The Brazil Times edition on the day after 9-11.
Everyone who was old enough to realize what was going on remembers where they were and what they were doing on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
I don’t know if you like history or not but I find it fascinating to look through old newspapers, especially old local newspapers.
Our publisher, Chris Pruett, suggested one day, why don’t you do a weekly column on the week in review?
That assignment was like throwing Br’er Rabbit into the bushes as far as I was concerned. It’s embarrassing to admit but when I graduated from college and first moved to Indiana, I would spend my days off from work driving to Indianapolis and going through back issues of the Indianapolis Star. Embarrassing because such activity was not cool for a 20-something back then any more than it is cool today. Come to think of it, it is probably more cool today than back in the ‘70s.
Perhaps I should continue that assignment but somehow in redcent months I just don’t seem to find time to visit the Brazil Public Library and research old editions of The Brazil Times as much as I would like to.
While going through my notes about the old days, I found an entry from another Sept. 11, the one in 1971, decades before our more infamous 2001.
Did you know Nikita Kruschev, leader fo the USSR, died of an apparent heart attack on Sept. 11, 1971?
That 9/11 stood for years as the most memorable 9/11 in our nation’s history. If you have forgotten, Kruschev was the one who took off his shoe, banged it on the table in the United Nations and threatened America, “We will bury you.”
How times have changed. The USSR is no more and, according to President Trump, Russia could soon be one of our allies. I’ll not comment any further on that.
Sept. 11, 2001, cemented our personal relationships in ways not seen since Pearl Harbor.
When I mentioned we were doing a special observance in today’s edition of The Brazil Times, a friend told me he was getting a haircut when the Twin Towers were hit. That event undoubtedly brought the people in the shop together in a unique way.
I remember who I was with when the towers were hit by those hijacked airliners.
I was with people who worked together but who shared little in common before 9-11.
Kevin Thompkins was one of very good reporters but he wasn’t in the building that day. He had the day off to attend a concert at Deer Creek (remember when it was called that?) But over the next few days he wrote several stories about the effect 9-11 had on local people. I missede Kevin when he said he was leaving The Times to go to work for the State government.
There were Earl Hutcheson and Randy List, our then-general manager and publisher.
We had a 10 a.m. deadline to have the pages of the paper put together and less than an hour before 10 a.m. our world was shattered by an enemy with no name and no one country.
I remember they came to the newsroom after we learned America was under attack.
I usually seek the guidance of my bosses but that day, it seemed there were only questions and I told them, “This is what we are going to do.”
They had no problem with that and we tore apart the front page we had planned and for the first time in years ... maybe decades ... most of the front page of The Brazil Times was filled with reports from The Associated Press about the attacks.
Robin Yocom was there.
She showed me what she had written on a piece of paper. It read 9-11, which is also the number you call for an emergency. The whole country was in emergency mode that day.
Susan Thomas and Jim Ball were there.
It fell to them to take photos and write stories about panic at the gas pumps as rumors circulated foreign sources of oil would be cut off and there would be no gas available.
Other people were present as well. We never “hung out together” but we will always be joined together by the experience of saying, “We were there — together on Sept. 11, 2001.”
I know, looking back on comments written to The Times in subsequent years, that most people will remember with a strange kind of fondness the people with whom they shared Sept. 11, 2001.
We have differences today but let’s celebrate those differences, not condemn people who are different than ourselves. Our diversity made America strong!