Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9-11-2001: Guest Post by Bettye Stone Woodhull

I am honored that Cousin Bettye shared the following memories with me, and delighted that she agreed to share them with you.  Bettye has a wonderful gift for writing as well as an astounding memory, and I'm blessed that she has shared both with me throughout the past couple or three years.  Thank you, Bettye!

A word about the picture.  I snapped this photograph of the World Trade Center twin towers during a river cruise on the night of June 9, 2001; however, this wasn't the picture I went looking for to accompany Bettye's story.   Somewhere, I have a clear photograph of the twin towers of the World Trade Center, made from the top of the Empire State Building, on the day of June 11, 2001, exactly three months before the terrible events of September 11, 2001. 


The early days of Sept. in years past has held special memories for me, some happy and some sad. My future husband was home on leave while we planned our wedding to be in October 1951. My daddy, Leon Stone born in Bexar, AL and living in Winfield had driven to work the morning of Sept. 9, 1957 when he suffered a fatal heart attack in Guin, AL as he turned the key to open up for the day. We had returned for to our home in South Bend, IN the morning of Sept. 8th after completing the mission that my dad had sent us on – to drive to Norfolk, VA to kiss his third grandson good bye for him – he knew his time here was running out and he couldn’t do it himself. For the next 50 years, early Sept. saw our children growing up, attending schools and colleges and honeymoon’s plus the grandchildren beginning to create the cycle all over again with their parents. We lost our mother-in-law in Sept. 1983 in the midst of weddings and honeymoons, the same year all three sons chose to marry.

Early Sept. 2001 quickly became a week of sadness and disbelief. I believe it was Sept. 8th that our former neighbor boy and our youngest son’s playmate ( a young married father by now) and a co-worker were working on his car late into the night and were murdered as they sat in the office trying to figure out what to do next. During that week, Ron took the garden hose to his beloved Volvo to clean the engine compartment, getting water into the smog pump. He managed to get it to the foreign car repair shop for repair with me following behind that morning, Sept. 11, 2001. That first airplane had just hit the first tower and the employees were watching spellbound as he walked in to drop the vehicle off. I picked him up and we drove down the street to a neighborhood café for breakfast, across the street from the murder location that was still busy with police that morning. The Today show was getting all the attention of customers and employees as we entered to see this frightening happening while everyone was trying to figure out how or why a small airplane had flown into the World Trade Center Tower. The second tower had been hit before we completed our breakfast to return home where we sat glued to the TV sets in disbelief of what, why or how this could have happened.

In your own way, don’t forget to give thanks to those who have kept our country safe these last ten years – a good habit to adhere to is to make sure you offer a “thank you for your service” to every person you see in military uniform – they do appreciate those kind words.

Bettye Stone Woodhull

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