Residents revisit memories of events

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 12, 2007

They always say there are certain moments in history that everyone remembers.

You remember where you were when you heard, what you did next and how you felt.

Sept. 11, 2001, was easily one of those days.

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But six years have passed and things change with time. Our nation had its second major tragedy in Katrina. And life went on.

But the anniversary of our country’s tragedy brought feelings rushing back for Miss-Lou residents Tuesday, even those who seemed too young to remember.

Grace Caroline Criswell was 4 on Sept. 11, 2001.

And even she remembers the details.

“I burned myself,” she said Tuesday. “I can’t really remember going, but when we got there it was in the park. I think we were saying a prayer and it was really quiet.”

Criswell and her family attended a candlelight service at Memorial Park on Sept. 17. The mayor and emergency personnel spoke about the terrorist attacks.

Now, Criswell is 10. She’s a student at Cathedral, and she knows what Sept. 11 is all about.

“It was emotional to some people because their family was lost,” she said.

Administrators at Criswell’s school marked the six-year anniversary by announcing on the intercom at the exact time that each plane crashed.

At the high school, 17-year-old Amanda Richardson has vivid memories too.

“I found out in PE,” she said. “(The teacher) said just sit and be quiet. I was so young and I didn’t really comprehend what was going on. I got home and my mom had to explain it to me.”

Richardson was 11 on the day of the attacks and soon after she visited a giant American flag that had been painted on the Vidalia Riverfront as a memorial. She remembers counting the stars on the flag to make sure they were all there.

“It’s still so sad,” Richardson said Tuesday. “Each year I comprehend a little bit more about it and it makes me angry that people can be so mean.”

For Suzan Hogue the memories of Sept. 11 come in a sequence of events at work that day.

“That’s a point in my life,” she said. “I know what happened from that point on. As with all things time kind of heals wounds, but I don’t think anyone will ever forget that.”

Hogue said Americans need the reminder of what happened, since we are still at war.

“I think everybody needs to think about it every day,” she said. “Americans are over there so that nothing like this would ever happen again.”

Sharon Taplin was teaching at Holy Family School when she heard the news. And her first thoughts went to her son.

A member of the U.S. Air Force, her son was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, and she was instantly worried.

“I ran out on the playground to try to call my son,” she said. “I got him on the second try. He said, ‘Mom, listen to what I’m saying. I’m OK.’”

This year, Taplin wanted her students at Holy Family — nearly all too young to remember — to talk a little about Sept. 11.

“Knowing it was the anniversary, we were going to have to have a silent prayer at school at 9:11 to remember all that was lost,” she said.

The children she taught in 2001 are in middle school now, Taplin said, but she remembers them and the services the school had immediately after the tragedy.

“I remember that day very clearly,” she said.