"You could hear crickets in New York City" - Dr. Jerry Farley

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center sent shock-waves through America.

Washburn University President Dr. Jerry Farley was in New York when tragedy struck. 15 years later Farley says he remembers the attacks like they were yesterday.

"You could hear crickets in New York City that doesn't happen that happens in Kansas," Farley said.

Doctor Jerry Farley wasn't in Kansas on September 11, 2001. He was headed to a 9:30 a.m. meeting right across the street from the World Trade Center.

On the way out of his hotel, Farley asked the doorman for directions - that's when he got word that a plane had hit a building.

At first, Farley thought some poor pilot made a horrible mistake, but he quickly found out this was a situation far worse.

"When I saw the building and saw how much smoke was coming out I knew that wasn't the case, but the thought that I fly all the time that I could have been on that airplane," Farley said.

A second plane hit the second tower and both twin towers crumbled.

"It changed the city," Farley said.

While thousands of people tried to escape the island, Farley headed towards the sight of terror to get a glimpse.

"A cloud of dust was in the air, people were walking off and they were covered with this white dust and they looked like ghosts," Farley said, "and they were just walking along."

The city known for its hustle and bustle went silent... and all Farley's senses came alive.

"The terrible odor and the flashing lights just made it feel like you were going to see a spaceship or something coming, Farley said, "it was just incredible."

Farley says he saw New York's harsh and brisk reputation turn warm -- thousands of strangers hugging each other on the streets. Farley says it's a call to action that Americans should answer.

"Well, why don't we do that normally, why don't we do that everyday when we get up," Farley said, "That's what we should be thinking."

In hopes that America can be that kind of nation, Farley has worn this American flag pin everyday for the past 15 years.

"and everyday when I put it on a new suit I think about what happened, everyday."