Steven N. Wawruck Jr. was at a conference at Logan Airport in Boston at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001. As the participants in the meeting went into the room, they were asked to turn off their cellphones.
During a break at 9:30 a.m., Wawruck said he walked out into the airport and saw everyone staring at the television monitors.
“People were crying, pilots and stewardesses were standing around,” Wawruck said. “Everyone was in disbelief.”
As he watched the news, Wawruck told a woman standing next to him that they were looking at Washington D.C.
“I turned to the lady and said we’re under attack. My first thoughts were the country is under attack,” Wawruck said. “I knew it was something linked to terrorists.”
Wawruck spent the rest of the day trying to drive back to Connecticut as security was tightened around Logan, where the two planes that flew into the World Trade Center had originated. Wawruck didn’t know that at the time.
“Nobody understood what was going on,” he said. “It wasn’t even talked about.”
Wawruck, now first selectman of Windsor Locks, CT, had just retired from the Air National Guard a year earlier. He said he had a helpless kind of feeling of what he could do after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Six or seven years later, his son Steven III, joined the U.S. Marines and served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, and after being knocked around a couple of times by improvised explosive devices, is fine.
“It’s good to have him home now,” Wawruck said. “I’m very proud of him, proud of his service to our country.”
Wawruck said his son, like many other young people during the past decade, were motivated to join the military by the Sept. 11 attacks.
“They understand what it takes to have the freedom we enjoy and continue to enjoy,” Wawruck said.