em space, Where They Stand,
How We Stack Up,
Up With That?
and pride in our nation
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.
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.
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
[to top of second column in
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.
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.
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
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.
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
(not for publication):
to Fakís commentary:
the dawnís early light
in the aftermath of this, an American tragedy
14, 2001] I
cried today. Not knowing personally a single victim, I cried. My
heart fell with the towers.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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."
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.
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
Russia, respect and mourning
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.
here to view pictures]
was a night of frustration. One of loneliness, anger and without
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.
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
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.
spent the entire day there and met no one who was happy about what
met the mayor of St. Petersburg, a guy named Yakovlev. I also met
the leader of the parliament.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
cried. More than once.
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.
Francis, St. Petersburg, Russia]
a sonís perspective
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.
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
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
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.
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?"
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."
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."
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.
son noticed that one of the few channels not covering the events was
the history channel. "This doesnít make much sense does it,
I apologized to my son and vented out my frustration on a channel
that is supposed to be about history not covering this historic
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
(not for publication):
to Fakís commentary:
declared on U.S., a first
experience for most people
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
are now at war. Weíre not exactly sure with whom, although it should
become fairly clear in short order.
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.
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.
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.
Mitsoff is a daily newspaper editor and syndicated editorial
columnist. His web address is http://www.tommitsoff.com.
Reply to Tom Mitsoff: email@example.com
Reply to LDN editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
new awareness did
America gain on 9-11-01?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
got that right.
(not for publication):
to Fakís commentary:
is the em
space, a staff writerís section with observations about life experiences in Logan County and
elsewhere. Enjoy your visit.
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.
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.
from a rural highway to tractors in the harvest fields had a more peaceful
air after the images of fiery crashes and collapsed buildings.
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
They Stand is a commentary section that poses a question about a
specific issue in the community. Informed individuals present their
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estimates in Logan County
||Rural population -
||Urban population -
||Persons below poverty
level - 11.8 %
||Average marriages per
||Average deaths per
County high schools: 1960-2000
High School consolidated with New Holland
High School became part of Olympia School District
High School consolidated with Mount Pulaski
High School became Warrensburg-Latham
High School consolidated with Lincoln Community High School
Jose High School consolidated with Illini Central (Mason City)