9/11 Pilot's Widow Speaks on Tenth Anniversary in Odessa

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - In the ten years since the Twin Towers came down, America and the world has changed. From tighter security to heightened terrorist threats to the death of Osama Bin Laden.

But we will never forget the heroes, survivors and those we lost on that horrible day.

Cheryl McGuinness, shared her story Sunday morning in Odessa at Crossroads Fellowship Church. Her husband was the co-pilot of flight 11, the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center.

"It was a terrible day," McGuinness said. "I think it's a day we will never ever forget in our country."

It's a day where all of us can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing. Cheryl McGuiness remembers the phone call she got like it was yesterday.

"It was a friend asking if Tom was home. I said no he's on trip," McGuinness said during her talk.

Cheryl's husband, Tom McGuiness, was one of the pilots on American Airlines flight 11.

"I remember my disbelief when he said a plane had been hijacked," she said. "I said 'What? Planes don't get hijacked, this is America. That doesn't happen here.'"

She tried frantically to get ahold of her husband but no luck. Then a short time later, she saw a black car in her driveway.

"There were three men that got out and one of them was the chief pilot for American Airlines," McGuinness said. "I remember just saying 'Go away.' I thought if they just went away none of this would be happening to me."

Flight 11 was the first plane to hit the World Trade Center. Cheryl then had to break the news to her children.

"We hugged and we cried and I reassured them that God would take care of us," she said.

It's God who Cheryl credits for her strength today.

It's been a long journey but with time and prayer, Cheryl said she sees God's plan for her family.

Cheryl's son, Tommy, followed in his dad's footsteps. He's now a commercial airline pilot.

10 years later, Cheryl's pain has turned into promise. Promise that her book title says: There is beauty beyond the ashes.

"You can trust God," she said. "He will carry you forward. He will heal your broken heart. There's hope."