• 81°
franklin county times

In my own words…
Life as usual shattered by terrorism

By Staff
Sept. 16, 2001
Like most of you my week started with business and life as usual meeting with staff, working economic issues and after a late conference call, I returned to the security of my home and family.
That evening I packed for a flight to Washington, D.C., scheduled to leave the next afternoon. My wife, Kelly, and I discussed our schedules for the rest of the week and our plans for a weekend together.
Tuesday morning the detailed schedules and frenzied planning of our lives seemed suddenly less important.
An unthinkable horror planned by madmen had ripped at the very heart of our largest city and nation's capital.
We stood transfixed before television screens, assaulting our eyes with images of death and suffering.
As we watched, we didn't know the names or faces of those touched by this tragedy, but like you, I felt a profound sense of sorrow and despair to the depth of my soul.
Like you, I felt a sudden urge to draw those I hold dear closer, and I reached for a phone just to hear their voices or draw them near just to feel the touch of their hand.
Our ordinary lives were somehow more precious and far more fragile than they had been just moments before.
For those of my generation, it was much like the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated our worlds just simply stopped.
As we were drawn to gather with our families, so we were drawn then to gather with others, first within our workplace and then within our churches, seeking the shared comfort of one another's spirit.
We were drawn to grieve, to mourn and to pray pray for strength and renewal of our hope.
When I returned home Tuesday evening, the very sights and smells of that secure place were far more real and treasured than they had been earlier that day.
We often forget that we are spiritual beings, created by God and endowed with the very breath of God Himself. As spiritual beings we are connected one to another.
I've thought often of John Donne's Meditation 17:
Every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main …
Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind;
And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee."
This week, we have realized in spite of our differences, we are truly one people, one family with one common future.
I have watched as we have gathered black, white, young, old, rich and poor alike. We have looked deep into one another's eyes, past our outer skins and seen the human spirit within.
This tragedy was no respecter of gender, race, social standing or nationality. This was a crime against the human spirit.
I have seen the human spirit of the people of Meridian triumph in the many small acts of
caring firemen and steel workers who have volunteered to travel to New York, children
who have sent hand-made cards to those who have suffered, the spontaneous display of our nation's symbol, the American flag, on porches across our city and county and those collecting socks for the tired feet of the rescuers many miles away.
We live in a safe, secure city, miles away from the terrors inflicted upon our fellow Americans, and yet we have been moved and forever changed.
I, personally, have thought of Mayor Giuliani many times this week and wondered how he bears the sorrow and burden of his office. I pray for him.
I have witnessed the death of police and fire personnel and know full well that our own would answer the same call. I pray for them.
But I also know that our world is still controlled by the loving hand of an all-powerful God. And I realize that the very spirit that allows us to feel another's pain, also allows us as a people to heal, to find strength and courage and to restore our hope.
This country was founded by brave men and women who shared a simple need to worship their God in freedom.
This faith of our founding fathers, this resilient American spirit ensures that this nation these United States  this People will not merely endure. We shall prevail.
God Bless America.
John Robert Smith is mayor of the city of Meridian.

Franklin County

Republican primary run-off election for county commission seats takes place April 16

News

Historic Roxy Theatre celebrates 75th Anniversary with upcoming entertainment

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Mark Dunbar

Franklin County

Franklin County makes seven drug trafficking arrests

Galleries

Why Knot car show cruises into downtown Russellville

News

Get free weather radio at VFDs

Franklin County

PCHS FBLA hosts Little Miss Dream Girl Pageant

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Johnnie Pounders

Features

Sam Warf: From Tennessee to the White House and beyond

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Mousey Brown

News

Russellville First Baptist Church receives historical marker

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Meeting a higher standard – Russellville High School JROTC

News

RCS BOE announces new superintendent  

News

Miss Dream Girl Pageant names winners

Franklin County

First Metro Bank hosts FAME Girls’ Ranch donation drive

News

PCHS holds annual Shelby Grissom Memorial Fashion Show

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: VFW Post 5184 – ‘No One Does More For Veterans’

Features

Supporting students’ futures

Features

Red Bay Garden Club discusses amaryllis planting

Franklin County

UA announces local students for fall 2023 President’s, Dean’s, graduation lists

News

School news

Franklin County

PROGRESS 2024: Veteran Spotlight – Troy Oliver

Franklin County

Appropriations bill passes, allots more than $3 million for new Russellville library/multipurpose center 

Franklin County

Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association names Cattleman of the Year 

x