News From Terre Haute, Indiana

9/11: 10th Anniversary Coverage

September 1, 2011

Readers share their 9/11 memories

TERRE HAUTE — The Tribune-Star and recently asked readers to recall the memory of where they were at the moment they learned of the 9/11 attacks. Here is our first batch of responses:

Send your memories to or click here for a form in which to write and send your message.


On 9/11/2001, it was my 21st birthday. My husband and I were camping at Prairie Creek Park. We will never forget the tragedy and the deaths that day. Every year on 9/11 I will never forget. It is now a part of my memory that will never be forgotten.

Kimmie Dycus

Terre Haute


I was enjoying the day off and was shocked to see one of the towers burning on the television. I called a close friend and we both watched in amazement as the plane flew into the second tower. As the news report went crazy about other attacks, the shock set in. We are being attacked on our own soil. Words can’t express the feelings that fell over me as I realized what was at that moment a reality. God bless us all, and the fallen.

Mr. Chapman

Terre Haute


The early morning of 09/11 began rather traumatic for me right from the start.  My dad had been diagnosed with bladder cancer, and he and I drove over to the VA Hospital in Indianapolis for him to undergo a surgical biopsy procedure.

We had just gotten into the hospital and went to the cafeteria so I could get a cup of coffee, when the first televised report had come across that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers. The pictures were so devastating. I immediately had tears come to my eyes.  As the time went by my dad was taken into surgery and then it came across that the second plane had hit the other second Twin Tower, and then the Pentagon and that a plane had crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

By this time, since we were in a government facility, we were immediately put under lockdown. No one was allowed in or out of the facility except through the emergency room and we were told they were bringing in the National Guard for security.

This was very upsetting, not only was my father sick, our country was under attack and I was under lockdown. My sister had flown to Texas for a conference and I was not sure when/if she would make it back, and I felt all alone, but I knew I had to be strong for my dad.

In the days to follow I was so proud to be an AMERICAN and of the way our country pulled together in a time of great tragedy.

I am also happy to say my sister made it home, she had to rent a car and drive back, but at least we were back together with our dad.

Kim Alabaugh


I was a junior in high school in a N.Y. boarding school. I remember being in one of the activity rooms where Comedy Central was on. I saw the footage of the first tower on fire and we all laughed thinking it was a joke, being that Comedy Central was in the bottom of the TV screen. I walked back to my dorm to find my old roommate sitting in the hallway crying. When I asked him what was wrong, he told me his mom was in the World Trade Center. I ran to my dorm parents’ apartment just in time to see the second plane crash into the second tower. Cell service was nonexistent and land lines were jammed and busy. In all the panic, someone said the Sears Tower had been hit, sending me into a panic since my dad worked there and with no phone service I couldn’t call my parents. That’s one day I will always remember crystal clear.

Kipp Hoffman


I’d just returned home from taking my daughter to school. She was in fifth grade. I turned on the TV to the Today Show and I saw Katie Couric talking and showing the plane at WTC. She thought it was an accident and I thought so too. So I turned the channel to watch “All in the Family,” and when that show was over, I turned back to the Today Show and there was a second plane. A few minutes later they came on with another plane crash and then another. I was scared at this point. I thought these people are everywhere! But nowhere to be found. I started crying, I felt like this was the end for us. A red scrolling bar started at the bottom of the screen and places like federal buildings and schools in our capital city were on lockdown or were letting out. I sat glued to the TV all day watching the news. By 1 p.m., the school called and told me to come get my daughter because she was ill. I went to pick her up, but before I did, our newspaper put out a second copy of the daily paper and I went to pick one up. (A second copy of the paper was not typical for our local newspaper.)

My daughter said that they watched the WTC crash all day. She saw people jumping out of buildings and people running and crying, the buzzing from the lost firefighters. It all made her sick. We sat glued to the TV for the next few days. We started hearing “God Bless The USA” by Lee Greenwood, and lots of interviews. Oh, it was so horrible, I immediately thought of Pearl Harbor when those attacks came. I have never been so scared. I went to my knees. This is the day that the world really changed for me. Things have never been the same since. I am more aware of my surroundings and I go out less frequently.

Cynthia Clarke


I was an OTR driver on my way to a delivery in North Carolina. That previous evening I had driven until around 1 a.m. and was still sleeping when my wife called me about 9 a.m. and asked me if I was watching TV. She then told me and I went inside and watched the news reports.

