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Where Were You on 9/11?

Many of us remember where we were when terrorist attacks took place at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and in the air on September 11, 2001. Where were you?

79-year-old James Higdon spends his retirement years as the Historian for the Andy Anderson American Legion Post 125 and President of Chapter One of the New York Transit Retirees of Florida. He and his wife retired in St. Petersburg in 1990, but before then, both worked for several decades in New York.

On September 11, 2001, Higdon and his wife watched the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on the news.

“It must be terrorists,” he told his wife. “Before I could get my entire sentence out, the second plane hit,” Higdon said.

But, they weren’t watching history unfold in their living room in Florida, they were in New York, visiting family.

Higdon’s shock turned to concern when calls weren’t going through to his family. His grand daughter Rochelle Hathorne worked just one block away from the World Trade Center.

“When she got home, she was covered in soot.” He said she walked home; the city was in gridlock.

“She said she saw people jump and she saw limbs all around the building.”

“It was a sad occasion, that day,” he said.

Higdon and his family lost friends that day.

Despite the tragic events, Higdon says the patriotism across the country has grown and continues to grow as the Freedom Tower is constructed.

Editor's Note: Higdon originally shared his personal story with Gulfport Patch in the article,

Jeri Reed September 11, 2012 at 10:57 AM
I was at work as a Director of Nursing in a nursing home. One of my employees was now one of my patients as they had suffered a stroke. The news was on in the patient's room. The patient spent the next several hours worried and concerned about their 2 children that worked in the towers. Fortunately, the children were okay. God Bless America!
Lori Rosso September 11, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I was in Washington, D.C. less then a mile from the White House. I was the last one to leave work as I lived only blocks away. I remember walking towards my home as everyone was exiting the city. Not a day I will ever forget.
Jennifer September 11, 2012 at 02:10 PM
I was in New York, getting ready for work. I did NOT think it was terrorists when the first plane hit. I remember calling out to my roommate "Look at this, some idiot just flew into the World Trade Center!" thinking it was a small plane. That day was strange, but it was the day that followed, when we all thought everything was about to explode around us (cars, other landmarks), that was truly terrifying. I lived in New York until 2006, and it took about that long to shed the feeling of living in a war zone.
Cherlene Willis September 11, 2012 at 02:33 PM
At just 17 years old, I didn’t fully understand the terrorist attacks that happened on 9/11/2001. But the events that unfolded that day impacted my life more than I ever would have imagined. Some years later, I covered my first of unfortunately, many soldier’s funerals and memorial services as a journalist. But, my first service hit me the hardest and left an imprint of what sacrifice really means in America. Staff Sgt. Daniel Cuka with the Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 147th Field Artillery Unit in Yankton, South Dakota, died on December 4, 2005. Cuka was killed by a roadside bomb . . . he was 27 years old. I am 28 years old. I feel a tremendous sadness and feeling of sorrow for his family, friends and his then 2-year-old son. I was the photographer shooting video outside in the snow and at the graveside service. Through the viewfinder I saw the Honor Guard fold the American Flag and present it to his widow. There are moments that we all remember, that change us . . . that was my moment.
Cherlene Willis September 11, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Thank you to all those who served and continue to serve today! - Cherlene
Lynda September 11, 2012 at 03:10 PM
My family was visiting Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. My mother, my aunt and I were touring the Island's art galleries . As we returned to our lodgings, I remember all the Canadians we met expressing their horror at what was happening and their sympathy to us as US citizens. Although we extended our stay, we were still unable to fly the several hundred miles home. As we entered the United States, I remember so many of the highway bridges had flags and signs draped over them through all the states we traveled. Our country seemed so united then. Indeed, until President Bush II invaded Iraq, it seemed the whole world sympathized with the United States. People in countries that had experienced the worst of wars with millions of citizens dead took time to express condolences to the United States for the deaths of our citizens. Most of all I remember an elderly Canadian pumping gas for me who said with sadness. "The world will never be the same." And it wasn't.

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