When the airliners crashed into the Twin Towers, we were having a sales meeting. The television was on CNN in another part of the office. An editor ran into the room calling us to come watch. Horrified we saw the second plane hit a tower. Stunned we prayed for all the workers trapped in the buildings, some crying as the buildings collapsed.
We scrapped the issue that we working on and completely started from scratch. We gathered quotes from the community:
“There is a belief that we are invincible, but whoever did this has rocked us. It has created a spiritual stirring. Even the media on the air is saying this is a time to pray. But I believe our nation will get through this. Americans are a resilient people; Americans will work together and do what must be done. We have been through world wars and survived. We will survive this — we must.”
— The Rev. Ted Traylor, 47, pastor of Olive Baptist Church.
“We need to be more aware. So many people feel we are removed from the rest of the world, but we are not because of computers, planes and technology. All of us need to come together, look at each other and say this is what happens when hatred is the order of the day. I was a person who didn’t really think something like this could happen here. This is enlightening to me, and it’s disturbing.”
— Eugene Brown, 63, executive director of the Escambia-Pensacola Human Relations Commission.
“There was a lot of sentiment that we (Americans) are immune. This proves we are not immune to terrorism. We are a lot more vulnerable than we thought.”
— Nathan Kahn, 71, president of Ordon’s.
“I hope when they find out who did this that President Bush responds in kind. If they find out that Osama bin Laden was behind this, I hope we go over there and rip out his throat; I hope we nuke him till he glows. If the Taliban was responsible, we need to turn Afghanistan into a parking lot. As Americans, we’ve become way too complacent about these things. It’s happened everywhere but here. America is a reactionary country; we react to immediate problems then we become complacent again. We need to be precautionary rather than reactionary.”
— James Brown, 57, Crestview electrical engineer.
“George W. Bush said during his campaign: ‘There is a new danger facing America – terrorism.’ We have not been prepared. This is a rallying cry to defend ideals. How can we, as free people, exist in a world where cultures despise and resent us?”
— Ed Holt, 53, attorney.
“There has been a fear and unrest in this country, and this is the climax. While the masses did not know, America’s leaders were expecting this — they just didn’t know how or when it would happen. God is calling the country to return back to Him, and we will see this in the next decade. I call the city of Pensacola and the country to prayer.”
— The Rev. Larry Watson Sr., 46, pastor of Englewood Missionary Baptist Church.
“This is very tragic for this to happen now, to have it hit so close to home. We don’t know where they are going to strike next. With all the military around us, we could be a target. Florida is well known around the world. We’ve become too assured of ourselves, thinking that we have everything under control. We’ve learned that we are vulnerable.”
— Shanana Robinson, 27, Pensacola Junior College student.
“The tragedy is a wakeup call to make sure every individual does what he can to build a society based on peace and justice, love and hope. Thank God, we live in a nation with leaders that share this vision. All we can do is encourage them.”
— The Rev. Henry Roberts, 58, pastor of First United Methodist Church of Pensacola.
“I was in class when this lady’s husband called her cell phone, and she announced that the U.S. was under attack. I was surprised — this came from nowhere. We have this security blanket around us, and we think we’re OK. But that was us being selfish.”
— Elizabeth Swanson, 17, Pensacola Junior College freshman.
“This stuff always happens over the ocean; it never hits home. We’ve got to retaliate at some point. A lot of people around here are scared; it makes you want to go home and hold your kids for hours.”
— Linda Colegrove, 43, SmartCop computer technician.
“All of my life, I’ve heard adults talking about the attack on Pearl Harbor, but to me it was just an historical event. Now, children will hear about Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. Boy, I really feel this one. I haven’t felt this spiritually empty since John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I’m absolutely decimated. You know what really bothers me? The terrorists who did this did it in the name of the Almighty. Our country has taken God for granted. People will be on their knees tonight praying, but I hope they are their knees tomorrow, the next day, the next, the next…”
— The Rev. Jack Gray, pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church on Saufley Field Road.