Sept. 11, 2001, is a day that most adults will never forget, now 20 years ago. It’s a day that changed America as we knew it. Burned into our memories, the moment we realized the country was under attack.
We stopped by Oasis Restaurant in downtown Fort Myers as the anniversary approaches to ask some Southwest Floridians what they remember from that tragic day.
None of these people were thinking about Sept. 11th as they ate and drank and laughed until we sat down and asked about 9/11.
First, we met William Moore in a back corner booth.
On Sept. 11th, 2001, he was at a conference in Philadelphia. He Passed by a TV screen and saw the first plane crash into the first tower.
“My boss had been scheduled to go to the World Trade Center that day, but something happened. He got delayed. He didn’t go there. He didn’t get killed,” Moore said. “Shocked, we were all shocked … Some of us were emotional … Just the world went upside down.”
Two days later, he was on the first Delta flight from Philly to Atlanta. “We were all looking at each other. Who’s the terrorist on the plane?”
Three booths down, over a cup of coffee, Lisa Marie told us her 9/11 story.
She was working at a company called Siesta Bay in their regional office off Summerlin. Marie heard the news on the radio and rushed to pull her four children out of school.
“I remember particularly going over the Cape Coral Bridge and then coming up to the Midpoint Bridge, and there were four teenage boys with huge flags. And they were waving their flags,” Marie recalled. “Especially for that day, you didn’t know whether we were going to be hit again. And I think everyone knew that we were under some kind of attack. So we wanted everyone to come together and stand up for their country.”
And as Marie raced to her children at school, the woman in the booth just behind her was already at school.
Linda Bateman worked as a teacher’s assistant at Tice Elementary.
“We turned on the TVs in the classroom because you have to know what’s going on in the classroom. I mean, at the time, you didn’t know if it’s just there that they’re doing something, or if it’s going to be somewhere else,” Bateman said. “Visions of people jumping out because they know they’re going to burn. So instead of burning, they’re gonna jump. It’s horrible. It’s a horrible thing to think about. But it’s something we don’t need to forget either. You don’t need to forget what happened that day.”
Where were you on that day? We’ve embedded our Facebook post below so you can comment or email [email protected].