Tri-Cities Residents Remember 9/11 Vividly - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tri-Cities Residents Remember 9/11 Vividly

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KENNEWICK, Wash.- The anniversary of September 11, 2001 is an emotional, memorable one for many people.

Even though it happened on the other side of the country, the attacks touched every American.

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are now five years in the past, but for many residents of the Tri-Cities, they'll be etched in their minds forever.

Kennewick resident Mary Smith was traveling through Pennsylvania, filling her car at a gas station, when she heard a loud thud.

"I said, 'oh my gosh, it sounds like somebody hit the back of the car, and I got out and went back there and, there was nothing,'" Mary Smith said.

When she arrived at her hotel an hour later, she heard the news about Flight 93.

"We went into where the TV was and we couldn't believe our eyes. We saw where the plane had gone down in Pennsylvania," she said. 

The attacks hit close to home for Ella Smith too.

Her son-in-law was working at La Guardia Airport when the planes hit the towers.

"He saw the second plane hit the tower. And then his supervisor told everybody to leave immediately to be able to get home because everything would be closed down," said Ella Smith. 

She says they don't talk about it much because it's so traumatic, and some think we should let it teach us a lesson about more than just national security.

"Try to know that if they die tomorrow, that you wouldn't have a terrible feeling that you'd never been able to say goodbye," said Barbara Allen. 

And for almost everyone we talked to, the attacks are forever etched in their minds.

"I think we all kind of feel it in one way or another kind of like how our grandparents remember Pearl Harbor," said David Beeman.

"I think that we'll always remember that and our children will probably be stunned that we were there and witnessed it," Beeman said. 

Many people we talked to also said they didn't even go to work that day, one even said, when he got to the job, they just sat around listening to the radio, work was the last thing on their minds.