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The stories presented here take many forms – interviews, written reflections, videos. Together they are our oral history of 9/11. They tell the story of that day and its long-term impact on the people of ERAU and the many industries we serve.

If you would like to contribute your own story of 9/11, please click here, share your story.


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Allen Murphy, Interviewed by Miguel Bermeo, Reflects on How 9/11 Influenced His Perspective

Miguel Bermeo

Even now, thinking about it…the images of the people in the towers...the first responders going to the towers as hundreds of people fled…and then seeing the towers fall, still gets my heart racing. Never, in my lifetime, did I ever imagine something like this happening. I felt a very strong sense of duty in needing to do something about it.

Please visit the attached file for more about Allen Murphy's reflection.

Diane Zorri, Interviewed by Mackenzie Dieter, Reflects on 9/11 as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force

Diane M. Zorri, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
Mackenzie F. Dieter, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

Please view the attached file for more on the reflections of Diane Zorri.

Dr. Scott Ambrose, Interviewed by Lucy Ambrose, Reflects on His Time Working at Delta During 9/11

Scott Ambrose, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
Lucy Ambrose, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

9/11 affected Dr. Ambrose professionally being that he was in the airline industry. After 9/11, the industry took a huge hit because no one felt comfortable with flying. Delta along with the other airlines had to come together to ask the government for aid and help each other out. He remembers it being a time when he saw the airlines let loose on competition and come together as an industry.

Personally, he remembers just being fearful of another possible attack. Everyone felt lots of uncertainty during the time, especially the Ambrose's being that they lived in a big city and had a child on the way.

Interview with G.W, Interviewed by Liam Suskavcevic

Liam Suskavcevic

This interview shows how difficult situations and circumstances can truly shape a person as a leader.

Please visit the attached file to learn more about the reflections of G.W.

Personal Reflections of Chris Nevins, Interviewed by Brandon Rollins

Brandon Rollins

Absolutely. I was furloughed for over 3 years as a result - the industry changes led me to union work to build back the airline career to what it is today. It also shaped my perspective on terrorism from an early age.

Please visit the attached audio file for more on the reflections of Chris Nevins.

Reflections of Colonel Kim Ramos, USAF Ret, Interviewed by Robert Cardinal-Warmuth

Kimberley A. Ramos, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Robert W. Cardinal-Warmuth, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Personal/professional reaction – violated, appalled anyone would attack soft (civilian) targets, most don’t realize the Pentagon is an office building dedicated to acquiring and organizing resources, all warfighting and military operations occur from the combatant commands (EUCOM, CENTCOM, PACOM, etc). Sadness for friends who lost loved ones. Surreal experiences as there was NO traffic (D.C. is famous for traffic at all hours of the day, every day) in the D.C. area and no sound of aircraft overhead (it was constant prior to 9/11). Over time, it became sadness/anger for the loss of freedom, safety, and cultural changes.

SFC Robert Wood, Interviewed by Miguel Bermeo, Reflects on How 9/11 Influenced His Father's Career

Miguel Bermeo

It resulted in my father serving a total of 27 months in the Iraqi theater during GWOT.

Please visit the attached file for more on SFC Robert Wood's reflection.

Personal Reflection

9/11 Reflection Through the Lens of Airport Manager Christopher Browne

Christopher Browne

Too much to capture in a short statement, but in sum, it confirmed the need for team strength, creativity, flexibility, focused decision-making, hard work, and optimism.

9/11 Reflections and Sermon Delivered by David Keck

David Keck, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

The events made me think quite a bit about the role of the church in times of crisis.

Alan Feistner Shares His Brother's 9/11 Story

Alan Feistner

I lost my brother as a result of 9/11.

Anthony Villacis Connects His 9/11 Experience to ERAU

Anthony Villacis

A few days after 9/11 I received orders to report to Patrick AFB, FL. I was activated and deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in support of a few operations for the next 2 years. Before activation I was working through the Aerospace Engineering program with diverse younger students and prior military students, we worked together to get through the demanding course schedule and assignments. After deactivation, the group of students I had worked with for over a year in the Aerospace Program had graduated and due to my age and the higher cost of tuition, I wasn't able to complete the AE program. Instead, I used the credit earned and finished the Professional Aeronautics program at the Patrick AFB satellite site. After deactivation from the 2-year activations orders, I was offered a US Air Force Reserves Technician position. The position was a full-time job and offered benefits. This was the biggest change to my career, I often wonder what I would have been able to achieve as an Engineer. Throughout my years in government civil service, I have applied some of the technical knowledge I learned at ERAU and have become a technical expert in my field when dealing with Aircraft maintenance in the Air Force Reserves and Army Weapons systems while working with the Department of Defense. I have been successful in my field and have traveled the world and had the opportunity to live in Europe with my family, but sometimes wonder how far I would have gotten as an Engineer.

