Everyone remembers where they were on 9/11

Steve Lyon
Members of the generation in
front of mine remember exactly
where they were on the
day President John F. Kennedy was assasinated.
I’ll never forget Sept. 11, 2001, and
where I was on that morning when four
commercial airplanes full
of passengers were hijacked
and flown into the World
Trade Center, the Pentagon
and a field in Pennsylvania.
It was actually a beautiful
day in Fallon, Nev. The sun
was out and there wasn’t a
cloud in the sky. I’ve told my
story of 9-11 a few times in
the past 18 years.
My first inkling that something
was up came early that
morning. My editor at the
Lahontan Valley News and
Fallon Eagle Standard left
10 excited messages on my voicemail.
Everyone was crowded around the
TV in the editor’s office. We watched
as smoke billowed from one of the Twin
Towers. The second plane hadn’t hit and
the on-air news announcers hadn’t made
a connection yet to hijackers and deliberate
acts of terror.
On live TV the second plane hit the
second tower. There were audible gasps
as co-workers tried to comprehend what
they just saw and would see replayed a
hundred times that day.
My God, there were people on that
plane that just turned into a ball of
flames. There were people in that building
sitting at their desks.
People jumped from windows
to their death.
If you were in the news
business on that day, you
had 20 directions to go to
nail down a story.
We wanted to localize the
terrible events of that day
and we had a source in the
nearby Naval Air Station
Fallon, home of the Top Gun
fighter program.
The base completely shut
down and buttoned up behind
guarded fences. Nobody
was allowed in or out. Nobody
knew if the terror attacks were over or
just starting.
There were crazy rumors circulating.
One that I recall was way out there. A
bunch of uniforms from a delivery company
had reportedly been stolen and terrorists
might impersonate them.
We published a front page with the
national story of the 9-11 attacks with a
huge headline and our local sidebar.
It was a long and exhausting day.
There was a lot of mental energy expended
in sorting out the fact from fiction
in the day’s activities.
That night, I specifically remember
looking up at the stars. Not a blinking
airplane light to be seen anywhere in the
night sky. All flights had been grounded
on 9-11. It was both an eerie and serene
We soon got the Patriot Act and the
TSA to screen airport passengers. We
heard the term al-Qaeda for the first
time. We learned that fanatics are willing
to give their own lives to kill others
for an inscrutable jihadist cause.
We got a forever war in Afghanistan
that started right after 9-11. It sounds
like President Trump is ready to pull out
and leave it to the Taliban and their draconian
rule of law. They weren’t going
anyplace anyway.
Everything changed on 9-11. Terrorists
from foreign countries killed thousands
of innocent Americans in a premeditated
and planned attack. We lost a
sense of innocence on that day.
Steve Lyon is the editor of the Weiser
Signal American. Contact him at


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