The day dawned clear and bright. But September 11, 2001 quickly became one of the darkest days in America's history. As the people of Anthony, Kansas went about their morning business, 19 men steeped in hatred and anger, carried out the evil preached to them by a terrorist who corrupted his own religion to justify his evil acts.
At 7:46 AM Anthony time, American Airlines Flight 11, hijacked by 5 terrorists, flew into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing all 87 innocent passengers and crew. Fires, ignited by the jet fuel, engulfed the Tower in thick black smoke, trapping hundreds of civilians in one of the tallest buildings in America. Firefighters, police and emergency personnel immediately converged on the site to help the victims.
At 8:03 AM, while we watched television coverage of the North Tower attack, United Airlines Flight 175, hijacked by 5 terrorists, crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. All 59 innocent passengers and crew perished. It became obvious to all that a coordinated Attack on America was taking place.
At 8:37 AM, American Airlines Flight 77, hijacked by 5 terrorists, slammed into the western face of the Pentagon killing 59 innocent passengers and crew and 125 military personnel in the building.
At 8:42 AM, all private and commercial planes in the air were ordered to land at the closest airport. The skies over America were closed for the first time in history and would remain closed for two days.
At 8:58 AM, as the horror continued to unfold before our eyes, the South Tower, weakened by fire, collapsed floor by floor onto itself.
At 9:03 Am, we learned that the fourth hijacked airplane, United Airlines Flight 93, had crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. The 4 terrorists aboard Flight 93 killed 40 innocent passengers and crew.
At 9:28 AM, the North Tower collapsed, taking 2,749 lives from us in the attacks on New York City that day.
Anthony reacted with disbelief, shock and anger at the evil that had befallen our country. We wept for the 2,973 precious lives lost. The sight of our homeland being attacked, the stories of loss and heroism and the knowledge that our America had changed forever, wrenched our souls and brought tears to our eyes. As evening came, the darkness that fell reflected the spirit of a nation violated on our own soil. The night was long; perhaps the longest we have ever faced. America was at War against Terrorism.
United We Stand
The night was long, but then came the dawn. And with the rising of the morning sun came the renewal of the American spirit. Throughout the night rescue workers struggled mightily to reach anyone buried in the rubble. We learned that 343 of New York City's firefighters and 60 law enforcement officers, unharmed by the initial attacks, had given their lives to save others. Their brother and sister firefighters, hands bleeding and muscles aching, continued searching for them. Aided by fellow rescue workers from around the country, their search changed several days later from a rescue effort to a recovery of the victims.
We also learned that Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania because the passengers had heard about the earlier attacks on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, and chose to determine their own destiny and confront the terrorist evil amongst them. We would learn that their actions saved either the White House or the Capitol and an unknown number of lives.
The dawn brought sights and stories of Americans offering up their time, money and blood to support their stricken countrymen whose families had so suddenly been torn asunder. Flags appeared in unfamiliar places; in windows, yards and on cranes high above weary rescue workers. Prayers were offered for those lost and those remaining; for our Leaders; for our country. Our President and a bitterly divided Congress spoke for a short time with one voice; the Mayor of New York City became a calming inspiration to the nation.
The dawn brought victory: of life over death; of love over hatred; of good over evil. The fallen firefighters, police and rescuers chose to value the lives they sought to rescue over their own. Americans everywhere demonstrated their capacity to love their fellow countrymen through their selfless generosity, empathy and prayers. Our leaders expressed their resolve to combat the evil of terrorism that befell as while warning us that the struggle would not be fast or easy. Our brave fighting men and women continued the battle around the world to defeat terrorism.
The night of September 11, 2001, was long and dark. But with the dawn, we continued to display those characteristics that make us Americans:
Let others choose death and slavery to hatred; we value life and the liberty of forgiveness.
Let others hate because of race, national origin or religion, we are a nation of immigrants made strong because of our diversity.
Let others hide and strike cowardly; we will find them and bring them to justice according to our laws.
Let others corrupt their own religion until it exalts death and hatred over life and love; we will pray to a loving God and value religious freedom.
