Sullivan County Democrat
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RED CROSS VOLUNTEER Merton Lockhart, left, and Tri-Valley High School Principal Ken Sherman discuss the “Facing Fear” program.

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By Matt Youngfrau
SULLIVAN COUNTY — September 10, 2002 – On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the course of American history was changed forever.
On that morning, four planes were hijacked by terrorists, who crashed them into the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania (it is believed the target was the White House, but passengers on the plane thwarted that attempt).
Since that time, no American's life has been the same. It was the first incident that showed citizens that we could be attacked on our own soil and that this country could no longer ignore terrorists throughout the world.
As the one-year anniversary approaches, there will be events and ceremonies taking place to mark the occasion at all times of the day and night throughout the county. Churches will host services, candlelight vigils will be held, and flags will be raised or lowered to half-mast.
“Personally, I don’t think I will ever erase the images from my mind any more than I will forget the day Kennedy was shot,” said Sullivan County Legislature Chair Leni Binder. “We just have to learn to live with it. We will never forget what happened. [But] we should never forget the gains we have made.”
“This is a time to pause and reflect on one’s own life,” said Sullivan County Manager Dan Briggs. “We’ll memorialize those who put their lives on the line on a daily basis and those who lost loved ones in the attack.”
A real concern is how people will handle the anniversary emotionally and physically. In Sullivan County, two key organizations are helping locals deal with the event: Project Liberty and the Red Cross.
"You do not have to have been directly affected to call Project Liberty," commented United Way of Sullivan County Chief Professional Officer Linda Cellini. (The United Way oversees Project Liberty.) "Everyone was affected by those events. If someone needs to talk, we are here to help and assist."
"The Red Cross has always prepared for the unexpected," remarked Sullivan County Red Cross Director Bette Popovich. "We are prepared for any disaster, and we have encouraged the community to be prepared for any incident.
"The healing process has been taking place," Popovich continued. "Due to the events, many have begun to get involved in volunteer organizations."
The tips offered by the Red Cross and Project Liberty are very similar. They encourage people to talk, reflect and be involved with the community on that day. The key, according to both, is that it will take time, and a person should allow that to heal the wounds.
Both organizations encourage anyone looking for assistance, or for those who just need to talk, to please call them. Project Liberty can be reached at 794-1240. The Red Cross can be contacted at 583-8340.

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