9-11 In The WWJ Newsroom

By Roberta Jasina

When I think of September 11, 2001 I feel sick to my stomach.  I feel sad.  And angry.  And deeply depressed.

Joe Donovan and I were on the air together at WWJ that morning.  (As usual.)  We had the TV monitor turned on in our studio, as the first pictures from the World Trade Center came in.  When we first reported on WWJ that the airplane had hit the World Trade Center in New York, I thought that the crash was an accident.  A horrible freak accident.  A singular tragedy.

But then when the second plane hit…we thought maybe there was a snafu with New York’s air traffic control.  That something, somewhere had gone haywire. A computer.  Radar.  Something.

Then when the plane hit the Pentagon, and the other plane crashed in Pennsylvania, it became horribly apparent that the U.S. was under attack.  This was war.  A different kind of war.  A cowardly, brazen, terrifying kind of war.  Innocents were being murdered.

Then when we saw the World Trade Center CRUMBLE to the ground, it was almost too much to believe.  Almost too much to bear.

It was surreal.  Sickeningly so.

What in the hell was going on?

The world had changed.  There was no going back.

I was scared.  I wondered how many more planes were going to smash into buildings killing innocent people.

I was scared.  And yet I was expected to sound NOT SCARED on the air.

I wondered if Detroit was on the bullseye.

I was worried about my family and my friends.

My two little boys were in middle school at the time, I was worried about them.  I was worried about THEM being worried.

I wanted to leave my job.  I wanted to grab my kids out of school and take them home.

My boss came into the studio and said he needed Joe and me to stay on the air for an extended time.

I stayed.    For hours.  And hours. (My husband got our kids from school.)

It was the most shocking, sad, depressing and exhausting day of my professional life.

I will never forget it.  Sometimes I can’t stand thinking about it.

What’s worse, I learned a few days later that my neighbors in Romeo lost their daughter in the World Trade Center collapse.

I didn’t know what to say to them.  What is there to say.  It’s too horrible for words.

9-11 was more than a tragedy.  More than a declaration of war.  It was an earthquake that changed everything.

I hate that day.

I am so sorry for all the people who died.  I admire the police and firefighters who were on the scene that day (in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington) so much.  I could never have done what they did.

God bless the victims.

God bless those incredible heroes.

God bless America.

And may God help us during this new normal.

It still doesn’t feel very normal.

More from Roberta Jasina
  • Matt Roush

    I had been at WWJ only a week when 9-11 happened. I remember being somewhat in shock at first, I think we all were, but by the end of the day I also remember being so proud of everyone in that newsroom. I was so glad to be a part of a newsroom full of people who were able to put their initial responses of shock and horror and sadness aside to get necessary and important information out to the public in a calm and professional manner. That was so important on that day, when there was a significant amount of raw panic and rampant rumor out there…

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