Dave Richards for September 11th…………….
--Before we get to today’s topic, I want to be sure to mention a great event scheduled for this Saturday in North Smithfield. It’s the Great PumpkinFest. Starting at 11am and going until 5pm, for one day only. Nearly all of North Smithfield will turn out to meet and greet each other and as many of their neighbors from surrounding towns as will come.
The location is on the grounds of the North Smithfield Middle and High Schools at the intersection of State Routes 104 and 5. There’s plenty of free parking right on the grounds and even handicapped parking.
It’s the best that the town has to offer. Local vendors, local performers on stage, local volunteers helping you find what you’re looking for and tending the booths.
Look for the giant-sized versions of the popular games Twister and Operation. And speaking of Giant, The Re-max Hot Air Balloon will be providing a bird’s-eye view of the area and offering rides aloft. Bring your camera.
As the name implies, there will be pumpkins. Hundreds of them! You’ll see the “Greatest” (largest) Pumpkin grown in (Burrillville) Rhode Island there. And some pumpkins will be launched into the air during the Great Pumpkin “Chuck”.
Make some time to visit The Great PumpkinFest this Saturday!
--I’m sure I’m not the first to point out to you that today is September 11th. Up until 2001 the significance of that date to me was that it was my younger sister Robin’s birthday. On her birthday in 2001 I forgot to call her to wish her a happy birthday. It was that kind of a day. She said she forgave me for that, but I was never sure.
I remember that in 2001 September 11th was a Tuesday that year, just like this year. Unlike today’s forecast, the weather on that historic day was about the same in both Woonsocket and New York, crisp and cool, very much expectant of the Autumn weather to come.
We all remember what we were doing when we first heard of the attacks, just like those of us who are old enough remember when we learned of JFK’s assassination. Those moments stay with you your entire life. In my case, these two world-changing events have something in common. They both came with a second unforgettable moment shortly afterward. It was the only two times in my life that I saw people actually killed on live TV, as it happened.
In 1963 it was when Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President Kennedy the previous day. In the years since, I have never seen a re-broadcast of what I saw that day, only filmed highlights from a different angle. Perhaps at that time there was no videotape recorder recording the picture from the camera that CBS-TV had trained on the scene as Oswald was brought down to the basement garage of the police station for transport. What I saw was the silhouette of a man’s arm holding a gun in his hand on the right side of the TV picture. I knew what it was and I instantly knew what was about to happen, though I couldn’t believe it. The shadow of the arm with the gun then moved in front of the camera seconds after I first saw it and the man attached to the arm shot and killed Oswald on live network TV. I was 8 years old then.
It was to be 38 years later that I would have the same feeling, the same thought, and the same feeling of helplessness as I watched people die.
The news of the first aircraft crashing into the World Trade Center twin towers came to me when, in the final seconds of the Coffee An’ program broadcast, our News Director burst into the studio to tell me a plane flew into a skyscraper in New York. I pictured a Cessna or other small plane when he said that and I remembered that during World War Two a military plane crashed into the Empire State Building. Instead of asking him on the air and extending the program with his bulletin, I closed the show and waited to hear the report in the regularly schedule newscast which followed less than a minute later.
Meanwhile, I went down to the news room to see the live TV coverage.
I was alone in the news room watching the TV monitor when the second jetliner came into view. Again, my brain tried to process what I was seeing. Was this a taped replay? No. One of the towers is burning, this is a second plane. It’s going to crash. “No!”, I yelled at the TV screen. A second later, hundreds of people died in front of my eyes on live TV. You don’t ever forget those things.
Let’s take a moment today, any moment you choose, and just pause to say a silent prayer for victims of violence. Whether on live TV or just walking home after school, their deaths are equally tragic.
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: email@example.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.
Thanks for reading.