Some producers were in the middle of harvest when they heard about the attacks in New York
By Diego Flammini
Sept. 11, 2019 marks the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York City.
Between 8:46 a.m. and 10:28 a.m. EST on that day in 2001, 19 men highjacked four commercial planes, crashing two of them into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, one into the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and one in a field near Shanksville, Penn. A total of 2,977 people died in the attacks.
U.S. farmers remember where they were when news of the incidents started to spread.
“I was harvesting sweet corn and I remember hearing news coming through about a plane hitting one of the towers,” Jason Swede, a cash crop producer from Piffard, N.Y., told Farms.com. His farm is about seven hours from Ground Zero. “Initially we thought it was small plane, but when we heard about the second plane hitting, we knew were in trouble and that this wasn’t an accident.”
“I was in my insurance office when the news started to come across,” Derek Jackson, an insurance agent and wheat grower from Torrington, Wy., told Farms.com. “I didn’t get to see any of the footage until I got home that evening and it was just sickening.”
Those individuals who saw the attacks unfold are now helping the younger generation understand what happened on that day.
Everyone needs to work together to ensure nobody forgets Sept. 11, Swede said.
“We’ve got a whole generation of younger people who weren’t around when the attacks happened and are asking why we commemorate the day,” he said. “It never gets easier to talk about what happened that day, but we have to do it.”
Jackson likened the videos of the Sept. 11 attacks to another tragedy that was broadcast over television stations.
On Jan. 28, 1986, NASA’s space shuttle Challenger exploded on live TV only 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven of its crew members.
Watching the planes strike the towers was akin to seeing the shuttle disintegrate, Jackson said.
“You’re watching it happen right before your eyes and you’re basically speechless,” he said. “So many questions and emotions go through your head but you’re sitting there almost paralyzed by what you saw.”