During the morning of the Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of Philadelphia residents and merchants took to the streets…

On the morning 9/11 occurred, I had heard a buzz on the streets as I was heading to my new job as Lifestyle correspondent for the Philadelphia Tribune. When I arrived at the paper the full breath of news coverage was upon me. At this point, only one plane had breached the World Trade Center. I tell my editor that this is a story that’s going to play itself out on the streets and hat’s where I want to be. She tells me to go out and get some commentary. The only update readily available was the Tweeter store on Walnut Street that was tuned in to the TV morning news shows. People were gathered at the window and a sales associate, bound by the 10 am opening time, would poke his head out with an update every three minutes or so.Then the next plane hit.

CNN’s Aaron Brown looked devastated and reported on, like a good news soldier should. In Philadelphia, Mayor Street decided to keep the level of hysteria down and called for a total city shutdown at Noon. Parents told their bosses they were going to pick up their children from school, go on home and pray for the world.

That evening, prayer vigils had sprung up across the city. For the first time in ages families eat together for the first time, the skies, silent because air traffic was grounded, sparkled with starlight uninterrupted by planes for the first time in decades.

Eventually, 9/11 acquired a name, a revisionist history, and it’s own celebration due to National holiday status any year now.

Below, a previously published 9/11 story that was syndicated without my knowledge…

======================================================

By Bobbi Booker

 

During the morning of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, thousands of Philadelphia residents and merchants took to the streets, stunned at the news of the fallen World Trade Center.

PHILADELPHIA (NNPA) – Concern, dismay and disregard sum up the feelings Philadelphians had as America approached the two-year mark since the terrorists’ attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The catastrophe of that day hit the East Coast particularly hard as New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania were struck by surprise.

During the morning of the attacks, Philadelphians were wrought with fear as Mayor John F. Street declared a state of emergency, closed area schools and city offices. Thousands of residents and merchants took to the streets of Center City stunned at the news of the fallen World Trade Center, the struck Pentagon building and the downed plane in western Pennsylvania. Today, Philadelphians, like their fellow Americans, have to deal with heightened security concerns quite unlike the world they lived in two years ago.

“I’m more cautious now,” said Michael Deshazo of South Philadelphia. “I don’t fly as much as I used to because basically I’m more cautious than I used to be.”

Said business advisor James Taylor, “We’re probably never going to be 100 percent safe, but if we adopt the philosophy of the Israelis, we’ll get closer to that degree of security that everyone can feel comfortable with.

“When the Israelis are attacked with terrorism anyplace or anytime, they retaliate with relentlessness and they don’t apologize for it, they just do it. Until we stop making politics a part of our security issue, we’re going to have problems with people feeling safe, being safe, losing jobs, companies having to consolidate or fold because we aren’t clear,” Taylor said.

Others have learned how to cope in their post-9/11 lives and do not reflect much on its aftermath.

“There are so many other issues,” said Center City nurse Judy Butler. “If I see something, an article or the news or something, then I’m brought back to what happened. If I don’t see it, then I usually don’t tend to dwell on it.”

Johnnie Thon, 23, said, “It ain’t no different now. You just got to live life as it is. You can’t let that thing get to you. You got to do what you got to do and just keep on moving.”

And moving on is exactly what Pennsylvania plans to do. State officials say a beefed-up anti-terrorism network is coming into sharper focus, two years and hundreds of millions of dollars since the catastrophe on Sept. 11.

“We can call it anti-terrorism, but it just makes Pennsylvania a safer place,” said David Sanko, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. “The equipment is multipurpose. We’ll enhance our terrorism preparedness, but at the same time it will strengthen our ability to respond to all hazards.”

The Philadelphia region will benefit greatly. The southeast regional counterterrorism task force, which includes Philadelphia and its four suburban counties, will get $14 million in federal funds this year plus what Sanko said could be another $20 million or so in federal urban-preparedness grants.

The list includes on-site computers and software to produce credentials for emergency personnel at a disaster site and a walk-through radioactivity detector. Hospitals will get $19.6 million to purchase equipment, including isolation or decontamination chambers.

This story comes special to the NNPA from the Philadelphia Tribune. The Associated Press contributed to this article.