Remembering Sept. 11: 'I Threw The Phone Down, I Screamed'

Sep 7, 2011
Originally published on September 7, 2011 11:09 am

As the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks draws closer, we're pointing to some of the stories being told about that day and the days since.

Madeleine V. Leckie Elementary School in Washington, D.C., has a strong, painful connection to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as NPR's Claudio Sanchez reported earlier on Morning Edition.

A teacher, Hilda Taylor, and a student, 11-year-old Bernard Brown, were aboard American Airlines Flight 77 — the jet that terrorists flew into the Pentagon.

Parents of two children at the school, Johnnie Doctor and Marsha Ratchford, were at their jobs at the Pentagon that day and also were killed.

Clementine Homesley, who was the school's principal, tells Claudio that when she got a call that morning telling her of the school's losses, "I threw the phone down, I screamed."

Ten years later, the students who were at Leckie that day have all moved on. But the school teaches about the events and honors the memories of those who died. There's a glass case with some of Taylor's and Bernard's prized possessions — including one of her hats and a ball of Bernard's. And parents have started a petition to rename the school to "Taylor-Brown Public School Academy."

Other 9/11 stories of note this morning:

-- The Wall Street Journal looks at how the New York City Fire Department "has revamped everything from its on-scene protocol to its communications to prevent a repeat of the catastrophic losses the department suffered on Sept. 11, 2001. The department lost 343 firefighters that day, and hundreds more took early retirement in the next year. The FDNY hired and trained more than 2,600 new firefighters in less than two and a half years after Sept. 11."

-- USA Today writes about "How 9/11 Changed America" (online here). As the lead piece says, "we can see the changes in our nation by looking at the changes in our people — some who were close to the cataclysm, some far from it." And the story focuses on "20 such Americans. They suggest 9/11 was like a rock thrown in a pond, its impact rippling out until all the water is roiled."

-- WHYY's Fresh Air posts about the conversation host Terry Gross had with two New York City firefighters who responded to the disaster at the World Trade Center that day. One, Ken Haskell, lost two brothers that day. They were also firefighters. Another, Jay Jones, survived despite being in the North Tower when it collapsed.

Related: NPR.org's "Reflecting On Sept. 11, 2001" page is asking "what one word describes how you felt that day?"

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