SOMERSET, Pa. -- Sept. 11, 2001, was a routine Tuesday morning at the Miller Funeral Home in Somerset. Wallace "Wally" Miller, Somerset County coroner, was in his office and his father, Wilbur, who lived with him, was in his customary place on the couch, watching television.
"Come and look at this," he yelled to his son. "A pilot must have had a heart attack and crashed his plane into the World Trade Center. How would you like to be the coroner in New York?" he asked rhetorically.
Miller watched for a bit and retreated to his office. A little later, he received a call from Denny Kwiatkowski, Cambria County coroner, asking him about a plane crash near Shanksville.
"I hadn't heard anything about it and I immediately called the 911 response center and I couldn't get through," recalled Miller of that day when his life and the lives of people around the globe would be changed forever. "Luckily, I was able to contact them with a two-way radio, and they told me there was an unconfirmed report of a large plane down near Shanksville."