Devin Golden & David Miller
September 11, 2011 12:18:00 AM
The memory never fades.
Ask anyone where they were that Tuesday morning in September 2001, and their recollection is as vivid today as it was then.
The events of Sept. 11, 2001, remain etched in our minds -- where we were, what we were doing and how we reacted.
"I remember it like it was yesterday," Bart Gregory of Starkville said.
Some were students.
"I was at my apartment in Starkville on University Drive. I was a student at Mississippi State University," Meagan Coughlin of Columbus said.
"I was in elementary school then and we watched it on television," Danielle Henley, MSU freshman and Memphis, Tenn. native, said.
Others were teachers.
"I was drinking coffee in the Perry cafeteria, the main cafeteria on (MSU) campus," Glenn Cook, retired MSU professor and Starkville resident, said.
"I was principal at West Lowndes Middle School," Columbus Mayor Robert Smith said.
Some were asleep when the story began to unfold.
"I was asleep. I''ll never forget my dad waking me up and saying, ''A plane just flew into the World Trade Center,''" Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman said.
Others were just beginning their day.
"I was getting ready for work that morning and had on the news," Jan Ballard, United Way of Lowndes County director, said.
Some were at work.
"I was working in Crawford on a hog farm, and I was on break," Kevin Ballard of Louisville said.
"I was at my chamber of commerce office is Paragould, Ark.," Columbus-Lowndes Development Link CEO Joe Higgins said.
"I was sitting in Station 1," Brad Alexander, of Columbus Fire and Rescue, said.
Some were traveling.
"I remember sitting in the car being so scared that terrorists were going to come get me," Becca Poe, MSU freshman from Senatobia, said.
"I was driving down the highway when I heard about it on the radio," John Henley of West Point said.
"My wife, Nancy, and I were headed to Birmingham to catch a flight to Cleveland, Ohio, to go to the Cleveland Clinic, because our grandson was having an operation," Caledonia Mayor George Gerhart said. "We got to Tuscaloosa, and our daughter called from Crawford and asked where we were. She said, ''Daddy, they just flew a plane into the Twin Towers.'' Then she said, ''Here comes another plane.'' We heard on the radio that they had grounded all flights. If we had been on an earlier flight, there''s no telling where we would have ended up."
Gerhart bought an atlas and drove to Cleveland. The ride was quiet, with no flights in the air.
"We got to Cleveland and checked into the hotel and saw a front page picture of people jumping out of the towers," he recalled. "They were watching television every place we stopped to fuel up, just waiting and watching."
Some didn''t quite understand what was going on.
"I didn''t get a good take on it until I watched a documentary about the first firefighters that came to the rescue," Danielle Lockett, MSU student from Greenwood, said. " Then I found out we had a close cousin who was in the second tower. He got out after he saw what happened to the first one."
But they all heard the news, and remember the emotions -- from disbelief to fear.
"Everyone was so shocked," Coughlin said.
"Honestly, I was really scared," Poe said.
But if there is one thing that is the same, it''s that they all remember.
"We can never forget it," Henley said.
This story contains reporting from Dispatch writer Carmen K. Sisson.
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