'Horrific' 9/11 memories reverberate with Frazier

'Horrific' 9/11 memories reverberate with Frazier

CHICAGO -- Todd Frazier had just begun his freshman year at Toms River South High School when the atrocities of 9/11 took place 15 years ago, marked by a day of remembrance and commemoration around Major League Baseball Sunday to honor those whose lives were lost and affected on that tragic day.

Toms River, N.J., stands about 1 hour, 15 minutes away from the New York site where two planes crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

"God, it was horrific," Frazier said. "It was just, that was the talk. We didn't know what the heck was going on.

"We find out another plane was going for the Pentagon. It was a tough time, not only for the people in New York, but for everybody in the world."

Frazier was in disbelief when a friend first mentioned a plane crashing into the Towers. He happened at that moment to have American History, taught by one of his baseball coaches, and they sat and watched television for that entire 45-minute period.

About 20 minutes into that class, the second plane was crashed into the Towers.

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"Nobody knew what to do. Just the beginning of the year of school. It was crazy. There are endless stories," Frazier said. "I remember one of my good friends, Lauren, came up to me and said that her uncle was in that building and they don't know what's going on.

"I had another friend come up to me, and he was saying his dad, for the first time in 20 years that he worked at the building, missed the train. He forgot something at the house, his cell phone or wallet, and missed the train."

There were some places in Frazier's neighborhood where smoke could be seen drifting down after the attacks, despite the distance from New York. And while Frazier didn't know anyone personally who perished, he still has the image of innocent people leaping out of the buildings from many stories up because they simply had no other choice.

"What do you do? You see the videos of people jumping out of the buildings and with the smoke in there, the only thing you can do is stick your head out the window," Frazier said. "I was in the Willis Tower the other day, and it's like the first thing that comes to my mind was if there was a terrorist attack, there's no chance me and my family are getting out of here. We are 103 stories high.

"It's crazy to think what would possibly be going on in their mind. It's just so sad. It was a lot of tears being shed in school. It was tough."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.