Remembering Sept. 11

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Community leaders share memories; local events planned to commemorate 10th anniversary

By Shannon Brock

Sunday marks the 10th anniversary since four commercial airplanes changed the course of American history. Two flew into the World Trade Center, one hit the Pentagon and another went down in Pennsylvania.

While Spencer County wasn’t among the cities directly struck by tragedy, its citizens and leaders – along with Americans across the nation – banded together, and can still recall the almost unbelievable details.

“Even 10 years after, it’s like I’ve never been able to accept it really happened,” Taylorsville Mayor Don Pay said last week. “I used to live in New York. I used to pass those twin towers every day. I can’t imagine anything that massive not being there.

“And the monumental loss of life – that’s stuck in every American’s mind that remembers that day.”

Pay said at the time his family was living in Louisville. His now teenage son was only 3 years old.

Pay said when he first heard about the tragedy he started recording the news coverage on VHS tapes.

“We had piles of tapes from the news,” he said.

Spencer County Judge-Executive Bill Karrer said he was still in the auto parts business in Jeffersontown in September 2001.

“When I first heard, it was from a customer who came in and said something about an airplane hitting the World Trade Center,” Karrer said, adding that neither of them knew if it was a small plane or a large plane.

“Shortly thereafter, we cranked up the radio and here hits another one,” he said. “That’s when we knew, ‘Uh oh, these are not accidents.’ ”

Karrer said he took a TV out of the store break room, sat it on a shelf in the front of the store and bought an antenna from a local electronics store.

The aftermath of 9/11 isn’t felt as much in smaller towns, Karrer said.

“Where you really see that is any time you go to an airport, the security measures you have to go through,” he said. “You know every time, that’s why we have all that.”

Taylorsville-Spencer County Fire Chief Nathan Nation was also the fire chief at the time of the attacks.

“That morning, Assistant Chief Richard Morris and I were at a farm pond south of Taylorsville conducting annual pump certification tests on our engines,” Nation said. “About 10 a.m., a vendor – Danny Simms of Cleveland Welding – that was doing some work for the fire department stopped by so I could take him to our station No. 2.

“Riding from Taylorsville to Elk Creek, he told me what happened, and then we turned on the radio. I could not believe it.”
Nation said in the days that followed, he found himself going to work each day, then staying up most nights watching the news coverage.

“We all wanted to do something, and within a few days, our firefighters collected over $19,000 at the red light in Taylorsville, which was sent to New York,” he said. “Our great community stepped up. It made you proud to be an American.”

Nation said 9/11 brought much-needed attention to local responders across the nation.

“It is sad to say before 9/11, there were not many federal programs to assist in providing local responders with equipment to address basic emergency needs,” Nation said. “It took over 3,000 people dying, including 343 FDNY firefighters, to get attention at the federal level that local communities need help.”

Post 9/11, the fire department has received over $1 million in local grants to address local needs, he said.

The funding was used to purchase lots of equipment, including two fire trucks, a fire safety prevention house, 35 new self-contained breathing apparatuses and much more.

“I tell our guys all the time, the reason we have some of the things we do is because of the citizens and responders that left us on that day.”

Coming together to remember

Multiple events are planned for Sunday to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

While others may be in the works, two specifically were submitted to The Spencer Magnet.

From 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Plum Creek Baptist Church is hosting a Community Block Party and 9/11 Remembrance at Waterford Park.
The event will include free food, free games, free live music as well as door prizes and a car show.

“The whole community is invited, but we especially want to invite and honor our emergency services workers: police, fire and EMS workers,” according to a news release from the church. “Come join us as we remember 9/11 and honor those who risk their lives every day to serve and protect us.”

First Assembly of God is also planning a memorial service.
The church, located at 402 Garrard St., will host a day of remembrance on Sunday.

The church is planning to recognize first responders – including the police department, sheriff’s department, fire department and EMS, as well as military personnel, past or present – during its 11 a.m. service. First responders are encouraged to attend in uniform.

The service will feature special singing and a guest speaker and will be followed by a lunch at the church. The community is invited to attend.