Each year as we approach the anniversary of 9/11, it often calls for a time of reflection. Years after the tragedy, we still choose to remember the day and appreciate the heroic actions around it. Often, personal accounts of the day are shared, so I thought it would be neat to ask our staff members what they remembered about the day.
Mandy Hill, the Manila and Leachville libraries’ manager, shared her memories of the day 22 years ago. “Home. Sick. I can't even remember if I was ditching work or school at that time, but you know those mornings you wake up feeling ick/blah and thinking ‘today is not going to be a good day?’ That was it. I didn't know what was wrong, but I knew something was putting knots in my stomach. I laid down on the couch and tried to sleep it off. My grandmother ran across and woke me to see it on the news & as the Alan Jackson song says, ‘the world stopped turning.’ I was just stunned, but my grandmother said we had to gather gas cans and go to Metheny's to fill everything up so everyone else would have enough gas to get back and forth to work while the world figured out what was going on. Even in tragedy you gotta take stock of your surroundings and say, ‘That happened, now what do we need to do to keep going?’ Even if you feel like you're drowning in sorrow, as Dory says, ‘Just keep swimming.’ There's light at the end of that dark tunnel.”
This account is shared by the system’s Assistant Director, Billie Bowman. “On 9/11, I was at work. I worked at an elementary school in Blytheville. There was some talk about it at work, but I don't think any of us knew how bad it was. I learned more about it when I got home that day. News coverage was on almost every channel. It was devastating. I didn't fully understand what was going on at first, but quickly learned of the impact it had caused. It was a catastrophic day that I will never forget.”
Randy Newman, the system’s IT Specialist shared, “I didn’t have to work until noon that day, so I woke up to a message on my answering machine from a lady in my church saying that we needed to pray for our country. I didn’t know what she meant at the time. I went to the gym where I saw everything happening on the TVs. I watched as the towers fell. I was shocked beyond belief, and I now understood what my fellow church member was talking about.”
The MCLS courier, Nick Green, shared where he was the day of the attack. “I was at my grandma’s house getting ready for work when I saw the news. I was right out of high school and working at Perkins. The events on 9/11 ended up being part of the reason I joined the military the following year.”
I, Bari, do not have a personal memory of the day. The tragedy happened two years before I was born, and I honestly do not remember learning of it until the fifth grade. My social studies teacher paused our normal curriculum and told us about the events of 9/11/2001. Each year after that, when September 11th came around, our teachers would take a break from their current content and share with us just how devastating this day was for our country. We would watch news clips and some teachers would share what they were doing when they heard the news. I was captivated with how every person could recall the events of their day. Hearing them talk about the disaster, phone calls from their family members, and how it felt turning on the TV to see the news put into perspective how life-shaking this was to experience. The impact of this day was so evident to me many years after the fact, and it still is to this day.