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."

2014's Tribute in Light (Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

Segment 2: "You can see smoke pouring out of the World Trade Center."

"Empty Sky Memorial" at Liberty State Park on September 7, 2011 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Segment 3: "I saw the second plane go into the second tower. It has to be on purpose."

Flags adorn the 9/11 Memorial on the twelfth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on lower Manhattan at the World Trade Center site on September 11, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

Segment 4: "100% not an accident...the weather is absolutely clear."

Getty Images

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"

Aydin Butler joins family at the 9/11 memorial plaza, the first day that it reopened after closing for three months due to coronavirus on July 4, 2020 in New York City (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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."

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Segment 11: "All international flights en route to the U.S. have now been diverted...to Canada."

Union County 9/11 memorial at Echo Lake Park (County of Union)

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 2021.

MUST SEE: The 9/11 Tribute in Light over the years