Local Man Recalls Witnessing 9/11 Terrorist Attacks


DAYTON, Tenn. (WDEF) – On a sunny Tuesday morning 19 years ago, terrorists turned commercial airlines into weapons of mass destruction-taking nearly 3,000 lives. 

Local truck driver Steve Kilpatrick was driving through New York when the towers were struck.

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“Everything shook, My truck shook, the ground shook, everything shook. My first instinct was to get off the road and get away from my truck. I got off on the shoulder, went out the passenger side door and walked around to the back of the truck. That’s when I saw the first plane sticking out of the north tower. It didn’t seem like no time before the second plane had hit. When it hit it was even worse than the first one,” says Steve Kilpatrick, who witnessed 9/11 happen. 

Kilpatrick was stuck on the bridge less than 2 miles away for 3 days and 3 nights.

He said that watching this American tragedy unfold right in front of his eyes made him feel helpless and heartbroken. It’s  a feeling that  still  haunts him today-19 years later. 

“I have looked at the towers, I don’t know how many times because they are right across the bay. I never imagined anything like that happening…..it was devastating. I sat there for three days and nights and all I heard was sirens. I was numb. I didn’t know what to think. It was too much to absorb all in one moment,” says Kilpatrick. 

Kilpatrick says every year when 9/11 comes around he can’t help but get emotional all over again-just thinking about the thousands of lives that were lost that day. It’s a picture he cannot erase from his memory.

“You just had to have seen it. Those people who saw it on TV or heard about it on the news, it doesn’t compare to being right there and watching this whole messy story unfold. You just think about the lives that were lost…needlessly,” says Kilpatrick.

Never forget! 

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You can watch Emily Cassulo weeknights on News 12 Now starting at 5:30. Emily also does stories on different tech products and issues for Tech Byte, which airs Mondays on News 12 Now. She joined the WDEF news team in September 2016 from News 12’s sister station in Columbus, Mississippi, where she worked as an anchor, producer and reporter. Emily is no stranger to the Volunteer State. Before moving to Mississippi, she worked at WBBJ-TV, covering crime and severe weather throughout West Tennessee. She loves living in Chattanooga, and exploring what the Scenic City has to offer. Emily is a Florida native, graduating from the University of Central Florida with a degree in broadcast journalism and minor in political science. While in college, Emily worked part-time as a reporter/web producer at News/Talk 96.5 WDBO. She broke her first news story there, which made national headlines, and covered the 2010 Central Florida congressional elections and the high-profile Casey Anthony trial. When she’s not busy reporting, Emily enjoys shopping, reading, playing the piano, and spending time with family and friends. Feel free to e-mail her at ecassulo@wdef.com if you have any story ideas or just want to say ‘Hi.’