On September 11, I was working at the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) office in Latham.
A wife of one of the pilot inspectors called to tell him what was on the news. After turning on the TV, he announced on the intercom to come to the break room. We saw a replay of the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center. A pilot inspector who was sitting next to me commented that, with the weather conditions for flying almost perfect, that plane was intentionally flown into the building. Soon after, we saw the second plane crash into the other tower.
The manager, who was on his way to a meeting, returned to dismiss us for the day. He said there was no way of knowing how far-reaching this situation was; our office was very close to Albany Airport. As I was driving home, the update on the radio was that one of the Twin Towers had just fallen.
September 11 and the days that followed were definitely a very sad time for our country, so many innocent lives lost. It is hard to believe that 20 years have passed since that tragic day!
A few days later, an alphabetical list of passengers with their light numbers was published in the newspaper. As I glanced down at the list of names, I noticed a familiar one — Wilson Flagg (and his wife, Darlene). They were on Flight 77, the plane headed to California which crashed into the Pentagon.
Some years prior to working at the FAA, I worked at the Navy Depot in Scotia. Admiral Flagg was a Naval Reserve officer who was assigned there a few years. He had a full-time job as an American Airlines pilot who flew Boeing 757s (the same model that Flight 77 was).
After seeing their names, the terrible tragedy of September 11 became a little personal. I tried to remember some things about the admiral. He was a man of large stature, a happy, very down-to-earth person. On his first visit to our office, he told us his name was Admiral Flagg, but we could call him “Bud.”
He often brought in his travel vouchers personally to our office to be processed, even though he had a secretary.
His last assignment before retiring was at the Pentagon and he had an office there. According to his son Marc, “his former office was in the same vicinity as the impact area” of Flight 77’s crash on September 11.
— Christine Gryscavage, Glenville
More Remembrances: We remember; The Daily Gazette’s special Sept. 11 anniversary section