Former Senator Dole recalls unusual 9/11 experience | News
SALISBURY - On the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on America, there are remembrances and ceremonies across the country and the Carolinas.
And on Tuesday former United States Senator, Salisbury native, and presidential candidate Elizabeth Dole was visiting her hometown of Salisbury to speak with elementary school students. After that, she sat down for a one on one to reflect about her unusual experience on 9/11.
"It was incredible, it really was," Dole told WBTV. "Here we were, on the airplane, I was to announce for the US Senate that day and as we got close to Charlotte the pilot came on and explained that they were going to be taking the plane right into the hanger, that all planes were grounded."
And all that was happening at the same time the twin towers in New York were burning, medical crews rushed to help those hurt at the Pentagon, and the drama of Flight 93 wasn't fully known. But once Dole arrived at Charlotte Douglas Airport, she better understood the horror of what was happening.
"Walking into the Charlotte airport it was completely quiet, just silence, and then all planes landed, and I remember my nephew who was with me was trying desperately to find his wife who was in Washington, who was alright, and we went on to Salisbury and listened to the news just in a state of shock and despair," Dole added. "What a terrible thing, thinking about the families who had lost loved ones and the people who had literally jumped from these high buildings, just in desperation, it was something that will be there in front of me for the rest of my life."
And like so many others, on this day of reflection and remembrance, Dole takes time to honor those who lost loved ones that day.
"You feel some of those same feelings again and of course that's always with you, you never will lose that and I especially, this morning I try to have some quiet time, devotional time to pray for the families because they must be feeling all that intense emotion when the anniversary comes up and it's really something one will never forget."
Dole spent two days in her hometown talking to students from her namesake school, Elizabeth Hanford Dole Elementary.
"The school does bear my name and I want to stay in close touch with them, they're precious children, and just to give them some of the values that I learned growing up and share stories, they're, now they want to see my dogs, they're anxious to see my dogs, so maybe we can get a field trip to Washington at some point of bring them to my home on S. Fulton Street," Dole added.
Her talk coincided with a large display featuring many artifacts and papers from her career in public service. Dole is the former head of the American Red Cross, as well as Secretary of Labor under President George H. W. Bush, and Secretary of Transportation under President Ronald Reagan. Republican Dole was elected to the United States Senate in 2002 and served one term before being defeated by Democrat Kay Hagan in 2008.
The exhibit is on display through Sunday at the Rowan Museum on the corner of N. Main and Council Streets in downtown Salisbury.