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Remembering 9/11 With Former Guests And Enduring Friends

Voices of 9/11. Old friends and guests return, and remember.

A woman places a small flag in a circle of remembrances at ground zero left by family members and friends of victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on the one year anniversary of the attacks Wednesday, September 11, 2002. Thousands of family and friends gathered at the site throughout the morning and into the afternoon. (AP)

A woman places a small flag in a circle of remembrances at ground zero left by family members and friends of victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on the one year anniversary of the attacks Wednesday, September 11, 2002. Thousands of family and friends gathered at the site throughout the morning and into the afternoon. (AP)

9/11 and its aftermath were epic traumas. They were also intensely personal. From the first days after the attacks, we’ve been talking with people whose personal lives and loved ones were hit by that day of terror.

People with searing, direct experience of the attacks and their toll. A reporter, right there on that day. A banker from the 104th floor of the South Tower. A widow of one of the pilots whose plane hit the World Trade Center. Mothers going forward without fathers.

This hour On Point: we bring them back. On the 10th anniversary. Voices of 9/11, and what they say now.

-Tom Ashbrook


Beth Fertig, senior reporter WNYC, her essay “Listening Back” appears in the collection “At Ground Zero: Young Reporters Who Were There Tell Their Stories.”

Cindy McGinty, her husband Mike, then 42 years old, was on the 99th floor of Tower One when the first plane struck the Twin Towers.

Jimmy Dunne
, a senior managing principal at Sandler O’Neill, an investment bank. On Sept 11th, its primary offices were on the 104th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

Peg Ogonowski Hatch, her husband Captain John Ogonowski was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to hit the towers.


The 9/11 attacks are remembered in countless ways from those who want to relive those tragic moments in detail, to those who just want to move on. We spoke with several witnesses, victims and others affected by the attacks and shared in their remembrances.

“I always feel a little bit uncomfortable this time of year,” said WNYC senior reporter Beth Fertig. “I feel very overwhelmed by the amount of attention that the event gets, and its especially so now. It is everywhere, it is just pervasive.”

That’s difficult, she says, especially since she’s tried to put the past behind her. “I’ve moved on with my life, which a lot of people do in different ways. And just note it every year as an amazing and horrible thing that happened in the city…The city has moved on and we generally don’t think about it much except at this time of year.”

Cindy McGinty, whose husband Mike was on the 99th floor of Tower One when the first plane struck the Twin Towers, is also moving on. But the process has been long and difficult. “I would say it is more moving forward in a really deliberate way,” she said. “Some things that have happened over the past few years have made that possible. I think I’ve reframed what has happened to us.”

“I’m always willing to talk about it,” said Peg Ogonowski Hatch, whose husband Captain John Ogonowski was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to hit the towers. “It’s not something that I’ll bring up on my own. But if someone does want to talk about it, I’m willing. I think that it is something that needs to be remembered. I’m willing to go there, when it’s necessary.”

Caller Angelique I was there that day on the 77th floor. I was there for a sales meeting, so my story is different from many of the others on your panel.

Tom Ashbrook Which tower were you in, Angelique?

Angelique Well, strangely enough when I arrived that day, they required you to get a name tag, a photo ID and so I went up the North Tower. And I realized that I was in the wrong place. I went down and went up the South Tower. I was there for probably 15 minutes when my manager came in and said that there had been an explosion nextdoor and that everyone had to get out. We followed him out.

Ashbrook Did you walk down 77 flights? Was that your way out?

Angelique That was our way out, yes… We did feel the impact of the second plane hitting our building that day…As a survivor that wasn’t injured, I didn’t lose a family member. It’s very challenging this time of year. It is hard to hear ‘just get over it.’ I don’t know what and I don’t know how to tell [my son].

Asbrook He doesn’t know that you were there?

Angelique No. I’d really like to tell him this year.

From Tom’s Reading List

Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma “The press release arrived in my email one day in early August. It was from the Fire Department of New York, announcing that—in compliance with a lawsuit brought by the New York Times—the department would be releasing the recordings of its dispatch tapes from September 11, 2001. I read the instructions and felt a tight grip in my stomach. “Not again,” I thought.”


