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Hartselle Enquirer

Sept. 11 changed the world

By Staff
Leada Gore, Editor
As a child, I remember my mother telling the story of where she was the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. She was working at an insurance office in Birmingham when someone came in and told them what happened. She described the following days, weeks and even months ahead as being in a sort of fog. People were so shocked they couldn’t imagine the world would keep turning another day. Time, it seemed, would simply stop.
Fast forward 38 years to Sept. 11, 2001. For me, the morning started the same way others did, getting out of bed, getting ready for work. Before I walked out the door, I turned on the television to the “Today” show. In the middle of a story about something else, the announcer came on and said their were reports of a small plane hitting the World Trade Center. The announcer didn’t seem too concerned and I thought to myself it was suprising things like that didn’t happen more often.
Then, just minutes later, the announcer said there were reports of another plane hitting the World Trade Center. The tone in the announcer’s voice let everyone know this was serious and something more than just an isolated incident.
I left for work, not really knowing that was happening. I arrived at our office to find everyone listening to the television in our breakroom. The news was fast and furious: two large planes had crashed into the World Trade Center; another hit the Pentagon; a fourth plane crashed in a field outside Pennsylvania. No one had any idea if more planes would come crashing out of the sky. Were we looking at the end of the attack or just the beginning?
We were on a deadline that morning and had to quickly pull our lead story and change the front page. We made some phone calls, wrote some stories and redid the newspaper for the week. The biggest challenge was the unknown; there were no answers on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. There were only questions.
Still, my old newspaper boss taught me to pay attention to my surroundings; to write about how an incident impacted people, not just about the incident itself.
We wrote about people’s reaction and fears, their uncertainty if the world would ever be the same.
Their concerns were valid. Five years after the attacks, our world is not the same. Sept. 11, 2001 has led us into two wars and dealing with the daily threat of terrorism at home. The FBI listens to phone calls. You can’t carry bottled water onto an airplane. Things have changed, very much like those cold November days in 1963.

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