Farm Bureau - Melissa Wheeler

The North Bend Eagle

 

Sept. 11 noted with somber memories, calls to service

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 9/8/21

It has been 20 years since the events of Sept. 11, 2001. A day that anyone who was alive at the time will remember what they were doing, how they heard of the terrorists who flew into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon and those Americans who stopped the terrorist’s plans with a crash in a field in Pennsylvania.

Towers of Light
The Towers of Light memroial shine in the Manhattan sky every Sept. 11, shown here over the World Trade Center 9/11 memorial on Sept. 11, 2019, taken by Eagle editor Nathan Arneal.

That day changed the United States forever. But for some, it was not a lasting change.

North Bend Central 1992 graduate Amy Johnson worked for American Express in New York City at the time but worked every other week from Omaha. The week of Sept. 11, 2001, was a week she was in Omaha.

“I was on a conference call with my colleagues when we heard a loud noise,” Johnson said. “‘What was that?’ we asked. I turned my television on and saw the news. We didn’t think it was what it turned out to be.”

The American Express office was located on the 44th floor of the World Financial Center which is connected to the World Trade Center by a skywalk. When Johnson worked in NYC, she stayed in a hotel in the WTC.

Over the phone, Johnson heard security tell everyone to stay in place.

“The second plane hit the tower we were attached to,” Johnson said. “It was such a chaotic morning.”

Johnson stayed glued to the television. Her sisters came over to be with her. Her parents, Galen and Joann Johnson of Morse Bluff, came back early from vacation to support her. It was a very emotional time, she said

Johnson lost 12 colleagues and there were more injured. The lobby of their building was used for a makeshift morgue. It was a year before their building was repaired and the business was able to move back in.

Johnson continued working at American Express for another 15 years. She traveled a lot with her job.

“The face of how we traveled and how we conducted business was changed,” Johnson said. “How we represented a global brand with ‘American’ in it, got to be a little tricky.”

Johnson has since left the corporate world and opened a fish market, Sea Salts, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

She reflects on the upcoming 20th anniversary of the day,

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