Focused on Mississippi: Marshall Ramsey remembers 9/11

Focused on Mississippi

MADISON, Miss. (WJTV) – Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the United States. I remember it vividly and can still picture it. Some who does picture news events for a living is editorial cartoonist Marshall Ramsey.

“And I remember driving down 55, I was living in Madison at the time, and everybody was driving 50 miles an hour,” he said.

September 11, 2021, was a typical day until we turned on the television and saw that America was under attack. I don’t know that we have fully digested it since then, but Ramsey, who was an editorial cartoonist with the Clarion-Ledger at that time, not only had to digest it but had to translate it into a piece of art that somehow showed on paper what was going on in our minds. 

“And we got in the newsroom and they said, ‘We’ve got to have an extra edition.’ And I whipped off very quickly a cartoon of a battered U.S. flag, and it said, ‘And the flag was still there.’ That was my first, you know, for the extra edition. Now obviously, we’d just put it up on the Internet and wouldn’t even think about it, but back then we had an extra edition.”

His daily contribution to the newspaper ignored the politicians and the pot holes, and they were all about 9/11 for days. A shot on television from New York Harbor as the towers were burning was the inspiration for his next cartoon.

“And there was the Statue of Liberty standing proudly in front of the smoke. And so, I just quickly drew the Statue of Liberty bent over crying in front of that smoke and that was my cartoon for 9/11. And that cartoon went everywhere. It was in the book ‘Chicken Soup for the 9/11 Soul,’ which I didn’t even know existed until I saw it. It was in all the New York papers,” he said.

That cartoon even hangs proudly in the ranger’s office on Liberty Island. Ramsey’s interpretation of the events of 9/11 earned him one of his two Pulitzer Prize nominations.

Ramsey took his sons to see the Ground Zero Museum in New York City. After undergoing the tight security to get in, he told his boys that is the legacy of 9/11; the security.

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