Banks County Opinions...

September 19, 2001


Column
By Angela Gary
The Banks County News
September 19, 2001

Won't let terrorists take away my freedom
I remember the elevator ride. I guess I always will remember it now. It took quite a while to get to the 107th floor. My stomach was a little queasy as the elevator climbed higher and higher.
When we finally reached the top, my friend and I hurried into the elegant restaurant where we were given a seat alongside the tall glass walls. Looking straight down, we had an awesome view of the city. I snapped several photographs of the skyscrapers around us. It almost didn't seem real to be so high up looking down on the city through a thin glass wall.
The view and elegant surroundings made the visit worthwhile before the food even arrived. And then when the good started coming, we couldn't stop praising it. One scrumptious course after another filled the table. We couldn't keep up. Each dish was better than the one before it. The waiters and staff were so friendly and pleasant.
It was only a few short months ago that I sat in the Windows On The World restaurant high atop the World Trade Center in New York City. I was in a bit of a daze during the meal. The incredible height and view left me feeling just a little dizzy.
I was in another kind of daze last week when I heard of the terrorist attack against our country. It was another routine Tuesday and I was writing stories about the meeting I had attended the night before when I heard the news. Another editor, Zach Mitcham, stuck his head in my door and said a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. I was too shocked to say much back. Other co-workers soon got calls from family members sharing the shocking news.
It was hard to concentrate on routine news events about Jackson and Banks counties when the radio announcements continued about the unreal horror going on in a place I had been to only a few months ago.
Then we learned it was a commercial flight that hit the World Trade Center. It was only a week earlier that I had sat in Hartsfield International Airport to catch a plane to Nashville, Tenn. Other news trickled in....The Pentagon was hit...The planes had come from the Boston airport. All were places I had been to before, which just added to the horror.
My mind was filled with "what ifs..." It was just too much horror to comprehend. I'm still in a state of shock and confusion and great sorrow about it all.
It wasn't long before my mother called. I'm planning a return trip to New York City later this year and she was concerned about this. Another friend called to make sure I was OK and this wasn't the week I was going to New York. Another friend dropped by the office to check on me. Before long, the phone rang and I heard my sister greet me with: "You're not going to New York City in October."
It certainly does make you think about travel in the future. But I love to travel and I can't let this stop me from something that is so much a part of my life. I will not let the terrorists who attack the very freedom this country celebrates take away my freedom. I will not change my lifestyle. That would be wrong. That would be a victory, although a small one, for all that the terrorists are attacking us for. I'll continue to travel, but I'll probably be a lot more nervous when I'm doing it.
I remember a few years ago when Centennial Park in Atlanta was hit with a bomb. Only a few days after this attack, I headed to Atlanta as I had planned to visit the park. I didn't change my plans then because of someone else's action and I don't want to start now.
Angela Gary is associate editor of The Jackson Herald and editor of The Banks County News.

Column
By Shar Porier
The Banks County News
September 19, 2001

The cry heard round the world
A cry of anguish, the likes of which our country has not known, spread across the country and the world last week like the shadow of the earth across the moon. Its monstrous blow brought unsuspecting millions to their knees. Its deafening din heard by hearts, not ears. A sound as unwelcome as the calls to war that followed.
We found ourselves at war last Tuesday, unannounced, unpredicted, in an unconscionable act of terror.
Our enemies, the ones who would do such a ruthless thing, we do not know for certain. We know of the few who piloted the planes of death to their wantonly targets. We know nothing of the many who hide behind identities not their own, in places we cannot imagine.
How do you declare war on individuals? How do you target a deadly philosophy?
Take out the leaders and we have only made martyrs whose legacy will provoke even more destruction from blind followers who believe that hate and suicide is a road to immortality.
To retaliate in kind, with complete disregard for innocent life, would make America just as shameful. Our leaders must figure a way out of this tragic quagmire that will do honor to those who died, to those who will die in the coming battles. It would not serve their memory to tread a path of ignominy. Hate begetting hate can serve no goodly purpose.
Anger clouds reason. Let's not fall victim in our hearts to uncontrolled passions. Patience and perseverance is what is needed.
In the end, America will succeed and justice will be served.
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News. She can be emailed at sunbeltshooters@aol.com


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