9-11 Anniversary

The names of each of the nearly 3,000 victims of the Sept. 11 attacks were read at a ceremony at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza, at the World Trade Center site in New York City. This marks the 15th anniversary of the attacks.

Family members came forward to name and honor their relatives who died at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on Flight 93. The event also commemorated the victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

Before Scott Kopytko joined the New York City Fire Department, he worked as a commodities broker in the South Tower at the World Trade Center. On Sept. 11, he rushed up the stairs of his old office building, trying to save lives with his fellow firefighters before the towers fell.

"He went to work, and he never came back," says his stepfather, Russell Mercer.

Danny Nolan was the first man to swing a wrecking ball in Manhattan in 25 years. Wrecking balls hadn't been allowed on the island for a very simple reason: The buildings are much too close together to allow a huge ball to swing back and forth.

An exception was made for Nolan because he, and the other construction workers of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 14, were "working the pile" — hauling away what was left in the World Trade Center towers after the Sept. 11 attacks.

A stack of folders with the names of construction workers, police and firefighters, and volunteers rests at John Feal's feet. In his tidy home office in Nesconset, N.Y., Feal checks their spelling before he can send names to the engraver, who will put them on his memorial wall.

One of Feal's feet was crushed by 8,000 pounds of steel as he dug through the rubble of the World Trade Center. He considers himself blessed to have months in the hospital while other Sept. 11 responders inhaled toxic dust on the job.

When a man-made disaster of unfathomable scope strikes your city and its central symbol of prosperity has been leveled to ruin — and it's your job to jolt it into resurgence — where do you begin?

Only hours had passed after the planes struck New York City's twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, when then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani made a promise to rebuild: "We're not only going to rebuild, we're going to come out of this stronger than we were before."

For many of us, Sept. 11, 2001, is one of those touchstone dates — we remember exactly where we were when we heard that the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I was in Afghanistan.

I'd arrived in Kabul on Sept. 9 to cover the trial of eight foreign aid workers who had been arrested by the Taliban regime, which accused them of preaching Christianity to Afghans. Proselytizing was a death penalty crime, and two Americans were among the accused.

Dimitra Tzanos / Flickr

KPLU's Tom Paulson wondered over on our Humanosphere blog: "What has happened to our sense of ourselves as global citizens and how Sept. 11, 2001, may have altered matters of global health, foreign aid, development — basically, the global humanitarian agenda.

The short answer: It’s a mixed bag of good and bad, some clear signs of what many see as progress but also some disturbing lessons not learned."

Read more at Humanosphere.

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

On Sept. 11, 2001, and the following days, more than 30,000 people gathered at the International Fountain at Seattle Center for a flower vigil that became one of many spontaneous gatherings around the world.

 I was happy to be among them, and glad to be among a smaller but just as meaningful group 10 years later.

Below are the stories KPLU produced in remembrance of 9/11 and its impact on people in the Northwest ten years later:

NEW: Memories of loss, ten years later at International Fountain at Seattle Center

On Sept. 11, 2001, and the following days, more than 30,000 people gathered at the International Fountain at Seattle Center for a flower vigil that became one of many spontaneous gatherings around the world. KPLU News Director Erin Hennessey says she was happy to be among them then and glad to be among a smaller but just as meaningful group 10 years later.

Roundup of regional 9/11 Anniversary ceremonies, memorials

How 9/11 changed one college student's path to adulthood
In early September of 2001, Kevin Finch moved from his childhood home in Puyallup, Wash., to the dorms at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) to start his freshman year in college. His plan was to finish in 4 years with a degree in something related to health care, an idea that began to unravel on just his second day of class.
Read/listen to the rest of the story.

Solidarity and fear, the legacy of 9/11 in local Muslim community
“Right after nine-eleven there was a peak of hostility toward Muslims. It kind of went down a bit, but over the years it’s gone up again.” That’s how local Muslim-American Jeff (Jaffar) Siddiqui summarizes the decade since the Sept. 11th attacks.
Read/listen to the rest of the story.

Slade Gorton says 9/11 Commission got to the facts
On Sept. 11, 2001, former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton was at a conference in Leavenworth, Wash.  He'd gone out for an early morning run when he got word a plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York.  He drove home to Seattle over a  Steven's Pass, which had almost no traffic on it,  trying to absorb the news of the attacks.
Read/listen to the rest of the story.

Here are some of the events surrounding the remembrance of 9/11 in the Seattle/Tacoma area. Please feel free to add your own in the comments below.

Seattle:

Charla Bear / KPLU

“There was such a shift from what I thought life was going to be, to what it turned out to be. That’s where things really started for me.  It’s where I started growing up, I would say.”

In early September of 2001, Kevin Finch moved from his childhood home in Puyallup, Wash., to the dorms at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) to start his freshman year in college. His plan was to finish in 4 years with a degree in something related to health care, an idea that began to unravel on just his second day of class.

Keith Seinfeld / KPLU

“Right after nine-eleven there was a peak of hostility toward Muslims. It kind of went down a bit, but over the years it’s gone up again.”

That’s how local Muslim-American Jeff (Jaffar) Siddiqui summarizes the decade since the Sept. 11th attacks.

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. — Visitors to Joint Base Lewis-McChord now have to be sponsored by a Defense Department identification card holder to enter the base near Tacoma.

9-11 Commission

'NORAD provided us and the public with a highly erroneous history of what happened ...'

On Sept. 11, 2001, former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton was at a conference in Leavenworth, Wash.  He'd gone out for an early morning run when he got word a plane had flown into the World Trade Center in New York.  He drove home to Seattle over a  Steven's Pass, which had almost no traffic on it,  trying to absorb the news of the attacks.

Gorton was later tapped to serve on the 9/11 Commission by President George Bush.  He considers the work he did some of the most important of his life.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Reflections of a farm laborer and his son near Eltopia, Wash.:

"My name is Victor Santillan and I work for Agri-Pack, stacking hay in the trucks. I'm from Durango, Mexico and I'm proud of it too. I think people are still feeling sad about this anniversary. I feel sad for all the people that died.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

Reflections of an eastern Washington farmer harvesting alfalfa with a massive tractor:

"This is about the only piece of farm equipment that has air conditioning. (Laughs) My name is Collette McEntire and I am swathing third cutting export alfalfa hay.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Reflections of a Muslim leader in Portland:

"As-Salamu Alaykum. That's 'Peace be unto you.' I'm Imam Mikal Shabazz, the director of the Oregon Islamic Chaplains Organization.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Reflections of a north Idaho couple who had scheduled their wedding for September 15, 2001:

Dave: "My name's David Boyer."

Heather: "I am Dave's wife, Heather Boyer. Oh, you always hope on your wedding day that people are going to be happy and joyous."

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Reflections from someone who plays one of the more visible security roles in the post-9/11 Northwest:

"My name is Sgt. Kerry Kintzley. I'm a Sergeant with the Washington State Patrol. I work at the Washington State ferry system screening vehicles prior to their boarding. Sissy ... is a four-year-old Lab Vizsla mix trained to detect explosives.