Easley, S.C., was a long way away from most of the tragedies that occurred Sept 11, 2001.
But for the Hampton family, who now live in Seneca, S.C., it was a day that would soon change their lives forever.
Dale and Ann Hampton remember the day clearly. They shared the shock that all Americans felt as they watched the Twin Towers collapse.
“Little did we know on September 11 that it would impact us directly,” Ann said.
“That day I think we all knew, I believe everyone in America knew that life going forward was going to be different. We just couldn’t have imagined how different it was going to be.”
The shock they felt was quickly followed by concern for their daughter, Kimberly Hampton an army helicopter pilot who was at the time, stationed in South Korea.
"She loved the people there, and in fact, she had extended," Ann said. Kimberly was originally scheduled to return after one year in South Korea but opted for a second year.
"If she had not volunteered for that second year there, she would have been somewhere in the states and would have possibly gone to Afghanistan right away."
Kimberly was promoted to the rank of Captain before she returned to the U.S. in late 2001. She spent a few months training before she was transferred to Fort Bragg and then deployed to Afghanistan for a few months, Ann said.
In 2003 Capt. Hampton returned to Fort Bragg and had an opportunity to take command of the Deltra Troop with the 82nd Airborne Division.
"She was so excited," Dale remembered. "I don't think I've seen her very much happier, ever, as the day she deployed — she was so proud."
Capt. Hampton deployed to Kuwait from Fort Bragg on Aug. 30, 2003, the last time her parents would get to see their daughter.
"When they left Fort Bragg, of course we were there," Dale said. "We have lots of pictures that we took that day."
After a few weeks of training in Kuwait, she was sent to an abandoned air base outside of Fallujah, Iraq, that had no infrastructure and communication with her parents was limited.
"I think they had one computer for the entire group there," Dale said. Capt. Hampton told her parents she wanted her troops to be able to communicate with their families as the holidays approached.
"She said, 'I'll get on the computer when I can, but if you don't hear from me, that's the reason — I want my men to use that computer so their families will know they're OK.'"
The last time Dale spoke to Kimberly was Dec. 9, 2003 after a helicopter from another troop was shot down. Another female pilot, Capt. Robin Brown was in the helicopter, but luckily no one was injured.
"I just happened to be home at lunch and she called," Dale recalled. "She said, 'You've probably heard on TV that there was a crash, but they're both OK and I've given Robin a hug."
On the morning of Jan. 2, 2004, another helicopter was shot down in Fallujah.
"For some reason Ann got up early that morning," Dale said.
Ann was watching the news when the story was reported, and both of them became very concerned.
"Later that afternoon, almost 12 hours, exactly to the minute from when she actually died, we were notified that it was Kimberly."
"It was just the most devastating thing you could imagine, to learn that your only child has been killed in war."
Capt. Kimberly Hampton became the first female military pilot in United States history to be shot down and killed as a result of hostile fire. She was also the first woman from South Carolina to die in the Iraq War.