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September 22
1969 - College of the Canyons opens with first class of students in temporary quarters at Hart High School [story]


Guest Commentary by Patti Rasmussen
| Friday, Sep 9, 2011

Ten years ago I was working at the local newspaper covering education. The community was still reeling over the death of Deputy Jake Kuredjian, gunned down when he arrived to provide backup for federal agents who were trying to serve a warrant Stevenson Ranch.

My husband and teenage son joined a group of guys for a week-long hunting trip in Alaska and I was home with my youngest son. As usual, I had the television on while getting ready for work Tuesday morning when the second plane hit the World Trade Center in New York.

My colleague at the newspaper called me and said I should come in to work immediately.

Why would an airplane disaster on the East Coast affect us here on the West Coast?

Watch, she said. Everything will start shutting down.

She was right.

All of us at the newspaper were glued to the television like the rest of the world. Information was sketchy, and there were a lot of questions about what exactly was going on. For the next couple of days, the reporters at our little community newspaper worked day and night as information slowly came to light.

Airplanes were grounded and people were stranded all over. My husband and son waited three days for a seaplane to pick up the hunters in the Alaskan wildness. They had no idea what had transpired until they were rescued  Friday and the pilot brought them out a case of beer and some newspapers.

One of my neighbors had a relative visiting from New York who was due to fly back that Tuesday. He couldn’t book a flight for more than a week. (He eventually moved his entire family to Santa Clarita.)

Tragically, I also found out a high school classmate had a daughter on one of the planes coming home from New York after a summer internship.

Other parents watched as their children signed up for military service in record numbers. Some of those children didn’t come home, either.

We are still fighting this war, trying to rebuild New York, waiting in long lines to board airplanes while we throw away water bottles and subject ourselves to intensive screening.

Are we safer? Will this war ever be over? Can the families of the victims and those who worked at the World Trade Center ever be fully compensated?

Our world changed on Sept. 11, and who knows if we can make things right? But we will always remember where we were and how we felt.

 

Patti Rasmussen is a freelance writer in Newhall.

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