WNYC Senior Radio Reporter Beth Fertig Remembers 9/11

WNYC’s Special Coverage “Decade 9/11

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  • Lilya Lopekha
    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      At the risk of asking you to speculate, what’s your point?  That link shows a document that is mostly blank.

    • Sam Walworth

      welcome back Lilya :-)

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

        She’s never gone.  She does get banned for posting irrelevant nonsense in any discussion.

  • Yar

    Why is the world trade center site hallowed ground?  I believe it is hallowed, not because of the deaths of so many, but because of how they lived on that final day.  A community was working together to save lives.  When we focus only on death, hate wins, when we focus on life, love can prevail.  I hope on this tenth year of remembrance we remember the love shared on that day and over this past decade, not the fear or hate.  The acts of kindness far outnumber those of hate, we will never be able to count them all. The message “I love you,” is the final word.

  • Brian

    They say creativity is the only worthwhile outcome of conflict. This show is one of the best things to come out of the 9/11 disaster. In the hours after the towers fell, we gathered in groups to hold each other up. In the days and weeks that followed we gathered through our radios and computers to share our thoughts, feelings and questions. Thank you Tom, staff and WBUR for being the polis in the center where all of us could come together, share and learn. And thank you for never stopping since that tragic day.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    My continued condolences to those that lost loved ones in the attacks, and the aftermath!   I often think of my brother-and-sister Fire-Fighters and First-Responders, that run TO the danger, and their losses!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    Don’t let granite monuments and warm condolences hide the truth.

    There has yet to be an honest and effective investigation of 9/11.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

      Oh please.  Can’t you let it go for one hour?

      • Darshan Haward

        With all due respect, No we cannot. 
        Once you get the the fact that the Official Story is a Lie and people have died and Why the Media is part of this incredible Cover-up, you just can’t sit still and assume that everything is going to be alright and wish for the easiest closure.
        N way, we just can’t!

        • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

          Why, at least, can’t you be relevant?  Today’s episode was about the memories of people who were touched by the event, not about what caused it.  Those who aren’t self-important and self-absorbed know when to let others speak on their subjects.

          Your claims aren’t facts.  You’re making an interpretation of the event, an interpretation that many intelligent and knowledgeable people see as wrong.  All right?

          • Anonymous

             Thank you for posting this. It seems to me that some of these folks are extremist, not unlike the ones who were responsible that tragic day.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Check out the 8/25 OnPoint show, http://onpoint.wbur.org/2011/08/25/conspiracy-theories-and-the-sept-11-terrorist-attacks, for a rather extended comments section, as well as the radio show on it.

    • BHA in Vermont

      Give it a rest.

  • BHA in Vermont

    I prefer “Moving forward” to “Moving on”. No particular reason I guess other than the former sounds more as if the memory remains but there is a future. The latter more  a closed book “gone and forgotten”.

  • BHA in Vermont

    I wonder if the ‘resilient children’ Ms. McGinty references are really so resilient. Unless they were so young as to not remember their family member(s) who died, I suspect many are not so much resilient as blocking and it will come back at some point. 

  • BHA in Vermont

    Mr. Dunne’s comments just now are exactly what I was thinking when the guy across the hall said his wife called to say a plane had hit the WTC: “Some idiot in a small private plane got too close”. Then we found the video feeds.

  • Rosalinda in Madison Wisconsin

    My younger daughter was in her first year at Columbia. I was in Milwaukee Wisconsin and heard about the first plane on my way to work. I unable to talk to my daughter until late that evening as email and cell phones were not working. She and I were talking this morning and she said she remembers waking up in her dorm, seeing the wonderfully blue sky, and thinking “it was a wonderful day to be alive”.

  • Karen

    To the caller who was pregnant and in the tower that day.  Thank you for sharing your story.  I have tears in my eyes.  

  • Sara Giannoni

    Sad to hear that some people are told to “get over it.”  I’m still effected by every story I hear and know no one who was killed, and few who were directly effected.  Some things will always be painful.

