Like the day President John Kennedy was assassinated (for those of us old enough to remember), Sept. 11 also stands out as a date none of us can forget.
Most Americans can pinpoint where they were that day when they heard about the attacks. A journalist friend of mine was in New York and in Lower Manhattan when the planes hit the World Trade Center towers. He had to run for his life.
Glen Rose citizens have given their lives and are still making sacrifices in the war against terrorism. U.S. Army Cpl. Rhett Allen Butler, 22, was killed in Iraq in 2007. Other soldiers from Glen Rose and Somervell County are still overseas in harm's way.
Our state senator, Brian Birdwell, was in the Pentagon that day when a plane commanded by terrorists slammed into the famous building. Badly burned and injured, Birdwell almost died.
The Reporter asked readers to submit their memories and photos. They and others in the community are honoring the fallen by taking time to remember and also to celebrate our freedoms and our lives.
We are all privileged to live in this beautiful area that seems so far removed from terrorism, but nevertheless felt its impact on that terrible day 10 years ago.
Somervell County Firefighters:
Alan West, a county sheriff's deputy and a volunteer firefighter, remembered Sept. 11, 2001, as a day of fire, but it wasn't in New York. It was the Dean Dugger family residence on County Road 314.
The Reporter came out on Sept. 13, 2001, that year and devoted the top half of its front page to the fire. A story about a candlelight vigil being held in the memory of the attack victims was announced on the bottom left-hand corner.
Firefighters who worked the blaze didn't even hear about the attacks until later in the day. There also was a bad car accident, but none of the air evacuation ambulances flew to the scene.
That was because all air traffic had been grounded that day.
I was giving a spelling test when a teacher came in to tell me about the first plane. Not leaving the classroom, I knew very few details, except it had been said that "America was under attack!" When parents began to pick up their children within minutes of the attack, the reality of the event became apparent.
The next day, many students returned to school, in order to keep things as normal as possible. In my classroom, I gave students time to share their thoughts, fears and questions. Students were then given paper and told to draw and write whatever they were thinking.
This drawing (see the slide show running to the right) is from one of those students. I do believe the message is very clear.
We lived in the Los Angeles area. My husband, Steve, and I were getting ready for work. Our son, Jeff, was attending the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, N.M. Jeff called us on the phone and yelled to turn on any local channel on the television! Jeff stayed on the phone and while we tried to make sense of what we were seeing on television, the three of us together, but in two different states, watched as the second plane crashed into a tower.
We wished for a group hug but had to settle for a hurried "I love you" over the phone. Jeff and his fellow cadets were being called for a briefing. Steve and I went into work mode and rushed to get to our jobs. My job would be to provide calm and comfort in my classroom for my third graders and their parents throughout the day. Steve was the assistant commander at his sheriff's station. Critical assets had to be evaluated, briefings attended, personnel made ready to defend against whatever might come next.
A few nights later we went to dinner and Steve gave me a pair of earrings he'd been saving for my Christmas gift. He wanted me to have them because life seemed very uncertain and fragile then.
On Sept. 27 we flew to New Mexico for Family Weekend at the Military Institute to see Jeff. We had to hug him! Many parents didn't attend because 9-11 had made them fearful of flying.
The 9-11 attack caused us to focus even more on what we always knew to be most important: each other and our love!
I was getting ready for my job as a nurse at a busy clinic in Cleburne while my husband was watching one of the early morning news shows on TV. As I walked through the living room on my way out the door, I stopped to see what he had been telling me about a plane hitting one of the World Trade Center towers in New York. Then, out of nowhere, a second plane, clearly an airliner, undoubtedly with passengers on board, flew into the second tower. We were both dumbfounded as the reality of what we had just seen dawned on us. I still had a job to go to so I left him watching the news coverage while I tried to get something on my car radio. There was a lot of confusion and speculation about what had really happened.
When I arrived at work, everyone talked in a low voice about the events of that morning, but we didn’t have any way to keep up with the news as it developed. Several patients cancelled their appointments, but those that did come had very little more information than we did. Finally, about mid-morning a nice young gentleman who was calling on our doctors that day as a representative of a pharmaceutical company, went to the Radio Shack there in Cleburne and purchased some cables to hook up our one television set to receive the news. (It was a small set that our doctors used to view tapes of medical procedures.) We tried to keep our minds focused on our duties that day, but kept going back and forth into the room where the television set was.
At noon, we all assembled in the break room and had prayer for all those affected directly and for our nation. At the end of the day, my husband appeared at the clinic to take me out to supper. He had not gone to work that day but had watched the news all day. We ate in silence as a TV set in the restaurant gave constant coverage of the day’s events. I asked my husband why he drove all the way to Cleburne to surprise me and take me out to eat and he said, “I just wanted to be with you.” The harsh reality that many people would never again have a meal with their loved ones after what had started out as just another routine day, had made us painfully aware of the shortness of life and that we can never take it for granted.
I was working at The Glen Rose Reporter on 9/11. It was a Tuesday morning and I'd arrived before eight o'clock to start creating display ads. The former owner, Dan McCarty, and I were the only ones there. Shortly after eight o'clock, my husband called to tell me he'd seen a video on TV of the first plane hitting the tower. While he and I were trying to decide if it was an accident or on purpose, the second tower was hit.
We didn't have Internet access at that time at the Reporter, so I turned on a radio to get more information, plus kept calling my husband at home so he could keep me updated. As soon as the workday was over, I hurried home to watch the newscasts. I sat curled up with my husband on the couch and cried at the horrible destruction.
I'll remember that day, and how helpless I felt, for the rest of my life.