News / USA

Texas Town Recalls 9/11 Terror Attacks

Greg Flakus

New York City, Washington and a field in Pennsylvania were the places that experienced the main impact of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. But in a world linked by mass communication media and the Internet, even people far from the scene, in small towns and rural back roads, felt shock, anger and grief.

Where is Nacogdoches?


View Larger Map
Shop clerk and singer-songwriter Cindy Grayson lives in Nacogdoches partly because she likes being away from the stress of big cities. She follows the news, but the wars and strife seem far away.

"Part of you does feel that it is happening way over, that it is still over there," she explains, "because we are so... I don't know, this is a whole other world here in Nacogdoches."

Still, she says the terror attacks of 10 years ago did bring fearful events closer to home.

So when the space shuttle Columbia broke apart over east Texas on February 1, 2003, dropping debris over the town and on her own property, she thought at first it was a terrorist attack.

"With the house shaking and everything, my first reaction was that they had blown up something in Dallas or that they had blown up Houston and we were just getting the vibration of it," Grayson recalls.

Personal connection

Many of Nacogdoches' 30,000 citizens feel a personal connection to America's war on terrorism.

Carolyn Adams has two sons in the U.S. military. She thinks U.S. operations in Afghanistan and the recent killing of Osama bin-Laden in Pakistan has reduced the terrorist threat.

"He's got followers, we know that," Adams says, "but I think getting him out of the way helped."

Retired doctor Carroll Gregory laments all the death and suffering in the wars and wonders if they really have protected the nation.

"I still worry that it could happen again; I am not sure we are safer," he says.

One of the people in charge of keeping people safe in Nacogdoches is police sergeant Gregory Sowell.

Improved security


He says the town is better protected than ever before because of financial grants from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

"We have more equipment now than we ever dreamed of having, sophisticated equipment, for a town this size," he stresses, "and we have actively pursued these grants."

Sowell says the federal grants help towns in east Texas work together on an emergency network that can respond to any kind of disaster.

"These plans and these resources were activated in Nacogdoches, Texas during hurricanes Rita and Ike," he explains.

For the most part life here is slow and easy.

Emotional scars melt away

Even the emotional impact of that terrible day 10 years ago has eased according to Archie McDonald, a history professor at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.

"Probably the majority of people if they did not stop and do the arithmetic could not automatically tell you if it is nine or 12 or whatever it is," McDonald notes. "But when we get more to it or closer to the date, they will focus on it more and there will be some kind of community observance."

McDonald thinks September 11 will eventually be like other historic dates we observe more casually, like Independence Day.

"The Fourth of July time now we all just have a party, we are not remembering the fact that a lot of people died because of what happened 235 years ago," he says.

So as the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the United States approaches, people here continue to hope that they, their community and their country remains safe.

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960s Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More