  • inky

    I remember hearing about the first plane on NPR. Watching later that day on the computer at work, returning home to find my sick husband and neighbors gathered around our TV (there weren’t too many of those in our commune). It was a tragic event, and momentous, yet I find myself becoming resentful (and hiding it because it seems mean-spirited) every year at this time, because for me it was the year my husband died of cancer. My 7 and 4 yr old children lost a father too – the spring after the towers fell – but our loss is not described for days in the news each year.

  • Ksbdirect

    I vividly remember 9/11 when I heard, via NPR, that the towers had been struck. I watched the live coverage for several minutes b4 frantically calling to learn if my sister was there. I just wanted someone to say she wasn’t in Manhattan that morning. But, she was there.
    She exited the subway after the 1st plane struck and tried to find shelter on the street. Ultimately, she started walking north. She has not spoken of that day, that I am aware, since then. She now lives in San Francisco and has 2 children.
    I don’t know how she feels, but I am still affected each year by how close our family came to the tragedly as well as the people my company lost that day.

  • bostonbender

    What was the name of the song played at the end and where can I get it?

    • Alex Kingsbury

      it is called Steps To Peace and you can here it here on this page, under the heading “more.”

  • Muslims did 9-11

    9-11, thousands of innocent Americans died.

    Who would ever doubt that Islam is a religon of ‘peace’?

    Funny thing is that, I’ve never heard of Christian, Jewish or Buddhist people taking over planes by force and flying them into buildings.

    • Hidan

      Since 9/11 there been about 16 people killed by Islamist or people linked to Islamist in America, but over 78+ people killed in America by right-wing hate groups and people linked to those groups.

      “Funny thing is that, I’ve never heard of Christian, Jewish or Buddhist
      people taking over planes by force and flying them into buildings.”

      Just like I never heard of Christians,Muslim or Buddhist dropping White Phosphorous on civilians.(http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5575070.ece)

      Or Muslims or Buddhist using automatic drones to drop bombs on people. 

      Out of the 4 Buddhist seem to be on top considering how they tend to act morally

  • Hidan


    NEW YORK—As media coverage of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 ramps up this
    week, citizens across the United States collectively realized they
    would rather think about the terrorist attacks of 2001 than about
    anything else that has transpired in the subsequent decade.

  • Hidan

    what was that with WBUR and it’s weeks coverage?

    Just look at what the others networks are doing,

    Responsible Cable News Outlets To Devote Sensible Amount Of Airtime To 10th Anniversary Of 9/11″

    According to the news providers, they only intend to devote 15
    minutes of coverage to the anniversary, tops, saying it is their
    obligation as professional journalists to do justice to the victims’
    memories as opposed to using the occasion for their own ratings gain.

    In addition, network representatives admitted it would be lazy news
    reporting to use the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks as an
    excuse to fill up hundreds of hours of programming with repetitive video
    packages and anchors repeatedly asking their guests, “How did 9/11
    change America?”


  • Aquavoce

    i think that it would be hard to put something do tragic in the past. All we can do is learn from it and use the rememberance as a day to help others

  • d.paul kay

    Is this all being dredged by the media because anniversery of “things” sells newspapers?

    What is value of bringing it up?

    I think more bad in the form of renewed hatred comes from it.

  • Darshan Haward

    Here is the Transcript of the Previous Program…. thanks to Daniel LaLiberte

Sep 3, 2014
This still image from an undated video released by Islamic State militants on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, purports to show journalist Steven Sotloff being held by the militant group. The Islamic State group has threatened to kill Sotloff if the United States doesn't stop its strikes against them in Iraq. Video released Tuesday, Sept. 02, 2014, purports to show Sotloff's murder by the same rebel group. (AP)

Another beheading claim and ISIS’s use of social media in its grab for power.

Sep 3, 2014
In this Fall 2013 photo provided by the University of Idaho, students in the University of Idaho’s first Semester in the Wild program take a class in the Frank Church-River Of No Return Wilderness, Idaho. (AP)

MacArthur “genius” Ruth DeFries looks at humanity’s long, deep integration with nature – and what comes next. She’s hopeful.

Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

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