Editorial: Where were you on Sept. 11, 2001?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 9, 2021

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Do you remember where you were on Sept. 11, 2001?

Chances are you do (if you are old enough to harbor such memories). And chances are, you’ll never forget.

We asked readers online to share their memories. And that, they did.

For me, I was sitting in the same room that I’m now writing this. It was a Tuesday morning. Back then, Tuesday mornings at the Davie County Enterprise Record were quite hectic. I had 10 hours worth of work to do in six hours. Distractions were not taken with ease.

We (yes, there actually used to be a couple of room full of employees at the newspaper) heard about the first plane hitting. A television was brought in, and we saw the second plane hit. Then the Pentagon. Then the field in Pennsylvania.

Would Mocksville be next? Nobody knew. Of course, a few of us had our own ideas as to what had happened.

It wasn’t long before we all knew.

America had been targeted by terrorists.

It was hard to work that day. We were too busy watching the TV to see where and if another attack would take place. Employees kept working — with blank stares. Calls were made to loved ones. Tears were shed. There was none of the grumbling and barking at one another that happened on many Tuesdays.

We persevered, getting the next edition of the newspaper ready for readers. We even had a story about some local reactions, and some photos from a quickly-called assembly at Davie County High School.

By the next day, Davie residents had begun to show their kindness, their patriotism. Blood drives were hastily set, and records were broken. Ceremonies were held. They were somber ceremonies, remembering those police officers, firefighters and other first responders who so bravely ran into the danger; ceremonies that held high the names of those who died just going through their everyday routines; ceremonies that proudly showed our patriotism with red, white and blue and flags everywhere. If anyone kneeled, it was in prayer. Even garden clubs got into the spirit by planting “memorial trees.”

The following weeks and months revealed that once again, we were proud to be an American. Republicans had that pride. Democrats had it, too. So did city dwellers and us country folk, the rich and the poor.

We need that widespread patriotism again. It’s happened before, and it can happen again. Consider these Charlie Daniels’ lyrics from “In America,” coined in 1980, after the Iran Hostage Crisis and other internal problems were gripping the country.

And we may have done a little bit

Of fightin’ amongst ourselves

But you outside people best leave us alone

‘Cause we’ll all stick together

And you can take that to the bank

That’s the cowboys and the hippies

And the rebels and and the yanks 

Yes, we need an across-the-board pride in being American again. Somewhere since that fateful day in 2001, too many of us have lost that pride. Political tensions. Racial tensions. Science tensions. Truth tensions. My goodness, I think our country needs a massage.

The question was then — and still is now — will we be targeted again? The answer is yes.

It begs another question. Will we be ready? I hope so.

Mike Barnhardt is editor of the Davie County Enterprise Record.