Still Watersthe em spaceWhere They StandBy the Numbers,

How We Stack UpWhatís Up With That?

Love and pride in our nation
found together

By Mike Fak

[SEPT. 17, 2001]  When a person becomes 53 years old, it is common to believe you have seen it all and felt it all. I was like that. I was like that until 9-14-01. You may think I have just written the wrong date on this article, but I havenít. Last Friday afternoon, my wife, Sharon, and I were two of the more than 1,000 ó heck, it may have been 1,500 ó Lincoln and Logan County residents who met on the Broadway Street side of the county courthouse to honor the fallen Americans in New York and Washington, D.C.

I have been to other memorial services on those grounds before, but I have never met nor felt the tide of emotion I witnessed and became a part of on this afternoon. It started when over 200 veterans, policemen, firemen and emergency services technicians marched from City Hall to the steps of the courthouse. Slowly an applause for all these men and women began and then grew until everyone joined in a continuous response of appreciation to our own local heroes, who far too often are forgotten or ignored.


As they walked by, you could see them all stand a little straighter, walk a little brisker. Many of them had tears welling in their eyes, but it wasnít a cause for shame, since most of those applauding had tears in their eyes as well. Perhaps these special people were emotional because they were thinking of their fallen comrades. Maybe they were just like all of us, and the events of the past few days again had jumped up and grabbed them. Maybe, just maybe, they were emotional because they understood that what they have done, what they do and will do, was being honored by so many of their friends and neighbors.


[to top of second column in this article]

The afternoon was a continuation of a national healing process ó a process that has been duplicated in thousands of cities with millions of Americans in the last few days.

 In the last few days I have found myself crying at the strangest of moments ó just driving down Kickapoo, or watching the kids leave the high school, or now while I am trying to type out my emotions into words. Seeing so many others with pride in their hearts and mist in their eyes made me feel better. It made me realize I have never been alone in my love and my pride and my beliefs in not only my nation but my fellow Americans.

 A terrible thing has happened in America. It isnít something that happened to New Yorkers or Washingtonians. It is something that has happened to all of us. It is something that will be with us, our children and our grandchildren as long as there is a country called America.


Friday afternoon Logan County was not a group of Republicans or Democrats. We didnít define ourselves with words like Asian, Afro, German or Italian in front of the word American. Instead we were as we always should have been. We were all Americans.

I have never been prouder of being a member of this community than I was Friday afternoon. I have never been prouder of this country and the people who make it what is than I am right now. Many of you tell me you feel the same way. Isnít it sad that it took this horrendous tragedy for all of us to understand what it is to be a part of this great country.

[Mike Fak]

Reply to Fak (not for publication):

Response to Fakís commentary: 

By the dawnís early light

Rising in the aftermath of this, an American tragedy

By Colin Bird

[SEPT. 14, 2001]  I cried today. Not knowing personally a single victim, I cried. My heart fell with the towers.

And I love that my deep emotions are accompanied in full by other Americans in mourning. Americans mourning Americans. They are the victims. Helpless. Forced into a storm of pathetic hatred, into a situation they could not predict nor could they stop. Forced to accept an invitation to a front-row seat for their own execution. They could do nothing but watch as they waited to die. Pondering frantically what it was going to feel like to explode and to burn. Wondering how many others they would be taking with them. They were afraid, they were hostage, they ARE Americans. And their voices each have echoes.

So now we listen closely, never more somber, but never more united. And therefore proud. Proud today to call ourselves citizens of This Great United. We are the United States of America and we are together. As one, under God. Trusting God. We are Americans. And soon we fight back.

But the battle is already won. There are no atheists in a foxhole. Those aboard the planes were given time to find a Savior. Those in the towers and below, my God, I beg You, show mercy. And thatís how I fight.

For unquestionably there is more than one battle being waged. Without question we will destroy the pitiable, weak and cowardly terrorists who are useless in this life, as we have the means and now the desire necessary to do so. And do so swiftly, with a very big stick.

But the other battle is not fought with a destructive weapon or fist. Today it is obvious that we are being called on to fight this fight with prayer, with a faith and a confidence in our Almighty Commander In Chief.

As always, many reactions, declarations and even small but heartfelt articles will be done in natural knee-jerk fashion. Good. Look around, listen closely. God is not being blamed, He is being called on for help. Knee-jerk or no, His power is at least being acknowledged. Regardless of their potentially temporary status, the seeds have been planted as, believe it or not, New York City itself was being labeled as "A City of Prayer."

