Photo Gallery | FOX6 News anchor recalls covering the aftermath of 9/11
I was 26-years-old when planes took down the World Trade Center Towers in Manhattan, working as a reporter at WFTX in Fort Myers, Florida. My station decided to send me to New York to cover the aftermath several weeks after the event.
I flew into the city, along with one of our station's photojournalists, and we went down to Ground Zero and gathered interviews and footage for two days. I remember seeing people openly weeping, praying and hugging. There were memorials everywhere. Any inch of unused space seemed to be covered in pictures, messages and American flags.
I remember the solemn quiet near those memorials and how shocking it felt to look at the smiling faces of the victims in those pictures. The victims represented all walks of life and so did the crowds of people who made that journey to Ground Zero to see it for themselves. I remember the horrible smell at the sight, like nothing I had ever experienced and have not since, thank God.
I interviewed countless people including New York residents, responders, volunteers, merchants and business people. They told me different things, but they all shared a common bond of pain and raw shock. Even close to five weeks after it happened, people wandered wide-eyed through the streets, wondering aloud how this could happen.
The interview that I remember the most was with a family that lived just outside the city in New Jersey. A young mother of three was grieving the loss of her husband. He worked for Cantor Fitzgerland on one of the top floors of the first tower hit. He was handsome and successful and she talked about what a wonderful father he was and how he did not deserve to die.
She also said he would want her to be strong for their children and I was amazed at her composure. Her children didn't want to say anything about what they'd been through, but they watched the interview with hollow eyes and sad faces. The youngest child was three-years-old and covered his ears with his chubby hands when his mother talked about the planes hitting his daddy's office.
It was one of the most difficult interviews I've ever done but something she said has stayed with me over the years. She told me that her husband truly lived his life with no regrets and that was the legacy he passed on to his children. I think about this family every year on 9/11 and say a prayer for them.
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