9-11 is youth’s “Where were you when ...” moment
by Justin McGill, General Manager -- jmcgill@cadizrecord.com
Sep 07, 2011 | 47 47 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jimmy Hart, our advertising executive, made an interesting point last week – this generation of our country’s young people don’t have many “Where were you when ...” moments.

Think about that. Many of our readers were alive when men first landed on the moon, or when John F. Kennedy was killed, or when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Many, however, weren’t.

Those who weren’t have only experienced a few of those moments that changed the lives of a significant number of human beings in this country or on this planet.

One such moment happened 10 years ago when terrorists hijacked airplanes and flew them into the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Thousands were killed.

On the back page of this issue, you’ll find “Where were you when ...” memories from several Kentucky officials and well-known individuals thanks to the hard work of the Kentucky Press Association.

It may seem difficult to take yourself back to that day in your mind, even if no one you knew directly was impacted by the attacks. But the truth is this: We were ALL impacted. We may be back to living mostly the way we were on September 10, 2011, but it will never be exactly the same. And failure to remember the past dooms us to repeat it.

My recollection of that day goes something like this:

– Sept. 11, 2011 was a Tuesday. I was a student at Murray State University. My first class of that morning was News Reporting. We were maybe five minutes into the class when a couple of my fellow students/co-workers on The Murray State News student newspaper entered the classroom to alert us to what was happening – someone had flown a plane into the World Trade Center.

Of all the places for a prospective journalist in Western Kentucky to be at such a time, a News Reporting class was an interesting one. While many classes were likely being ended early, ours immediately shifted to the attack. With the internet being flooded with traffic and there being no television or radio in the room, new information was slow in reaching us. We heard of the second plane hitting the other tower during this class.

– Once that class ended, no other class mattered. I immediately went to the newsroom. There, I learned of the plane that hit the Pentagon and of Flight 93, the one we’d later learn was crashed outside of its Washington, D.C. target after crew and passengers thwarted the terrorists’ plot.

– Immediately, we began prepping a special section on the attacks and response on campus.

– Later that night, still in the newsroom, we crowded around a radio and listened to President Bush address the nation. The gravity of the situation didn’t really settle in for me until after this point. With all of us focused on work and with speculation rampant about who was responsible, there wasn’t a lot of time to really reflect.

Looking back, I’ve decided that was for the best. In a vacuum, everyone has a specific response to this type of event. I wasn’t in a vacuum, I was working, so I have no way of knowing how I might have reacted otherwise.

Other than the obvious – anger, fear, sorrow.

Justin McGill is the general manager of The Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at jmcgill@cadizrecord.com.
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