SEBRING - Although its been 12 years, Sebastian Quijano recalled instantly Wednesday where he was when the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks occurred. Quijano said he was attending a mathematics class in Miami. "We started our lesson and the teacher got a call on her cell phone and she burst into tears," he said. Then a television in the classroom was turned on and it showed footage of the burning towers, he said. "We asked the teacher why she was crying because the building was on fire. The teacher said we didn't understand, that it was more than just a building burning."
Woeilong La, who was in middle school in Homestead at the time, recalled that he was in a classroom when it occurred and a television showed footage of the events. But, he said, he didn't comprehend the magnitude of the event. "You would see violent stuff happening all the time on the television," he said. "I didn't understand what was happening." Although what was happening was hundreds of miles away, La recalled that parents, including his own, were picking up their children from school, he said. La said that parents seemed to want to get their children out of the city, feeling that somewhere else would be less of a target. One legacy of the event is that people don't take their families for granted, La said. "A lot of people lost their families," he said. "People appreciated their families more that day." Quijano said that he believes people need to come together to help prevent future acts. Quijano, La and other residents spending Tuesday morning in downtown Sebring said the passage of time since Sept. 11, 2001, hasn't dimmed their memories. Mike Jarvis said he was doing a measuring job for floor covering in Sun n' Lakes when he learned about the attacks. The homeowner had the television on, he said. "It was a tragedy 12 years ago," he said. "Hopefully, it won't happen again, but it could." Vanessa Carr, who was in Alabama at the time of Sept. 11, 2001, said she didn't learn about the attacks until 5 p.m. that day. Although Carr said another terrorism attack could occur, she believes the country has gone too far security wise and has taken away rights of people. She said she also believes that war activity overseas is no long related to that day. Eric Quiel, another Sebring resident, said he was delivering automobile parts that day. He said its made him more vigilant. "You've always got to be paying attention to people around you," he said. firstname.lastname@example.org (863) 386-5834