9/11 news reports: Witness accounts to NJ 101.5 as the world changed
It's the question everyone will ask and answer: Where were you when the planes hit? Where were you on 9/11?
Jim Gearhart remembers well. The veteran broadcaster was on New Jersey 101.5's airwaves, discussing school fundraisers with a caller. Alongside him were News Director Eric Scott and the rest of the morning crew. Opinions and news and laughs. It was a regular, routine day.
And then it wasn't.
"I could see by (Eric Scott's) face there was something not usual here," Jim remembers.
But even when the first plane hit, there was no sense of the enormity — no sense we were under attack in a way never before seen on the American homeland.
Jim remembers "shock, absolute shock."
And perhaps the most troubling, stark memory: The station was taking calls as it reported the latest information, as it reported about what Jim called "a terrible conflagration of smoke and fire."
"There it is!" a caller screamed. "Something else hit! Something else just hit the tower! Oh my God! Something else — a plane just hit the tower. It hit the other tower! And there's a mass explosion. Jesus, Mary and Joseph."
Hear Jim's account and clips from the morning of Sept. 11, 2001 above. Selected clips are isolated below as well.
Segment 1: "It appears that an airplane has struck one of the towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan."
Segment 2: "You can see smoke pouring out of the World Trade Center."
Segment 3: "I saw the second plane go into the second tower. It has to be on purpose."
Segment 4: "100% not an accident...the weather is absolutely clear."
Segment 5: "Isn't this obviously a terrorist attack? Isn't this an act of war?"
Segment 6: "We are in a lockdown situation. Any artery between New York City and New Jersey has been completely shut down."
Segment 7: "We have many people who would like to respond to this. Unfortunately at this point we're not sure know what it is we are responding to. People are shocked and very angry."
Segment 8: "We simply know there has been a fourth explosion"
Segment 9: "If you saw the movie "Independence Day" when the Empire State Building was hit and all that flame and debris and smoke rolled through the canyons of Manhattan that's what this looks like.."
Segment 10: "There are no towers there. They're totally gone."
Segment 11: "All international flights en route to the U.S. have now been diverted...to Canada."
Segment 12: "I'm not in the Reserves no more man but if they needed to call me back up to fight whoever did this I would go in a heartbeat."
Segment 13: "They're evacuating lower Manhattan...whatever way they could across the river and into Jersey City."
This post originally appeared on New Jersey 101.5 in 2017 and has been updated for 2020.
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