Craig Conroy was in Calgary when the 9/11 attacks took place 10 years ago.
But his heart was in New York as soon as the planes hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
“I remember waking up and seeing the first tower on fire and wondering how could one be on fire. I couldn’t comprehend how a fire could be happening with all the sprinklers. Then, they showed the other plane hit the other tower,” recalled the former Flames team captain, who hails from the city of Potsdam in upstate New York. “I was watching it and saying, ‘This can’t be happening.’”
Conroy began calling everyone he knew who could have been there.
“I don’t personally know anybody who didn’t make it out,” Conroy said, knowing full well how big a stroke of luck that is. “They were all able to get out. My wife has a friend whose husband started his first day on the job there, and he didn’t make it out. That was a tragedy.”
Ten years later, the attacks — four suicide missions in which hijackers planned to crash planes into prominent buildings and caused the deaths of nearly 3,000 people — are still fresh in the minds of people around the world.
As is the destruction.
“Every time I fly in, to not see those towers doesn’t seem right,” Conroy said. “I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It’s such a tragic day.”
Flames GM Jay Feaster, who hails from Harrisburg, Pa., was assistant GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning then.
Feaster, fortunately, had no family or friends killed in the attacks, although he did know Ace Bailey and Mark Bavis — the Los Angeles Kings scouts who were on one of the ill-fated flights.
“As a country, you lost your innocence,” Feaster added. “These kind of things happened in Europe and the Middle East. They didn’t happen on U.S. soil.”