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Lawrence Countians shocked

Fear cast a shadow over the hearts of Lawrence Countians, even as smoke from Tuesday’s terrorist attacks still today overshadowed America’s signature cities – New York and Washington, D.

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Fear cast a shadow over the hearts of Lawrence Countians, even as smoke from Tuesday’s terrorist attacks still today overshadowed America’s signature cities – New York and Washington, D.C.

&uot;I normally take these things with calm, but I found myself close to tears several times,&uot; said Dr. Dave Lucas, a professor at OUSC who watched from home as the attacks began.

His first thought? Two planes plunging into the World Trade Center towers was no accident.

Like most Americans, Lucas sat with his family last night, still listening and watching to events that seemed too disturbing, even for those researchers like himself who have spent years studying human behavior.

&uot;I’ve been jotting down notes all day,&uot; he said.

The ability of New Yorkers to cope, the government’s stern response – it’s astounding, he said.

And, the response from those around him?

&uot;Invariably, without exception they’re shaking their heads, saying, ‘We can’t let this go.’&uot;

Fearful reactions come from the fact that the deadly tragedy reminds all who watched it happen that the U.S. can be vulnerable, and that makes people think about their lives and their loved ones’ lives, said Judy Lynd of Ironton as she worked at Tim’s News and Novelties on Tuesday, talking with those waiting for an afternoon newspaper.

&uot;Everyone is completely astounded,&uot; Mrs. Lynd said. &uot;They thought we were invincible. Everyone is speechless. It’s something totally unbelievable, but if you think about it, it was bound to happen sooner or later.&uot;

Even people here could be hurt, she added, referring to the Catlettsburg, Ky., refinery.

Such notions did not induce panic in Ironton streets Tuesday, but employees throughout the Lawrence County Courthouse reacted with fear and unbelievability as they stayed tuned to television sets and radios.

County schools officials pledged that classes would not be dismissed, however, Chesapeake Exempted Village Schools sent students home early.

Ironton City Schools kept students in classrooms, as officials said they were safer in classrooms than being sent home while parents remained at work.

&uot;I sat on the parking lot, listening to it, thinking some small plane has just gone off course,&uot; said county clerk Dale Burcham shortly after news agencies reported the attacks as terrorism.

In the county recorder’s office, employees and county auditor Ray T. Dutey watched MSNBC update its Web site about 11:15 a.m.

&uot;There’s a new picture, you guys,&uot; employee Lisa Hankins said, as others gathered to peer over her shoulder.

She read bits of the news story. Those eying the smoke-covered New York City called the scene chilling.

&uot;It’s a different story when they can take over your planes It’s scary,&uot; said Dutey, a Korean War veteran.

This day’s different than a day at war: No one came face to face with their enemy, he said.

If a terrorist comes forward to take responsibility, &uot;there not a hole deep enough,&uot; Dutey added.

Downstairs, court security officers and sheriff’s deputies, on heightened alert, craned their necks, reacting to radio news reports that F-16s were flying over a devastated New York City.

Reaction from businesses was mixed, as many slowed their pace, working as televisions played and employees talked about the day’s events.

The Ashland Town Center in Ashland, Ky., closed after 1 p.m. for the rest of the day, citing &uot;the national tragedy&uot; as a reason.

Businesses and schools opened at usual times this morning. Some, like a notary public on 13th Street in Ashland, Ky., covered signs with cloth stenciled with the word, &uot;Pray.&uot;

Pastors and clergy in Ironton said the tragedy left them with one thing on their minds – the people.

Prayer services were schedule to offer up hope not only for the thousands touched by Tuesday’s events but also for local residents coping with scenes of the disaster.

Two prayer services were held Tuesday night – at St. Joseph Catholic Church and at Christ United Methodist Church. A third is planned for noon Thursday at First United Methodist Church.