9/11: As We Remember It
Mackenzie Slusser
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

9/11: As We Remember It

On a regular Tuesday morning, Mr. Jeff Chronister was in the copy room at Norman North when a co-worker approached him and asked him if he had seen TV that morning and he responded no, he hadn’t turned it on. “He told me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I could see that—a big, tall building maybe there was fog. The Empire State Building had been hit like that. In my class, I flipped the TV on and they were showing closeups of the building on CNN. They were saying that it was a light civil aircraft that hit the tower. A plane that would take off out of Poteau. I looked at the angle of it, where the plane went in and I’m thinking, ‘That looks like too big of a hole for a plane like that.’ The bell rang and the first-hour class came in and we were watching when the second plane hit. It was obvious at that point that that had to be some sort of planned thing, a terrorist attack—not two accidents. We continued to watch both buildings collapse and eventually, the school made us turn the TVs off. They were afraid it would traumatize people but later they came to their senses and told us that we could turn them back on. I watched all day in all of my classes.”

“Being the history teacher, you’re trying to figure out who and why. Bin Laden had been on the radar screen for American intelligence and President Clinton said when he saw the plane hit the second tower that he knew immediately who had done it. I had never heard of Osama Bin Laden, so the more that came in that day, the more you’re trying to piece two and two together. ‘Why would someone do this?’ and ‘How did they pull it off?’ that sort of thing.”

“It turned out that Zacarias Moussaoui, the supposed backup twentieth hijacker (though intelligence is still unsure maybe he was supposed to be the replacement for Ramzi bin al-Shibh). Zacarias Moussaoui was captured in Minnesota three weeks before the Trade Center bombing because his visa had expired and was speeding. He had been taking his flight school lessons in Norman, Oklahoma. The flight school in Norman is across the street from our practice facility. I can remember that fall. He was there (of course I didn’t know he was there at the time). We would stand outside and watch the players run on the track outside of our practice facility and I remember watching planes take off. When I read the 9/11 report I remember thinking, “Okay, well Moussaoui was in one of those planes.”

Mr. Travis Cook remembers during the aftermath that, “As a Pastor, I had a lot of people, you know, kind of talk to me about it. Like, what this means and kind of wanting to get back on the right path. I know a lot of people that really turned their lives around at that time, too. It opened their eyes that anything could happen at any time. You never know.” That day changed our lives forever. We have more security and take even more precautions than we ever did before For that, we are safer. That day may have knocked us down, but we got back up. We remain resilient, however. Even more so after that tragic day.