Sept. 11, 2001: Georgians Still Remember After 20 Years

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20 years have passed since terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. However, most Americans remember exactly what they were doing on that unforgettable morning.

Many Georgians were on their way to work when they heard the news. Others were at home, eyes fixed to their TVs.

In an effort to remember this tragic day, four Georgians were asked to recount their personal memories of Sept. 11, 2001.

Tim Sapecky, 57, of Hoschton

Tim and Karen Sapecky with their two boys in 2001 (Photo courtesy of Tim Sapecky)

Tim Sapecky was on his way to work the morning of the attacks.

“I remember exactly what I was doing at approximately 9 a.m. because it’s the same thing I did every morning,” he said.

Sapecky said he was listening to “The Regular Guys,” a radio show on 96 Rock, when it was interrupted by a news broadcast claiming a giant commercial airplane had crashed into one of the twin towers.

The office worker said he immediately thought of his wife, who was pregnant at the time, and his two children, but was not able to call them, as he didn’t have his shared cell phone.

“I just sat in my car, listening to the radio broadcast intently,” he said, “and before I actually got to work or shortly thereafter, a second plane crashed into the second twin tower.”

When he made it to the office, Sapecky said his coworkers were speculating about the origins of the attack, and it was the first time he’d ever heard the name “Osama bin Laden.”

“Because I was an insurance consultant, a quite boring job, the office environment was always relatively quiet, but it was even quieter on that day.” — Tim Sapecky

Karen Sapecky, 56, of Hoschton

Karen Sapecky, wife of Tim Sapecky, was at home taking care of their two 1-year-olds during the attacks.

“I was shocked,” she said. “I saw it on TV, and I was very scared. I didn’t know what to do because I was at home alone with two babies and pregnant with another one.”

The expecting mother said she called her best friend for comfort.

“We just kept waiting, watching the TV and listening to the reports to make sure that we were safe,” she said.

Her husband was driving to work towards Atlanta at the time, and she said she was worried something would happen in the city.

“Every time I see the clock say 9:11, I think about that over and over again,” she said. “It’s just a very sad and shocking thing.”

Kadi Tate, 60, of Athens

Kadi Tate was teaching elementary school in Gainesville on Sept. 11, 2001.

Kadi Tate in 2001 (Photo courtesy of Kadi Tate)

Tate was a new teacher at the school. She was lining up the children when an older teacher called her into her classroom.

“I thought I was in trouble because I was new at the school,” she said.

She let the children out for recess and walked into her coworker’s classroom.

“When I walked in there, there was fire on the TV, on the buildings,” she said. “Then I saw that second airplane hit, and I thought, what is going on?”

The second-grade teacher said most of the students didn’t know about the attacks, as they weren’t allowed to tell them.

“That day, I went home and watched the news,” she recalls. “It didn’t become real for a long time.”

Now, Tate teaches second grade in Jefferson and says security measures have changed since 2001.

“Just the fact that we have to think like that now, that people would be walking around with guns and might want to come in and shoot, is so sad.”

Donna Brookshire, 61, of Monroe

Donna Brookshire was working as a medical technician at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta during the attacks.

Brookshire said the staff was huddled around the TV in the lobby, watching the events unfold.

Donna Brookshire in 2001 (Photo courtesy of Donna Brookshire)

“My mouth dropped open,” she said. “I couldn’t believe what was happening. I could see people jumping out of the buildings and it was awful.”

“Thinking about it makes me sad,” she stated. “Knowing so many people grew up without their mom or dad, and how they still honor that today is very touching.”

Years later, Brookshire visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City. She remembers the experience as very surreal. The whole place was very quiet out of sheer respect.

“I was looking out the window of the One World Trade Center, thinking how people had jumped from this height,” she said. “It was just devastating to think someone would actually jump.”