Originally Published: September 11, 2015 6:02 a.m.
As I listened to our newsroom staff share where they were on Sept. 11, 2001, I realized we all have a story to tell. And that none of us will ever forget that day.I also realized that we needed a strong front page story - one of hope and rebirth. The staff came up with a unique one that involves birth, so we got close!We look at two area babies, now teenagers, who were born that day. I can't imagine giving birth to a new life on a day that seemed to be the end of life as we knew it. As one father said, "It was very surreal to be confronted with that situation immediately after one of the happiest occasions in our lives." Of course, I remember what I was doing when I heard the news - I was living in California and working for a large daily newspaper. I was driving down the 91 into Riverside when my favorite radio deejays stopped being hilarious and started sobbing. They had a television in their studio and couldn't put together a coherent word for several minutes...then they started describing what they were seeing.I raced into my office to find coworkers gathered around our televisions. I called my husband, who was watching at his workplace, too. People were being evacuated from skyscrapers in downtown Los Angeles.My thoughts went to my entire family, who lived in Maryland and Pennsylvania. They were spread out - two hours from the Shanksville crash, one hour from the Pentagon and 10 minutes from Camp David. When I finally reached my sister that night, she was scared and nervous. "The jets are buzzing the house without stopping - the windows keep shaking." Because our hometown was at the base of the mountain where Camp David is, military jets patrolled the area for days after the attacks.For some reason, I felt guilty I was not there for my family. Everyone was safe, but that guilt lingered. Strange how you feel during a crisis.MemorialFourteen years in the making, the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville uses photos, video, artifacts and interactive displays to tell the story of Flight 93, the only jetliner among the four commandeered by terrorists that failed to reach its intended target on Sept. 11, 2001. The money for the visitor center complex was raised from 120,000 private donors, along with contributions from the state and the federal government. Officials project attendance will rise from 300,000 per year to around 500,000, according to the Associated Press. Development of the center is nearly complete, with only the planned Tower of Voices, a 93-foot structure with 40 wind chimes, still to be built.Did you know?In an airplane hangar at New York's Kennedy Airport, fewer than 30 pieces of steel remain from the debris recovered after terrorists flew hijacked planes into the World Trade Center's twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001. Even 14 years after the attacks, applications are still pending for the pieces of metal - mostly for memorials and museum exhibits - and some pieces found a new home as recently as last week in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Florida, according to a recent Associated Press story."The artifacts can be found anchoring memorials or museum exhibits in all 50 states and eight countries: Germany, Canada, Brazil, South Korea, The United Kingdom, Afghanistan, China and Ireland. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey oversees the artifact program, reviewing applications and parceling out the steel and other items to about 1,500 individual nonprofit groups, governments or museums so far. The artifact must be available for the public to view it."Fewer than 30 pieces of steel, including pieces of rail tracks, remain. Fewer than 70 other artifacts such as clothing or toys also remain in Hangar 17 at Kennedy Airport."Just some random thoughts for you about today that I wanted to share.Have a blessed day, dear readers.Robin Layton, editorFollow Robin Layton on Twitter @RobinLaytonAZ. Reach her at 928-445-3333 ext. 1095, firstname.lastname@example.org or 928-533-7941.