50 Years, 50 Stories


Published Sept. 11, 2002 in The Ledger Independent

One year after the terrorists attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the images of planes flying into the World Trade Center still burn themselves in the minds of many local residents.

Many said the after-effect of those images still reverberate through the community.

“I turned the TV on, and there it was. I was completely shocked,” said Doris Hall, 72, of Germantown. “I was in shock for a long, long time.”

The attacks made her more conscious of her family’s safety and the well-being of her three children, Hall said. She said she told her family to be more careful in their daily lives and not take anything for granted.

Many others said, while the events were tragic, the effect of Sept. 11 has been positive. Maysville barber Charles Smith, 55, said he has grown closer to God and his family since the attacks. Smith said he has prayed more and has also kept up with world news more than he did before the attacks.

“Things have never been the same,” Smith said. “You can’t take things for granted. Anything can happen.”

Smith first heard of the attacks while watching television in his barbershop. He said he immediately called family members in New York and found them alive and well.

A sense of uncertainty about the future has plagued many since the attacks. Faith in the government and others have decreased, some said.

“I am not as trusting as I use to be,” said Anthony Turner, 37, of Germantown.

The sense of security Americans felt prior to 9/11 was lost on that day, said Richard Riggs, 17, a senior at Bracken County High School.

“You use to think the country we live in is protected,” Riggs said. “When you get down to it, we are just as bad off as anyone else.”

For those with children in the military, the uncertainty of the welfare of their family is amplified, said Jacqueline Hopkins, 38, of Augusta, whose daughter Tessa Lemmons is in the Air Force. When she saw the attacks on TV at her work, she said she set out on a desperate 48-hour crusade to find out what would happen to her daughter who was stationed in Missouri.

Hopkins said she feared she would be sent away to fight overseas.

“I spent 48 hours with a mini movie playing in my mind about how my daughter always said she would serve her country,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins said she eventually reached her daughter at the air base three days after the attacks.

She had not been relocated anywhere, but Hopkins said the specter of war is ever present.

“I would be very concerned if she was called off to war, but I know she has a calling to our country,” Hopkins said.

While the day stopped for many on Sept. 11, some said they had to continue work despite the growing fear and sorrow they felt.

Maysville resident Sherman Saunders, 55, said he first heard about the attacks while he was in his car, selling store to store for Trauth Diary.

“I remember hearing the towers had been hit,” Saunders said. ” I thought it was awful, but I had to go to work. I had to keep doing my work.”

Saunders said he was glued to the television set in each store he visited.

Some businesses like hair salons were empty on Sept. 11, said Sue Colemire, who worked at New Wave Hair Salon in Brooksville at the time of the attacks. She said that day wasn’t a good day to get a hair cut.

“I didn’t want to work and everyone wanted to stay at home,” Colemire said. “Cold chills would go through my body as I watched the news.”

For remembering that day, many said the year anniversary should be spent in quiet prayer and reflection. The events to mark the anniversary should be low key and unassuming out of respect, said Frank Lueke, 40, of Fort Mitchell.

“You don’t want to forget it, but you don’t want it to turn into a three-ring circus,” Lueke said.