Charles Berlemann's View of 9/11 While On Board a Ship

Charles Berlemann

Professionally, I was on a ship that was turned around to help begin the planning and opening stages of Operation Enduring Freedom. Post-Military Professional life, I saw a tightening up of both security requirements and job entry requirements into the aviation fields. This made it more difficult to find a good fit for a job.

Craig Feese Begins Work for the TSA Following 9/11

Craig Feese

I left FedEx and the airline industry to start working and help start up the Transportation Security Administration.

D.D. Reflects on how 9/11 Affected him Personally

D. D.

It limited open access to the US-Congress and drew my Kurdish friends from Norwich Univ. into the resulting war.

David den Boer Shares his 9/11 Reflections from the Navy

David den Boer

It hasn't.

David Kern Reflects on His Pre- 9/11 Experiences

David R. Kern, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

I think it was sick. It made me recall things that happened while at Daytona. Like meeting a man named Ben, rather Bin, I think, after he saw me pull in to park in my military-looking jeep. He wanted to sell me military parts to something, out of the trunk of a car. I wasn't interested, but that's when I asked what his name was. He said you can call me Bin. That was 1981 or 1982. Another time in religions class, an Afghani sitting behind me prompted me to turn around and asked, "don't you believe in God?" He was pretty irritated. Pairing up into teams for our design project while the Iranian hostage crisis was happening, there were two of us left; me and an Iranian. He was a pretty nice kid.

Don Robinson Worked for American Airlines at the Time of 9/11

Don Robinson, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

It is something that I’ll never forget.

Doug Southerland Reflects on Being Prepared for Anything in a Post 9/11 World

Doug Southerland

Increased awareness that events of this tragic nature could happen at any time and any place.

Dr. Melissa L. Strawser Reflects on Her Experience with Trauma After 9/11

Melissa Strawser

The events of 9/11 significantly impacted my life due to the PTSD suffered by my sailor. Now, my ex-husband. I relocated from DC to Florida and had to restart my career at a much lower level. I have personally processed the trauma over many years and still suffer with the collective trauma that is now enhanced by current events. My life was changed forever by that one day.

Geoffrey Kain Reflects on ERAU Post 9/11

Geoffrey Kain, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

I recall the following days or weeks on campus marked by trailers (many of them!) parked across Clyde Morris, satellite dishes everywhere----CNN and other major networks----because it had been reported that one (or more) of the terrorists had received flight training at ERAU. This was eventually disproven, but it certainly created a media storm.

Please visit the attached file for more on Geoffrey Kain's personal reflection.

Glenn Ignazio Experience's 9/11 Outside of the United States

Glenn Ignazio

Professionally, being deployed while attacked at home showed that security and defense have changed. Personally, the impact on family and friends while deployed and the significant challenges we face as a nation. I flew back to see a changed country in October.

How Gurvir Kaur Bawa Experienced 9/11 from India

Gurvir Bawa

How Jay and Regina Sterioff Impacted Many Lives in the Days Following 9/11

Regina Sterioff

Jacqueline Arreola Reflects on 9/11 and How it Influenced her Career Choice in the Aviation Sector

Jacqueline Arreola

September 11, 2001, has impacted my life in many ways. My dad was a United Airlines employee for 30 years, and at the time of 9/11 everything changed for him. He was in the middle of transferring to a new airport as we were moving, and that was all put on hold due to the situation of UA and all US carriers. He waited several years for his transfer to come and he commuted to us once or twice a month because the airlines suffered a tremendous loss that was felt for a very long time. Professionally, it was an event that opened my eyes to aviation. I always knew my career would be in this field, but learning about the impact of 9/11 and how it shifted our industry lead me to pick the Aviation Safety sector. I majored in this at ERAU and am currently working in the Safety department of a US charter airline for the DOD. I want to ensure any flight I’m involved in can have the safest outcome possible, and take all and any necessary precautions to avoid such a terrible event from occurring again.

James Bohon Shares his Story from the Morning of 9/11

James Bohon

I am a retired USAF pilot and was just coming up for an upgrade to Captain when 9/11 happened. This delayed everyone by at least two years as all three pilot planes were permanently parked.

John Kalinauskas Reflects on His 9/11 Experience as a Flight Instructor

John Kalinauskas

After 3 years as a flight instructor, my wife got frustrated and made me leave aviation. We ended up going separate ways, but I never returned to the airplane.

