Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Couple Retrace Steps from a Year Ago

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Couple Retrace Steps from a Year Ago

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Brune Mathis, Times-Union senior business writer

A year ago this morning, Jacksonville residents John and Flavel Godfrey concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other.

They spent the past 12 months doing the same thing.

"You do keep moving. You don't stop," Flavel Godfrey said yesterday morning at John Godfrey's Florida Economic Associates office in Ortega.

The Godfreys survived the attacks on the Twin Towers. They had been at the New York Marriott World Trade Center, where John was attending a National Association for Business Economists meeting. He was in the ground-floor ballroom and she was in their 16th-floor hotel room when a hijacked plane hit the first tower just before 9 a.m.

The Godfreys were evacuated but separately and in different directions. John left a telephone message at their Jacksonville number and then reached his son in Atlanta to help maintain connections. Flavel accessed the message. The couple connected several hours later at the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York, where Jacksonville friend Kurt Dunkle had enrolled.

In between, they saw the horrors and were there when another hijacked plane hit the second tower. They won't talk in detail about what they saw, preferring to maintain their privacy.

The Godfreys said yesterday it was difficult to process the information as the tragedy unfolded. "You don't," John said. "You put one foot in front of another."

As the world witnessed the attacks unfolding on television and radio, the Godfreys and others in the midst of the events focused on seeking safety. It wasn't until they found refuge that they realized all that had happened in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

"We had no clue what was going on," Godfrey said, recalling that he arrived at the seminary about 11:30 a. …

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