Every year on this day, the world takes the time to mourn, remember, and honor the thousands who lost their lives 17 years ago. As countless ceremonies unfolded in the nation’s capital, New York and Pennsylvania., the Yellow City also paid homage.
“For me, I was a senior in college in Dallas when my brother called and said we were under attack, I couldn’t comprehend what was going on,” said William Ware of Amarillo National Bank.
“We all thought that it was just an accident,” said Don Gaddis, an attendee.
The world stood still as we watched towers and lives come tumbling down on our tv screens and for some, right in front of their eyes.
“Oh yeah, I can’t forget. The smell there, you know there’s so many things going on, so many dynamics, I mean the sight the smell, you know the looks on people’s faces. You know there was just so much going on, it was just overwhelming,” said Lonnie Hollabaugh, Amarillo Fire Department Pipes & Drums President.
For some like Hollabaugh— who was one of 22 firefighters from Amarillo who handed out food at Ground Zero and helped the New York firefighters dealing with the aftermath of the attack—that day triggers a mixed bag of painful, chaotic, and fearful memories.
“Terrified, shocked,” said Jamie Allen, an attendee.
“Well just basically disbelief that something like that could be happening to us and of course anger and frustration also,” said Gaddis.
But among those negative feelings which bubbled inside, both say they also felt a sense of patriotism.
“President Bush even encourages us to not let this day stand as a scar in the heart. But to remind us that this day is a day of freedom and that freedom is precious and needs to be protected,” said Ware.
The Amarillo Fire Department along with other local first responders came together to remember and honor the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks at the world trade center, Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and the Pentagon.
The 9/11 attacks claimed the lives of more than 300 New York firefighters, 37 police officers of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department and 23 NYPD officers.