Joseph Giles Shares the 9/11 Experience of Himself and His Twin Brother

Joseph Giles

My twin brother and I, who are both corporate jet captains (and both ERAU alumni), were both in the air in different corporate jets when the 911 attacks occurred. When we were both forced to land by ATC, we, fortunately, both found ourselves ground in the DFW area together. We both remembered having lunch at the Windows of the World restaurant on top of one of the towers as a teenager with my family. Once we were able to reunite in the DFW area later that day, we said a prayer together.

Joshua Miller Reflects on 9/11 as a Marine

Joshua Miller

Marine Corps aviation led the way after 9/11 and we have never looked back. The march to Baghdad in 2003 was the first land operation that relied more on air support than artillery, so for me, it was great to be a part of that transition. Personally living this experience has given me teaching tools to pass along to the current generation.

Lolla Vinayak Discusses the Importance of Giving Back to our Country

Lolla Vinayak, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Professionally, it impacts my military career. We operate in a post 9/11 age. Personally, I am exposed to many Americans whose lives were changed by this event. Many joined the military or tried to contribute to their country in some way. This sense of civic duty and belonging personally drives me to give something back to our country and community.

Mathew Cabral Reflects on 9/11 from Las Vegas

Mathew Cabral

I retired from the air force so both professionally and personally.

Monis Ahmed Hasan Speaks on Discrimination Post 9/11

Monis Ahmed Hasan

The time that I spent unemployed in New York City before & after 9/11 was a year and a half. I was visited by the FBI & NYPD about 2-3 weeks after that date. They had already visited my office and questioned my colleagues in private about me before coming to my apartment at 7 am. They had a big document with my history and asked me questions about my religious beliefs, and relationships with the local Muslim community. That was a very nerve-wracking time for me & my brothers. But they were satisfied with my answers and left. Although I was on an H1B visa and recently laid off so my immigration status was in limbo. And I, therefore, had to rush to a Lawyer the same day to file paperwork to keep me legal, the cost of which was very painful to me in my unemployment. But I did it to avoid being thrown in jail like many others. During that time I went through extreme lows and highs as I tried to find a job and fight off the negative discrimination that resulted against Muslims in all spheres of life. An example of that was when I had three separate job offers or interests revoked because of immigration issues cited by the employer. Employers like Jetblue Airways, CIT Capital Aviation, and Sabre Consulting were employers that backed away. Aviation in America had ended as a potential career for me in those months. But thank god for Dubai where I was from and which allowed me to continue work in that sector at Emirates Airlines. But today I have decided to focus on the Technology & Startup sector in UAE as I see a much greater potential for my economic future in it. Personally, the event did change my life trajectory. I had planned to naturalize as an American citizen, complete a graduate degree, and continue living as an American for the future. But all the signals I got from God and fate was that it was not the right time for me to be there. I love New York City for its energy and did not want to leave. It was one of my most difficult times as a Muslim. But it was also the time when I matured. The months after 9/11 were life-changing for the entire world but especially for the people of New York. The time I had in the aftermath was used to fall in love with the wounded city and with myself. I saw and experienced so many areas, events, and cultures of the big apple during that time that I would almost award myself a second bachelor’s degree for that.

Neal De Bruyn Explains How Future Generations Can Excel in a Post 9/11 World

Neil De Bruyn

It has given me greater strength through diversifying my background and education in becoming more flexible in my professional career after a brief break from the aerospace field.

Personal Reflections of a Military Wife in a Civilian World [SAM]

Sue A. Macchiarella, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

It affected me on several levels; as a military wife, a military vet, as part of the military community, as a friend to those affected whether military or civilian, and as a mom.

I think, for me, there was a period of time everything felt surreal...almost like I wasn't living in this crazy world but experiencing it. It was a very strange feeling. I also felt very protective of what we hold dear: family, freedom, rights, religion, basically our way of life, choice... I was angry, I was sad, I was reflective...I dug my heels in even more as a patriot and wanting to protect this great country I live in.

As a military wife, I worried if my husband would go to war and what would that war look like? As a mom, I worried for my daughter's future above all. If this can happen here to this magnitude, what else is out there? What is her future? Of course, this translates to anyone with children but I am focused on mine for this piece. Years later my daughter would commission in the U.S. Army and serve in both Iraq and Afghanistan. She and her husband both serve to this day.

I also remember, when all flights were canceled, looking up between some clouds and seeing an F-15 flying overhead. When I saw that I felt a bit peaceful knowing that our men and women in uniform were working to keep us safe. And, that surreal feeling flooded over me again. When there were no other flights in America, our military was crossing the skies protecting those below.

