, police sirens were going off all around us. We didn't know if there were other planes. A moment of silence settled in when everyone realized that it could just as easily been us trapped in a targeted building. Not knowing the damage, we couldn't erase the images of those planes hitting the towers. Those images have been scarred into our memories forever. All we had was each other. Strangers bonded together for a tragic event." - Claire H. | Greenville, SC

"I had just turned 8 years old a few weeks prior to this day. I remember this day well. I was sitting in my 3rd grade classroom doing school work when all of a sudden the principal walks into the room. He says to the teacher to turn on the TV and that's when we saw one of the towers falling. At the time being 8 years old I had no idea what that meant, what we were watching unfold right in front of our eyes. The next thing I knew we were being told to pack our stuff and get ready to go, all 8 years old dreams getting to leave school early right. Little did I know at the time I had a grandmother trying to fly home from a trip which now she couldn't and a Uncle that was going to be going off to war. I may have only been 8 at the time but I remember every detail of that horrid day. #Never Forget" - Haley B. | Blairsville, GA

"That is one day I will never forget. On 9/11 I was at work, my sister called to tell me that the World Trade Center was under attack. My co-workers brought out the TV in time for us to see the 2nd airplane hit the South tower. I was in disbelief. As I watched the Towers collapse I was so scared. All I could think about was my sons and where would the terrorists attack next. I was afraid of what was going to happen to the USA. Now I wear a bracelet for my nephew, Anthony Verra, who lost both legs during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan as a response to that attack on our Country." - Patsy R. | Zebulon, NC

"My story is long. I am going to try to abbreviate it. We were in an airplane flying from Houston to Orlando for my sister's wedding. We were flying over the Gulf of Mexico and they had to turn our plane around to go back to Houston. My husband was in the Marine Corps and we were stationed in Hawaii at this time. It was chaos. Airport was evacuated. We were under the age to rent a car. No airplanes. The airport provided a bus which we took to New Orleans. There was a nice older man that was going our way. He rented a car and my husband drove. I remember it like it was yesterday. The fear of the unknown. Is my husband going to war? Are we going to be able to go back home? Is there going to be more?" - Nichole G. | Digital Branch

"At the time I managed a mortgage office in Jefferson near our Commerce branch. A friend had an office in the same building and when I heard about the first plane on the radio I walked back to his office and saw the second plane hit live. My wife, a teacher was 30 miles away at school and no one knew who was and was not safe while we watched in horror as the towers fell. My brother, David, an architect with the Secret Service in Washington was managing a project at the Pentagon where another plane struck the building. I could not reach him for 24 frightening hours and he was later assigned the task of relocating the Secret Service offices from WTC building 7 which also collapsed. When I later learned that one of the terrorists flew training flights at the Jackson County airfield less than 4 miles from my home it became even more personal . We were all touched by 9-11and I remember thinking, they flew over our home where my children play as they trained for this attack." 

"I was in 6th grade. The teacher's weren't allowed to tell us anything about the attacks because the principal wanted us to have one last day of a normal childhood before our world was tipped upside down. The last period of the day our teacher told us because her brother in law was in the first tower for a meeting, and he didn't make it out. She had her tv on and we were all just so stunned that this could happen in our country. That afternoon after school, my sister and I were floating in the pool, and the biggest thing I remember is the absolute silence in our area. No cars were going up and down the roads, no air planes were flying in the sky. It felt like the whole world was mourning with us." - Tia P. | Villa Rica, GA 

"On 9/11 I was working at CNN, and that particular morning I had just finished working on an early morning newscast and had left to go home at about 8:30. I had the radio on during my drive home, and it was then I first heard about the first plane to hit the WTC. Initially, I thought it was perhaps a small two-seater airplane that somehow was flying too low. It didn't take long to understand this was a much bigger aircraft flying at an inexplicable altitude and inexplicable flight path. My heart sank. I thought about turning around and going back to work, but since I was almost home I kept going. I rushed inside my house and turned on my TV only to see the second plane crash into the south tower. I, like everyone else, watched in stunned disbelief. I truly remember thinking, "Is this really happening? Am I dreaming this?" I was shaken to my core as I watched those towers collapse knowing they were taking so many lives with them." - Fraser P. | Blairsville, GA

"I was in the fifth grade at Murphy Elem. 20 years later, my daughter is now going into fifth grade. When the first tower was hit my class was on the playground. I'll never forget Mrs. Eller holler get inside now! We didn't quite understand, we just wanted to play. But after the crazy scuffle of getting everyone back to class, she turned on the TV. We cried as we watched the second plane hit the tower. The devastation, people running, the smoke, the ash. I saw the people in pain, worried and crying. I was young, I didn't understand what terrorism was. But I felt it, every single bit of it. I was scared. My daddy rushed to the school to pick me up. They wouldn't let me go, we were on lock down. I'll never forget daddy telling Mrs. Eller, we don't know what's going to happen but she is my daughter and she is going with me. And with him I went. I am thankful she had us watch that TV. I am glad I saw what I did. AND I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! VERY PROUD!" - Destiny H. | Hayesville, NC

