CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCCU) -- It has been 17 years since two planes hit the Twin Towers as a series of coordinated attacks—two at the World Trade Center Buildings in New York City and one at the Pentagon.
Another plane was taken down near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers overtook their hijackers.
These attacks killed almost 3,000 people and injured over 6,000.
Even though these events happened more than 700-miles away, it has touched the lives of people right here in Champaign.
For resident Maggie Cascone the memories are still clear.
“I worked in tower two of the World Trade Center on the top floor," Cascone said.
That day she woke up like any other morning ready to go to work, but something felt off.
“But that morning it was different. Something told me to kind of change my routine," she said.
Those extra minutes ended up saving her life.
“Instead of getting there 15 to 20 minutes early, I got there just as the first plane hit."
At the time, she was underground below the towers where the subway trains pulled in.
“It was just a lot of fear."
That fear was the feeling her dad had back in Champaign after hearing the news.
“I don't know if I can go through that,” Edward Cascone said. “You know, wondering whether she was alive or dead.”
He said he sat there waiting for the phone to ring.
“It took about two and half hours when she finally got in contact with us and we knew she was okay," he said.
Just like many others that day, Cascone said she didn't know the magnitude of what was happening until after, but she does remember the way everyone came together.
“It didn't matter who you were. It didn't matter your race or religion, how old...nothing mattered at that point,” she said. “We were just a united country and that's why [today] is important."
Every year she attends Champaign-Urbana’s ceremony in West Side Park. She said, as long as they do it, she will be there.