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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid