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Magnet staff share 9/11 memories

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Editor’s Note: With the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States coming up this weekend, Spencer Magnet staff members were asked to share their memories from that tragic day.

Sept. 11, 2001, started out as a typical Tuesday morning at The Spencer Magnet office.  As typical as a production day can be at a newspaper.
Our editor was out of town attending a corporate meeting and we had a fellow Landmark employee from central office in Shelbyville filling in for her. We had not reached the technological level that we enjoy now, so we were all in the back office together paginating pages and working feverously towards meeting our late afternoon deadline.   
When the first report came over the radio that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center, we talked among ourselves about how horrible that was and how sorry we felt for all those directly affected. In our pre-9/11 innocence, never for a moment did we suspect it was anything other than a tragic accident of epic proportions. We continued to work and speculate as to how such an accident could happen until the news releases revealed the second plane had hit and the national news channels started to report what became everyone’s worse fear.
 The main thing I recall after that was that the silence in our office was deafening.
A co-worker and I went to First Baptist Church on our lunch hour and sat speechless in the sanctuary for the entire hour. I felt like rushing home and gathering my family together to keep them all safe, but we had a newspaper to get on the stands, so we all continued to work the remainder of the day.
Susan Collins

Sept. 11, 2001, started out as a fantastic day. It was my 17th birthday, and the fall semester of my senior year of high school had just started. Life was exciting, wonderful and my world was very small, but held big promise.
At that point, life pretty much revolved around me, my family, friends and social life. Looking back, I’m a bit embarrassed to say how selfish and self-involved I really was then. If anything good came out of the Sept. 11 attacks for me, it was that the event helped open my eyes to the world around me, and helped me see it better through God’s global eyes of love and compassion, instead of my own.
I remember being in class with my favorite teacher at the time. He asked me if I’d heard the news about the twin towers. Shocked, and a bit disbelieving, I told him no.
The television was on and I could see the smoke billowing from the first tower. It was tragic, and I didn’t understand the complexity and enormity of the event. I watched, bewildered. You’ve got to understand – up until Sept. 11, 2011, the last war my generation had truly known was the Persian Gulf War – and we were in kindergarten during most of that. We grew up in safety, believing in our hearts that America was unbreakable. Why would anyone want to try to destroy the greatest country on earth?  
 As the day wore on, my heart grew extremely heavy, and all of a sudden, my birthday (which at 17 meant a lot) had little to no significance any more. I turned to the only comfort I knew during times of calamity: God. I remember praying with a group of friends in my English class, asking that God would protect the rescue workers and help the United States makes sense of what was unfolding before our eyes. It didn’t make any sense.
 That night, as I laid my head on my pillow, I remember feeling less safe than I had the nights before. I wondered if the America that I had grown up knowing and loving was truly as safe as I once thought. Perhaps not, I concluded. But I couldn’t live my life in fear, and I still choose that path today.
What I learned from Sept. 11, was that life isn’t all about what’s going on right here in my little world. There are millions of people facing the trials and heartbreak of terror and war every day, not to mention famine and genocide, just to name a few.
Sept. 11 helped me be globally minded, instead of just caring about the immediate things around me. And while the 9/11 tragedy is still amazingly painful to think about, I thank God that my perspective was changed that day. Shame on me for not realizing it sooner.
Mallory Bilger

On Sept. 11, 2001, I was a junior in high school. I remember walking between classes – weightlifting and pre-calculus, to be exact – when I heard a fellow student in the hallway say that a plane had hit the World Trade Center in New York.
My first thought was that it simply wasn’t true. This person just didn’t know what he was talking about.
After settling into pre-cal, I quickly found out my fellow student was unfortunately correct. We turned the classroom television on and began watching the news coverage just as the second plane hit.
When tragedy strikes, I think we want to be surrounded by our loved ones – people who make us feel as comfortable as possible in a situation that is anything but. Most of my very best friends were in that classroom that day, so I remember feeling thankful we were all together and safe.
I remember wondering what would happen next. Would someone else attack somewhere else? Were we safe in Kentucky?
In the weeks after 9/11, you couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming sense of patriotism and reinforcement of a national community.
I think Americans showed that you may knock us down, but we come back 10 times stronger.
Shannon Brock