Pike County Times
The Pike County Times, PO Box 843, Zebulon, Georgia 30295. You can donate through PayPal at the link on the bottom of the page. Becky Watts: Phone # 770-468-7583 editor(@)pikecountytimes.com
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Photo used by permission. This and other photos by Sara K. Schwittek available at http://www.foureyes.com/towers/
A Tribute to 9/11
By Editor Becky Watts

PIKE COUNTY - It's been ten years since the Twin Towers came tumbling down after a cowardly attack on America killing 3,000 people at that time. Four planes used as bombs to kill innocent people in a war against terrorism that has continued since then.

It's been ten years since the Pentagon was struck and we heard the words "Let's Roll" as the passengers died taking control of a plane from hijackers resulting in their deaths as the plane went down in a field.

How have our lives changed since then?

Airport security is much tighter, and restrictions have been placed on many freedoms that we took for granted before this attack.

Our soldiers have gone off to war. Many have not returned. Many who have returned deal with memories that they didn't ask for on a daily basis but still chose to serve proudly as they were asked to do. Many have and would serve their country again without complaint.

Some things are still the same. Firefighters still run into burning buildings. Police officers still put their lives on the line every day to protect the population at large.

Do we recognize the sacrifices that are being made on a daily basis by those around us? The soldier. The firefighter. The police officer. The first responder.

On a smaller scale, we can even include those who contribute to our freedom in this country by writing a letter to the editor, attending a meeting or speaking out on an issue with our Congressmen or serving as our representative. We don't endanger our lives when we speak out in society, but there is a price to be paid for everything that we do. Freedom has never been free.

Today is a day to reflect upon that horrible day in 2001. We need to remember what happened that day. We should never forget because it continues to impact our lives every day. And those who forget the past are destined to relive it.

September 11, 2001 was a day that terrorism was brought to the American people in living color. It was real to us as we sat in horror and watched the television for hours on end. It continues to impact our lives every day as soldiers go off to war and measures against terrorism are a part of our daily lives now.

There are children alive who have never seen the Twin Towers, and they will never know our world before terrorism brought the towers down. This includes my own children. Our innocence as a country is gone.

Many people know someone who is overseas now or has been there in the past. As the wife of an American soldier who has served two year-long tours in Iraq, my family lives with the aftermath of 9/11 on a daily basis sometimes. Some days I am calm and reflective. Other days I am "The Angry American" that Toby Keith sings about. Even now, ten years later.

This is a time of year that we as a country honor the sacrifices that have been paid for our nation and for our freedom. Do we appreciate all of the freedoms that we have here in America? Do we exercise those rights in our Constitution? Or have we forgotten where we have come from?

I dedicate this page first and foremost to those who went into those buildings before and after the attacks as well as those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks. Your lives have never been the same since that day, and I honor you and your loved ones.

Second, I want to dedicate this page to those who put their lives on the line for us every day within our country and overseas. Those families know sacrifice every single day that many will never know.

As we go out of our homes today and from now on, I hope that we all take the opportunity to thank those who respond to emergency situations--the firefighter, the police officer, and EMT's and first responders. Your sacrifice and that of your families is very much appreciated.

I hope that we also take the time to thank the soldiers both past and present. We thank you and your family for your sacrifice to keep this country free.

Freedom has never been free.

Photo Tributes to 9/11



http://www.scribd.com/doc/282415/Military-photos-of-the-Twin-Towers This site contains aerial footage that I have never seen before.


Where Were You On September 11, 2001?

"I was starting my first day as an intensive care nurse at the UGA vet school. I was a full time student, and classes were canceled so I went to work. Students and teachers were gathered around televisions and computers. I remember listening to the radio on the drive home. I had to pull over because I was crying. It was scary and surreal. I got home, watched the news for hours, and cried on the phone with my mom."

Jennifer Gardner, Pike County

"I was at home holding a brand new baby in my arms as I watched the Twin Towers come down. Our toddler played peacefully while my husband and I waited to see if the call would come for him to go to Atlanta because Atlanta could be on a target list too. He didn't have to go that day, but the call to serve came all to quickly.

It's now ten years later and he has served two years overseas. Each was a one year tour of duty in Iraq. Our view on terrorism is forever changed as a family and as part of country that has been attacked.

We can never forget where we have been because those who do are destined to walk in those same footsteps once again.

