Wiregrass: Local woman remembers 9/11

Posted by: Melissa Johnson - bio | email

Dothan, AL (WSFA) - As the world remembers the terrorist attacks on September 11th, one Dothan woman lived in New York at the time and remembers it first hand.

At first glance, Ashlie Wells is going about her day as normal, but for her, this day brings back memories she'll never forget.

She says, "It was such a tragic experience, so much evil happened on that day."

On September 11, 2001, Ashlie awoke to a frantic phone call from her parents.

Fresh out of college in New York City, she lived just a few blocks away from ground zero.

She says, "Cars were just kind of going ballistic.  People were going ballistic.  People were yelling and shouting, and it was almost like a movie."

From there, she says, the chaos only got worse.

"We looked down, and there's this huge smoke cloud.  You can't even see the high rise buildings anymore."

It wasn't until she turned on the TV, that she realized the magnitude of the terrorist attack.

"The thoughts going through my head were just to pray because you didn't know if you were going to live."

She and a friend left Manhattan, taking shelter in New Jersey, eventually riding a bus back home to her family in Alabama.

But her thoughts and prayers were for those she left behind in New York.

"I lived right by a fire station and a lot of the firemen, were gone.  And, they put their pictures and the notes from their families outside on the wall."

Those firefighters told the story of true heroism, and locally, firefighters say they take pride in being counted among those heros.

Captain Chris Ethridge of the Dothan Fire Department said, "What we do every day is extremely dangerous when a citizen dials 911.  And to be counted as a member of that profession that gave their lives to potentially save others is truly an honor."

And as Old Glory stands at half mast here in the Circle City and around the world, we pause to remember that sacrifice and the lives lost that day 8 years ago.