Juneau resident Sarah Asper-Smith was in Manhattan on Sept. 11 watching the World Trade Center burn when a jet hit the second tower.
She escaped the attack unharmed, but two days later was forced to evacuate her apartment near the Empire State Building during a bomb scare. That's when the college student fled New York to the comfort of family in Juneau.
"I broke down and started walking out of the city. I needed to get away," said Asper-Smith, 21, who drove to Indiana, then flew to Juneau. "I was completely in shock."
Asper-Smith decided to take off the rest of the semester and was standing outside the Juneau Airport today waiting to board a flight to visit friends in California. She said she is still trying to cope with her experience in New York and hasn't sorted out how she feels about U.S. military strikes in Afghanistan on Sunday. But she was a little nervous to board the aircraft in the wake of the attacks.
"I'm trying not to think about it," she said.
Traveler Randy Lippert was inside the terminal today watching television coverage of the U.S. offensive in Afghanistan. He said he was glad the U.S. targeted only terrorists and had taken the time to do it right.
"It was more important to strike accurately than to strike quickly," said Lippert, a Juneau resident.
Joe Fadaoff was sitting in the terminal waiting for his flight to Anchorage and saying good-bye to his wife. Fadaoff supported the military action on Sunday and was eager to see more strikes by the U.S. in Afghanistan to root out terrorists.
"Let them keep going until they get them. We can't sit back and be idle," Fadaoff said.
The U.S. retaliation got mixed reactions from employees at the State Office Building downtown. Sandra Johnston was disappointed the U.S. military bombed Afghanistan, saying it should have taken a different approach to ferret out terrorist Osama bin Laden.
"I didn't think we needed to trash a country that's already been trashed. They should have just gone into the tunnels and found him," Johnston said.
Dan Spencer supported the U.S. attack, calling it inevitable. But he was concerned the U.S. would deploy ground troops in Afghanistan.
"I don't think they'd be productive at this stage," Spencer said.
State employee Frankie Crowley also voiced concern about U.S. involvement in a ground war, but she hoped the attack on Sunday would put a dent in terrorism.
"I think we knew it was coming, and I hope and pray things work out for all of us," Crowley said.
Other state workers lauded the U.S. military for taking action.
"I thought it was about time," said Tanya Case. "It was nice to hear something had happened."
"They (terrorists) get what they deserve," said Laurie Schmidt.
Korean War veteran Jerry Dorsher praised the military and its strategy.
"It seems to have been successful without a loss to our forces," said Dorsher, past state commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
"It was something that had to be done, and we're doing it."
Kathy Dye can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.