It’s been 20 years, But I remember 9/11/01 Like it was Yesterday
Even though it's been 20 years, I remember 9/11/01 like it was yesterday. In 2001, I was hosting the Morning Show on 98.1 WRAY, in my hometown of Princeton, IN. Once a month, the Sheriff would come in, and talk about safety and upcoming programs for the community.
On the morning of 9/11, Sheriff George Ballard and Deputy Jeff Hill were in studio with me, talking about school safety (I think, because Jeff was a School Resource Officer). We got a phone call from a man, saying that there had been a plane crash, and we should turn on the TV. Keep in mind, 20 years ago, we didn't have app notifications, and barely had the internet!
So, I turned on the Today Show, and we could not believe what we were seeing. One of my biggest fears has always been a plane crash. Not with my on the plane, but actually seeing it happen. Seeing the 2nd plane hit in real time was, insane. I immediately felt sick. Sheriff Ballard called 2 of his officers that had been in training in Colorado and told them to stay there. They were scheduled to fly out. He told me that a WAR had begun. What? A war?? I was still trying to wrap my head around the plane crashes, and really hoped it was some sort of accident or isolated incident.
As the day progressed, I had a strong sense of urgency to help. At that time, I also worked at the Sheriff's Dept, as a Reserve Deputy. So, I left work (It was wall-to-wall news) and I went straight to the department, to see how I could help. Myself and another Reserve were stationed at the Elementary school in Owensville. I remember thinking, "How is this helping? I can't stop a plane if it crashes into the school!" But, the teachers appreciated us being there, as everyone continued to watch the rescue in New York. The Power Plant also hired security for weeks, after 9/11. Again, how were we going to stop an attack? But, it made the community feel safer.
I felt so much grief. I didn't know anyone that died personally, but the overwhelming feeling of sadness lasted for a while. It was just a really weird time, in the days following the attacks. People were lined up for gas for miles, but everyone was very cordial. No rioting or shouting, it was like we knew we were all in this together.
Even though the country was going through so much, our little community was not going to let it ruin their spirit. The races went on as planned at Tri-State Speedway, and the Heritage Day Festival went on that weekend, too. I'm glad they didn't cancel these events (They almost did) I didn't want the bad guys to win and take our joy away.
I'm glad that we can use this day to honor our First Responders for literally putting their lives on the line, to save others. Thank you.
Even though it's a Country song (I know, I know) When Alan Jackson performed this at an awards show, it was very healing. It's a simple song, about the day that we went to war.