By Lucas Wood
HAZLETON, Pa. -- Sixteen years ago today, our nation was under attack. On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people were killed in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in NYC, the Pentagon building in Virginia, and in a plane crash right here in Pennsylvania.
We spoked to Hazleton's Chief of Police, Jerry Speziale, and ask him to recollect his memory of where he was that morning of the attacks.
He wrote to us the following:
The morning of 911, I was just outside NYC at a diner having breakfast and was a Chief at the time. The diner was called the Tic Tock Diner, which overlooked the NYC Skyline on Route 3 in Clifton, NJ. When the first plane hit the tower, I was of the assumption that a small plane struck one of the towers seeing the smoke. I called the NYC Police Commissioner to inquire how bad the situation was, and how a plane struck the tower. I was told it was a jetliner, and news reports began surfacing about hijackers and the other tower was struck. After learning of all the other events it was apparent the US was under attack. I responded to ground zero after both towers had collapsed and was tasked with taking over the George Washington Bridge to lock down any vehicles from entering the City of New York that were not emergency responders. I then worked at ground zero with the department's cadaver dogs through the evenings and weeks ahead, leading different law enforcement and emergency personnel into the City of New York to the site.
During that time, I was in charge of Crime Scene Investigations and responded with our Crime Scene Unit and personnel to an apartment utilized by the hijackers in Paterson, New Jersey and began processing it for the FBI Terrorist Task Force.