Sept. 11 anniversary today
It was a Tuesday.
In Orange County, the sun was out.
Most residents were just getting to work when they heard the World Trade Center and Pentagon had been struck by aircraft.
As Chemical Row, the Orange Naval Base and law enforcement agencies tightened security, some residents made gas runs.
Others prayed in churches.
Word came from Washington that U.S. Rep. Jim Turner, Orange County’s representative at the time, had been evacuated from the Capitol Building with other lawmakers.
Airports closed all over the country. Despite the rumors, Chemical Row did not close, nor did the schools.
“This beats anything I ever saw,” said James Fountain, a construction worker at Spanky’s. “This definitely calls for some kind of retaliation.”
Ben Chisholm of Chisholm’s Gun Shop had a similar reaction. “It’s time we quit putting up with these people and show them who’s boss.”
LifeShare called for blood drives for victims of the trade center attacks. Employee Cynthia Morris said, “I’ve never seen our centers so full of blood donors.”
Bob Martin of the Orange County Red Cross said his office was getting calls from people who had family members, either en route to one of the attack sites or in buildings in the attack area.
“This is unprecedented,” he said. “We’re waiting to see if they’re going to call up for volunteers, but obviously now no one can get to an airport.”
Ray Camp of Orange got word that his wife Lorene and daughter Martha Baker, flying to the Northeast – were safe but had been diverted to another airport.
Turner urged residents to remain calm. Then-Texas Attorney General John Cornyn remarked, “No challenge from terrorists is enough to break the American spirit.”
Diane Champagne, an employee at M.J.’s Cafe, noted, “This reminds you to be sure to kiss your babies every morning.”
And also at M.J.’s, customer Jim Goodman observed, “It’s terrible. We’re at war with an unseen enemy.”