This week marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. A day that — for so many people — changed every day that followed.
StoryCorps teamed up with NPR’s daily afternoon podcast, Consider This, to bring you stories from some of the people who are forever tied to that day, and its aftermath.
First, we hear from Vaughn Allex, who was working at the American Airlines ticket counter at Dulles International Airport on the morning of September 11th, checking in passengers on Flight 77.
Vaughn Allex and his wife Denise Allex at their StoryCorps interview. Photo by Mia Warren for StoryCorps.
Salman Hamdani was a 23-year-old emergency medical technician, NYPD cadet, and aspiring medical student who rushed to the World Trade Center that morning to help.
Like thousands of others, Salman never came home that night. And as his family searched for him in the weeks that followed, he was wrongfully linked as an accomplice in the attacks.
His mother, Talat Hamdani, came to StoryCorps with her niece, Armeen Hamdani, to remember the days after Salman went missing.
Photo of Salman Hamdani. Courtesy of Talat Hamdani.
Salman was one of nearly 3,000 people killed on September 11th. Another 7,000 service members would die in the decades-long War on Terror that followed the attacks; one of them was Staff Sergeant Donna Johnson, who was killed by a suicide bomber during her 2012 deployment in Afghanistan. A year later, Donna’s wife Tracy and her mother, Sandra, sat down to remember her.
Donna Johnson was killed on Oct. 1, 2012, while on patrol in Khost, Afghanistan. She was 29.
Army Sergeant Ryan Sharp served two tours in Iraq. But when he returned to the States in 2008, things would never be the same. At StoryCorps, he and his dad spoke about that difficult transition.
Lastly, we hear from Said Noor, a former U.S. Army soldier and interpreter who grew up in Afghanistan and spoke to NPR about what it was like to be deployed to his home country.
Top photo: Artwork by Rosalyn Yoon.
Released on September 10th, 2021.
Many of these recordings were made in partnership with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum as part of StoryCorps’ effort to collect one recording for each life lost that day.