Iíve never slept with the radio on, not once in my life, until the night of Sept. 11th. Reports fed through the wire all through the night, keeping me updated, but much more importantly, keeping me company. Emotionally drained and unable to sleep, I felt very alone. My bed seemed too large, my apartment so quiet. I donít know what it was exactly that I needed to feel, but I needed not to feel it alone.

And in the morning I woke, admiring an early dawn many others would now never know. I prayed in the aftermath, proud to be free to do so. Humbled to serve a God and a nation under Him that will forgive me for this anger Iíve yet to release.

Whether or not those who died screamed aloud in the face of terror, a scream echoes through the soul of all of us who know that their voices, their lives, will never be forgotten. And so allowing them to speak even after their earthly end, with their voices crying out, "God... bless the USA."

[Colin Bird]

From Russia, respect and mourning

By Dave Francis

[SEPT. 14, 2001]  I am a U.S. citizen, from Houston, Texas, now living in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was evening here when we got the news about the attack on the United States by terrorists. I spent the night on the Internet, bouncing around to news websites, slowed maddeningly by the heavy traffic on the Net.

[Click here to view pictures]

It was a night of frustration. One of loneliness, anger and without sleep.

I went to the U.S. Consulate today to register. They are asking all U.S. nationals to check in. I got there, and outside there were a few people standing around and a bunch of flowers lying in front of the building. It was very nice. Across the street, there was another group of flowers, with some candles. (I found out later that security wouldnít let them light candles close to the building, so anyone with candles to light was asked to do it across the street.) I went in, registered, then came back out to talk to some of the people milling around.

It was a very interesting day. I talked to a couple of hundred people throughout the day, and maybe five of them were U.S. citizens. Of the others, they were all Russians, save for a pair of English girls.

The people would come, slowly, quietly, respectfully. They came to pray, for the most part. They would stop in front of the building, place their flowers gently on the ground if they had them, then most would pray. Some cried, quietly. The flowers came from normal, everyday Russians who felt moved to come to the consulate, say a prayer and drop off some flowers. Most people didnít bring flowers. They brought sad hearts, filled with sympathy for you and me. Most people only stayed a couple of minutes before leaving.

I spent the entire day there and met no one who was happy about what happened.

I met the mayor of St. Petersburg, a guy named Yakovlev. I also met the leader of the parliament.

Later, I met a winner of the Nobel Prize in physics. His name is Zhores Alferov. He said: "I am very distraught. This was a terrible tragedy for the world. All Russians feel the suffering of the people of the U.S. We are with you today and will be with you tomorrow."

Late in the afternoon a group of about 15 teenagers came along, led by a lady who I correctly surmised was their teacher. They had decided after school on an impromptu visit to the consulate.

I met a lady with tears streaming down her cheeks as she lit a candle placed in a small jar to keep the rain and wind away. She spoke about being a little girl in Leningrad during the siege. She was very concerned about me and our national state of mind. She assured me we would overcome this and encouraged me to rally my countrymen to arms.

One man I met was a World War II veteran, wearing a shabby old suit coat in the rainy weather. Pinned to his coat were combat ribbons, earned during his youth on the field of battle against Hitlerís armies. His wife, an old, wrinkled woman with silver teeth, bent down with a few pathetic flowers and laid them amongst the others as the old man wiped away tears. I walked over to him and said hello. He spoke for about five minutes in a very low but passionate voice. I understood almost none of the words, but I knew what he said by looking in his eyes. After he was done, I thanked him, as an American, for caring.

Another newsman there told me that what the old man had said was more or less that he felt our pain. He lived in the neighborhood and had always been proud to say his home was close to the U.S. Consulate. He met American soldiers on the front in World War II, and he always loved America. He said he was hurt terribly by what happened but that now, like before, America and Russia should be allies in a war on a despicable foe. Just like in World War II, now America and Russia could be friends, fighting side by side against an enemy who wanted to exterminate us.

I cried. More than once.

I left today in a very angry, nationalistic mood. I was hoping to find trouble. What I found was that America does have friends. Friends in some of the most unlikely places, but friends that shouldnít be overlooked. We arenít alone.

