20 years later, residents still remember what happened

Photo Courtesy: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Throughout the week, Tallahassee residents expressed their memories of the terrorist attack against the United States of America on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, as we approach the 20 year anniversary of the event.

On that day, a total of 2996 people died in the single most deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. It is currently 2021 and some people are still fearful of a second attack.

Trenton Lazenby, an English student at Florida A&M University, says that even though he was extremely young, he still remembers the impact it had on him and others in the U.S.

“It had no effect on me back then because I was only a baby, but to this day it makes me paranoid to get on a plane,” Lazenby said.

On Sept. 11, the militant Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda launched a series of coordinated attacks using four hijacked airplanes targeting the United States. Two of the planes crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The third plane was flown into the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C. Then, the fourth and last plane was aiming for the White House but passengers intervened and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

This ripple effect of attacks triggered major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and get into defense mode. The impact left many military officials nervous about what was to come next.

“The naval base I worked at in Hawaii was a joint command and that area was a hot spot for things like that to happen, especially after the attack on Pearl Harbor,” said Mark McCoy Sr., a former enlisted Petty Officer First Class (E-6).

Many civilians were in shock as they watched the events take place. It is said that teachers stopped lesson plans to watch the news with students on their old-fashioned televisions that were strapped to mobile rolling carts. One student remembers repeatedly watching the planes crash into the Twin Towers while a wave of fear silenced the classroom. Another student remembers nothing but the words of others.

“My teacher explained the things they were doing when 9/11 was happening and how many were sent home from school and work because they didn’t know what was going on,” said Kaylah Elliott, a broadcast journalism student at FAMU. “I was able to visit New York and actually go to the memorial. It was all so much more personal seeing all of the victims names and taking a moment of silence in memory of them.”

Due to the pandemic, commemorations in Tallahassee are limited but residents continue to share feelings of the impactful events that occurred on 9/11, via social media using the hashtag #NeverForget911.