Park Foresters, and Those Who Grew Up In Park Forest, Remember 9/11

Erik Glenna, left, my classroom aide on 9/11/2001, with me at the 2009 Tall Grass Art Fair. (Photo: Lane Cameron)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- 9/11.

That’s all we need say to unearth ineffable memories, fathomless, soul-stirring recollections, of that day, that terrible, incredible day.

When everything changed. Everything. Forever.


Where were you? What do you remember? Where were you standing? What were you eating? What scents or tastes do you recall?

Many of us have vivid recollections.

I was in my classroom. Erik Glenna was my aide. The television was on, and we watched the towers burn.

"They’ll never put that out," I said to the class, but more so to Erik.

He was a paid-on-call firefighter for Glenwood at the time.

Shortly after that, the South Tower collapsed.

I had no words.

Park Foresters and those who grew up here shared their recollections of That Day in the Facebook group "Grew Up In Park Forest" this week at the invitation of one of the administrators, Jo Anne Letourneau, " It is hard to believe it has been ten years, since 9-11! Do you remember where you were, and what you were doing, on that fateful day?"

Below are some of the comments, shared as posted.

Debby Gunter Zander: "Yes I was in the kitchen doing dishes and I have a Tv in there and saw it then ,,,"

Jo Anne Letourneau: "I lived on Gentry St. in Park Forest at the time, and my brother had the TV on. I was doing laundry. Getting ready to go to the thrift store with a friend that had called in sick."

Pamela Moore: "I was at work. In Sears Tower! People were gathered around one of the TV monitors on my floor and we saw the 2nd plane crash live on TV. Next we heard about an explosion at the Pentagon. My co-worker Mark said, "Sears Tower could be next" and we got the hell outta there. I worked from home for the next week."

Mickey Derrig: "Getting ready for work in AZ. Drove by Sky Harbor Airport and they had already stopped all flights. Spent a lot of time at work watching TV."

Christine Smith Krafcky: "Yes it was our second day on the job as house parents in Maine we were in a meeting so we could intake our first 3 girls in our group home and living 30 miles from the radar fields. We were put on alert as they thought it was a target. Saw both of the towers go down live on TV."

Anne E. Hendler "I was in class in uptown Manhattan, listening to the radio instead of the lecture when the first one fell. Classes were dismissed and we were all on the roof of my dorm when the second tower went down. It made a big cloud of white smoke you could see all over the island. Later that afternoon, a third building on that block fell down and we saw that go from the dorm windows. I heard a news reporter comment on a statement made by a child as his teacher was evacuating him. He looked up at objects falling from the burning buildings and said, "Look, even the birds are on fire." They weren’t birds. The reports got worse. By evening, friends started arriving from downtown (NYU area), covered in dust. They’d walked all the way and it was the first indication we had that they were alive. We all went out to donate blood and the banks sent us home. There weren’t enough survivors who needed it. There was no phone service and no one was allowed on or off the island. In the week that followed, a lot of things happened. Among the most positive was all the volunteer work being done in recovery at the Ground Zero site, as well as the supportive atmosphere in all the volunteer centers. People really showed how much they care about each other, even complete strangers. This is the first time I’ve talked about it. I write this in memoriam for all the lives lost and lives changed forever that day."

Tom Derrig: "All I know is not much work got done at the Cargill Hammond plant that day and there were a lot of people watching from the taller process building roofs towards the Chicago skyline. There weirdest part was the lack of any air planes in the air except for the vast number of fighter jets."

Mike Carroll: "I was at work for the Village of PF. We were putting in new street light wires on Nauvoo when school kids waiting for their bus said "We’re under attack!". I thought it was a kid’s game until 9#0 break and saw some of it on TV. I just remember an eerie quiet while we were working. It seemed surreal with absolutely no planes in the air. I didn’t even see the contrails of…"

Sandy Lynn Brudd: "I was working at the Nascar track in Joliet and we were watching it on tv."

Christine Bereck: "Strange thing, the morning of 9/11 I had nightmares about some apartment buildings that I owned, were on fire and collapsing. I was on a latter trying to help all the panicking tenants out. Left me waking up in an icky feeling mood. I was making the bed when my ex-boyfriend started yelling for me to come in the living room and look at the tv. We had channel 9 news on, and he wasn’t comprehending what he was seeing on the tv, he thought it was a movie clip!! Then the second plane hit, and we just sat there staring at the tv with gaping mouths…..will never forget."

Faith Carlson: "I was a student at PSC at the time. I heard about it on the radio on my way to school. I continued to listen to what was happening while I was in gym class and child development class."

