This week I’m dedicating this space to your memories of 9-11. Today, we hear from Lieutenant Commander Jeffrey Harris. He was stationed in Pearl Harbor immediately following the attacks.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lieutenant Commander Jeffrey Harris and his family for their sacrifice and service to protect our country and our freedoms.
I was stationed aboard the USS RUSSELL (DDG 59) in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. My wife and I were awakened by a phone call from my mother-in-law at around 4:30 a.m. Hawaiian time. I turned the TV on just as the second plane hit the towers. I watched as the reports flowed in for a few minutes then prepared myself to report to the ship.
I received a phone to report to the ship a few minutes later. Approximately 30 minutes after arriving to the ship, we were ordered to get underway. I called my wife to say we were heading out just before the phone lines were disconnected. As we were getting underway, shipmates were running down the pier but were left behind. We were ordered to be the air defense for the Hawaiian Islands. For 10 days we stood watch over the sea and air around the islands, with only intermediate emails and Naval messages to tell us what was happening.
To this day, I'm not sure if I was lucky not to watch the events unfold over the TV, but I am deeply saddened whenever I see images of 911 and the days following.
Jeffrey S. Harris
LCDR, SC, USN
"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
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WYMT Mountain News
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