For many Mississippians, September 11, 2001 was a regular work day. Many were going about their typical morning routines.
Patricia Boatman of Stewart said she was watching the morning news when they shared the breaking news of the terrorist attacks.
“I can remember like it was yesterday,” Boatman said. “I was watching morning news one NBC, when, out of the blue, a plane went into one the towers and everyone started getting all hyped thinking it was anything but. Then they started really getting panicked as we sat in unbelief as the second plane hit. I was on the phone with our oldest daughter, Melissa. It was such a total shock. Very hard to absorb what was taking place and the uncertainty of what was about to happen next. It was just awful!”
Tammie Goss of Vaiden was home with her 10 month old baby that fateful morning.
“We were playing ‘basketball’ with a ball and a clothes basket (when) the phone rang,” Goss said. “It was my daddy. He told me a plane just crashed into one of the twin towers and it was terrible. I turned the television on to Fox News to a day that has changed our world as we knew it. I still believe in America, but I think it’s imperative that we humble ourselves and pray like never before! I don’t know people exist without hope!”
The day after the attacks, Emmett Chassaniol tied a small American flag to the antenna of his car to show his support of the nation. He felt it was a way to say to the world, “America is not going to be put down by terrorists.”
During the year following the 9/11 attacks, Chassaniol attached three flags to his car antenna. He traveled the same route from Winona to his office in Greenwood each day, with on only slight variations due to local errands and appointments. The first flag was attached on Sept. 12, 2001 and was about half disintegrated with wear and tear by February 11, 2002. The next flag was attached on Feb. 11, 2002 and was about three-fourths disintegrated by the time he replaced it on June 11, 2002. The final flag was attached June 11, 2002 and was in perfect shape when he removed in on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. While this is an oddity considering he drives the same route, Chassaniol said there should have been the same amount of wear and tear on the flags, but there wasn’t. He feels the flags represent the healing of the nation during that first year.
It was also over the course of that first year following the 9/11 attacks that the stories and actions of hundreds of first responders helping rescue so many people, has given Americans a greater respect for their work in a crisis situation.
At Sunday’s 9-11 Memorial Service at Christ’s Cross at the Crossroads, Dr. Tom Dulin of Winona acknowledged the first responders in attendance. He reminded the attendees that while people were running away to safety following the 9-11 attacks, first responders in New York were running into harm’s way to help as many injured people as possible. Dulin said our local first responders also run into harm’s way to protect and serve. He said they deserve respect for all they do to protect our citizens.
“They are our heroes,” Dulin said.
It has been 15 years since the 9/11 attacks and that day has had a big impact on everyday lives in so many ways.
“The most lasting effect from my vantage point is with the travel industry,” said Mississippi District 14 Senator Lydia Chassaniol. “No one looks forward to flying any more. It used to be a luxury; now it’s a total hassle. From an economic standpoint it’s huge. I hate feeling like a criminal every time I go through airport security. Most of the TSA officials are impolite and some are brusk to the extreme. 9/11 has made Americans more fearful and far more mistrustful of one another. If that’s the lasting effect, then we are changed forever and not for the better.”
Mississippi District 46 Representative Karl Oliver said the nation is less secure and national leadership has failed to take an attitude of war with terrorists.
“As a community and state, the men and women of our Mississippi Army National Guard (SARNG) have served, protecting our nation both here and abroad after this heinous and cowardly attack on innocent lives, providing a blanket of protection from Muslim extremist terrorism post 9/11 without hesitation, while we sleep comfortably and securely in our beds at night,” said Oliver. “Sadly however, our current national leaders refuse to address these same Muslim extremist as enemies. They have caused our nation to be less secure, and now are actually aiding in transporting these same Muslim extremist into our nation. Make no mistake we are still and will continue to be at war with Muslim extremist, and in war you must hate those you are at war against with as much heart as you love those you are fighting to protect. Our leader has failed to recognize this.”
See this story in the Sept. 16 edition of The Winona Times at http://winonatimes.com/winona-slideshow/never-forget