I think as a result, I will never take our freedom for granted. I realize that, in the blink of an eye, all we know and love can change in an instant. I also believe that regardless of our background, religious beliefs, cultural upbringing, or political leanings, we will always walk a fine line trying to balance freedom and trust because of 9/11.

Personal Reflections of N. K.

N. K.

N/A - signing up on behalf of someone

Pete Hermes's Reflection of 9/11 from a Law Enforcement Perspective

Pete Hermes

Initially, long days and hours shortly after, altered focus and direction of agency priorities, and most assuredly, challenges and problems that many were not fully prepared for.

R.M. Reflects on How 9/11 Affected the Way That the Military Trains

R. M., Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

It showed the importance of the adage train as you fight and fight as you train.

R.W. Reflects on 9/11 as an Infantryman

R. W., Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

It was significant in that it changed our lives overseas. We were locked down and security became a much larger issue. Additionally, the global war on terrorism started and I was deployed several times in support of it.

Richard Gierbolini Worked for the FAA At The Time of 9/11

Richard Gierbolini

Homeland Security and TSA were established and a lot of opportunity in the field of AVSEC was created. I have been a member of the TSA Office of Global Strategies conducting Airport Security surveys around the world. You cant do AVSEC without thinking about 9/11 and the profound impact it left on the world.

Richard Savoy's Military Experience was a Result of 9/11

Richard Savoy

I’m from North Jersey and lost family members who were firefighters in the towers. I was in Army flight school and once I graduated was deployed to Afghanistan during Operation Anaconda. I was deployed 4 times in support of the Global War on Terror which was the response to 9/11.

Robert Coda Reflects on 9/11 as a Security Manager at Newark Airport

Robert Coda

I was changed forever. We all were. How could anyone not be?

The second half of my professional career was spent putting the pieces back together. Rebuilding a system to mitigate to the extent possible, any individual from commandeering an aircraft to be used as a weapon of mass destruction. I did so in memory of those who perished. I did so to set the stage for those who would come after me and carry the torch forward.

S. C. Speaks on How 9/11 Affected His Career as a Professor in the Security Studies and International Affairs Department at ERAU

S. C., Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

It is to my becoming a member of a new dept of Security Studies & International Affairs with degrees in Homeland Security and Global Conflict Studies.

Scott Hubbard Shares his 9/11 Reflections Based on his Work in the FAA's Aviation Command Center

Scott Hubbard

I am now retired, but professionally it was a paradigm shift in the way the nation handles aviation terror/hijacking events. No longer is it just the FAA calling the shots if an aircraft were to be hijacked or go NORDO. The immediate escalation of such an event to the Domestic Events Network brings online a host of U.S. Government agencies to coordinate the response. Additionally, although it seemed right at the time, we learned that a nationwide shutdown will/should never happen again. Personally . . . I am still haunted by the images of aircraft disappearing from the radar display that we were all watching.

T.B. Reflects on 9/11 From 17 Years in the Military

T. B.

Professionally, it was an attack on the country that I signed up to protect and serve. As I watched the towers fall while I was holding my one-year-old twins, I knew that it wasn't going to be long before we maintainers would be recalled to start preparing aircraft for unknown missions. At no point did I say I would not be a part of those missions. I was ready to go. Personally, it impacted me because my family was young and I was concerned for their safety. What once was something that had never happened at the volume on America, but now impacted so many families, I am still worried about harm coming to my family and if my kids will ever have the peace of enjoying life as American citizens that I did growing up in this country.

T.C. Reflects on 9/11 While Entering the Marines

T. C.

I was already going into the Marines at the time, but it made it clear that I was going to war.

Tashuelah Nasah's Reflection of 9/11 Through an Aviation Lens

Tashuelah Nasah

Personally, it changed how I looked at air travel. No more going to the airport to site see and plane spot from the terminal. I also knew friends who knew people in the towers. Professionally, it added yet another obstacle to mentoring and encouraging kids to join the profession of being an aviator.

The Effect 9/11 had on John Adam's Career Path

John Adams

Dad was supposed to be in that part of the Pentagon that morning for a meeting, but missed the bus. That happenstance kept him out of the building when AA77 crashed into it. Since then, I've traded the 'commercial' side of aerospace and got to work with the defense side to continue to improve the tools our warfighters need to defend our nation.

Tim Reyer Reflects on His 9/14 Experience at the World Trade Center

Tim Reyer

The agency I worked for sent me as part of the first team sent to the World Trade Center on 09/14 for recovery operations. I spent 34 days working the pile of WTC 7 with 7 days at the Fresh Kills Landfill. I then spent the next 2 years overseas fighting the War on Terror. I suffer terribly from PTSD from this time of my life.

