Categorized | 911

Always Remember: Annette Stephens

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I was on my way to work in Chico, listening to the news on the radio. As I turned onto Farm Road 1810, the DJ advised us that since it was 9/11, the emergency response teams throughout the U.S. would be testing their systems and that we shouldn’t be alarmed. I remember thinking that it was a clever idea to do it on this particular day.

As I sat at my desk getting ready for the beginning of classes, one of my colleagues came in and said, “Did you hear about the plane hitting a big building in New York?” I hadn’t heard anything, so I went to the library to hear the newscast. When I arrived there, people were gathered around the TV watching when suddenly the second plane crashed into the Twin Towers.

We were all horrified, to say the least. Several began crying.

I realized that this was perhaps the most momentous event I had ever witnessed, even though I had been in Dallas not far from Dealey Plaza when President John F. Kennedy was shot. I lived through the death of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. Mine was the generation of Vietnam protests, the killings at Kent State University, and the horrible tragedy of the space shuttle.

I was stunned at this event though. I knew life had changed forever for all of us. I sat and cried throughout the next week, watching the aftermath of the event and feeling so helpless to do anything. I finally had to turn the TV off because I was grieving so much I couldn’t sleep at night.

I often wondered why nobody mentioned the emergency response testing after that. Was that part of a plan, or was it just a coincidence?

Annette Stephens

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