A 9/11 Witness Offers His Thoughts on the Nashville Bombing

A 9/11 Witness Offers His Thoughts on the Nashville Bombing

Kernan Lynch, Staff Writer

The Nashville bombing shook the nation during the early morning hours of Christmas Day. In the disastrous year of 2020, one thing we all hoped for was a good holiday season to finally end off what seemed like a never-ending year. It’s a day where families and friends are overjoyed with happiness as they celebrate together as one. With all of the current guidelines and the surprise of this attack, this year’s Christmas sure did not feel like years past.

It was shortly after 6 a.m. when Nashville police responded to a call regarding a possible shots fired situation. When they arrived on the scene, they encountered an RV with a loudspeaker warning people to stay clear of the vehicle and that they had 15 minutes to evacuate the building before a bomb would detonate. Shortly after, a countdown started which ultimately led to the explosion of the RV. Police say Anthony Quinn Warner was responsible and the only death as a result of the attack. Eight others were injured.

The AT&T transmission building that the Nashville bomber targeted. (Wikipedia)

Following the attacks, I felt terrible for the city of Nashville. With an event so surreal, my mind immediately went to the events on September 11, 2001, and sparked an idea to talk with my father, who witnessed the 9/11 attacks firsthand. I wanted to ask how the two events compared.

My father was supposed to be attending a business meeting at the World Trade Center during the time of the attack. By pure luck, a client’s absence caused the meeting to be cancelled and rescheduled. 

Like so many Americans, he was initially confused when American Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center.


“I looked out of my window and I was very confused,” he said. “I could see smoke coming from Lower Manhattan and nobody knew what was going on.”

My dad and many coworkers were at a hotel relatively far from the World Trade Center grounds, although the immense smoke was still visible. 

“The local news didn’t know that it was a commercial aircraft hitting the tower as it seemed as if it was a small plane,” he said. “They didn’t even have a grasp of the severity this was prior to the second plane hitting the South Tower.”

It seemed like everybody was clueless. Some people even thought that air traffic controllers routed them into the WTC on accident. Nobody truly knew this event was an act of terror. An act against the United States. 

“It was so unlike New York City, It was completely empty. Not a person on the sidewalk or a car on the road,” said Lynch. “The only noise I could hear was the roar of the fighter jets in the sky. Not to mention, the smell and air quality were very poor.”

New York City, a lively city with the largest population in the United States, was vacant. 

“From the site of the towers was a pile of debris so immense it was overwhelming. Buildings around the site, such as Deutschland Banks offices, had gashes torn into them. Three World Trade, where my meeting was to be held, was gone,” said Lynch. “A colleague of mine took me to his office that was overlooking the site. The destruction was breathtaking.”


The September 11th attacks forced many changes in the aviation industry, but it also made people very scared of flying. My dad remembers flying back to New York City that next week vividly seeing a smoldering hole in the ground right where the World Trade Center stood. Everybody on the plane was very tense, terrified of flying, and hoping that they would safely touch down at LaGuardia Airport.

I then transitioned into the conversation about the Nashville bombing. I was very curious to see his point of view when I asked him: What did you think about the bombing in Nashville? How would you compare it to 9/11?

“I certainly felt bad when I heard the news in Nashville, although I don’t think it was anything compared to the September 11th attacks. The Nashville bomber gave notice there was a bomb, broadcasting on a loudspeaker that a bomb was imminent. His intentions were to show the ‘government’ how much he disliked them but, at the same time, was not particularly targeting human life,” said Lynch.

“The 9/11 terrorists wanted total destruction and targeted the twin towers. It was mass destruction of human life, iconic buildings, our biggest city, and the economy.”

My father felt terrible for the city of Nashville, although he had trouble comparing it to his traumatic experience in New York City.

While the Nashville Bombing can’t even compare to the loss of life, and total destruction that happened on September 11, both events devastated their respective cities and shocked the nation,” said Lynch.

Acts of violence and hate against the United States have taken a massive toll on today’s society. Families and friends have lost their loved ones in these attacks against our country. But, I know one thing for certain: the United States always joins together in unity during times of sorrow.