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Couriering Clemmons — This week in 2001 — 9/11 aftermath

By Lynn Hall
Clemmons Courier

The quiet complacency of a late summer morning was shattered in an explosion of glass and steel and flesh a week ago last Tuesday.

Like the assassination of John F. Kennedy, it will be one of those branded moments that note the passing of time, earmarking history like turning down the corner of a page in a novel.

Disbelief.

Shock. 

Incredible sadness.

“I cried and I hurt,” is the way one woman described her emotional reaction to the first news reports coming over the television. “How could it happen here?” is the question on the minds of many. “I thought  we were safe so far away from all the trouble spots in the world. I just never imagined anything this horrific happening in my country.”

“On television we’ve seen bombed out buildings in other parts of the world,” said Debby Davis, mother of three. “We hear reports of suicide bombers and stories of snipers killing women and children on the six o’clock news. But we tend to think of that as in circumstances far removed from the sort of society we have. Those things happen somewhere else.  Not here. It isn’t supposed to happen here.” 

Shock, disbelief and finally anger were common emotions expressed by the people who stopped to talk together outside restaurants, who passed down aisles in the grocery store, or waiting to collect children after school.

Lewisville resident and elementary school teacher Deborah Adam said she was walking down the hall when another teacher told her the World Trade Center was on fire. “Later, I had a chance to watch a television set and saw what happened. It was unbelievable. I never thought something like this could happen, that these people could live for years in our country and then use our own planes and our own people to kill us. It was horrific.”

Glued to the television, local families joined those across the nation and around the world in watching with morbid fascination tangible evidence of the existence of evil.

“The hardest part for me was not being able to express the emotions I was feeling,” recalls Angie Sams, who is also a teacher, saying she felt she needed to be brave. “I didn’t want my class to see my feelings. But there was shock and disbelief and a lot of grief.”

Lucille Hermsen, another Lewisville Elementary School teacher, said in the days since the terrorist attack she thought young Anericans were especially affected by what happened. “They’ve never known war, it hasn’t touched our lives as it has those of us who are older.”

Another teacher agreed.

“Do you want to know what I was doing as I listened to the news?” Beth Wilson asked. “I was holding one child on my lap and three more in my arms.”