Momma-Aunt Mary Carreras Cercone: "I was sitting in my chair 9mos pregnant, watching Oprah, when the news broke in on the towers, as I sat there listening to the horrific news, watching them jump from the building, and kept seeing the repeat footage of the planes going into the tower,people runnung all over the place trying to save one another, as well as themselves, my baby,Ashley, who is 10 now, due to me being upset, I could feel her getting all upset inside me…then my husband called me to see if I had heard anything, and cause I was on the phone already trying to call my sister, who lived in New York at the time, I never got to his call, which worried him that something was wrong with me…turned out, my sister’s husband was riding his bike to work, and saw the whole thing and felt the heat from the blast…lucky for him, he was alright and my sister."

Pami Toll: "Happened to be home .. caught the special report live on ABC with peter Jenning.. watched Tower TWO get hit and I fell to my knees.. and was in shock.. THIS Was not an instant replay.. people on the street were send phone videos to ABC catching it live from people down below.. it was terrifying.. nobody knew what that was about.. I was sick from upset for weeks there after.. and even years.."

Pami Toll: "Yes you could see people jumping from the Towers as they gave way and started collapsing.. Makes me ill thinking of"

Pami Toll: "we were stunned about the reports from Shanksville half hour later.. I thought the USA was under attack .. at war.. or something.. it was unbelievable.."

Scott Powell: "I was at work. We had just moved into our new building and the have TV’s spread out on all the floors with one of the cable news channels on. Needless to say the rest of the day was shot."

Faith Bossle Vaught: "I was teaching in Decatur and it was my prep period. A substitute teacher was running up and down the halls telling everyone that they were bombing the twin towers. I refuse to believe her for 1/2 hour and then went to the lounge. I got there just as the second tower was hit. All I could think of was all the people who commuted and the train station under the towers. Later some friends from New Jersey called and told me their and their family’s stories."

Beth Melone: "I was at Ultra shopping. When I got to the check out, I heard people talking about "an act of war" I couldn’t get home fast enough."

Margaret Walz: "I was on my way to work and thinking "what a beautiful day" when i heard on the radio that a plane hit the first tower, but the initial report didn’t indicate the size of the plane. When I got to work, someone came into the office and told us about the second plane. We all went to the nearest TV and watched until the towers fell. We were all in shock."

Darlene Rita-Hennis: "I was watching channel 9 news Chicago. They were showing the first plane that went into the tower and then the 2nd one hit. When the 3rd went down, my friend called me and I told her they are not done yet! Sure enough , we then heard about the 4th. I really thought the sears tower would have been next!"

Elaine A Patterson: "I had just changed my daughters diaper and was looking out the window watching two women walking and pushing strollers. I recall thinking and thanking God for such a beautiful day. The phone rang and my husband and mother in law were together freaking out over what had happened. It sounded too odd to be true, they tend to be overly dramatic. My husband wanted me to pull the two kids out of school, they thought the whole country was being attacked. I called my Dad, and he told me what had happened but that it was only the New York area. I turned on the TV and was shocked and stunned over what was playing out before me. I called the school and they said the kids had no idea and that it was up to me if I wanted to pull them out or not. I left them there, and stayed glued to the news reports most of the day. Needless to say, the kids knew all about it when they got home that afternoon."

Andy Plotkin: "I was driving to work on C470 and remember hearing about the first plane striking the tower on NPR. When I arrived at work the second plane had hit. Several of us, patients and doctors, just stood in the waiting room watching it on TV."

Melissa Shepet Born: "I was late for work. It was a beautiful day and I turned on the television to doublecheck the weather before I left the house. Peter Jennings was saying that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center and they were not sure if it was an accident or intentional. Just then the second plane hit. It became obvious what was happening. I went into the living room where my mother in law was watching PBS with my 22 month old and 9 month old babies. The little one had just learned to walk and toddled across the whole room to come over to me. As I watched him I wondered what kind of a world he would be growing up in. Would there be a war he would have to fight in when he was older? Would our lives and way of living be changed forever? I told my mother in law what was happening and she didn’t seem to be too upset. So I left for work at the local college. Everyone was in our conference room watching the coverage and certain that they would close down the campus and send us home. They did not. I live on a flight path for Midway and the skies were eerily quite for the next several days…"

Ellen Fensch: "I had just gotten off the train downtown and was on my way to work when my cell phone rang and it was my boss. She told me there had been a terrorist attack in New York and I remember thinking she didn’t know what she was talking about! When I got to the office, everyone was huddled around TV’s watching the events unfold in front of our eyes. Everyone was silent with occassional gasps and hands over their mouths as we watched the towers come down. Pretty soon there was an announcement over the intercom from the President of the company telling us to leave the office and go home as quickly as possible. Once I got outside everything was chaos. There were so many people on the streets and everyone was talking on their cell phones. People had scared looks on their faces. I got to the train station and it was packed. I remember feeling vulnerable down there with so many people gathered at one time, waiting for trains to take us home. Once I was at home I felt better but spent the rest of the day glued to the TV watching the towers fall over and over again."