Let others cower and fear; we are the land of the free and the home of the brave.
We are Americans and the dawn has risen.
Bless the Heroes
Anthony responded to the Attack on America in a very unique way. Like others around the country, we flew flags, raised money for the victims' families and donated blood. But uniquely, we chose to send our money, aid and support to a single hero's family. After several calls to New York City, Anthony's Mayor spoke to FDNY Lt. Joe Huber at Ladder 38 fire station in the Bronx. Lt. Huber described a friend of his, Joseph P. Spor, Jr., who followed in his father's footsteps to become a fireman and was an easygoing, dedicated, great guy. Joe Spor, a family man, loved music, practical jokes and working with his hands. He had just recently been transferred to his dream job at Rescue 3 when the alarm rang for a rescue at the World Trade Center September 11. He gave his life rescuing others when the first of the Twin Towers fell, leaving behind his beloved wife and four young children, ages 9 months to 6 years. Anthony had found their hero to honor.
Our community "adopted" the Spor family and his firemen brothers at Ladder 38/Engine 88 in the Bronx. Correspondence, calls and gifts began to flow between them, the people of Anthony and the local school children. The empathy, moral support and friendships that developed have proven to be much more valuable than material things. Our hero's family and his firemen brothers know that we will always honor the sacrifices made that day. The people of Anthony know exactly who their support is benefiting and that the support has made a difference in the lives of the hero's family and friends. Our bond is symbolized by these three steel beams from the collapsed World Trade Center, which were given to the people of Anthony by the City of New York.
Heroes are ordinary people who, when confronted with danger, overcome their natural fear and perform extraordinary acts to serve a nobler cause. The heroes of 9-11 are many. Ordinary passengers on an airplane over Pennsylvania chose to fight the terror rather than to allow it to continue. Ordinary individuals, firemen, police and rescue workers at the World Trade Center put others' lives before their own. Ordinary Americans were working at the Pentagon to protect us when an enemy flew a plane into their offices. Ordinary Americans, wearing our nation's uniform, still fight in foreign lands so this terror does not again reach American soil.
We, the people of Anthony, Kansas, with donations from all over the United States of America, dedicate this Memorial to all the heroes of September 11, 2001. Thank you for your sacrifice. You earned our undying gratitude and respect. You gave your all.
May you find rest and peace in the arms of a loving God.
May your families find comfort in the hearts of a grateful nation.
May your children and our children never forget what you did that day.
We Have Not Forgotten. We Will Never Forget. We Will Always Care.
September 11, 2004
Written by Mayor John Schott
"All Gave Some, But Some Gave All."
9/11 served to remind us all the human cost that has been paid for our freedom and safety. This has not happened to someone else; it happened to us.
We Must Never Forget!
We must live a life worthy of their sacrifice.
Our Joe will be forever in our hearts and so will the People of Anthony.
May God continue to bless America and all those who defend her.
Joseph P. Spor, Sr.
For all those who gave their hopes, dreams and their lives because it was the "Right Thing To Do"; you will always be our inspiration.
And to the People of Anthony Kansas, for giving of themselves because it was "All They Could Do", thank you, your warm embrace will always comfort us.
In loving memory of our Joe and all those who lost their lives because of terrorism.
From the Spor and Casey Family
To the People of Anthony, Kansas
Words cannot expess our sincere gratitude for all that you have done for us in the aftermath of 9-11-01. Our lives drastically changed forever on that tragic day and our lives will never be the same withour our one and only hero.
It is comforting to know that wonderful people so far removed from our situaion have "Not Forgotten" the impact that 9-11 has had on our lives.
We will always be grateful for the incredible outpouring of love and support that you have given us.
"We Will Never Forget"
With deepest appreciation,
Colleen, Casey, Joe III, Shannon, & Caitlin Spor
The Officers and Members of
FDNY Engine Company 88 & Ladder Compamy 38
Bronx, New York
Remember those lost on 9-11-01
Their Sacrifice Renews
Our Commitment To One Another
May Their Spirits Be With Us, Always
[Roll of Officers and Firefighters of Anthony Fire & Rescue]