On the morning of September 11th, 2001, the big story on Good Day Tampa Bay was the grand opening of the International Plaza in Tampa.
That was, until the first plane flew into the Twin Towers -- and then the second.
Good Day anchor Russell Rhodes was out doing live shots from the mall, and remembers the morning vividly.
"The people from Nordstrom had gone out to the live truck to watch the package, and I still didn't know what was going on, except I was wrapping it up and we were going to some sort of breaking news," Russell recalls. "I looked at the people from Nordstrom and they walked in and they just had this horrified look on their face. I said, 'what is it?' And they said 'it's bad.'"
Good Day's Anne Dwyer had just wrapped up anchoring the morning show.
"The network took over right at 9 a.m. and so that's when we were watching it. We were viewers, like everyone else, and saw the horror of that day come crashing upon us. Our days have never been the same," Anne said.
FOX 13's Stef DiPietrantonio was living in New York City during the September 11th attacks. He woke up to smoke.
"I go upstairs and I look out, and you used to be able to see the Twin Towers. It was a beautiful, blue-sky day, and all I saw was a plume of white smoke. And I thought, 'there's a fire in Lower Manhattan. That must be it,'" Stef said.
Soon, he realized it was something much worse.
"I remember picking pieces of what were training manuals. You could read some of the words. The pieces were big. Just raining down on top of our heads from the sky," he said.
Then, Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. At the time, FOX 13 Consumer Reporter Chris Chmura was working as a reporter in Washington.
"We thought we heard the sound of military jets scrambling, but in fact, no. That was a Boeing 757 slamming into the Pentagon, a half mile down the road," said Chmura, who reported on the tragedy from Washington for days, weeks, and months to come.
"As thousands of people are literally walking out of DC, I was one of the only ones going in," Chmura said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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