CLAIBORNE COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – This coming Saturday will be the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
On that day 20 years ago, I was doing what I usually do on a Tuesday morning; heading out to do a story. I left the house with my wife like any routine day, but we never came back home to quite the same place.
We were going to one of my favorite places to go grab a story on the morning of Sept. 11; Grand Gulf State Park near Port Gibson. As we were filling up with gasoline and leaving town, I saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center on the television behind the counter when I went in to pay. I was in shock.
I told my wife about it when I got back to the car. I figured the whole emphasis of my story would change. But when we got to Grand Gulf, it was the same park, same displays in the museum. A couple of old houses of the hillside that survived the river caving in most of the town; a tornado hitting the town and then Grand Gulf being overrun in the Civil War. How these two houses from the late 1700s made it through all of that I have no idea. Just a combination of and luck or divine providence and being tough.
That’s how this nation survive that attack and the ensuing two decade war in Afghanistan; luck, divine providence, and toughness. At Grand Gulf, we were cut off from the rest of the world much of that day, but we wondered what was going on. Turns out, nobody knew for sure, and everybody was wondering. For instance, Congressman Michael Guest was still working with the District Attorney’s office 20 years ago. His day started out like mine, routine but quickly turned different from any other.
“What was originally at least believed to me to be an aviation accident, we now knew was an act of terror. And so I sat there in the office monitoring television, called to speak my wife, even though I knew that Mississippi was not a target. You just want to speak with your loved ones. Made sure she was aware of what was going on and continued just to watch the news and monitor the events of the day. Later that day, the judge did call us down the courtroom. He said, ‘I’m going to do something that probably never done before. And if I get in trouble for it, so be it. But I’m going to offer prayer on behalf of our nation.’ And so there you had law enforcement officers, prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys, individuals who were in court that day, criminal defendants all bowed in prayer as a judge offered a prayer for our country,” he said.
Resolve, divine providence, being tough. Has our nation walked a clear path since that day? No, but we weren’t walking a clear path before then, either. But just like the old houses at Grand Gulf, surviving flood and storm and war, we’re still standing because of toughness, luck, and divine providence.