18 Years Ago Today (Sept. 11) Decatur And The World Changed Forever


Editor Paul Osborne

     I dug out some of the photos that I shot on the evening of 9/11/2001, when many of us gathered in downtown’s Central Park to pray and try to absorb what had happened earlier in the day when terrorists committed unspeakable acts at the World Trade Center in New York City, The Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and in a plane that crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.                

     Thousands of lives were lost and we haven’t forgotten the horror of that day and the men and women who were killed on Sept. 11 — and the suffering of their families. Since it was exactly 18 years ago today (our publication date) when the attacks took place I wanted to publish another “Scrapbook” feature to look back and remember the victims and their families — and you can find several of the photos on pages 4 and 5 of the print edition.

      I also looked for a photo to print on the front page today, and I found one that I had never used, showing a youngster holding a special edition of the Herald & Review, saluting the flag and appearing to almost be ready to cry. I don’t know the name of the young person, but I do know that the salute and facial expression captured so much of the reaction of those who were in Central Park that evening. Some were praying, some were crying, some were looking at the American flag and had their hand over their heart — trying to comprehend what had happened.

     I wonder if anyone reading today’s print or online edition knows the name of the youngster in the photo on the front page and will let me know — 18 years later?

     • WHEN you’ve been editor and publisher of a newspaper in the same community for as long as I have, there is not a week that goes by that I don’t recognize the name of someone in our obituaries that I’ve interviewed, been friends with, or otherwise had a connection to over the years. Last week, it was former Macon County Sheriff Steve Fisher who passed away. This week’s obituaries contain former Macon County Board Chairman and long-time member of the Macon County Board R. C. Smith. (See obituaries in Public Records section starting on page 20 or print edition.)

     Besides a long list of public and private service to others, R. C. was one of the members of my campaign committee when I ran for my first term as mayor. Over the years, R. C. stopped by the office to bring news releases, public notices and other materials to be published and we would chat from time to time. He was one of the few people who, from time to time, would send a personal note in appreciation for something the Tribune printed for him. My thoughts and prayers are with R. C.’s wife, Wanda, family members and friends. He was a good and decent man and Long Creek won’t be the same without him.

     • FEATHERS QUESTION — One of our readers emailed me the following: “After several visits to the Fairview Park this summer, we have noticed most of the geese have feathers that stick straight out on the sides. We were just wondering, why is this? Have they been hurt or has it been done on purpose for some reason? Thanks for your help in figuring this out.”

     • HOW MANY TERMS? I’m not sure why several people who run for office made the claim on the number of terms they will serve if elected. U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, recently announced that he will not run again for the 15th Congresional District seat he has held for 20 years. Shimkus is currently serving his 12th term in Congress. When Shimkus was first elected in 1996, he pledged to place a term limit on himself, and said he would only serve six two-year terms. I guess he forgot that promise. Republican State Rep. Bill Mitchell, who represented the 101st District, which is where I live, promised when he ran that, if elected, he would step aside after ten years and make way for someone else to serve. Mitchell served almost 20 years before deciding not to run again. I did remind him of his promise several years ago, but…well…it was a campaign promise.

     Republican State Rep. Dan Caulkins is serving his first term in the same district Mitchell represented and has announced he is running for re-election. Caulkins indicated in his first campaign that, if elected, he would only serve two terms. Will he step aside if he is elected to serve and completes a second term? Dan indicated he would abide by that commitment. I think Dan has done a good job of representing the 101st District and has been highly accessible to the people.

     Also, two 2-year terms are not enough to really make an impact on the state legislature because of seniority issues, etc. I really don’t understand why those running for office indicate how many terms, if elected, they will serve. How many terms a politician promises to serve is immaterial in the reasons I would vote for him or her.

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