Remembering 9/11 is solemn experience

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 21, 2011

You can start with the numbers that tell a powerful story in their own right: 9/11/2001.

The date has become permanently imprinted in the minds of millions of countless Americans — spanning demographics, generations and all other societal labels.

The next number is four, normally a small number that isn’t viewed as carrying much weight. But that changes when that digit stands for the number of attacks on American soil that occurred that tragic day. Multiple attacks in New York City, an attack on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a foiled attack that ended on a Pennsylvania hillside each have so many significant stories to tell.

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The next number is another small number that leads to a large one. Two — as in the two World Trade Center towers they came tragically crashing down — that led to nearly 3,000 deaths, the single biggest terrorist attack in American history and a day that changed the world in small and large ways.

In less than a month our great nation will solemnly recognize the 10-year anniversary of this fateful day.

This brings up the logical first question that most people ask: Where were you when the towers fell?

Like the assassination of John F. Kennedy or the explosion of the space shuttle, this became an historic event that will stay with many people for their entire lives, as it should.

For me, I was a college student at Marshall University. I happened to be in the college newspaper’s offices with several of my peers when the first reports started coming in.

We watched in stunned silence for what seemed like hours as the events unfolded on surreal, live television. It is a day that I will never forget and also that reinforced my decision to be a journalist.

With these memories in mind, The Tribune will publish a special section focused solely on the events of 9/11 and how they impacted us locally, nationally and globally.

We hope to share factual accounts of what occurred, personal stories from local people who were there, artistic interpretations of the anniversary and much more.

We want to share your stories, as well.

Tell us where you are. Try to put into words what 9/11 means to you. Share with us how you feel this has changed — or not changed — the world in which we live.

You can e-mail those to me, share them on The Tribune’s Facebook page or post them on this story. We will take some of these and try to incorporate them into our upcoming section that will run on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011.

Time gives perspective but this is, for many of us, is a day 10 years ago that seems like yesterday.

Anniversaries are to ensure that we never forget.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at