Where We Were on 9/11

By Matt Porter

September 11, 2012 Updated Sep 12, 2012 at 10:05 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Southern Tier residents recall where they were on September 11, 2001 and the days after.

Melody Whitmore worked the phones for a collection agency 11 years ago.

Used to calling out, but on that September morning, calls came flooding in.

"Getting inbound calls of people from the city trying to get in contact with loved ones, begging us if we could patch them through," recalled Whitmore.

"There was nothing we could do, we weren't the phone company. We were just bill collectors. They didn't understand that."

But calls kept coming.

"Some of them, I remember," said Whitmore, "Were saying, my husband, my sister, works there, I gotta know, I gotta know. And we told them, we didn't know anything, all we knew was what was on the news."

Town of Maine resident Molly McLean was a volunteer firefighter. She was leaving a class at Broome Community College when she heard the news.

She went down to New York just days after the attacks.

"The generosity of people from the city was overwhelming," said McLean, "People just bringing boxes of coffees and leaving them with us."

Other local volunteers from the Red Cross said emotions sometimes got the best of them.

"I went outside the E.R.V. (Emergency Relief Vehicle) and started crying because know one else was crying," said Red Cross volunteer Lee Campfield. "And then one of the volunteers came out and said, 'Lee, we've all done it."

Campfield helped feed rescue workers. She said she saw their difficulties on their faces.

"I don't think it was hopeless, I don't think they were hopeless, but they didn't necessarily feel they had done the job they had come for," said Campfield.

Despite working dozens of disasters, she said September 11th was different.

"There's a line drawn before 9/11 and after 9/11," Campfield said, "Because 9/11 was man made."

It's a line no one wants to draw again.