"That Tuesday morning my department at Brevard College (where I was working at the time) had gathered for a meeting. As we began to go back to our offices, one of the ladies rushed back to the group and said "The World Trade Center has been hit!" I quickly walked over to the Student Union because there were televisions there. A small group had already gathered to watch the events unfold. Students, faculty and staff came together in disbelief as we watched the second tower get hit. I can still remember the gasp that went up as the first tower collapsed! We stood there in shock as friends and strangers from various age groups and yet we felt as it it was happening to all of us. Truly unforgettable but for all of the wrong reasons." - Cheryl W. | Brevard, NC

"I was on the 15th floor of the Interstate Tower in downtown Charlotte sitting at my desk when the story broke that an airplane had flown into the WTC. Information kept coming out and everyone on the floor was in shock glued to as the second plane flew into the South Tower and later, the Pentagon. The city of Charlotte began to evacuate around me while I naively tried to occupy myself with work. The events of that day continued to materialize, and it was obvious that these were acts of terror against America. I got nervous as I looked out the window at the Bank of America Tower across the street. I looked around the floor, and I was the only one there. I went down the elevator and out to the street where I didn't pass a single soul. When I got to my parking deck, my car was the only one remaining on the floor. I drove from downtown, and I don't remember passing another car as I left. The city of Charlotte was empty. It is the most surreal memory that I have." - David B. | Cashiers, NC

"On September 11, 2001, I was here at the bank working in the Loan department. Back in those days, we had to work our own paid off loans in the branch, so that was what we were doing that day. I had just really gotten started when a customer came in and told us about what was happening so several of us went back to the break room and watched some of the events on the TV. As we watched, we were horrified as the 2nd plane hit the 2nd Tower. It seemed like a dream. The rest of that day and the days that followed, were so heartbreaking and unbelievable. Still to this day, my heart breaks for the victims of the attack and their families and what they went through, the emergency personnel whose lives were forever changed or lost trying to help the victims and the grief that engrossed our country. We had been attacked on our soil and that day, I knew our country was forever changed. I still remember those that died that day each year with much sadness." - Phyllis B. | Hayesville, NC

"I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was in Lyerly Elementary School sitting in my 6th grade reading class. Our teacher stopped teaching and turned on the TV just as the second plane was hitting the second tower. I remember feeling scared and confused not really sure what was happening. They let school out early that day and parents flocked to pick their kids up in fear as to what was going to happen next. I remember that day being filled with fear and panic but we all found comfort in prayer and coming together as a united front." - Kerri C. | Trion, GA

"I was visiting my daughter for lunch at Trion Elementary on that fateful day. I remember the teachers trying to shield our kids from the horrors which were unfolding in real time, while desperately wanting information themselves. Those educators put aside their own fears and uneasiness to comfort our kids. In a small way, they were our own hometown heroes." - Joanna M. | Trion, GA

"My family was on vacation in Jackson Hole, WY with our 3 year old daughter. Of course, like the nation and world, we were in shock and devastated. We were scheduled to fly home the next day from Bozeman, MT. All flights were cancelled and we were miles from home, heartbroken and stranded. My husband decided we needed to rent a car and drive home since we did not know how long flights would be grounded. The Lord provided us the opportunity to rent the last vehicle at the Bozeman airport that could leave Bozeman and be dropped off at the Atlanta airport. During the long journey home, we listened to the news and tried to stay up to date on the latest events while entertaining a 3 year old and trying to help her understand our concern and anxiety. After several long days on the road, we arrived safely home and were so thankful to God to be back with our family and friends in Blairsville, GA. 9/11/2001 is a day we will never forget." - Sharon P. 

"I was right in at UCBI working in the Return area in the Blairsville Operation Bldg, filing checks, stuffing statements and non-post. Harold Brewer let us gather in his office (he had a TV) and watch the news. We were all able to go and out of his office the remaining of the day as we were all numb the rest of the day. You could have heard a pin drop the rest of the day as we were all just speak less. After hours was spent at home glued to the TV and listening to the horrible news." - Tammy T. | Blairsville, GA

"I was working at another bank on that Monday morning. I had just returned from a family vacation to New York City to celebrate my daughter's birthday. To think we had just visited where these attacks were taking place and to think we could have been on one of those hijacked planes was unreal. Actually, we took a family photo at the Statue of Liberty with the Twin Towers in the background to use for our Christmas card that year, needless to say we chose another photo. So many lives were changed forever in just those few moments. My daughter chose to move to NYC in 2014 and made it her home for five years. We love NYC and the beautiful sites and delicious food. God Bless the first responders and health care workers who continue to take care of so many people who live and work in the city that never sleeps!" - Angie H. | Commerce, GA

