Voices of 9/11. Old friends and guests return, and remember.
9/11 and its aftermath were epic traumas. They were also intensely personal. From the first days after the attacks, we’ve been talking with people whose personal lives and loved ones were hit by that day of terror.
People with searing, direct experience of the attacks and their toll. A reporter, right there on that day. A banker from the 104th floor of the South Tower. A widow of one of the pilots whose plane hit the World Trade Center. Mothers going forward without fathers.
This hour On Point: we bring them back. On the 10th anniversary. Voices of 9/11, and what they say now.
Beth Fertig, senior reporter WNYC, her essay “Listening Back” appears in the collection “At Ground Zero: Young Reporters Who Were There Tell Their Stories.”
Cindy McGinty, her husband Mike, then 42 years old, was on the 99th floor of Tower One when the first plane struck the Twin Towers.
Jimmy Dunne, a senior managing principal at Sandler O’Neill, an investment bank. On Sept 11th, its primary offices were on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
Peg Ogonowski Hatch, her husband Captain John Ogonowski was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to hit the towers.
The 9/11 attacks are remembered in countless ways from those who want to relive those tragic moments in detail, to those who just want to move on. We spoke with several witnesses, victims and others affected by the attacks and shared in their remembrances.
“I always feel a little bit uncomfortable this time of year,” said WNYC senior reporter Beth Fertig. “I feel very overwhelmed by the amount of attention that the event gets, and its especially so now. It is everywhere, it is just pervasive.”
That’s difficult, she says, especially since she’s tried to put the past behind her. “I’ve moved on with my life, which a lot of people do in different ways. And just note it every year as an amazing and horrible thing that happened in the city…The city has moved on and we generally don’t think about it much except at this time of year.”
Cindy McGinty, whose husband Mike was on the 99th floor of Tower One when the first plane struck the Twin Towers, is also moving on. But the process has been long and difficult. “I would say it is more moving forward in a really deliberate way,” she said. “Some things that have happened over the past few years have made that possible. I think I’ve reframed what has happened to us.”
“I’m always willing to talk about it,” said Peg Ogonowski Hatch, whose husband Captain John Ogonowski was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to hit the towers. “It’s not something that I’ll bring up on my own. But if someone does want to talk about it, I’m willing. I think that it is something that needs to be remembered. I’m willing to go there, when it’s necessary.”
Caller Angelique I was there that day on the 77th floor. I was there for a sales meeting, so my story is different from many of the others on your panel.
Tom Ashbrook Which tower were you in, Angelique?
Angelique Well, strangely enough when I arrived that day, they required you to get a name tag, a photo ID and so I went up the North Tower. And I realized that I was in the wrong place. I went down and went up the South Tower. I was there for probably 15 minutes when my manager came in and said that there had been an explosion nextdoor and that everyone had to get out. We followed him out.
Ashbrook Did you walk down 77 flights? Was that your way out?
Angelique That was our way out, yes… We did feel the impact of the second plane hitting our building that day…As a survivor that wasn’t injured, I didn’t lose a family member. It’s very challenging this time of year. It is hard to hear ‘just get over it.’ I don’t know what and I don’t know how to tell [my son].
Asbrook He doesn’t know that you were there?
Angelique No. I’d really like to tell him this year.
From Tom's Reading List
Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma "The press release arrived in my email one day in early August. It was from the Fire Department of New York, announcing that—in compliance with a lawsuit brought by the New York Times—the department would be releasing the recordings of its dispatch tapes from September 11, 2001. I read the instructions and felt a tight grip in my stomach. "Not again," I thought."
WNYC Senior Radio Reporter Beth Fertig Remembers 9/11
WNYC’s Special Coverage “Decade 9/11”
This program aired on September 7, 2011.