Electric blue skies and warm temperatures greeted Western New Yorkers on the morning of September 11, 2001. At 8:46 a.m. a commercial airliner crashed into the World Trade Center’s North Tower in Manhattan. The plane had been overtaken by hijackers. In just over an hour, three other airplanes would crash into the World Trade Center’s South Tower, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The crashes were part of a series of coordinated suicide attacks on the United States. 2,997 people lost their lives (not including the 19 hijackers who died). 310 of them were foreign nationals. Local newspaper accounts named five who were from Western New York.
Buffalonians responded to the nation’s grief by lining up outside the American Red Cross building on Delaware Ave. to donate blood. Candlelight prayer vigils were organized. Social events were cancelled or postponed. The Buffalo Bills and the rest of the NFL cancelled games. Primary Day in New York was postponed. Western New Yorkers gave money and they gave their time by volunteering at ‘Ground Zero”, former site of the World Trade Center in New York City. “God Bless America” signs spontaneously appeared in North Buffalo. Western New York mourned with the rest of the nation and the rest of the world.
In remembrance of all of the victims of the September 11th attacks and especially those who hailed from Western New York (A memorial for all local victims of the 9/11 attacks is located in Amherst, NY. We were unable to determine how those listed are connected to the area):
Leonard M. Castrianno,Jr., 30, Amherst, NY; Junior Stockbroker, Cantor Fitzgerald, World Trade Center, 105thfloor
Renee May, 39, Lackawanna and Springville, NY; Flight Attendant American Airlines Flight 77
Amy King, 29, Celeron, NY; Flight Attendant United Airlines Flight 175
Sean P. Rooney, 50, Buffalo, NY; Vice President, Aon Corporation, World Trade Center,105th floor
Margaret Walier Seeliger, 34, Lake View, NY; Aon Corporation World Trade Center, 100th, floor