Sept. 11 brings about different reactionsPublished 7:19am Friday, September 10, 2010
Forty-five miles away from Fergus Falls some patrons of a waterfront restaurant and bar on Lake L’Homme Dieu have been going crazy.
The bar management of Bug-a-Boo Bay came up with a promotion in which they were going to offer 11-cents beers on Sept. 11 to honor those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
A few folks lashed out at Bug-a-Boo Bay, suggesting that the bar was insensitive to those killed and injured in the terrorist attacks and to those who, nine years later, are still traumatized by the events of that day.
But most of the backlash came from people saying that complaining about the promotion was childish, over-reacting, and jumping all over a business that was trying to do a good thing by bringing people together to remember Sept. 11, 2001 in a day and age where such remembrances seem to be forgotten.
Bug-a-Boo Bay canceled the promotion a few days ago. Management publicly apologized for any misunderstanding the ill-fated promotion may have caused.
And come Saturday, Bug-a-Boo Bay will be serving red, white and blue chips and salsa with 100 percent of the profits being donated to New York City Police Foundation.
Frankly, I was surprised by the outcry and public debate. It just goes to show that when it comes to our country, people carry a lot of passion with them.
It’s kind of like the outcry that arised when Florida minister Terry Jones set the world on edge with plans to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. He canceled plans for his demonstration on Thursday because he had won a promise to move a mosque planned near ground zero to a new location.
Did Jones ever plan to burn the Quran? It’s hard to say. But in the end he never had to because the public erupted with anger upon hearing his plans and gave him and the mosque project more publicity that he could have even planned.
We all react to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in different ways.
Me, I still can’t believe they happened. Even after nine years.
On Sept. 11, 2001, America, as we know it, changed forever. Without warning, terrorists shook us from our early morning routine. For me, that routine was the task of laying out six editions of The Press Citizen newspapers in Des Moines and its suburbs.
I was employed as the managing editor of a chain of 17 weekly newspapers and served as the direct editor of seven of those papers.
On Tuesdays I’d start work somewhere around 7:30 a.m.
On Sept. 11, 2001 I arrived at work about 7:40 a.m. My graphic artist Karen Ericcson arrived a few minutes early. For some unexplainable reason the newsroom television had been left on overnight Monday — that hardly ever happened.
As I was organizing the day’s work at about 7:50 a.m. I looked up at the TV screen and CNN was reporting a fire on what appeared to be the roof of one of the Twin Towers of The World Trade Center.
I called Karen over to take a look because the fire seemed kind of bizarre. Nobody knew what was going on in New York yet.
As we watched the report of this fire the unthinkable occurred. We watched LIVE on TV as the second of two hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center.
Karen and I were numb. Dumbfounded. Absolutely in shock.
We weren’t sure what we just witnessed on live television but in the minutes to follow the anchors on CNN flushed out the story.
That fire in the World Trade Center tower was no fire at all, I would learn. It was the carnage of the airplane that had crashed into the first tower. The second crash left Karen and I horrified, if not terrified.
Sept. 11 stirs up lots of memories. One is that special bond I share with Karen.
It was a traumatic experience for me to watch live the hijackers crashing the second plane into the building and killing everyone on board the plane and many others working in the buildings.
It was a day that I really started paying attention to people referred to as terrorists. I became familiar with words like Al-Qaeda and became familiar with the name Osama bin Laden.
The week of Sept. 11, 2001 was by far the most emotional of my newspaper career.
For a week I went to community rally after community rally covering the stories of people mourning — whether it be Des Moines, South Des Moines, East Des Moines and the suburban cities of Altoona, Pleasant Hill, Carlisle and Norwalk.
Through the lens of my camera I captured entire communities breaking down and crying. With my pen and paper in hand I had the privilege to tell many of their stories.
It was also the week I learned the true meaning of hero and was proud to honor the firemen and policemen of my communities through the pages of my newspapers.
I still think that today. It sometimes seems we have now forgotten about the hero status we placed upon firemen and police officers back in 2001. We shouldn’t.
I will never forget that Tuesday morning, the emotions shared with coworkers that day, and the tears shared at home that evening. The images of those we lost as they leaped from the towers are forever etched in my mind.
Take time tomorrow to remember that terrible day, the sacrifices and heroism of our nation, and the senseless loss of nearly 3,000 lives.
I know I will.
Jeff Hage is the managing editor of The Daily Journal. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.