Students from the North share 9/11 experiences

As the ten-year anniversary of 9/11 approaches, TCU students from the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut reflect on how they were affected.

Sarah Crutchfield, a senior interior design major, experienced 9/11 while at her school in Long Valley, NJ, about 25 miles from ground zero.

Crutchfield was in sixth grade at the time, and said she remembers teachers gathering around televisions but not telling the students what was happening. Later on that day, the school announced that planes had hit the World Trade Center.

Crutchfield said it was scary not knowing what was going on, and there was a lot of confusion.

“At eleven, you don’t really process those things too well,” Crutchfield said.

Crutchfield said many of her classmates were called to the front office throughout the morning to hear news about their families.

A lot of children whose parents worked in New York City were inconsolable, Crutchfield said.

Crutchfield’s parents did not work near the World Trade Center, she said, but her mother was flying on the morning of 9/11 on a plane that landed at Newark Liberty International Airport 15 minutes before the first plane hit the towers. She was concerned because the airport was less than 10 miles from the World Trade Center, and she and her classmates did not know where the planes that hit the towers had come from.

Crutchfield said she was worried about her mother, but she had a peace about it.

“For some reason I just knew that it wasn’t her plane,” Crutchfield said.

Later that day, Crutchfield said she and her brother were called to the front office of their school. It was their mother on the phone telling them she was okay.

Peter Wey, sophomore international economics major, was also close to New York City on the day of the attacks. He lived in Ridgewood, NJ, about 12 miles from ground zero.

Wey said he was in fourth grade at the time, and he first learned about the attacks after his father picked him up from school. His school had not yet informed the students about the attacks.

His father, who worked on Wall Street in downtown New York City, took the last ferry out of Manhattan before everything was shut down, Wey said.

Wey said he could see the New York City skyline from his house.

“I distinctly remember looking out of my window and seeing in the distance a large amount of smoke and dust coming out of the towers,” Wey said.

Crutchfield and Wey both said their lives were affected by the 9/11 attacks, even though they did not personally lose family members that day.

For a while after 9/11, Wey was paranoid about the threat of terrorism in the United States, he said, but now that ten years have passed, he is much less worried.

Crutchfield said her family was not able to go into the city often after 9/11 because of the cleanup and problems with the subway system in the aftermath of the attacks.

There was a lot of fear after that day, Crutchfield said.

Crutchfield said after ten years, she still found herself getting emotional while talking with her mother about their experience on 9/11.