Some made last minute phone calls from planes to say goodbye for the last time.
Others jumped to their deaths.
Buildings crumbled, collapsed and burned.
Commercial airliners filled with men, women and children became weapons of war.
One of four airliners crashed in a small field leaving a crater after it crashed and burst into flames, killing everyone on board.
First responders fought flames and choking dust as they gave their lives to pull strangers from rubble and wreckage.
Flights were grounded and workplaces and schools were interrupted as people watched in horror as the nation was attacked.
Twenty years later, Americans are pausing again to remember a September day that buttressed the U.S. military’s global war on terror.
This Saturday, instead of lounging around and watching cartoons, many are expected to pause and reflect on Sept. 11, 2001, and how it forever changed life as many knew it.
At the Goldsboro Family YMCA, from 8:30 to 9 a.m., the public is invited to “Devotional at the Cross,” a devotional and moment of silence that honors and reflects on the lives that were lost that fateful Tuesday in September.
The event will be held outside the main building at 1105 Parkway Drive.
Also on Saturday, at 9 a.m, Wayne Community College will host its annual 9/11 Tribute Stair Climb.
The climb takes place in the exterior stairwells and breezeways that run between the Azalea and Spruce buildings on the college’s main campus, according to a college news release.
Spectators can park in the lots at the back of the campus to access its internal “quad” that the activity will face.
David Cuddeback, Wayne County’s emergency medical services director and WCC paramedic instructor who initiated the climb, will lead the students in the memorial exercise.
“Remembering and honoring those who sacrificed their lives is important, and we are going to do as it should be done,” Cuddeback said.
Cuddeback said having the students thinking about specific individuals while experiencing some of what they did drives home the concept of selflessness.
“It is incredibly moving to witness,” said Tara Humphries, WCC’s public information officer. “I recommend that those who can come out for it do so, even if for just a few minutes. Plus, the students appreciate the encouragement they get from those on the sidelines.”
During the event, some paramedic students will wear turnout gear and carry equipment, such as tanks and hoses that add 50 to 75 pounds to their bodies. Law enforcement students will wear their protective vests.
A memorial to represent and honor U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan and Iraq is also planned, Cuddeback said.
“With our upcoming 9/11 memorial, we want to recognize three populations that were directly impacted by the events of 9/11: first responders at the Towers, soldiers and Marines killed in Iraq, and soldiers and Marines killed in Afghanistan,” Cuddeback said.
Attendees at the college event can also contribute nonperishable foods that will be added to the items that participants in the second annual POW/MIA Ruck March will carry and contribute, during the October event. The 12-mile trek is a project of the Air Force Sergeants Association Chapter 371 of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
Those who wish to attend the Saturday event are required to wear masks outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained, according to college officials.