15 years after the initial attack took place on 9/11, we continue to mourn for the 3,000 innocent victims who were murdered by the hands of terrorists. On this solemn day, we also celebrate and honor the courageous first responders, many of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice in helping others during that day.
StoryCorps, in conjunction with the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum, started an initiative in 2005. They recorded conversations in honor and remembrance of the those who lost their lives in 9/11.
Vaughn Allex was an American Airlines agent working at Washington Dulles airport on September 11, 2001. He remembered the people he checked into Flight 77 early that day. Then two of the hijackers came; they checked in late. Vaughn checked both of their IDs, asked them some routine security questions, and then flagged their bags for extra screening. He was just doing his job, but he had no idea the job would continue to haunt him for years to come, through no fault of his own.
This is Vaughn Allex’s story:
I didn’t know what I had done. It wasn’t until the next day, September 12th that I started finding out what happened. I came to work and people wouldn’t look at me in the eye. And they handed me the manifest for the flight. I just stared at it for a second and then I looked up, I go, “I did it, didn’t I?”
…once it became known, people didn’t talk to me. And I, I had this wild kind of thing in my mind that everything that happened on September 11th was my fault…I felt there was no place for me in the world.
Mr. Allex left his job at 2008, and now works for the Department of Homeland Security. You can click on over and hear the full recorded conversation at StoryCorps.