Iraq War veteran Terry Pieper happened to flip on the TV the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, only to watch in disbelief and horror as United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the second World Trade Center tower.
“I called my wife and said, ‘Hey, did you see that one of the towers was hit?’” said Pieper, an Inver Grove Heights resident. “As I was watching, all of the sudden the second plane hit the other tower, and I just said, ‘Oh my God.”
Pieper, a member of the Minnesota National Guard, never expected to be deployed overseas in the wake of Sept. 11. Instead, Pieper thought he and his fellow Guardsmen would be called up to secure national assets.
But in 2004, Pieper and his Guard unit were transported to Iraq, where they served as the communications unit for the 256th Combat Brigade. Although they never saw combat, his unit suffered one close call, when a 122-millimeter shell fire by insurgents detonated yards from their command center, leaving a small crater but no injuries or deaths.
Pieper believes Sept. 11 irrevocably changed the country.
“I think it has made us a little more cynical, a little more cautious, a little more leery of people coming in,” Pieper said. “It’s sad that we have to be that way, but we do,” Pieper said.
Read more accounts about the impact of 9/11 on area residents by clicking on the links below.
Eagan: Eagan Resident Mike Ferber Hopes Memories of 9/11 Won’t Fade
Eagan: Incidental Soldier
Eagan: Eagan City Administrator Tom Hedges Reflects on 9/11
Edina: Retired Army Vet Spurred to Re-Enlist Following 9/11 Attacks
Fridley: Demand Soared for Speakers on Islam after 9/11
Inver Grove Heights: VFW Commander: Sept. 11 Changed the Country
Lake Minnetonka: Remembering Wayzata Native Gordy Aamoth
Lakeville: Lakeville VFW Post Manager's Wife Working at Pentagon on Sept. 11
Minnetonka: 9/11 Memories From a Former New Yorker
Mendota Heights: Retired Mendota Heights Pilot Recalls ‘Paradigm Shift’
Northfield: and Northfielder Will Never Forget His Birthday in Iraq
Oakdale: Terror and Joy Came Together for Oakdale Family
Oakdale: Post-9/11 World Meant Three Years Away From Family for Local Guardsman
Richfield: 9/11 Aftermath: Richfield Couple Waits for Possible Deployment
St. Louis Park: 9/11 Attacks Made Being Muslim ‘More Difficult’
Woodbury: Woodbury Resident, NYC Native Recalls 9/11