9/11 And The Days After: What Happened In MadisonSep 10th, 2013 | By Admin | Category: Community News, Editorials, History
By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Twelve years ago today, a sunny Tuesday morning in September dawned in Madison, just like any other day in any other small town. There might have been one or two of those puffy little clouds that show up sometimes on a sunny pre-fall morning, when the light is taking on a paler glow and the shadows are just beginning to lengthen as the days grow shorter, approaching the “official” first day of autumn. However, most people probably remember a great blue dome of a sky that looked solid enough to touch as they got their kids ready for what was probably their third or fourth week of school by then, and got themselves dressed and drove to work, opening up their businesses or arriving at their offices. As morning dawned about a thousand miles away, people in New York, one of the largest cities in the United States were waking up, getting their kids ready for school, and arriving at work under a similarly sunny sky. What happened there in the next few minutes rocked the world, and the shock waves hit Madison within the hour, as CNN and almost every other television channel in America beamed images of planes crashing into the World Trade Center, replaying those images over and over. Parents streamed to schools to pick up their children as the schools closed. Businesses shut down and workers went home, turned on their televisions and stared in disbelief. Where offices stayed open, employees probably gathered around the television in the break room, like moths gathered around a flame, unable to look away. Those who had to keep working, the farmers, doctors, nurses, law enforcement officers, emergency workers and others, carried on with their responsibilities, probably listening to the radio every chance they had. By the end of the day, everyone knew that the world was a markedly different place than what it had been when they had awakened that morning. Twelve years later, almost everyone can remember where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, but what about the days and weeks afterward? What did people do in those first few days and weeks after that fateful day? What was Madison like? How had it changed? In the Sept 14, 2001 edition of the Madison Enterprise-Recorder, a front-page wire photo from New York shows a National Guardsman standing before a mangled, smoky mass of crumbled buildings. A story relating the events of that day, includes the stories of Madison locals worried about relatives caught up in the region of the attacks. Madison resident Pat Olsen waited for hours to find out what had become of her nephew, who was in Boston on business during the attacks. She feared he might have been on one of the hijacked planes. Hours later, she was relieved to learn that he was alive and well, but stuck in the Boston airport, because all flights had been grounded for several days after the attacks. Madison native Brett Copeland worked at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington D.C., one block from the Pentagon, which was also attacked that day. Copeland, son of W.C. and Frances Copeland, grandson of Willie Clare Copeland and Eloise Stewart, and a 1981 graduate of Aucilla Christian Academy, described the crash as sounding like an enormous clap of thunder. In the immediate aftermath and confusion, people were terrified whenever they heard planes flying overhead, not knowing if they were American fighters or more enemy attackers. In the middle of the page, an ad against a dark blue background announces a Community Prayer Service Tuesday, Sept. 18, on the courthouse lawn. In two side-by-side stories, one tells of the city commission considering a change in city water rates, and the other, an order the city received from Gov. Jeb Bush, mandating tighter police security at Madison’s water and gas facilities until the state of emergency had been lifted. Inside, Ginger Jarvis writes about a fellow teacher who had spoken with his father, whose office building was next door to the Pentagon. The building had been evacuated. Several of Jarvis’ students were also wondering what would happen to parents who were career military, stationed in Washington, or who were in the National Guard, and might be called up for duty. Inside, other stories tell of a “Family Night Sing-Along” at Madison Nursing Center and the Madison Church of God welcoming its new pastor, Rev. Doyle Glass. In the Sept. 19 edition of The Madison County Carrier, the first few stories of those days after the attacks show people carrying on with their responsibilities in the face of what must have seemed like an overwhelming tragedy. On the front page are stories on the county commission and a controversial vote to raise special assessment taxes on Sept. 12 and on the New Home Volunteer and City of Madison Fire Departments responding to vehicle fires on CR 360. On the Church Page, Hopewell Baptist Church welcomes its new pastor, Preston Gainey. On the People Page, a young couple posts their engagement announcement. On the Editorial Page, Ginger Jarvis speaks of local families stranded out of town, unable to fly home, and Harvey Greene sums up the nation’s response as “Folks, the sleeping giant is not simply awake. He’s ticked.” Below his column, an ad encourages people to “Fly It Proudly.” Pages 9B and 10B are full-page ads proclaiming “These Colors Don’t Run” with a full color rendition of the American flag flying behind a portrait of an American Revolutionary soldier standing in the foreground. The following week, the Sept. 26 edition of the Carrier proclaims the Madison Cowboys victory over the Suwannee Bulldogs, with a front-page photo of the halftime unfurling of a giant American flag on the playing field. Inside is the complete story of the game and the halftime show that was a cooperative effort between the two high school marching bands. Other front page stories describe a contentious school board meeting, the staff of Madison County Memorial Hospital receiving an award from the United Way for having 90 percent participation in its United Way fundraiser and various crime stories from around the county. On page 8, the story of Tri-County Electric’s annual meeting at the NFCC auditorium includes a photo of three Madison County High School students in the Junior ROTC program (William Mullen, Joel Oquendo and Jeffrey Metacarpa), marching into the auditorium to present the colors as a tribute to those who lost their lives in the September 11 attacks. The front of Section B has then-Congressman Allen Boyd bringing the latest news from Washington regarding the terrorist attacks, the Red Cross offering disaster training classes in Madison and Pam Davis, CEO of Kids, Inc., offering advice on how to talk to children about what happened. At the bottom of the page is an appeal from the Red Cross for blood donations and financial support. Sept. 21, the Enterprise-Recorder. On the front page are stories of the County Commission and the budget for next fiscal year, an update from the Madison County Health Department on the West Nile Virus, the Ragans Family as Madison County Farm Family of the Year, and a photo of a mother and her two daughters holding American flags as part of the Community Prayer Service on the courthouse lawn held earlier in the week, Inside, an entire page of photos covers the event, as well as a memorial service in the
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