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Brown: Remembering Sept. 11

This Thursday marks the 13th Anniversary of a day that will endure in infamy in the history

of our beloved United States of America. On this day, we were attacked by an enemy on our own soil in a way that most people in our country could never fathom. The entire sequence of events that took place on the morning of September 11, 2001 (and in the days to follow) seemed totally surreal.

randy brownYes, it has now been 13 years since this horrible event took place. To our military’s credit, we have not been attacked again on our own soil. Anyone living and of age on this date can easily remember where they were and exactly what they were doing when they learned what took place in New York City, The Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania on the morning of September 11, 2001. Here is what I remember.

Just as I was leaving home and turning off the television, I heard Charles Gibson from ABC’s Good Morning America announce that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center (one of the Twin Towers) in New York City. In Gibson’s announcement, he mentioned the possibly of a small private plane being involved, but was uncertain. In an effort to reassure viewers, Gibson said this is obviously an accidental circumstance. The special report went on for a few more minutes and was locked in on a live shot of the World Trade Center when almost like a scene from an action-adventure movie, viewers saw a commercial jet liner fly right across the screen and crash into the second tower. The very next words viewers heard were “this is no accident, we are under attack!” In an instant, the whole dynamic changed – as did our America as we had always known it.

I made two sales calls on my way to the office that morning. Of course, everywhere I went people were glued to the television and nothing was discussed except for what had happened. As I made my way back toward our newspaper office, I approached Barksdale AFB coming from the south on Barksdale Blvd. Upon reaching Westgate, the road was blocked off and a policeman was redirecting traffic back to the south. I came back up the Teague Parkway and cut across to Heart ‘O Bossier. As I did, I noticed people out in the Heart ‘O Bossier parking lot looking up and pointing toward the sky. About that time, I heard the radio announcer on the local station I was listening to say that reports have it that President Bush is headed to Barksdale Air Force Base. Then, it hit me that this must be the reason people were out of their businesses and looking up at the sky. So, I parked and just as I got out of my truck, there were two F-16’s in plain view and there behind them was Air Force One. Thus, it was no rumor, the President was here.

I made my way back to our offices in time to see the President’s recorded statements from Barksdale AFB. Then a short while later, we stood in our parking lot and watched as Air Force One took off – as it flew right over the top of our building on its way to Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. Then, a few hours later, I watched as the President addressed the nation from the Oval Office in Washington, D.C.

I will never forget this day….none of us who were of age at the time will ever forget.

This is the day that America forever changed. And, our city, through Barksdale Air Force Base, is forever tied to the historical events of this day.

Randy Brown is Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He may be reached at rbrown@bossierpress.com

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