CHS Faculty Share Their Memories of 9/11

It has been nineteen years since nineteen men hijacked four planes, using two to destroy the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, crashing another into the Pentagon and yet another into a field in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania.

More than 3,000 people, including firefighters, were killed in the attack, and the news came as a complete shock. Aside from New York alone, the tragic event took a toll on people from all over the world. In remembrance, The Courier spoke to current CHS teachers and staff to hear their memories from that day.

Craig Moore- History Teacher

Q: What was your initial reaction when you first found out about the 9/11 attack?

A: At first I thought it was an accident so I wasn’t too scared, but then once I realized that it was terrorism… I had [two military bases] near Camarillo and I was pretty scared because I thought those could be strategic places to get attacked, almost like Pearl Harbor. 

Q: How did the event affect you for the rest of that day or week? 

A: It was anything and everything that people talked about. I feel like the world kind of stopped at that point. 

Q: As a student at the time, how was school life affected? 

A: My friends told me that everybody in every single class was either listening to it on the radio or watching it on TV, if they had a TV in their class, so it was just news all day. 

Michelle Hayashida- English Teacher

Q: What was your initial reaction when you first found out about the 9/11 attack?

A: My initial reaction when I first saw it was that something happened to the pilots [and that] this was a total error. I never dreamt it was a terrorist attack and then once I heard the talking and the people saying what was going on, I just couldn’t believe it. We just haven’t been attacked on American soil that frequently throughout history. 

Q: Did the event personally affect you that day? 

A: I was really thankful that the one person I know who worked in the World Trade Center had survived because it was so devastating and to realize that the people were trapped… 

The other piece in the footage that they showed that really had a huge impact on me was [footage of] the people who jumped from the building and realized that they were in such pain and despair feeling trapped that they felt it was better to jump multi-floors up from a building that size. That was heart-wrenching to think about where they viewed their life as being.

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to add? 

A: When we think about 9/11, I know that we always go directly to the World Trade Center, [but] I also feel like the passengers who circumvented the plane from hitting [Washington] D.C…. there were so many heroes that risked their lives, there’s so many of the first responders who risked their lives. I do also think that in addition to the time for mourning, it’s also a time to recognize those who sacrificed either their health, physical well-being, psychological well-being or their lives for the benefit of our country.

Sara Exner- Principal

Q: What was your initial reaction when you first found out about the 9/11 attack?

A: I would say shock. I think that’s true for everybody. I don’t think I really realized what that meant at the time because I’d never seen or experienced something like that. 

Q: How did this affect you either that day or for that week?

A: I was still young. I would say that it affected my family more. My aunt worked in New York and a lot of her friends worked in the World Trade Center. We were on the phone a lot with family. It had taken my uncle many hours to get home from the city that day.  

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

A: I think that what I realized is that it changed travel for everyone for forever. Before that, you could walk up to the gate, say goodbye to your relatives, and it just made traveling harder when it was something that we were so fortunate to be able to do. I think I didn’t realize [the impact] until I, myself, traveled abroad and I was in London a few years later when there was an attack. I studied in London, and flying home I couldn’t have anything on the plane except for a clear, plastic bag.