— Adam Madison, 18, freshman at University of Nevada, Reno
“I remember because my birthday was right after it (Sept. 12), and all the adults at my eighth birthday party were gathered around watching it on the TV. I understood that people had died, but I was so young and because it was so far away I just didn’t really understand what was going on. It took me a long time (to realize the gravity of what had occurred). It was when I watched a documentary and saw some of the images.”
— Ann Donavon, 18, freshman at University of Nevada, Reno
“I was taking my dad to chemotherapy and I heard it on the radio. They were saying, ‘Of course you know about the plane crash,’ and I wasn’t sure what they were talking about. When we got to chemo, they had it on the TV and we saw that the first plane had crashed and then saw the second hit. I felt confused, scared, insecure, in shock. … Then coming home we saw people along the street with flags, shouting and yelling, and I had just never seen anything like that before.”
— Mary Manning, Loyalton, Calif.
“There was a great response of American pride and sympathy right after it happened, but they seem to have already forgotten. I’m 66 years old and an ex-police officer … and I just remember the sickness in my stomach seeing the people falling off the building. … Now here we are just a few years later, and they want to build a mosque right next to where it happened? It’s very disrespectful.”
— Larry Manning, Loyalton, Calif.
“I was a substitute teacher and was teaching a journalism class (at Sparks High School). The teacher had planned a lesson, but the teacher turned on the TV in the morning and we watched the news all day. It was interesting to watch the class reactions. The juniors were interested and watched it, but the freshmen almost tuned it out. … I was first of all amazed that a plane could fly into a building … then I saw the fuel go up and thought it would be OK if they could suppress the fire. I never thought the whole building would collapse … I felt truly helpless.”
— Wally Free, Washoe County School District substitute “teacher at large” and member of the official Great Reno Balloon Race crew
“I was watching the news, putting my makeup on and eating my cereal, like I do every morning. When the first plane hit, I went upstairs and woke up my daughter and said, ‘You have to see this.’ After she was downstairs, the second plane hit … it was just a shock. Mind-numbing.”
— Barbara Halen, drafter for IGT and member of the official Great Reno Balloon Race crew
“I was 16 at the time. It was just crazy. I went to Galena High School … we watched the news during first and second period. … It was more numbing than anything.”
— Kimberley Halen, Barbara’s daughter and member of the official Great Reno Balloon Race crew
“I was 17 when it happened and remember we were afraid of being attacked. Then right after that were all the anthrax attacks, and I lived in Indianapolis at the time, where a lot of mail goes through. … There was so much uncertainty even if you didn’t live in a big city.”
— Patricia Winkler, official Great Reno Balloon Race crew member