"We went out on the lake that day, and there wasn't an airplane in the sky," he said.
On the anniversary of the most deadly attacks ever on American soil, Greencastle High School faculty and student ambassadors, along with Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray, hosted a breakfast for area emergency responders.
Greencastle Fire Chief Bill Newgent said life has changed greatly for emergency responders in the past seven years.
"From an appearance side, there is obviously a larger awareness of what we do," he said. "Three hundred and seventy-some firefighters were lost in the trade center when it collapsed. The awareness of what not only firefighters do, but of what EMS and law enforcement do, has been heightened."
Newgent said in his estimation, emergency response agencies communicate better now that they did before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
"What we've seen is more emphasis on interoperability," he said. "We realize now how important it is that fire departments, police departments and EMS workers talk to one another."
Training practices were also altered after the attacks.
"Still today we're taking terrorism training as a direct result (of the attacks)," Newgent said. "Pre-9/11, we knew what anthrax was, we knew what a dirty bomb was, but we weren't necessarily trained to deal with them. Now we are."
Newgent said the 9/11 attacks also precipitated an interest for schools, universities and business in getting emergency preparedness plans in place.
"We have gone in and helped people get prepared for emergencies and disasters in our community," he said.
Murray said Sept. 11, 2001 reminded the nation how important emergency responders were not only in times of crisis, but on a daily basis.
"You spend your days taking care of us not because of what happened seven years ago, but because of what happens every day," she said.
The breakfast took place in the lobby of the high school's McAnally Center. GHS principal Jim Church extended his thanks to all the volunteers and donors, lauding their "generosity and hard work to make this event a great success."
Church said about 30 emergency responders from the Greencastle police and fire departments, Putnam County 911 and Sheriff's Department, the Indiana State Police and Operation Life attended the event.
Food was donated, prepared and served by representatives of Final Approach Bistro, Mama Nunz, Fairway Restaurant, Chief's, Walden Inn and Putnam Inn.
Newgent was grateful that the community held the event to honor him and his colleagues, but was quick to point out what Sept. 11, 2001 has come to mean to him.
"We're able to come together and that's great, but the main thing is to pay tribute to our fallen comrades," he said. "We always need to remember the ultimate sacrifice these people gave."