It seems like yesterday that this heinous crime occurred.
As we embark on the 6-year anniversary of the largest terror attack in U.S history, I want us to think back to the very moment when you heard the news.
On that day, I was pouring coffee in the break room at work, when one of the reporters told me something was wrong.
We watched on a small, color 13” TV as two planes crashed into the World Trade Centers in New York.
I remember that we all thought it was a replay from the first plane, then the reporter came on the news and said they had just received word that another plane was headed for the pentagon — and that there could be others.
I quickly got the news team together to discuss how families and children in our community would get the story. With a small army base near us that housed explosive nerve gas, these attacks were concerning to our residents.
As the tears started and shock set in, I remember trying to remain calm for my staff. But what I really wanted to do was go home to my family.
But being in the profession that I have chosen wouldn’t allow me to do that. Not only was my family depending on me, but a whole community was counting on us to turn out the best comprehensive news coverage possible.
People were calling the newspaper to see if there was a plane coming towards us and how the city and county government were responding.
They were upset and didn’t know what to do. We were trying to answer questions that we had no answers for, but we knew the callers didn’t want to hear “I don’t know” so we tried to stay calm and answer them the best we could.
Most of the employees went home that day except for myself and the news department. We stayed until we felt like we did everything we could to answer those questions from our callers. Usually in a newsroom, when something tragic happens, it is very loud. The editor is instructing the staff on what stories and photos are needed, who is going to do what, and when the deadline is.
But on this particular day, there was peace and humbleness. At the end of the day, we were all tired, but none of us felt like we could sleep. We all just wanted to have our time to cry. And we did. Then, we went home to our families.
When I got home in the early morning hours, I picked up my kids while they were asleep and kissed and hugged them. I cuddled with my husband and I remembered thinking how safe I felt. The next morning I woke up and called my parents to tell them how much I loved them.
Remember this day by telling those that you care about how much they mean to you. I know I will.
Rochelle Stidham is the Publisher of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 254-968-2379, ext. 225.