LANCASTER, Pa (WHTM) – John Moeller was a chef in the White House when terrorists attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.
Moeller now owns the Greenfield Restaurant in East Lampeter Township, in Lancaster County.
“The morning of September 11th, we were getting ready of the largest party of the year: the Congressional BBQ,” Moeller told ABC27 News. “We were in full production mode, getting ready for the event that evening, and then one of the butlers came to the kitchen and said one of the planes hit one of the towers in New York.”
Moeller said in the moments following, his boss told him the event would be canceled because of a suspected terrorist attack.
After moving from party preparations, Moeller transitioned to preparing lunches for First Lady Laura Bush.
“I had food that I was getting set up for the salad and then the Pentagon got hit and we were removed from the premises,” Moeller recalled. “I remember stopping and turning around, looking over my shoulder, and right above the entrance to the West Wing, there was the black smoke swirling up into the sky.”
Moeller said the streets in the capital were busy, but no chaos ensued.
The chef, a Lancaster County native, said the day following 9/11 had a lasting impact on him when he saw the President’s face at dinner.
“You could see the weight of the world on him,” Moeller said. “You could see the anguish on him.”
Moeller, who published a book about his time in the White House, said no one should forget that day.
“What I experienced there at the White House on that day and in the days, and weeks afterward was something we should commemorate every year,” Moeller said. “I think every year should be a milestone in remembering what happened on September 11 in 2001.”