“Years later when I mustered up the courage to watch the movie of Flight 93, I gasped out loud when I heard the name of one of the crew members mentioned,” said Sandra J. Greene, now a supervisory administrative specialist with the FBI. “It was only then that I remembered that I had picked up her personal identification. The flashback to that moment I picked up her ID from the dirt was immediate and powerful.”
Greene shared some of her memories of that day at the Johnson City Memorial Park Community Center amphitheater, where the American Legion hosted a remembrance and appreciation ceremony for the third year in a row. The event wasn’t just to remember those killed on 9/11, but to thank local emergency responders for the work they do each day to keep the community safe.
“United Flight 93 came in low and crashed upside down in that Pennsylvania field,” Greene said. “Debris from that crash site was found as far as six miles away.”
Her team was assigned to work Ground Zero. Their job was to recover human remains and anything that would identify the passengers, the crew and the hijackers.
“Personally, I prepared to face the unimaginable and braced myself for recovering bodies,” she said. “Little did I know there was very little to recover. The plane, traveling at approximately 563 miles per hour, pretty much disintegrated when it hit the field.
“While we had some large pieces that were recovered, most of the pieces of the wreckage were quite small and only eight percent of human remains were recovered from the 44 people on board,” she said.
“We did not take time to reflect on the things we were gathering. We just did what we were sent to do.”
American Legion Commander Brian Lauzon said it’s important to remember those who lost their lives that day, but “today we recognize the heroism of those first responders and that of our fire, police and emergency medical services. And let us not forget our civilian employees who work hand-in-hand to protect our communities and our nation.”