[Dave Francis, St. Petersburg, Russia]

From a sonís perspective

By Mike Fak

[SEPT. 14, 2001]  My son and I had an argument Tuesday after school. I tried to tell him that nothing in the history of America compared to what had happened to this nation on this day. He seemed to be taking it all in stride and told me he understood that the dayís number of fatalities was terrible. He understood that people just like him and me had been killed or maimed for no true reason other than religious hate. He also told me that we would get over the dayís events and move on with our lives.

All the while I was filling my mouth with sanctimonious comments about never forgetting today, my son told me we will because we have to. Oh, he realized we would always remember Tuesday, 9-11-2001, just like we do Pearl Harbor Day or the bombing in Oklahoma City. Just like the Holocaust, stories about the events would engrain themselves in the history books of this country forever. The point he was trying to make that my injured self-righteous American ego didnít want to hear that day was that we needed to move on with our lives.

I asked my son in a very non-fatherly loud voice how he could just shrug off the events of this day with such an easy "oh well."

My son then decided to remind me he had grown up with Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing. He had seen the devastation in our African embassies and told me he could not remember how many school massacres he had seen on television in the last six years. I couldnít either, and if that doesnít cause people to have tears in their eyes there is no hope for us.

My son wanted to know what good my notion of retribution through violence really would do to change the world. He pushed me to answer if we killed a thousand terrorists who were involved with this tragedy, would not another thousand take their place. Would not those then do something just as heinous to us again? "Where does it stop, Dad? World War III?"

My son explained to me that his life is subject to views of violence on television that should rock the minds of a young teenager to the point many of them shut the entire rationale of the events out of their minds. The violence isnít from movies or wrestling or video games. The violence my child and yours has been subjected to in this world is all on the news under the heading: "reality."

We seem to spend a great deal of our time trying to shield our children from make-believe violence. We fear what it might do to their still-developing personalities. We seem to spend far less time worrying about the violence our children are subjected to that is all encompassed under the heading: "The Evening News."

I was wrong getting mad at my son. I take great pride in the fact he is developing his own will and his own opinions. Patching things up, we watched the television together. Surfing I remarked how the shopping networks had gone to news coverage. The music video stations and almost all other specialty channels did as well.

My son noticed that one of the few channels not covering the events was the history channel. "This doesnít make much sense does it, Dad?"

I agreed.

Again I apologized to my son and vented out my frustration on a channel that is supposed to be about history not covering this historic event.

My son believes this is not the last time we will watch such horrible events together. I can give him no truthful promise that he is incorrect.

[Mike Fak]

Reply to Fak (not for publication):

Response to Fakís commentary: 

War declared on U.S., a first
experience for most people

By Tom Mitsoff

[SEPT. 13, 2001]  Many Americans watched thousands or even tens of thousands of their fellow citizens die before their eyes Tuesday morning. People who had their televisions turned on shortly before 10:30 a.m. Eastern time and 7:30 a.m. Pacific time had just watched video replays of a kamikaze-type attack upon the World Trade Center.

Even the chilling sight of a civilian passenger aircraft angling into position for a direct crash into one of the 110-story twin towers could not prepare us for what was next.

We watched live video of the tower as its top 30 or so stories burned. And then, the top of the building collapsed before our eyes. We watched in stunned silence as it impacted on the structure immediately below, starting a horrible chain reaction of destruction.

We knew immediately that an incomprehensibly high number of human lives were lost in those few seconds. And it didnít take long to realize that what we were witnessing was the result of perhaps the single most deadly attack against Americans, either on foreign or domestic soil. Deadlier than Pearl Harbor. Deadlier than the Battle of Midway. Incredibly, the death toll could approach the 50,000 who died in the three-day Battle of Gettysburg in the U.S. Civil War.

Tuesdayís kamikaze-style attacks were nothing less than a direct attack against the people and property of the United States of America. The enemy didnít use bombs, didnít use missiles and didnít use ground or sea forces.

Donít let anyone try to tell you that this was merely someoneís attempt to make a statement. We will remember Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, as the day that the nationís eyes were opened forever to the scope of the threat posed by foreign terrorists. It was the day that an individual or group as yet unidentified declared war on the United States of America.



[to top of second column in this article]

The majority of our readers were not alive when Pearl Harbor occurred, so this is the first time many have experienced the horror of a successful attack of large magnitude against the United States by a foreign interest.

