Oral History Project

Overview of the Project

Below is the presentation for my oral history project, which was created in a humanities practicum. The class’s theme was working lives, therefore our projects had to encompass the working theme in some capacity. The project required us to interview three people, who could provide insight on our chosen topic. I chose the topic of changes in the workplace post-9/11. I expected to here about the various policy changes in professions after 9/11 but what I didn’t expect to here about was the emotional impact that it had on people who were not directly affected by it. My three interview subjects included, a Lieutenant Firefighter with the Green Bay, WI Metro Fire Department, the former safety and risk manager on my campus, and a flight attendant. Each of these people provides great insight into how 9/11 changed both their work and personal lives.




Introduction to the People Interviewed for the Project 


Below are some of the subtopics that I uncovered during the project.


Emotional Effects of 9/11

September 11th, 2001 changed the course of millions of peoples lives, even if they were not directly affected by it. Below are clips from two of my interview subjects who experienced changes in the way they felt about their jobs post-9/11. The first clip is from David Siegel. In this clip he discusses an experience he had in the days following 9/11.

“I said goodbye to everything I loved and cared for.”


This second clip is from my interview with Sandy Sprang. Sandy was working the day of September 11th, 2001 and was supposed to fly from LAX to JFK airport in New York City. Her plane would, however, never depart from LAX that morning. In the clip below she discusses her memories from that day.

“How can you not forget. I know exactly where I was.”


The following clip is also from my interview with Sandy. In this clip she discusses her emotions in the days and months following 9/11.

“It was a difficult six months.”


Training for an Event Like 9/11

The clip below is from my interview with David Siegel. He discusses how it wasn’t a matter of if terrorism would happen but when.

“Terrorism had always been on our radar.”


Policy Changes Post-9/11

After September 11th, 2001 there were many changes in various workplaces policies. Jane Rank discusses in the clip below how 9/11 made them start thinking about what they would do during different kinds of emergencies.

“Nine eleven kind of pushed all of this. Lets start thinking about how we handle an emergency.”


In the next clip Sandy Sprang discusses a few of the policy changes that occurred in the airline industry after the events of September 11th, 2001. She could not go into great detail about the changes because of security reasons.

“There’s one that effect the whole industry and then there’s other ones that you just see on board the aircraft.”


Training Changes Post-9/11

Along with changes in policies also came changes in training as Sandy discusses in the following clip. Again, she could not go into great detail about some of the training changes due to company policy and security reasons.

“You’re working in a flying bomb.”


Length of Time It Took For Changes to be Implemented

Changes in policies and training can often take time and this was the case for some professions after 9/11 occurred. The first clip below is from my interview with Jane Rank. It in she discusses how it took the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus 8 years to complete their continuity of operation plan (COOP) even though they were the first to do so in the University of Wisconsin System.

“Keep in mind that at no point were more resources given to us to get the work done.”


In the clip below, Sandy discusses how long it took for changes in the aircraft industry to occur.

“It depends what it was on a priority level.”


Many thanks to David Siegel, Jane Rank, and Sandy Sprang for participating in this project and sharing their stories. Also thank you to University of Wisconsin Green Bay Archivist Deb Anderson, Instructional Technologist Kate Farley, and Professor Rebecca Meacham for their help in creating this project.