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A day in history to always remember

September 11, 2011
By JANICE R. KIASKI - Community editor ( , The Herald-Star

On the walls of our newsroom are reminders of history, both national and local.

They are reproductions of the front pages of the Herald-Star through the years acknowledging dates in history that stand out in our mind, erected when the newsroom underwent a renovation in recent years.

Among them are:

The explosion at Browns Island.

The space shuttle Challenger disaster.

The flood of 1936.

The blizzard of 1993.

Man landing on the moon.

John F. Kennedy's assassination.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor.

And 9-11, three numbers that until 10 years ago were simply three digits that reflected a date on the calendar, or, minus the dash, three numbers you know to dial in the event of an emergency.

Now it's something very different - a reminder of a national tragedy at the hands of terrorists, of lives lost, of our vulnerability, of the fragility of existence, of the horror of evil.

Most people remember what they were doing when a major news event happens, and I'm no exception.

In addition to my job at the newspaper, I was working part time as the secretary at my church, too.

That was the case on that particular Tuesday morning in 2001 when the fellowship hall was being readied for a photography outfit scheduled to snap members' pictures for an updated church directory.

That is, until the events of Sept. 11, 2001, unfolded, and normal life as we all knew it became not so normal any more.

I first learned about what had happened when the late Becky Jones, a church member and occasional visitor to the church office, dropped in to tell me what she herself was hard pressed to believe.

It was information I couldn't quite wrap my brain around until I flipped on a TV and saw for myself. Even then and in the days and weeks to come as I watched all the news coverage, it was hard to digest, so hard to imagine that this horrible thing had somehow happened.

I felt this sense of uneasiness, a feeling I couldn't really hide from the kids who were in middle school then. I remember they came home that day confused and concerned.

Is everything going to be OK, they had asked.

I told them yes, but wondered otherwise every time I hung the flag out.

A decade later, Sept. 11 is a piece of history that we'll relive today in some way either quietly or publicly courtesy of all the coverage that the occasion will generate.

And it's a piece of our history we should never forget.

(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and the Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at

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