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Monroe County residents share memories of September 11

Where were you on 9/11? A lot of people have stories and each one is different.

STROUDSBURG, Pa. — In the 20th century, the age-old question was, "Where were you the day JFK was assassinated?"

In the 21st century, "Where were you on 9/11?"

Jennifer Granit, the owner of a Taste of Brooklyn on West Main Street in Stroudsburg, was in Brooklyn.

"I remember a lot of sadness. I remember a lot of panic. I remember everyone making phone calls and wondering if their loved ones were OK."

It's been 20 years since that fateful day in New York City. The day itself started out beautiful. The sunny sky was clear and blue. No one knew how dark and deadly the day would turn.

Dana Besser, now from Stroudsburg, was a freshman in high school in Queens, New York.

"It was a mad scramble to get home. Everything was shut down, all the tunnels. I was in Queens, and my family lived in Brooklyn. It was really hard. My uncle had to go around through Manhattan and into Queens. I remember when I got home, the ash was just raining down on our block. My father was a detective; he had to go in. His brothers, they were all in the force, my aunt's husband. They all grabbed their stuff and ran out the door," Besser recalled.

The distance between this part of Monroe County and that part of lower Manhattan is only 80 miles, less than a two-hour drive without traffic.

A lot of people who work in New York often live in this part of the Poconos.

Christy Ramos from East Stroudsburg was in 11th grade and recalls one student in her class.

"We turned the TVs on. It was kind of unbelievable. They called one of the girls out, one of her friends. I guess her dad was in the building. It was unbelievable. Nobody imagined this could happen, that we were being attacked," said Ramos.

Karen Dattalo from Chicago was caring for her 9-month-old twins. She wasn't sure if the Windy City would be hit next.

"The first two buildings had been hit, and apparently there was a plane that was heading west, the one that crashed in Pennsylvania. At the time, no one knew what was going on. The talk was that it was heading towards Chicago, maybe to hit one of our skyscrapers and all of that. It was, oh, I got goosebumps talking about it," Dattalo said.

"I thought we were watching a movie at first," Carla Rossi said. "We saw the second plane hit, and panic set in."

"I remember kids going on their phones, trying to reach out to their parents. A lot of people commuted back then. There was a lot of tears and crying. Then they shut off the TVs," said Mona Ahmed.

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