- Becky Watts, Pike County Times.com Editor

On September 11, 2001, I was working overseas. I was a Department of State contractor, working with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). It was a peacekeeping mission, though I often thought of it as a peacemaking mission.

That Tuesday afternoon I was in my office wrapping up my day, planning for the next. It had been a long one, but I've forgotten why. What happened that afternoon made be forget. It's not even in the diary I kept. I was going over paperwork with a coworker when his phone rang. "My fiance back home," I remembering him say. I was close enough to hear her talking but not enough to hear what she said. "You're kidding," he replied. "That couldn't be right."

He turned to me and told me to turn on the television behind my desk. I didn't even ask why or what channel. He was saying something about a plane and New York City. I got the television on and saw the World Trade Center with smoke boiling from it. Though the channel was in Polish, I knew exactly what was being said. Not a minute later, United 175 flew into the South Tower. It was just after 3 p.m. for us. Every phone in the building began to ring at once.

My wife called worried. I told her that I didn't know what this would mean but that I was safe, that she shouldn't worry about me. I told her so that she wouldn't worry as much, but I wasn't confident in my own words.

My office began to fill, so we went to my boss' office and watched his television. A coworker from another country popped in and said, "Now the U.S. knows how it feels to be attacked. It is about time." I was too shocked to reply or feel any kind of anger. (I learned the next morning that the man was sent home immediately after making his comment, which was overheard by a person from his contingent. "It was for his own safety," I was told.)

My fellow Americans and I soon decided to go to a collegue's house and watch the news there. We were already seeking safety, and his place seemed safest. On the way to what we called the American Embassy because of the building's appearance and because of the number of Americans living there, we talked about what had happened and about our own safety, beginning plans for the worst. What can I say? We were in a foreign country, far from home. We were scared.

Everyone knew that we were at war. We watched for hours, watching both towers collapse, with scenes replayed in a loop. The Polish got irritating, but the Turkish channel wasn't any better, so we watched silently.

Much later we decided we needed to eat. After changing clothes we all went together. Someone paid the owner to lock the door so we would be alone. Everyone faced the window, watching the street out front. It was a strange meal. A good friend and coworker of mine said, "It was Osama bin Laden who did this. It had to be." I had heard the name, but I never thought ramblings of a madman from half a world away would come to something like this. During dinner we had a lengthy discussion about what happened. Everyone wondered what it meant for us and our future. "We'll be more like Israel," someone said.

Things changed everywhere. That day. For us overseas, the same was true. The Islamic charity across the street from where I lived got raided within a day or two. The people working there disappeared, and the place was shuttered. We watched our backs and other people much more closely. We endured more thorough screening at the airport when we wanted to go on leave. Our lives changed.

We can never go back. We can never forget.

Randy Snyder, Pike County

I was assigned to the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71) and we were getting ready for a regular deployment, scheduled to leave Norfolk, Virginia on the 19th of September. I am a Sailor in the US Navy.

The base went to ‘Essential Personnel Only’ and I had to report to my ship immediately. I went home to pack and say goodbye to my husband and son, who was only 3 at the time. I remember vividly sitting in the worst traffic of my life that day trying to get through the main gate. It took me almost 4 hours to drive about 12 miles. The lanes were merging and there was this elderly lady that would not let me over to save her life...anyway, I ended up being in the lane behind her and when she finally got to the gate, they turned her away because only essential people were getting through. I ‘almost’ felt bad for her.

Many of us reported to the ship, but because we were scheduled to leave in about a week, about half our crew was out of the area on leave to spend time with their families. We had a little more than half a crew. We all stayed on the ship for the next 3 days until slowly, they started letting groups of people go home for an evening to say goodbye to their families since we were still waiting for people to get back to the area so we could leave. But with airports shut down, most couldn’t get back.

Slowly, people started to make it back and we left for our deployment as scheduled. We were out to sea for 159 days straight (a record). But we did our job and did it well. We returned from our deployment at the end of May, 2002. And it was an entirely different home than what we had left. I had never seen so many yellow ribbons in my life. I was so proud to be an American and to be doing what I love to do.

I still serve my country proudly, but just like everyone else, my life changed that day.

"I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy.'" - President John F Kennedy

Tracy Frost
Fallon, Nevada

Pike County held a National Day of Remembrance ceremony on the Courthouse Square on 9/11/11. Click here to read how we honored those who lost their lives as well as honored our emergency services personnel here in Pike County.