Posted: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 12:00 am
Every year as we approach 9-11, people across the country pause and think about that tragic day. The vivid images of New York City’s majestic twin towers bursting into flames, the skyline suddenly overpowered with thick, billowing plumes of smoke and people gazing in shock as the catastrophe unfolded, are images Americans will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Benson residents Ann and Louis Guerrini are from New York state and used to vacation there in their RV regularly. They were visiting Long Island and had left their RV in Syracuse when the attack happened.
“We were planning to go into New York City to see a Broadway play, but found tickets for a show on Long Island, so we changed our plans and didn’t go into the city,” Ann said as she recalled that day. “If we had gone into New York City as planned, we would have been right down in the area of the attack.”
Instead, Ann and Louis were watching the attack on television as it happened. “When my husband watched that first plane fly into the first tower, he said, ‘that was no accident.’ He was in the military and worked with planes, and he knew we were being attacked. Then the second plane hit. It was a sad, sad day for America.”
Ann also recalls how clear the New York skyline was as she and her husband drove over the bridge into Long Island the Sunday before the attack. “It was the clearest, most beautiful New York skyline we had ever seen,” she said. “We kept talking about how pretty the city looked and how clear the sky was. The attack happened on a Tuesday, and when we left Long Island on the following Sunday, you couldn’t even see the city because of the smoke.”
Because bridges leading in and out of New York City and the surrounding area were closed for security reasons, the Guerrini’s thought they would have to take a ferry back to Syracuse where they left the RV. But the bridges reopened again after a week, so they were able to leave Long Island by taking the bridge.
“One of the things we noticed when we were out driving, is there was very little traffic,” Ann said. “We usually had to sit in long lines of traffic as we were going over the bridges, but no one was out driving. It was eerie. It reminded us of when President Kennedy was assassinated. People were staying close to their televisions to hear the latest news coverage, and no one was driving around.”
Ann is a volunteer at Benson Hospital and says because she and her husband are getting older, they don’t travel as much as they used to.
“It’s hard to believe the attack happened more than 10 years ago,” she said. “I remember it like it was yesterday.”
(Editor’s Note: Sara Brown contributed to this report.)