Trent Munson's 9/11 Experience from the Pentagon

Trent Munson

Being there and experiencing the sights, sounds, smells, was a dose of reality on a profound scale. It was a tempestuous part of my military career and I am humbly glad to have been present to assist. That day was a day that (like Pearl Harbor) should also live in historical infamy. It should strike at the core of every American and cause reflection as to how we can be better and do better in one's professional career; because you never know when you will be called to do extraordinary things under extraordinary circumstances.

Warren Kroeppel Reflects on 9/11 as the LaGuardia Airport Manager

Warren Kroeppel, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

It had significant effects on the delays to the rebuilding of the airport at that time. I lost friends in the attack, and it impacted budgets and operations for years afterward.


Lucy Ambrose Connects 9/11 to her Major: Homeland Security

Lucy Ambrose

9/11 affected me personally, being that it is something I never actually experienced but something that I have grown up learning about. Every year at school we spent each anniversary learning about the events, why they happened, and how to make sure they never happen again. We also spent time learning about the incredible heroes that stepped in to save others that day. In my 7th grade history class, I saw the videos of 9/11 happening for the first time, and that is when the feelings for me sunk in. Professionally, 9/11 has impacted my life because the field I plan to go into was created after 9/11. In Homeland Security, we study the events of 9/11 and how much will forever be changed (security-wise) in our country because of it.

Michael McCormick Reflects on 9/11 as an Air Traffic Manager

Michael McCormick, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

It completely changed my career and my life. I served 3 tours as a civilian in Iraq rebuilding their aviation and transportation systems then managed airspace security for the U.S. I helped develop many of the post-9/11 security protocols.

Michelle Nadeau Reflects on her 9/11 Experience During Elementary School

Michelle Nadeau
Alexis Laszlo

It was less immediate for her on account of age but did affect her day-to-day as security was increased and events were canceled.

Please visit Michelle Nadeau's podcast to learn more about her personal reflections.

Mitchell Villafania Focus's on "The Global War on Terrorism" Post 9/11

Mitchell Villafania, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

9/11 completely changed the trajectory of my military career because the mission of the military changed to focus on the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). The focus of my career as a helicopter pilot post 9/11 wasOJT Counter-Insurgency Operations (COIN). This was a new environment and we had to learn to adapt while also finding ways to utilize technology developed for a linear fight.

Personal Reflections of Mitchell Villafania

Mitchell Villafania
Alexis Laszlo

He continued on to training, but was trying to understand how life would change.


Daniel Cutrer Reflects on His 9/12 Experience

Daniel A. Cutrer, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Daniel Cutrer mentions that he and everyone else in the Coast Guard had to step up and make sure that they were doing their job to the best of their ability during this time of uncertainty in the country. The day after 9/11 Cutrer had to fly from Mobile to Vermont to pick up a member of the New York Emergency Management Department that had been on a fishing trip and needed to get back to his duties. This moment stood out in Cutrer's professional career as it was one of the weirdest flights he had ever made. There was complete radio silence other than him and ATC communicating, and no other planes were moving around at the airport.

Please visit the attached video to learn more about Daniel Cutrer's personal reflections.

Hugh Reynolds Reflects on 9/11 From His Position as an Airline Captain

Hugh Reynolds, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

The entire airline industry and security philosophy were affected.

Jason Patla reflects on His 9/11 Experience from the Air Force

Jason Patla

When watching the news, Jason Patla remembers thinking after each strike that it couldn't get worse. Then two more happened leaving him in a state of disbelief. He said he felt some anger but an overwhelming sense of sadness. His professional career changed because of a severe increase in security at the military bases. His commute went from 20 minutes to hours in the months following. His thought process growing up was that the next war would be similar to the Cold War, where it circled a major superpower. Because of that mindset, he and much of the country at the time considered 9/11 to be such an unexpected attack.

Please visit the attached video to learn more about Jason Patla's personal reflections.

Mike Cole Shares His 9/11 Experience as a Soccer Coach

Mike Cole

Coach Mike Cole watched the attacks happened and initially thought it was a "Hollywood movie." He had this idea in his head similar to many Americans that this could never happen on our soil and that we as a country were somewhat untouchable. The statement that Embry Riddle had been involved was something that caused him to feel defensive. It was proved incorrect but the school still faced hardships thereafter because of the false allegations. The team was not allowed to wear any Embry Riddle gear around other communities for games and they had to cover up the logos on the vans when traveling. Cole felt a sense of pride when sports resumed in America.

Please see the attached video for more on Mike Cole's personal reflections.