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Remembering 9/11

The World Trade Center towers were one of the targets in the 2001 terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

The World Trade Center towers were one of the targets in the 2001 terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

By Judy Reed, Editor

Some things are just hard to forget.

September 11, 2001, was a beautiful day. The kids were in school, and I was at home, living the life of a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom. Feeling safe and secure. And then the phone rang. It was my mother, telling me I better turn on the television, that something was happening. When I did, newscasters were trying to make sense of why a plane had hit the World Trade Center. It looked like a bad accident. Only, a couple of minutes later, I watched as another plane flew into the other tower and burst into flames. I thought for a second that I was watching a replay. Then I realized in horror that I wasn’t. We were under attack from some unknown source. And I didn’t feel so safe anymore.

Most people I’ve talked to have similar stories. They know where they were and what they were doing at 8:45 a.m. when the first plane hit. The second one hit 18 minutes later. Then at 9:45 a.m., a third jet slammed into the Pentagon. What we didn’t know at the time was that each of these planes had been hijacked by Osama Bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist group and they were filled with American people—innocent victims, just like those killed in each of the buildings. Each one of those travelers thought they were going to California that morning.

Another target was The Pentagon

Another target was The Pentagon

Less than 15 minutes after the terrorists struck the Pentagon, the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed in a massive cloud of dust and smoke. At 10:30 a.m., the other Trade Center tower collapsed. Close to 3,000 people died in the World Trade Center attack, including 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York City police officers, and 37 Port Authority police officers who were struggling to complete an evacuation of the buildings and save the office workers trapped on higher floors. Only six people in the World Trade Center towers at the time of their collapse survived. Almost 10,000 other people were treated for injuries.

A fourth plane never made it to its target, thanks to the heroic efforts of some of the passengers, who attacked the hijackers in the cockpit. One of the passengers, Thomas Burnett, Jr., told his wife over the phone, “I know we’re all going to die. There’s three of us who are going to do something about it. I love you, honey.” Another passenger, Todd Beamer, was heard saying, “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll” over an open line. That plane’s target was unknown, but the people aboard probably saved many lives while sacrificing their own.

The attacks left many feeling hopeless. But the people in Cedar Springs showed they were made of sterner—and more compassionate—stuff. In the days immediately following, churches everywhere opened their doors for prayer meetings. A national day of prayer was decreed, and churches were open to help those looking for divine strength and understanding. Even the schools observed a moment of silence on that day. More people turned out for the monthly blood drive at the United Methodist Church than they could handle. A special salute was done before the Friday football game in honor of the rescue personnel lost. A separate memorial service was organized and held at Skinner Field to honor and remember victims of the tragedy. Wolverine World Wide sent 2,100 pairs of boots to New York City firefighters.

Cedar View students made this special flag, shown in the photo, which featured their hands, with words of kindness. It hung in St. Paul’s Chapel, and then was moved to the Smithsonian Institute. Post photo by J. Reed.

Cedar View students made this special flag, shown in the photo, which featured their hands, with words of kindness. It hung in St. Paul’s Chapel, and then was moved to the Smithsonian Institute. Post photo by J. Reed.

One of the acts of kindness that will live on indefinitely was created by students at Cedar View Elementary—fourth and fifth graders. The flag they created stretched from the ceiling to the floor in the school hallway. The stripes were made up of hand cut outs on which the students had written special messages such as, “I’m sorry for all the people who lost their family members,” “Thank you survivors who went back and tried to save other people,” “Thank you for donating blood, thank you for putting out fires,” “We are praying for the police, fireman and doctors,” and “I’m glad to be an American.” They sent the banner to New York City when it was completed, and it hung in St. Paul’s Chapel where rescue workers went to take breaks. Someone even sent back pictures of it hanging in the chapel. When it was taken down, it went to the Smithsonian for their 9/11 exhibit, and the special picture shown on the front page was sent to Cedar View Elementary, thanking them on behalf of all the rescue workers and one million visitors to St. Paul’s Chapel who were touched by the school’s gift of love, creativity and compassion. Those students graduated in 2009 and 2010 and can proudly say they were part of something special.

When we remember 9/11 this weekend and honor the memories of those lost, let’s try to remember more than just the horrible event. Let’s try to remember the feeling of camaraderie, of loving our neighbors, helping those less fortunate, what it means to be kind to one another, what it really means to give. I think the people who lost their lives that day would want it that way.

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Main Street

Roger on Main StreetRetribution

Terrorists who threaten “retribution” because we killed Osama bin Laden have short memories. When I think of retribution, I think of 3,000 innocent people killed in the World Trade Center. I think of those who died in Washington on the same day. I think of those in a field in Pennsylvania. And I think of the tens of thousands of human beings, military and civilian, dead or maimed because of bin Laden’s plans. He wanted to destroy Western civilization, especially America. Well, we’re still here and he’s gone.
Presidential candidate Donald Chump will no doubt demand the “long form” death certificate for Osama. (Donald is not my favorite candidate!)


The economic stimulus checks we Americans have received are puzzling to some. Puzzle no more. I’ll explain it by using a Q & A format:
Q.  What is an Economic Stimulus payment?
A.  It is money that the federal government sends to taxpayers.
Q.  Where does the government get this money?
A.  From taxpayers.
Q.  So the government gives us back our own money?
A.  Only a smidgen of it.
Q.  What is the purpose of these payments?
A.  The plan is for you to use the money to purchase a high-definition TV set, thus stimulating the economy.
Q.  But isn’t that stimulating the economy of China?
A.  Shut up.


A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her six- and seven-year-olds. After explaining the commandment to “honor thy father and thy mother,” she asked, “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?”
Without missing a beat one little boy (the oldest of a family of five) answered, “Thou shall not kill!”


A man saw a friend at a table in the bar, drinking by himself. Approaching the friend, he commented, “You look terrible. What’s the problem?”
“My mother died in February,” he said, “and left me $10,000.”
“Gee, that’s tough,” he replied.
“Then, in March,” the friend continued with a tear in his eye, “my father died, leaving me $50,000.”
“Wow. Two parents gone in two months. No wonder you’re depressed.”
“And last month my aunt died, and left me $15,000.”
“Three close family members lost in three months? That’s incredibly sad.”
“Then this month,” continued the friend, beginning to sob,  “nothing!”

Last words

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. In my office, I have a work station…

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