Locals recall where they were on 9-11-01

Denise Ellison: In those years I listened to the news on TV while I got ready for work. The reports starting coming through. It was unbelievable but the TV was showing the pictures. I remember having a news feed on my computer at work all day and being glued to the news for many days. Shock…that is what I felt. I will never forget.


Albert Long: I was stationed onboard USS Iwo Jima on 9/11; we had just brought home our first daughter on Sept. 7 and my dad and brother were flying from Jacksonville, Fla., to Norfolk, Va., to meet her when the attacks happened. My leave was canceled and we began prepping the ship to get underway for war. My parents and brother headed home right away. This left my wife at the time at home alone with our daughter. I had very close friends who lived about 5 miles from the Pentagon and they were both home with their two kids that day.


Karyne Dunbar: I was on my way to work at the school and heard about the first airliner hitting the building. I was shocked and saddened that so many travelers would have such a horrific and strange end. By the time I got to school and was with my earliest class a second plane hit and it became apparent that something horrible was unfolding in our country. As a terrorist attack was reported, most of my class was very quiet. I remember telling one of the boys off to one side that I thought all our lives had just been changed forever. All those innocent lives lost in that attack by foreign extremists on our home soil but the victims weren't worth consideration.


Jeannie VanGelder: On 9/11 I was upstairs getting ready for work and David and I watched in disbelief.


Robin Brown Swiftney: I woke up late. I am usually up early and I turned on the TV for Gerritt and stopped at a news channel when I saw all the smoke and just sat and cried and our son just kept asking me if I was OK (I was 5 months pregnant with Pete). My neighbor came over and we watched everything unfold. We then went and sat on the front step and after a while other neighbors did too and we talked. Right about 1 p.m., the whole town of Sheridan went black. We were all so scared. Cheyenne really isn’t that far away. Grady kept trying to call me and he then finally came by to check on us. Very scary. My mother-in-law was on a plane from Grand Rapids, Mich., that morning headed to Billings and they were just getting ready to take off when they were grounded.


Kristin Alcala: I was in New Orleans with Big Horn County’s first Juvenile Drug Court team for training. Judge Skar and Judge Hartman were with me. If I recall correctly, someone brought TV’s into training. We were stuck there a few days together. Someone tried to get a vehicle, but they were all gone. Some of the team went to a Catholic Church together. My husband is a Marine. He was immediately called the airport in Casper for duty


Jenn Yager Lyytinen: I was in college at MSU-Billings. I was just waking up. My roommate was doing her hair and getting ready for her morning class. She said to me, “Are you seeing this?" And I put on my glasses and watched it unfold. She and I were speechless. It was just so scary and humbling. I think the second plane had just hit the towers. I was a naive 18 year old from the sticks, I wasn't quite sure how to react or the impact it would have on America.


I was getting up late for work as I had gotten home very late the night before because of car trouble. I turned on my local TV station (NY1) and oh my gosh the first plane had just hit the World Trade Center.

I had no idea yet what was going on and I woke my hubby up and told him he needed to come watch with me. I remember saying to him that “a lot of people have probably died.” I remember being a “point person” for relaying telephone messages for family and work colleagues.

The smell from the fires drifted pretty far uptown and it was hard not to call 911 to report a fire. I lived about 5 miles north of the World Trade Center. At some point later in the day, I could see an endless stream of people walking home north on Broadway as the subways were not running.

The reporters on TV who were near the site were saying their location as “somewhere downtown” because the street signs were covered with the ash and debris. Never forget - it was a beautiful sky-blue day in New York.

It feels cathartic each year to talk about that time period. I could go on and on. God Bless America.