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Anglers shocked and stunned by attack

By Staff
Sept. 21, 2001
Shortly after an early morning trip to the spillway waters of Ross Barnett Reservoir, Mike McCrory received the news. An airplane had accidentally flown into the World Trade Center. McCrory and daughter Julie had just finished a refreshing morning of striped bass fishing before work. In fact, Julie had just caught her first striped bass, a nice 5-pound lunker!
Minutes later while waiting in line at a local McDonalds, he received a second phone call. Another plane had hit the other tower at the World Trade Center. Instantly it was obvious, this was no accident. A catastrophe insurance adjuster by trade, even McCrory was shocked and stunned by the terrorist attack. As the day began to unfold, he alerted this writer while I was on my way to work. I had not yet heard the tragic news.
Since I was going to be on the road all day, I turned the radio on and listened as newscasters frantically reported new attacks and hijackings. As they tried to make sense of the senseless acts, I literally turned numb. Only hours before, I had been enjoying catching lunker striped bass, without a care in the world. About the only thing on my mind was watching my daughter's West Lauderdale softball team play ball and going fishing.
Counting our blessings
As I listened to announcers speculating that thousands of people had died in the raid, it hit home how blessed we are in this country and in our area especially. Suddenly the everyday problems and pressures of life seemed trivial and meaningless. Did it matter who won the game last night, or how many fish I had caught?
Julie McCrory and dad Mike, had just experienced an exciting early morning fishing trip, as have many fathers and children before. Hopefully they will have many more! As my mind turned to Washington and New York however, I knew that many children and people had lost their fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. They would never again get to experience a fishing trip or some other outing together.
As a part of a generation that grew up watching scenes of Vietnam, Desert Storm, and atrocities in Africa and the Balkans, many of us were perhaps desensitized to war and the suffering. Suddenly it all changed and became real to me. Never in my lifetime had someone attacked us on our mainland. The great warriors and soldiers, like my grandfather J. P. Nolen and his generation who fought in World War II, had repelled perhaps the greatest force of evil this world had ever known!
Perhaps we all had become soft and comfortable in the world our forefathers had made for us. Nobody would dare attack us in this country. But just as surely as night turned to day, they had. Never before had anyone hit us so hard, so fast, and so precisely. In one short period of time, all of America seemingly came to a standstill.
Presidential prayer
As president Bush addressed the nation later on during the day, he called for God to bless America again, a sentiment I heard over and over with nary a protest. Yes, we are American by the grace of God.
Even though I can't begin to imagine the pain and suffering our fellow Americans have gone through in this ordeal, I just have to express my thankfulness for what we have in this state.
As an avid outdoorsman I am thankful for the many hours I have spent in the woods and on the waters of our great state. I am thankful to live in a country where we are free to choose where we go and what we do. Words couldn't describe the many emotions my fellow countrymen and I have gone through this week. Although this is a column normally reserved for outdoor news, I would have been remiss not to mention the loss of our fellow citizens. My heartfelt thanks goes out to the men and women in uniform and the many volunteers who rushed to the scene of the tragedy, many giving their very lives.
Although my words have been woefully inadequate, I would like to close by echoing the words of our President and many others May God Bless America Again!