tampabay.com

Where were you?

Sept. 11, 2001, was a zero hour for our nation, a vulgar landmark in our lives.

By BEN MONTGOMERY
Published September 10, 2006


That morning, Victoria Hicks, now 39, was sleeping at home in Lutz when the phone rang.

Michael Birk, 34, was checking e-mail at work in Tampa when he saw a commotion in the break room.

Jack McConkey, 48, was in his Bright House truck in Holiday when a man came on the radio.

Pat Appleby, 40, was installing cabinets in a home in Manatee County.

Lynda Aherns, 42, was working in a bank in Buffalo, N.Y., when her co-workers' faces changed.

Sue Andreychuk, 41, was home in Tampa preparing to pick up her mother at the airport when her nanny walked in with wide eyes.

Homer Sanders, 42, was on the phone in the parts department at Ferman Nissan of Tampa when a friend said something about a plane crash.

Eric Green, 39, stopped ordering parts and joined Sanders at the TV.

Joe Curto, 50, was at Pro Access Systems in Tampa when his wife called.

Charles Manley, 51, was mowing a lawn in Riverview when the homeowner stepped outside.

His wife, Judy, was at home in Lithia watching the Today show when they interrupted the program.

Sandy DeWitt, 40, was working in advertising at the weekly Gazette in Maryland when they stopped the presses.

Her husband, Bob, 39, was working for Rand Construction in a building near the White House when Sandy rang his cell phone.

Cosmo Diorio, 46, off work from Rescue 1 in Manhattan, was about to roof a house when he saw a woman glued to the TV.

Gerald Hanley, 68, retired from the New York Fire Department, was home in Valrico.

His son, Sean Hanley, 35, was on duty at Ladder Company 20 in New York. He responded to the World Trade Center.

He was confirmed dead Sept. 16, one of 2,749 people killed in New York City that day.

For those of us who remain, a line runs through our narratives, a moment of suspension dividing life before Sept. 11, 2001, and life after.

Saturday morning, five years on, at a Harley-Davidson dealership on Adamo Drive in Brandon, many revisited that line. Thousands came from Florida, New York and elsewhere for the Remembrance Ride 2006, came to pause again.

"Never forget," retired New York firefighter Brian Grisanti told the crowd. "That's why we're here."