By COLUMNIST BOB BRIDGE
My remembrances of 9/11 remain sharp and vivid following 22 years. I was in the WBIW radio studio doing my show when Laura Duncan walked in and announced a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City.
My initial response was: “Isn’t that protected air space?”
She hustled back to her studio and we continued with our live programming. Then, a few minutes later, Laura returned with an eerie expression on her frightened face.
“A plane has crashed into the other tower!”
Someone actually had the audacity to strike us on our own turf.
How dare them!
No, but swimming aimlessly in a state of serious consternation.
As fate would have it, I had been scheduled for a multi-week vacation in Florida. I remained closely attuned to the radio during my 12-hour drive to PCB.
The scenery was … scintillating. Americans tend to bond together when hardship transpires. Communities from the Hoosier State to the Sunshine State were adorned with colorful stars, stripes and yellow ribbons.
Despite the sadness associated with thousands of unfathomable deaths, a genuine, undeniable combination of unity and defiance was resonating from community to community, from coast to coast.
Yes, security had immediately intensified. Never before had I been frisked and scanned with an electronic wand. Now, it was par for the course each time I attended a major sporting event.
Air travel was tedious, far more complicated. Officials probed for a combustible device within my shoes, luggage and laptop.
It was, at the very least, an unsettling time.
How did we calm our nerves, assuage our anxiety?
For me, it was a simple phrase, a single sentence. It helped ease my mind and assure me we were not in this alone.
Don Fischer is an IU icon with a vibrant voice we’ve heard and trusted for nearly five decades. Shortly after 9/11, this is how he signed off after each Hoosier football or basketball game: “Keep your heads up, be vigilant, and God bless America.”
Those words echoed in my ears. They provided comfort and confidence that we would return to a more secure existence.
Together, we can overcome adversaries that continue to threaten us and our future. We must not be lazy and complacent. Not all our enemies are as blatant and forthcoming as those who attacked the Towers on 9/11. Some are far more surreptitious.
It will require stern persistence and teamwork to conquer those intent on harming us.
Be kind to your fellow citizens, even when disagreements arise.
And, as Don continuously reminds us, be ever vigilant.
Bob Bridge welcomes comments at 812-276-9646 or email@example.com.