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SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2011

Years do little to erase the memory of 9/11 Tomorrow the nation will stop to remember the 10th anniversary of the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001. But it is nearly impossible to remember the event without reliving the emotions that accompanied those images that played over and over on nearly every channel. Even here in the River Parishes, more than 1,000 miles away from the attack on the World Trade Center, most walked around in a stupor of disbelief for days if not weeks. L’Observateur printed this editorial the following day: As we write this, hundreds, perhaps thousands of American citizens are dead or dying . . . buried under the millions of tons of concrete and steel

rubble which is all that remains of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Our hearts cry out in agony for the victims, their families, their friends . . . and for the nation as a whole. A tremendous sense of helplessness, of futility, of overwhelming loss seems to have turned my thoughts to wandering fragments of coherence. Outrage keeps jumping to the forefront. An instinctive need for revenge . . . to lash out at those who have inflicted this horrible pain on our country, and on us, is pushing for control of my thoughts. But we know that instead of outrage, what we as a nation must do is to remain calm, to seek the solace that only God’s

grace can bring, to bond together in this time of unspeakable tragedy and to rise above the urge for massive retaliation against our enemies. The very fiber of American life, the openness of our society, the availability of opportunity for anyone is also the source of our own vulnerability. We must recognize the fact that no one could have prevented what is taking place on this dark day. We must recognize that other cultures in this world don’t recognize or value the character that has made us the strongest nation in the history of the world. We must, in spite of our pain, use this as an opportunity to once again prove to the world why we are the greatest

nation in history. We cannot resort to blind retaliation. We cannot allow ourselves the luxury of hatred against the people or countries responsible for the attacks. We have always led by example. We must do so now. One nation, under God . . . so we must be, if we are to rise above this tragedy. This newspaper issues a plea to our readership to join together and do what we can to ease the suffering of those in New York. Let’s turn our anger and outrage to good use. Let’s join forces and make difference in the days ahead. Although much time has passed since those words were written, the emotion

contained within them remains. What’s more, the truth behind them remains. America has gone through many changes in the past 10 years, but the principles that make up the very foundation of the nation are steadfast and cannot be quashed. Memories have a way of fading over time, but for most Americans the memories of 9/11 are indelible reminders of not only heartache but also strength. May we as a nation, regardless of whatever setbacks we face, never forget that the true strength of the United States of America lies not in man-made edifices but rather in the heart of every citizen.


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THE RIVER PARISHES REMEMBER Natalie Robottom St. John the Baptist Parish president Sept. 11 will forever be remembered for the senseless attack on our country by terrorists and the loss of innocent lives. It served to remind us of our vulnerabilities but made us stronger as a country. We are more aware and better prepared to defend our freedoms.

Dale Hymel Jr. St. James Parish president The morning of Sept. 11 started out as a normal work day. I was on my way to an early morning meeting when I heard the news of a plane crashing into a building. It wasn’t until I arrived at my business meeting that I learned of the details about that plane crash. In that moment everything stopped as everyone became glued to the TV. It was unbelievable that such a dreadful event was unfolding before our eyes. My heart goes out to those families who, even after 10 years, are still learning how to cope from this horrible event.

V.J. St. Pierre St. Charles Parish president Sept. 11 proved how vulnerable the United States could be, but it also proved just how strong the American people are in responding to such an unthinkable tragedy. The common thread running throughout was a reliance on faith. I continue to be proud of the way people jumped in to help and do whatever needed to be done to recover. I think our military responded in an appropriate manner in going after bin Laden and al Qaeda. Our military and intelligence community continues to do an admirable job in keeping us safe. I would like to ask everyone to join with me by displaying the flag at halfstaff and decorating with red, white and blue in remembrance of the lives lost 10 years ago.

What 9/11 means to me Brittany Fleet St. John Parish Young Marines, private first class Sept. 11 can mean many things to different people, but what does it mean to me? To me, 9/11 was a devastating day. It was the day that the twin towers no longer stood strong. I will never forget that day. Where was I when this happened? What was I doing? On this day, I was at school, and was in kindergarten. I heard about it when my principal announced it over the loud speaker. Everyone in my class was shocked. Once my principal was finished speaking, everyone throughout the school turned their televisions on, to see what was going on. We saw what happened, and we were all shocked. I remember my friend next to me, saying "Who would do such a thing?" That afternoon, when I got home, my parents were watching the news too. I sat down next to my parents, and asked what happened. I asked my mom if she could explain it to me. She told me all about this moment and what happened. After she was done explaining it to me, I finally understood what was really going on. This is the day that I think changed so many lives. Most Americans, including myself, will never forget this day. This is a day, which we will remember for the rest of our lives. 9/11 is the day that shaped myself and the country. That day, it felt like time stopped. I hope nothing ever happens like that again. Everyone that died during this tragedy is in my heart and always will be. I will never forget them! This is what 9/11 means to me. Now it's your turn, what does 9/11 mean to you?


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THE RIVER PARISHES REMEMBER Brandon Dumas Sorrento It was my first year teaching in this parish. I remember a student running to me in the hallway and asking, “Did you see that airplane fly into the building in New York City?” That’s what brought my attention to the computer — and just the realization of what had just happened, I was just in shock. To me, it means we still have to fight for our freedom. After 9/11, everyone was united, no matter your race, color or size. Everyone was an American.

George Martin Lutcher It definitely hurt to watch those buildings fall that day. I think it did a lot to open our eyes to the dangers we face in this world. To know that we too are vulnerable.

Renee Jones Wallace I had family in New York. Being at work, not being able to contact them, I was a nervous wreck. My heart hurts for those who lost family members. It sent chills to see what was actually happening on television. To see how they’ve recovered, you can’t recover life, but how they’ve rebuilt, it gives people a sense of closure, I think.

Nancy Guidry Convent I Remember the chaos of that day and watching it all unfold live on television. I went home that evening and hugged my children really tight. It changed how we think and how we operate in this country. It’s not all good, but that’s life now.

Stacy Bradford Baton Rouge I was at home, and the TV went black, and an emergency broadcast message came on. After the first plane, I just thought it had crashed. Then the second plane, and you see someone jump out of the building, and you just say, “This is ridiculous.” I just thought, “This can’t happen to America.” It took something like that to happen for me to see how much I loved America.

Betty Andrews Convent It united us as a country. I remember feeling as one nation standing together in the face of the awful images and sentiments. I wish that feeling had lasted longer because it doesn’t feel like we are united as we were then.


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