Bob Dittel was about to go to bed early in the morning on Sept. 11, 2001 when the phone rang. Recently retired from the Air Force as a physiological trainer, Dittel was working overnights as a manager for a U.S. Postal Service branch in Minneapolis.
“I had just gotten off work and ready to go to sleep when a friend called and told me to turn the television on,” said Dittel.
Dittel, currently the club manager for Lakeville's remembers watching the story unfold.
“Seeing the planes go into the towers, I knew it was no accident,” he said. “The first plane you thought it could maybe be an accident, but when the second plane hit you knew it was definitely not an accident. That’s when you knew something was really going on.”
As the terrorist attack progressed, Ditell remembers getting “a big lump” in his throat and his thought turned toward his 7-year old son in Washington, D.C.
“My ex-wife was a Colonel stationed at the Pentagon at the time. I called to make sure they were all right. She wasn’t in the building but she was nearby.”
Anger soon set in.
“The thing that really got me was that they went after the civilians,” he said. “Those are the people we (the military) are supposed to be protecting. The people in those towers were innocent and came from all walks of life. I just thought ‘we’re going to get ‘em’.”
Getting Osama Bin Laden was “very meaningful” according to Dittel, but it didn’t bring a full sense of closure. He feels safer now than he did right after the attacks, but is still mindful that the world has forever been changed.
“The smart people know there are still people out to get us, even though we’re a very giving country.” And that, says Dittel, is something he just doesn’t understand.
“I always thought, even before 9/11 happened, that if anyone came over here and attacked this country you would see liberals and conservatives stand together and we’d become a country united.”
His theory was proven right but he also feels the country has since slipped back into political divisiveness. Dittel says we should all learn from the events of 9/11.
“I think we need to go back to the old lessons in this country that we’ve been taught for years,” he said. “United we stand, divided we fall.”