All that day I tried to keep up on what was going on while at the same time reassuring my family members that I was NOT in New York and was safe.

That next day I went through Norfolk, Virginia, with my next load and saw all of the military people getting to the naval base. The radio station I was listening to kept playing Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” and raised everyone’s spirits.

The attacks terrified my two youngest daughters and my wife was left at home trying to reassure them. I can remember my sister being afraid to even go to the airport. I more or less raised her spirits when I told her I refused to be afraid of the terrorists and would NOT let them dictate to me how to live.

David Smith

Lawrenceville, Ill.


I was a senior at Terre Haute South. I was sitting in my journalism class that morning studying for a test I had later that day. Most students were in the middle of taking the ISTEP tests and because of that the class schedule was changed around.

Our teacher had on the Today Show that morning, as she sometimes did. She would ask us to pick a news story and re-write it for Terre Haute or write about something that happened in Terre Haute for a national scale.

Katie Couric said they thought there may have been an explosion possibly by a bomb in the building but at first did not know what caused the explosion. We saw the video live as the second plane flew into the second tower. I had no idea what was really going on.

Our teacher told one of the students to run to the main office and tell the principal. Shortly after that an announcement was made saying school was put on lockdown and that more would be said after ISTEPs were over for the day.

We watched the news all morning watching video from all of the crash sites and President Bush’s address to the country. I’ll never forget that morning, being in a journalism class and now being a journalist, it was the first “news item” that showed me that it was OK for a journalist to be affected by the story. Because once they saw the second plane, Matt’s voice was shaky and he was obviously shaken up by the situation.

Later that year, Mr. Mann, the economics, government and history teacher, announced he wanted to take his class on a trip to San Antonio to visit the Alamo. Most parents were against the idea because they didn’t want us to be on a plane. Mr. Mann told the parents “Don’t let the terrorists win. Don’t let your kids grow up in fear of flying or of being in a public place for fear of a terrorist act. If you do that, they have won. Help me show these kids not to be afraid.” And I, along with several of my friends who were in Mr. Mann’s class, went to the Alamo and to LBJ’s ranch house.

During our graduation the video from that day was played. Saying we were the first class to graduate after the country had changed … and had come together.

Rebecca Pullen-Bennett, THS class of 2002

Current resident of Indianapolis


Where was I on 9/11?

I had awaken earlier than my wife. I turned on the TV in the family room as I headed to the kitchen for breakfast and immediately saw the result of the first building hit. I don’t know the channel I had on, but the reporter said that the plane must have been off track. Shortly after, the second plane hit and the same announcer said something like, “There must be something wrong with the airport tracking signal.” Then came the word that it was an attack. My wife and I sat by the TV all day, mesmerized by the events as they happened and wondering what was going to happen in the future.

September 11 is my birthday. There was no celebration on this one.  

James Wood

Terre Haute


On 9/11 I was living in Southern California. I was getting ready for work and listening to the news as usual (radio). On hearing the broadcast about the first tower I yelled at my husband to wake up and I turned on the TV. Just as I sat down to watch it the second  tower was hit. I grabbed the phone and called my brother (he worked for a congresswoman) at the time. I fell on my knees ant prayed for all those in the buildings. It is one of those moment that the mind and heart will never let you forget.

Carol Hawn

Terre Haute


I came in that day early to work at Columbia House, at 7 a.m. We had been very busy on the phones at that time, due to pre-holiday sales. I worked an hour on mail, then turned on the phones, expecting a deluge of calls, but getting no calls at all. The 8 o’clock people started coming in, and each shift had more outlandish reports of what happened in N.Y. and elsewhere. I finally saw the footage for myself in the break room. I never heard the sound of such silence as the reports were coming in on the cable news channel as I did that day. I heard about the gas prices going way up, but could do nothing about it. After leaving work that evening at 7:30 p.m., I drove to Baesler’s to pick up supplies I had planned to get that day. I never saw such a rush for supplies — it was like the people getting their “bread and milk” prior to a snow storm. I finally found some gas at a “less outrageous” cost of about $1.99 a gallon at the Shell on U.S. 41 near ISU.

Afterwards, it took several weeks before we received very many calls at Columbia House. It was as if they had canceled Christmas.

Rich Hardcastle


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