STA remembers Sept. 11

STA remembers Sept. 11

by Lauren Langdon

You changed.

We changed.

Everyone changed.

We watched, eyes glued to the television, as planes crashed into buildings killing nearly 3,000 innocent people.

As America remembers the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Dart found three students among our community whose lives changed that day.

Redlingshafers:

Fifty-two miles away from the World Trade Center in Greenwich, Connecticut, the Redlingshafer family narrowly avoided a tragedy. Sept. 11, 2001, Mr. Ray Redlingshafer, father of sophomore Sabrina Redlingshafer, was scheduled to give a speech about the future of online trading of mortgage backed securities on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower.

Ray called in sick.

Without realizing it, he ensured his safety.

“Initially, it was a very eerie feeling,” Ray said in an email. “Over time, the realization slowly sank in that I was alive primarily because I was home sick on that morning.”

After 9/11, Ray has a new appreciation for his life and family.

“[The Sept. 11 attacks] showed me graphically, that I just don’t know when the lights will go out, so I appreciate every day,” Ray said. “I saw rough and tumble New Yorkers become quite compassionate for a while.”

After the destruction of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, many people united to thank those who helped and remember those who died. The Redlingshafer family participated in a national rosary, and Sabrina’s kindergarten class made goody bags with hygiene items for the firemen. Ray’s parish, St. Michael’s, in Greenwich lost 13 people that day, and in commemoration the church placed 13 candles on the altar from Sept. 12 until New Year’s Day.

“It was a very somber time,” Ray said. “Some parishes in Brooklyn and the Bronx that have a lot of policemen or firemen had closer to 50 people die in the towers.”

Sabrina said that on each 9/11 anniversary, her family expresses gratitude that they were so fortunate and extends sympathy to families that were not as lucky. Ray remembers his friends who died and keeps in touch with those who survived.

“I usually talk to those friends I know who made it out,” Ray said. “Thinking about it now has me choking back the emotions from that time 10 years ago.”

Ray believes that God saved his life that morning by keeping him home.

“My takeaway was that [God] must have some important plans left for me to do in this life,” Ray said. “If it is as simple as being a great father, husband, brother, provider – I would be okay with that.”

Sabrina didn’t know that her father might be in the World Trade Center when she heard the news over a school intercom. Sabrina doesn’t even remember much of 9/11.

“I was so young when it happened that I didn’t realize everything,” Sabrina said. “But now that I know he could have gone to work it’s really sad, but I am lucky to have him.”

Odneals:

Sept. 11, 2001 began like any other day for the Odneal family. Ms. Susan Odneal left for a business trip to New York. Cassie Odneal, a current STA senior, walked into Madame Sandrine’s second grade class at Academie Lafayette. Mr. Roger Odneal, a lawyer, drove to a local fire station for a meeting. However, this routine morning completely changed when hijackers flew two planes into the World Trade Center, causing all other flights to be grounded, including Susan’s flight to New York, which was forced to land in Cincinnati.

“When we landed I remember hearing the gate attendants say to the flight attendant, because I was close to the front of the plane, ‘There has been a disaster and no other planes are taking off. Everybody has been grounded,'” Susan said.

As groups of people left the plane and entered the empty airport, a gate agent told Susan that there was a “situation” in New York City and that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center Twin Towers.

“When I came off the plane I thought that someone had flown inadvertently into one of the Twin Towers,” Susan said. “I never imagined that it was intentional, that someone would do that on purpose.”

As she left the gate, a television in the airport cleared up Susan’s confusion. Susan stood in the terminal and watched a live news report about the plane that crashed into the North Tower. Seconds later, she learned the crash was intentional, as the video of the South Tower in flames appeared on the screen.

“I felt very violated,” Susan said. “Why would somebody do this to unsuspecting people?”

Back in Kansas City, Roger was informed of the terrorist attacks while driving to a Raytown Fire Station that he represented. After speaking with his wife in Cincinnati and learning that she was safe, Roger began to hear of the firefighters who were in the Twin Towers when they collapsed.

“During our meeting, [a firefighter] walked in and said ‘Everyone is dead,’” Roger said.

While sitting in class at school, Cassie knew that something was not right.

“I was looking over at the door and my teacher was talking to one of our student’s parents and they both looked really frantic, but I didn’t know what it was about,” Cassie said.

Cassie learned about her teacher’s frantic looks from a boy in her class.

“A kid came up to me and said, ‘Oh did you hear about the plane that crashed into a building?’” Cassie said. “I wanted to seem all cool so I was like, ‘Yeah totally! That’s so weird,’ but I really had no idea what he was talking about.”

Throughout the day multiple people tried to explain to Cassie what had happened.

“They told us at school, but it didn’t really register until I came home and my dad explained it to me,” Cassie said. “I think he had to explain it again.”

According to Cassie, as she has grown older, 9/11 has begun to affect her more.

“I’m not scared to get on a plane, but now there is an extra concern,” Cassie said. “I get a little more freaked out, I don’t go into crazy-panic-attack, but I get nervous when the plane shakes.”

Trees:

From a young age, Devin Trees, brother of STA junior Morgan Trees, knew he wanted to join the military. Despite the risk associated with war, Devin is now a Bradley Mechanic and has been in Afghanistan since the end of April. As a Bradley Mechanic he works on various vehicles and helps to infiltrate enemy lines.

“When [Devin] told me he wanted to be in the army, I didn’t think he would be deployed,” Mr. Greg Trees, Devin’s father, said. “I definitely was worried, but he has been very brave. It’s his job to go out there and do whatever his country wants him to do regardless of what [anyone’s] feelings are.”

According to Greg, Devin was influenced by several of his teachers who were in the Marine Corps or fought in the Vietnam War. He said his son respected those teachers and their stories of service.

“Devin wants to protect people,” junior Morgan Trees said. “He wants to look out for them.”

Morgan was only in first grade when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred. At that time she didn’t fully comprehend what was happening.

“I remember coming home and it was all over the news,” Morgan said. “We all thought that we would not have to go to school the next day, but I didn’t really get what was going on.”

Greg said there was a lot of confusion in the days after the tragedy.

“We were very scared,” Greg said. “There were all kinds of rumors that [terrorists] were going to poison our water or try and blow up the nuclear power plant at Wolf Creek.”

The Trees family watched a special on television about 9/11 recently when Devin was home on a two-week leave.

“My sister asked, ‘So firefighters ran up even after they knew the building was on fire?’” Morgan said. “[Devin] said ‘I would have run up there, I would have done that in a heart beat.’”

After enjoying time at home, Devin flew back to Afghanistan Sept. 11.

“I was worried about him going back, because it’s obviously a scary place, and he has had people shoot at him,” Greg said. “I didn’t want him to go back, but he will finally be back in January for good.”

Other members of Trees family kept Devin’s safety in mind while he returned to Afghanistan, especially on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

“This is the first year that he will be in Afghanistan over 9/11,” Morgan said. “It has kind of kicked in that he is not home, and this day is the reason why.”

Everyone changed.

From kindergartners in Kansas City to employees in the World Trade Center to young children with aspirations of joining the military, everyone changed.