Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacksMost people remember where they were when terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001.
By: Jen Cullen, The Republican Eagle
Most people remember where they were when terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001.
For one Red Wing resident, it was at Ground Zero.
"You just had the sinking feeling that you didn't know where this would end," Sara Johnson, a 1969 Red Wing Central High School graduate, told the Republican Eagle a few days after the attack.
Johnson was attending a business meeting at a building sandwiched between the two World Trade Center towers when a plane struck the first building. She and a friend made a run for safety and were eventually herded out of lower Manhattan.
Back in Red Wing, family members awaited word on other Red Wing natives at or near the Pentagon that morning when a plane barreled into the government building.
Nate Freier, a 1984 Central High graduate, worked in a new field in the U.S. Army called strategic places and policies.
His mother, Mary Rockvam, left her job as Twin Bluff Middle School secretary and went home immediately after learning about the attack on the Pentagon. She knew he worked in the wing of the building that was hit, and she quickly called his wife, Jeanne, in Alexandria, Va.
"We were pretty panicked," Rockvam told the R-E in September 2001. "It was pretty frightening for the whole country, but especially if you had someone involved."
Not too long afterward, Jeanne received the first of three phone calls from strangers assuring her that Freier was OK.
Dean Olson's mother had to wait several hours before learning her son, who also worked at the Pentagon, was safe.
Darlene Nash finally found out around noon that Olson, a 1977 Central High grad who worked in Army communications, was uninjured in the blast.
Area residents without loved ones on the East Coast near the attacks stayed glued to their TVs, doing what they could to absorb information about the attacks that killed thousands in the worst attack on the United States in decades.
Area church leaders held services that day and in the weeks to follow, drawing hundreds who prayed for survivors and for peace.
Goodhue County Veterans Service Officer Bob Davis and other officers from throughout Minnesota stood ready to offer backup services and officials at Prairie Island nuclear plant were on heightened alert and eventually increased security - permanently -- at the facility.
Red Wing area school officials did their best to keep a sense of normalcy and those citizens who gathered at coffee shops and other businesses found comfort in talking about the attacks.
Sgt. Alan Windsor heard about the attacks while working at the Red Wing National Guard Armory.
"We, as a nation, are resilient," Windsor said. "The impact is great, but when something like this happens, the country comes together. We'll come through."