Lasting legacy | 9/11 special report

Todd Dills and Max Kvidera | September 06, 2011

In the final analysis, 9/11 was a momentous event that changed the lives of some truckers forever. Mike Crawford found out his nephew in the Pentagon had suffered a broken arm and a broken leg in the attack but realized a renewed sense of patriotism and anger toward the hijackers that “pissed him off so much he reenlisted,” says Crawford.

Several members of driver Bettina Cameron’s family joined military services as well. She felt like she was doing her national duty “just being a trucker” during a time of trial. “All the planes were down — the only way that things were moved was by truck. It was almost like, ‘You might take the planes down but it doesn’t matter, we’re just going to keep going. I took pride in the trucking industry. For me, it was like I was doing something important, too, for my country.”

Tim Philmon, leased to Landstar, got the rare opportunity to haul steel from the World Trade Center in early 2010, part of a 28-truck Landstar convoy from a hangar at JFK International Airport to the National Iron and Steel Heritage Museum in Coatesville, Pa. “It was the haul of a lifetime,” he says.

Philmon was hoping to deliver one of many loads of steel intended for the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site, now under construction, putting a personal cap on the 9/11 legacy.

By dawn on Sept. 12, 2001, Dick McCorkle was finally able to get out of Manhattan to Connecticut, where he called his wife in Indiana. He told her he was OK and “that I knew it would be a while before I could get home.”

About a week later, he says, “I returned to the job I had started out of East Greenfield, Pa., and headed back for New York. “Everything had changed. The National Guard and policemen were patrolling each and every stop light, and every entrance into the city. The place where the World Trade Center used to be was still smoking. Cleanup had started, but it was a slow process. The mayor of New York and the President had their hands full.

“After I delivered in New York City, I went to Long Island to pick up another load. It was a trade show headed for Las Vegas. I got to Springfield, Mo., before I was told to return the load, since all trade shows had been canceled. After I returned the trade show, I went back to East Greenfield to make yet another run into New York. The people who had been receiving my loads weren’t there. They had been replaced by an entirely different crew.

“About a month after the attack, business out of East Greenfield had slowed drastically and I relocated. To this day I don’t know whether or not those that had been unloading me made it through the ordeal or not. I’ve never seen them again.”