"It was my first day at UCB. The Human Resources employee, Sharon Vespasian was going over my insurance and 401K when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. At the time we had a radio playing and someone had turned up the volume when the news came on. We sat there listening and trying to figure out what was happening, forgetting about everything else. We then went downstairs to where we had a TV and watched the second plane hit, then the buildings collapsed. Everyone in the bank was standing around the TV watching the news for the rest of the day. Employees and customers were crying, some were just speechless and scared. It will always be a day that will never be forgotten." - Shirly P. | Murphy, NC

"My 9/11/2001 started the evening before to be honest. I was doing work on my car and decided to do my best Ken Berry (a dancer and actor) imitation and fall in a twisted fashion. My ankle exploded and I knew trouble was ahead. I was an IT Manager at the time and told my Boss w2hat happened and would need to get it looked at the next morning the 11th. That Tuesday was a beautiful crystal-clear day in the NJ/NYC area and started early as I had the X-ray very early in the morning, just sprained it badly not broken and was able to function. I had taken the day off and was nursing the ankle and said Hey good time for a haircut. I drove to Paramus NJ where I went about 8 or so and was in the chair when the first reports and I quote A small plane appears to have crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers a few minutes ago. I always thought that was a distinct possibility with 3 Major and 2 smaller Airports in the NYC area of course. Looking back as we all know a 767 at 600 or so feet going 600 MPH is not a small place and would be extremely noticeable flying that low in Lower Manhattan. Well needless to say everything broke loose at that point and the crash into the other tower, Defense Dept. and the downed place in Shanksville PA that morning. I have been involved in EMS, Emergency Management and Amateur Radio for well over 40 years. Everyone knows everyone locally in that community and I as well as my Friends, Paul and Steve were wondering where Lt. Bob of the PAPD was at that moment. We knew he was in the area most likely and was deeply concerned of course. At that point driving home on rt 80 east in Hackensack you can clearly see the NYC Skyline and all the smoke coming from the WTC area. I was listening to NYC all-news radio 1010 WINS the entire time. As long as I live my heart stopped hearing Judy De Angelis stated the South Tower has collapsed followed soon by the North Tower. I was in shock and tears. No one had heard from Bob, his wife, his family nobody, not sure what was going one Cell service spotty at best. After days and weeks, we all knew it was a matter of time at that point. They found Bob in the rubble of the North Tower in February of 02. He and Capt. Kathy were almost to the exit helping a woman in a wheelchair to get out. Bob was a Police LT, a EMT and later a Paramedic working PT for Hackensack Hospital as it was called then. We all lost a brave, dedicated man not only to his Family, but his Job and dedication to helping those in need. That was my Friend, he is missed, and I pray at peace. This is a hard week for so many, seeing people having to make the choice to burn or jump from 100 stores up I can’t imagine, or all the thousands of people lost in the Towers, the 343 Fireman and EMS and PD personal lost that day. It has been 20 years but sometimes feels like 20 days. We can never forget." - Troy B. | Greenville, SC

"I was at the AFLAC Cancer Center in Atlanta, GA with my 15 year old son who was being treated for Osteosarcoma. Our normal morning routine at the hospital had already started with blood tests, meds and doctor's rounds as we were passing the time watching the morning news. As the regular news was interrupted by the live devastating news of what was unfolding at the first tower of the World Trade Center, our hospital room began filling up with doctors and nurses who were busy making rounds and wanted to see what was happening; for the next hour and a half or so as the world was standing still in disbelief, so were we. Sitting in utter shock and silence at what we were witnessing on live newsfeed; the unfolding terror impacting our nation, and the uncertainty of what could be coming next. A mother, a son, and multiple doctors and nurses who came from all over the world to work at this cancer center, sat together as one, grieving for our country, for the lives that were lost and the families that were left behind. The power of that unity in that moment for us, gave the greatest hope that as a nation we could overcome any obstacle we face." - Jeanie R. | Blairsville, GA

"I was working for Trusco Capital Management in Atlanta, Georgia located on the 13th floor of the Hurt Building. We heard about the attack through our Bloomberg terminals. Our office was located about a 1/2 mile from the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta and there was concern that it too could be a target. We had a TV on the floor and watched in horror as the the South and North towers collapsed. I was supposed to be in NYC the following week to meet with our representatives at Cantor Fitzgerald. These two gentleman did not survive the attack." - Casey B. | Mount Pleasant, SC

