LODI — On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Lodi resident Jeanette Dillingham was on the phone with a friend in Sacramento whose daughter was living in New York.
Dillingham said her friend had been trying to get a hold of her daughter all morning.
As the two of them were speaking, Dillingham said she watched the South Tower collapse to the ground on live television.
“My daughter woke me up and told me to come see what was on T.V.,” Dillingham said of that morning. “It was just surreal. It was like one of those bad King Kong movies. It was just spooky.”
Dillingham, her granddaughters Mia Misasi and Madison Gonzales, were some of the dozen people who attended the Lodi Funeral Home’s first 9/11 memorial service Wednesday night.
The service allowed those in the community to reflect upon the day in which terrorist group al-Qaida hijacked four airplanes and coordinated simultaneous attacks against the United States.
Dillingham said her friend’s daughter was safe that day, as she was in her apartment in Brooklyn across the river from the attacks.
She added she had an employer who was in New York in early September of that year for his wedding. He ate at the cafe on the ground floor of the World Trade Center on Sept. 10. It took him and his new bride three weeks to return to California after the attacks. she said.
Gonzales, 18, was less than a year old when the 9/11 attacks occurred, but said Lodi Funeral Home’s service was an emotional one, as she cried during poems read by manager Michael-Baker Dennis.
“I’ve never been to anything like this,” she said. “Every year I watch it on T.V. with my mom. I was sitting on her lap when all of it happened.”
Misasi’s mother was pregnant with her on 9/11, but said seeing images presented in a video the funeral home played during the service made her feel like she had been there that day.
“I may have not been able to see it, but I feel like many of the people in New York felt whenever this day comes up,” the 17-year-old said.
On Sept. 11, 2001, five hijackers forced American Airlines Flight 11 to strike the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:45 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
At 9:03 a.m., another five hijackers crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower and began a chain of events that left the nation in shock.
Less than two hours after the planes struck, the towers collapsed.
At 9:37 a.m. Eastern Standard Time that day, five more hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the western side of the Pentagon in Virginia.
United Airlines Flight 93 was bound for Washington, D.C. before the passengers overtook four hijackers on the plane, forcing the plane to crash in Stonycreek Township in Pennsylvania at 10:03 a.m.
It is believed the plane was headed for either the White House or the Capitol building.
A total of 2,996 people were killed during the Sept. 11 attacks, and 6,000 were injured.
Baker-Dennis said the day will always be known as a day of remembrance.
He recalled seeing photos of people at Ground Zero shortly after the attacks, standing in lines in both New York City and Washington, D.C., waiting to help victims.
“That moment really united us,” he said. “It did not tear us apart. It’s our need for one another that brought us together. Even in the most difficult of times, when we see those heroes helping others, we know there is hope.”
Earlier in the day, Boy Scout Troop 199 and Cub Scout Pack 199 honored 9/11 victims at Veterans Plaza in downtown by holding a moment of silence and placing the Stars and Stripes at half mast.
For those that were born then we made a promise to never forget,” Scoutmaster Brian Jungeblut said. “As the people who were alive when this cowardly act of terror happened, it falls to us to educate our young people about what happened, what and who to remember and who to thank for keeping us safe.”
Since the attacks, the Reflecting Absence memorial, which consists of a pair of reflecting pools, was built in the footprints of the World Trade Center towers. It opened on Sept. 11, 2011.
The Pentagon Memorial, consisting of a landscaped park with 184 benches facing the Pentagon, was constructed in 2008.
In Shanksville, Pa., near Stonycreek Township, a concrete and glass visitor center was opened on Sept. 10, 2015, overlooking the Flight 93 crash site and a Wall of Names, consisting of the names of those who perished in the crash.