By Alyssa Schnugg
Eighteen years ago, Sept. 11 started out much like any other. Firefighters and police officers reported for their shifts. Coffee pots peculated while subways filled up with people going to work in New York City and Washington D.C.
However, Sept. 11, 2001, didn’t stay an ordinary day for long.
Almost 3,000 people died, including 415 firefighters and law enforcement officers after terrorists hijacked three planes, crashing them into the Twin Towers and Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed before being able to reach its intended target.
On Wednesday, which also started out much like any other day, first responders in Oxford and Lafayette County were reminded how much they were appreciated every day during a Sept. 11 Memorial Lunch sponsored by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program at the Oxford Conference Center.
Pastor Fish Robinson serves as chaplain for Oxford, Lafayette and University police departments, as well as the city and county fire departments – where he also serves as a volunteer firefighter. He offered prayer and words of praise and comfort to all the first responders in the room.
“Immediately, men and women went forth into action and ran toward one of the most devastating events of our time,” he said. “9/11 is a reminder for us that when we are called, it might cost us everything, but the answer is always ‘yes.’ … Whether it’s 3 a.m. on Christmas morning or 99 degrees on July 4 with 100 percent humidity, these men and women run toward the danger.”
Also speaking at the luncheon was Lafayette County Supervisor Mike Roberts, Mayor Robyn Tannehill and University of Mississippi Interim Chancellor Larry Sparks.
The first responders were treated to lunch by Taylor Grocery. Winchester sponsored the event and the Conference Center donated the meeting space.