We are now at war. Weíre not exactly sure with whom, although it should become fairly clear in short order.

Nobody is in favor of civilian casualties or the loss of human life of any kind. But the time has come for the United States to exercise its might and position as the worldís superpower, and to spare no expense and leave no stone or nation unturned to locate and capture and-or eradicate the perpetrators. President Bush Tuesday morning vowed to do just that.

Itís time that we show not only the perpetrators of this attack, but other terrorists who have designs on U.S. interests, that we are not to be messed with. In the aftermath of the terrorists being captured or eradicated, it is important that other terror interests in the world be left shaking in their shoes at the enormity, precision and the decisiveness of the U.S. response.

We mourn the thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of Americans who died Tuesday in New York, Washington, D.C., and near Pittsburgh. We must defend our way of life and avenge their senseless deaths by realizing we are at war and eradicating our enemy.

[Tom Mitsoff]


Tom Mitsoff is a daily newspaper editor and syndicated editorial columnist. His web address is

Reply to Tom Mitsoff:

Reply to LDN editor:

What new awareness did
America gain on 9-11-01?

By Mike Fak

[SEPT. 12, 2001]  Two hundred citizens of Logan County gathered in Latham Park at noon Tuesday to pray. Some of them prayed for the many who at the moment were suffering from the devastation brought on by the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Others prayed for the families of those thousands of victims. Still others prayed for help and guidance from God because they understood that America will never be the same after Sept. 11, 2001.

Across America millions met in similar gatherings. Millions more will as the days go on. America stopped as government across the nation stayed home. Every monument in the land locked its gates as air traffic across the land ceased. Millions even at work or school stopped what they were doing and sat riveted in front of televisions as the carnage from a violent Hollywood movie was explained to all as fact, not fiction. Even the president of the United States as well as Congress were not to be found in their normal work environs.

On the news on every station across America, the twin towers of the World Trade Center burned like two candles as the smoke billowed and buried the Manhattan skyline under its dense plumes. Seasoned anchors fought to maintain composure at a scene that has not been a part of the American landscape since the War of 1812. Not since then have the American people been forced to witness such destruction and loss of life on our own soil. Not even Pearl Harbor can stand before this latest act of war on the American people.

Make no mistake. This was an act of war. For years we have gone about our business, shedding only a cursory glance at Lockerbie or Lebanon or the previous World Trade Center terrorist attack. For years we pretended there was no war, when all along people in other parts of the world prayed to their God that this day would come.

We have been at war with these types of terrorists for decades. Only today has this reality burrowed deep into the false world we Americans chose to live in.

They say America lost its complacency after Pearl Harbor. They say we lost our innocence after the Kennedys and King were assassinated. What will history say we lost on Sept. 11, 2001? Will it be that we have found we are not safe in our own homes, our own buildings, even our own military structures? That we cannot go to work to provide for our families without fear of death? Will it be that we cannot spend our lives concerned with such mundane thoughts as college for the kids or a new car or house or paying an overdue bill? Will we forevermore find the need to look over our shoulder and worry whether today is the day that a stranger 10,000 miles away takes away our loved ones, all in the name of God?

There are people in this world who hate you and me although we have never met. They hate our nation, our leaders and everything we believe in. They believe that if they can kill us, they will find a special place in heaven for their acts of murder.

I hope that soon whoever was responsible will be sent to their God, and then let them find out the truth about being a murderer of men, women and children whose only transgression was living their lives the best that they knew.

After Pearl Harbor, as the Japanese naval hierarchy celebrated their infamous victory, Admiral Yammamoto stated that he feared they had awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve.

You got that right.

[Mike Fak]

Reply to Fak (not for publication):

Response to Fakís commentary: 

This is the em space, a staff writerís section with observations about life experiences in Logan County and elsewhere. Enjoy your visit.

ó Mary Krallmann

Two lessons from past tragedies

In days past I had been troubled about the fact that people I know are getting older, getting closer to death. Everyone is dying a little all the time, of course. So Iíd been looking up information on aging when my employer came into the office with the news. The report didnít fit with the sunny morning or even with sobering thoughts about the vulnerability of age, about osteoporosis and presbycusis, or projections of the percentage of elderly people among Americans in 2050.

By evening, when I stopped to pick up cereal and milk, the normal state of affairs had changed, and not just in New York or the nationís capital. Walking freely into a store to buy groceries felt more like a privilege and not just a routine errand.

