A year after Sept. 11 Judy Bryngelson, who has a summer cabin on Ten Mile Lake, said she still will be frightened to return to New York City like she was last October. She said it is a fear of the unknown.
The New York native was at her cabin the morning of the terrorist attacks and glued to her television like most Americans across the country.
Bryngelson tried to reach her friends in New York to be sure they and their families were safe but it was difficult because communications systems were down in parts of the city.
"I think I felt better once I touched the ground," Bryngelson said about returning.
Even though news outlets reported the changes in New York's residents, Bryngelson was surprised by some of the things she found.
"When I got back to New York, people were a lot friendlier on the street like they are here," Bryngelson said.
New York City is made up of many neighborhood communities. Each neighborhood has its own fire station and there were memorials at every fire hall for the firefighters last fall.
"I think a lot of people stopped by there regularly," Bryngelson said. "I know I did."
She said children sold lemonade on street corners and donated their earnings to the local fire house.
"This was amazing to me," Bryngelson said. "That sort of thing really doesn't go on in New York."
Retired Gen. John Vessey, of Garrison, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was in New York City on Sept. 11. He was supposed to introduce United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan who was to speak to the Council on Foreign Relations about preventing deadly violence.
After having breakfast in his hotel in midtown Manhattan, he went upstairs to brush his teeth. He turned on the television and discovered that the United States had been attacked.
"It was eerie at first because all communication was closed down," Vessey said. He was able to contact his family within five or six hours, he said.
"I was concerned particularly for my former military comrades who were at the Pentagon," Vessey said. Vessey knew one person who was killed.
He said he felt "a great disappointment that we hadn't been able to prevent it."
"It's important for us to take necessary steps for our homeland security, but it's also important for us to maintain our freedom," Vessey said.
Clifford and Helen Carlson's son, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Bruce Carlson, was in the Pentagon the morning of Sept. 11. Soon after the airplane hit, the Brainerd couple received a call that their son had been in a meeting and his office staff didn't know where he was.
"That day, of course, was very upsetting," Helen Carlson said. "You don't want to think the worst, but you can't help it."
About noon Bruce Carlson's wife called her in-laws to say that Bruce was safe. They found out later he had been evacuated, but went back into the building to help others to safety.
The Carlsons are no longer worried about Bruce. He was transferred to the Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, La. But they are concerned for Bruce's son, Brian, who is an Air Force pilot flying in the Middle East No Fly Zone.
"That's our main concern now, the next generation," Helen Carlson said. "Not only our grandson, but the military people in that age group."
U.S. Marine Corps Major Bill McCollough of Los Angeles was supposed to be in Washington, D.C., during the week of Sept. 11 last year. His father, Terry McCollough, Brainerd Daily Dispatch publisher, was at home getting ready for work when he heard that the first plane hit the World Trade Center and he watched the second plane crash on television. He soon learned that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon.
Terry McCollough called Los Angeles and expected his daughter-in-law to answer the phone, but his son picked up. He was just leaving for the airport to fly to Washington, D.C.
"Thank God you're in Los Angeles and not at the Pentagon," McCollough said he told his son. "Second, I don't think you're flying anywhere today."
Bill McCollough hadn't had on the radio or television that morning so he hadn't heard about the attacks.
"My feeling was of tremendous relief that he was not where I thought he was," Terry McCollough said.
McCollough said his feelings about the attacks have changed little in the year that has passed.
"It was anger then," he said. "It's anger now to the extent that people would do this to innocent civilians."
McCollough said the War on Terrorism is going to be a long fight.
"I think in that regard we need to keep our interest level up," he said. "The enemy is not going away."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.