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September 11, 2013

Local residents reflect on their 9/11 reactions

GREENVILLE — The events of Sept. 11, 2001 have been indelibly etched into the memories of those who experienced the attacks first hand or watched them unfold on television.

The terrorist attacks affected every American, regardless of where they lived, and that impact reached Hunt County as well. We asked our Facebook followers to tell us where they were and what they were doing on Sept. 11. Below are some of their answers (edited for spelling, grammar and AP style, but not content), as well as information on a 9/11 tribute event scheduled for today at the Colonial Lodge Retirement Center at 10 a.m.

If you would like to share how 9/11 impacted you, feel free to post on our Facebook wall or email us at editor@heraldbanner.com.

Shannon Reed Ray, Cooper — “I was at home getting ready for work and pregnant with my first child. All I could think about was ‘What kind of world am I bringing my child into?’ It was so devastating.”

William Howell, West Tawakoni — “I flew home from AIT for the Army on Sept. 10. I almost missed my flight, but I didn’t. I arrived home at 12:30 a.m. Sept. 11 and went to bed. I woke up at 6 a.m. so I could go to work with my mom and spend some time with her. We were watching TV at Marvin’s Barber Shop in Quinlan when it came across. We continued watching as the second plane hit. I called my company commander, since I was in the army reserves. I told him I wanted to switch to active duty. I got my wish. I ended up spending almost seven years serving, two of which I spent in Iraq. When I got out of the army I joined a volunteer fire department and have been doing it every since. 9/11 helped me decide what to do with my life. My next goal is to visit Ground Zero [in New York City]. I would have gone by now but I can’t afford it. But once a year I pay tribute to the almost 3,000 lives lost that fateful day and to my fellow brothers and sisters. Thank you.”

Amy Dunavin, Caddo Mills — “Millions of stories to be told about where we were, what we were doing or what we were thinking. However, every story will have these things in common: we all stood still, we all watched and we all hurt deeply. For those brief periods, we were all human and we were all equal... we actually were The ‘United States’ of America.

Shirley Burchett, with the Colonial Lodge Retirement Center, remembers she and her husband were on a Carnival cruise in the middle of the ocean when they heard the news.

By the time we heard they said another plane just flew into the second tower,” she said, adding that everyone on the cruise flocked to the sports bar to view the news unfolding across the television screens. “Being out on the water during it all was scary.”

Burchett said since it was an international cruise, many people from different nations united together to help those from America cope with their nation under attack.

“They spent the whole week consoling us,” she said.

Burchett is helping to organize a 9/11 tribute at 10 a.m. today at the Colonial Lodge Retirement Center at 3600 Stanford Street.

This year the center will be honoring the military and Commander John Turner will lead the Hunt County Veterans Honor Guard in a service for the men and women of the United States Military.

“Of special significance to our ceremony is the tribute to the emergency responders, fire, police and EMS professionals who have their lives in trying to help,” she said. “And to the brave troops who have defended our country against further attacks from the tyrants who did this horrible act.”

The honor guard will play each branches anthem and will salute each flag during the event. Refreshments will be served at the event.

“I would like to see the community be involved with this,” she said. “Everybody needs to remember this.”

Members from the Greenville Fire and Police departments and Hunt County EMS will be in attendance as well to be honored.

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