Everything from a rural highway to tractors in the harvest fields had a more peaceful air after the images of fiery crashes and collapsed buildings.

Later, when a bug flew right into my mouth, my normal distaste for its intrusion disappeared in the comparison with planes flying into buildings, especially considering that the aircraft and the structures held human beings.

At churches that would normally have been empty on a weekday evening, people gathered or individuals stopped in for prayer. Music typically used on the Fourth of July blended with the September air, and the words fit the times. Familiar phrases often overlooked in Sunday prayers carried new applications: "Be Thou the Protector and Defender of Thy people in all time of tribulation and danger.... Bestow Thy grace upon all the nations of the earth. Especially do we entreat Thee to bless our land and all its inhabitants and all who are in authority. ... and let mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, everywhere prevail. ... Graciously defend us from all calamities by fire and water, from war and pestilence, from scarcity and famine. ... Be Thou the God and Father of the widow and the fatherless children, the Helper of the sick and the needy, and the Comforter of the forsaken and distressed."

The years have always brought plenty of troubles. The longer we live, the more of them we know. There are still many people living who went through the Depression. Even more remember World War II. Scandals, riots, assassinations, armed conflict, cold war, accidents and natural disasters have marked the course of history.

One such event happened when I was a fifth-grader. My mother heard the reports from a deliveryman and notified my father, who taught in the school nearby. As usual I was busy reading a book. It happened to be one of the versions of "Swiss Family Robinson" ó the blue-covered edition, which always left its color on my hands. When my story was interrupted that day, it wasnít because of an arithmetic class.

The school was church-affiliated, and after we found out whatever news details were available, the assignment for each of us was to write a prayer about the situation. Putting our concerns in Godís hands was a tangible lesson in how to respond to tragedy.

Another tragic event from school years had a narrower impact, but personal impressions donít always develop in direct proportion to the loss of life or property. Not many beyond the town of a thousand or so would have noted a certain motor vehicle accident, but at our high school the death of a girlís father was shocking material for conversation. As students in the library shared what they knew, a girl with close connections to the family was able to provide a detailed account of notifications after the accident. We gave it our full attention.

The librarian, whom we knew as Mrs. O. because thatís how she signed permission slips, listened and let the talk go on for a while. Eventually, though, she indicated that weíd better get on with work.

That lesson, too, given in word and example, is a fundamental response when bad things happen. The concluding paragraph of the time-tested prayer quoted above indicates that we need to be doing the work weíve been given to do while life is still granted to us. "And when our last hour shall come, support us by Thy power and receive us into Thine everlasting kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord."

[Mary Krallmann


Where They Stand

Where They Stand is a commentary section that poses a question about a specific issue in the community. Informed individuals present their position with facts, opinions or insights on the issue. The following commentaries have been printed, unedited, in their entirety, as they were received. If you have further comment on the issue, please send an e-mail message, complete with your name, address and telephone number to


By the Numbers

Population estimates in Logan County
30,798 Total population, 1990
15,380 Rural population - 49.9%, 1990
15,418 Urban population - 50.1%, 1990
2,875 Projected births, 1990-1998
2,736 Projected deaths, 1990-1998
3,143 Persons below poverty level - 11.8 %
258 Average marriages per year
135 Average deaths per year

Alexis Asher

Logan County high schools: 1960-2000
1962 Middletown High School consolidated with New Holland
1972 Atlanta High School became part of Olympia School District
1975 Elkhart High School consolidated with Mount Pulaski
1979 Latham High School became Warrensburg-Latham
1988 New Holland-Middletown High School consolidated with Lincoln Community High School
1989 San Jose High School consolidated with Illini Central (Mason City)

Alexis Asher

Lincoln High School history


Lincoln School District


School buildings in 1859


"Grammar school" in 1859


High school teacher, Mr. January, in 1859


Central School opened


High school building started


High school dedicated, Jan. 5


Cost of new high school


Election authorized community high school District #404


Dedication of new Lincoln Community High School, 1000 Primm Road, in auditorium, on Nov. 9

Alexis Asher

How We Stack Up

This feature of the Lincoln Daily News compares Lincoln and Logan County to similar cities and counties on a variety of issues in a succinct manner, using charts and graphs for illustration.

Racial makeup of selected Illinois counties


Whatís Up With That?


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