Museum Musings September 10 2016
This Sunday is September 11th, a day that haunts the collective memories of Americans everywhere. At Geary County Historical Society, we are honored to be the caretakers to Geary County’s past, and with that in mind, this week’s musings will look at where some of the staff and volunteers were when the events of 9/11 were unfolding. Whether we are transplants to the area or lifelong members of the Geary County community, this attack on our nation unites us as citizens and as human beings, so we wanted to share with you our history.
Katie Goerl, Executive Director: I was in math class on 9/11. We knew something was wrong when the phone rang and our cheerful teacher suddenly became very serious. She told us what happened and we watched the news for a few minutes, before the first tower collapsed, but our teacher quickly turned it off. The day went on as usual after that, yet we all knew that our world had changed. I had so many questions that the adults in my life could not answer. The next day, when my mom dropped me off at school, I remember asking if we would go to war. She did not know.
Marion Schweitzer, Director of Programs and Education: I was a retail employee in Dothan, Alabama at the time. I was supposed to work the closing shift and my 2 boys were in Preschool and 1st grade respectively. I had left the gym and turned on my car right after the 1st tower had been struck. By the time I entered my home I witnessed the second plane hitting the second tower. I can remember watching the coverage through tears and feeling sorrow and disbelief. The hardest part was that since my boys were so young at the time I had to find the words to explain why “Mommy and teachers were crying.”
Heather Hagedorn, Museum Curator: I was 12 years old. I was in my 7th grade history class when the planes struck the Twin Towers. The teacher had just rolled the old TV cart into the room to show us a film about the American Revolution when the first plane struck and he had the forethought to turn the TV to the local news. So I watched the second plane hit while sitting in the second row of my history class. We spent the rest of the day in lock down since we lived in a Chicago suburb and there was talk that Chicago was a potential target.
John Sterling, Facilities Manager: I was at work at the post office on 9/11. We didn’t have a TV at work so I didn’t know exactly what was going on until I got home. Then it dawned on me that hey, this is really something serious. It really didn’t hit me until then. I thought, well, that’s the world going to pot for you.
Paula Hansen, Volunteer: On 9/11 I was on Post teaching at Ware Kindergarten at Ware Elementary. The news was kept from the children but the administration was monitoring the news. Post immediately closed so there were long lines coming on Post as I was leaving that day. The next morning there was a two hour wait to get to school and we were met by armed guards at the school checking identification.
Fort Riley is holding a 9/11 commemoration ceremony at the Global War on Terrorism monument between Cavalry Parade Field and the Cavalry Museum at 10 a.m. Sunday.
Soldiers, families, friends of Fort Riley and family members of soldiers killed in action in support of overseas contingency operations will gather for the ceremony at 10 a.m. Sunday. The ceremony will honor and remember those who lost their lives on the 11th of September, 2001 and recognize the sacrifice of the men and women who defend our freedom.
Brig. General Patrick Frank, 1st Infantry Division is scheduled to be the speaker for the event, which is open to the public. Those without a Department of Defense ID card need to arrive early at the Henry Gate visitor control center to get a pass to the installation.
If you would like to share where you were when the events of September 11th unfolded, please visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/GearyHistory or visit us at the museum Tuesday through Sunday from 1-4 pm.