Community members remembering and reflecting on 9/11


JACKSON, TN (WNBJ) - 9/11 was a life-altering day for many Americans. That day nearly 3,000 people lost their lives in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.


We are just one day shy of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 a day forever sketched in the memory of Americans.


“I remember it like it was yesterday like it was this morning. It was very, very similar. It was a cool morning. It wasn’t a cloud in the sky, just a beautiful September morning,” said Steve Smith, the Exec. Dir. at the Jackson-Madison County Airport Authority.


The Executive Director of the Jackson-Madison County Airport Authority reflecting on the day the twin towers fell.


Smith was the airport manager at the Selmer Airport at the time.


“It was a stressful day and I tell people that probably airline executives and airline managers were more affected by that day than any other. So, it was a really tough time. I found out 10 days later that I had high blood pressure and for 20 years now I’ve taken medicine to correct that high blood pressure so all of that kind of came together at the same time,” said Steve Smith.


The Deputy Chief at the Jackson Fire Department was serving as a fire marshall at the time of 9/11. He talks about how the attacks impacted him.


“Very ominous feeling and to learn that 343 firefighters perished in the attacks along with the law enforcement and other first responders and civilians that lost their lives. It was devastating and shed a whole new light on the fire service in general. People started calling us heroes and that’s not a title we want to wear. The heroes are the ones who gave it all and we are not heroes we are just people doing a job,” said Don Friddle, the Deputy Chief at the Jackson Fire Department.


A journalist who was working at one of the local radio stations in Jackson says that day was a very fluid day of reporting.


“It was such a compelling thing, visually. The story kept evolving without anybody doing anything. It was happening right there. It was an intended theatre through television. I think that just brought this amazing story because it kept adding dimensions without anybody scripting anything. Knowing that we were being attacked and not knowing why or who was responsible. So, it was a confusing day,” said Steve Bowers, 101.5 radio talk show host.


The pastor at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and School in Jackson says that 9/11 was a tough day in the faith community. Father Graham says the attacks shook many with the faith but reassures believers that God is always there in times of trouble.


“That’s one of the lessons that I think we learn over and over again in our struggles, in our difficulties, and in those dark times. That God is right there with us. We often can’t see it, we often don’t know it, God is definitely right there with us in the midst of pain, suffering, and darkness. The light of Christ is there if we can find it and open our hearts to receive it,” said Father David Graham, the Pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church and School.


Now, 9/11 will always be a day of reflection and remembrance of those who lost their lives in the terrorist attack.





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