Where were you 19 years ago today?
I got an urgent call from a neighbour: “Turn on your TV ….”
The first plane was down and the second and third were still in the air.
Not for long.
The rest of that day in 2001 was a bit of a blur — now.
Muskoka TODAY may have a weekly, but I was in my office right away and on the story from several local angles.
And it became big news in our paper, too, three days later on Friday, Sept. 14.
Staff member Betty Latham’s son, Daniel, was nearby, in New Jersey, driving truck.
He was across the Hudson River and said it sounded like a “volcano eruption.”
He could see the plumes of smoke
“Get me a photo,” I shouted over the phone.
“I don’t have a camera,” he said.
“Damn it — buy a disposable one and I’ll pay for it.
“And bring it in soon as you get back.”
Never did get that photo.
Within minutes — and live — there were more than enough iconic images flying around the globe from every angle sadly seared into our memories to this day.
But by then air spaces were being closed and planes grounded, diverted to the nearest airport.
Dave Martin had not long before moved to the Maritimes and was running a B&B with his wife, Mika.
Martin was the former manager of the old Muskoka Sands.
And he provided rooms for Americans who landed in troubled waters.
I got him on the phone for a great interview.
I remember the excitement and tension in his voice.
Still going late into the night — as the story continued to develop in all it’s horrifying and deadly ways — I back on the phone to Washington, D.C.
Staff member Craig’s Smith’s brother-in-law, John Ibittison, was bureau chief with the Globe and Mail in D.C.
John’s mother, Phyllis, had spoken to him from her Gravenhurst home to his U.S. home just a few minutes before and gave me his number.
I wanted to know more about the plane that went down in the U.S. capital.
But I couldn’t get through to Ibbitson a couple of times for an eyes and ground account.
Guess he didn’t want to scoop his own paper.
Luckily, three days later Muskoka TODAY did run Ibbitson’s Globe account — with the paper’s permission.
However, I did reach Steve Faulkener, then manager of the Muskoka Airport, where one plane was forced to land here in Gravenhurst, along with five others that were refused permission to take off that Sept. 11.
Alas … as the next few days emerged and we went to press we printed more local connections.
Including an interview with Donna Mohammed, a worker then at Muskoka Sands, whose mom, Jacqueline, who was due to shop in Manhattan that day, but due to a headache had to skip the trip.
And columnist Lois Cooper wrote about her family who worked three blocks from the Pentagon and were safe.
Cooper said Canada had to stand by her American cousins.
As big as the story was, we still covered former mayor John Klinck’s first trip to China for the town’s twinning with Tang County and its connection with Dr. Norman Bethune.
Today, 19 years later, 9/11 is still a big story we continue to cover and report on at MuskokaTODAY.com.
Send us your remembrances to firstname.lastname@example.org
OOH … SCARY!
Here are a few scary thoughts ….
“It’s not the mask kids have to worry about — but too much candy,” says Ontario’s chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams.
… Alberta schools won’t report “single” COVID outbreaks for fear of scaring students.
Sounds like Trump.
… Could the Raptors face Kawhi Leonard in the NBA Finals? We’ll know more tonight.
… Trump likes to double down, so it’s not surprising he says “Vote early, vote often.”
… Bob Woodward nixed one president; can he do it again? We’d make book on that.