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10/01/2020

Were you there?  September 11, 2001

Tales of TAHRA September 2020 from Patricia Basham, Historian

On, September 11, 2001, the TAHRA Annual Meeting was being held in Memphis, at the Downtown Marriott. The General Session Breakfast started at 8:00 a.m. with the Welcome by Eddy Casteel, TAHRA President. The Keynote Speaker was Dr. Joe Pettigrew from Bolivar. During breakfast people began coming in with reports being whispered of a plane crash in New York.  The mood continually sobered as more reports were relayed. More crashes reported, more unease. 

Immediately after the speaker was finished, a short recess was called. The Board huddled and came back with the announcement that we were going to do a very quick election of officers, give away only the big prizes and leave. Denelda Price was quickly installed as the new TAHRA President but chose not to give her incoming president remarks, she like most of us just wanted to go. Eddy admitted later, he was scared and just wanted to get home to his family.  Most of us felt that way.  

We were told all planes out of Memphis were grounded and those people with flight reservations were very concerned about how to get home. I remembered we gathered around to see who was flying out and if anyone was driving close to where they were going. Lisa Bonadio was supposed to fly home and I think Don Alexander and Tommy Hale offered her a ride.

Getting packed up, checked out and catching the elevator seemed to take forever. We were very close to the Memphis federal buildings and men in uniform, carrying guns, were suddenly at every corner.  While it wasn't panic, it was chaotic.  I can't imagine how the people close to those crash sites must have felt.

Our hearts still go out to those lost and injured that day. We are so grateful for the many sacrifices made on behalf of our country and citizens. Let us never forget the brave men and women that climbed those towers trying to save those trapped. 

To commemorate their sacrifice, eight members of emergency services in McMinnville, TN, climbed 110 stories (the height of the World Trade Center) in the McMinnville Housing Authority five-story building wearing full gear or uniforms on September 8, 2019. Yes, it took 22 trips up and down. This was a fund raiser for the Tunnel to Towers Foundation which benefits the families of wounded & fallen military & emergency service personnel. McMinnville Housing Authority was proud to be a part of this September 11 remembrance.

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