"I was in an office tower In Orlando when the planes hit and the entire floor huddled around a tv watching. I was particularly shook because my best friend from High school Joe Morstatt, was a fireman in lower Manhattan and his firehouse was on scene at the time of the collapse. Joe was not on duty but he rushed into the city and spent the next 3 month on the pile. Joe later contracted pancreatic cancer from his exposure to the chemicals while working on the pile and was given service related retirement. IN retirement he ran for and became the fire chief for the Orange county firs department in Middletown New York Joe finally succumbed to the cancer and was given a full service funeral by the New York city Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Departments taking place along with numerous other volunteer organizations to which he belonged. it was quite a scene and a fitting tribute. every year on 9/11 I reminded of the service to others that we should strive for." - Rory M. | Greenville, SC

"My oldest daughter had been planning a trip for a year - to fly, unaccompanied, to Zurich, Switzerland from Pittsburgh, PA - to meet her grandparents there for a celebration of her 16th birthday with extended family. On that September 11, we were on our way to Pittsburgh International Airport to take her to the International concourse early to familiarize her. As we drove the final stretch to the airport, we heard on the radio: AA 77 struck the Pentagon. From there, we continued instead to the home of close friends who lived near the airport. As we headed there, we heard about a jet (UA 93) heading close to Pittsburgh, then eventually going down very close to us, in Shanksville, PA. We watched on TV from their home the rest of the day's horrific events. We were a homeschool family, so our memories of that day are of being all together, watching the world change. And so many tears." - Trish H.

"On 9/11/2001, I was a junior in college at Gardner-Webb University. We had chapel at 9:25 on Tuesday mornings. I had an 8:00 class before chapel, so had not heard any news, but I remember hearing the announcement in chapel that a plane had hit the WTC. It sounded like a horrible accident to me. I went to my next class not realizing the magnitude of the situation because my chemistry teacher continued on, business as usual. By noon, I had learned about the other planes and that it was no accident. My next class was cancelled, so I headed to the student center for lunch. I will never forget walking into the usually bustling student center and it being so quiet you could hear a pin drop., except for one little TV blaring the day's tragedies and so many students being huddled around it. That's what I'll never forget about that day." - Jennifer F.

"I worked at a brokerage firm in Florida, and while driving to a conference, heard that a plane had hit the Twin Towers. I detoured to my office to see whether I needed to come in. Although I was still able to attend the conference, it was eerily quiet: since there were no flights, the key speaker and many vendors were not able to attend. Booths in the product area had boxes of product but no people. Activities were subdued as everyone was still absorbing what had happened. As part of my job, I interacted regularly with other brokerage firms, some of which were located in the Towers. I never heard from some of my contacts again, and I know that people were lost that worked at those firms. I am sure some of them were victims, and still take a moment every 9/11 to think of them." - Pam S. | Waynesville, NC

"I was home watching Good Morning America. When Robin Roberts announced the first tower had been struck, I woke my husband to tell him that something bad was going on in New York City. Was it an explosion from a possible bombing? When an airplane was observed hitting the second tower, it was very possible that America was under a terrorist attack. The first tower was struck by an American Airlines plane and was a flight out of Boston. I called my mom to ask "Where is my sister?", because she was a flight attendant for American Airlines and was based out of Boston. "She's right here", was my moms' reply. Even though Boston is a big city, the hub for American Airlines is considered small. My sister knew the entire crew except the co-pilot of the plane that struck the first tower. Thank the good Lord my sister was at my parents home in Hendersonville, and not working that fateful day." - Karen Y. | Hendersonville, NC 

"I was at work on 9/11 and I can remember the devastation not only the lost lives in the buildings but the lost lives of the fireman and policeman trying to save the victims. I myself lost 5 family members in one night, my sister, 3 of her children the youngest being 10 months old and her husband. I can remember the tears of the fireman during this time and I appreciated all their efforts to save their lives." - Gina B. | Brevard, NC

"I remember the day very well! I had a dental appointment that morning. As i arrived I was asked to have a seat in the waiting area. I was watching the TV and there was a news flash that came across the screen. I did not get to see what it said as i was called to go back to see my dentist. I had just been seated and heard a scream from the receptionist...."oh no......oh no....a plane has crashed into one of the Twin Towers". I jumped up from my chair along with everyone else and hurried to watch! There was a second plane now that crashed into the second Tower! Everyone watched in shock and disbelief! I rescheduled the appointment and hurried back to work to find out about the other two planes that had crashed; one to the Pentagon and the other in Pennsylvania. As the day went on the scenes shown on TV were horrifying as I watched as people were trying to escape and as the firefighters were frantically trying their recues. I remember in the days to follow how America stood strong and people came together reaching out to one another .......praying for the families of those who lost loved ones and for our brave "First Responders!!" - Sandy W. | Etowah

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