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

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Survivor: Gunman Spared 'Lucky One' to Give Police Message

Law enforcement official says a manifesto of several pages was recovered; contents not revealed More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs