The annual Dodge City 9-11 memorial service is scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at the Liberty Garden in Wright Park. Representatives from public safety agencies, the military and VFW Post 1714 will be in attendance to remember the tragic events that happened eleven years ago and to salute the ongoing military commitment to maintain our freedoms.
The Globe asked for readers' reflections of the 9-11 attacks and received the following:
Steve Deno- "I was working on KGNO that morning with Steve Brown. After the first plane hit, I ran to the newswire and made copies of the story for us to read. This was followed by the NEXT explosion, which I thought was just an update on the initial hit, but Steve set me straight. I couldn't imagine a pair of buildings with their own zip codes being attacked like that. After we turned it all over to the networks for coverage, we witnessed our first images of this horrific sight on a TV somebody brought in. It was truly surreal and something I pray we never experience again."
Doris Fowler- "My husband Leonard and I were in the World Trade Center on the afternoon of the 10th. I remember, while gazing out the window on the 107th floor, that I was astonished at the sky that day- like a cornflower blue Kansas sky, it seemed almost unnatural for New York City. On the morning of 9/11, we were just about to board the bus when the first plane hit- everyone thought it was an accident. When the second plane hit the tower we knew this was no accident! I remember thinking this is just a bad dream this cannot be real! The memory fades of course but it's like the first refrain for the song "Stardust"; "Sometimes I wonder why" and yes sometimes I too wonder WHY!"
Last year, Bev Temaat shared the following remembrance of 9-11 events:
Bev Temaat: Life is full of those unexpected “defining moments” that we look back on with fondness and treasure later when we finally realize the significance. Such was the case, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
At 9:45 a.m., the FAA issued a rare directive grounding all US flights that were in the air at the time. The pilots were required to land as quickly as possible “at the nearest airport.” We soon learned that a number of passenger planes would be landed at Garden City and Dodge City soon and that the College was being activated as an emergency response/shelter location.
We set up cots in the gym, found vans and busses, made arrangements for food and water, cleaned and stocked the restrooms and showers, and scheduled meeting rooms for officials. And then, we met the passengers as they arrived on campus. They were shocked and disoriented. We spent a lot of time explaining that yes, they were in Dodge City and yes, they were in Kansas.
Page 2 of 2 - All of them were desperate to find a phone to call family to make sure they were safe, especially those in New York. The passengers wanted no food, no water, just phones and live TV coverage.
We tried to find anything they asked for. They asked for very little.
The passengers had the same question we had, that we could not answer: 'Who had done this and why?'
Around 2 a.m. one of the passengers called to say they were all back together in the meeting room.
“We can’t sleep and we want to go somewhere to pray,” he said.
We told them we would be there soon. I grabbed the Ministerial Alliance list of all the DC churches and asked where they wanted transportation.
“The church doesn’t matter to us, you pick one,” they said. "But we all want to stay together.”
For the entire time they were in DC, every morning and every evening they went together to different churches. And the church members were so very kind at each place, giving them food and encouragement.
Word spread on campus that most of them had little cash on hand and had planned to use mostly credit cards because they were traveling on business. Soon, an envelope was being passed amongst employees. Most used them to buy long distance phone cards and were able to spend precious minutes talking to family, co-workers and friends.
Tragically, during their stay in Dodge City, some learned that they had lost loved ones in the attack. These “big city,” people became our life- long friends, and we became theirs. They bonded together in the middle of tragedy and they included us in that bond.
Many community members assisted these passengers. And bills for their services, time and expenses were never sent nor expected.
Those three days are precious now and they were filled with “defining moments,” and valuable lessons about what really is important in life.