The memory of that day will forever be burned into my mind.
I was working at The Phenix Citizen, in Phenix City, Ala., a small town located in southeastern Alabama, that September morning. I walked into the office, and I was walking past my publisher’s office.
As I¿stuck my head in to say hello, I saw his eyes fixed on his television. I saw a plane fly into one of the Twin Towers, and thinking he was watching a movie, I asked, “What are you watching?”
He turned and said, “This is live, breaking news.”
He and I watched in silence for about an hour, after which we game-planned our coverage for that day. I got to my desk and started placing phone calls. My first one was to the local National Guard unit, and I discovered many of their members had been called into active duty.
Through the course of that day and the days following, I managed to track down people who had loved ones in New York as events unfolded. I even spoke to a local banker whose son worked in the towers. He was one of the fortunate ones — he got out alive.
Next, I remember going out to Russell County High School for an interview I had set up the week before with the principal. As I arrived, I saw students and teachers watching the news. My intended story would have to wait, as the principal and I both agreed — much more important events of the day required my attention. I snapped pictures of teachers and students watching the news and interviewed a few of them in my attempt to localize the story.
I remember just being mentally numb that entire day.
It’s hard to believe that almost 10 years have passed since I stuck my head into the publisher’s office — the memories seem fresh.
That’s my story in a nutshell. Now, I’d like to hear about yours.
As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 nears, The Jessamine Journal is searching for local people who have a compelling story about their personal experience involving the events of Sept. 11, 2001. If you have a story, send an e-mail of 100 words or fewer describing your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name and telephone number.